Change is necessary for an organization to stay relevant and competitive in a fast changing environment. The term ‘change’ is used to refer to the transitioning from one state to another state. It is a process of moving from the present state to a future state. Change in the organization takes place because of the change in the technologies or because of the change in management styles. However, both the factors influence each other. The attitude of employees can lead to generate either positive or negative forces for the change.
Organizational change is a structured approach in an organization for ensuring that changes are smoothly and successfully implemented, and that the lasting benefits of change are achieved. In the present-day industrial environment, organizations face rapid change like never experienced before. Globalization and the constant innovation of technology result in a constantly evolving industrial environment.
Organizational change is the movement of the organization away from its present state and towards some desired future state to increase its effectiveness. The primary objective of the change management is to improve organizational performance i.e., its ability and capability through proactive or reactive actions to cope with either internally induced or externally imposed changes. The purpose is to respond to, or anticipate in, the changing internal and external environments for achieving strategic organizational objectives.
There is an almost universal agreement on the importance of change in organizations. For dealing with change, several organizations implement new managerial concepts in order to maintain profitability and remain competitive in the market. Some changes have a significant impact on the organization, but several others have a low impact and are frequently referred to as management fashions. Change agents in the organization are people, organizational structure, and technology.
One of the toughest jobs of the management is to prepare the organization to deal with the change. The market environment is highly competitive and rapidly changing. The organization which changes rapidly and keep pace with its market efficiently, is the one which survives with time. Several organizations start to get eliminated since they do not succeed with the change management. Additionally, there are several pressures for making changes in the majority of the industries as the level of competition rises and the technology advances. This means that the people responsible for change remain highly stressed to ensure that the organization goes through change management successfully. Majority of the organizational changes normally involve several different levels and types of personal losses for the employees within the organization.
Organization management is to ensure that the organization adapts and responds to appropriate changes in a timely manner to encourage organizational performance. Successful organizations are those which are able to manage the change in a coherent manner and are able to generate several benefits from the changes and use them to make improvements in the way the organizations carry out their operations. Change management has its origin in the 1950s when modern forms of management were being introduced.
Change is a regular feature of the organizational life and indeed, it is an inseparable aspect of nature, while resistance to change is an inseparable aspect of change. This is mainly because people are uncomfortable with the new, the strange, and the unknown and they rather prefer stability even though progress is never attained by being in a static state. The mere mention of change can generate feelings of nervousness and tension, and as the change begins to take shape, organizational employees can feel a sense of uncertainty and confusion. This can be because of the fear of the unknown. Given such realities, it appears unlikely that the organizational management can underrate the implications which come with change initiatives.
Change is an alteration of organizational strategy, or culture because of the changes in its environment, structure, technology, or people. External or internal forces create need for change. External forces for change are the changes which are taking place in (i) markets, (ii) technology, (iii) in laws and regulations, and (iv) economic (up and down). Internal forces for change are the changes which are taking place in (i) organizational strategy, (ii) employees, (iii) technology and equipment, and (iv) employee attitude.
All organizations are required to effectively deal with different types of change events. These change events can include (i) changes in scale such as getting a large contract or adding a new product in the product mix, or adding a new production line for increasing the capacity, which means that there is a need to change in the way of the organizational working because of the increasing size of the organization (e.g. increases in employees, need for new buildings, need for additional vehicles, and changes in management structures etc.), (ii) changes in personnel which is common with the change event since the organization faces because of the change event necessity to adapt to changes in the personnel in key positions within the organization, with the risk of losing significant corporate knowledge, (iii) changes in technology, where there have been improvements in technology and hence there is a need for to update the systems and train the employees to effectively manage the change, (iv) changes in product offerings where because of the change in the products, there is need to manage a change process through training of existing employees, recruiting additional employees, updating the operation and marketing plans, and potentially investing in new equipments and promotional materials, and (v) changes in laws and regulations which can have a significant impact on how the organization goes about undertaking its work.
Organizational transformation is defined as ‘a process of radically altering the organization’s strategic direction, including fundamental changes in structures, processes, and behaviours’. Transformation involves what is called ‘second order’ or ‘gamma’ change involving discontinuous shifts in strategy, structure, processes, or culture.
Transformation is needed when (i) significant changes occur in the competitive, technological, social or legal environment, (ii) major changes take place to the product life cycle needing different product development and marketing strategies, (iii) major changes take place in the organizational management, (iv) a financial crisis or large economic downturn occurs, and (v) an acquisition or merger takes place.
Transformation strategies are normally driven by the organizational management. The key roles of the management are envisioning, energizing, and enabling. Organizational transformation strategic plans can involve radical changes to the structure, culture, and processes of the organization, i.e., the way it looks at the world. The strategic plans can involve planning and implementing significant and far-reaching developments in corporate structures and organization-wide processes.
The change is neither incremental (bit by bit) nor transactional (concerned solely with systems and procedures). Transactional change is merely concerned with the alteration of ways in which the organization carries out its operations and people interact with one another on a day-to-day basis, and ‘is effective when what employees want is more of what they have already got’. A ‘discontinuous improvement in capability’ is described as transformation.
Strategies for transformational change are (i) a change in what drives the organization, e.g., a change from being production-driven to being market-driven is a transformational change, (ii) a fundamental change in the relationships between or among organizational departments, e.g., decentralization, (iii) a major change in the ways of doing work, e.g., the introduction of new technology such as computer-integrated manufacturing, and (iv) a basic, cultural change in norms, values, procedures or systems, e.g., developing a customer-focused culture.
Transformation programmes are led from the top within the organization. They do not rely on an external ‘change agent’, although specialist external advice can be obtained on aspects of the transformation such as strategic planning, re-organization, or developing new reward processes. The pre-requisite for a successful change programme is the presence of a transformational leader who motivates others to strive for higher-order goals rather than merely short-term interest.
Transformational leaders go beyond dealing with day-to-day management issues. They commit people to action and focus on the development of new levels of awareness of where the future lies, and commitment to achieving that future. Transformational leaders in contrast with transactional leaders operate by building up a network of inter-personal transactions in a stable situation and who enlist compliance rather than commitment through the reward system and the exercise of authority and power. Transactional leaders can be good at dealing with here-and-now problems but they cannot provide the vision needed to transform the future.
For managing the transition, strategies need to be developed for managing the transition from where the organization is to where the organization desires to be. This is the critical part of a transformation programme. It is during the transition period of getting from here to there that change takes place. Transition management starts from a definition of the future state and a diagnosis of the present state. It is then necessary to define what has to be done to achieve the transformation. This means deciding on the new processes, systems, procedures, structures, products, and markets to be developed. Having defined these, the work can be programmed and the resources needed (people, money, equipment, and time) can be defined.
The strategic plan for managing the transition is to include provisions for involving people in the process and for communicating to them about what is happening, why it is happening, and how it is going to affect them. Clearly the aim is to get as many people as possible committed to the change. The development and implementation of transformation strategies need special capabilities. Transformation capability depends in part on the ability to create and embed processes which link operational strategy to the behaviours and performance of individuals and teams. These clusters of processes link vertically (to create alignment with short-term operational needs), horizontally (to create cohesion), and temporally (to transform to meet future organizational needs).
Concept of change (understanding of the process of change)
Change is conceived as (i) continuous and intrinsic, or (ii) discontinuous and extrinsic. Change can be (i) as patterned and predictable, or (ii) as complex and unpredictable. Change by its nature tends to be bipolar. It is (i) continuous and discontinuous, (ii) has stability and instability, (iii) predictable and unpredictable, (iv) controllable and uncontrollable, and (v) intrinsic and extrinsic to the organization
Change is defined as ‘to make or become different, give or begin to have a different form’. Change means also dissatisfaction with the old and belief in the new. Change underlies a qualitatively different way of perceiving, thinking, behaving, and to improve over the past and present. In this way, change is the process of moving from present state to future state and in between come the transition state which creates stress and anxiety.
The change management means making changes in a planned and systematic manner, i.e., change management is a systematic approach in dealing with the change, both from the perspective of an organization as well as an individual employee. Change management is the process of implementing the changes in a system in a controlled manner by following a pre-defined framework / model, to some extent with reasonable modifications. Change management means defining and adopting corporate strategies, structures, procedures, and technologies to deal with changes in external conditions and the organizational environment.
Change management is defined as the process of achieving the smooth implementation of change by planning and introducing it systematically, taking into account the likelihood of it being resisted. Change, it is frequently said, is the only thing which remains constant in organizations. The circumstances of an ever-changing market and an ever-changing product are capable of breaking any organization if that organization is unprepared for change. Change cannot just be allowed to happen. It needs to be managed.
For managing the change, it is first necessary to understand the types of change and how the process works. It is important to bear in mind that while those wanting change need to be constant about ends, they have to be flexible about means. This requires them to come to an understanding of the various models of change which have been developed and of the factors which create resistance to change and how to minimize such resistance. In the light of an understanding of the models and the phenomenon of resistance to change, the organizatioins are better equipped to make use of the guidelines for change. Change frequently takes place incrementally but it can take the form of a transformation of the organization, and the considerations affecting the management of transformational change.
There are at least four basic areas of change management which are (i) the task of managing change (from a reactive or a proactive posture), (ii) an area of professional practice, with considerable variation in competency and skill levels among practitioners, (iii) a body of knowledge consisting of models, methods, techniques, and other tools, and (iv) a control mechanism consisting of requirements, standards, processes, and procedures.
Types of change
There are different types of changes and each type needs different strategies and plans to implement change effectively. Understanding of the nature of changes helps in formulating appropriate strategy for their implementation. The main types of changes (Fig 1) are (i) strategic change, (ii) operational change, (iii) transformational change (iv) developmental change, (v) transitional change, (vi) incremental change, (vii) planned change, and (viii) unplanned change.
Fig 1 Types of change
Strategic change – Strategic change is concerned with broad, long-term, and organization-wide issues involving change. It is about moving to a future state which has been defined normally in terms of strategic vision and scope. It covers the purpose and mission of the organization, its corporate philosophy on such matters as growth, quality, innovation and values concerning employees and customers, and competitive positioning and strategic goals for achieving and maintaining competitive advantage and for product-market development. These objectives are supported by policies concerning marketing, sales, manufacturing, product and process development, finance and human resource management (HRM).
Strategic change takes place within the context of the external competitive, economic, and social environment, and the internal resources, capabilities, culture, structure, and systems of the organization. Its successful implementation needs thorough analysis and understanding of these factors in the formulation and planning stages. The ultimate achievement of sustainable competitive advantage relies on the qualities defined by Pettigrew and Whipp, namely ‘The capacity of the firm to identify and understand the competitive forces in play and how they change over time, linked to the competence of a business to mobilize and manage the resources necessary for the chosen competitive response through time,’.
Strategic change, however, is not to be treated simplistically as a linear process of getting from A to B which can be planned and executed as a logical sequence of events. Pettigrew and Whipp issued the following warning based on their research into competitiveness and managing change in the motor, financial services, insurance and publishing industries.
‘The process by which strategic changes are made seldom moves directly through neat, successive stages of analysis, choice and implementation. Changes in the firm’s environment persistently threaten the course and logic of strategic changes: dilemma abounds… We conclude that one of the defining features of the process, in so far as management action is concerned, is ambiguity; seldom is there an easily isolated logic to strategic change. Instead, that process may derive its motive force from an amalgam of economic, personal and political imperatives. Their introduction through time requires that those responsible for managing that process make continual assessments, repeated choices and multiple adjustments’.
Operational change – Operational change relates to new systems, procedures, structures, or technology which has an immediate effect on working arrangements within a part of the organization. The impact of the operational change on the employees can be more significant than broader strategic change and it has to be handled just as carefully.
Transformational change – Transformational change takes place when there are fundamental and comprehensive changes in structures, processes, and behaviours which have a dramatic effect on the ways in which the organization functions.
Transformational change is also known as radical, fundamental, or quantum change. This change occurs after the transition period. The transformational change can involve both developmental and transitional changes. The transformational change involves the whole or larger part of the organization. The change is related with shape, size, structure, processes, culture, and strategy of the organization. The change takes time to occur and needs a shift in assumptions of the organization and its employees.
Transformational change is more difficult to implement, and have a low success rate. Things get more challenging when the change is transformational since it is designed for a future state and involves a fundamentally new way of doing things. This typically involves significant culture change and affects a large number of employees. The complexity involves changes in culture which is rather difficult to achieve. Culture consists of values, beliefs, assumptions, and unwritten rules. It shapes the behaviours and mindset as well as the performance of the employees. Individuals within an organization co-create the culture through conversations and by following behavioural norms.
Development change – Development change is that change which improves or rectifies existing aspects of the organization. It is connected with improvement in process, methods, or performance standards in the organization. This type of change in the organization is necessary for keeping the organization up to date so that its products remain at par or better than the products of the competing organization. In this type of change, the employees are to be trained in the new techniques and in the improved / new products.
Transitional change – Transitional change is that change which replaces the existing processes or procedures with new processes and procedures. The period during which an old process / procedure is being changed into a new process / procedure is called as the transitional period. The efforts needed to implement transitional change are very much more than the efforts needed for the developmental change.
Incremental change – Incremental change is directed towards any division, department, unit, or sub-unit of the organization. This change is just opposite to the transformational changes and adaptive in nature. It is said that a failed incremental change causes less harm to the organization since it is related with only a part of the organization. Incremental change is easier to implement successfully since the change is frequently based on the present state in order to improve the existing way of doing the work. Incremental change typically involves fewer changes and affect a small number of employees.
Planned change – Planned change is the change which is the product of conscious reasoning and actions and is deliberate. This change occurs when the management recognizes the need for a major change and plans according to it. The planned change is qualitative in nature. For a planned change, the management is to communicate the vision to each and every employee involved in the change process and establish the support elements which are necessary for the success of the change.
Unplanned change – Unplanned change normally occurs because of some major or sudden surprise development in the organization. This change is also known as emergent change or reactive change. This change is normally imposed by some external factors or internal developments and are beyond the control of the management. This change leads to high level of disturbances in the organization.
Resistance to change
People resist change since it is seen as a threat to familiar patterns of behaviour as well as to status and financial rewards. When people talk about resistance to change, they tend to imply that management is always rational in changing its direction, and that employees are unwise, emotional or irrational in not responding in the way they are to be. But if some people are going to be worse off, explicitly or implicitly, when the proposed changes have been made, any resistance is entirely rational in terms of their own best interest. The interests of the organization and those of the people do not always coincide.
However, some people welcome change as an opportunity. These need to be identified and where feasible they can be used to help in the introduction of change as change agents. Specifically, the main reasons for resisting charge are described below.
The shock of the new – people are suspicious of anything which they perceive upset their established routines, methods of working or conditions of employment. They do not want to lose the security of what is familiar them. They cannot believe statements by management that the change is for their benefit as well as for of the organization, sometimes with good reason. They can feel that management has ulterior motives and sometimes, the louder the protestations of management, the less they are to be believed.
Economic fears – Economic fears mean loss of money, and threats to job security.
Inconvenience – Inconvenience is the change which makes life more difficult.
Uncertainty – The change can be worrying because of uncertainty about its likely impact.
Symbolic fears – Symbolic fears consist of a small change which can affect some treasured symbol, such as a separate office or a reserved parking space. These fears can symbolize big ones, especially when employees are uncertain about how extensive the programme of change is going to be.
Threat to interpersonal relationships – Anything which disrupts the customary social relationships and standards of the group is resisted.
Threat to status or skill – The change is perceived as reducing the status of individuals or as de-skilling them.
Competence fears – Competence fears concern about the ability to cope with new demands or to acquire new skills.
Both change and resistance to change are common occurrence in the organizations. Resistance is an inevitable response to any major change. Resistance is the employees’ resultant reaction of opposition to organizational change. It emerges when there is a change threat to something which is valued by the employees. The threat can be real or just a perception. It is the result of the understanding or mis-understanding of the change or total ignorance about it. Resistance to change is of several types and understanding of these helps in reducing ways of resistance and encourage compliance with change. In this context sometimes a change agent can help to eliminate or reduce the resistance. Types of resistance to change are (i) logical and rational resistance, (ii) psychological and emotional resistance, and (iii) sociological resistance.
Logical and rational resistance – It is the outcome of disagreement with rational facts, rational reasoning, logic, and science. This resistance arises from the actual time and effort needed to adjust to change including new job duties which are required to be learned. The type of resistance is very costly which is to be borne by the employees and the management. Even though change can be beneficial for the employees in the long run, but the short run cost for change is to be incurred first. Logical resistance to change include (i) time needed for the adjustment, (ii) extra efforts needed for relearning, (iii) possibility of less desirable environment, (iv) economic costs of change, and (v) questionable technical feasibility of change.
Psychological resistance – It is typically based on emotions and attitude. It is internally logical from the perspective of the employee attitude and feelings about change. Employees can fear the unknown, mistrust management, or feel that their security and ego needs are threatened. Even though management can have the belief that there is no justification for these feelings, yet they are very rational to employees, and as such management is to deal with the employees to remove the fear. Psychological or emotional resistance can take place because of (i) fear of unknown, (ii) low tolerance for change, (iii) dislike of management / change agent, (iv) lack of trust in other, (v) need for security, and (vi) desire for status quo.
Sociological resistance – It can sometimes be logical. This happens when it is seen as a product of challenge to group interests, norms, and values. Since social values are powerful force in the environment, they are to be carefully considered. On a small group level, there is work friendship and relationships which can disrupt because of change and this is the reason for resistance to occur. However, sociological resistance includes (i) political coalitions, (ii) opposing group values, (iii) parochial / narrow outlook, (iv) vested interest, and (v) desire to retain existing friendships.
Resistance to change can be difficult to overcome even when it is not detrimental to those concerned. But the attempt is to be made. The first step is to analyze the potential impact of change by considering how it affects people in their jobs. The reasons for resisting change set out above can be used as a check list of where there can be problems, normally, with groups or with individuals. The analysis is required to indicate what aspects of the proposed change can be supported normally or by specified individuals and which aspects can be resisted. As far as possible, the potentially hostile or negative reactions of people and the reasons for them are to be identified. It is necessary to try to understand the likely feelings and fears of those affected so that unnecessary worries can be relieved and, as far as possible, ambiguities can be resolved.
In making this analysis, the individual introducing the change (the change agent) is to recognize that new ideas are likely to be suspect and makes ample provision for the discussion of reactions to proposals to ensure complete understanding of them. Involvement in the change process gives people the chance to raise and resolve their concerns and make suggestions about the form of the change and how it is to be introduced. The aim is to get ‘ownership’ i.e., a feeling amongst people that the change is something which they are happy to live with since they have been involved in its planning and introduction. With this it has become their change. A communication strategy to explain the proposed change is required to be prepared and implemented so that unnecessary fears are allayed. All the available channels are to be used but face-to-face communication direct from the managers to individuals or through a team briefing system are best.
The guidelines on implementing change have been produced by Nadler and Tushman are (i) to motivate in order to achieve changes in behaviour by individuals, (ii) to manage the transition by making organizational arrangements designed to assure that control is maintained during and after the transition and by developing and communicating a clear image of the future, (iii) to shape the political dynamics of change so that power centres get developed which support the change rather than block it, (iv) to build in stability of structures and processes to serve as anchors for people to hold on to since organizations and individuals can only stand so much uncertainty and turbulence, hence the emphasis is to be there on the need for an incremental approach.
The change process takes place more smoothly with the help of credible change agents whether internal or external. These are people who facilitate change by providing advice and support on its introduction and management. It is frequently assumed that only people from outside the organization can take on the change agent role since they are independent and do not ‘carry any baggage’. They can be useful, but people from within the organization who are respected and credible can do the job well. This is frequently the role of HR (human relations) specialists, but the use of line managers adds extra value.
Guidelines for change management are (i) the achievement of sustainable change needs strong commitment and visionary leadership at the top, (ii) understanding is necessary of the culture of the organization and the levers for change which are most likely to be effective in that culture, (iii) those concerned with managing change at all levels need to have the temperament and leadership skills appropriate to the circumstances of the organization and its change strategies, (iv) change is more likely to be successful if there is a ‘burning platform’ to justify it, i.e., a powerful and convincing reason for change, (v) people support what they help to create, hence, commitment to change is improved if those affected by change are allowed to participate as fully as possible in planning and implementing it (the aim is to be to get them to ‘own’ the change as something they want and be glad to live with), (vi) the reward system is to encourage innovation and recognize success in achieving change, (vii) change always involve failure as well as success and hence the failures are to be expected and learnt from, (viii) hard evidence and data on the need for change are the most powerful tools for its achievement, but establishing the need for change is easier than deciding how to satisfy it, (ix) it is easier to change behaviour by changing processes, structure and systems than to change attitudes or the organizational culture, (x) people in organizations who can act as champions of change are to be chosen as change agents since these people welcome the challenges and opportunities which change can provide, (xi) resistance to change is inevitable if the individuals concerned feel that they are going to be worse off whether implicitly or explicitly (the inept management of change produces such reaction), (xii) in an age of global competition, technological innovation, turbulence, discontinuity, even chaos, change is inevitable and necessary and the organization is required to do all it can to explain why change is necessary and how it affect everyone, and every effort is to be made to protect the interests of those affected by change.
Change management iceberg
Change management iceberg deals with both the apparent and the unseen barriers to change in an organization. It was developed by Wilfried Kruger. It attempts to force management to look at the hidden challenges which are to be faced during the implementation of change. The change management iceberg highlights the management the most obvious barriers to change which are only the tip of the iceberg as well as the stronger and the more influential barriers which lie below and are not seen.
Organizational management normally focuses on the apparent barriers such as cost, quality, and time while implement change and instead of giving attention to more powerful issues such as perception, beliefs, power, and politics. The change management theory derives different types of implementations based on the kind of change to occur and the strategies which are to be applied. Another dimension to this theory is the employees involved in the change and to what level they can promote or oppose it. Kruger believed that the foundation of change is directly related to the management of perception, beliefs, power and politics. By understanding how all these links together create barriers, organizational management is able to better implement the change which it desires to bring in the organization. Fig 2 shows the change management iceberg.
Fig 2 Change management iceberg
Conceptually, the change process starts with an awareness of the need for change. An analysis of this situation and the factors which have created it leads to a diagnosis of the distinctive characteristics and an indication of the direction in which action needs to be taken. Possible courses of action can then be identified and evaluated and a choice made of the preferred action. It is then necessary to decide how to get from here to there. Managing change during this transition state is a critical phase in the change process. It is here that the problems of introducing change emerge and have to be managed. These problems can include resistance to change, low stability, high levels of stress, misdirected energy, conflict, and loss of momentum. Hence the need to do everything possible to anticipate reactions and likely impediments to the introduction of change.
The installation stage can also be painful. When planning change there is a tendency for management to think that the change is going to be an entirely logical and linear process of going from A to B. It is not like that at all. As described by Pettigrew and Whipp, the implementation of change is an ‘iterative, cumulative, and reformulation-in-use process’.
The process of change management is a definite process, which is carried out in several steps. By following the change management process, it becomes easier to monitor and control the change in the organization becomes easy. The change management process helps in (i) checking the feasibility of each change, (ii) proper management of the changes, (iii) proper control of the changes, and (iv) identification of what is to be changed, to what extent change to be done, how change is to be done, and how change is to be sustained. The different steps in the change management process are described below.
Step 1 is to assess need for change. In this step, the problem is recognized as well as the organizational and need assessment is done. This is the preparatory step which helps in developing the foundation upon which the change is made.
Step 2 is to determine the purpose for change. In this step, decisions are taken regarding changes to be made for an ideal future state and considering the obstacles present in the change process. In this step, a team is also built to implement the change and a team leader or ‘change agent’ is identified. Strategies are also finalized in this step.
Step 3 is to plan for change. A formal plan for managing change is prepared in this step. Flexible priorities are set in for the implementation of change.
Step 4 is for implementation of the change. In this step, actual changes take place. This step involves variety of things like meetings, training of employees, etc. Here feedback is also obtained whether the change is successful or not. Comparison with others is made and corrective actions are taken.
Step 5 is for sustaining the change. It is known as commitment phase. It helps in understanding how to sustain support for the changes. Here integration of results is made for ensuring change management is successful, it is essential to have a disaster recovery plan at all steps.
Change is a costly affair but it becomes very rewarding, if it is carefully and thoughtfully implemented. Since huge resources are needed for change management process, quality plans are essential for it and it is the responsibility of the organizational management to ensure successful change.
The best-known change models are those developed by Lewin and Beckhard. But other important contributions to an understanding of the mechanisms for change have been made by Thurley, Bandura and Beer et al, and Kotter’s eight step model.
Lewin model – The basic mechanisms for managing change as set out by Lewin are (i) unfreezing, (ii) changing, and (iii) re-freezing. Unfreezing consists of altering the present stable equilibrium which supports existing behaviours and attitudes. This process is to take into account the inherent threats which the change presents to the employees and the need to motivate those affected for attaining the natural state of equilibrium by accepting change. Changing is the development of new responses based on new information. Refreezing is the stabilizing the change by introducing the new responses into the personalities of those concerned.
Lewin also suggested a methodology for analyzing change which he called ‘field force analysis’. Field force analysis consists of (i) to analyze the restraining or driving forces which affect the transition to the future state (these restraining forces include the reactions of those who see change as unnecessary or as constituting a threat), (ii) to assess which of the driving or restraining forces are critical, and (iii) to take steps both to increase the critical driving forces and to decrease the critical restraining forces. Fig 3 shows the basic mechanisms for managing change.
Fig 3 Basic mechanisms for managing change
Beckhard model – According to Beckhard, a change programme is needed to incorporate the change programme processes. These change programme processes are (i) to set goals and define the future state or organizational conditions desired after the change, (ii) to diagnose the present condition in relation to these goals, (iii) to define the transition state activities and commitments needed to meet the future state, and (iv) to develop strategies and action plans for managing this transition in the light of an analysis of the factors likely to affect the introduction of change.
Thurley model – Thurley described five approaches for the managing of change. The five approaches are (i) directive, (ii) bargained, (iii) hearts and minds, (iv) analytical, and (v) action based.
Directive is the imposition of change in crisis situations or when other methods have failed. This is done by the exercise of management power without consultation.
Bargained is the approach which recognizes that power is shared between the management and the employees and change needs negotiation, compromise, and agreement before being implemented.
Hearts and minds approach is an all-embracing thrust to change the attitudes, values, and beliefs of all the employees. This ‘normative’ approach (i.e., one which starts from a definition of what management thinks is right or ‘normal’) seeks ‘commitment’ and ‘shared vision’ but does not necessarily include involvement or participation.
Analytical approach is a theoretical approach to the change process using models of change such as those described above. It proceeds sequentially from the analysis and diagnosis of the situation, through the setting of objectives, the design of the change process, the evaluation of the results and, finally, the determination of the objectives for the next stage in the change process. This is the rational and logical approach much favoured by consultants – external and internal. But change seldom proceeds as smoothly as this model suggests. Emotions, power politics and external pressures mean that the rational approach, although it can be the right way to start, is difficult to sustain.
Action-based approach recognizes that the way management behaves in practice bears little resemblance to the analytical, theoretical model. The distinction between management thought and management action blurs in practice to the point of invisibility. What managements think is what they do. Real life hence frequently results in a ‘ready, aim, fire’ approach to change management. This typical approach to change starts with a broad belief that some sort of problem exists, although it cannot be well defined. The identification of possible solutions, frequently on a trial or error basis, leads to a clarification of the nature of the problem and a shared understanding of a possible optimal solution, or at least a framework within which solutions can be discovered.
Bandura model – Bandura has described the ways in which people change. He suggested that people make conscious choices about their behaviours. The information people use to make their choices comes from their environment, and their choices are based upon the things which are important to them, the views they have about their own abilities to behave in certain ways and the consequences they think accrue to whatever behaviour they decide to engage in.
For those concerned with change management, the implications of Bandura’s concept of change (which is linked to expectancy theory) are that (i) the tighter the link between a particular behaviour and a particular outcome, the more likely it is that people engage in that behaviour, (ii) the more desirable the outcome, the more likely it is that people engage in the behaviour which people believe is going to lead to it, (iii) the more confident people are that people can actually assume a new behaviour, the more likely people are to try it. Hence to change people’s behaviour, it is first necessary to change the environment within which they work, second, convince them that the new behaviour is something they can accomplish (training is important), and third, persuade them that it is going to lead to an outcome which they value. None of these steps is easy.
Beer et al model – Michael Beer and his colleagues suggested that majority of the change programmes do not produce change, since such programmes are guided by a theory of change which is basically flawed. This theory states that changes in attitudes lead to changes in behaviour. As per this model, change is like a conversion experience. Once people get religion, changes in their behaviour surely follow. They believe that this theory gets the change process exactly backwards and made the following comment on it. In fact, individual behaviour is powerfully shaped by the organizational roles people play. Hence, the most effective way to change behaviour is to put people into a new organizational context, which imposes new roles, responsibilities and relationships on them. This creates a situation which in a sense ‘forces’ new attitudes and behaviour on people.
Michael Beer and his colleagues have prescribed six steps to effective change which concentrate on what they call ‘task alignment’ – reorganizing employees’ roles, responsibilities and relationships to solve specific operational problems in small units where goals and tasks can be clearly defined. The aim of following the overlapping steps is to build a self-reinforcing cycle of commitment, coordination, and competence.
Steps to achieving change as per, Beer et al model are (i) to mobilize commitment to change through the joint analysis of problems, (ii) to develop a shared vision of how to organize and manage to achieve goals such as competitiveness, (iii) to foster consensus for the new vision, competence to enact it, and cohesion to move it along, (iv) to spread revitalization to all departments without pushing it from the top (the issue is not to be forced and let each department find its own way to the new organization), (v) to institutionalize revitalization through formal policies, systems, and structures, and (vi) to monitor and adjust strategies in response to problems in the revitalization process.
Kotter’s eight steps model – John P Kotter has described an eight steps model for understanding and managing change. Each step acknowledges a key principle identified by Kotter relating to people’s response and approach to change, in which people see, feel and then change. The eight steps in the Kotter’s model are described below and shown in Fig 4.
Fig 4 Kotter’s eight step model
Step 1 is ‘increase in the urgency’. Employees are to be inspired to move. The objectives are to be made real and relevant.
Step 2 is ‘building of the guiding team’. The guiding team is required to have the right people in place with the right emotional commitment, and the right mix of skills and levels.
Step 3 is ‘getting the vision right’. The team is to establish a simple vision and strategy. The team is to focus on emotional and creative aspects necessary to drive service and efficiency.
Step 4 is to ‘communicate for buy-in’. As many people as possible are to be involved with communication of the essentials, simply, and to appeal and respond to people’s needs. De-cluttering of the communications is to be done i.e., to make technology work for the change rather than against it.
Step 5 is to ‘empower action’, i.e., to remove obstacles, to enable constructive feed-back and lots of support from the management and to reward and to recognize progress and achievements.
Step 6 is to ‘create short-term wins’ which means to set aims which are easy to achieve i.e., in bite-size chunks. The initiatives are to be in manageable numbers. Finishing of the present stages is important before starting new ones.
Step 7 is ‘not to let up’, i.e., to foster and encourage determination and persistence for ongoing change. Encouragement is to be there for ongoing progress reporting with the highlight achieved and future mile stones.
Step 8 is to ‘make change stick’ by reinforcing the value of successful change through recruitment, promotion, and new change leaders. It is important to weave change into culture.