Initial Implementation

Implementation involves complexity in every aspect. Implementation requires change. The change may be more or less dramatic for an individual or an organization. In any case, change does not occur simultaneously or evenly in all parts of a practice or an organization. Kitson et al. (1998) note that implementation requires changes in the overall practice environment. That is, the practitioner in the context of personal, administrative, educational, economic, and community factors that are themselves influenced by external factors (new info, societal norms, economic recession, media).

Changes in skill levels, organizational capacity, organizational culture, and so on require education, practice, and time to mature. Joyce & Showers (2002) describe how they help practitioners through the “initial awkward stage” of initial implementation. Fisher (1983) stated it clearly when he described “the real world of applied psychology [as] an environment full of personnel rules, social stressors, union stewards, anxious administrators, political pressures, interprofessional rivalry, staff turnover, and diamond-hard inertia” (p. 249).

During the initial stage of implementation the compelling forces of fear of change, inertia, and investment in the status quo combine with the inherently difficult and complex work of implementing something new. And, all of this occurs at a time when the program is struggling to begin and when confidence in the decision to adopt the program is being tested. Attempts to implement new practices effectively may end at this point, overwhelmed by the proximal and distal influences on practice and management (e.g., Macallair & Males, 2004).