Monday, May 04, 2009

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

Michael Lorenzen

Organizations change through time. This was certainly true of the historical Roman Republic as it changed into the Roman Empire. It went from being a partially democratic state to rule by one man. This paper will give a brief history of the Roman Republic with an emphasis on the transition from Republican to Imperial roles. It will also examine the 8 step model for organizational change as described by Kotter and Cohen (2002) in their book The Heart of Change and examine how these steps were used by Julius Caesar to make the organizational changes that allowed the Roman Republic to become the Roman Empire.

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

Change is a fact of history. It has occurred repeatedly throughout time and it will invariably be a constant for the future. Taking this into account, it is reasonable to assume that the change models proposed by various theorists should be applicable to the study of past events. One of the most important events in ancient history was the transformation of the democratic Roman Republic into the Emperor ruled Roman Empire. This event altered human history. As such, analysis of it using a change model should be possible.

Kotter and Cohen wrote the book Heart of Change in 2002. In it, they describe an eight step model for change. A look at this model shows that it is a good one for describing the actions of Julius Caesar as he took charge of the Roman Republic and ended the democratic rule of the Roman Senate and replaced it with a system that would result in the rule of Caesar’s for centuries to come. While it is not a perfect fit, the Kotter and Cohen model is still helpful in understanding how Caesar was able to accomplish what he did and it allows for the analysis of his actions.

Romans and Change

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.

A Brief History of the Roman Republic

Legend has it that the city of Rome was founded in 753 BC. For the first two centuries of its existence, a total of seven kings ruled. The final King (Lucius Tarquinius Superbus) was overthrown when his son raped a noblewoman. The Romans replaced the monarchy with a Republican government which would exist for the next 500 years.

The Roman Republic was set up in a way that made it difficult for any one man to hold absolute power. The Web encyclopedia Wikipedia (2005) noted that, “The Romans observed two principles for their officials: annuality or the observation of a one-year term and collegiality or the holding of the same office by at least two men at the same time. The supreme office of consul, for instance, was always held by two men together, each of whom exercised a power of mutual veto over any actions by the other consul.” During times of crisis a man would occasionally be given the office of dictator for a limited period of time but they were always held accountable for their actions when the term of office ended.

As the centuries went by, Rome slowly gained control of the entire Italian peninsula. Citizens of conquered or voluntarily allied cities were usually allowed to eventually become citizens of the Roman Republic. As Rome grew stronger, it also began to expand into other parts of the Mediterranean world. This growth brought them into conflict with Carthage.

In a series of three wars, Rome destroyed Carthage. These wars are known as the Punic Wars. The second war (which began in 218 BC) lasted the longest and much of it was fought in Italy as Hannibal was able to inflict huge loses on the Roman military. In the end, Rome would emerge victorious after every war. At the end of the final war (146 BC) the city of Carthage was razed, the population of Carthage was enslaved, and the soil around the city was salted so that it would be unable to support crops in the future.

The removal of Carthage opened up much of the known world to the Romans. They acquired provinces in Africa, Greece, Asia Minor, and the islands of the Mediterranean. These conquests enriched the Roman Republic but created problems. The government of the Republic was not well suited to governing such a large empire and many of the traditions of Rome began to be challenged including the idea that no one man should hold absolute power.

The Fall of the Roman Republic

Most historians trace the beginning of the Republic’s fall to the events which began in 91 BC. Most of the allied Italian cities of Rome rose in a revolt which history has recorded as the Social War. At the same time, Mithridates VI of Pontus overran most of the Roman held territory in Asia and Greece. In addition, he encouraged the slaughter of over 80,000 men, women, and children of Italian descent in the areas he conquered.

The Roman General Sulla rose to prominence at this time. His legions were instrumental in putting down the revolt in Italy. When he was denied the command of the army to prosecute the war against Mithridates, Sulla marched his legions on Rome. No Roman had ever marched an army on Rome before. He forced the Senate to give him what he wanted and he left allies in charge of the government. Sulla was successful in the eastern campaign and Rome regained all the territory it had lost in Greece and Asia.

While Sulla was away campaigning, his enemies were able to regain control of the Republican government. When Sulla returned to Italy, he once again marched on Rome and was able to regain sole power. This time, he began a purge and had his enemies executed and their estates forfeited.

Sulla used his time in power to make reforms he believed would strengthen the Republic, stifle corruption, and make it impossible for any one to ever seize power the way he had done. Then, after only a few years of absolute rule, he retired and lived out his remaining years as a private citizen. Sulla believed he had saved the Republic. But historians believe his example showed later leaders such as Julius Caesar that power in the Republic could be attained via military means.

Within a generation, the Republic would be undone. The Roman Senate looked weak and indecisive as it dealt with the Spartacus slave revolt and wide scale Mediterranean piracy. Continued unrest in the eastern provinces also showed that the government of the Republic was not well suited to running an empire. By 60 BC, three men rose to prominence and gained control of the Republican government. These included Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great, and Crassus. They shared power and formed what is now known as the First Triumvirate.

Julius Caesar used his new position to conquer Gaul (France). For several years he fought and defeated the tribes of Gaul. He even briefly invaded Britain but was forced to withdraw due to local resistance and continued unrest in Gaul. In 52 BC, he ended the Gallic Wars by destroying the army of the Chieftain Vercingetorix at the Battle of Alesia. Caesar had added a large amount of land to the holdings of the Republic and had furthered his own fame and popularity.

While Caesar was in Gaul, the First Triumvirate had slowly disintegrated. Crassus had died campaigning in the east. Pompey had become increasingly distrustful of Caesar and he finally in 49 BC ordered him to give up command of his legions. Caesar refused and instead marched his legions on Rome. In the ensuing Civil War, Pompey was killed and Caesar gained absolute mastery of the Roman world. And unlike Sulla, he had no intention of giving up power or allowing the Republic to be restored.

Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. However, his vision of a new Roman government was not undone. His nephew Octavius (who became the Emperor Augustus) was his legal heir. He used his skills and inheritance rights to win the ensuing civil war and place himself on the throne. The Republic was dead and it would never return. The Roman Empire was born.

The Heart of Change

There are many change models in existence today which could be used to examine the fall of the Roman Republic. Fullan (2001) has a model as does Beer, Eisenstat, and Spector (1990), and Hamel (2000). All of these are worthwhile. However, the author of this essay has decided to use the Kotter and Cohen (2002) model as it is presented in The Heart of Change. The eight steps in this model are easy to discern and then apply to a historical setting.

In addition, this analysis will focus on Julius Caesar as the leader seeking change. Although many individuals had a hand in the destruction of the Republic, history has long fingered Caesar as the man who destroyed it. Wrote Jimenez (2000) in acknowledging this point, “For all of his success on the battlefield and in politics, Caesar failed as a statesman because he had no vision of how Rome should function, except at his bidding, and allowed to govern it but himself. For the next five hundred years his successors would adhere to his example” (p. 241).

However, it can be argued that Caesar did have a vision. It was his intent to destroy the Republic and establish rule by one man. He was spectacularly successful in achieving his vision as a statesman. He did destroy the Republic and that was what he wanted. This paper will examine this motive as the “heart of change” that Caesar intended for the Roman Republic.

Step One: Increase Urgency

Kotter and Cohen (2002) believe that increasing urgency is the beginning of any successful change process. If people do not see the need to change, they probably will not change. The authors argue, “In successful change efforts, the first step is making sure sufficient people act with sufficient urgency” (p. 15.)

Julius Caesar had an easy task on this step when he set upon his path to power in the Roman Republic. It was becoming evident that the Roman Republic lacked many desirable traits needed for the new political world it found itself in. The world had changed due to the success of Rome but Roman tradition was holding back Rome from even greater glory such as the ability to expand and govern even more territory.

Jimenez (2000) noted two deficiencies in particular which were afflicting the Republic. First, Rome had been too successful in conquering new provinces. He wrote, “Its generals used their devastating armies to conquer and then annex territories even further afield, until the collection of provinces and subject kingdoms reached a size that was almost impossible to govern” (Preface xi.) In the ancient world, it took months for messages to travel between Rome and the more distant provinces. Often, quick decisions needed to be made. The mechanisms of the Republic did not cope well with this. Further, political appointments to govern these new provinces were made by the Roman Senate. This often resulted in weak administrators being appointed to rule the new Roman possessions as a result of political maneuvers.

Secondly, Jimenez noted that the Roman Senate did not adequately support the legions that were needed to maintain control of the new conquered lands. This gave new power to the generals as they raised and funded their own troops. He wrote, “The Roman Senate, which had sole responsibility for foreign policy and warmaking, became reluctant to finance the large standing army necessary to police and defend this territory. The result was that control and support of Rome’s armies gradually fell to its generals…” (Preface xi).

Two other points are worth noting here as well. Kotter and Cohen (2002) wrote about several behaviors which could blind some people for the need for change. These included a sense of complacency and a desire for self-protection. Both of these behaviors were evident in the Roman Senate. Why shouldn’t they be complacent? The Roman system of government had worked for centuries and had allowed it to gain a position as the most powerful state in the world. Roman arrogance appeared to be justified. Further, many in the Senate only cared for their own personal power and wealth. This was very evident to the average Roman. Julius Caesar and the other two members of the First Triumvirate exploited these behaviors to undercut the power of the Roman Senate. Julius Caesar was able to use the frustrations many felt with the Senate to show an urgency for change.

Step Two: Build the Guiding Team

Kotter and Cohen (2002) believe that it is important to get the right people involved in guiding change. These people can then show leadership and help get the change imitative accepted and adapted by the people in the organization. This includes modeling behaviors such as trust and teamwork so that that the guiding team members can inspire good responses from others.

Caesar got many people to take leadership positions and push for change that allowed him to achieve his goals. Pompey the Great and Crassus joined Caesar in the First Triumvirate. Neither of these men had the same ultimate goal as Caesar (each wanted power for themselves alone) but they did share the common goal of subverting the government of the Republic and shifting it to themselves. Although Pompey and Caesar eventually parted ways and fought each other, Pompey help was essential in guiding Caesar to the position where he could attempt to seize power on his own.

Another important member of Caesar’s guiding team was Cleopatra. She joined the “team” later in the story but her help was important in getting Caesar accepted by the Roman subjects in the eastern provinces. She embraced Caesar’s desire for absolute power and supported him. In the east, monarchs were often worshiped as gods and treated as being more than human. Cleopatra’s acceptance of Caesar and her subsequent bearing him a son made Caesar appear more divine. This helped him immensely in getting the change of government accepted in the east. Holland (2003) noted, “In the East, they already worshipped Caesar as a god…Just as Cleopatra was both a pharaoh and to the Egyptians and a Macedonian Queen among the Greeks, so Caesar could be at once a living god in Asia and a dictator to the Romans” (p. 333).

It is also important to note the officers who served in the legions Julius Caesar commanded. Caesar gained power through military means. If at any point his officers had refused to support him, he would have been finished. They kept the soldiers in the army in line and supportive of Caesar’s goals. As such, these officers could be considered the most important part of Caesar’s guiding team.

One piece of advice that Kotter and Cohen (2002) recommended was followed by Julius Caesar in regards to building guiding teams. They wrote in regards to what does not work, “Not confronting the situation when momentum and entrenched power centers undermine the creation of the right groups” (p. 60). Caesar did not make this mistake. When tradition or the Roman Senate prevented him from recruiting the people he needed, he would find both subtle and straightforward ways to get the people he needed.

Step Three: Get the Vision Right

Kotter and Cohen (2002) advance the idea that a guiding team has to have a clear vision so that it can have a clear sense of direction. This echoes Proverbs 29:18, “Without a vision, the people will perish.” As Caesar was a well known advocate for the Jews of Rome, this Bible passage seems exceptionally apt.

Unfortunately, getting a sense of Caesar’s vision can only be guessed at today. I have stated previously that Caesar’s vision was absolute power and the overthrow of the Roman Republic. The evidence of history supports this claim. However, there are no surviving documents of Caesar writing this down as a vision statement after having a team building meeting! It is unlikely such a document ever existed.

However, we can still see signs of Julius Caesar’s vision by some of his actions that coincide with Kotter and Cohen’s (2002) advice on the topic. This included having a message that was simple and direct. Caesar hid his goals early in his career but as he grew in power he was quit clear in communicating what he wanted in a simple fashion. He was a general and he was used to having his commands followed. He expected everyone (including members of the Roman Senate) to obey him when he issued orders. When the Senate failed to heed him, he overthrew it. He was direct prior to this as well. His conquest of Gaul added a huge amount of territory to the Roman state but he did so illegally. The Roman Senate did not authorize the conquest. But Caesar wanted Gaul and he took it anyway.

Kotter and Cohen (2002) also recommended, “Strategies that are bold enough to make bold visions a reality” (p. 82). Julius Caesar was always bold. Jimenez (2000) wrote of Caesar’s march into Italy at the start of the Civil War with Pompey, “It was sudden and surprise marches by Caesar’s troops that led to his successes in the Gallic War, and he saw no reason now to change his tactics” (p. 67). Caesar was a decisive leader who moved quickly to make his vision reality.

Caesar was also mindful of how he presented his change vision. Kotter and Cohen wrote that leaders should be “paying careful attention to the strategic question of how quickly to introduce change” (p. 82). Caesar made his changes swiftly. However, he maintained the illusion that nothing had changed. Everyone knew what he had done and that change had occurred. But for political and cultural reasons he pretended that the Republic still existed. He refused an offer to be made King. He went through the motions of pretending to work with the Senate on legislation that he was going to implement anyway. Wrote Holland (2003), “Why offend the sensibilities of his fellow citizens by abolishing the Republic when – as Caesar himself was said to have pointed out – the Republic been reduced to nothingness, a name only, without body or substance?” (p. 333, 334.)

Step Four: Communicating for Buy-In

Kotter and Cohen (2002) wrote that the goal of communicating is to get buy-in from as many people as possible acting to make the vision a reality. If people believe in the vision and strategies being proposed, change is more likely to occur. Julius Caesar was a master at this.

Early in his career, he spent lavishly to provide the citizens of Rome with entertainment. He did this for political reasons as the support of the people helped him advance his political career. Many of the citizens became Caesar supporters in this way. Caesar also got buy-in by seducing the wives of some of his rivals. Caesar would then have the women go back to their husbands and convince them to work with Caesar.

Julius Caesar continually amazed the world by pardoning rivals. After every victory in the Civil War, he would pardon the survivors including prominent enemies. Wrote Holland (2003), “Even his bitterest enemies, if they only submitted, could have the assurance that they would be pardoned and spared. Caesar had no plans for proscription lists to be posted in the Forum” (p. 302). This tactic made allies out of opponents who had been previously trying to block Caesar’s plans. Ultimately, this tactic cost Caesar his life as some of those he pardoned assassinated him. In the meantime, it was a brilliant strategy that got a lot Romans to buy-into Caesar’s message.

Caesar was also well known for giving speeches which clearly communicated his intent. Before crossing the Rubicon into Italy at the start of the Civil War, he gave a speech to his soldiers to keep their support. Wrote Jimenez (2000), “Caesar does not say what decision he made, only that he addressed his troops, complaining of the wrongs done him by his enemies, and of the illegal suppression of the vetoes of the tribunes. When he exhorted them to defend the reputation and dignity of the general…their response was to shout their enthusiastic assent” (p. 66).

Step Five: Empowering Action

Kotter and Cohen (2002) wrote that individuals who were taking part in the change process had to have the ability to take action. If individuals do not have the power to make changes, it is likely nothing will get done. As such, the leader has to be able to empower people to take action.

Caesar would have been familiar with this idea. As a military leader, he was required constantly to delegate authority to his officers. Ancient warfare isolated leaders from units they were not directly in command of as it took messengers time to travel between positions. In the case of the Gallic War, Caesar would have to wait days sometimes to get reports backs from legions in other parts of Gaul. Before he began his assault on the Republic, Julius Caesar was already empowering his followers to take action. In the context of the Civil War that ensued when he fought Pompey, this was an important skill to already have in place as the conflict would engulf much of the Mediterranean World. Caesar was forced to rely on the actions of his followers on other fronts.

One suggestion that Kotter and Cohen (2002) made was to find individuals with change experience who can bolster the self-confidence of followers that victory is possible. Caesar did this on many occasions. For example, he placed Mark Anthony in charge of Italy when he pursued Pompey to Macedonia. Holland (2003) wrote of Anthony, “He was an officer worthy of the men he commanded” (p. 309). When Anthony engaged his legions, people on both sides of the battle took notice of his courage and skill. Mark Anthony inspired confidence in people that Caesar’s cause was the correct one and his deeds helped Caesar achieve his goals.

Kotter and Cohen (2002) also thought that recognition and rewards would help in empowering action as these things bolster self-confidence and optimism. Caesar often gave rewards to solidify his support among other people and to reward them for their successes. In one case, Caesar gave his daughter Julia to Pompey as a reward for his participation in the First Triumvirate. Pompey was happy with that arrangement and had Julia not died several years later there may have never been a rift between Caesar and Pompey. Another example is his treatment of Cleopatra. When she sided with him and took up his cause, Caesar placed her on the throne of Egypt and deposed her brother Ptolemy XIII.

Julius Caesar also continued to look to the Roman people for their support. He lavished them with games and they were happy that the Civil War had ended. Even during the Republic, most Romans had no say in the government. The power was concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy aristocrats. To the masses, it made no difference if the Senate was in power or if Caesar was. If Caesar gave them goods and kept the peace, they were happy to support him. And Caesar had more reward planned for the future before he died. Holland (2003) wrote, “A library was to be founded; a new theater to Rival Pompey’s cut out from the rock of the Capitol; the largest temple in the world built on the Campus. Even the Tiber, Caesar had decided, would have to be diverted, because its course obstructed his building plans” (p. 331).

Step Six: Create Short-Term Wins

Kotter and Cohen (2002) wrote, “Without sufficient wins that are visible, timely, unambiguous, and meaningful to others, change efforts inevitably run into serious problems” (p. 125). People need to see that the change can happen. It takes a long time sometimes to get to the point were the change has successfully been implemented. Small victories assure people that the larger change can come. Short-term wins help to build momentum.

The entire career of Caesar is one of multiple short-terms wins that lead to bigger and better results. He was continually successful at war and his legions pacified Gaul and won control of the entire Roman Republic. His army rarely lost a battle. As a politician, Caesar had the knack for making the right alliances which allowed him to reach the height of political power in the Republic. Caesar’s continued battle success then allowed him to personally assume the power of the Roman state. All of this entailed repeated short-term victories which gave Caesar tons of momentum to achieve what he wanted.

One early short-term Julius Caesar accomplished in the Civil War was capturing Rome. After he crossed the Rubicon to start the war, he had control of Rome within a few weeks. Pompey chose to flee with his legions to Macedonia instead of fighting it out with Caesar in Italy. This was a huge win for Caesar both militarily and psychologically. This emboldened Caesar’s supporters and it hurt Pompey. Wrote Jimenez (2000), “It is true that Caesar had a reputation of an invincible general, but Pompey had the same reputation, had it twice as long, and had never been beaten on the battlefield. Among the many who thought Pompey should have stayed and defended Italy, the retreat was a serious psychological letdown” (p. 73).

Another good example of Caesar playing for short-term wins is the case of Spain. After he took Rome in the Civil War against Pompey, he chose to attack legions loyal to Pompey in Spain rather than immediately pursuing Pompey to Macedonia. Attacking Pompey first would have been more direct and perhaps ended the war sooner. But going for a win in Spain gave Caesar the chance to remind Romans how brilliant he was as a leader. In a six week campaign, he out-maneuvered his opponents and got them to capitulate to him with little lose of life on either side. Jimenez (2000) called this “Caesar’s finest hour” (p. 98). Again, this reinforced to Caesar’s followers that they were on the right side just as it demoralized those loyal to Pompey.

Step Seven: Don’t Let Up

Kotter and Cohen (2002) argued that a leader needs to be relentless near the end of the change process to make sure the victory does not slip away. If not, the followers may lose their urgency. The two wrote, “The most common problem at this stage in change efforts is sagging urgency. Success becomes an albatross. ‘We won’, people say, and you have problems reminiscent of those in step 1” (p. 144).

Julius Caesar rarely let up in his entire career. He kept going after what he wanted whether that was a consulship, the annexation of Gaul, or victory over the Republican government and absolute power. This is probably best demonstrated by his prosecution of the war against Pompey’s followers even after he had defeated Pompey and secured victory.

In 48 BC, Julius Caesar defeated Pompey at the Battle of Pharsalus. Pompey was forced to flee and his legions were destroyed. The victory was total. Wrote Holland (2003), “ That evening it was Caesar who sat down in Pompey’s tent and ate the victor meal prepared by Pompey’s chef, off Pompey’s silver plate” (p. 311). But it did not end there. Caesar continued to pursue the war until all those loyal to Pompey and the Senate were destroyed.

Immediately, Caesar took off in pursuit of Pompey. He followed him to Egypt but Pompey was assassinated before Caesar arrived. Caesar then made his alliance with Cleopatra and secured Egypt. He returned to Rome and solidified the legal basis of his new government. Holland (2003) wrote, “The Senate, stupefied by the scale of Caesar’s achievements, overawed by the magnitude of his power, had scrabbled to legitimize his victory and somehow reconcile it to the cherished traditions of the past” (p. 326).

Finally, Caesar refused to let up on his enemies. Even after his conquest of the Senate, he was quick to respond to new rebellions. When Pompey’s two sons raised a new revolt in Spain, Caesar promptly left Rome and crushed it. Julius Caesar did not stop fighting until all of his enemies who were resisting him on the battlefield were removed from their ability to wage war against him.

Step Eight: Make Changes Stick

The final step in Kotter and Cohen’s (2002) was making sure that the changes made actually survive. They noted that tradition is a powerful force and that an organization can relapse into old behaviors particularly if there is a change in management. They wrote, “Making it stick can be difficult in any sphere of life. If this challenge is not well met at the end of a large-scale change process, enormous effort can be wasted” (p. 162).

The judgment of history is clear. The changes Caesar made stuck even after his sudden death shortly after he concluded the Civil War that made him the government of the Roman Empire. The Roman Republic never returned in any form other than as a symbol invoked by subsequent men who held absolute power as Roman Emperors.

Caesar’s death did lead to short-term turmoil. There was another Civil War as Caesar’s assassins were hunted down and killed. There was then the collapse of the Second Triumvirate which held power and in the ensuing fighting Augustus Caesar (the first Roman Emperor) gained power he would keep for the next four decades.

Although much of the credit for Augustus Caesar’s continuation of Julius Caesar’s policies belongs to Augustus, much credit must also be given to Julius Caesar. His actions and utter victory over the Senate made it impossible for the Senate ever to regain its former power. Henceforth, power would be concentrated into the hands of one man. Further, Julius Caesar had adopted Augustus and left him as his legal heir. Julius Caesar fully intended that Augustus would replace him as ruler. He recognized that Augustus had the personality and skills to continue to rule Rome and its empire as Julius Caesar thought was best.

Kotter and Cohen (2002) noted two ideas for making changes stick. They wrote, “Using the promotions process to place people who act according to the new norms into visible and influential positions” (p. 177). Clearly, the promotion of Augustus into a role where he could inherit the empire follows this advice. This then lead to what Kotter and Cohen (2002) wrote, “Making absolutely sure you have the continuity of behavior and results that help a new culture grow” (p. 177).


The fall of the Roman Republic and its transformation into the Roman Republic was mourned by classicists and is even still lamented today by some modern historians. Yet, the Republic was corrupt and was having difficulty governing the new empire Rome had acquired. It needed change and the coming of single man rule as an emperor may have allowed the Roman state to survive for several centuries to come.

Julius Caesar was an intelligent man who was also an effective leader. He saw the problems that the Republic was facing and he did something about it by ruthlessly seizing power for himself. His example (and to an extent that of Sulla even earlier) demonstrated too many that the ideals of the Republic were gone forever.

An examination of Kotter and Cohen (2002) reveals that Julius Caesar followed all of the steps in their change model to one degree or another. Understanding change from ancient history and examining it using a modern change theory is valuable in that it allows us to see that successful approaches to change have remained consist through time and that modern change theories are ground in solid historical observations.


Beer, M., Eisenstat, R., and Spector, B. (1990). The critical path to corporate renewal. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Hamel, G. (2000). Leading the revolution. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Holland, T. (2003). Rubicon: The last years of the Roman Republic. Chicago: IL, Doubleday.

Jimenez, R. L. (2000). Caesar against Rome: The great Roman civil war. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Kotter, J. P. & Cohen, D. S. (2002). The heart of change: Real-life stories of how people change their organizations. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Roman Republic (2005, June). Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. Retrieved June 15, 2005, from <>.

No comments: