Book by Dennis T. Jaffe & Cynthia D. Scott
Review by Jennifer Joslin
Academic Advising Center
The University of Iowa

By the time you finish reading this review, something will have changed at your workplace. Whether it is a useful computer application or a trendy business metaphor, new applications and metaphors will replace the familiar in an ongoing cycle of change whose unpredictability is the only predictable element.  Such is the organizing principle behind Mastering the Change Curve (second edition) by Dennis Jaffe and Cynthia Scott. The authors argue that constant change is an inevitable feature of today’s workplace and that the best approach is to explore the different phases of change for long-term professional growth. In Mastering, Jaffe and Scott provide the tools and perspective to understand our difficulty in facing change as well as the impetus to move forward through change to exploration and commitment.

Mastering the Change Curve is a terrific addition to any departmental or advising center’s library. Building on the success of the first edition, Jaffe and Scott provide a well-organized collection of materials for advisors, trainers, and administrators. The all-inclusive materials offer a cohesive structure to begin a dialogue about change. The Facilitator’s Guide supplies printed copies of several training outlines, checklists, overhead transparency masters, certificates, evaluations, and a PowerPoint© presentation—all of which are also found on the CR-ROM that is included.  In addition, the authors walk the facilitator through the theoretical conceptualization and workshop details step-by-step.

Readers who are familiar with theories on adult learning will enjoy the background reading on experiential learning based on Kolb (1984), and Honey and Mumford (1989). The active involvement of the workshop participants throughout the Mastering the Change Curve training reflects the authors’ commitment to the experiential learning model. Jaffe and Scott further acknowledge the influence of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1971) in the construction of part of the Change Curve Model itself. The authors identify with Kubler-Ross’ concept of coping with loss through denial and resistance; these concepts make up the first two components of the Change Model. But the authors also believe that change in the workplace can be positive and lead to exploration and commitment on the part of the individual or organization; these components make up the latter part of the model. The four phases of the Change Curve Model—denial, resistance, exploration, and commitment—are assessed through a short survey and participants receive a score in all areas. This scoring system acknowledges that we experience change on different levels. Even if we are committed to integrating new ideas, we still feel the uncertainty and anxiety that marks a transitional period.

Mastering the Change Curve can be widely used by individuals and organizations interested in beginning a dialogue on change within a structured and cohesive framework. Using this tool, it is possible to ‘start the conversation’ and take positive steps to move forward through the inevitable cycles of change we encounter in today’s workplace.


Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (1969). Learning Styles Questionnaires. King of Prussia, PA: Organization Design and Development, Inc.

Jaffe, D. T. and Scott, C. D. (2003). Mastering the Change Curve (Second Edition). King of Prussia, PA: HRDQ.

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Kubler-Ross, E. (1971). On Death and Dying. NY: Macmillan.

Mastering the Change Curve (2nd edition) (2003). Book by Dennis T. Jaffe & Cynthia D. Scott. Review by Jennifer Joslin. King of Prussia, PA: $102.00  Order Code # 1604E2FG
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