Summary Organizational change - An action-oriented toolkit by Cawsey et al. (2nd edition), donated to WorldSupporter
Organizational change: planned alterations of organizational components to improve the effectiveness of the organization.
These components include:
- Mission and vision
Change drivers can be internal and external, managers should adapt to the organization’s environment. Some changes are very tangible and thus easier, others – such as a change in culture – are intangible and more difficult.
The focus of the book is on organizational change as a planned activity designed to improve the organization’s effectiveness.
The book has an active, action-oriented emphasis coupled with a deep understanding of organizations. The twin theme of knowing what to do and how to do it is the main approach in order to fill the knowing-doing gap that the authors believe to exist.
Environmental forces for change
Environmental forces may be a surprise where others are anticipated. We will discuss some environmental trends.
Social, cultural, and demographic environment
Demographic changes influence the social, cultural, and economic environment. The Western world has an ageing population which has financial consequences. When economies are poor, the fertility rate is high and there are many young dependents relying o working adults for sustenance. When fertility rates drop, the ratio of working adults to dependents increases, leading to surplus wealth.
Then all those people age and dependent, seniors become a larger percentage of the population. Other issues are gender, race, diversity, global warming, sustainability, and social responsibility.
Data mining is the transformation of data into information. Technological forces result in shorter product development and life cycles. Technological breakthroughs can result in obsolescence. So change leaders should be aware of trends and be proactive.
As organizations become global, they need to clarify their own ethical standards. They need to understand the law and determine what norms of behavior they will work to establish for their organizational members. The politics of globalization have created opportunities and issues. They influence market development and attractiveness, competitiveness, and pressures on boards and executives.
The lessons from the economic crisis concern risk management and capacity building. To be able to respond quickly, capacity is necessary and thus mechanisms to anticipate.
Influences of worldwide trends on change management
Barkema described new organizational forms and management challenges based on environmental change:
Macro changes and impacts – digitization leading to:
- Faster information transmission
- Lower-cost information storage and transmission
- Integration of states and opening of market
- Geographic dispersion of the value chain
- All leading to globalizations of markets
New organizational forms and competitive dynamics:
- Global small and medium-sized enterprises
- Global constellations of organizations (networks)
- Large, focused global firms
- All leading to:
- Spread of autonomous, dislocated teams
- Digitally enabled structures
- Intense global rivalry
- Running faster while seeming to stand still
New management challenges:
- Greater diversity
- Greater synchronization requirements
- Greater time-pacing requirements
- Faster decision making, learning and innovation
- More frequent environmental discontinuities
- Faster industry life cycles
- Faster newness and obsolescence of knowledge
- Risk of competency traps where old competencies no longer produce desired effects
- Greater newness and obsolescence of organizations
Barkema argues that much change today deals with mid-level change (more than incremental but not revolutionary). Middle managers will play increasingly significant roles in making change effective.
Four types of organizational change
Change literature classifies changes into:
Episodic or discontinuous change
1. Organizations have significant inertia
2. Change is infrequent and discontinuou
3. Re-engineering programs
1. Emergent and self-organizing
2. Change is constant, evolving and cumulative
3. Kaizen programs in Japanese automobile manufacturers
A second dimension of change is:
- Proactive, planned, and programmatic: managers anticipate events and shift their organizations
- Reactively in response to external events: shifts in the external world lead to a reaction
Nadler and Tushman combine these two dimensions, offering four types of change:’
Tuning: incremental/continuous and anticipatory (need for internal alignment)
Focuses on individual components or subsystems
Middle management role
Implementation is the major task
E.g.: quality improvement initiative from an employee improvement committee
Adapting: incremental/continuous and reactive (need for internal alignment)
Focuses on individual components or subsystems
Middle management role
Implementation is the major task
E.g.: modest changes to customer services in response to customer complaints
Redirecting/reorienting: discontinuous/radical and anticipatory (need for positioning the whole organization to a new reality)
Focuses on all organizational components
Senior management crates sense of urgency and motivates the change
E.g.: major change in product or service offering in response to opportunities identified
Overhauling/re-creating: discontinuous/radical and reactive (need to reevaluate the whole organization, including core values)
Focuses on all organizational components to achieve rapid, systemwide change’
Senior management creates vision and motivates optimism
E.g.: a major realignment of strategy, involving plant closures and changes to product and service offerings, to stem financial losses and return the firm to profitability
The last two are more time-consuming and have a greater impact on individuals.
Plans and intentions
Despite the high failure rate of change, inaction and avoidance are no options. Hamel and Pralahad argue that re-engineering and restructuring are to catch up but that strategy and industry should be reinvented by building competing capacities.
Common managerial difficulties:
Managers are action-oriented and assume others behave rationally
Managers assume to have power and influence
Managers look at the transition period as accost, not an investment
Managers cannot estimate the resources and commitment needed
Managers are unaware that their behavior sends out conflicting messages
Managers find managing human processes threatening because of the potential emotionality and difficulties regarding prediction and quantification
Managers lack the capacity to manage complex changes involving people
Managers’ critical judgment is impaired due to overconfidence and/or groupthink
Organization change roles
Change leader/agent: leads the change. Plays any or all of the initiator, implementer, or facilitator roles. Often the formal change leader but informal change leaders will emerge.
Change initiator: identifies need and vision for change and champions change.
Change implementer: has responsibility for making certain the change happens. Nurtures support, alleviates resistance.
Change facilitator: assists initiators, implementers, and recipients with the change management process. identifies process and content change issues and helps resolve these. Fosters support, alleviates resistance.
Change recipient: is affected by the change. Has to change behavior to ensure change is effective.
Becoming a successful change leader
Successful change leaders have a balance between insight and a passion for action. They are sensitive to the external world and can anticipate the external world. They understand organizational systems, themselves, and their influence and image. Personal characteristics:
Tolerance for ambiguity
Comfort with power
Sense of risk assessment
Need for action and results
Persistence due to optimism and tenacity
Desire to learn
Distrust of organizational fads
Also, they embrace the paradoxes of change:
Driving change and enabling change
Resistance is a problem and an opportunity
Focus on outcomes and carful about process
Getting on with it and changing direction (modify objectives and respond to environment)
Balance patience and impatience
Managers should be aware of the PEST (political, economical, sociological, technological) environment. Diagnosing that provides the basis for the vision and direction for change. This chapter focuses on the HOW: HOW might a change agent think about making change happen?
How to change: the processes
The “failure of success”: practices that were effective in the past but are no longer appropriate. The pattern of success over time (Handy) describes a curve that shows when change should begin and where it becomes obvious that change is needed. See page 44. Change should be introduced at point B when the system is growing but starting to grow less than before. If pint A is reached, the need for change is obvious and it is maybe even too late.
Lewin made the three-step model of change: unfreeze, change, refreeze. He says the situation and system should be understood as a whole as well as the component parts.
Beckhard and Harris’s change-management process
Initial organization analysis: understanding the forces for and against change and the organizational situation
Why change?: determine the need for change, the degree of choice about whether to change, define the vision
Gap analysis: describe the present state and define the desired future state
Action planning: assessing the present in terms of the future to determine the work to be done
Managing the transition
Many assume that the need for change is easily recognizable but people may not accept the fact that they need to change or think others should change. So the perception of the need for change can be different for different persons. It may also be that top management is aware of what competition is doing but employees have no idea and thus do not see a need for change. Gap analysis addresses the question of WHY change.
The reason for change should be communicated to key stakeholders so that they will understand it and move to positive action. Gap analysis and visioning help to fulfill this challenge.
The model by Beckhard and Harris is strong because it lays out a linear process for change. The risk is that managers oversimplify the challenge.
Figure 3.1 on page 64 combines the WHAT and the HOW. The model of Beckhard and Harris can be put on the vertical axis and the model by Nadler and Tushman that we will discuss later on the horizontal axis (the latter can be used for gap analysis).
A systems approach
The model by Nadler and Tushman is used as a framework to structure thinking and improving analysis. It links environmental input factors to organizational components and outputs. It is an open systems model. Open systems perspective:
Exchange information, material, and energy with environment
System is the product of interrelated and interdependent parts, it is a complex set of interrelationships rather than a linear chain of cause-effect relationships
System seeks equilibrium, once in equilibrium it only changes if energy is applied
Individuals have different views of the system’s function and purpose
Things that occur within and/or to open systems should not be viewed in isolation
Open systems perspective helps to identify areas of misalignment and risk and to develop a rich understanding of the current condition and the possible alternatives and actions. Creative destruction: disrupt to sow seeds for removal.
Nadler and Tushman congruence model
This model focuses on the fit between different components of an organization and its invironment.
Strategy (as an arrow from the above three to transformation process)
Tasks (key success factors)
Formal organization (systems and structures)
Informal organization (relationships that can facilitate and block change)
People (knowledge, skills, abilities)
Three critical assumptions are made in this model:
System is dynamic (diagnosis will change over time)
Fit is significant in diagnosing performance
The better the fit, the more effective the organization
It is easiest to picture fit in logical terms but change agents need to consider it in terms of the informal system and the key individuals in the change process
Not everybody agrees that strategy should drive structure. Also, the need for change may not always be identified by looking at the environment. Some argue that in the long run, tight congruence in a stable environment leads to ingrained patterns. These patterns can be change resistance and ineffective when the environment changes. Also, too much emphasis on congruence potentially could have an adverse or dampening effort on organizational change.
Dynamic organizational systems – Sterman’s systems dynamics model
Nadler and Tushman’s model focuses more on alignment and this model more on the interplay of dynamic forces of the environment, managerial decisions, and actions of others. Sterman says that managers often have a rational causative view to identify a gap between what is and what is desired. Then they make a decision and take action. They may fail to anticipate the side effects of their decisions and competitive responses. So he says that managers should be aware of the complexity involved and the challenges involved in developing alignments. Managers should not think in static and linear ways, rather in complex and nonlinear ways. He builds on the work of Argyris and Schon on double loop and triple loop learning. Also consistent with Senge on organizational learning, innovation and change. Page 76 provides a picture of the model.
Individual vs organizational analysis
Quinn’s competing values model: bridges individual and organizational levels and encourages change agents to think about the interaction between the systems at both levels. There are two dimensions in the model: internal vs external focus and control vs flexibility, four outcomes:
Human resources view (flexible, internal focus)
1. How to work with individuals and groups
2. Teamwork and HR development
3. Mentor and group facilitator roles
Internal processes view (control, internal focus)
1. How to understand and control the work unit
2. Consolidation and continuity
3. Internal monitor and coordinator roles
Open systems view (flexible, external focus)
1. How to use power and manage change
2. Challenge of change
3. Innovator (understanding of change, ability to think creatively, development of risk taking) and broker (development and maintenance of power and influence base, ability to negotiate solutions, skills of persuation and coalition building) roles
Rational economic view (control, external focus)
1. How to stimulate individual and collective achievement
2. Maximization of output
3. Producer and director roles
Individuals tend to operate from one quadrant more than from the others. But all four should be attended to know what is going on internally while understanding the external environment. The model can be used to describe the culture, the dominant tasks, the focus of the reward systems or a needed shift in tasks emphasis or in types of people that are needed. So it bridges individual and organizational levels of analysis and helps understanding competing value paradigms. But it suggests a static situation.
Organizational change over time
Greiner’s model of growth provides a framework for predicting the stages of change over time as organizations grow from entrepreneurial to multidivisional/multinational. Greiner thinks organizations experience periods of relative stability, punctuated by radical transformations. During the former periods they are in equilibrium and evolutionary changes are done. During the crises, revolutionary changes take place. The phases:
Growth through creativity
Crisis of leadership
Growth through direction
Crisis of autonomy
Growth through delegation
Crisis of control
Growth through coordination
Crisis of red tape
Growth through collaboration
Managers will change their views on how to operate incrementally. Pressure increases due to increasing incongruence until a crisis occurs. The model is prescriptive in that organizations must pass through these crises in order to grow. It is logic and simple but suggestively prescriptive while not all organizations develop this way. The model reinforces the notion of competing values that mangers must keep in the right state of dynamic tension. For instance from the crisis of autonomy to growth through delegation there should be a shift in values and perspectives from control to flexibility (Quinn).
Organizations as complex entities
Complexity theory says that change agents should move beyond gap analysis to recognize the importance of interdependence and interrelationships. It could be that managers have no control.
Stacey identifies propositions of complexity theory:
Organizations are webs of nonlinear feedback loops connected with other individuals and organizations by webs of nonlinear feedback loops
These feedback systems can operate in stable and unstable states of equilibrium until chaos ensues
Organizations are inherently paradoxical. Pulled toward stability by forces for integration and control, security, certainty, and environmental adaptation. Pulled toward instability by forces for division, innovation and isolation.
Giving into forces for stability means becoming ossified. Giving into forces for instability means becoming disintegrated.
Short-run dynamics are irregular cycles and discontinuous trends but long-term trends are identifiable
Successful organizations face unknowable specific futures
Agents can’t control the long-term future, can only act in relation to the short term
Long-term development is a spontaneous self-organizing process (political interaction, learning in groups)
Managers create and come to know the environments and long-term futures through that process.
The job of the change leader is crating conditions and ground rules allowing innovation and efficiency to emerge through the encouragement of the interactions and relationships of others. Vision and strategy are still valued because they provide a sense of the hoped for direction.
It seems very different from the gap analysis view adopted by the book but the book also recognizes the environment as uncertain and complex and that organizations should adapt. Complex and uncertain futures can be made more understandable and predictable of we look at data in nonlinear and linear terms, assess different perspectives and consider different scenarios and approaches.
The need for change is often vague and appropriate action is unclear. People may because complacent and cynical about warnings due to past experiences. Also, when leaders change too often, they are not taken seriously anymore. Change agents should show that the need for change is real and important, then people can be unfrozen from past patterns. Often, change fails due to confusion and disagreement about:
Why there is a need for change
What needs to be changed
People often blame others for not understanding the situation. Due to different perspectives, people see and experience differently and see different causes and beliefs. This chapter addresses the WHY change.
Develop knowledge for the need for change
People may even feel that some things are not right but only until the need for change is framed, understood and believed they will undertake action. The following questions help:
What is the need for change and the important dimensions and issues that underpin it?
What are the perspectives of internal and external stakeholders?
Can different perspectives be integrated to get a collaborative solution?
Is the message concerning the need for change developed and communicated so that the readiness for and willingness to change is higher?
The steps that managers should take:
Seek out and make sense of external data
Tangible and intangible data
Seek out and make sense of perspectives of other stakeholders
Internal and external
Pay attention to bottom-up thoughts
Seek out and make sense of internal data
Hard, numerical data
Soft, intuitive information
Seek out and assess one’s personal concerns and perspectives
Organization’s readiness for change
Dissatisfaction with the status quo helps to make the organization ready for change but is not enough. The readiness depends on previous organizational experiences, managerial support, openness to change, exposure to disquieting information about the status quo, and the systems promoting or blocking change in the organizations.
Past success can lead to active inertia (doing more of the same), wrong environmental scanning and more. If change failed before, employees may become disillusioned and cynical. Support of top management is important but they might disagree and send ambiguous messages.
Judge and Douglas identified eight dimensions related to change readiness:
Involved middle management
Change readiness should identify factors promoting and inhibiting change readiness.
Creating awareness of the need for change
Once leaders understand the need for change they can take the following approaches to increase the awareness of the need throughout the organization:
Create a crisis or communicate that crisis is coming (shock treatment)
Extension: burn or sink your boats approach: no going back
Develop a vision that creates dissatisfaction with the status quo
Transformational vision based on higher-order values
Find a champion of change leader who builds awareness and articulates a change vision (transformational leadership)
Focus on common or superordinate goals (focus on what can be gained)
Create dissatisfaction with the status quo through education, information, and exposure to superior practices and processes of others
The history and culture of an organization can block people from recognizing the need for change. Cultural artifacts are the stories, rituals, and symbols that influence employees’ attitudes and beliefs. They help defining and operationalizing the culture. Also, senior management may withhold critical information to preserve cohesions and commitment to a course of action. Groupthink should be prevented by:
Letting leader play impartial role, asking information and input before expressing and opinion
Actively seek dissenting views
Discuss costs, benefits, and risks of diverse alternatives
Take a methodical decision making process at the beginning
Open climate for discussion and decision making, ask information from experts
Take time for reflection and do not think silence is consent
Creating a powerful vision for change
A change vision clarifies the direction and purpose of change and action. Visions can strengthen or transform existing cultures. They define a future state and are thus essential in gap analysis. Storytelling is one technique to communicate a vision the vision should be connected to the mission (fundamental purpose) and shows core philosophy and values. A good vision can mobilize and motivate people and have a positive impact on performance and attitudes. Jick shows three methods for creating a vision:
Leader-developed: developed in isolation and then announced and shared
Leader-senior team developed vision: members senior team involved
Bottom-up visioning: employee-centric, time consuming and difficult but valuable because it aligns the vision of organizational members with the overall vision for change
Jick: good change visions are:
Exciting and inspiring
Clear, concise, easily understood
Stable but flexible
Implementable and tangible
Lipton says effective vision statements should have three key messages:
Mission or purpose
Strategy for achieving the mission
Elements of the culture that are necessary to achieve the mission and support the strategy
Organizations should watch to be trapped by the existing vision. Too narrow definitions, failure to challenge the accepted boundaries and inability to understand the context may leave to inadequate visions. If the vision is clear, enactment by employees is necessary.
Difference between organizational vision and change vision
The focus of the vision shifts depending upon the level and position of the change leader. The message of change leaders should appeal to particular groups of people critical to the change. There are often tensions between the changes proposed and what other parts of the organization are attempting to accomplish. A balance should be stroke between a tight clear vision and a broad vision to gain a broad base of support for change. Common interests are important here.
Systems and structures shape the behavior of organizational members. They play a role in coordination, communication and control roles.
Formal structure: how tasks are formally divided, grouped, and coordinated. The organization chart is the common document of organizational design. Formal systems include planned routines and processes which set out how things are supposed to be done, the rules and procedures, the collection and dissemination of information, rewards, etc.
Change leaders should understand how existing structures and systems influence outcomes and how they facilitate or block change. Then, that system and structural awareness should be used to promote and enact change.
Making sense of organizational structures and systems
Some common structural elements:
Differentiation: degree to which tasks are subdivided into separate jobs or tasks
Integration: coordination of the various tasks or jobs into a department or group
Chain of command: reporting architecture in a hierarchical organization
Span of control: number of individuals who report to one manager
Centralization vs decentralization: how and where decision making is distributed
Formal vs informal: degree to which organizational charts exist, are codified and followed.
Impact of uncertainty and complexity on formal structures and systems
Structural alignment can also be sought based on reflection on the environment, Thompson came up with the impact of uncertainty and complexity on structure. Organizations can be classified as (see table 5.1 page 150):
Centralized decision making
Clear division of labor
Rules and procedures clear, employees follow them
Work is specialized and routine
Fewer rules and procedures
Less reliance on hierarchy of authority for centralized decision making
Jobs less specialized
Informal communication, lateral communications more accepted
The one is not better than the other, just more suitable for a certain environment.
Formal structures and systems from an information perspective
A third way to understand structure is to assess how they formally manage information. The right information should be in the hands of the right individuals on time. Gailbraith came up with the information processing view of organizations. There should be a fit between the information processing requirements and its capacity to process information through its structural design. The more uncertainty, the more information must be processed between individuals. Figure 5.2 on page 151 shows Gailbraith’s work. The more uncertainty the less effective traditional vertical information strategies. The need for information processing should be reduced (ad slack resources, create self-contained tasks) or the capacity to process information increased (use the hierarchy, increase horizontal communication capacity).
There should be fit between the strategy, the information processing requirements and the information processing capacity.
Putting the structural concepts to work
Aligning systems and structures with the environment
A mechanistic approach is more appropriate when cost strategies in a traditional manufacturing context are critical. An organic approach when innovation is key. So there should be alignment with the environment. Nadler and Tushman would say there should be congruence between the outside world, the strategy and how the inside world is formally organized. Even in mechanistic organizations there may be differences between departments (R&D more dynamic and uncertain).
Structural changes to handle increased uncertainty
Increasing organizational effectiveness starts by looking at how best to break things down and allocate the work. If that has been done already, one can look at how to integrate components. The vertical and horizontal information linkage strategies of Galbraith can help to achieve the latter. Wetzel and Buch say that firms are more comfortable with increasing both differentiation and integrating mechanisms than with other approaches and tend to overuse these strategies. They think a reduction in the amount of structural differentiation is useful (flattened structure, multiskilled workers, automated processes, self-managed teams). Then congruent interventions are easier. It is a way to reduce information processing linkage need.
Making formal structure and system choices
Bolman and Deal say that all organizational designs have structural dilemmas:
Differentiation versus integration
Gaps versus overlaps
Wishnevsky and Damanpour found that continuing poor performance was likely to produce strategic change and that that was likely to produce structural change. Several types of reporting structures can be used at the team or departmental level (brainstorming to get ideas, authority at the top for implementation).
Using structures and systems to influence the approval and implementation of change
Using formal structures and system to advance change
Formal structures can be leveraged to advance change, even without fighting with employees. They can be used to facilitate understanding, build support, and legitimize change among those with doubts.
Using systems and structures to obtain formal approval of a change project
The change leader should understand when and how to access and use existing systems. The formal approval processes are often well defined in larger organizations. Timing is important; approval is less likely if the organization is in the middle of the budget cycle and budgets have already been allocated. Before, we discussed two dimensions of change: the magnitude (size) and the proactive-reactive initiation dimension.
Incremental: fewer resources needed and lower levels of organization approval
Bigger: formal approval processes more important, support should be sought
Exceptions: areas with safety and regulatory compliance implications (significant change decisions delegated to frontline staff to be able to respond quickly)
Using systems to enhance the prospects for approval
Factors to consider can be found in figure 5.3 on page 161. If formal approval is required, the change agent should show that the change is aligned with the vision and strategy and has more benefits than costs. If there is time, the leader can frame and introduce the change so that comfort with the proposal increases. It there is no time, attention should be focused and motivation generated to proceed. Acceptance sometimes increases if the ones with resistance believe a rigorous review process is in place for assessment of change. Formal approval systems can increase that perception.
Ways around the approval process
Mastering the formal approval process
Howell and Higgins identified 3 ways of dealing with the formal approval process:
Rational approach: brought forward, reviewed, rejected or accepted
Essence: decision makers decide whether they trust the judgment of the change leaders and the skills of the change team
Ensures that decision making is thorough and reasoned
Or less bad; coalition building
Key players should be understood
Risks: time, more complex, political
Bypassing the formal approval process
But keep people such as supervisors in the loop
Renegade process: easier to gain forgiveness than permission
Aligning strategically, starting small, and “morphing” tactics
Chance acceptance is higher if can be shown that the project is better than alternatives and aligns with the mission, vision and strategy. Also if the change is incremental, not disruptive and has higher benefits than costs, it is more likely to be accepted. The perceived risk can be reduced by breaking the change down into smaller stages. Then the incongruence with existing systems is smaller and the change leader can learn and modify systems and structures in ways that look incremental but have significant long-term effects. Morphing means a slow and steady transformation of the organization over time.
The interaction of structures and systems with change during implementation
Structures and systems may be an element of change in that the change agent has to work with them or they may be an aspect of the actual change. They can present challenged or be used to facilitate change and to assess that their nature and impact should be assessed.
Using structures and systems to facilitate the acceptance of change
Change agents should not assume that approval leads to acceptance. They should be able to understand the view of the recipients. If the recipients do not accept the change they will not modify their behavior. Acceptance may come after compliance. If new systems are implemented, users may accept them after that they have been using them for a while. Acceptance and commitment can be gained through:
Clarity of purpose and direction
Rewards for desired behavior
Passage of time
Beware of making assumptions!
Adaption to change is also easier if the organization is able to learn. The latter can be done by several things, listed on page 171 and 172. Organizational structures influence the learning opportunities. Flexibility and adaptability is needed to deal with complex and turbulent environments. The past can be learned from and systems and structures can be evolved to help achieve success in the future. Acquiring knowledge and spreading it into the organization is good.
There are always different players with different perspectives and needs, if they are understood implementation is easier. How change leaders deal with the organizational culture affects the speed and nature of change. Also the individual and organizational history matters.
Everyone responds to power and authority. The ones involved often have options that the change leader is unaware of or vaguely aware of that can have a profound impact. When concerns are raised, change managers should pay attention. If people feel like they are not listened to they may shift tactics and gain support for their perspective. Power is also a resource of the change agent, which he should assess in terms of what type of power he has and what the sources are, etc. Power can be real (knowledge, personality, integrity, ability to reward and punish) but the perception of power is just as important. Definition of power:
“The capacity to influence others to accept one’s ideas or plans”.
Three types of power:
Departments can also have power, depending on:
Centrality (to survival and strategy)
Ability to cope with environmental uncertainty
Hardy defined three dimensions of power:
Resource power (similar to individual power)
Process power (control over formal areas)
Meaning power (ability to define meaning of things; “we do things that way”)
Using power is often political and involves the development of coalitions, dealing with the personality of the decision maker and using the network to obtain information.
Tactics managers use to influence superiors, from used most to used least:
Using and giving reasons
Referring to higher authority
Tactic managers use to influence subordinates, from used most to used least:
Using and giving reasons
Referring to higher authority
Understanding the perceptions of change
Individuals will adopt or accept change only when they think that their perceived personal benefits are greater than the perceived costs of change. In a formula:
Perceived benefits of change > perceived cost of change
That observation highlights that:
Agents have to deal with the reality of change and its perceptions
The costs are often more evident than the benefits
So the formula becomes:
Perception of dissatisfaction with the status quo x perception of the benefits of change x perception of the probability of success > perceived cost of change.
So the dissatisfaction with the status quo should be increased by providing data that other option are better, the overall benefits are worth the effort and by showing that success is likely. Early successes are important.
There is a difference between costs and benefits to the organization and those to the individuals. The individual level is often missed by change agents. Traditions, interpersonal bonds, shared values, goals, and norms are to be considered, especially if there are shifts in roles and responsibilities and thus a shift in power.
Identifying the organizational dynamics at play
In organizational change, the key is to understand the forces and how they respond to shifts in pressure.
Homeostasis means a system in dynamic but relatively stable balance that tends to return to its original conditions.
Two tools are useful in understanding forces:
Force field analysis: identifying and analyzing the driving and restraining forces impacting an organization’s objectives.
4. Strebel shows the force field analysis graphically like on page 194 so that four areas of change are shown:
Sporadic/flip-flop change (pressure low and resistance weak)
Breakpoint change (pressure high and resistance strong)
High resistance (no change) (pressure low and resistance strong)
Constant change (pressure high and resistance low)
Internal and external sources
External factors often give rise to internal pressures, they include benchmark data and market forces, but they can also be opportunities.
Steps in force field analysis:
Identify forces and estimate their strength (immediate and long-term forces)
Identify how they can be altered to produce a better climate for change
Look beyond the immediate impact and identify ways to increase support and reduce resistance. For instance, financial rewards may reduce resistance in the short term but commitment may be reduced and unethical behavior increased.
Stakeholder analysis: identifying the key individuals or groups who can influence or who are impacted by the proposed change, then identifying how they can made more positive towards the change.
Who has the authority to say yes/no to the change?
Which areas/departments will be influence by the change? Who leads and has influence there?
Who has to change their behavior to make change successful?
Who will be helpful and who will be disruptive?
Savage developed a model with two dimensions: potential for threat and potential for cooperation
High threat and high cooperation: collaborative approach
Low threat and high cooperation: strategy of involvement
High threat and low cooperation: defense
Low threat and low cooperation: monitored to ensure assessment is correct
These two (force field and stakeholder analysis) can be integrated by letting stakeholders be forces that need to be considered, and the analysis will then help to deal with them as forces.
One can also draw a stakeholder map with wants and needs of the stakeholders, their responses to change, how they are linked, their sources and power and the actual influence patterns.
Cross and Prusak argue organizational members can be:
Central connectors: link with one another
Boundary spanners: connect formal and/or informal networks to other parts of the organization
Information brokers: link various subgroups
Peripheral specialists: have specialized expertise in the network
The AIDA (awareness, interest, desire for action, take action) continuum can be used to assess where the stakeholders are and what change tools should be used. To create awareness, one-on-one communication to organizationwide publicity counts. Articles in a newspaper, forums or open session and addresses by senior executives can inform and generate interest in a topic. Benchmark data can convince and a pilot project can be used to try it out.
The tactic to use depends on the situation, the culture and the previous experiences with change. The general rule is that change leaders should shift from low-intensity forms of communication to higher intensity forms.
There are also several individual predispositions to change:
Innovators/early adopters: seek change and want variety
Early majority: are receptive to change but are not first adopters
Late majority: follow others once the change has been introduced and tried
Laggards/late adopters: are reluctant to change and do so only after many others have adopted
Non-adopters: will not change or adapt under most circumstances
The innovators and early adopters need to be worked with. The willingness to change depends on the personality but also on the degree of understanding and commitment. Floyd and Wooldridge differentiate:
High positive commitment, high understanding: strong consensus
High, positive commitment, low understanding: blind devotion
Low, positive commitment, high understanding: informed skeptics
Low, positive commitment, low understanding: weak consensus
Negative commitment to change, high understanding: informed opponents
Negative commitment to change, low understanding: fanatical opponents
All first four may be needed, not only the first one. Sometimes the change is a strategic secret and people need to accept it and be committed without asking questions.
Change can require people to modify their personal or professional identities, skill sets, and other deeply held beliefs and expectations. People are often recipients of change.
Stakeholders respond variably to change initiatives
People often raise questions which is often perceived as resistance but is not so necessarily. Resistance to change can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, if change leader assume resistance will occur, it becomes more likely. Recipients often have mixed feelings due to the impact of the change on their relationships with others, the ability to do what is being asked, the fit with their needs and values and their future prospects. If people think they are powerless coping strategies like alienation, passivity, sabotage, absenteeism and turnover may occur.
Understanding and responses will evolve over time so the approaches also need to do so. To develop initial awareness, factual information is useful. Informal discussions and social support is more useful when ambivalence is present. Change agents should caution for attribution errors: blame individual resistance while the cause is something deeper underlying.
Responding to positive feelings in stakeholders: channeling their energy
Strong positive feelings can cause a lack of reflection and give rise to groupthink. Change leaders should:
Channel energy, not letting the enthusiasm overwhelm concerns
Name the problem of mixed feelings and understand different reactions
Appoint highly respected, positive stakeholders to chair significant committees or other structures and ensure they have the skills and resources
Going too slow can lose enthusiastic support and going too fast will choke those who are doubtful
If there is ambivalence, people should be encourages to voiced concerns. People find that easier when it comes from conflicting beliefs rather than conflicting emotions (Piderit). People protect their attitudes by:
Turn to habits and approaches that worked well in the past
Engage in selective perception
Deny in the form of counterarguments
Attitudes become more difficult to change once solidified. People should be engaged in discussion and helped to align their interpretations with the process.
Causes of negative reactions to change:
Perception of negative consequences may be real (jobs, workplace)
Communication processes are flawed (feel ill informed or misled)
Doubts about impact and effectiveness of change (not enough studied and tested and adverse consequences not thought through)
Lack experience with change and are unsure
Negative experiences with (similar) change (approaches)
Negative experiences with those advocating the change
Influence by negative reactions of peers, subordinates or supervisors
Justice-related concerns (procedural justice, distributive justice)
Kotter: impediments to change are much more likely to come from problems related to the misalignment of structures and systems than from individuals engaged in resistance.
Make the change of the psychological contract explicit and transparent
The psychological contract is the sum of the implicit and explicit agreements we believe we have with our organization. It defines our perceptions of the terms of our employment relationship and comprises our expectations for us and for the organization. Elements are norms, rights, rewards, and obligations. It influences and is influenced by the culture of the organization. A big part of the psychological contract is implicit but does determine people’s reactions to change. If the sense of security and control is threatened, people will feel fear or anger. Time is needed. Even if the change has a positive impact people may think there are secret underlying action or sense a loss of control.
Stages of reactions to change
Before the change: anticipation and anxiety phase
Coping with uncertainty and rumors about what may (not) happen
Prechange anxiety: worrying about what might happen, confusion, maybe denial of what change is needed or likely (1)
During the change: shock, denial, and retreat phase
Coping with the change announcement and associated fallout
Coping with uncertainty and rumors
Reacting to the new ‘reality’
Shock: perceived threat, immobilization, no risk taking (2)
Defensive retreat: anger, rejection and denial, compliance, sense of loss, risk taking unsafe (3)
Depression and guilt, alienation (5)
After the change: acceptation phase
Putting residual traumatic effects behind you
Acknowledging the change
Moving on to new beginnings (adaptation and change)
Acknowledgement: resignation, mourning, letting go, energy for risk taking begins to build (6)
Adaptation and change (7)
Kotter’s eight steps:
Establish a sense of urgency
Form a change team
Create a vision for change
Communicate the vision for change
Empowering others to act
Planning for and creating short-term wins
Consolidating wins to reinvigorate the process
Institutionalizing the change
These eight steps should all be taken and should be taken in the above order. Skipping steps creates an illusion of speed but will not produce the desired result.
Survivor syndrome: reaction of those who survive a poorly handled, traumatic change such as downsizing. Effects are lower job satisfaction, motivation, and loyalty, and greater ambiguity, stress, vulnerability about the future and a sense of entrapment in a negative situation, as well as guild about being retained.
Three factors that influence how people adapt to change:
Personality: people with a low tolerance for turbulence and uncertainty are comfortable in stable environments, otherwise they will feel stress as they try to cope and adjust. At low to moderate levels of change, the increasing stress may make them feel more job satisfaction if they experience success with change. People with a high tolerance will find stable environments unsatisfying after a while because they will feel like their careers have stalls and they feel bored, frustrated and absenteeism and turnover will increase.
Prior experience: long periods of stability and minimal change will lead to people seeing change as more unsettling and risky than those who have experienced change more often. The competency or complacency trap is the tendency to rely on competencies and strategies that have worked well in the past. Organizations in which people do that are incongruent with their environments if these old strategies are ineffective. If in the past the organization has adapted successfully to moderate change, the employees are probably open and flexible. But when organizations are in an environment with long periods of major changes the sense of personal risk becomes high and employees may become tired of change. If promises made are not met they may become alienated. So long periods of minimal change and long periods of extreme change increase perceived risk, moderate rates of change decrease it (see figure page 229).
The table on pag 230 combines the above two factors.
Coworkers also have an influence on the view of stakeholders. It depends on the opinions of the ones trusted and the initial opinion of the recipient. Several paths:
Trustee positive, recipient positive: very motivated to support and predisposed to get involved.
Trustee positive, recipient negative: opposed but potentially open to other perspectives because of new information and peer pressure
Trustee negative, recipient positive: support may become tempered due to information and perspectives offered by trusted peers. Pressure to reconsider support or even silenced by peer
Trustee negative, recipient negative: opposed and reinforced by trusted peers
The perception of the change leader also makes a difference. If they trust the leader and believe their perspectives and interests are recognized, they are likely to respond positively. Change leaders often focus on the rationale of changing and pay little attention to the benefits of the status quo. Followers often focus on the benefits of not changing so change leaders and followers may estimate the benefits and costs highly differently. Change leaders should pay attention to the perceptions and alterations of the psychological contract.
Integrity to avoid skepticism and cynicism
If followers were promised things that were not met they will be skeptical. Followers sometimes say that change leaders said the right things but acted in ways that were beneficial to their own self-interest, thereby ignoring what was good for most employees in the organization. Skepticism can become cynicism and even pessimism when people whose opinions we value share a similar negative belief. So the perceived trustworthiness and integrity of the change leader is important for the judgments recipients make. Active involvement by recipients reduces cynicism development. The table on page 234 shows 9 ways to manage and minimize cynicism.
Sometimes, political intelligence can be used to creatively push followers to higher levels of performance. Fear can motivate but is risky because it may be unethical and followers will stop when the threat is no longer present (doom loop, enemy of effective leadership).
Consistent signals from systems and processes
Credibility of the leader will be enhanced or diminished by the extent to which organizational systems and processes send a consistent message or are themselves the focus of change that will bring the m into alignment with the change vision. Paradox: give voice to factors that develop sense of continuity, connection past and future while giving voice to need for and nature of change.
Minimize negative effects of change
Two-way communications (learn from followers, multiple channels)
Jick and Peiperl identified some strategies to cope with different stages of change:
Accept feelings as natural
Self-permission to feel and mourn
Take time to work through feelings
Maintaining physical well-being
Seeking information about the change
Limiting extraneous stressors
Taking regular breaks
Identify options and gains
Learn from losses
Participate in the change
Learn new skills
Diversify emotional investing
As natural as self-protection
As a positive step toward change
As energy to work with
As information critical to the change process
Give first aid
Provide resources and support
Create capability for change
Make organizational support of risks clear
Provide a continuing safety net
Emphasize continuities, gains of change
Help employees explore risks and options
Involve people in decision making
Provide opportunities for individual growth
The understanding of followers of the need for change often lags behind because the leaders have already gone through some stages (mourning the loss of the old, embrace the new vision, etc).
Continuous improvement as the norm
Perceived threat of changes can be reduced by adopting managerial approaches in such a way that everyone regularly questions the status quo and seeks to improve existing practices as a normal activity. Then the fact that tomorrow is unlikely to be the same as today becomes the expected norm rather than an unexpected shock.
Creating agility allows the organization to be more open to change and resiliency strengthens the core (common purpose, shared beliefs, identity). Commitment, knowledge-sharing and cross-training is important. Encouraging experimentation and pilot programs and ensuring that rewards and punishments are not excessive help too.
Recipients can reduce the negative effects of change by taking risks, getting more involved and by becoming a change agent.
The role of change agent can on the one hand be exciting, enriching and educational and on the other hand frustrating and demoralizing. Most change initiatives that are perceived as top-down were probably started at the bottom or the middle years earlier. Kanter says that bold strokes do probably not build the long-term capabilities desired unless supported by a commitment to an underlying vision. The hearts as well of the heads of employees should be embraced.
Factors that influence change agent success
Success depends on the interplay of personal attributes, situation, and vision. Some situations energize the change agent, coalitions are formed and the proposed change is likely to succeed. These are called exothermic change situations. Others suck energy out of the change agent and seem to lead to a never ending series of issues and obstacles, called endothermic (Dickout). Both situations will probably be perceived. Colleagues serving as close confidantes can help to sustain energy.
Essential characteristics of change leaders:
Commitment to improvement (different from traditional managers, trial and error approach, just do it
Communication and interpersonal skills (to navigate political environment and awaked the organization. NOT desired: abuse of power, inflicting damage on others, overexercise of control to satisfy personal needs, and rule breaking to serve own purposes)
Determination (persist when it looks like thing have gone wrong)
Eyes on the prize and flexibility (get it done, take informed risks, modify plans, time for reflection)
Experience and networks (scan the environment, maintain networks)
Intelligence (to analyse, assess possible action, to create confidence, also social intelligence)
Caldwell differentiates between attributes of change leaders and of change managers on pag 266.
We can distinguish three categories of behaviors of change agents:
Framing behavior (changing the sense of the situation, establishing starting points, designing the change journey, communication principles)
Capacity-creating behavior (b increasing individual and organizational capabilities and connections)
Shaping behaviors (by acting as a role model, holding others accountable, thinking about change and focusing on individuals)
Higgs and Rowland found that framing and capacity-creating behaviors are more successful than shaping behaviors.
Kouzes and Posner argue that change leaders should know how to:
Challenge the process or the status quo
Inspire a shared sense of vision
Enable others to act
Model the way
Encourage the heart of those involved with the change
Developing into a change leader
Four important things are intention, education, self-discipline and experience. Many change leadership skills can be learned. Experiential learning is important. We need the people around us to be able to constantly improve. Reflection is very important to be able to know how and what to improve. Bennis says change agents should take responsibility for their own learning and development as change leader, personal change goals can help in that.
Communication and open dialogue is essential for reflection. Appreciative inquiry (AI) is developed by Cooperrider and is critical in reflection conversation. It is the engagement of individuals in an organizational system in its renewal. By seeking the positive and best in people and the organization it helps to create positive energy and commitment.
Stages of change leaders (Miller):
Stage 1: novice
Beliefs: people will change once they understand the logic of the change, people can be told to change, clear communication is key.
Underlying assumption: people are rational and will follow their self-interest once it is revealed to them, and otherwise power and sanctions will ensure compliance.
Stage 2: junior
Beliefs: people change through powerful communication and symbolism, change planning will include the use of symbols and group meetings.
Underlying assumption: people will change if they are sold on the beliefs, otherwise power and sanctions will ensure compliance.
Stage 3: experienced
Beliefs: people may not be willing or able or ready to change, so change leaders will enlist specialists to design a change plan and the leaders will work at change but resist modifying their own vision.
Underlying assumption: the ideal state is where people will become committed to change, power and sanctions will be used otherwise.
Stage 4: expert
Beliefs: people have a limited capacity to absorb change and may not be as willing, able or ready change as you wish, so thinking through how to change the people is central to the implementation of change.
Underlying assumption: commitment for change must be built and power or sanctions have major limitation in achieving change and building organizational capacity.
Four types of change leaders
Much of the change literature differentiates strategic/episodic change and incremental/continuous change. The former is “infrequent, discontinuous and intentional”. The latter is “ongoing, evolving and cumulative”. Weick and Quinn says the right model is freeze, rebalance and unfreeze. So first capture the underlying patterns and understandings, than reinterpret and relabel them and lastly resume improvisation and learning. Episodic change needs a prime mover change agent and continuous change a sense maker.
We can distinguish four types of change leaders using two dimensions. First, strategic change versus incremental change. Second, vision pull or analysis push. Pull actions create attractions or goals that draw willing organizational members to change and are characterized by organizational visions or higher-order purposes and strategies. Push actions are data based and factual and are communicated in ways that advance analytical thinking and reasoning and that push recipients’ thinking in new directions. Agents using that can use legitimate, positional and reward and punishment power.
Strategic change and vision pull: emotional champion
Clear and powerful vision of what the organization needs and uses that vision the capture the hearts and motivations of the members. Needed when there is a dramatic shift in the environment.
Comfortable with ambiguity and risk
Thinks tangentially and challenges accepted ways of doing things
Has strong intuitive abilities
Relies on feelings and emotions to influence others
Strategic change and analysis push: developmental strategist
Applies rational analysis to understand misfits
Engages in big-picture thinking about strategic change and the fit between the environment and the organization
Sees organizations in terms of systems and structures fitting into logical, integrated components that fit with environmental demands
Is comfortable with assessing risk and taking chances based on thorough assessments
Incremental change and vision pull: intuitive adapter
Has a clear vision and uses it to reinforce a culture of learning and adaptation
Embraces more moderate risks
Engages in a more limited search for solutions
Is comfortable with the current direction of the vision
Relies on intuition and emotion to persuade others to propel the organization forward through incremental changes
Incremental change and analysis push: continuous improver
Analyzes the micro environments and seeks changes such as re-engineering systems and processes. The organization is quite well aligned with the environment.
Thinks logically and carefully about detailed processes and how they can be improved
Aims for possible gains and small wins rather than great leaps
Is systematic in his thinking while making careful gains
This model can be used to combine types of change with methods of persuasion. Organizations are increasingly using internal consultants so that no problems with line responsibilities exist. Hunsaker identified four different internal roles of change agents:
Catalyst: to overcome inertia and focus the organization on its problems.
Solution giver: knows how to respond and can solve the problem
Process helper: facilitates the how to, often in the role of third-party intervener
Resource linker: brings people and resources together
External change agents/consultants
Internal change agents are critical because they know the systems, norms, and have relationships. However, they might not have the specialized knowledge or skills and the objectivity. They also lack power and relationships. External consultants may be brought in to:
Provide subject-matter expertise (and facilitate the analysis, provide guidance)
Bring fresh perspectives through exposure to ideas that have worked elsewhere (to avoid mental traps)
Provide independent, trustworthy support (viewed as credible, independent, trustworthy and competent. Employees may feel more comfortable sharing thought with consultants and external validation can generate support)
The limitation is that they lack deep knowledge of political environment and culture and in the end the organization should take responsibility for the change, not the consultant. So they can assist but not replace internal agents. Also, consultants may receive signals that they are expected to support without asking questions.
The use of teams is important because employees learn new behaviors and attitudes, the varying roles and skills needed are present, and cross-functional change is facilitated.
A good change team member should (Prosci)
Know about the business and be enthusiastic about the change
Possess excellent oral and written communication skills and willingness to listen and share
Have total commitment to the project, the process, and the results
Be able to remain open minded and visionary
Be respected within the organization as an apolitical catalyst for strategic change
Some seem contradictory, for instance open minded and totally committed. But that is needed.
Two separate teams should be used, a steering team and a design and implementation team. The former provides advice to the champion (see below) and the latter plays an advisory and navigational function, it determines direction and resource requirements. The design and implementation team plans the change, deals with the stakeholders and had primary responsibility for the implementation.
The different change roles needed within a team:
Champion: fight for the change and continue to persevere when others would have given up. They are the vision, the immovable force for change.
Change project manager: coordinate planning, manage logistics, tracks process, manages adjustments needed along the way
Sponsors: foster commitment, assist.
Visible sponsorship: senior manager advocates for the change and shows support through actions and words.
Information sharing and knowledge development has the sponsor providing useful information about the change and working with the team to ensure plans are sound.
Provide protection for those to whom the change has been delegated. Protection makes people feel more safe to take risks.
Successful change implementation is only possible if the team is developed by motivating, communication and building the team. Dedication and willingness to give their all is the most obvious characteristic of highly committed change teams. The personalities and skills of the members play a big role. A paradoxical set of skills is needed: the ability to create a vision and the ability to see the connections between that vision and all of the things that will need to be done. Functional and technical competencies should be present as well, obviously. Table 8.4 on pag2 282 provides design rules for top teams.
Change from the middle
While initiatives are good, always remember the first rule: stay alive. Most managers involved in change will be in the middle. Sometimes those above them try to direct or influence change while they have to influence those superiors about what needs to be initiated and how to do so. Also, subordinates and peers should be dealt with as recipients. It can be hard to be in the middle. Problem ownership is an issue here. Managers often take on others’ issues as their own when they should not intervene. The opposite also happens, that managers do not take responsibility. Oshry’s advice to those in the middle:
Be top when you can and take responsibility for being top
Be bottom when you should
Be coach (to help others solve their problems so they don’t become yours)
Facilitate (rather than simply carry messages)
Integrate with one another (to develop a strong peer group)
Rules of thumb for change agents
Start where the system is (understand the status quo first)
Work downhill (collaboratively)
Organize, but not too much (plans will change)
Pick your battles carefully (don’t argue if you can’t win)
Load experiments for success
Light many fires (try several changes at several places)
Just enough is good enough (perfection is not the goal)
You can’t make a difference without doing things differently
Want to change, focus in important results and get them
Think and act fast (speed and flexibility)
Create a coalition
Action is desirable but should not be random. One of the ways to improve the quality of action is to use proven tools to execute a change agenda. The present should be assessed in terms of the future so that the work that needs to be done can be determined and change can be implemented.
A ‘do it’ orientation is necessary
The absence of senior management awareness and support is normal during the early stages of change. If senior managers are 5% of the organization, the chance is 95% that internally generated ideas have been developed elsewhere in the organization. So growth is likely to come from within and from the bottom up. Wise senior managers know how to nurture and leverage employees’ adaptive energy and wise change agents know how to save short-sighted senior managers from themselves. Sometimes if the formal ways for support do not work, one should just ‘do it’ because it is easier to seek forgiveness than permission. That does not include precipitous action that gets one into trouble but should be based on savvy experiments. What counts is the reaction of the organization. Change agents can intuitively test their organizational assumptions by engaging in an action – learning – reaction cycle. The majority of organizations will be somewhere between embracing such initiatives and punishing them. We will now discuss some tools that can assist change leaders in designing and then managing their initiatives in ways that increase their prospects for success.
Selecting the correct path
There are three generic approaches, proposed by Mintzberg:
Thinking first: works when the issue is clear, data are reliable, context is structures, thoughts can be pinned down, and discipline can be established as in many routine production processes. For instance the introduction of a Six Sigma.
Seeing first: works when many elements have to be combined into creative solutions, commitment to those solutions is key, and communication across boundaries is essential. For instance new product development.
Doing first: works when the situation is novel and confusing, complicated specifications would get in the way, and a few simple relationship rules can help people move forward. For instance testing an approach to customer service and feedback is needed.
The preferred approach to action shifts. Thinking first is appropriate if the situation is still structured and understandable. But as ambiguity and complexity rise and certainty over how best to proceed becomes less clear, seeing first fits. It can help by experimentation, prototyping, and pilot programs so that commitment can be gained by having people participate. Then doing first is appropriate for even more complex situations and takes the exploration further.
Nitin Nohria also identified three strategies:
Programmatic change (similar to thinking first)
Magnitude of change incremental
Characteristic: missions, plans, objectives
Implementation: training, timelines, steering committees
Issues/concerns: lack of focus on behavior, one solution for all, inflexible solutions - to counteract: employee engagement and feedback, decentralize decision making
Major break from the past, top down change (downsizing)
Characteristic: initiated from top, clear break, reorientation
Implementation: decrees, structural change, concurrent implementation
Issues/concerns: political coalitions derail change, weak controls, stress from the loss of people - to counteract: reduce ambiguity, build support, enhance understanding
Emergent change (similar to doing first)
Appropriate if there is a talented, knowledgeable workforce that understands the risks and possibilities
Characteristic: ambiguous, incremental, challenging
Implementation: use of metaphors, experimentation, risk taking
Issues/concerns: confusion over direction, uncertainty and possible slow results - to counteract: use field experiments/task forces to gain engagement and feedback to create clarity and build support. So move from ready-aim-fire to ready-fire-aim-refire-reaim.
We can also distinguish the following.
First change systems and structures, forcing behavioral changes
Action will in turn produce changes in attitudes and beliefs over time
More appropriate for techno-structural change (based in structures, systems and technology)
Lacks sensitivity, stakeholders may feel ignored
First change attitudes and gain acceptance of an initiative
Then restructure systems and structures
More appropriate for behavioral-social changes (focused on altering established social relationships, such as cultural change)
Plan the work
Steps proposed by Beer:
Mobilize commitment to change through joint diagnosis of business problems
Develop a shared vision of how to organize and manage for competitiveness
Foster consensus for the new vision, competence to enact it, and cohesion to move it along
Spread revitalization to all departments without pushing it from the top
Institutionalize revitalization through formal policies, systems and structures
Monitor and adjust strategies in response to problems in the revitalization process
A one size fit all approach should however not be assumed. Also, one should think contingently. “No plan survives first contact”.
Sometimes change planning is secret (merger) but usually the active involvement of others and information sharing enhances the quality of action planning.
Often, change agents do understand what needs to be done but apply a wrong sequence. The table on page 308 provides an action planning checklist.
Action planning tools
To do list: simplest and most common, often not enough as planning becomes more complex
Responsibility charting: who should do what, when and how
Decision tree analysis: consider major choices and possible consequences of those alternatives, possible next actions and next consequences etc., adding likelihoods
Scenario planning: describe some possible future situations and their implications. It is different from forecasting because it starts by painting a picture of the future and works backward, asking what would have to happen to make this future scenario a reality.
Surveys and survey feedback: to capture attitudes, opinions and experiences and track them over time, to provide anonymity. They need to be approached with care by someone with experience. Survey feedback is an action research method developed by OD practitioners to stimulate and advance conversations. Survey results are shared by the individuals and are discussed to raise awareness and understanding, advance the analysis and build support and commitment.
Project planning and critical path methods: assess when the project should be completed and work backward from that point, scheduling all tasks that will require time, effort and resources. Bottlenecks, resource requirements and slack can be assessed.
The critical path method introduces the notion of parallel initiatives; different things may be able to be worked on simultaneously if the work is properly organized, phase 1 tasks do not have to be totally completed before beginning work on phase 2 tasks. One should caution for confusion and redundant effort.
Force field and stakeholder analysis:
Commitment analysis charts: (against – neutral – let it happen – help it happen – make it happen and level of understanding high – medium – low)
Adoption continuum (awareness – interest – desiring action – action or adoption)
Different individuals will be at different stages. For the awareness stage, general communication such as newsletters, reports and video can be used. If people are already aware, general information communications should not be used anymore but managers need to outline how the change will affect stakeholders personally and why this change should be of interest. Discussion groups, benchmark data, simulations, and test runs are appropriate. Once there is interest, one-on-one meetings are appropriate for persuasion and connection to influential supporters of change.
Leverage analysis: seeks to identify those actions that will create the greatest change with the least effort.
Other change management tools
Pareto diagrams (classify problems according to relative importance)
Benchmark and normative data
Working the plan ethically and adaptively
Generating stakeholder and decision maker confidence in the viability of the initiative is critical. But it is also important not to be deluded by your own rhetoric. Confidence is needed when one is an implementer rather than decision maker. Decision makers need to be realistic, implementers can afford to be somewhat overconfident.
Developing a communication plan
Good communication programs are essential to minimize effects of rumors, to mobilize support and to sustain enthusiasm and commitment. Confusion often arises due to the different levels of understanding held by different parties. There are four major reasons to develop communication plans:
To infuse the need for change throughout the organization
To enable individuals to understand the impact that the change will have on them
To communicate any structural and job changes that will influence how things are done
To keep people informed about progress along the way
Timing and focus of communications
A communiation plan has four phases:
Preapproval phase: communication plans to sell top management
Developing the need for change phase: communication plans to explain the need for change, provide a rationale, reassure employees, and clarify the steps in the change process
Midstream change phase: communication plans to inform people of progress and to obtain feedback on attitudes and issues, to challenge any misconceptions, and to clarify new organizational roles, systems and structures
Confirming the change phase: communication plans to inform employees of the success, to celebrate the change, and to prepare the organization for the next change
When the information is routine, memos and blanket e0mails can work well. But when things become more comlex, ambiguous and personally relevant, the richness of the communication channel needs to increase. Key principles in communicating for change (Klein):
Message and media redundancy are key for message retention
Face to face communication is most effective
Line authority is effective in communications
The immediate supervisor is key (trust and understanding)
Opinion leaders need to be identified and used
Employees pick up and retain personally relevant information more easily than other types of information
Influence strategies (Kotter and Schlesinger):
Education and communication
Participation and involvement
Facilitation and support (when the issues are anxiety and fear)
Negotiation and agreement (where the resistance is organized, the what’s in it for me is unclear and power is at play but may lead to compliance rather than support)
Manipulation and co-optation
Explicit and implicit coercion (when time is of essence, compliant actions are not there, other options have been exhausted)
Open systems analysis provides a seventh change strategy: systemic or system adjustments. So to formal systems and processes that reduce resistance.
Push tactics: move people toward acceptance of change through:
Rational persuasion (facts and logic, nonemotional way)
Pressure (use of guild or threats)
Inspirational appeals: arouse enthusiasm based on shared values/ideals
Consultation: seek participation of others through appeals to self-worth and positive self-concept
Falbe and Yukl examined the effectiveness of nine different influence tactics. The most effective strategies were two pull tactics:
Inspirational appeals and
Consultation (seeking participation of others)
Intermediate effectiveness was achieved with a combination of pull and push strategies:
- Rationale persuasion
- Ingratiation (praise, flattery, friendliness)
- Personal appeals (friendship and loyalty)
- Exchange tactics (negotiation and other forms of reciprocity
The least effective strategies were push strategies:
- Direct pressure
- Legitimating tactics (framing of the request as consistent with policy or authority)
- Coalition building
Nutt describes four influence tactics used during implementation, in sequence of most used:
Persuasion (use of experts to sell a change)
Edict (issuing of directives)
Participation (engaging stakeholders in the change process)
Intervention (key executives justify the need for change and provide new norms to judge performance)
The sequence of which work best is intervention, participation, persuasion and edict. For more data on those four tactics see the table on page 325. The table shows that a well-respected sponsor is important.
A general advice is to move as slowly as practical so that people can become accustomed to the idea of the change, adopt the change program, learn new skills and see the positive sides. Change leaders can also adjust their processes, refine the change, improve congruence and learn as they go. But one should go faster if resistance will have the chance to organize.
A change manager typically has the power and authority to facilitate the transition and is linked to the CEO or other senior executives. Transition resources are the people, money, training and consulting expertise needed to be successful. Transition structures are structures outside the regular organizational ones, they are temporary structures that allow normal activities to take place as well as change activities. The transition plan is the change plan with clear benchmarks, standards and responsibilities. Transition management ensures that both the change project and the continuing operations are successful. Beckard and Harris argue for specifying midpoint goals and milestones which help motivate. The longer the span of time required, the more important these midcourse goals. Also, people should be kept informed and anxiety should be reduced. The final phase is closure and celebration should be part of it. An after-action review reviews the change experience as a whole so that can be learned from what transpired along the way. It assessed the intended results, the actual results, why the latter happened and what can be done better next time.
Measurements influence what people do and what they pay attention to. Motivation increases when employees see quantifications as legitimate, believe their actions will affect the outcomes and thinks those actions will positively affect them personally. Measurement is given little attention because change is complex, numbers do not measure the important things, as change evolves it is hard to make end-point measures or the end-point is hard to measure due to changing conditions. But they are important, because change managers can use them to:
Frame the implications of the vision in terms of expected outcomes
Monitor the environment
Guide the change, gauge process and make midcourse corrections
Bring the change to a successful conclusion
Using control processes to facilitate change
Measurements can support a change initiative at each stage of the process. First, measurements in problem identification, root cause analysis, and in the development of awareness for a new vision and structure can be used. The structure and systems can be diagnosed too, so that at each step data are collected, analyzed and used to fine tune plans.
Selecting and deploying measures
Change agents should prioritize what should be measured at what stage as not everything can be measured. The criteria to help which measures to adopt are the following:
Focus on key factors
Use measures that lead to challenging but achievable goals
Use measures and controls that are perceived as fair and appropriate
Avoid sending mixed signals
Ensure accurate data
Match the precision of the measure with the ability to measure
In turbulent environments, approximate measures are better
Base choice on how quickly information is needed, how accurate the information needs to be and how much it will cost
See table page 352 for what to use when
Control systems and change management
Simon argues that managers need to think about four types of control levers when constituting the internal control systems (see page 353 for a picture):
Diagnostic/steering controls: traditional system that focuses on key performance variables, so that change manager will understand these and can modify systems to encourage new, desired behaviors.
Belief systems: values and beliefs that underpin the culture, so that the change agent can appeal to higher—order values and the core values of the organizations to motivate people and reduce resistance.
Boundary systems: that sets the limits of authority and action and determines (un)acceptable behavior, so that change agents know their limits and the risks and actions to be avoided
Interactive controls: senses environmental changes crucial to the strategy, so that change agents can modify change plans in the face of environmental factors.
The table on page 354 combines these control levers with the different stages of the change (!!).
Other measurement tools
The following are four tools that can assist in planning, deploying, and managing change:
Strategy maps (Kaplan and Norton)
Start with financial goals and then assess how to get there
Financial - customer - internal - learning and growth
Assumption is that financial outcomes are the end goals and that other objectives should be aligned to produce those outcomes
Visualization helps people understand what is proposed and why
Balanced scorecard (Kaplan and Norton)
To track critical success factors
The same four categories as above
Lag and lead indicators
Risk exposure calculator (Simon)
To assess the level of risk associated with a company’s actions
Risk is related to rate of growth, its culture and how information is managed
Groups of risk drivers:
Change pressure (pressure to produce, ambiguity or inexperience with change)
Change culture (culture pushes risk taking, executives resist hearing bad news, internal competition)
Information management (situation complex and fast changing, gaps in diagnostic change measures, change decision making is decentralized)
If above factors are more present, the risk is higher
There is no optimal risk score that fits all, but it can be used to make risks manageable
DICE model (Sirkin, Keenan, Jackson)
Duration: how frequently the change project is formally reviewed, the less the higher the score for this factor
Integrity: about the leader’s skills and credibility and the skills, motivation and focus of the change team members, the less the higher the score
Commitment: two-stage measure, first the commitment of senior management and then that of employees, the less commitment the higher the score
Effort: the level of increased effort that employees must make to implement change, the more the higher the score
Integrity and senior commitment counts double, duration, effort and local level commitment single. The higher the score the less likely success.
Change is a continuing process of learning and accomplishment. The summary model of organizational change is presented on page 376.
Initial organizational analysis (WHAT needs to change)
WHY change, evident or not and to whom?
Vision for change
Dynamics of action planning and implementation
The future of organizations and organizational change processes
Barkema says all organizations will need to be global in orientation. Activities will be coordinated across borders and cultures and structures will be digitally enabled. Tight/loose controls both within and between firms are necessary.
Galbraith says strategy and structure will continue to be closely tight. Organizations will become increasingly customer oriented and focused. Routine work will disappear and companies will organize around opportunities and resources. In the customer-oriented organization there are three major parts: business units, international regions and customer accounts. They will be linked with lateral processes (teams and networks). Focused organizations will have subunits focused on costs, products, or customers.
Malone says that organizations will have benefits of both large and small organizations. Digital technologies will enable economics of scale and knowledge while preserving the freedom, creativity, motivation and flexibility of small organizations. There will be a shift from traditional centralized hierarchies to organizations of loose hierarchies, democracies and markets.
The table on page 385 summarizes the impact of organizational trends on organizational change and change agents.
Becoming an organizational change agent
There are two broad categories of change skills:
Technical skills (from functional training and experience)
General management skills (experience)
The table on page 388 shows how the skill development of change management.
Paradoxes in organization change
Maintain the momentum of change (requires simplification) while not dismissing the complexity of an organization’s environment.
Need to be simultaneously centralized and decentralized
Organization change involves both incremental/continuous and radical/discontinuous change and organizations may need to engage in both kinds.
The tension between participative involvement of many and the pressure to drive change from the top and center.
Orienting yourself to organization change
Every member of an organization will participate in organization change. Page 390 outlines 10 lessons that may provide a useful orientation related to you as a change leader or change agent.