The constant factors in business change

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Change is constant, encompassing every aspect of our lives. Significant forces such as globalization, restructuring of the international order, and the rise of more effective forms of communications have dramatically transformed our personal landscape and the world in which we live. Within the short span of a decade, information age has exacerbated the continuous challenge of change. Few remain untouched. Most large organizations, particularly commercial enterprises, have found that innovation is key to institutional survival, embracing continuous adaptation to remain ahead of their competitors. For the military, this notion of relentless competition has a special significance.


Creativity is evident all around us yet it presents great challenge to explain. Some writes attribute this to differences between the terms concept and construct (Woodman & Schoenfeld, 1989). The term concept carries meaning in everyday speech and, while imprecise, is widely shared. On the other hand, "construct" presents validity issues as it can be frustrating in the extreme for researchers. The construct of creativity, it may be understood from Tardif & Sternberg,(1991) explain and Rhodes's (1987) they share the view that it is the creative processes, persons, products and environment.

The complexity of creativity still exist, which is evident in the difficulty it poses to combine all approaches in a single definition, it is easier to understand it through process/product-oriented definitions, like those of Teresa Amabile (1983) from her groundbreaking study defined creativity as follows: "A response will be judged as creative to the extent that (a) it is both a novel and appropriate, useful, or valuable response to the task at hand and (b) the task is heuristic rather than algorithmic." A heuristic is an incomplete guideline or rule of thumb that can lead to learning or discovery when there is no clear path or formula. An algorithm is a complete mechanical rule for solving a problem or dealing with a situation.", and Stein (1953), "Creativity is a process that results in novelty which is accepted as useful, tenable, or satisfying by a significant group of others at some point in time".

Creativity is critical for the long term survival of the organization to remain competitive in a rapidly changing environment and therefore achieving a competitive advantage (Devanna & Tichy, 1990). Competitive advantage depends upon the firm's utilization of the existing creativity and its ability to generate new ideas and knowledge more efficiently (Oldham & Cummings, 1996). When employees perform creatively, they come up with novel products and ideas that provide an organization with important raw materials for subsequent development that enhance the organization's ability to grow and compete (Kanter, 1983; Oldham & Cummings, 1996).

This subsequently cast a level of doubt on whether creativity theory also includes the materialization of the idea (the invention), and its communication and application (innovation), as in Kaufmans (1993) distinction. Even though Besemer & O'Quin (1987) regard invention and innovation as included in the creativity theory, they provide a clear framework to understand the distinctness of each of these concepts. In fact, once we speak of an idea, practice or object, whether in arts, science, technology or other domains, which is perceived as new by someone else, other than its originator, then we are probably talking about innovation, because communication is added.

Creativity does not end with an idea, it starts with it, says Parnes (1988); Stein & Heinze (1994) reinforce Parnes' statement by arguing that creativity deals with the process, which does not have to end in an observable product but only with the idea. Here, innovation starts and ends using creativity as the process.

Rogers (1983), for example, defines innovation as something "perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption", and VanGundy (1987) as a "process of proposing, adopting, and implementing an idea; Kanter (1983) addresses the concept as "the putting to use" of an idea; West & Farr (1990), in turn, define innovation as "the intentional introduction and application within a role, group or organisation of ideas, processes, products or procedures, new to the relevant unit of adoption".

West & Altink (1996) hold that although innovation has been considered the domain of economics, it is within the discipline of psychology that the study of innovation perhaps most appropriately fits. This does not mean, as already stated, that it means the same thing as creativity. As social concepts, both creativity and innovation are applied at various levels - individual, group, organisation, society or culture - but while the term "creativity" appears related to the conditions that favour or hinder creative performance, or how it develops (Amabile, 1992; Ekvall, 1996), innovation appears connected to putting creativity in use. Thus creativity appears connected to the individual, only, while innovation is used at the various levels. As West & Farr (1990) propose, innovation is a social process, while creativity is a cognitive individual process.


Innovation and creativity are inextricably linked. However, innovation is not always creative, it seems that the former cannot exist without the latter, no matter what the level, context or degree of resemblance of the innovation, comparatively to what has already been invented, adopted or made an object of diffusion (VanGundy, 1987). Innovation is inherently a highly cross-functional activity that, when it works well, creates a constructive tension between competing objectives of development cost, product value, performance, quality, and time to market. Product development touches every part of the company. Functions like strategic planning, sales, operations; customer support, purchasing, and finance are just as important to successful innovation as R&D and engineering. How well these very different functions work together in large measure determines how effective a company will be at developing successful products and services.

The concept of innovation continues to be very wide as evident in Peter Drucker's (1998) definition of innovation as a specific function of entrepreneurship, whether in an existing business, a public service institution, or a new venture started by a lone individual in the family kitchen. I am the means by which the entrepreneur either creates new wealth-producing resources or endows existing resources with enhanced potential for creating wealth

A distinction is typically made between invention, an idea made manifest, and innovation, ideas applied successfully. (Mckeown 2008) Peter Drucker viewed innovation as the tool or instrument used by entrepreneurs to exploit change as an opportunity. From Drucker's perspective, systematic innovation consisted of the decisive and organized search for changes, and in the systematic analysis of the opportunities such changes might offer for economic or social innovation. As such, innovation of the 1980s took place in large corporate R&D departments, as well as academic institutions. Innovation and change must be part of a system in a business that plans and organizes innovation and change, which can be a very complex area. Clayton and Michael Raynor , The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth(2003) when addressing the forces that shape innovation wrote:

Rarely does an idea of a new growth business emerge fully formed from an innovative employee's head. No matter how well articulated a concept or insight might be, it must be shaped and modified, often significantly, as it gets fleshed out into a business plan that can win funding…Along the way, it encounters a number of highly predictable forces. Managers as individuals might indeed be idiosyncratic and unpredictable, but the all face forces that are similar in their mechanism of action, their timing, and their impact on the character of the product and business plan that the company ultimately attempts to implement. Understanding and managing these forces can make innovation more predictable.

Christensen and Raynor (2003) offer the theory of disruptive innovation, and presents strategies for companies to become disruptive innovators who can overpower their competitors and establish recurring success in their respective industries. Though the authors hold that sustaining innovation is critical for the growth of a firm, they strongly believe that disruptive innovation is necessary to sustain innovation and create new growth since Disruptive innovations do not attempt to bring better products to established customers in existing markets. Instead, they introduce products and services that are not as good as existing products, but which are simpler, more convenient, and less expensive than existing items. Finding new pathways of growth without reinventing the wheel is the central tendency of this their theory. If we look at the evolution of personal computers, at first they were expensive with limited innovation. Now without a new innovation far cheaper and inexpensive ones are now available to anyone who wants to buy.


Innovation and change are based on new knowledge or existing knowledge within new contexts (creation and recombination). Invention is the idea for innovation and change. The term innovation characterizes the development of new products/services or markets. However, innovations often need at least a minimal change (optimization) of the existing organization. Similarly, optimizations of processes and structures can pave the way for innovations. The term change is used for modifications that concern the organization's structures and processes (including technologies). Transformation is a variety of change. It concerns situations where the organizational culture and, the entire organization or substantial parts of it are object of change.

Change management is the process by which an organization gets to its future state, and vision. Though different this at times confused with traditional planning processes which delineate the steps on the journey, change management attempts to facilitate that journey. Therefore, creating change starts with creating a vision for change and then empowering individuals to act as change agents to attain that vision. The empowered change management agent's need plans that provide total systems approach, are realistic, and are future oriented. Change management encompasses the effective strategies and programs to enable those change agents to achieve the new vision through their chosen process model of change.

Lewin's (1951) introduces the three- step change model. This model revolves around three concepts: unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. The first step in the process of changing behavior is to unfreeze the existing situation or status quo to overcome the strains of individual resistance and group conformity. This can be achieved through increased driving forces(communicating more the vision for change, building trust and recognition for the need to change)that directly affect behavior in the desired way; decreasing the restraining forces negatively affecting the movement from the existing status quo. Lewin's second step is moving the target system to a new level by persuading employees to agree that the current level is not beneficial to them and encouraging them to view the problem from a fresh perspective, work together on a quest for new, relevant information, and connect the views of the group to well-respected, powerful leaders that also support the change. The final step is refreezing. It is paramount that this step take place after the change has been implemented. This is necessary to prevent employee from reverting to old way of doing things. The purpose of refreezing is to stabilize the new standard for behaviour resulting from the change by balancing both the driving and restraining forces by reinforcing them through formal and informal mechanisms such as new policies and procedures (Robbins 564-65).

The model perceives human change as a 'profound psychological dynamic process that involved painful unlearning without loss of ego identity, and difficult relearning as one cognitively attempted to restructure one's thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and attitudes' (Schein, 1996, p. 27). It also assumes that the change involves attitudes and values, and the unlearning of the present set of behaviours is initially inherently painful. Addition, from the model it is determined that change is a multistage process and all stages must be negotiated before a stable change can be said to have taken place (Schein, 1988). Lewin's model illustrates the effects of forces that either promote or inhibit change. Specifically, driving forces promote change while restraining forces oppose change. Hence, change will occur when the combined strength of one force is greater than the combined strength of the opposing set of forces (Robbins 564-65).

Lippitt, Watson, and Westley (1958) further created a seven-step theory (anextension of Lewin's Three-Step Change Theory) that focuses more on the role and responsibility of the change agent than on the evolution of the change itself. Information is continuously exchanged throughout the process. The seven steps are:

Diagnose the problem.

Assess the motivation and capacity for change.

Assess the resources and motivation of the change agent. This includes the change agent's commitment to change, power, and stamina.

Choose progressive change objects. In this step, action plans are developed and strategies are established.

The role of the change agents should be selected and clearly understood by all parties so that expectations are clear. Examples of roles are: cheerleader, facilitator, and expert.

Maintain the change. Communication, feedback, and group coordination are essential elements in this step of the change process.

Gradually terminate from the helping relationship. The change agent should gradually withdraw from their role over time.

This will occur when the change becomes part of the organizational culture (Lippitt, Watson and Westley 58-59). Lippitt, Watson, and Westley also point out that change are more likely to be stable if they spread to neighboring systems or to subparts of the system immediately affected.

Another popular model of change is Kotter, (19960 eight-step change process. The processes identified are directly linked to the leadership process, which is the engine that drives change. He stressed that in order to gain success all stages must be completed in order. Kotter eight stages are creating a sense of urgency, creating the guiding coalition, developing a vision and strategy, communicating the change vision, empowering employees for broad-based action, generating short-term wins, consolidating gains and producing more change and anchoring new approaches in the culture. It identifies the relationships between people and the organization and how this significantly affects transforming that organization. Kotter studies multiple organizations of varied sizes that suffered major failure in implementing and managing organizational change. His model is design to avoid these major errors in the change process.

Kotter,(1996) identified eight reasons why change fails. These processes are directly linked to the leadership process, which is the engine that drives change. He stressed that in order to gain success all stages must be completed in order. Kotter eight stages are creating a sense of urgency, creating the guiding coalition, developing a vision and strategy, communicating the change vision, empowering employees for broad-based action, generating short-term wins, consolidating gains and producing more change and anchoring new approaches in the culture. It identifies the relationships between people and the organization and how this significantly affects transforming that organization. Kotter studies multiple organizations of varied sizes that suffered major failure in implementing and managing organizational change. His model is design to avoid these major errors in the change process. The key lessons from this model are that the change process goes through a serious of phases, each lasting a considerable amount of time and that any mistakes made in any of the eight steps can be critical to achieving the change.

Organizations need to change to adapt to external or internal developments, but realizing effective change is very problematical. According to Kanter, Stein, and Jick (1992) change is so difficult that it is a miracle if it occurs successfully. One major barrier for change is resistance of people within organizations (Bennebroek Gravenhorst, Werkman, & Boonstra, 2003; Heller, Pusic, Strauss, & Wilpert, 1998). Resistance is commonly considered to be a standard or even natural reaction to organizational change. It is described as an almost inevitable psychological and organizational response that seems to apply to any kind of change. Change and resistance go hand in hand: change implies resistance and resistance means that change is taking place. The four most common reasons for resisting change stated by Kotter and Schlesinger (1979) are: people focus on their own interests and not on those of the organization as a whole (one is tempted to read "management" here, instead of "organization), misunderstanding of the change and its implications, belief that the change does not make sense for the organization, and low tolerance for change.


Change resides at the heart of leadership. Organizational culture is one of many situational variables that have emerged as pivotal in determining the success of leaders' efforts to implement change initiatives. Change resides at the heart of leadership. Bass (1990) defines leaders as "agents of change - persons whose acts affect other people more than other people's acts affect them" (p. 19). Organizational culture is one of many situational moderators considered relevant to determining leadership effectiveness (Bass, 1990). Leaders are recognized as exerting a dominant influence on the emergence and direction of cultural norms, values and basic assumptions in institutional settings (Schein, 2004). Yet culture is ultimately held and maintained collectively by all members of an organization, and acts as a moderating variable with respect to the implementation of change (Bate, Kahn & Pye, 2000; Burke, 2008). Change agendas can be thwarted by resistance rooted in existing tenets of cultural tenets, although cultural facilitation of change initiatives is similarly possible

Problems of implementation are really issues about how leaders influence behavior, change the course of events, and overcome resistance. Leadership is crucial in implementing decisions successfully