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Change Management: Organisational Change Add in library

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“In today’s highly volatile, unpredictable and ever flexible business environment, organisations can only take an emergent approach to change.”
Discuss the validity of this statement.


“In today’s highly volatile, unpredictable and ever flexible business environment, organizations can only take an emergent approach to change.” This essay will discuss the validity of the given statement by covering several change types, change triggers, contextualization, change models and general discussion on internal company environment in relation to the change that is taking place such as leadership, roles by management and effective implementation of change.

Change is not only a necessity but a requirement for globalized business worlds of 21st century. In order to cope up with change, change management is required. However, in order to manage change, it becomes necessary to analyse the type of change (Armenakis et al, 1993). Change can be of various types depending upon where in an organization structure or culture is a change needed. Organizational change in general is a response to either the internal factors or the external factors (Burkhardt, 1994). Changes that happen inside the environment of an organization are inclusive of structural changes, strategic changes, people and process based change. Structural changes are those changes made for the internal structure of an organization that may develop from factors that are internal or external and they do impact the normal functioning of an organization. These changes are inclusive of aspects such as hierarchy of organization, command change, systems of management, job structure and procedures of administration (Armenakis et al, 1993). Strategic change are inclusive of making a change to the complete goals, visions, missions, purpose, strategy related to an organization. This change completely changes the way in which businesses are conducted by an organization (Burkhardt, 1994). An example for structural change can be quoted here. If an organization such as Catelyn Communications has made a decision for merging with another organization in the same industry then the merger will require structural change as activities such as merger of hierarchies, duplicating departments, eliminating departments etc.

Internal and external factors are both responsible for triggering a change. The internal organization environment has a reference to events, factors, people, systems, structures and conditions internal to an organization commonly under company’s control (Armenakis et al, 1993). The mission statement of the company, the culture and leadership style are also factors associated typically with the organization internal environment. It is this environment which impacts the activities, behaviour of employees, their beliefs and the decision made. Leadership style change, the mission or culture of an organization generally considerably impact the growth rate of an organization. An example can be quoted here of Apple Inc, which is the technological leader across the globe. Leadership style change in the company from Steve Jobs to Tim Cook, has caused Apple to face immense hurdles (Armenakis et al, 1993). The company under Steve Jobs had an innovative and transformational type of leadership experience however the change of this leader led Apple to face innovation inefficiency because yet the employees are not accustomed to the leadership change (Gerstner, 2002). Those factors on the contrary out of the control of an organization are external environment related factors causing changes to be made within a company. Competition growth, changing perception of the customers, dynamic political situations and need for technological advancement are all factors present externally that trigger a change internally.

Change context or contextualization implies to analyse the right context of change in order to appropriately manage it. In the management of change, organizations are often faced with several contexts of change which can either be wrong or right when working to manage change. It should not be forgotten that change management is all about change from people’s perspective and therefore several people related issues when providing change management contexts are confronted with. The context of people issues in relation to change are inclusive of engaging, morale, resisting, fatigue, stress, communication and training (Armenakis et al, 1993). These all are very much essential to the world of change management but they do not convey the change management importance in a particular context which will really hold a meaning for those supporting and executing the needed change. The right context of change on the other hand is return on investment, benefit realization, results, outcomes and organization value. Depending upon this contextualization of change, there are various ways by which strategically change can be managed such as process of planned change, the process of emergent change (Burkhardt, 1994). There are several change management models however provided in the 21st century for managers and leaders in order to manage the processes of change without any resistance. Resistance is offered generally when employees do not have much knowledge of the change process neither do they understand their role and responsibility in this change process. By letting the employees know that change is implemented for the welfare of all the members of the organization and by providing support to the employees, change resistance can be dealt with (Burkhardt, 1994). However, change resistance can cause immense damage to an organization and therefore understanding why change has been resisted is significant. Leaders here play an essential role because leaders with their leadership style are able to make others understand the importance of implementing the offered change. 

(Change Model 1: Lewin’s Model of change management)

(Wanberg et al, 2000)

The above provided figure explains the model of change management given by Lewin’s. As evident from the model there are 3 stage change processes which are inclusive of unfreezing, refreezing and change in between. Most efforts of change fail because insufficient preparation for it has been done. Unfreezing stage of this model helps organizations to plan and communicate the desired change in turn making the organization prepare their employees for change (Mossholder, 1993). Developing an urgency sense and developing a coalition are important and necessary steps of this model. An example can be quoted here to highlight the application of this model done by the former IBM CEO. The CEO implemented change and successfully transformed organization in the initial 1990s (Herold et al, 2008). The organization was able to manage change only because they created a sense of urgency rather than hiding their defeat. Coalition development is also necessary, for example, Paul Pressler on becoming Gap Inc. CEO started an effort to change culture with a desire to create an identity sense amongst various brands of the company such as the Republic of Banana and Gap. Or this reason, segmentation of employees took place in order to reach all the employees together. The company initiated through giving 2000 senior managers training in the summits of leadership in turn who were instrumental to ensure in the remaining 150,000 employees cooperation in the company. By allowing the employees to participate in the change management plan, change was possible and successful. Next step is the change execution step wherein technological changes are planned, structures, cultured and procedures (Nash, 2005). The procedure on how change execution will be done depends upon the change type. Success is attained however by continuous provision of support, creation of small wins and eliminating obstacles. After implementation of the change, the change effort’s successful long term application depends upon the range till which change has becomes an important component of the culture of the company. If change is successful then thinking in a revised manner, behaving and monitoring will be routinely done (Wanberg et al, 2000). For evaluating and reinforcing this kind of change, there are several activities that management can take. Publicizing success depends upon making the change as permanent. Rewarding adoption of change is also crucial here in order to make sure that the change has become permanently imbedded in the organization benefiting from rewarding those people who have made this change be successful. The simple action of giving recognition makes the slightest difference and highly encourages the organization employees to keep supporting the change (Kotter, 1996). Embracing change continuously is also crucial as it offers implementing change a direction in the light of all the benefits that this change is offering. Continuous change is embraced by only those companies who are learning organizations. Setting up of a dynamic loop of feedback not only helps in change management but also helps in analysing the contextual process or nature of change (Kotter, 1995).

When organizations have the ability of understanding the change, then it is already assured for the organization that this change implementation will make them establish success.

In conclusion, it can be said that organizations in the midst of ever changing environments, have to experience the process of change management because change is not only crucial it also helps in providing a tough experience or challenge for companies that makes the companies to learn (Biddle et al, 2006). A learned organization such as those explained in the examples in this paper, IBM and Gap Inc. are those organizations which follow a planned change process in order to analyse the context of change and implement to embrace change regularly (Hamel, 2000). When change is implemented it has to be analysed appropriately through models of change management in order to make sure resistance is kept away.



Wanberg, C. R., & Banas, J. T. (2000). Predictors and outcomes of openness to changes in a reorganizing workplace. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 132–142.

Herold, D. M., Fedor D. B., Caldwell, S., & Liu, Y. (2008). The effects of transformational and change leadership on employees’ commitment to a change: A multilevel study. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 346–357.

Armenakis, A. A., Harris, S. G., & Mossholder, K. W. (1993). Creating readiness for organizational change. Human Relations, 46, 681–703.

Gerstner, L. V. (2002). Who says elephants can’t dance? Inside IBM’s historic turnaround. New York: HarperCollins; Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Burkhardt, M. E. (1994). Social interaction effects following a technological change: A longitudinal investigation. Academy of Management Journal, 37, 869–898

Kotter, J. P. (1995, March–April). Leading change: Why transformations fail. Harvard Business Review, 73(2), 59–67.

Mossholder, K. W. (1993). Creating readiness for organizational change. Human Relations, 46, 681–703.

Nash, J. A. (Nov/Dec 2005). Comprehensive campaign helps Gap employees embrace cultural change. Communication World, 22(6).

Wanberg, C. R., & Banas, J. T. (2000). Predictors and outcomes of openness to changes in a reorganizing workplace. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 132–142.

Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press; Reay, T., Golden-Biddle, K., & Germann, K. (2006). Legitimizing a new role: Small wins and microprocesses of change. Academy of Management Journal, 49, 977–998.

 Hamel, G. (2000, July/August). Waking up IBM. Harvard Business Review, 78(4), 137–146.


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