Making Sense of a Change Management

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Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with change, both from the perspective of an organization and on the individual level. A somewhat ambiguous term, change management has at least three different aspects, including: adapting to change, controlling change, and effecting change. A proactive approach to dealing with change is at the core of all three aspects. For an organization, change management means defining and implementing procedures and/or technologies to deal with changes in the business environment and to profit from changing opportunities.

Successful adaptation to change is as crucial within an organization as it is in the natural world. Just like plants and animals, organizations and the individuals in them inevitably encounter changing conditions that they are powerless to control. The more effectively you deal with change, the more likely you are to thrive. Adaptation might involve establishing a structured methodology for responding to changes in the business environment (such as a fluctuation in the economy, or a threat from a competitor) or establishing coping mechanisms for responding to changes in the workplace (such as new policies, or technologies).

This book review is an attempt to understand the theoretical background for the changes that occur on individual as well as on organizational basis. The book "Making Sense of Change Management: A complete Guide to the Models, Tools & Techniques of Organizational Change" written by Esther Cameron and Mike Green, highlights and explain different theories presented by the renowned businessmen, economists and educationists regarding different changing phenomenon appearing on the horizon of business world. Cameron and Green's objective for writing this book is to help their reader understand "why change happens, how change happens, and what needs to be done to make change a more welcoming concept" by carefully reviewing a wealth of resources that provide models, tools, and techniques of organizational change. Their purpose is not to explain how to plan and then implement a change initiative program. Rather the material presented in this book assist the readers to comprehend the change, its nature, how it can be assessed and related to a particular situation and what type of outcomes can be carved out of the responses received on individual and organizational basis.

Introduction of the Book

The book "Making Sense of Change Management: A complete Guide to the Models, Tools & Techniques of Organizational Change" is written by Esther Cameron and Mike Green. This book is about making sense of change management. The world we live in is continuously undergoing rapid changes at an intense rate. Each day dawns with a new invention, with an important discovery emerging from almost every field of life. The rate of change and discovery outpaces our potentials to keep up with them. The organization we work in or rely on to meet our needs and demands are also changing dramatically in terms of their strategies, their structures, their systems & cultures, their boundaries and of course their expectations and responses to their stakeholders.

This book and its writers Cameron and Green seems to hold the objective of helping their readers understand "why change happens, how change happens, and what needs to be done to make change a more welcoming concept" by carefully reviewing a wealth of resources that provide models, tools, and techniques of organizational change. Their purpose is not to explain how to plan and then implement a change initiative program instead of this their focus is on developing an understanding among their readers. The material in this volume is carefully organized within two parts.

Part one, of this book is named as "The Underpinning Theory" and is comprised of first four chapters. "Individual change is at the heart of everything that is achieved in organizations. Once individuals have the motivation to do something different, the whole world can begin to change...[Individuals] are to some extent governed by the norms of the groups they belong to, and groups are bound together in a whole system of groups of people that interconnect in various habitual ways. So the story is not always that simple. Individuals, teams, and organizations all play a part in the process of change, and leaders have a particularly onerous responsibility: that is, making all this happen."

Part Two "The Applications" is comprised of last four chapters (Chapters 5-8): In this Part, having looked at change and change management from three different perspectives (i.e. individual, team, and organization) and the roles, styles, and skills needed to become a successful leader of change, Cameron and Green apply this learning to specific types of change. They claim: "We have identified four generic change scenarios, and we look at the particular management challenges involved in initiating and implementing each type of change." These change scenarios are structural, mergers and acquisitions, cultural, and IT-based process.

Summary of the Book

The very first chapter of the book draws together the key theories of how individuals go through change, using various models to explore the phenomenon. This chapter aims at providing managers and policy makers an insight and understanding of the change process and how it affects individuals and what strategies can be used to help the people to go through transition or transformation process without bearing a stress.

Many of the change scenarios that you find yourself in require you to learn something new, or to adjust to a new way of operating, or to unlearn something. Buchanan and Huczynski (1985) define learning as 'the process of acquiring Knowledge through experience which leads to a change in behavior.' Learning is not just an acquisition of knowledge, but the application of it through doing something different in the world. But learning to do something new usually involves a temporary dip (downfall) in the performance. When learning something new we tend to be more focus on that and become conscious of that change in our learning resulting in a change of our behavior. But once we have learnt that skill or has become habitual of that change our attention to that factor decreases and we are less conscious of it in other words we are unconsciously competent on that skill.

There are four key schools of thought when considering individual change:

The behaviorist approach is about changing the behaviors of others through reward and punishment. This leads to behavioral analysis and use of reward strategies.

The cognitive approach states that the desired results can be achieved through positive reframing or the reinforcement of some desired attitudes. The writer's believe that by setting goals and providing guidance and coaching to the employees or the people who are being affected by the change can ease the process of implementation of change. This approach link goal to motivation.

The psychodynamic approach is about understanding and relating to the inner world of change. This is especially significant when people are going through highly affecting change. This approach treats people as individuals and understand their emotional states.

The humanistic psychology approach in the personal development and growth of the employees by providing them a healthy atmosphere and fair chances to improve their skills to adapt to changing environment.

The individual's history, the organization's history, the type of change and the consequence of the change are also key factors in an individual's response to change. Schein identified two competing anxieties in individual change: survival anxiety versus learning anxiety. Survival anxiety has to be greater than learning anxiety if a change is to happen. He advocated the need for managers to reduce people's learning anxiety rather than their survival anxiety.

The individuals in an organization work together sometimes in the form of groups or sometimes in the form of a team. Teams and groups have been differentiated in this book on the basis of their different characteristics and reasons for existence.

Teams are considered more important for the organizations for accomplishing large or complex tasks. There are many types of organizational team, each with their significant benefits and downsides.

Teams can be more effective by addressing five elements:

Team mission, planning and goal setting;

Team roles and responsibilities;

Team operating processes;

Team interpersonal relationships;

Inter-team relationships;

Teams relationships with the management.

Teams are not built overnight. It takes time to develop as a team and have goal oriented affiliation among the team members. Tuckman's forming, storming, norming and performing model is useful for understanding the process.

The team development process involves different leadership challenges at each stage. This book has made use of Bion's work that highlights four possible pitfalls that need to be worked through. These are as follow:

dependency

fight or flight

pairing

cosiness

The composition of a team is an important factor in determining how it can be successful. According to Belbin well-rounded teams work best. The Myers Briggs profile allows mutual of team members' preferences for initiating or adapting to change whereas Belbin's team types offer a way of analyzing a team's fitness for purpose and encouraging team members to do something about any significant gaps. The writers insist that the leaders should be aware of the type of team that can best suit the change process and how to manage that for effective and efficient achievement of the desired goals.

Organizational behavior and assumptions how things really work are really important in determining the organizational response to change. This book deeply reviews the range of models and approaches developed by the significant authors in the field of business and socio-dynamics.

The writers state that it is very important for the leaders and the individuals to understand their own assumptions about managing change, in order to challenge them and examine the possibilities offered by different assumptions. Comparisons of assumptions held by the employers and employees are very useful and increased understanding of each others perspective help to reduce frustration.

Gareth Morgan's work on organizational metaphors provides a useful way of looking at the range of assumptions that exist about how organizations work. The four most commonly used organizational metaphors are:

The machine metaphor

The machine metaphor is deeply ingrained in our ideas about how organizations run. According to it the project management and planning oriented approaches can be used to tackle the change.

The political metaphor

The political map of organizational life is recognized as vital key factor to organizational change.

The organism metaphor

This model is very prevalent in the human resource world, as it underpins much of the thinking that drove the creation of the HR function in organizations. The organism metaphor views change as a process of adapting to changes in the environment. The focus is on designing interventions to decrease resistance to change, and increase the forces for change.

The metaphor of flux and transformation

The metaphor for flux and transformation appears to model the true complexity of how change really happens. If we use this lens to view the organizational life it does not lead to a neat formulae or concise how to approaches.

To be an effective manager we need to be flexible and select appropriate models and approaches for particular situations. Some of these models suggested in this book are as follow:

Kurt Lewin three step model

Bullock and Batten's planned change approach

Philip Kotter's eight steps to change

Beckhard and Harris change formula

Nadler and Tushman Congruence model

William Bridges model for managing the transition

Carnall's change management model

Senge systemic model

Stacey and Shaw complex responsive processes.

Different metaphors of change lead to different assumptions about what good leaders do. The writers of this book believe that the most effective ideas about change combine a number of metaphors, bringing the maximum benefits and avoiding the pitfalls of blinkered thinking.

A popular notion of leadership is of the hero leader who leads from the front with determination, great vision and independence of mind. Bennis distinguished leadership from management and placed visionary leadership high on the agenda.

Heifetz and Laurie and Jean Lipman-Blumen all argue against the need for visionary leadership. They advocate adaptive leadership which is about taking people out of their comfort zones, letting people feel external pressure and exposing conflict. Jean Lipman-Blumen instead emphasizes the need for leaders to ensure connectivity.

Different metaphors of the change process imply different leadership roles. Senge advocates dispersed leadership, identifying three key types of leaders in an organizational system. If these three roles are in place and are well connected then change will happen naturally. Mary Beth O'Neil names four key roles.

Thoughts and actions i.e inner and outer leadership are both important for achieving organizational change.

According to Kotter the hard work in the earlier stages of change process are vital for the success whereas Rosabeth Moss Kanter suggests that the harder part comes in the middle and the perseverance is necessary for success. Covey lists a set of principles and guidelines to help leaders to develop positive thinking pattern.

The writers believe that the leader of change has to be courageous and self aware. He has to choose the right action at the right time and to keep a steady eye on the ball. However the leader cannot make the change happen alone. A team needs to be in place wit well thought out roles, and committed people.

In this book the writers have identified four generic change scenarios and has looked at the particular management challenges involved in initiating and implementing each type of change. These change scenarios are:

Structural change

Mergers and acquisitions

Cultural change

IT- based change.

Restructuring is an ever present phenomenon in today's organizations, though it could be highly unrewarding for those who initiates and those who experience it. But the leader needs to define the new changes with a clear vision and describe the objectives and goals of new structure, roles, and responsibilities, work processes for the individuals, interpersonal relationships in and out of the organization and new organizational and departmental strategies for the successful achievement of goals of organizational change.

Mergers and acquisitions are another modern trend iof combating emerging environmental and technical changes. There are usually five main reasons for undertaking a merger or acquyisition:

Growth

Synergy

Diversification

Integration

Deal doing

Writer have suggested five golden rules for leaders to follow for effective mergers and acquisitions , which are as follow:

communicate constantly

get the structure right

tackle the cultural issues

keep customers on board

use a clear overall process

Culture is not just about induction programmes, it is everywhere in organizational life. Culture is vitally important for the organization because of its impact on performance. If the culture has to be changed we need to first develop an understanding about how it evolves. Schein (1999) suggests that there are six ways in which culture evolves. Some of these can be influenced by the leader and some cannot.

A general evolution in which the organization adapt to its environment.

A specific evolution of teams and sub-groups within the organization to their different environments.

A guided evolution resulting from cultural insights on the part of leaders.

A guided evolution through encouraging teams to learn from each other

A planned and managed culture change through creation of parallel systems of project oriented task forces.

A partial or total cultural destruction through new leadership.

The writers suggest guidelines for achieving successful cultural change which is as follow:

Always link to organizational vision, mission and objectives

Create a sense of urgency and continually reinforce the need to change

Attend to stake holder issues

Build on the old and step into the new

Generate enabling mechanisms create a community of focused and flexible leaders

Insist on the collective ownership of the change.

For having an IT-based change the organization needs to align organizational strategy with IT strategy other wise such changes will cause some major problems for the organization.

My opinion about the book

The book "Making Sense of Change Management: A complete Guide to the Models, Tools & Techniques of Organizational Change" written by Esther Cameron and Mike Green, is about making sense of change management. The world we live in is continuously undergoing rapid changes at an intense rate. Each day dawns with a new invention, with an important discovery emerging from almost every field of life. The rate of change and discovery outpaces our potentials to keep up with them. The organization we work in or rely on to meet our needs and demands are also changing dramatically in terms of their strategies, their structures, their systems & cultures, their boundaries and of course their expectations and responses to their stakeholders.

This book and its writers Cameron and Green seems to hold the objective of helping their readers understand "why change happens, how change happens, and what needs to be done to make change a more welcoming concept" by carefully reviewing a wealth of resources that provide models, tools, and techniques of organizational change. Their purpose is not to explain how to plan and then implement a change initiative program instead of this their focus is on developing an understanding among their readers. The material in this volume is carefully organized within two parts.

This book is a great resource for managers thrown into the midst of change, who need to gain understanding of what happens when you try to make significant changes in a business, and how best to manage people through it. This book is really helpful for leaders and managers in organizations to make sense of change management, providing insights into different frameworks and describing ways of approaching change at an individual, team, and organizational level. This book can be a guideline for any organization that needs to understand why change happens, how it happens and what needs to be done to make a change a welcome, rather than an unwelcome, visitor. It offers considered insights into the many frameworks, models and ways of approaching change and helps the reader to apply the right approach to each unique situation. This is a book that lives up to its title...it really does provide a toolkit to make sense of change.

Every theory or main concept is accompanied by 'Stop and Think' section where questions are listed to help the reader to reflect about what they have read in that section of the book. They also provide a chance to apply their theoretical knowledge to the real world situation and in this manner; way for cognitive and constructive learning is paved.

The only thing which seems to be missing from this book is the case study. If each section or chapter is supplemented with a real world case study, this toolkit will become more effective and sharpen problem solving skills of the readers at one hand and an instant application of their learned skills on the other.

Overall it's an impressive practical book that will help managers who are looking for ideas rather than instruction. This is theoretically underpinned book on change which recognizes a multiplicity of perspectives.

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