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Responding to change in the business world is a key function of leadership. Leadership exists at different levels within an organisation. The way each level copes with change and directs the transformation determines how the whole organisation will change and sustain the change.

Individuals often respond to change by resisting it, and elegant change agents recognize that being violent only makes people progressively more suspicious. Here are three ways to move around the defenses and closer to your goal:

Find another way in. If your change is rebuffed, try another tactic. Find out what matters to the people whose support you need and shift the focus of the change to take their preferences and goals into account.

Befriend people closest to your resisters. Make friends with administrative assistants, direct reports, or other people who spend time with them. These relationships often yield useful information and help get your ideas heard.

Go bottom up. If senior management is resisting your idea, start from the bottom of the organization and build grassroots support. With enough backing, you may be able to convince leaders to reconsider.

In that sense, the three tips on how to overcome change are a bit simplistic for me. And, less because they are only three (I would live to come up with a 3-step formula for change).

A problem I have with these three specific tips is linked to the initial statement "People often react to change by resisting it" to which the strategies are related (Soltani, E., Lai, P., and Mahmoudi, V., 2007).

I believe that the main reason why change efforts fail is exactly this attitude of change managers: We have the solution (because we are smart), and the people are the problem. I would like to turn that around: People have the solution because they are smart, and the managers are the problem (www.change-management-blog.com). Then, the three tips would read like this:

Locate another way in: Create containers in which persons can discuss what matters to them, to their working place, their team, their company, and the industry.

Befriend people closest to the champions and supporters and let them drive the change.

Go base up. In any case, begin from the underside of the association and build grassroots support. Involve everybody, even senior management.

Transforming organisations - the importance of leadership and culture in managing change


Modify in organisations covers a vast field of business activity, generally aimed at improving performance and productivity. This can be achieved in different ways - through growth, innovation and skills development; through downsizing, layoffs and replacements; through shifts in assets, resources or market shares; or through a combination of these. However, the way in which an organisation is transformed, and the way in which that transformation is managed, depends almost exclusively on the style of leadership and the culture of the organisation (Higgs, M., & Rowland, D., 2005, June).

The study of leadership in the sense of 'what makes and breaks a good leader' has a long history. Ideas first put forward by Aristotle and Plato in 300 BC still have credence in the 21st century. However, worldwide rearrangement, outsourcing, as well as the drive for constant innovation, create new challenges for leadership. New approaches to work and efficiency can overturn traditional ideas and raise questions such as: What sort of leadership is appropriate in a networking age? Where does power in organisations lie? Is it shifting from those with charisma to those with knowledge? Would an increase of women in leadership roles challenge a predominantly 'androcentric' view of leadership, and therefore produce a different style of leadership? What kind of culture in an organisation will support and enhance good leadership? And how can good leadership and an appropriate culture help achieve successful organisational transformation (www.eurofound.europa.eu)?

Scene setting

In today's corporate environment leaders face significant challenges:

Business is more complex, customised and competitive;

The 'war for talent' means that people are more important than strategies;

The declining supply of executives is accompanied by greater job mobility among this group;

The rise of the knowledge economy and reliance on technology;

The potential pitfalls of dispersed and virtual working teams

The increasing interest of investors in 'intangibles'.

The company case studies offered very different angles to these issues. For each of the four stories presented at the seminar, participants were invited to look at context, culture and change and to consider the following questions (www.eurofound.europa.eu):

What business is it in? What are the drivers of change?

What type of organisation is it? Networked? Hierarchical? Where does the power lie?

What is the organisation's leadership style? How and where is it exercised? Are different parts of the business characterised differently?

What is the leadership structure? How are decisions reached? Is this appropriate for its mission/role/purpose?

How has the organisation's culture changed to meet the shifting environment? How does it plan to change?

What do you know about the organisation's people? What is the approach to employees?

Characteristics of leadership

The word 'leadership' is Nordic in origin and means one who sets instructions. Numerous times during the seminar, the participants highlighted the characteristics of a leader. The company case examples pinpointed the fact that leaders always take advantage of key opportunities for change, but may do so with different styles (Burke, W. W., 2002). A leader can be:

a compelling, godlike, figure representing power and control;

a hero/ine: a visionary leader who inspires trust and loyalty;

a 'fixer' who makes everything alright;

a steersman/woman who sets directions;

a coach and mentor functioning as facilitator;

A good mother/father who acts as a caring and competent manager of the company, taking care of all aspects of the company including emotional and organisational issues.

It was usually agreed that leadership, and styles of leadership, play a critical role in driving change, but that there were different sources of leadership and that the definition of leadership varied from situation to situation.

How leaders achieve successful change

In setting the scene for the seminar, John Symons drew the attention of participants to two main dimensions of leadership:

Concern for the task; and

Concern for the people you are relying on to achieve the task.

Leaders achieve successful change by constantly balancing these two dimensions. In this context, 'successful' means not only reaching objectives but also staying with and sustaining the change until such times as other objectives take their place. Glaxo agreed that the presence of clear corporate values provides a touchstone when the company and its workforce are engaged in a change process. How these values are described, and the degree to which they express concern for the task or concern for people, varies from Glaxo to GlaxoSmithKline (A joint venture company) (www.eurofound.europa.eu).


Analysing Organisational Change

Several features of change need to be understood.

Organisations are not wholly static entities. Change is an everyday phenomenon.

Complexity is increasing and unpredictability is a problem. Certain changes that may seem simple and obvious will often have complex 'knock-on' effects on other parts of the organisation; for example, the appointment of a new marketing director may herald changes to the product mix of an organisation which affect operations, training, customer's attitudes and so on. This may eventually affect a whole range of functions like R&D, personnel, or procurement.

Changes may be welcomed, accepted, rejected or ignored by those 'on the receiving end'.

The dynamism and complexity of the change process is one of the major factors underpinning the development of organisational theory, and change management theory as explored in this module (www.bola.biz).

Change management is often conceived in terms of:




A common view is that decisions leading to outcomes within the change management process stem from rational planning activity. However, commonsense experience and systematic study suggest that the notion of rational planning does not provide accurately represent what actually happens when organisations change. Thus we need to see how contemporary change theory fills the gap between theoretical accounts that lean towards assertion of "the rational" and change management as it is experienced. This module explores these different approaches and their diagnostic techniques and tools of implementation (Szamosi, L. T., 1999, June).

Metaphors and Images

Theories of organisation vary in their underpinning assumptions about the nature of organisations and how the 'human factor' works. Morgan highlights many 'images' or ways of looking at organisations (www.bola.biz). He argues that organisations may be viewed as:




Societies and cultures

Political systems

Psychic prisons

Instruments of domination

'Autopoietic' systems (i.e. self-organising, self-renewing systems of constant flux).

These images or metaphors offer ways of 'interpreting', analysing, explaining and intervening in organisations. The "machine" metaphor is ideally suited to understanding those organisations which (Van de Ven, A. H., & Poole, M. S., 1995):

Inhabit stable environments

Have routinised tasks

Clear lines of command and control.

Bureaucracy: the good, the bad, the ugly

Organisational weakness and the cranky, costly and frustrating irritations of dysfunctional bureaucratic structures that struggle to compete in a turbulent, competitive marketplace, is an ever present concern in the managerial domain. Is it an every present concern in the employee or customer or legal domain also?

Evaluation criteria for measuring organisational effectiveness may range across:

speed, quality and value for money

the bringing of benefit and opportunity to less advantaged groups

concern over proper conduct and control over whimsical, unfair or corrupt behaviour

the location of accountability for responsible actions and transparency in terms of decisions that are made and how/why they are made

The logic and rationality of the policies, rules and procedures which give direction to the organisation and shape the actions of members of the organisation who subscribe to its purposes and values.

When we talk of dysfunctional bureaucracy, 'red-tape', and frustrations with the unhelpful, rule-bound conformity of the bureaucrat and the management of change, we typically talk of seeking (www.bola.biz):

adaptation to ensure survival and sustainability

improved productivity and efficiencies (the economic and productive imperative)

better managerial control and coordination

Organisational forms that encourage flexible, creative endeavour and empower members of the organisation to be problem-solvers in the organisation's interests and the interests of its customers or clients (Beckhard, R., & Harris, R. T., 1987).


Mechanistic and organismic forms

Burns and Stalker (1961) distinguish between mechanistic and organic organisational firms, arguing that organic firms are inherently more suited to change. By 'mechanistic' they meant organisations characterised by a number of attributes including the following:

specialised differentiation of functional tasks, a tight division of labour

precise definitions attached teach functional role

clear delegation of responsibility

centralisation of knowledge and decision making

Hierarchic structure of control, authority and communication.

'Mechanistic organisations' clearly have many features in common with bureaucratic organisations. At the other end of the continuum are 'organic' organisations characterised by factors such as:

much greater flexibility

adjustment and frequent redefinition of tasks

spread of commitment throughout the organisation

Lateral communication consisting of information and advice rather than instructions or decisions from on high.

Closed, highly formalised structures are by definition less suited to turbulent changes in the operating environment than informal organic structures.

However, it can be argued that neither organic nor mechanistic images of organisation are able to capture the real complexity of organisational life. They are either/or images, but organisational life is dynamic, unstable, ambiguous and difficult to grasp. 'Mechanistic' outcomes are evident notably in the areas where fast decision-making powers are vested in the general manager and the hierarchic structure of control, authority and communication is being strengthened. On the other hand, there are a number of beneficial 'organic' consequences of general management, including expanding fields of responsibility and inducing increased commitment throughout the service (Beckhard, R.F., and R.T. Harris, 1987).

The extent to which these apparently contradictory outcomes can be simultaneous' achieved is debatable. What is clear is that, in the attempt to attain them, general managers will need to balance the cultural benefits of flexibility and commitment against the structural benefits of authority and control. In operational terms, there is frequently an imbalance between one and the other; never a balance.

Taylor, Ford and the Management of Change

Taylorism, (tight controls, financial reward, division of labour and routinised methods) tended to encourage rigid organisational forms. The structures associated with this 'paradigm' favour machine substitution for labour, deskilling and inhibited creativity. Employees must adapt to fit the demands of the technology they are working with.

However, this view underestimates the dynamic character of Taylor's system as it evolved in capitalist and communist economies. 'Taylorism' has been in a state of constant evolution since its adoption in the early 20th century. The notion of Fordism is merely a further rationalisation and refinement in the division of labour (Bridges, W., and S. Mitchell, 2002).

A mechanical approach to designing work arrangements and operational systems works well where:

tasks are straight forward and can be usefully routinised

the product mix is stable, like baking bread

there is high-volume production, like whiskey production or call centre services

Employees are compliant and willingly work as they are asked e.g. the post office, the army.

They have noted some factors often given as reasons for initiating change within organisations. The late 20th and early 21st centuries are characterised by profound economic, political and technological changes which strongly bear on work organisations. Managers are pushed to seek ways to make organisations more competitive. This context becomes the driving force behind a paradigm shift - as suggested by commentators such as Kanter and Quinn. Both question the bureaucratic form and argue that we are witnessing its final demise (highly doubtful). Yet their argument that a revolution in our assumptions about the way in which organisations are structured and run is plausible.


Develop systems for understanding and involving others in the process of change


Sometimes companies may be unaware that they are making any assumptions about the nature of change, the nature of the organization, or the implication of the intervention being made in terms of the theory of motivation. It will require the involved individuals to identify such assumptions and consider how far that may affect the conclusions drawn about the outcome of the change program. Change management must be planned carefully by managers in an organization, most importantly by the senior management. The vital importance of change management in today's competitive climate has been widely investigated. Many organizations have undertaken the business process reengineering projects to reorganize one or more part of their operations (http://ivythesis.typepad.com). This thesis results from a case study of Glaxo, a large Pakistan's pharmaceutical manufacturing company, to improve the inventory level and effective the production cycle time in order to enhance the company's performance. A radical change management process was designed by Glaxo and they focus on a major change in the Supply Chain System. It was an immediate success and reenergized the company through the implementation stage (Cameron, Esther, and Mike Green, 2004).

Change is the process of going from one state to another as for example, when Glaxo brings in a systems analyst to model the existing structure, Glaxo is likely wanted a new supply chain system to be implemented, thus creating change in embracing it, creating massive change in companies across the globe. Moreover, it could be a reality that Glaxo will be resisting certain changes in lieu to its workforce, as for Glaxo change can be a negative indicator as the company will change its system and employees or staff might feel that their jobs are being threatened for instance, through the implementation of certain supply chain process and a good change management is crucial for the company from such unplanned changes in the business.


Glaxo had adopted Prosci's change management methodology

Prosci's change management methodology is based on research with over 1600 participants over the last ten years. What is unique about the methodology is that it comes from real project leaders and teams reflecting on what worked, what did not and what they would do differently on their next projects. At its core, Prosci's methodology is the collective lessons learned by those introducing change across the globe. Based on this research, Prosci's goal has been to develop a methodology that is holistic and at the same time easy to use (Carnall, C.A, 1990). The resulting process, tools and assessments have been developed with one goal in mind: that Glaxo can put them to use on your projects, building their own internal change management skill set. Below is a high-level overview of Prosci's methodology.

Key principles:

Change management requires both an individual and an organizational perspective

ADKAR presents an easy-to-use model for individual change

The 3-phase process gives structure to the steps project teams should take

ADKAR presents an easy-to-use model for individual change

The first step in managing any type of organizational change understands how to manage change with a single individual. Prosci's model of individual change is called ADKAR - an acronym for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. In essence, to make a change successfully an individual needs (www.change-management.com):

Ability to implement required skills and behaviors

Reinforcement to sustain the change

Awareness of the need for change

Desire to participate and support the change

Knowledge on how to change

ADKAR describes successful change at the individual level. When an organization undertakes an initiative, that change only happens when the employees who have to do their jobs differently can say with confidence, "Glaxo have the Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement to make this change happen."

Because it outlines the goals or outcomes of successful change, ADKAR is an effective tool for:

Developing corrective actions

Supporting managers and supervisors

Planning change management activities

Diagnosing gaps


Plan to implement models for ensuring ongoing change


Phase 1 - Preparing for change

The first phase in Prosci's methodology is intended at accomplishment organized. It answers the question: "how much change management is needed for this specific project?" The first phase provides the situational awareness that is critical for effective change management.

Glaxo Outputs of Phase 1:

Change management team structure

Change management strategy

Organizational attributes profile

Change characteristics profile

Sponsor assessment, structure and roles

Glaxo Phase 2: Managing change

The second phase of Prosci's process is purposeful on creating the tactics that are integrated into the project activities, what people characteristically think of when they converse about change management. Based on Prosci's research, there are five plans that should be created to help individuals move through the ADKAR Model.

Glaxo Outputs of Phase 2:

Communication plan

Sponsor roadmap

Training plan

Coaching plan

Resistance management plan

Glaxo Phase 3: Reinforcing change

Equally critical but most often overlooked, the third phase of Prosci's process helps Glaxo project teams create specific action plans for ensuring that the change is sustained. In this phase, Glaxo project teams develop measures and mechanisms to see if the change has taken hold, to the see if employees are actually doing their jobs the new way and to celebrate success.

Outputs of Phase 3 at Glaxo:

Individual and group recognition approaches

Success celebrations

After action review

Reinforcement mechanisms

Compliance audit reports

Corrective action plans

The linkage between individual change management and organizational change management of Glaxo is the key and is what sets Prosci's approach apart from other change management methodologies (www.change-management.com).


In today's deregulating and more and more spirited industry situation, managerial change is flattering predictable. Today's winning organizations are experiencing transitions in the areas of skill, procedure reengineering, mergers, and directorial reformation in order to remain spirited. However, even though these areas crash workforce at all levels of the concern, senior management often overlooks this fact. Therefore, it is imperative that company management understands the impact of organizational change on employees and manages these effects accordingly. By doing so, organizational leaders minimize the negative impact change has on productivity and performance.

Successful enriching incorporation

The implications for ensuring as flat as probable cultural incorporation comprise Glaxo employees perceiving the new culture as more attractive and superior to their old one. This can be done by supplying employees with culture-relevant information (which alone can reduce culture clash issues), stressing the superior nature of the newly integrated culture, and preferably indicating that there will be an increase in autonomy and Glaxo employee participation (supplementary gorgeous).

Reduce merger stress

The above implications (re-establishing identity, distinctiveness and reducing the difficulties with cultural integration) are likely to have some effect in reducing the stress knowledgeable during the merger. To effectively reduce the stress experienced by the Glaxo employees, specific stress interventions should be matched to different phases of the GlaxoSmithKline merger implementation. For example, in the early stages there should be open communication, followed by stress management workshops, and individual counselling during the middle stages. In the final stages, an integration team should be set up with managers from all three corporations (to increase feelings of fairness and also the feeling that they have an influence on the changes that will result from the merger).

Turnover & the surviving employees

The trouble recognized concerning proceeds (both voluntary and involuntary) imply that career advice and retraining opportunities should be made available to those leaving the organization. This not only provides the remaining employees with information about the organization's values but also how fairly employees will be treated in the future.

Conversation for change

True change comes about naturally and constantly through people in their attempt to make sense of their experiences. This involves dialogue. Change cannot be imposed; it must be generated through people in the course of their everyday interaction. An increasingly common and highly effective strategy for facilitating transformational change is to simply get people in conversation with each other about the kind of organization they wish to work for, about what works well and how to take this presumptuous. Conversation opportunities are created through informal and formal (staged) means, all with the purpose of engaging people from all parts and levels of the company in discussing, envisioning and translating rhetoric into their everyday reality. For example, an aspired to organizational image of 'valuing diversity' can be unpacked (made sense of) in focus group discussions and translated into real everyday job terms (Helms-Mills, J., Dye, K., and Mills, A.J., 2009).

It is clear that a merger is not something that happens merely to organizations, but something that happens to people in the organizations. It is necessary for people implementing mergers to focus on the human side as much as the financial side. Hopefully then we may see a decrease in the number of failed organizations.


Burke, W. W. (2002). Organization change: Theory and practice (p. 148). London: Sage.

Szamosi, L. T. (1999, June). A new perspective on the organizational change process: Developing a model of revolutionary change and a measure of organizational support for revolutionary change (p. 15). Unpublished PhD Thesis, Carleton University.


Beckhard, R., & Harris, R. T. (1987). Organizational transitions: Managing complex change. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.


Beckhard, R.F., and R.T. Harris. Organizational Transitions: Managing Complex Change. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1987.


Bridges, W., and S. Mitchell. "Leading Transition: A New Model for Change." In On Leading Change. F. Hesselbein and R. Johnston, eds. New York: Jossey-Bass, 2002.

Cameron, Esther, and Mike Green. Making Sense of Change Management: A Complete Guide to the Models, Tools, & Techniques of Organizational Change. Sterling, VA: Kogan Page, 2004.


Stacey, Ralph D. Strategic Management and Organisational Dynamics: The Challenge of Complexity. London: Pitman Publishing, 1993.

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Nadler, David, Michael L. Tushman, and Mark B. Nadler. Competing by Design: The Power of Organizational Architecture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

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Soltani, E., Lai, P., and Mahmoudi, V. (2007) "Managing Change Initiatives: Fantasy or Reality? The Case of Public Sector Organizations", Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, Vol. 18, No. 1, 153-179.

Higgs, M., & Rowland, D. (2005, June). All changes great and small: Exploring approaches to change and its leadership. Journal of Change Management, (5)2, 121-151.


Task 1:

Explore the background to change affecting the current organisation

1.1 Discuss the background to change that exists in today's economy that motivated your organisation to consider Change

1.2 Theoretically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of bureaucratic organizations

1.3 Theoretically compare alternative forms of organizational development

Task 2:

Develop systems for understanding and involving others in process of change

2.1 Identify the key Stakeholder in your organisation and Develop systems to involve those stakeholders in the introduction of change

2.2 Analyse and evaluate these systems which you had used to involve the key stakeholder in change process

Task 3:

Plan to implement models for ensuring ongoing change

3.1 Identify number of appropriate models for change that suites your organisation

3.2 How would you go ahead in implementing one or more model(s) in your chosen organisation and what improvements do you expect to achieve by implementing your chosen model(s)