An overview of meme-based change

I am not going to claim that this is the definitive text on how to change organisations: instead, I want to give experienced change practitioners another tool in their armoury, and to introduce others to a new way of thinking about leading.

Read more: An overview of meme-based change


  • Changing organisations

    This section discusses how to use memes to bring about change in organisations.  We look at how to identify the memes that are actually running in the organisation, how to design a meme package to create the desired result, and how to tailor it once it has been launched.  We'll also talk about 'organisational forgetting' and designing anti-memes to kill of undesirable ideas.

  • Changing you

    Here is a series of articles on why people don't fit it to organisations, and why they so actively resist change.  We also look at the implications of a person's individual porosity to memes, and what 'leadership' means in a memetic world.

  • Mergers & Acquisition

    I want to talk in detail about post-merger integration, because memetics gives us a fascinating insight as to why this special case of change programme frequently occurs, rarely works, and usually destroys wealth.

    You would expect that rational managers would ensure that any acquisitions they make create wealth rather than destroy it: in other words, that the economic value of these businesses combined would be greater than the economic value of the businesses as separate entities.

    However, repeated studies over the last seven decades have consistently shown that only a small proportion (20–35% – the actual proportions vary from study to study) of mergers deliver benefits,  and about half actually destroy shareholder value.  

    Additional research by Deloitte and Touche has shown that demergers – breaking the company up – increases the wealth of both parent corporation and the spin-off.  Yet company break-ups are relatively infrequent. 

    So mergers and acquisitions, which destroy value, are a dominating forces of the economy while demergers, which create value, are infrequent.  What on earth is going on here?