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Burnes (1992) expressed that ‘change management is not a distinct discipline but rather, the theory and practice of change management draws on a number of social science disciplines and traditions’ (Kitchen & Daly, 2002). It is also defined as ‘the process of continually renewing an organization’s direction, structure, and capabilities to serve the ever-changing needs of external and internal customers’ (Moran & Brightman, 2000). A clear definition of change or change management / organisational is still lacking despite numerous definitions by authors (Struckman &Yammarino, 2003).
The purpose of this paper is to explore change leaders’ skills/abilities required in implementing change in various context or change management approach. In doing so, the nature of change encompassing the drivers, critical success factors (CSF), dilemmas of change and types of change is discussed to achieve a better understanding organisational change. The drive for change follows the cause-effect path set in Figure 1. The transformation needs attention to both the external and internal drivers of change (Anderson & Anderson, 2010). The Burke-Litwin model (Appendix 2) ranks them in terms of importance.
The model argues that all of the factors are integrated and interdependent which generally most authors agree to (Kitchen & Daly, 2002). However, there are authors claiming that technology, government and globalisation, competitionand corporate sustainability to be drivers for change (MGT8033, 2012). Based on the infinite arguments, it can be construed that state that the drivers of change are too many too list (Jick & Peiperl, 2011). Figure 1: The Drivers of Change Model (Anderson & Anderson, 2010) An organisation’s ability to survive the transformation is greatly influenced by its CSFs.
However, contradicting findings of the MIT study (Berger et al. , 1989) and Samson’s (1999) fourteen guiding principles (MGT 8033, 2012) is sighted. Researchers also identified communication, employees’ perception of the organisation’s ability to deal with change, planning and analysis and assessment as success factors (Chrusciel & Field, 2006). Soft success factors (innovativeness, creativity and intuition) build on the existing platform of hard success factors (quantity, diligence and productivity) and soft success factors are becoming competitive advantage (Bertoncelj et. l, 2009). Figure 2 lists the necessary conditions for a successful change based on a survey conducted in UK (McGreevy, 2009). Sound pre-planning Objectives of the change process aligned with organisational objectives Commitment from the top of the organisation to ensure that resources were available to manage the change effectively Commutations – explaining why the change was necessary Participation Applied project management Taking a measured approach to the roll out of the change programme Progress monitoring of results using the balanced scorecard
Figure 2: Conditions for successful change (Source: McGreevy, 2009) Organisation should also analyse the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ interventions of change as shown in Appendix 3 to ensure effective change programmes. Five dilemmas of change that have characterised decision about organisational change, viz. adaptive or rational strategy development, cultural or structural change, continuous improvement or radical transformation, empowerment or leadership and command and economic or social goals was identified (Stace & Dunphy, 2001).
To handle such dilemmas, the scale of change model (Appendix 4), which uses the influence of culture and power was created by Stace and Dunply. The model also suggests there is no particular way of implementing change that will work in all situations (MGT8033, 2012). Organisation structure can vary along a number of dimensions in the form of bureaucratic, functional, matrix or network structure. The choice of structure is influenced by an organisation’s strategy, its size and the technology used.
As an organisation changes its strategy to respond to PEST factors in its external environment, so should its structure change to maintain the strategy-structure relationship (Senior, 2002). To allow organisational survival, organisations tend to favour flatter and more flexible ways of working compared to hierarchical organisational forms and bureaucratic control systems which can be a hindrance to change (Collier & Esteban, 2000). The drivers of change are the primary determining factor of the type of change an organisation is to lead – developmental, transitional or transformational, presented in Appendix 5 (Dick & Peiperl, 2011).
Development change is an improvement in an organisation’s existing way of operating to ensure efficient business (Anderson & Anderson, 2010) It happens when firms continually scan their internal and external environments while avoiding radical, infrequent scale change (Gilley et. al 2009) to increase competitive advantage. Transitional change occurs when a problem is recognised in the current reality that needs to be solved with a new way of operating (Anderson & Anderson, 2010) which represents small, gradual even incremental changes in people, policies, procedures, technology, culture or structure (Gilley et. l 2009). The most widespread type of change occurring in today’s corporate world is transformation change which happens when the organisation identifies that is existing was of operating cannot meet market demands. This calls for content changes that are far more radical (Anderson & Anderson, 2010). Successful transformational changes have been positively linked to increased competitiveness, although extreme and sometimes revolutionary (Gilley et. al, 2009). ‘It is represented by a radical conceptualization of the organisation’s mission, culture and CSFs, form leadership and the like’ (Dick & Peiperl, 2011).
Cooper and Arygris (1998) claim organisational change can ‘take many forms – it can be planned or unplanned, incremental or radical, and recurrent or unprecedented’. Continuous change assumes gradual shifts whereas discontinuous change is much more dramatic which changes the nature of whole industries and economies (Kitchen & Daly, 2002). Radical change normally happens after a prolonged performance decline or major environmental change (Beugelsdijk et. al. , 2002). This type of change involves processes, technologies or knowledge that require new ways of operating for the adaptation to be successful (Street & Gallupe, 2009).
It suggests the use of authoritative power to force change in a rapid way to address organisational and environmental fit or intra organisational fit (MGT8033, 2012). Figure 3: Radical or revolutionary change (Source: MGT8033, 2012) Incremental change is a process whereby individual parts of an organisation deal incrementally and separately with one problem and one goal at a time by responding to internal and external environments. However, incremental change limits the need of fast or fundamental change when required and Burnes (2000) identifies that it can lead to a slow death.
While some writers deem that this approach is relatively unimportant, others identify that it can be part of an overall plan to transform an organisation (MGT8033, 2012). Evidences are clear that Japanese companies have an enviable track of achieving fierce competitiveness through pursuing this approach. It avoids both stagnation of doing little or nothing (Burnes, 2004). Figure 4: Incremental change (Source: MGT8033, 2012) The punctuated equilibrium model (Figure 5) suggests that change is discontinuous. It is argued that, with a few exceptions, most organisations experience change as a pattern of punctuated equilibrium.
Contrary to opinion cited in Burnes (2000) which suggested that this model of change has been rejected due to lack of empirical support (MGT 8033, 2012), numerous case histories offer support for this model (Hayes, 2010). Tushman and Romanelli (1985) proposed an interaction between radical and incremental change, making use of this model, conducting a case study on Heineken, Inc. and concluded that organisational change process that consists of initial radical change was succeeded by incremental change (Beugelsdijk et. al. , 2002). Figure 5: Punctuated equilibrium model of change (Source: MGT8033, 2012)
Proponents argue that continuous transformational change model (Figure 6) is vital for organisational survival and they must develop the ability to transform themselves continuously in a fundamental manner. This is particularly the case in fast-moving industry sectorssuch as Intel, Wal-Mart, 3M, Hewlett-Packard and Gillette where the ability to change rapidly and continuously. Continuous transformation to be able to keep aligned with the constant, rapid, radical and unpredictable changing environments in which organisations operate is the rationale for this model (Brown & Eisenhardt, 1997).
Figure 6: Transformational change model (Source: MGT8033, 2012) Appendix 6 illustrates a framework of an organisational change which allows approaches to change to be matched to environmental conditions and organisational constraints (Burnes, 2004). Armenakis and Bedeain (1999) identified three factors common to all change efforts – content, contextual and process issues (Walker et. al. , 2007) The change models previously examined suggests and relates to the need to review associated leader skills (Gilley et al. , 2009).
In Saka (2003), Buchanan and Badham (1999) define change agent as a manager who seeks ‘to reconfigure an organisation’s roles, responsibilities, structures, outputs, processes, systems, technology or other resources’. Burnes (2004) defines change agents as ‘the people responsible for directing, organising and facilitating change in organisations’. Pettigrew and Whipp (1991) describe change agents as ‘individuals operating at various levels and holding differing ranks within an organization, ensuring that there is both operational and strategic change capacity’ (Massey & Williams, 2006).
Evidences suggest interpersonal skills drawn on leaders’ abilities to motivate, communicate and build teams will increase leaders’ success with change. Organisational leaders strongly influence the work environment via constant interpersonal interactions. Motivating employees, communicating effectively, and creating environments in which team thrive are each positively and significantly associated with effectively leading change. Kark and VanDijk’s (2007) find that a leader’s ability to create a work environment that enhances employee motivation proves critical.
Similarly, Luecke (2003) claims that effective communications are necessary to cultivate and used as an effective tool for motivating employees involved in change. LaFasto and Larson (2001) also stated that building teams requires leaders with good communication and motivation skills. It is clear that motivation, communication and teambuilding skills are interrelated and complementary. Hence, deployment of such interpersonal skills to fully engage employees and cultivate and lead a successful change is important.
Leaders’ deliberate and disciplined actions, grounded in a solid base of interpersonal skills, enable effective change (Gilley et al, 2009). Gilsdorf (1998) claims that many mistakes in change management programmes is associated with communication breakdown. According to Hargie and Tourish (1993), the quality of communication between the people who make up an organisation is ‘a crucial variable determining organisational success’. Kotter claims that clear communication to employees is critical to the successful management of change.
Communication is regarded as key issue in the successful implementation of change programmes (Kitchen & Daly, 2002). As constant communication and motivation is required to engage employees throughout the various context and change phases, the need to use these skills must be also constant throughout to achieve effective change programmes. Change can trigger a wide range of positive and negative responses and poses significant challenges both to those who implement and those are affected by the change.
Evidences shows that employees tend to resist organisational change in general. Literatures propose that a change leader with high emotional intelligence will promote the use of constructive conflict resolution skills and strategies and lessen the possibility of destructive conflict strategies. Goleman (1998) suggested that individuals with high emotional intelligence will have superior conflict resolution skills, though this statement has not been supported with research (Jordan & Troth, 2002).
Resolving conflict skills is needed most during a radical/revolution change, the initial staff of a punctuated equilibrium change approach and continuous transformational change due to the rapid and unpredictable manner of change management and the possibility of experience high resistance amongst employees. Research has shown that visionary leadership positively affects business outcomes and follower perceptions of leadership effectiveness.
Given convincing empirical support for the impact of visionary leadership on positive organisational outcomes, scholars claim that interpersonal skills and competencies are necessary for demonstrating visionary leadership behaviors. Recently, Bass (2002) noted that several aspects of emotional intelligence are critical for transformational leaders who score highly on visionary leadership and individualised consideration. Effective visionary leadership requires leaders to provide a clear and compelling sense of direction which is important in times of rapid change for organisations.
However, not all situations where this kind of leadership is needed are identical. Michael Dell and Bill Gates are two examples of men who saw a reality different from others in the computer business. Visionary skills involves mentally modelling performance, focusing on the positive – sometimes incremental – steps necessary to achieve acceptable results considering the capabilities and constraints of oneself and the organisation (Gilley, 2005). Visionary skill is most needed during a continuous transformation change and incremental change.
Organisations need to be equipped to reengineer their strategic priorities at speed which leads to re-evaluating the quality and effectiveness of their decision-making processes when confronted with exceptional instability in current business context. The key to success in doing this is predictive analysis – using quantitative methods to derive actionable insights and outcomes from data which brings about the need for a change leader to be analytical and able to diagnose in drawing conclusions and making decisions.
Analytical leaders in Google, Tesco Best Buy and Caesars Entertainment Corp. are realising powerful benefits of being able to predict market trends, identify customer behaviours and pinpoint workforce staffing requirements (Gilley, 2005). However, an executive vice president for a large health insurer in Pennsylvania states recognises that analytical capabilities on its own do not help to create competitive advantage (Harris & Craig, 2011). Strategy shapes an organisation’s long term direction and actions, including changes required to achieve planned results.
Leaders with strategic thinking skills hold a global ‘big picture’ perspective of an organisation could with an understanding of the interrelatedness of its numerous parts. A strategic approach to change appreciated that change creates change, causes a ripple effect, and may yield solutions that are tomorrow’s problems which change leaders need to anticipate and plan for (Gilley, 2005). The decision to radically change the distribution system in Heineken by Freddy Heineken can be seen as a controlled form of organisational change.
This coincides with the view on organisational change that can be labelled ‘rational adaptation theory’. According to this view, organisational change is the result of a designed change in strategy of individuals in an organisation in response to environmental changes, threats and opportunities. The anticipation of future developments in the beer market made Heineken’s CEO decide to change the distribution system radically (Beugelsdijk et. al. , 2002). Traditional models of growth have often emphasised maximising revenue generation through increased capital expenditures.
However, there is a trend towards achieving organisational growth by exploiting the understanding of the relationships between an organisation and its environment in order to solve problems and revamp itself. Organisational development (OD) is the new way through which organisations can continuously improve on their activities and increase their long term prospects which organisations develop by adopting a series of planned intervention strategies that aim to enhance the effectiveness of the organisations (Mulili & Wong, 2011).
Schein (1988) stated that organisations have continually to achieve ‘external adaptation and internal integration’ (Senior, 2002). Recognising and understanding leadership and management functions itself does not guarantee success – a variety of skills, ability, knowledge and aptitude are needed to implement change well. The specific knowledge, skills and competencies within each broad category are by no means mutually exclusive to each dimension – they often overlap.
Successful change leaders must be able to make sense of change contexts and deploy knowledge and core competencies appropriately. No two change scenarios are exactly the same; hence, the requisite combination of one’s skills and competencies are unique to each situation (Gilley, 2005). It can be concluded that a change leader is required to exercise all the skills in various change approaches / context, discussed earlier in this paper. However, the degree of skill required may vary depending on the phases of change – an example is illustrated in Appendix 1 (Part B).
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