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Theoretical framework for Organizational Change Management

Discuss about the Change Management in Organization.

The contemporary global commercial scenario has experienced considerable changes and modifications over the years, owing to the dynamics and fluctuations in the endogenous as well as exogenous business environments across the globe (Ferraro and Briody 2013). International phenomena like Globalization and trade liberalizations in the different countries across the world, along with the innovations in the technological and infrastructural aspects, global communications and transports have been hugely facilitated, which in turn has contributed in making the business environment more integrated and inclusive (Wild, Wild and Han 2014).

These integration and inclusiveness have encouraged increasing number of businesses to expand their operational framework to different countries and geographical regions. With more and more businesses in each industry going global, the number of supply side providers in most of the industries have been increasing along with the increasing diversities in the preference patterns and choices of a dynamic and global clientele in each of these industries (Cameron and Green 2015). These changes indicate towards the need for changes and incorporations of the new trends in the operational framework of the companies across the world. In this context, it becomes of immense importance for the organizations across the globe, especially the business organizations, to constantly keep updating and upgrading their operations and managing all the activities efficiently so as to stay ahead and get a competitive edge over the rivals.

Organizational change is thus a phenomenon of considerable importance among the business organizations in the contemporary period. Keeping this into consideration, the term “Organizational Change Management” refers to the framework present within the organizations which manage the implementations as well as the effects of new processes, structural changes, cultural modifications and modified overall organizational operations within a business enterprise (Benn, Edwards and Williams 2014). The concerned report, taking the importance of Organizational Change Management, into consideration, tries to critically evaluate the change management strategic framework taken by one of the hugely popular global brand, Coca Cola, in the light of Burnes’ Change Management Framework, thereby trying to focus on the positive and negative implications of the same on the organization (Hayes 2014). The concluding part of the report tries to recommend better and more efficient strategies which the company can take for potentially better outcomes in their future operating framework.

With the increase in the significance and need for change management in the contemporary global organizations, different theories and conceptual frameworks have developed over the years to address the concerned aspects. The primary conceptual models in the aspect of organizational change management are discussed as follows:

  1. a) Lewin’s Change Management Model- This popular model divides any kind of change management in any commercial organization into three parts:
  • Unfreeze- With realization of need for change this process leads to “unfreezing” of current operational frameworks in order to find the biases and faults present in the same.
  • Change- After preparation for change, changes are actually deployed in the organization. This is done along with provision of support and guidance to the members of the organizations in their adaptation process and maintaining proper and efficient communication channels (Shirey 2013).
  • Refreeze- The new habits and operational changes brought in the organizations are then refreeze in order to ensure that the old operations do not come back. This phase also requires regular monitoring to ensure that the new methods implemented are efficiently followed.

Burnes’ Change Management Framework

This model, though easy to comprehend, does not emphasize on the types of changes in the organizations which would need implementation of such a conceptual change management framework as it is not possible and also not feasible for a company to indulge into such an extensive strategic implementation for all small changes in their operational framework (Jabri 2017).

  1. b) The McKinsey 7-S Model- This model, unlike the former one, does not focus on large paradigm shifts, but focusses on understanding the degree of coherence of the business organizations in general, by analysing the seven different aspects of the companies, which are again interlinked with one another

The model has the provision of observing the positives and limitations of each of the above-mentioned aspects of an organization, thereby highlighting the areas which needs to be focussed more for higher productivity of the organization and is thus a flexible change management model (Ravanfar 2015). However, this model is specifically effective for small organizations with few productive resources and employees as implementing the same in big organizations within a short span of time is not possible efficiently.

  1. c) Kotter’s Framework- This theory emphasizes not on the change but on the people, who need to bring in the change, by bringing in the sense of urgency for the need for change among the relevant individuals. There are several steps formulated under this theoretical framework to bring and manage the change in an organizational structure, which are shown sequentially in he following figure:

The model as described above proves to be effective in creating the sense of urgency among the people participating in the productive processes of an organizations regarding the need for change in the same, which in turn creates motivations and drives the employees towards deploying and adapting changes (Worley and Mohrman 2014). However, the model is to some extent a top-down model, which in turn often alienates the employees by not including them in the change management process by decreasing their roles to only that of obeying orders of implementing or following changes.

  1. d) ADKAR Model- The model provides a bottom-up procedure in which several goals are set for all the individuals behind the changes which are about to be brought in the organizations, the goals, being making up the acronym ADKAR, which are as follows:
  • Awareness of the requirement for change
  • Desire to participate in the process
  • Knowledge regarding implementation of change
  • Ability to bring the change
  • Reinforcement for sustaining the change (Lewis 2012)

This bottom-up approach is primarily an employee-concerned one, where goals are set for the employees to work for and implement. The process being non-sequential is a flexible and can be implemented to bring small incremental disruptive changes. However, in case of implementation of large scale changes this model does not work efficiently as the same does not take into consideration the macro management of the organizations.

As can be seen from the above discussion, the models discussed all being highly theoretical have the common flaw of generalizing the types of changes which are required for organizations (Bareil 2013). There remain few scopes for incorporations of dynamics in the change frameworks suggested by these theories for organizational change management, according to the diverse needs specific to the different organizations in the contemporary global scenario. In this context, the most comprehensive, flexible and dynamic framework for Change Management for the different sorts of organizations in the current global business scenario is provided by Burnes, which is described as follows:

Keeping into account the diversities in the organizations in the contemporary period and the different needs of changes which occur in these organizations at different periods of time, this framework classifies changes into mainly three broad categories which are as follows:

  1. Smooth Incremental- This type of change is slow and systematic leading to evolutionary changes in the organizations.
  2. Bumpy Incremental- These changes pertain to the times observing acceleration of the smooth change flows.
  3. Discontinuous Change- This type of changes is mainly disruptive and punctuated, bringing disruptive changes in the organizational operations of the concerned organization (Burnes 2014).

Change Continuum

Keeping these aspects into consideration, Burnes’ Framework highlights the following aspects present in the change management framework of the contemporary organizational scenario:

Change, as per the assertions of the concerned framework can be primarily of two types on the aspect of their magnitude which are described as follows:

Incremental Changes- These types of changes in the business organizations consist of small incremental steps towards the betterment of the current operating framework and outcome of the organizations, without threatening to change the existing organizational power structures and the current methods of operations of the same. These methods are implemented in an organization when small scale changes are required in the same.

Transformational Changes- A much large scale and comprehensive change structure which involves an overall shift in the overall business culture, due to changes in the operational and strategic framework used by the organizations in past, is known as transformational change. These types of changes are brought forward for bringing organization-wide changes and are implemented and executed over a period of time.

As per the theoretical framework, there remains different approaches of bringing in and managing change in an organization, depending upon the nature of changes and the environment in which the same are brought about the organizations:

Planned Changes- These types of changes are deliberately designed and implemented in an organization, in a stable environment, in order to bring structural and directional changes in the same. These changes follow a pre-planned and controlled path and have a definite beginning and end but are however slow and predictable (By, Burnes and Oswick 2012).

Emergent Changes- This type of change takes into account the basic notion that the environment of the businesses is inherently changing. Keeping this into account the emergent changes are brought forward in the operational framework of the organizations, which are open ended and unpredictable set of modifications, which are brought forward by the management of an organization to align the changes with the dynamic environment of the organizations (Burnes and Cooke 2012). These changes are brought forward by interaction and lesser controlling behaviour of the management and are less time taken but the effects of such changes are often unpredictable.

The framework also takes into account the diversities of change management in the organizations based on the speed of implementation and occurrence of the same, the types being as follows:

Slow Change- Often slow transformations are brought forward in the organizations through changes in the behaviour and culture prevalent in the organizations, which constitute not only the productive procedures and operational activities of the organizations but are also comprised of the attributes of the employees and their capabilities and limitations (Dawson and Andriopoulos 2014). Changing these aspects are time taking and start showing effects in the long run only.

Approaches to Change

Rapid Change- In many cases, owing to circumstances, rapid and immediate transformations are required in the business organizations, for which changes are often brought about and implemented in the structural and procedural aspects of the organizations. These changes are endogenous zone specific and can be brought about abruptly.

Keeping all these diversities in the nature of changes which can be implemented in an organization, in the contemporary scenario, the following framework for change is put forward in this framework, keeping into consideration the nature, magnitude, mode and objectives as well as implications of changes in an organization, which can be shown as follows:

Keeping these types of changes and their attributes into consideration, the following section of the report tries to analyse the nature of the change management techniques which have been implemented in the operational structure of Coca Cola Company in the previous periods.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Coca Cola is more than a century old multinational soft beverage company, serving in every part of the world. With an average revenue of more than 35 billion USD, the company employs nearly 62,000 people across the world and is known as one of the largest employers and significantly popular multi-national corporations across the world, hugely famous for their flagship product, Coca Cola (Coca-colacompany 2018).

Given its huge domain of operations and highly diversified clientele as well as workforce, the company needs to keep on making changes in their products as well as in their business strategies as per the expectations of their customers, to stay ahead of their competitors in the global as well as domestic non-alcoholic beverage markets ( 2018).

The primary needs for bringing in changes in the operational framework of the concerned company are both external as well as internal. The external factors include the aspects like market conditions, economic and government scenarios, dynamics in the labour markets, while the internal ones consist of the resources, workforces, attitude and behaviour of the employees as well as the culture, environment and strategic framework prevalent in the organization itself ( 2018). There have been considerable changes in both the exogenous as well as endogenous factors of Coca Cola over the years, which in turn has led the company to implement various change management processes in order to address and incorporate the effects of these dynamics. The need for change in the organizational operational framework of the company was specifically felt after the fall in the demand for their bottled soda for a prolonged period, which in turn made it inevitable for the company to implement changes so as to cater to the changing demand of more healthy beverages in the global market.

Keeping into account the problem which the company had been facing for a prolonged period of time, regarding the loss of customers for their bottled soda, the company felt the need of a radical change in the organizational structure and processes, both in terms of the products which the company provides to its customers, as well in the workforce structure and employee change management.

The company, in the current years, has announced as well as implemented a huge reshuffling in the senior leadership structure in the current period. The Mexico President of the company has taken up a new role of the chief growth officer and the former research and development executive of the company, Robert Long is expected to take charge of the role of the chief innovation officer of the company (Fortune 2018). Both of these roles have been created recently created in the company to take into account the need for changes in the organization, owing to the changing demands and preference pattern across the globe. Apart from these changes, the chief information officer of the company has also been promoted with the greater responsibility and is expected to report to the management of the company.

The company has also announced to layoff nearly a thousand of its employees, many of these posts being in the leadership structures in the different departments of the company across the world (Doh and Quigley 2014). As a part of the senior leadership shake-up of the company, three executives are expected to be departing from the same, which also includes the former chief marketing officer of the company, Marcos de Quinto, who had been working with the company for the last 35 years.

The primary notion working behind such employee-framework restructuring decision of the company is to make the working process more innovative and adaptive to the global changes taking place in the demand structure. The company felt a need to change its operational framework, emphasizing especially on innovations, for which these changes in the employee structure was brought forwards.

Taking into account the changes in the demand pattern for beverages and a shift from the unhealthy ones to health-based drinks, the company has started to develop and supply products like bottled water, energy drinks and has also launched products like Coke Zero and Diet Coke, to attract an increased number of health-conscious customers ( 2018). The company has also started incorporating the differences in the taste and preference patterns of the customers in different parts of the world, especially the African and Asian as well the Middle East customers and has started making and supplying different versions of their products with variations in the compositions and categories in these markets, thereby incorporating the changes in the preference patterns in their operational and productive framework.

The main rationale behind such changes is obviously to take into account the regional as well as time-subjected changes in the demand and preferential patterns of the customers in their global framework, thereby confronting the competition of the regional producers successfully and gaining an edge over the same in the long run.

From the types of changes incorporated in the company in the recent period and the underpinning notions and objectives behind such changes it can asserted that the types of changes incorporated by the company, fall into the category of “Bold Stroke” in the Burnes’ Change Management Framework. These types of changes are brought forward in the organizational level and are mainly focussed to change the structural and procedural changes in the organizations. These fall into the categories of rapid and long scale changes, which are usually brought forward when the company feels the need of a fast changes in its structural and operational framework in order to respond to the dynamics in the markets and adapt to the same.

However, although the “Bold Stroke” change management framework apparently expected to be a desirable strategy for Coca Cola, the effects of the same is not expected to be long term and sustainable, unless the company brings in an overall change in its cultural framework which is absolutely essential to sustain the innovations and new operational frameworks which are abruptly brought forward by the company (Albert, Werhane and Rolph 2014). Changing the culture of the company indicates towards bringing in modifications in the way of working, worker’s attitudes, mindsets and designing the role of each of them, aligning the same with the new philosophies of the company. To adapt to the new modes of working and new innovations for bringing in new products, which are much different from what they used to produce for years, the workers need to incorporate in their minds the changing patterns of the global demand and work to capture the new customer demands by catering to them and their new needs.

These indicates towards the need for “Emergent Changes” in the framework of the company, which are slow transformations targeted to change the overall organizational culture to bring a large-scale transformation in order to respond successfully to the dynamic demand environment the company faces globally (Brown and Osborne 2012).


From the above discussion it can be asserted that in the contemporary dynamic business environment, with increasing change trends in the demand and supply sides in the global framework, the management of change in the organizations is of utmost importance and the frameworks for the same varies with the nature of dynamics the concerned company face and the modifications it needs to implement to sustain in the market. Keeping this into consideration, the current changes brought in the Coca Cola company is seen to be more of a “Bold Stroke” under the Burnes’ Change Management Framework, with changes being primarily brought rapidly and mostly in the structural and procedural frameworks of the company. However, these changes will only sustain if the company focusses in gradually changing the overall cultural framework existing in the current periods, so as to adapt to the rapid changes and cater to the new preference patterns of the customers. For the same the company needs to implement emergent change management process which is expected to take time but is also expected to be more effective in changing the overall cultural framework of the company in positive ways in the long run so as to make the changes sustainable and profitable.


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