2. Orientation: e.g why are you writing about the 3 layers of Change; how did our thinking of leadership and change develop
– 3 Approaches: for each approach first write a short description (1-3 sentences); and the rest should be Evaluation: i.e: write pro’s and con’s for each part; you can include some critique of the theories…etc
– Planned Change
– Emergent Change
3. Comparison and Implementation (approx. 800 words); how do 3 approaches compare and what are the implications for implementing change in organization. (Compare it by looking how it will work in organization; whether it can be combine or not; are there certain steps we need to follow; when do we use each approach)
4. Conclusion: How does all of the above work in practice \
Approaches of Leading Change in Organizations
Effective marketing leaders habitually innovate and adjust swiftly to new business environments to seize emerging opportunities well before their competitors. The best approach to change is the one that blends best innovations and practices (Lawrence, 2014: n.p). This implies that the approach should be able to balance innovation with organizational performance and embrace strategic experimentation of the new systems without jeopardizing financial stability. This way, the leadership should focus on adopting a change approach that successfully transforms the company and paves a clear path to greater profitability.
By and large, leaders have a critical role to play in steering change in their organization. Leadership demands fluidity and dynamism, which requires the commitment and ability to lead change. Leaders should be able to inspire motivation throughout the organization for change in order to ensure a healthy, growing, and dynamic organization. Consequently, in order to lead change successfully, leaders must first understand the landscape of change. Once the leader has identified the need for change, they require identifying the best approach to achieve the change. Understanding the landscape of change helps leaders to identify the required resources, efforts, behavior, and approaches to achieve change successfully (Griffin, 2014: n.p).
Lewin’s (1952) model of planned change holds that change entails a three-stage process including freezing current behavior, moving to the new behavior, and refreezing the new behavior (Griffin, 2014: n.p). One weakness of this approach is its basis on the assumption that firms act under constant environments that can be factored and planned for. The emergent approach considers change as a rapid and unpredictable phenomenon that cannot be managed from the top (Jackson, 2013: 21). Instead, change should be considered as a process of learning with the organization responding to its external and internal environmental change. The emergent approach is more focused on readiness and facilitating for change. The organizational development (OD) approach is practitioner-driven intervention oriented strategy to change through individual change (Cameron & Green, 2009: n.p). The approach places much emphasis on survey based problem diagnosis through careful planned approaches to improving or changing organizational structures and processes with an aim of minimizing the negative side effects and maximizing organizational change. The classic OD approach to organizational change has been side tracked in favor of the knowledge management, which is seen as more responsive to the constantly changing global business environment.
Comparison and Implementation
The emergent approach holds that change is unpredictable, unintentional, and can be a product of any aspect of the business. Change is also seen as iterative and emerging simultaneously as the various actors organize work in structure. Change involves improving the existing facilitating conditions within the organizational environment (Leonard, Lewis, Freedman, & Passmore, 2013: 379). Most organization can be described as operating at the edge of chaos with stability and instability intertwined and difficult to separate. The emergent approach requires organizations as natural systems to be responsive to their environment (Lalonde, 2011: n.p). As such, disequilibrium is considered as a necessary conditions to spur growth and avoid organizations from becoming unresponsive and risking decline. Since emergent change occurs in real time, it spurs ongoing re-alignment with the environment, learning, as well as strategy change.
The emergent approach emphasizes the procedural nature of organizing. The way people interact result in unpredictable outcomes and difficulties in predicting and planning beforehand the direction that change initiatives will take. One example that explains emergent change is in terms of the innovation processes where customers, venture partners, and suppliers all become important sources of innovation (Evans et al., 2014: 205). Organizations can leverage stakeholders input swiftly and effectively using new technologies such as Facebook and Twitter. However, the feedback acquired is unpredictable and could result in recognition of felt need for change in a firm in a direction that had not been considered before (Attwood, 2003: n.p). According to McLean (2013: n.p), such scenarios suggest that change initiatives need to go beyond the episodic change formulated in the planned change approach involving the defreeze, change, refreeze model. The suggested model that should be incorporated in the change process includes the emergence, emergence developments, and self-organization. In practice, the planned change approach is likely to yield unintended consequences and relations that could result in non-linear emergent change.
The planned change theory is primarily focused on resolving social conflict through behavior change. The stability of human behavior needs to be destabilized before discarding the old behavior. The key to unfreezing the old behavior lies in recognizing change as a profound psychological dynamic process. In moving, change should focus on all forces at work (Bamford, 2006: 141). Predicting specific outcome in the planned change approach can be very difficult because of the complexities of the forces involved. In addition, the process of refreezing may require change in culture, policies, and practices.
One basic assumption in the emergent approach is that leaders need to have a though insight into the organization, its structures, people, culture, and strategies in order to respond to change effectively. By understanding these aspects allows leaders to choose the most appropriate approach and strategies to change and to identify the factors that act as facilitators or barriers to change (Shani, Noumair, Pasmore, & Woodman, 2013: n.p). The approach champions a holistic focus to the organization when considering change; an aspect that can be considered as concurring with the increasing prominence of organizational development as a framework for thinking about change (Bamford & Forrester, 2003: 546). The OD approach seeks to analyze how change in one part of the organization is likely to affect the other parts. Just like the emergent approach, it is focused on organization-wide issues such as organizational culture, socio-technical systems, radical transformational change, and organizational learning.
However, OD’s focus on radical transformation is a shift from the planned change perspective and is more in line with the emergent change approach. The OD approach is considered as an improvement of the planned change approach. This is because it seeks to address the gaps that are presented by the planned change approach in terms of planning for change through humanistic and democratic approaches to change as championed by Lewin (Burnes & Jackson, 2011:133). As Caldwell (2012: 44) notes, the OD has achieved this by broadening its scope and moving away from the focus to groups to a more organization-wide approach. Unlike the planned approach that has been faulted as focusing on up-bottom change initiatives, the OD commitment-based strategies are considered as affecting change that originates from bottom up. Compliance-based strategies in the OD approach involve the development of behavioral imperatives for change. Employee involvement is crucial with culture being considered as a primary consideration in driving change (By, 2005: 370).
The aspect of culture as a primary consideration in initiative change is emerging as one of the common themes across the three approaches. This implies that organizational culture is critical to successful change initiatives. Managers must consider how the current organizational culture and norms stand to affect the proposed change. It also implies that in some cases, successful implementation of change might require change in organizational culture. Organizational culture can be considered in line with organizational behavior and norms (Connell, Ferres, & O’Toole, 2011: n.p). These aspects of the organization acts to facilitate or derail change. For change to be successful there must be acceptance and commitment across the organization.
Another common theme across the three approaches is the issue of change as a holistic rather than a group or individual initiative. This implies that change must be organization-wide. This requires the commitment of leaders as well as followers in implementing change (Burnes, & Cooke, 2012: 1395). Lack of willingness on one side will cause failure to achieve desired change. Change must also consider the existing organizational structures, processes, resources, people, and strategies. Leaders need to recognize that people are the main change agents and that change does not take place in a vacuum, but rather within a business environment.
The current business environment is characterized by rapid advancement in technologies and innovativeness. Companies are increasingly under pressure to adopt new technologies and strategies in order to keep up the pace of fierce competition that they face. As such, change becomes an inevitable phenomenon in business. However, despite the need for change, it can be a complex and daunting especially if not undertaken effectively. The three approaches of change presents different directions that leaders can adopt to achieve the desired change in their organizations. Successful implementation of change is dependent on how well the chosen approach addresses the desired conditions and how well it concurs with the needs and capabilities of the organization. Leaders need to identify the need for change and understand the various aspects in the change landscape in order to choose the most effective approach.
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