Essay Sample on Strategies for Change Management

Date:  2021-07-05 16:30:58
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Change is inevitable in any business organization. The 21st-century business landscape is often characterized by rapid changes as a result of the numerous social, political, economic, and technological changes. A business organization basically needs change so as to help in the easier flow of its processes, boost cost efficiency, foster a customer-friendly environment as well as improve agility and productivity (Morgan and Page 2008). The management of change has been an evolving science that has often drawn a lot of its inspiration from social and behavioral sciences (Choudhury 2013). Managers are expected to play a pivotal role in driving an organization through the change process. Studies on management strategies show that most employees prefer getting information on a change in the organization from their immediate supervisor or CEO, not from fellow employees of the same or junior levels (Shaw 2015). There are various models of the change management process for a manager to explore and consider. This paper examines the circumstances under which different strategies and models of change management may or may not be effective in managing change within an organization.

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One model of change management is Lewins three-step Unfreeze-Transition-Refreeze model. This model, which recognizes the peoples preference to operate within certain safety zones, was created by Kurt Lewin, a psychologist, in the 1950s (MacPhee 2007). Kurt came up with three phases of change management namely: unfreeze, transition, and refreeze. The first phase requires motivation and communication aimed at preventing people from resisting change; the second, which is likely to take some time, requires sufficient reassurance and leadership as the company gears towards transition; while the third requires the staff to accept the change, refreeze and become stable as they work under new conditions (Morgan and Page 2008). The other is Kotters 8-Step Model of Change which mainly focuses on effective and efficient management of change in a highly competitive world (Balogun 2006). It was developed by John Kotter, a Harvard University professor. In this model, the managers are required by this model to apply eight crucial steps in convincing their staff members to adopt to change. The steps include increasing the resolve for change, building a team that is dedicated to steer the change, creating the idea for change, communicating the idea, empowering the employees with the capacity for change, generating short-term objectives, remaining persistent and finally making the change permanent (Gerth and Luckey 2012). In addition to Kotters model is the McKinsey 7-S model which provides a holistic style to an organization. The model, which was created by Anthony Athos, Tom Peters, and Robert Waterman in 1978, focuses on seven factors that function as a collective agent for change (Van de Ven and Sun 2011). The seven factors include skills, staff, style, systems, structure, strategy and shared values. The three models may not work all the time. Each of them may only work under specific circumstances in the management of the change process.

One of the processes that are likely to lead to a change in an organization is cost cutting. An organization may, for example, wish to sublet some of the office space so as to cut costs by offsetting some of the facility cost. This would mean that some of the staff members will be required to share offices, desks and other facilities due to the reduction in space. Such a change may be rather emotional for some of these employees. Sherratt, Jefferies and Awad (2013) suggest that a change that involves all the employees, or at least most of them, in an organization must be well managed for optimal results. In that case, one model that may work effectively in managing this change is the Kurt Lewins three-step Unfreeze-Transition-Refreeze model. Although this model may take a rather long time to implement, it is easy and has proved successful in enacting major changes within different organizations (Balogun 2006). In the case of subletting office space to cut on costs, this model would work out very well if the management is patient enough. The staff members will need to be informed in advance that they will soon begin sharing office space so that it does not get them by surprise. Their feelings and concerns about the new arrangement should also be taken into consideration and addressed before the change is implemented. The process of implementation should then be gradual, according to Lewins model so that by the time the refreezing takes place; every employee is satisfied with the new arrangement. Although it seems a simple step-by-step approach, Kotters model may not be effective in this case, since some steps may be skipped.

Another aspect that may trigger a change in an organization is the change in management due to attrition. When one of the managers leaves the company the impact may be felt more by those in that department. The replacement must, therefore, be done carefully. The affected organization ought to first determine if there is a member of staff who could be a suitable replacement so as to promote the corporate culture and lessen the emotional impact of losing a vital manager (Choudhury 2013). If there is no qualified replacement, then the company can hire from outside but manage this change effectively to avoid resistance. Although Lewins three-step Unfreeze-Transition-Refreeze model could apply in this case, the McKinsey 7-S model would be more effective since it combines both emotional and rational components thus providing the necessary guidance for the change. This makes it easier to manage the change.

The change process can be unpredictable and quite challenging to an organization. Normally, change has an impact on the organization as a whole. Therefore, the administration of change must be carefully considered if the management wishes to get the desired results. Since adjusting to change is not easy for both the organization and the employees, choosing the most effective model remains paramount in managing change. This is irrespective of whether it is a change in structure or general operations. A company should, therefore, meticulously identify and select the right model for change management to ensure success and optimal results.

References

Balogun, J. (2006). Managing Change: Steering a Course between Intended Strategies and Unanticipated Outcomes. Long Range Planning, 39(1), pp.29-49.

choudhury, R. (2013). Managing Change. Journal of Hotel & Business Management, 03(01).

Gerth, C. and Luckey, M. (2012). Towards Rich Change Management for Business Process Models. Softwaretechnik-Trends, 32(4), pp.32-34.

MacPhee, M. (2007). Strategies and Tools for Managing Change. JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration, 37(9), pp.405-413.

Morgan, R. and Page, K. (2008). Managing business transformation to deliver strategic agility. Strategic Change, 17(5-6), pp.155-168.

Shaw, D. (2015). Managing dualities in organizational change projects. Journal of Change Management, 16(3), pp.201-222.

Sherratt, S., Jefferies, M. and Awad, R. (2013). Proposing a New Model for Organizational Change Management. Change Management: An International Journal, 12(3), pp.17-28.

Van de Ven, A. and Sun, K. (2011). Breakdowns in Implementing Models of Organization Change. Academy of Management Perspectives, 25(3), pp.58-74.

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