Change Is A Crucial Phenomenon For Organizations Education Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Change is a crucial phenomenon for organizations and the force leading to change is changes in environment whether its external or internal environment of any organization. The political factors, changing legislation, rapidly changing technology, people 'culture and behaviour' and globalized context all have drawn attention on anticipating change. Change is important but implementing change is important and also a complex task. As Warrilow S., states that the chance of successfully implementing change and getting expected results is 1 in 3. And also argues that the main reasons for failure are, "Failing to address the energy and emotional dimension of change." and "Methods and models that put process before people."

The essay draws an attention on the need of emotional intelligence in handling the emotional dimension of change, or people side of change which is directly related with dealing their emotions at the time they are impacted by change. The literature in the essay is to address the emotional impact of change on people and the role of emotional intelligence to lead people through change. The term 'change manager' is used as leadership in the essay as Topping P., states that managers lead change but leaders manage change, or in other words there is a need of managerial leadership in modern organizations to manage change effectively.(Topping P., 2005). The literature focuses on understanding the role of emotional intelligence, the emotional impact of change and 'leadership and emotional intelligence' and draws a conclusion on the role of emotional intelligence in managing change.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence a very popular term in present 'industrial and organizational psychology' was popularized by Daniel Goleman a PHD from Harvard and a journalist in Newyork times. What made Goleman's work distinct from other researcher in the same field was his research grounded in psychology and neuroscience. However Goleman's work is a summary of Mayer, Salovey and others but what made him different from other old line proponents of positive thinking was his interpretation of brain functioning regarded to emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman argues that IQ is not only a determinant of success in life but emotional intelligence plays a big role in achieving success. Golemans fundamentally optimistic approach towards handling relationship deals with how we handle ourselves? And how we handle our relationships? He argues people can learn how to manage their emotions (anger, fear, happiness, stress) and therefore have a power to transform our relationship with our emotions and through them the relationships we have with our colleagues our families and our friends.(; Daniel Goleman ) Mayer and Salovey also defined emotional intelligence as a non cognitive aspect of intelligence; it refers to "the process involved in the recognition, use, understanding, and management of one's own and others' emotional states to solve emotion-laden problems and to regulate behavior (Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Salovey & Mayer, 1990)."(Salovey P., Brackett M.A. and Mayer J.D., 2004) However Daniel Goleman approach to emotional intelligence has been criticised by Linda Elder in her article on 'critical thinking and emotional intelligence'. Elder argues that it is not being intelligent to handle own emotions but is developing rational thinking to improve our lives. "Of course, to determine whether a particular emotion is irrational or rational, one must look closely at the thinking that ultimately drives that emotion, not at the emotion in-and-of itself."(Elder, 1996). Elder also argues that the brain is far more complex than what Daniel Goleman researched. According to Elder the brain is complex enough to create major innovations and intellectual works and there is no such thing like non-cognitive intelligence but is result of thoughts and behaviours affected by our own cognition.

"Most importantly, we must come to terms with those truths about the human mind that enable us to begin the process of taking charge of our minds: that thoughts and emotions are inextricably bound, that we have both egocentric and rational tendencies, that our inner conflicts are never best understood as a simple matter between emotion and reason, that self-command of mind takes both extended education and self-discipline, that our fullest rational development is dependent on the development of rational affect, that to bring intelligence to bear upon emotions we must take charge of the thinking underlying those emotions."

(Elder, 1996)

Elder states that whatever we think and act is shaped by our own egocentric and rational tendencies, where egocentric tendencies are related to our own narrow desires and selfish interest and are in fore ground of our thinking which leads us to think irrationally by discriminating others wants or feelings, but on the other hand there is rational thinking which is our capacity to recognize others value and feelings and also being fair minded. Emotions itself is not generated in us but is driven by thinking and it is important to understand what is the underlying thought that leads us to the particular emotion, and those thoughts should be affected by rational thinking. Elder also argues that developing rational thinking is to be non-egocentric person both intellectually and morally.( From both Goleman and Elder point of view that if there is a situation of danger then feeling fear is natural but we should not let the fear overlap our thinking capability to deal with danger and get rid of it.

Emotional impact of change

"I don't regret saying anything (in the book): it's more what I left out. In particular, the human side is much harder than the technology side and harder than the process side. It's the overwhelming issue."

(Michael Hammer, Business Process Re-engineering guru and co-author of "Re-engineering the corporation");(Warrilow S., Pg:15)

There is a need of change in organizations but it is hard to initiate or implement change, why? Warrilow S. argues "we have established that the biggest underlying cause of the 70% failure rate of all major change initiatives, is the failure to take full account of the impact of change on those people who are most impacted by it"(Warrilow S., 2009). In the change process there is change such as structure, processes or reengineering but there is a little concern with the impact of change on people's emotion. Warrilow S. also argues that the underlying reason for change failure is, "Failure to address the energy and emotions associated with change."(Warrilow S., 2009; Pg:15). The management is not able to initiate change because its people or employees emotionally resist change. The reason for resistance is fear in people which is often with a perception that change is uncertain and negative; "Organizational change often triggers intense emotions (Bartunek, 1994). In some cases, these emotions are negative and can lead to resistance (Isabella, 1990; Kanter, 1983; Cox, 1997)."(Pasmore W., 2010). Also change is not easy because it comes with learning and starting new processes but people are emotionally attached with the old one which creates a resistance through their behaviour and productivity (Hellriegel D. And Slocan J.W., 2007). There is a fear in people that what they were getting in the past will no longer remain same such as salary, bonus, job, role or a feeling that they need to work more hard than they do previously. "It is the emotional impact that is usually neglected. Given that people are attached to "how things are", there is a sense of loss and emotional upheaval if that certainty and security it provides, is threatened."(Warrilow S., 2009). It is clear that people emotionally resist change but it is important to understand that it is the people who initiate change in organizations as they are the one to start the change and let the change occur. However there is a need of leader to drive them or lead through the change process. "Change is an emotional business. The failure to address the human impacts of change is at the root of most failed change initiatives. It is not enough just to "manage" change: people need to be led through change."(Warrillow S., 2009)

The 'Transition period' (SARAH model)

A meaning of transition given by oxford dictionary states it as, "the process of changing from one state or condition to another" (

"Transition is to do with the internal aspects of change, and involves loss and letting go - typically of old familiar routines and ways of doing things, social identity, role, identity, status, money and relationship."(Warrilow S., 2009; Pg:23)

The state of transition or transition period later adopted as "SARAH model" by researchers was originally developed by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and was first introduced in 1969 in her book "On Death and Dying" the model describes the five stages of emotional and psychological response when a patient knows he/she is about to die or have serious health issues. The theory of SARAH model was later used in relating the stages with the response when a change occurs; the people facing change also passes through the "SARAH model" which is shock, anger, resistance, acceptance and hope. These five psychological responses are the emotions being generated in people while facing change.(Rothstein M., 2010; Pg:42) "The major significance of the Kubler Ross model is that it maps the emotional responses that people are likely to experience when they are given the news about a major steps-change, especially if this is likely to contain bad news. This highlights very clearly the emotional terrain that people are likely to pass through, and the necessity for clear yet compassionate leadership - and particularly during the initial phase of the change."(Warrilow S., 2009; Pg:19)


Figure a: The roller coaster of change demonstrating the emotional impact and transition of people when they face change (

The rising of emotion is natural in people while facing change so it is necessary to take account of the emotional matter of people in change and that is where the leadership is needed. Also "John Kotter says that the single biggest challenge facing leadership in a change process is just getting people to change their behaviour - and that happens: "when they are motivated to do so, and that happens when you speak to their feelings." (Warrilow S., 2009 Pg:20). It is very crucial for any organization initiating change to take full account of the emotional impact of the change on people and also providing them leadership to lead through change. To get the change initiated and effectively implemented it is necessary to deal with peoples emotion while they are facing change and keep them positive and motivated as Warrilow S. states that "This is important because people cannot work effectively if they are experiencing emotional turbulence. Their ability to get work done depends on their emotions being under control. A leader has to address those often unconscious and unexpressed fears along the way, in order to help people keep them under control."(Warrilow S., 2009; Pg:19) Also Fowlie J. and Wood M. argues the importance of emotional control and optimism while conducting change by stating, "Positive emotions - particularly a sense of new hope created by an emotional connection with other people - have been found to play a significant role in bringing about change in therapeutic settings (Frank, 1991, 1999 both cited in Deutschman, 2007)"(Fowlie J. and Wood M., 2009). But after all what is important is to understand the need of leadership style as Warrilow S. argues that often organizations and majority of change models and methods focus on the external aspects of change and prioritise transactional leadership style emphasizing on only good communication and 'reward and punishment' to make people embrace the change whereas change and transition is not same and states, "This completely over-looks the reality that transition is not the same as change. Change is what happens to you. Transition is what you experience."(Warrilow S., 2009 Pg:22). This indicate that there is a need of a leader who can deal with the peoples emotion while they face change and also lead them through the transition period by the use of emotional intelligence.

Transformational Leadership and change

"Those who have changed the universe have never done it by changing officials, but always by inspiring the people." Napoleon Bonaparte

(Warrilow S., 2009 Pg:19)

Leadership and change are inseparable terms while managing change through an organization. Beerel, 1998 argues, "Leadership is about facilitating, guiding and managing change. Where there is no change, we do not need leaders. Exercising leadership concerns mobilizing oneself and others (the group or the organization) to adapt to the new realities of change." (Beerel A., 2009). This confirms that there is a need of leader to lead the change but what is important to understand is use of transformational leadership while managing change. "One study confirmed that transformational leadership was more strongly related to follower's commitment to change than even to change specific management practices, especially when the change had specific personal implications (Herold, Fedor, Cladwell, &Liu, 2008)."(Marshall E. Coughlin J., 2011) Also Warrilow S., stresses on the need of transformational leadership style in leading change and states, "The initiative needs a programme director with a transformational leadership style who leads from the front - and is seen to be doing so and who totally owns the programme. If this role is not fulfilled - then the change management programme will fail."(Warrilow S., Pg:14). Also Eisenbach R., Watson K. and Pillai R., argues that "Transformational, charismatic, and visionary leaders can successfully change the status quo in their organizations by displaying the appropriate behaviors at the appropriate stage in the transformation process."( Eisenbach R., Watson K. and Pillai R., 1999).

Transformational leadership and emotional intelligence

The reason for need of transformational leadership is directly related by their ability to handle emotions being self aware and understanding other people's emotion. The ability of managing people side of change comes from the competencies of transformational leaders as they are the one who inspires and motivates people by their appropriate behaviour. A study by Lugo M.V. states that there is a strong relationship between transformational leadership skills and emotional intelligence and states, "Results from this study sustain previous studies findings (Barling. Slater, & Kelloway, 2000; Dasborough & Ashkanasy, 2002; Gardener & Stough, 2002) that show there is a direct relationship between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership skills."(Lugo M.V., 2007; Pg:102). Also "Barling, Slater, and Kelloway (2000) demonstrated that EQ was positively related to the three components of transformational leadership of idealized influence, inspirational motivation, and individualized consideration. The highest correlations were found between emotional intelligence and inspirational motivation, suggesting that the understanding of emotions is particularly important to leadership effectiveness (Gardner & stough, 2002)" (Lugo M.V., 2007; Pg:102). Lugo M.V. also states that, "All emotional intelligence and transformational leadership variables correlated positively but in this case the strongest predictor of transformational leadership was self awareness." (Lugo M.V., 2007; Pg:102).

"Daniel Goleman and others have stressed the importance of the leader's ability to articulate a message that resonates with their followers' emotional reality and their sense of purpose, and thus motivate them to move in a specific direction."(Warrilow S., 2009 Pg:20). From previous literature it is clear that initiating and implementing change needs leadership and the leadership must be transformational style which consists of competencies related with emotion handling. This also draws attention on the crucial need of emotional intelligence in leadership that is the reason the transformational leadership is required. After all the leadership is essential for handling change and there is a crucial role of emotional intelligence while leading through change.

Internal events




Connect with their emotional reality

Transformational leadership style

Provides inspirational motivation

Things that are experienced

Figure b: Demonstration of how the transformational leadership lead people through the transition. (Warrilow S., 2009)


The main reasons for failure of change are not taking account of people's emotion when impacted by change and focusing on processes and methods of change rather than people. The people are the one to face the change and also initiate and implement the change so if the people are not able to get through change then there is no success in implementing change. The reason people should be given emphasis rather than method or process while doing change is to manage their resistance. People are emotionally attached with the usual or old things and procedures and they emotionally resist if they are forced to change. But change is essential, so to overcome the peoples resistance there is need of emotional intelligence, an ability to control own emotions and also understand others feeling and to respond appropriately with right emotion or behaviour. This stresses the need of leadership by manager which should be of transformational style. Also the underlying aspect of managing people resistance to change is not managerial ability or just leadership but an ability to handle complex and stressful situations with right emotions or emotional intelligence. This is the reason the transformational leadership is emphasized to manage change as transformational leader pose emotional intelligence. So while concluding it is necessary to address that the most important aspect while initiating and implementing change is to understand the impact of change on peoples emotion and the crucial role of emotional intelligence in handling those emotions. Therefore, a change manager must pose emotional intelligence to deal with peoples resistance in order to overcome the resistance and manage change effectively.