Individual Reflective Portfolio
Title: Role of leadership in Change Management
This essay will discuss firstly if leadership has a role to play in change management and secondly to highlight the key requirements of leader to be effective in implementing change.
Q 1 Does Leadership has an important role to play in change management in an organisation
Yes, leadership has an important role to play in change management in an organisation because successful change, in society cannot be made without leadership. The leader is important because he/she has influence and the ability to manage people and to overcome people’s fear. Organisational change is about reviewing and modifying management structures and business processes. Organisational change and transformation have become regular features of the business landscape. Huge new markets and labour pools have opened up innovative technologies have put once-powerful business models on the chopping block, and capital flows and investor demand have become less predictable. Therefore, to meet these challenges, organisations have become more sophisticated in the best practices for organisational change management (Aguire & Alpern, 2014). According to Kotter and Colen (2002), people are living in a tumultuous world where it is very important to bring change and the organisations that are afraid of bringing that change and are stuck at one position.
Managing people – successful leaders use their talent, skills, personality and behaviour to persuade people. Leadership begin by communicating a clear vision and give the reasons and the benefits of the change. This can be done by calling a meeting, because if people are aware and understood the issues and the benefits of that change they will be willing to do so. Very often, leaders implement change because they are thinking about change for the best and not for the worst, even sometimes things went wrong. Therefore, leaders should know how to approach people in an acceptable and respectful way in order to persuade them to accept that change.
Overcoming people’s fear – successful leaders have to be trusted by their employees. The employees will believe and hope that the leader will bring them some positive changes. Most successful leaders have clear vision about the change because they knew and have experienced the issues. Knowledge is one of the most powerful tools to deal with any kind of problems and not just for a change management process. Leaders have to reveal what they know and the reasons of that change. People must know the reasons, benefits and the consequences of the change; this will make them to feel it.
Lead with the culture – according to Lou Gerstner, (2002) who as chief executive of the International Business Machine Corporation (IBM) said: the most important lesson he learned from the experience was that “culture is everything”. Culture is king; Businesspeople today must understand this. So, leaders should understand the culture and adapt a reflective culture.
Make the rational and emotional case together – leaders should make the case for important change on the sole basis of strategic business objectives such as “to enter new markets or to grow 20 percent a year for the next five years.” Leaders should manage to reach people emotionally in a way that ensures genuine commitment to the cause because human beings respond to calls to action that engage their hearts, minds, and making them feel as they are part of something consequential.
Leverage formal solutions – persuading people to change their behaviour cannot be enough for transformation unless formal elements such as structures, rewards systems, training, ways of operating, and development are redesigned to support them. (Aguirre & Alpern, 2014)
Q 2: How leaders can be effective in implementing change management in an organisation
Leader need to be trusted and to be known as honest persons. Good leaders do their work enthusiastically and by doing this they earn the right to have responsibility for others; and people will respond openly to persons of passion and dedication. Leaders need to be able to be a source of inspiration, and be a motivator towards the required action or cause. Leaders are confident about what they are doing in order to lead and set direction for the change. Good leaders are tolerant of ambiguity and remain calm, composed and steadfast to the main purpose. Also, good leaders keep the main goal in focus while they are thinking analytically. (White, 2016)
Title: Cracking the Code of Change
Q. Compare the two theories of O and E and argue which of these theories is more suitable for managing people through the change process.
Theory O change strategies are geared toward building up the corporate culture: employee behaviours, attitudes, capabilities, and commitment. The organisation’s ability to learn from its experiences is a legitimate yardstick of corporate success. According to Nohria & Beer(2000) managers who subscribe to theory O believes by focussing completely on the price of their stock, its organisation will be harmed. In this soft approach to change, the goal is to develop corporate culture and human capability through individual and organisational learning. The procedure of changing, obtaining feedback, reflecting, and making further changes; an example would be a U.S. companies that adopt O strategies, like Hewlett-Packard did when its performance flagged in the 1980s, usually have strong, long-held, commitment-based psychological contracts with their employees. (Nohria & Beer, 2000).
Theory E change strategies are the ones that make all the headlines. In this hard approach to change, shareholder value is the only legitimate measure of corporate success. Change typically involves heavy use of economic incentives, drastic layoffs, downsizing, and restructuring. E change strategies are more financial markets push corporate boards for rapid turnarounds. For example, when William A. Anders was brought in as CEO of General Dynamics in 1991, his goal was to maximise economic value. However, painful the remedies might be; as over the next three years, Anders decreased the workforce by 71, 000 people down to 44, 000 through the divestiture of seven businesses and 27,000through layoffs and attrition. Anders employed common E strategies.
(Nohria & Beer, 2000).
The differences between the two theories (E & O)
Within the leadership, theory E focus on top-down approach with little involvement from managers or lower levels; but theory O get all employees emotionally committed and focus on bottom-up.
Within the focus, theory E deals with structures and systems, also streamlining assets. On the other hand, theory O is building up capacity focusing on culture, behaviour and attitude of employees.
Within the process, theory E requires clear, comprehensive, common plan of action with specific deadlines. Whilst, theory O is focussing on changes and more evolutionary and emergent; using innovative work processes, values and culture change. Within the reward system, theory E is mostly focus on finance. However, theory O focussing on compensation supports goal of culture change, but does not drive these goals; skills-based pay system, profit-sharing plans.
Within the consultants, theory E is relying extremely on external consultants, and to identify many painful cost-cutting initiatives. Conversely, theory O is relying far less on consultants, helping managers and employees analyse their own resolutions. (StevBlogs, 2009)
2) Building up capacity – culture, behaviour and attitude of employees.
3) Help managers and employees analyse their own solutions.
4) Get all employees emotionally committed and focus on bottom-up.
After reviewing the both sides, the theory O change strategies is more suitable than theory E change strategies because theory O change strategies deal mostly with human psychological issues such as employee behaviours, attitudes, capabilities, commitment, and it also geared toward building up the corporate culture. As mentioned early, the culture is everything and is the king because it is powerful.
(Nohria & Beer, 2000)
Theory O is more suitable because it is dealing with living system, culture & values, build up corporate culture employees’ behaviour, attitudes capabilities, commitment, develop organisational capabilities, motivate through commitment – use pay as fair exchange, encourage participation from the bottom up, and consultants support management in shaping their own solutions. The organisation’s ability to learn from its experiences is a legitimate yardstick of corporate success. Change is enabled through participative process which relies less on consultants and incentives. Theory O depends on a high commitment culture in which change is continuous and emergent.
(Nohria & Beer, 2000).
Title: The Heart of Change
Questions: What are the barriers to change and discuss 4 dimensions of Kotter’s book heart of change to enable more successful change in organisations?
Q. 1 what are the barriers to change
According to Kotter & Cohen (2002), there are four sets of behaviours that frequently prevent change. The first one is complacency, driven by false pride or arrogance. The second is immobilisation and self-protection, driven by fear or panic. The third is “you cannot make me move” deviance, driven by anger. Lastly is pessimistic attitude, leading to constant hesitation.
Awareness and knowledge of what needs to change and why, are essential first step in enabling change to occur. Identify the barriers and discuss the types of barriers to change encountered in that organisation will help to understand the different types of barriers, and why change may be difficult.
Change is a function of: dissatisfaction with the present, a shared vision of the future and some first practical steps. Therefore, these barriers could be: lack of understanding about the change itself, poor alignment behind it, and no clear vision, direction and priorities. A bad culture shift planning, organisation complex, lack of effective communication strategy, lack of employee involvement, Lack of leadership and of strong project management of the change. No clear process for managing beginnings and endings. Process is not measured and learning is no reviewed – this is needed to sustain the change. (Lisette, 2009)
Q. 2 Discuss 4 dimensions of Kotter’s book Heart of change to enable more successful change in organisations
According to Kotter & Cohen, 2002 “change is an eight step process that few handle properly; these steps are: create a sense of urgency so people start telling each other “let’s go, we need to change things!” Then communicate the vision through simple, heartfelt messages sent through multiple channels so that people begin to buy into the change. Empower people by removing obstacles to the vision. Create clear, simple, uplifting visions and sets of strategies. Pull together a guiding team powerful enough to guide a big change. Create short-term wins that provide momentum. Maintain momentum so that wave after wave of change is possible. Lastly, make change stick by nurturing a new culture. (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). Some steps are detailed below.
In order to overcoming barriers to change, the communication should be clear and honest, this helps to initiate acceptance of change with employees. The organisation should consider fostering employee involvement with decision-making. The helps make the employees feel valued and also have ownership in the change result. Outstanding leadership is needed for change to be exercised effectively because a good leadership can help rally support for the change and provide direction on how best to execute the plans. Also using negotiation to handle disagreements on issues with the change will work best. It is good for organisation to find a solution through compromise and communication.
Change can be made more successful by following some of dimensions of Kotter’s book Heart of Change, and they are: create a sense of urgency; pull together a guiding team; create clear, simple, uplifting visions; communicate the vision through simple, heart-felt messages; and empower people.
Create a sense of urgency – in successful change efforts, the first thing to do is making sure most people take action enough in an urgent manner; so that people begin telling each other “Let’s go, we need to change things”. Without urgency, large – scale change will not happen. Change will happen when people show others the need to change with a persuasive object that people can actually see, touch and feel; showing people suitable and impressive evidence from outside the organisation that shows that change is required; and also by looking for cheap and easy ways to diminish complacency and not to underestimate complacency, fear and anger.
Pull together a guiding team – the organisation should put the team together in order to guide the change that needs a sense of urgency. When there is urgency, more people want to lead, even if there is personal risk and few short-term rewards. The team will be powerful enough to guide a significant change. Usually the right people such as leader are the best people to handle organisational change. However, here a single individual from the team who feels great urgency will be able to convince the whole team.
Create clear, simple, uplifting vision – in successful large – scale change, a well-functioning guiding team will require a clear sense of direction. An organisation that has successfully implemented large – scale change, four things have helped to direct the action in the right direction, and they are: visions, budgets, plans and strategies. All four are different and each requires a different development process. Vision shows an end state where all the plans and strategies will take an organisation. Visioning requires the creativity to see possible futures. Today’s change visions are becoming bolder by necessity. Most executives believe that their visions must include being an industry leader and being the firm that is into new markets.
Communicate the vision through simple, heart-felt messages – the messages should be sent through several different channels so that people start to buy into the change. In successful change efforts, the visions and change strategies cannot be kept in silence with the team. They must be communicated with many people as possible, who in turn must buy in and they should act to make the vision a reality.
Empower people – when people start to realise and act on a change vision, the organisation needs to remove barriers in people paths. For example, by removing a pessimistic skipper, and give the crew an optimistic boss. The organisation should try to ease the reluctant boss’ attitude through creative approaches. The information is a powerful tool to remove barriers, especially when it accurately and reasonably communicated.
(Nohria & Beer, 2000)
Is employee resistance to change, the main reason for the failure of many change efforts in organisations? Discuss this statement with reference to Burns (2014).
The concept of dispositional resistance to change was developed by Oreg (2003) and focuses on the individual as the main source of resistance rather than wider organisational factors. In particular, the following points should be noted:
1) Resistance to change is not uniform among human beings; instead, it varies according to a person’s level of dispositional resistance (Oreg, 2003). Those with a low level of dispositional resistance will be predisposed to accept change and those with a high level predisposed to reject it. This may explain why some workers at Harwood had great difficulty in adapting to change whilst others appeared to find it relatively easier.
2) An individual level of dispositional resistance does not necessarily predict their actual level of resistance to any particular change initiative. Instead, it will be moderated by the context and the nature of the change.
3) A further factor that is likely to affect the level of resistance is the way the change is managed, in terms of both the management style of the change agent and the degree of involvement of those affected (Buchanan & Boddy, 1992; Burns & Jackson, 2011). There is strong support for the view that employee involvement allied to a participative style of leadership is essential in most cases for successful change (Oreg et al, 2011).
4) In some instances, the legitimacy of existing beliefs, behaviours and expectations may already have been undermined because the organisation is experiencing a crisis; the restructuring of many financial institutions owing to the credit crunch may be a good example. In such situations, it might be that cultural and behavioural change can be quickly achieved without the need for elaborate involvement techniques.
According to Ijaz & Vitalis’s (2011) resistance does not arise from the individual, but from the context in which the change takes place (dent & Goldberg, 1999). Therefore several theories of resistance to change will be reviewed:
Theory 1 Cognitive Dissonance –it seeks to understand why and how resistance arises, the theory of cognitive dissonance has proved extremely influential (Burns & James, 1995).
Theory 2 The Depth of Intervention – this approach was developed over a decade based on the work of four leading proponents of OD and is still utilised in leading textbooks (Cummings & Worley, 2009). They concluded that the level of employee involvement required in any change project is related to the psychological impact of the change on the people concerned.
Theory 3 The Psychological Contact – a complementary explanation for employees’ acceptance of or resistance to change is offered by the notion of the psychological contact, which has proved to be highly influential and widely cited (Guest, Isaksson, & De Witte, 2010).
Theory 4 Dispositional resistance – though the most recent of the four theories, the rigour of its development and testing has resulted in its being no less influential (Org et al, 2008).
According to John Scherer, people resist change for a variety of reasons. Their resistance can be reduced when change leaders truly understand, appreciate acknowledge and address the factors and the forces behind that resistance. By neglecting and not taking these factors and forces into consideration or worse, by riding roughshod over the resisters, change leaders leave themselves and their changes open to sabotage, intentional or unintentional.
Also Robert Tanner, 2015 said “the employees and the peers are resting their change efforts from a perspective that makes sense to them.” In practice, there are some common reasons why people resist change: loss of status or job security in the organisation; non-reinforcing reward systems; surprise and fear of the unknown; peer pressure; climate of mistrust; organisational politics; fear of failure; and lack of tact or poor timing.
Title: The Change Agent
Weick and Quinn (1999:374) argue that the change agent as not a neutral facilitator, but an active manager who seeks to manage and shaping the perceptions of those concerned.
Define the concept of “change agent” and why does the change agent have an important role to play?
a) A Change Agent is fuelled by passion, and inspires passion in others. Leader as Change Agent is a leader who has the authority or power to control a group of people and get it organised for a particular task or goal. (Stevenson, 2008)
b) Change Agent is important to how change will be implemented and accepted within the organisation. Change agent demonstrates both technical and social skills. Within the technical, the change agent should be knowledgeable about the particular process to be changed, as well as how to interact with. Also, the change agent should have strong social skills and should be able to define and communicate what is expected to each person within the organisation in a non-confrontational and non-threatening way. In effect, the change agent has to sell change throughout the organisation. (Boehringer, 2012)
In your view is change always good for an organisation, in this case the country?
Sometimes change can be good or bad too. It is too bad for the country when two leaders did not agree because it can cause conflicts among British people. For example, for people who do not know about the politic will be confused because they do not know who is right. However, for those who know very well about the politic they have their free choice to vote to stay in the Euro or to exit from the Euro.
As a manager of an organisation how will you handle change to thrive as an organisation?
As a manager of an organisation; in order to successfully handle the change, it is necessary to help people understand what the change will be and the reasons behind the change. The more detailed the communication about the vision for the change, the better employees understand the need and the less resistant they will be to change.
As a manager, it is important to show support for changes and demonstrate that support when communicating and interacting with staff. Employees develop a comfort level when they see management supporting the process. Manager should create a case for change. A case for change can come from different sources such as customer satisfaction survey, employee satisfaction survey, customer comment cards, and business goals as a result of a strategic planning session or budget pressures. Using data is the best way to identify areas that need to improve and change initiatives. All change efforts should involve employees at some level. Since employees are typically closest to the process, it is important that they understand the why behind a change and participate in creating the new process. Communication of the change should be structured and systematic. Being proactive in communications can minimise resistance and make employees feel like they are part of the process. Once a change is planned, it is important to have good communication about the rollout and implementation of the change. Whenever a change is made it is always good to follow-up after implementation and assess how the change is working and if the change delivered the results that were intended. It is management’s responsibility to ensure that employees can implement change without obstacles and resistance. Finally, it is important to celebrate successes along the way as changes are made. By celebrating success of change, employees understand why a change is made and are part of the process for planning and implementing the change and they will successfully maintain the change.
On reflection of the course what have you learnt
The forces for change are augmenting and imposing on all organisations. The learning has taught the meaning, nature, complexity, and the process of achieving the change. The learning has revealed that the leaders are the right people to make change. However, leaders should have the characteristics, styles and skills of being a good leader. In addition, the learning has gave the knowledge and understanding on how to analyse and critique “social process” perspectives on change management, discuss and evaluate alternative models of change management, including participatory methods; and Also to apply relevant theories such O & E theories.
Change is inevitable, forces for change comes either from within and outside the firm. The managers should think of change and should consider these important elements: the forces for change, the perceived need for change, the initiation of change, and the implementation of change.
Jones & Aquirre, 2004. Strategy + Business [Online] Available at[Accessed date: 03/02/2016]
Vaughn, 2014.Leadership. [Online] Available at[Accessed date: 03/02/2016]
Ajmal et al, 2015. Role of leadership in change management process. Available at [Accessed date: 03/02/2016]
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