Evaluation Of Change Management Within Chester Students Union Commerce Essay

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The following report will look in depth at how Chester Students' Union (CSU) handles the process of leadership change every year, and within the business environment how well change is managed and incorporated with the ever changing members of the Sabbatical team (SABBS).

The main aim of the report is to:

To analyse change management within CSU at present to put forward an improved change implementation plan for future.


To identify where decision power lies within the CSU

To understand how leadership change is implemented within the CSU

To understand how leadership is handled yearly within the CSU

To investigate strategic management techniques currently in place within CSU

CSU is the research point of this report and specifically between the years of 2006 - 2010. This time frame is sufficient enough so that the charity can be evaluated during different economic climates, before, during and coming out of a global recession. CSU is an exempt charity thus meaning at present it receives its charity status derived by a link to a parent institution the University of Chester. The problem student union's have in general is that each year certain positions are up for election meaning that anybody that fits within certain guidelines can potentially run and win an election that then positions them at the top of the hierarchy at the student union. Anyone person can successfully be elected in for a maximum of two terms which equates to two full years in office, but in most cases the sabbs team only stays in office for one term meaning the CSU have to manage change in leadership once a year. This creates a simple problem for the CSU as within such a small time frame training and time to "find your feet" has to be completed so that the new SABBS can move the charity forward for the sake of the students.

After research is carried out, from the results one should be able to associate how effective change is managed within CSU and reasons for dips in previous years. From there an improved change management plan could be drawn up and implemented in future years reducing settle in time for new SABBS. This will in turn enable SABBS of future years be more pro-active from earlier on in there term thus improving their effectiveness of their leadership. It is thought that data collected from previous sabbs, as well as staff that work within the environment, will point towards the idea that generally, although CSU should be learning and developing change management strategies, more recent sabbs should in fact have a settle in period that is more effective and less than that of previous sabbs. Although in practice this should be happening various factors, both internal and externally, could be affecting these strategies. For example, external factors such as the recession, when money is tighter, meaning that opportunities will be less, an increased emphasis from staff should alter how easy it is for sabbs to move money in different directions. Alternatively internal factors, such as mismanagement or the lack of effective knowledge transfer to new sabbs, can affect this. If results are taken and patterns supporting or providing this paper with a new view of change management within the CSU found, it will enable the relevant staff to put in new plans and procedures for future successful sabbs. This knowledge could then be shared with other various student unions around the country so that results and guidance found from this report could be adapted and applied to these other student unions. This could then increase representation and support at all student unions across the country and enhance student experiences nationally. To retrieve and collect the required data for analysis and evaluation, questionnaires will need to be handed to all SABBS from 2006-2010 as well as staff from the students' union. This will mean that there will be 15 questionnaires from SABBS and then potentially a similar amount of questionnaires from staff. These can then be used to critically analyse what strategies already exist with reference to change management and how this students' union, along with others, could improve and expanded upon these view points. As far as limitations to the study, the only foreseeable limitations are that the sample of questionnaires could be larger but until questionnaires are received and analysed this cannot be confirmed.

Lit Review


There is great need for reviewing literature when researching into a subject area, Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2003) discuss that the search helps you to generate and refine ideas, it is imperative to critically evaluate the literature around the subject area and the review conducted within a project will enable the author to acquire knowledge already conducted on the subject. It will entrust the writer with guidelines and help to conduct the research properly (Saunders et al., 2007). Change management is described by Skinner (1993) that the change that is introduced is done so properly and that each stage, proposing the change, assessing the impact, the decision and finally implementing the change are all considered before action is taken. Although within the CSU change is not a direct decision but more so a necessity it is still of great importance to understand these stages so a successful plan year on year can be adopted. Grundy's 1993 (cited in Senior, Fleming, 2006) three "varieties of change" puts forward that there are three types of change that can occur within companies and it is possible to differentiate between these due to the different characteristics of the change.

Change Management

There is much research into the area of change management in the workplace and is covered in great detail over the years. A business of any kind needs to have strategies in place, so that they can react to situations that arise in the work placethose that ignore this play dangerous game and as J McCalman, R Paton (1992) put forward that any organisation which ignores the concept of change does so at its own peril, this is the harsh reality and many different strategic management models are researched and documented in the attempt to understand and aid managers in change management.

Planned Change

Briefly explained, planned change being the theory that companies that adopt the strategy aim to keep equilibrium with the external forces acting upon the business, Wilson 1992 (cited in Senior et al 2006) argues planned change is a management concept that very heavily relies on a single point of view, with CSU's unique structure in that change is almost guaranteed year in year out with the election of new SABBS and the staff of the company fit into the process of yearly change. Kurt Lewins various models (cited in Bamford, Foster, 2006) are the basis for extensive research for the past 50 years and are fundamentally an approach that views organisational change as a course of action that moves from a fixed position to another through a series of pre-planned steps, Lewins first model the three-stage model of unfreezing, movement, and refreezing often underlies planned change strategies. And although the strategy is almost 60 years old it still provides guidance for some change efforts today. Quinn (1980) stresses the point of planned change is something that is carefully thought through then implemented; his main concerns with this strategy are that effective managers are aware of the environment and the fact that it is very uncertain and ambiguous, and so a comprehensive plan shouldn't be used. This then protects the company and morale so that if something unexpected arises they can adapt much quicker than if they have to re write a rigid plan. Arguments against the planned change approach have been brought up numerous times as more research is carried out and Peters and Waterman, 1982 (cited in Burnes, 2004) attacked the theory claiming that western organisations that had adopted the strategy were too bureaucratic, inflexible, and slow to change.

Emergent Change

highlights that employees behaviours need to be altered in order to make changes stick and points out people and organisations revert back to old ways unless management enforces new procedure.

Senior and Fleming (2006) also talk about both emergent and planned change within organisations., and emergent change as companies get so used to how they are running eventually are forced to change radically, classically causing problems. Contrary to these theory's Bate, Bevan and Robert 2004 (cited in Carnall, 2007) say that change needs to focus on "delivery systems", pathways and processes, this then allows managers to effectively plan using "experience mapping". This again is a technique that could be adapted to fit in line with the structure within CSU but the variance of person to be elected from year to year and inability to shortlist or handpick people to run for the role limits the amount that could be learned from one person and passed on to a completely different personality.

Kotter (1996) suggests that many managers when thinking about a change underestimate the enormity of the task and many fail to realise the first step in creating a sense of urgency within the staff. Smale (1998) puts forward that businesses may attempt to change practices or day to day routines of staff but many of these do not work. Dessler (2004) highlights three key questions he believes managers and leaders should be asking themselves when making change.

What are the forces acting upon me?

What should we change?

How should we change it?

Senior et al 2006 draw attention to that change doesn't happen in a vacuum and that a company is affected by both internal and external factors.

Dessler (2004) then goes on to say a leader or manager can aim to alter one of four basic things: Strategy, technology, structure and people/culture/behaviour.

Overcoming resistance is often the hardest part of leading change (Dessler, 2004) and McCalman and Paton (1992) put forward that a fundamental step to achieving change, is to obtain a shared perception of those affected. Cummings and Worley (1997) back this up by saying this is because the future is uncertain and may adversely affect people's competencies, worth and coping abilities and will not support change unless compelling reasons convince them to do so. Gilgeous (1997) states that for change a company needs the right culture and that

"Those managing the change must be aware of the resistance they will face by other managers as well as workers" (Gilgeous 1997: 18-19)

Change is more than just optimistic managers , there are several reasons that Kanter et al (1992) see as problems, one being it is hard to make change stick and second there are limitations to managers actions. Cummings et al (1997) backs this up with saying that a more fundamental axiom is peoples' readiness for change and that sometimes you may have to make things worse in order for people to accept change.

McCalman, J & Paton, R.A (1992), Change Management - A guide to effective implementation. London. Paul Chapman Publishing

Senior, B & Fleming, J (2006), Organisational Change. 3rd Edition. Essex. Prentice Hall

Smale, G (1998), Managing Change Through Innovation. London. The Stationary Office

Dessler, G (2004), Management principles and practices for tomorrow's leaders. New Jersey. Pearson Education

Kotter, J.P (1996), Leading Change. USA. Harvard Business School Press

Cummings, T.G & Worley, C.G (1997), Organizational development & change. Ohio. International Thomson Publishing

Gilgeous, V (1997), Operations and the management of change. Essex. Pearson Education

Kanter, R.M & Stein, B.A & Jick, T.D (1992) The challenge of organizational change. New York. The Free Press