Making sense of a change in management


This report is about making sense of change management. The world we live in continues to change at an intense rate. Not a day goes by; it seems, without another important discovery or boundary pushing invitation in the scientific fields. The economic of globalization seems to dominate much of our political and corporate thinking, while the shadow side of globalization refugees, exploitation, terrorism and the like develops at an equally alarming pace.

The rate of the change and discovery outpaces our individual ability to keep up with it. The organizations we work in or rely on to meet our needs and wants are also changing dramatically, in terms of their strategies, their structures , their systems , their boundaries and of course their expectation of their staff and their managers.

The impact of organizational change can be found everywhere is an under statement. To understand this important process, we examine it from several key perspectives in this report. First we describe the nature of this process, include the forces that require organizations to change. Then we focus on changes that are more deliberate and describe what is know as strategic planning, which involves deliberately making radical changes in how organization operates.

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Most people having difficulty accepting they may have to change the people they work with and even the basic nature of their jobs. After all if you are accustomed to working a certain way, sudden changes can be very unsettling. in other words, for various reasons, people resist change. Fortunately, however such resistance can be over come. With this in mind, social scientists have developed various methods, which are known collectively as organizational development techniques, to implement needed organizational change in a manner that is acceptable to employees and that enhances the effectiveness of the organization.

What is organizational change?

Organizational change is any action or set of actions resulting in a shift in direction or process that affects the way an organization works. Change can be deliberate and planned by leaders with in the organization or change can originate outside the organization and be beyond its control.

Change may affect the strategies an organization uses to carry out its mission, the processes for implementing those strategies, the tasks and functions performed by the people in the organization, and the relationships between those people. Naturally, some changes are relatively small; while others are sweeping in scope, amounting to an organizational transformation.

Change is a fact of organizational life, just as it is in human life. An organization that does not change cannot survive long much less thrive in an unpredictable world. Several factors may make organizational change necessary, including new competition in the marketplace or new demands by customers. These types of external forces may create expectations of improved efficiency, better service, or innovative products. When organizational change is well planned and implemented, it helps assure the organizations continued survival. It can produce many tangible benefits, including improved competitiveness, better financial performance, and higher levels of customer and employee satisfaction. These benefits may take some time to achieve, however, and the transition period that accompanies major organizational change usually is a time of upheaval and uncertainty. Not every individual in the organization will benefit personally from change; some will be casualties of change, especially if jobs are cut or realigned. But change should make the organization as a whole stronger and better equipped for the future.


Benefits and Significance

The subject matter holds a tremendous importance for both individual and organization. Let us discuss some of the benefits from organization perspective.

Understanding environment (society, government, customers)

It is important for organization to understand, assess and gauge the dynamics in its external environment in order to envisage and establish an appropriate relationship with various actors like government, customers and society. Therefore managers by knowing the subject of change management can better be prepared to understand whatever is going on in the environment.

Objectives, strategy formulation & implementation (to develop competitive advantage)

Second is consequent upon knowing the impact of change at extraneous level on its own internal dynamics, and the foremost is objective setting and seeking competitive advantage.

Employees (trained, high performing work practices, reliable organisation)

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The employees are the recipient of change plan. One such perpetual concern of senior managers is to make organization highly reliable, therefore employees ought to be trained and high performing one in today's hyper competitive world.

Technology Issues

Technology is considered the engine of growth in today's world. Perhaps the greatest challenge for contemporary organizations is the acquisition and integration of technology in its strategy, structure and process. As such the concern of top managers is how to avoid organization being obsolete and how to hope and absorb the impact of changing information and communication technologies which have decisively influencing production and consumption behaviour?


The management of international economic and political forces what is today known as internationalisation and globalisation is yet another important factor influencing decision making of organization. No organization or nation can stay independent and indifferent to what ever is happening at international (political) level. For instance the impact of September 11 events have been tremendous on the economies and organizations of developing countries like Pakistan. Similarly supra - national institutions are becoming more assertive over nation states not only in political terms but also on social issues like child labour and gender issues. So government and states are considered somewhat less sovereign in imposing their will over their subjects (individual and organizations) against the ever increasing and complex interdependencies amongst states. For example the compulsions and legal provisions of international treaties like WTO and ISO certification regimes have decisively influenced

the organizations and economies of the developing world. Hence imperative for managers, CEOs and entrepreneurs from smaller or larger organizations alike, of different sectors of economy, is to understand the complexities of globalisation and its impact on organization' business.


Traditional management domain

Another way to look at the subject is from traditional management perspective and thinking of organizational transformation. For instance change in the PODC techniques, thereby following universal or benchmarked practices. Therefore change means variation in following techniques

Planning - Setting objectives

- Implementation of policies

- Decision-making

Organizing - Formal & informal organisation

- Departmentation

- Hierarchy

- Authority- responsibility relationship

- Span of control etc.

Directing - Leading

- Leadership styles

- Motivation theories

Controlling - Direct & formal control

- Indirect & informal control

Strategic management domain

Within the strategic domain we have two concerns: One is Strategy formulation, that is formulating mission, vision and objectives after going through environmental assessment (a key feature of strategic management), and second pertains to strategy implementation means organisation structure, culture and politics. While the whole focus of the popular framework of strategic management is the development and sustenance of competitive advantage of a firm or organization, at multiple levels of strategy making - functional, business, corporate and societal levels.

McKinsey Seven S-Framework

One of the leading management consultants in America, and is widely quoted in management literature, has following dimensions for change to make organization a highly productive one. These are:

1. Strategy - sustained competitive advantage

2. Structure - who reports to whom or how work is divided

3. System - operations & core processes

4. Style - leadership style

5. Staff - employees/ Human resources

6. Shared values - beliefs, mindsets

7. Skills - capabilities and competencies

Change management model

The change model presented here is the Tran theoretical Model (TTM) coupled with key components of Lewin's Change Theory. This approach to

Organizational change focuses attention on the individual with the assumption that

Organizational change is the collective change of many individuals along the same path. Because many are not familiar with these theories of organizational change, the change model will be described in some detail, including implications for the research processes and the implementation design.

Change management definitions

The simplest definition of change management is;

"Making change in a planned and managed fashion".

Today's proliferation of digital media is making the conscious practice of change management more important than it was only a few years ago.

Organizational change can be defined as;

"Any alteration in people, structure or technology"

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Although change has always been a part of manager's job, it has become even more important in recent years. ( Maggie 2007)


Changes in an organization can often be identified as one of four types, with the definite possibility of overlap among them:

Operational changes affect the way the ongoing operations of the business are conducted, such as the automation of a particular area.

Strategic changes occur in the strategic business direction, e.g., moving from an inpatient to an outpatient focus.

Cultural changes affect the basic organizational philosophies by which the business is conducted, e.g., implementing a continuous quality improvement (CQI) system.

Political changes in staffing occur primarily for political reasons of various types, such as those that occur at top patronage job levels in government agencies

Stages of Change

These are simple definitions with some information on how the stage might be

Identified through the behaviour exhibited while in that stage of change.

• Pre contemplation - "You are in a state of benign ignorance where you think what you don't know won't hurt you" (web 1). The situation is totally outside the individual's frame of awareness or outside their perceived need. Therefore, there is no problem because there is no awareness of the situation as it might pertain to them. Obviously, there is no intention to change at this stage and defences may be raised if pushed to change.

• Contemplation - Some level of awareness of the problem has been attained and the individual is starting to search for more information. While the search may not be very active or focused, there is some willingness to learn more. There is some knowledge of the benefits, but a large degree of fear of the unknown and the amount of work that may be needed. These feelings lead to procrastination. If forced to change, defences remain in place leading to compliance that is not lasting. The individual may welcome assistance in clarifying cost/benefit tradeoffs and suggestions on how to change.

• Preparation - A decision has been made for future action, but the individual is not yet prepared to actually take the action now. Additional thought is needed on the individual steps that need to be taken prior to the new behaviour being attempted.

Seeing peers in the pre contemplation and contemplation stages can cause discouragement and questioning of their decision to take action. Culture plays a further function in reinforcing the role implicit assumptions have in perpetuating the status quo.

• Action - "Just do it." The new behaviour is tried and may be continued for awhile.

However, old habits and tendencies toward the old behaviour are still in place and

a relapse to the old behaviour is quite likely. A key part of the TTM model of change is recognition that change does not happen once, but requires recurring attempts. Each time a relapse to old behaviour occurs there is another learning occasion for identifying the environmental cues to old behavioural patterns. In these cases additional preparation is needed.

• Maintenance - What had been the old behavioural habit has been replaced by the new behaviour. Planning and thinking about the new behaviour is no longer necessary as the behaviour becomes more automatic. The benefits of the change are being realized and confidence is building on the ability to continue with the change in behaviour. However, in times of stress or unusual environmental conditions a reversion to the old behaviour is still likely. This is because only the normal or routine environmental cues that triggered the old behaviour have been altered or the past reaction replaced with new behaviour. However, not all triggering cues that may be possible will have been altered, creating the possibility for a shift to an earlier stage in an abnormal situation not yet addressed in the change process to the new behaviour. Again, reversion to old habits is not a failure of the change process, but the identification of another behavioural cue that needs to be addressed. The goal of maintenance is not necessarily action but relapse prevention.


Modern organizations evolve as the marketplace and societies evolve around them. Political, environmental, and economic factors drive these changes in certain directions. Typically, organizations not only adapt to these changes but initiate them too. Adaptation can be achieved "passively" by merely reacting to external stimulus or "actively" by truly embracing changing circumstances to maximum benefit. Historically, we are aware of many of these changes, the industrial age, the innovation age, the age of the knowledge worker, or the creative age.

The future requires us to work smarter, to be open and flexible. This will be flat from a point of view of opportunity for all or spiky when it comes to valleys and mountains of creativity. It will be demanding when one tries to be financially and economically successful in an environment of more players and equality in access to information.

Albert Einstein stated, "A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. Experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Modern organizations must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening its circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

Modern organizations must see the world as a whole, as a set of inter-connected systems. Organizations have lost the understanding of inter-connection, even as the world has become smaller and more readily present in our own businesses and living rooms. When looking at what we are passionate about and spend a lot of time with, we find that work takes a large space in our lives. In the Western economies, it has become more and more obvious that this work is no longer the vocation of the industrial age. We no longer need to labour in the production of material goods for the majority of our lives to sustain our families and ourselves. Organizations have evolved.

Examples of Change Management Plans

Successful Change Management

British Airways

Back in 1981, British Airways brought on board a new chairperson. When this chairperson started, he noticed that the company was very inefficient and was wasting a lot of valuable resources. To make the organization more profitable, this chairperson decided to restructure the entire organization. He realized that the best way to do this was through change methodology management plan.

Systematically, the company began reducing their workforce. But, before they did this, through his change management leadership, the chairman gave the company the reasons for the restructuring and privatization of the company in order to prepare them for the upcoming change. Thus, through leadership and communication, he directed his company through a difficult time that could have been disastrous without effective change management resistance communication.

Frailer change management

In 1960s suit companies business began to fall down and lose momentum with the transformation of external environment. Firstly, Men's clothing became more casual, fragmenting the market and undermining the 'style monotony' of the inter-war years; Secondly the degree of competition has been increased, for example a rise in imports from low-cost suppliers in the Far East and continental Europe; Thirdly new technology emerged in 1960s, such as high-skill and technology-intensive manufacturing; Fourthly the requirement of gender equity was becoming stronger than before, and female workers made their voices heard more (Owen, 2000). Facing these new situations, suit companies in Leeds should be sensitive to and prepared as early as possible for external environment change, however The multiple tailors were 'catastrophically slow' to respond to the new situations. One possible measure was to move up-market, but a few Leeds manufacturers did so. Most of them eventually abandoned manufacturing and became pure retailers. Furthermore the industry still mainly relied on a low-skill, labour-intensive manufacturing strategy, which had constituted a large obstacle to adapt the new situations. Overall this case reminds us that the old formula should be abandoned as it becomes clear that the game is up (external environment changes), and do something different. In this case study, it is apparent that organizational inertia and failure of having a quick response to the external environment changes has resulted in the death of suit companies in Leeds, not mention to lead to the failure of change management.


It is evident from this article that change is an ever-present element that affects all organisations. There is a clear consensus that the pace of change has never been greater than in the current continuously evolving business environment. Therefore, the successful management of change is a highly required skill. However, the management of organisational change currently tends to be reactive, discontinuous and ad hoc with a reported failure rate of around 70 per cent of all change programmes initiated (Balogun and Hope Hailey, 2004). This may indicate a basic lack of a valid framework of how to successfully implement and manage organisational change since what is currently available is a wide range of contradictory and confusing theories and approaches, which are mostly lacking empirical evidence and often based on unchallenged hypotheses regarding the nature of contemporary organisational change management.

Reference & bibliography

Maggie, John Roecker, 2007, Project Managing E-learning: A Handbook for Successful Design, Delivery and Management, 1 edition, Routledge

Balogun, J. and Hope Hailey, V. (2004) Exploring Strategic Change, 2nd edn (London: Prentice Hall).

Owen Geoffrey. 2000. Well Suited, a History of the Leeds Clothing industry. Oxford University Press, UK

Web 1, Stages of Change Retrieved available from,

Web 1, Examples of Change Management Plans, bright hub web site available from

web 2, Change Management Strategies, Journal of Cambridge Studies web site, available from