While there a vast amount of literature of the importance of change and suggesting ways to approach it, there is very little empirical evidence to support the different theories (Guimaraes and Armstrong, 1998). In this assignment the research of a number of key authors will be reviewed in order to establish the usefulness of the information in understanding the management of change. Three key areas will be critically analysed; Culture and Commitment, Leadership and Downsizing.
The objective is to illustrate whether empirical research can aid the management of change or not. Change Management has been defined as “the process of continually renewing an organisation’s direction, structure and capabilities to serve the ever-changing needs of external and internal customers” (Moran and Brightman, 2001:111). The need for change is often unpredictable and so it tends to be reactive and often triggered by a situation of organisational crisis (Burnes, 2004).
Balogun and Hope Haileys (2004) report a failure rate of 70% of all change programmes initiated; this suggests that the theory written on change management does not help the management when implementing a change initiative. Lewin’s (1952) framework emphasises that before an organisation can be “transformed to a completely new culture, the embedded culture must
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In relation to the theory of culture, Price (2004) states that up to the 1980’s culture was not seen as an important factor of a business and so up to the 1980’s any theory of culture would not have benefited the management of change. However, by the 1980’s it was realised that certain features of the informal organisation could be used as a positive way to gain a competitive advantage. A strong corporate culture is a key factor in “enhancing competitive performance through greater employee commitment and flexibility” (Deal and Kennedy, 1982).
This illustrates that even up to the 1980’s culture was not seen as an important factor of a business and so any theory up to the 1980’s would not have benefited the management of change. The notion of employer branding is a theory on culture and commitment. This theory proposes that employees who understand an organisation’s culture, values and business objectives are more likely to share those beliefs and work towards the same goals and can “create a positive relationship between candidates and the organisation” (Price, 2004 p.
265). This can aid the management of change in that when an organisation decides to implement a new objective or change strategy, the management know that their employees understand the new objectives and will work towards it. The theory of employer branding gives managers a positive approach on how to relate the organisation’s culture to employees, who will integrate their objectives and increase competitive performance.
A negative side to employer branding is that it can be quickly undone if the organisation turns out to be a lot different to what the new recruit perceived it to be. Furthermore, the theory does not aid the management when an organisation is implementing a change initiative; it only states what culture is. The theory on organisational culture post 1980’s proposes that culture is imperative to an organisation’s success. However, the theory needs to be supported by empirical evidence to demonstrate the influence of culture in the management of organisational change.