Management – Organisational Change
Change management literature tends to be prescriptive regarding
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An analysis is provided which examines each activity performed by the managers, classifying these activities in terms of the change management roles identified in the literature, assessing the weight given to each role in terms of time espousal of the roles for change managers. It also finds that information handling is literature gives little significance to this role. Key Words Change Management Change Leadership Abstract Management texts have long been prescriptive regarding management practice, recommending managers do this, and managers do that, to ensure greater and greater effectiveness.
Only a relatively minor proportion of management searchers have gone into the field to observe Just what managers actually do. Change management literature tends to be prescriptive regarding
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Introduction Since the early nineteen hundreds, when Frederick Taylor convinced America that management should be scientific, management has been in a quandary endeavoring to discover itself. Typical early management research was based on a hard structure, perpetuated by the naive views of previous researchers, whose work was also highly structured (Mentoring 1973, 277). To keep the science current, fresh insight should be frequently sought from the practitioner, and a softer methodology allowing inductive insight should be allowed.
Much is written about what academics think managers do, but few studies go into the field to discover what managers really do, and to determine the interface between these two realms of reality. This paper presents a quick navigation of current change management literature, discussing what has been covered, and to what extent empirical studies have explored what change managers really do. Following this, an empirical examination is made, using a methodology espoused by Mentoring (1973), of what change managers actually do during change.
Lastly, these research findings are compared to the models proposed in the literature to present the fit between the empirical data and the literature. Six models are presented to adduce the fundamentals of change management, commencing with Lenin – one of the early pioneers of change, and ending with Needle and Dustman. From these, four studies are presented which empirically examine the role of change managers and change leaders. This analysis results in a set of six roles which characterize what it is that change managers actually do. Instant in business is change’ (Burke, Spencer et al. 1991)? It is now commonly accepted that most businesses do, or should, change, but why, what is the force behind change? There tends to be a great deal of consensus amongst researchers regarding the drivers for change, finding three major spheres of influence which drive organizational change. These are Technological, Economic, and Calculators. Escalating technological advancements have provoked a continuing evolution in the heap and structure of organizations, having a direct influence on the conduct of management.
These rapid developments in technology underpin the dramatic shifts in the economic environment. There is now a greater emphasis on knowledge and human capital, and global boundaries have been eroded to extend operations in dimensions of both time and distance. This larger world focus has opened the doors to all aspects of human equality. Combined with these pressures and influences is a greater awareness by employees, customers and shareholders, working to constantly reshape and redefine the paradigms of modern business.
Change is thus, the only outlet for organizations, which seek to stake their competitive position in society (Canter 1983, 37-40; Burke, Spencer et al. 1991, 88; Church, Steal et al. 1996, 25). Models of Organizational Change There are many different models of change. It is however beyond the scope of this paper to discuss them all. A selection of models has been introduced here to illustrate that various different opinions exist. This expos will commence with the work of Kurt Lenin, whose model is considered by many as the classic model of change.
The discussion will then progress through several, more contemporary models. The final model, developed by Needle and Dustman, is considered to be of significant value, and will be explored in greater detail. Kurt Lenin (1951-52) Among the very first researchers to examine organizational change was Kurt Lenin. After pondering the relationship between the organization and its context, Lenin came to recognize that potential change scenarios gravitated toward an equilibrium, and were products of a field of interrelated and opposing forces. This change theory he termed force field theory.
Disturbances in the field of forces would result in either change, or status quo, depending upon whether the forces favored change or resistance. In order to manipulate change, a change agent would execute a force field analysis’ which would identify major forces, for and against the change, and then develop an action plan to move the equilibrium point in one direction or the other. Lenin followed this theory with a three-stage model for change. Change began with an unfreezing – by reducing the forces that maintain the organization’s behavior at its equilibrium an organization can be persuaded to change toward a new equilibrium.
The next stage is moving – this step shifts the behavior of the organization to a new level where forces will once again lance out and meet equilibrium. This involves the development of new behaviors, values, and attitudes through changes in organizational structures and processes. The final stage is refreezing – this is where the organization locks in the new ‘status quad, and is frequently accomplished using supporting mechanisms that reinforce the new organizational state, such as organizational culture, norms, policies, and structures.
Itchy & Deviant (1986) Linen’s model was heavily drawn upon by Itchy and Deviant, although they have not credited him in any of this work; probably generically in most change models (Siegel, Church et al. 996, 56). Their model is likened to a play, with three acts, and although it discusses organizational change, it is guised under the classification of leadership. Their model begins with Act 1: Recognizing the need for revitalization.
During this stage, organization leaders must recognize that a change is needed, and then create dissatisfaction with the status quo, sufficient to induce an organization-wide desire for transition. Act 2: Creating a new vision, is the same as Linen’s Movement stage, where a new strategic focus is sought, toward which the organization can steer and realign. Act 3: Institutionalizing hang, as with Linen’s refreezing, any transformation must be locked in, during this stage “[n]ewe realities, actions, and practices must be shared so that changes become institutionalized” (Itchy and Deviant 1986, 31).
Scheme (1985) Chine’s model is another that is developed around the work of Lenin. His three-step model starts with ‘unfreezing, which is similar to Lenin, and includes building a desire for change and developing an anxiety gap between the present and the desired state. It also proposes an additional element, which is to create an environment of psychological safety identified with the target state to induce a illnesses for individuals to make the Journey. The next stage is cognitive restructuring, which is akin to Linen’s ‘movement’.
Finally, we have refreezing, which involves aligning new behaviors to one’s own sense of identity, and in alignment with others within the organization (Siegel, Church et al. 1996, 56-57). Dungy & State (1988) Dungy and State combine change types: Incremental and Transformation with collaborative and Coercive, and produce a matrix (see Table 1) showing four possible outcomes, which they call types. Dungy & State (1988) Collaborative Coercive Incremental Type 1 – Participative Evolution Type 3 – Forced Evolution Transformation Type 2 – Charismatic Transformation Type 4 – Dictatorial Transformation Table 1 .
Change Model – Dungy & State (1988) A company adopting a Type 1 change will have a high degree of employee involvement during the change process, and will employ a comprehensive and systematic approach to human resources management at all levels. A Type 2, would see a company maintain close relations and consultation with employees, but changes would be more sporadic and less harmonious. Type 3 utilizes a continuous process, but does not luxuriate in engaging or negotiating with employees, relying on a more autocratic means of command and control.
The last type, Type 4, will often rely on external change agents like consultants to execute a change. The change is likely to be rapid and direct. State & Dungy (1994) A few years later, Dungy and State extended their original 1988 model. After researching 20 sample organizations, they split the two existing intensity of change categories into four, introducing benefiting and splitting transformation into modular transformation and corporate transformation. Benefiting they saw as nothing more than a maintenance function, and found it generally, to be a non-viable change tragedy.
The difference between modular and corporate transformation is the breadth of change, where modular is partial, progressive change, and corporate is management style, adding two new intermediary levels: consultative and directive. Table 2 shows these scales with the various change types. State & Dungy (1994) Collaborative Consultative Tailoring (Avoiding Change) Developmental Transitions (Constant Change) Charismatic Transformations (Inspirational Change) Turnarounds (Frame breaking Change) Task-focused Transitions (Constant Change) Modular Transformation Corporate Transformation Benefiting Incremental Directive Coercive Table 2.
Change Model – State & Dungy (1994) The four viable change types they found were: ; Developmental Transitions (constant change). A company is able to use this approach when they are able to maintain their strategic alignment with the environment. The style is most successful in firms that emphasis a collegial and team focused environment, change is led using a consultative style. ; Task-focused Transitions (constant change). This style of change is directed from the top. Unit managers are the consultative interface between top management and workers, and thus they are given autonomy for change, but are held accountable for results.
This type of change has the potential to make rapid strategic changes, but due to its disjointed nature, the implementation may lose focus from the intent. ; CharismaticTransformations (inspirational change). This type of revolutionary change is useful when a company is out of fit with its environment, and when time limits the amount of participation in the process. A leader will take a charismatic approach to change, engaging the intellectual, emotional, and behavioral characteristics of people to steer them toward change. The advantages of this style of change are its ability to gain majority support in a short period of time.
It does however depend on particular personal characteristics of the change manager, which are not always present. ; Turnarounds (frame breaking change). A firm facing a turnaround will be in a similar environment to companies contemplating transformation; poor fit and limited time. However, the critical differences are – the dire need for change, which will be driven by a desire for survival; and, clear lack of employee support. This approach is hard and fast, the change motive will be heavily directed or coerced by executive management.
The strengths of this approach are its ability to radically change an organization through excessive leadership, without being dependent upon attitudinal changes within the workforce. The downside is the potential this strategy has for permanently damaging sensitive components of the company, like employees, motivation, and culture. Needle & Dustman (1989-95) Needle and Dustman combine incremental and discontinuous with anticipatory and reactive dimensions to produce a matrix similar to Dungy and State. This matrix also shows four outcomes, which Needle & these will be discussed individually below.
Needle & Dustman (1989-1995) Anticipatory Reactive Incremental Tuning Adaptation Discontinuous Reorientation Re-creation Table 3. Change Model – Needle & Dustman ; Tuning. A company that adopts a tuning approach will perform continuous or incremental changes in anticipation of environmental demands. There is generally no immediate requirement for change, it is more of a position-maintenance strategy, and is driven through a desire to maintain close congruence between the various sub-systems of the organization and its environment. Adaptation.
Where tuning was change through anticipation of external events, adaptation, is change triggered in reaction to external events. The sire for change was not predicted, but change still occurs on an incremental basis. The situation is generally one of: change, or suffer a competitive cost. Reorientation. Change which is commenced in anticipation of external drivers, but which is discontinuous, is called reorientation. It usually involves changing the core elements of the company, including identity, values, culture, strategy, and structures.
As it is executed in advance of a crisis or any percept of necessity, it can appear to be gradual and to lack exigency. Therefore, a key role of change managers is to create a sense of urgency and to build commitment. An advantage of reorientation is the luxury of time, where changes can be instigated in the peripheral areas of a firm, allowing the gradual building of coalitions, which will help ease the changes throughout the organization. Re-creation. Business leaders who have the foresight and skills required to succeed with reorientation are a rarity.
Generally, the need for change is not recognized until a crisis is imminent or actual. Re-creations are thus much more common than would be desired. Re-creations occur in reaction to a desperate situation, where time and resources are strained. Change will be frenetic, al encompassing, and irreversible, with minimal chance of pre-change long-term survival. The firm will need to literally re-create itself with a fast, focused and furious effort, usually over Just a few months.
Frame Bending and Frame Breaking In its everyday operation, an organization functions within a set of predefined parameters, these include its values, beliefs, strategies, and operational plans. These parameters can be known as an operational framework or frame. The changes an changes, where the framework of parameters maintain a close congruence with their pre-change position, or they can move beyond the frame, as these parameters undergo major transformations, as is the case in discontinuous change.
Needle and Dustman (1985, 1986, 1995) identify reorientation as ‘Frame Bending, where the “frame of the organization is changed, modified, and reshaped, but hopefully not broken”, this is because the time allowed during this process stretches tolerances and prevents breakage (Needle and Dustman 1995, 30). ‘Frame Breaking occurs during recreation type changes, where the more sudden and desperate nature of the change creates stresses of such intensity that many of the elements of the existing system are broken, discarded and replaced.
In this case, the sheer lack of time generally allows no other alternative (Dustman, Newman et al. 1986, 40-41). What Do Change Managers Do? While there has been an abundance of research published which relates to the behavioral, psychological, and personal characteristics of effective change managers and leaders – discussing why and how managers lead, there is an unfortunate paucity of empirical research which discusses what change managers do (Foster 1986; Conger 1999, 150). While the available research discusses many of the functions of change management, these are broadly defined and generally unsubstantiated.
This evident sparsest provides shallow resource for deriving a set of definitive functions which characterize the roles of a change manager. Four research studies will be examined. The first is a celebrated study by Canter (1983), which has been widely cited and discussed; her expertise in the field of organizational change is readily recognized by most researchers. The study is based on Canter’s extensive work in the field of management and change management consulting, and it is drawn upon here because of its empirical depth.
Though criticized for its lack of methodological integrity, the study provides great PPTP, in an ethnographic style, which reveals the nature of change in organizations, and discusses, with great clarity, what processes are executed in successful change programmer. The next study, by Cotter (1988) was also selected for the robustness of its research. Cotter’s study is substantial in depth and breadth. Data are derived from four specifically designed empirical studies, comprising both qualitative and quantitative analyses, and supported with a host of robust examinations of leadership in the business environment.
While the focus of Cotter’s research was based around leadership, the emphasis is on leadership during change. The final two studies are of less renown, but provide equally valuable support to the understanding of change management. The first is a study by Souses and Poster (1987) who utilized a questionnaire as their research instrument to extract the prime characteristics of exemplary leaders during a change situation. The data they elicited were both qualitative and quantitative, derived from a survey of over 7000 managers and executives.
The study was selected because of the robustness of the research and because its discussion on leadership during change is appropriate to the thesis of this paper. The last study by Vandenberg and Barley (1997) relies on the use of questionnaires and interviews to evaluate change characteristics of middle managers who have recently managed a frame-bending type of organization-wide change. The study is useful because it examines change from two perspectives, from the point of empirical studies, which together form a composite picture of the roles a change leader will perform in his or her capacity as change manager.
Canter (1983) Over a period of five years, Canter studied over 100 different American companies, ten of which were in-depth studies. This knowledge entwined with her less-formal interactions with the various companies forms the basis for her assessment on managers during an innovation triggered change process. Her data comprised direct observation, interviews, and document analysis. Canter found “three identifiable waves of activity’ (Canter 1983, 217), which define change management.
First, the change imperative must be defined. This requires the acquisition of knowledge – this is known as problem definition. Second, is coalition building, where a network of allies are developed to provide resources or support for the transition. The final step is the execution of the change, defined by Canter as manipulation, here the work of the previous two steps are harnessed and put into action. These three functions are expanded upon below: ; Problem Definition. Problems and their solutions do not exist in vacuums.
In discovering problems and recommending remedies, information sources are accessed, and potential benefactors are identified. The first step in problem definition is identifying the problem. This is the investigation of the actual cause for the need to change, whether it is from internal or external influences. Following this, the change manager will need to gather information in order to ascertain an optimum solution to the problem. A third step in this process is to identify stakeholders, discover their individual stakes in either the status quo or the change, and determine their desire for change.
A final step in this process of problem definition is to Justify the solution, this involves illustrating the advantages (and disadvantages) of the final state. For example, a company contemplating the use of a new distribution system may survey end users for their expectations, or may highlight probable statistical outcomes of the new revive. ; Coalition Building. The next step is to enlist cooperative support. The broader the ramifications of the change or the attendant uncertainties, the larger the coalition of support should be.
The coalition must engage the people who have greatest influence over the project, and those people who have the energy, the commitment, and the desire to instigate implementation, and maintain momentum. The first step in building a coalition is to gain the approval of superiors, or at least ensure there is no disapproval, so that the project can move forward with negligible top-down resistance. After gaining the approval, managers tend to build support from the lower ranks, before engaging peers and executives.
A method commonly used to engage support from peers is what Canter refers to as ‘horse trading referred to here as transacting, where information, services, or resources are traded for the promise of support. The final step in securing the coalition is to enlist the support of executive managers, this is usually a formal process where specifics are discussed, and the coalition team is revealed. ; Manipulation. Armed with a strong coalition and appropriate information the change manager moves into the execution hash, putting the various people and resources to work in the manipulation of the plan.
The role of the change manager during this phase is to empower team- operation of the programmer. Therefore, the first role the change manager is likely to adopt is that of handling opposition and blocking interference. Objections and resistance are likely to escalate as the programmer progresses, will occupy more and more of the change manager’s time, and will require sensitive handling to avoid conflict. Another element of the manipulation phase is the need for continuous motivation, to drive team-members forward with commitment and enthusiasm.
If individual drive is allowed to flag or wane it becomes a contagion quickly spread to other team-members. A fourth step in this process is secondary design, where modifications to the old environment bring to life collateral concerns such as in the case of the previously mentioned example of the distribution system. The final step in this whole process of managing change is communicating, as it was initially important to collect information, at the end of the cycle it is equally important to communicate to the world beyond the team.
Successes should be celebrated, remises should be delivered, and the project lessons should be shared so that the whole organization will benefit from the positives and negatives of the process. Canter’s study while being widely celebrated as an in-depth look at the role of ‘change masters’ has been criticized as lacking methodological integrity and robustness, and to an extent this is true, her study would be very difficult to repeat, therefore other researchers cannot, by replication, validate her findings, and many of her findings are derived from the sum of her life knowledge, not the specifics of this or any other study.
As she states: in making choices about what material to use to express and illuminate my ideas, I leaned toward rendering those dramas of life in the corporation which would make my conclusions come alive, which would cause readers to believe me not because of my numbers but because of the echoes of my ideas in their own experience (Canter 1983, 385). However, the information she provides is rich in detail and description, and has been substantiated by many other studies, completed by either Canter, or other researcher’s. Therefore, her findings have been incorporated into this study, without qualification or exception.
Cotter (1988) Drawing on his extensive research in the field of leadership, derived primarily from his early work on ‘The General Managers’ (Cotter AAA, 34-58), and expanded with four specific studies, Cotter has developed a comprehensive understanding of leadership within the organizational context. The four studies comprised: 1) General Background Interviews. Cotter approached 150 managers, targeted due to their experience with leadership, or because it happened to be convenient, and questioned them directly, soliciting specific information about leadership. 2) Executive Resources Questionnaire.