Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Heart of Change: Julius Caesar and the End of the Roman Republic

The Heart of Change: Julius Caesar and the End of the Roman Republic. I have put up another paper at michaellorenzen.com. This is yet another product of the doctoral program I am currently in. I normally write about library issues but I felt I needed a change of pace. This paper was written for a class on organizational change.

I am not a historian. As such, my historical analysis may be weak. Despite that, I hope some may find this of interest when they come upon it surfing the Web. I have applied the change model of Kotter and Cohen as they present in the book Heart of Change used it to explain the actions of Julius Caesar in the last days of the Roman Republic.

From the site:

Before examining the historical events that occurred to the Roman Republic, it is important to understand the mindset of the Roman people. They did not like change. In fact, they were quite resistant to the idea. Wrote Holland (2003), “Novelty, to the Citizen’s of the Republic, had sinister connotations. Pragmatics as they were, they might accept innovation if it was dressed up as the will of the gods or an ancient costume, but never for its own sake” (p. 4).

That is not to say the Romans rejected all change. However, they were very conservative about it. Holland (2003) further wrote, “Conservative and flexible in equal measures, the Romans kept what worked, adapted what had failed, and preserved as sacred lumber what had become redundant. The Republic was both a building site and a junkyard” (p. 4). This is a key concept when contemplating the actions of Julius Caesar as he brought about the end of the Republic. The government of the Roman Republic had lasted almost five hundred years (half a millennium!) despite wars, constitutional crisis, and territorial expansion. This is twice the length of time of the history of the United States of America today. During this time, the government of the Roman Republic changed very little. As such, the change process initiated by Caesar has to rank amongst some of the most significant of all change sequences in history.

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