1st Edition

Red, White and Radical What Organisations Can Learn About Change from the Rise of American Conservatism

By Warrick Harniess Copyright 2020
    222 Pages 32 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Red, White and Radical explores how and why America has become so conservative since World War II. In the process, it offers lessons that professional leaders, regardless of their political stance, should heed if they want their organisational change plans to succeed.

    Over the past 70 years, a motley crew of suburban activists, libertarian businessmen and political opportunists have radically changed America and its national values. The rise of American conservatism is the greatest modern example of cultural change in the Western world. How did they do it – and what can we learn from this? Red, White and Radical is a manual for organisational change. It tells nine stories from American cultural, political and business history that illuminate how conservatives have pioneered change. From these stories, it extracts a change management lesson for professional leaders and explains how to apply that lesson in the workplace.

    These nine lessons are organised into a clear change framework:

    1. understanding and motivating people
    2. communicating with emotion and authenticity
    3. building teams and networks that can deliver lasting change.

    Along the way you’ll also learn:

    • how Marlboro became the world’s biggest cigarette brand
    • why conservatives love Ronald Reagan but despise Richard Nixon
    • the origins of the social media echo chamber
    • how Silicon Valley learned to lobby
    • the secrets of Donald Trump’s populist X Factor.

    Red, White and Radical is not for the faint of heart. If you’re a passionate business leader who relishes the challenge of delivering true organisational change for the better, then this book is for you.

    About the Author, Introduction, Part I: People Change, Case Story 1: Marlboro, What Can We Learn from Case Story 1? Case Story 2: Suburbia, What Can We Learn from Case Story 2? Case Story 3: Personas, What Can We Learn from Case Story 3? Part II: Communicating Change, Case Story 4: Freedom, What Can We Learn from Case Story 4? Case Story 5: Entertainment, What Can We Learn from Case Story 5? Case Story 6: Channels, What Can We Learn from Case Story 6? Part III: Leading Change, Case Story 7: Misfits, What Can We Learn from Case Story 7? Case Story 8: Networks, What Can We Learn from Case Story 8? Case Story 9: Trump, What Can We Learn from Case Story 9? Epilogue, Index


    Warrick Harniess is an educator and founder of Scandinavia Stories, a learning and development agency that specialises in creativity, communications and change. His clients include multinational companies and professional services firms, universities and start-ups. He learned his craft during a career at Pearson Education, and as a musician inspired by punk rock and the do-it-yourself ethos. Red, White and Radical is his first book.

    "Here is that rare management book - original, engaging, and thought-provoking. Combining travelogue, history, and psychology, among other ingredients, Warrick Harniess provides a cleverly distilled analysis of how a particular kind of conservatism has triumphed in the USA. Even more significantly, he explains what this means for change management in organisations." - Michael Keaney, Senior Lecturer, Metropolia Business School, Finland

    "This book is much more than a recipe for organizational change. Warrick Harniess dissects the last 50 years of American politics like a surgeon, offering the reader invaluable lessons and a practical roadmap to successfully lead complex organizational transformations. His back to the future narrative will soon be used by many corporations focused on recovering from this pandemic era. Red, White and Radical is already one of the best management books of the decade." - Marcos Gorgojo, Director of Faculty, Headspring, by Financial Times & IE Business School

    "Understanding culture matters if we want effectively to influence it. This book uses contemporary vignettes to tell a story of the tensions between culture and conservatism in the US. It is timely. We are probably living through a technologically propelled revolution. Traditional societal organisational models and modus operandi have broken down and geo-political boundaries shattered. Relationships between the State, the organisation and the individual have been caught up in the backwash, without a tested map to follow. This innovative narrative stimulates thought and possible new approaches based upon historic evidence. I enjoyed the read and it has made me reflect in a way, and on issues, that hitherto I hadn’t." - Professor Chris Birch, University of Greenwich, UK

    "Red, White and Radical is a highly original take on American history, politics, culture and the findings of social psychology to illuminate how instigators of corporate change can increase their effectiveness. Utterly engrossing and required reading for business academics and executives alike."David Molian, Visiting Fellow, Cranfield School of Management and Thought Leader, Criticaleye

    "Warrick is a natural storyteller. Red, White and Radical is a fast-paced, informative and entertaining read which takes us on a journey through recent American history, interweaving political, cultural and business themes whilst drawing well-informed conclusions for successfully leading transformational change programmes. An engrossing and entertaining manual for change leaders and anyone interested in making sense of today’s American politics." - Angus Blackwood, Managing Director at The Hawk Media Partnership

    "There is no mundane, step-based, linear change process in this book. The dazzling shifts in thinking and incessant imagination underpinning deep research into American cultural history rewards the reader with a set of change tactics that can underpin the type of radical organisational transformation necessary in the digital era." - Dr. Richard Claydon, CEO roundPegz, and Lecturer in Leadership, Macquarie Business Schools Global MBA, Australia

    "Red, White and Radical works very well as an examination of the complexities of human behaviour and the challenges of organisational change. Harniess draws fascinating case study parallels with the rise of political conservatism and the resultant challenges and successes of organisational change initiatives. The book offers change agents and organisation leaders a new perspective that I am unaware has been presented before." - Roma Bhowmick, Business Strategy and Organisational Change Consultant

    "Red, White and Radical is a highly original, intelligent and stylish book about modern American conservatism and organisational change, which quickly reveals itself to be the greatest story of sustained culture change in recent times. In fact, I believe nobody can properly understand change management without reading this book, and have therefore made it essential reading for my Change Management class." - Dr Nuno da Camara, MBA Director & Principal Teaching Fellow in Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK