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Organization Development

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Organization Development ­ MGMT 628
Lesson 23
Leading and Managing Change
After diagnosis reveals the cause of problem or opportunities for development, organization members
begin planning and subsequently leading and implementing the changes necessary to improve organization
effectiveness and performance. A large part of OD is concerned with interventions for improving
Changes can vary in complexity from the introduction of relatively simple process into a small work group
to transformation the strategies and design features of the whole organization. Although change
management differs across situation, here we discuss tasks that must be performed in managing any kind of
organization change.
Overview of Changes Activities:
The OD literature has directed considerable attention to leading and managing change. Much of the
material is highly prescriptive, advising mangers about how to plan and implement organizational changes.
Traditionally, change management has focused on identifying sources of resistance to change and offering
ways to overcome them. More recent contribution has challenged the focus on resistance and has been
aimed at creating vision and desired future, gaining political support for them, and managing the transition
of the organization toward them.
The diversity of practical advice for managing change can be organized into five major activities, as shown
in figure 33. The activities contribute to effective change management and are listed roughly in the order in
which they typically are performed. Each activity represents a key element in change leadership. The first
activity involves motivating change and includes creating a readiness for change among organization
member and helping them address resistance to change. Leadership must create an environment in which
people accept the need for change and commit physical and psychological energy to it. Motivation is a
critical issue in starting change because ample evidence indicates that people and organization seek to
preserve the status quo and are willing to change only when there is compelling reason to do so. The
second activity is concerned with creating a vision and is closely aligned with leadership activities. The
vision provides a purpose and reason for change and describes the desired future state. Together, they
provide the "why" and "what" of planned change. The third activity involves developing political support
for change. Organizations are composed of powerful individuals and groups that can either block or
promote change. The fourth activity is concerned with managing the transition from the current state to
the desired future state. It involves creating a plan for managing the change activities as well as planning
special management structure for operating the organization during the transition. The fifth activity
involves sustaining momentum for change so that it will be carried to completion. This includes providing
resources for implementation the changes, building a support system for change agent, developing new
competencies and skills, and reinforcing the new behaviors needed to implement the changes.
Organization Development ­ MGMT 628
Figure 33. Activity Contributing to Effective Change Management
Each of the activities shown in Figure 33 is important for managing change. Although little research has
been conducted on their relative contributions, organization leaders must give careful attention to each
activity when planning and implementing organizational change. Unless individuals are motivated and
committed to change, unfreezing the status quo will be extremely difficult. In the absence of vision, change
is likely to be disorganized and diffuse. Without the support of powerful individuals and groups, change
may be blocked and possibly sabotaged. Unless the transition process is managed carefully, the organization
will have difficulty functioning while it moves from the current state to the future state. Without efforts to
sustain momentum for change, the organization will have problems carrying the changes through to
completion. Thus, all five activities must be managed effectively to realize success.
Let's now discuss more fully each of these change activities, directing attention to how the activities
contribute to planning and implementing organizational change.
Organization Development ­ MGMT 628
Motivating Change:
Organizational change involves moving from the known to the unknown. Because the future is uncertain
and may adversely affect people's competencies, worth and coping abilities, organization members generally
do not support change unless compelling reason convince them to do so. Similarly, organizations tend to
be heavily invested in the status quo, and they resist changing it in the face of uncertain future benefits.
Consequently, a key issue in planning for action is how to motivate commitment to organizational change.
As shown in figure 33, this requires attention to two related tasks: creating readiness for change and
overcoming resistance to change.
Creating Readiness for Change:
One of the more fundamental axioms of OD is that people's readiness for change depends on creating a
felt need for change. This involves making people so dissatisfied with the status quo that they are motivated
to try new work process, technology, or ways of behaving. Creating such dissatisfaction can be difficult, as
any one knows who has tried to lose weight, stop smoking, or change some other habitual behavior.
Generally, people and organizations need to experience deep levels of hurt before they will seriously
undertake meaningful change. For example IBM, GM and Sears experienced threats to their very survival
before they undertook significant change program. The following three methods can help generate
sufficient dissatisfaction to produce change:
Sensitize organizations to pressure for change. Innumerable pressures for change operate both
externally and internally to organizations. As mentioned earlier, modern organizations face
unprecedented environmental pressures to change themselves, including heavy foreign
competition, rapidly changing technology, and the draw of global markets. Internally pressures to
change include new leadership, poor product quality, high production costs and excessive
employee absenteeism and turnover. Before these pressures can serve as triggers for change,
however, organizations must be sensitive to them. The pressure must pass beyond an
organization's threshold of awareness if managers are to respond to them. Many organizations,
such as Kodak, Apple, Polaroid and Jenny Craig, set their threshold of awareness too high and
neglected pressure for changes until those pressures reached disastrous levels. Organizations can
make themselves more sensitive to pressure for change by encouraging leaders to surround
themselves with devil's advocate; by cultivating external network that comprise people or
organizations with different perspective and views; by visiting other organizations to gain exposure
to new ideas and methods; and by using external standards of performance, such as competitions'
progress or benchmarks, rather than the organization's own past standards of performance.
Reveal discrepancies between current and desired states. In this approach to generating a
felt need for change, information about the organization's current functioning is gathered and
compared with desired states of operation. (See "Creating a Vision" later for more information
about desired future states.) These desired states may include organizational goals and standards,
as well as general vision of a more desirable future state. Significant discrepancies between actual
and ideal states can motivate organization members to initiate corrective changes, particularly
when members are committed to achieving those ideals. A major goal of diagnosis, as described
earlier, is to provide members with feedback about current organizational functioning so that the
information can be compared with goals or with desired function states. Such feedback can
energize action to improve the organization.
Convey credible positive expectation for the change. Organization members invariably have
expectations about the result of organizational changes. The contemporary approach to planned
change described earlier suggest that these expectations can play an important role in generating
motivation for change. The expectations can serve as a fulfilling prophecy, leading members to
invest energy in changes program that they expect will succeed. When members expect success,
they are likely to develop greater commitment to the change process and to direct more energy
into the constructive behaviors needed to implement it. The key to achieving these positive
effects is to communicate realistic, positive expectation about the organizational changes.
Organization members also can be taught about the benefit of positive expectations and be
encouraged to set credible positive expectations for the change program.
Overcoming Resistance to Change:
Change can generate deep resistance in people and in organization, thus making it difficulty, if not possible,
to implement organizational improvement. At a personal level, change can arouse considerable anxiety
about letting go of the known and moving to an uncertain future. People may be unsure whether their
existing skills and contribution will be valued in the future, or have significant questions about whether they
Organization Development ­ MGMT 628
can learn to function effectively and to achieve benefits in the new situation. At the organization level,
resistance to change can come from three sources. Technical resistance comes from the habit of following
common producers and the consideration of sunk costs invested in the status quo. Political resistance can
arise when organization changes threaten powerful stakeholders, such as top executive or staff personal, or
call into question the past decisions of leaders. Organization change often implies a different allocation of
already scare resources, such as capital, training budgets and good people. Finally cultural resistance takes
the form of systems and procedures that reinforce the status quo, promoting conformity to existing values,
norms, and assumptions about how things should operate.
There are at least three major strategies for dealing with resistance to change.
Empathy and support. A first step in overcoming resistance is to learn how people are
experiencing change. This strategy can identify people who are having trouble accepting the
changes, the nature of their resistance, and possible ways to overcome it, but it requires a great deal
of empathy and support. It demands willingness to suspend judgment and to see the situation from
another's perspective, a process called active listening. When people feel that those people who are
responsible for managing change are genuinely interested in their feelings and perception, they are
likely to be less defensive and more willing to share their concern and fears. This more open
relationship not only provides useful information about resistance but also helps establish the basis
for the kind of joint problem solving needed to overcome barriers to change.
Communication. People resist change when they are uncertain about its consequences. Lack of
adequate information fuels rumors and gossip and adds to the anxiety generally associated with
change. Effective communication about changes and their likely result can reduce this speculation
and allay unfounded fears. It can help members realistically prepare for change.
However, communication is also one of the most frustrating aspects of managing change.
Organization members constantly receive data about people, changes and politics. Managers and
OD practitioners must think seriously about how to break through this stream of information.
One strategy is to make change information salient by communicating through a new different
channel. If most information is delivered through memos and emails, the change information can
be sent through meeting and presentations. Another method that can be effective during large-
scale change is to substitute change information for normal operating information deliberately.
This sends a message that changing one's activities is a critical part of a member's job.
Participation and involvement. One of the oldest and most effective strategies for overcoming
resistance is to involve organization members directly in planning and implementing change.
Participation can lead both to designing high quality changes and to overcoming resistance to
implementing them. Members can provide a diversity of information and ideas, which can
contribute to making the innovations effective and appropriate to the situation. They also can
identify pitfalls and barriers to implementation. Involvement in planning the changes increases the
likelihood that members' interest and needs will be accounted for during the intervention.
Consequently, participants will be committed to implementing the changes because doing so will
suit their interests and meet their needs. Moreover, for people having strong needs for
involvement, the act of participation itself can be motivating, leading to greater effort to make the
changes work.
The Life Cycle of Resistance to Change:
Organization programs such as downsizing, reengineering and total quality management involve
innovations and changes that will probably encounter some degree of resistance. This resistance will be
evident in individuals and groups in such forms as controversy, hostility, and conflict, either overt or
covert. The response to change tends to move through a life cycle.
Phase 1
In the first phase, there are only a few people who see the need for change and take reform seriously, As a
fringe element of the organization, they may be openly criticized, ridiculed, and persecuted by whatever
methods the organization has at its disposal and thinks appropriate to handle dissidents and force them to
conform to established organizational norms. The resistance looks massive. At this point the change
program may die, or it may continue to grow. Large organizations seem to have more difficulty bringing
about change than smaller organizations. One of IBM's business partners has said, for example, that trying
to get action from IBM is like swimming through "giant pools of peanut butter."
Organization Development ­ MGMT 628
Phase 2
As the movement for change begins to grow the forces for and against it become identifiable. The change
is discussed, and is more thoroughly understood by more of the organizations members. Greater
understanding may lessen the perceived threat of the change. In time, the novelty and strangeness of the
change tends to disappear.
Phase 3
In this phase there is a direct conflict and showdown between the forces for and against the change. This
phase will probably mean life or death to the change effort, because the exponents of the change often
underestimate the strength of their opponents. Those in organization who see change as good and needed
often find it difficult to believe how far the opposition will go to put a stop to the change.
Phase 4
If the supporters of the change are in power after the decisive battles, they will see the remaining resistance
as stubborn and a nuisance. There is still a possibility that the resisters will mobilize enough support to shift
the balance of power. Wisdom is necessary in dealing with overt opposition and also with the sizable
element that are not openly opposed to the change but also not convinced of its benefits.
Phase 5
In the last phase, the resisters to the change are as few and as alienated as the advocates were in the first
phase. Although the description of the five phases may give the impression that a battle is being waged
between those trying to bring about change and those resisting the change (and sometimes this is the
situation), the actual conflict is usually more subtle and may only surface in small verbal disagreements,
questions, reluctance, and so forth.
To better understand the phases, see the Five Phases of Resistance to Change in Action.
Regardless of how much resistance there is to the organizations change program, the change will to some
extent evolve through the five phases described above.
Depending on the change program, however, some of the phases may be brief, omitted, or repeated. If the
last phase is not solidified, the change process will move into first phase again. General Electric's retired
CEO, John F. Welch, has written:
People always ask, "Is the change over? Can we stop now? " You've got to tell them, "No, it's just begun."
They must come to understand that it is never ending. Leaders must create an atmosphere where people
understand that change is continuing process, not an event.
The Five Phases of Resistance to Change
Phase 1
In the 1970s the environmental movement began to grow. The First Earth Day was held in 1970.
Widespread interest in environmental concerns subsided during the 1980s. Some political officials
neglected environmental concerns, and environmentalists were often portrayed as extremists and radicals
(even antidevelopment). The forces for change were small, but pressure for change persisted through court
actions, elected officials, and group actions.
Phase 2
Environmental supporters and opponents became more identifiable in the 1980s. Secretary of the Interior
James Watt was perhaps the most vocal and visible opponent of environmental concerns and served as a
"lightening rod" for pro-environmental forces like the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society. As time
passed, educational efforts by environmental groups increasingly delivered their message. The public now
has information and scientific data that enabled it to understand the problem.
Phase 3
The Clean Air Act passed by Congress in 1990 represented the culmination of years of confrontation
between pro- and anti-environmental forces. The bill was passed several months after national and
worldwide Earth Day events. Corporations criticized for contributing to environmental problems took out
large newspaper and television ads to explain how they were reducing pollution and cleaning up the
environment. The "greening" of corporations became very popular.
Phase 4
One example is the confrontation between Greenpeace (an environmental group) and Shell Oil. The
Greenpeace group had been campaigning for weeks to block the Royal Dutch/Shell group from disposing
of the towering Brent Spar oil-storage rig by sinking it deep in the Atlantic Ocean. As a small helicopter
sought to land Greenpeace protesters on the rig's deck, Shell blasted high-powered water canons to fend
off the aircraft. This was all captured on film and shown on TV around the world. Four days after the
incident, Shell executives made a humiliating about-face; they agreed to comply with Greenpeace requests
and dispose of the Brent Spar on land. The incident, like the Exxon Valdez oil spill, shows how high-
profile cases can ignite worldwide public interest.
Organization Development ­ MGMT 628
Phase 5
Much of the world now sees environmentally responsible behavior as a necessity. Near-zero automobile
emissions are moving closer to a reality. Recycling has become a natural part of everyday life for many
people. But new ways to be environmentally responsible are still being sought.
Table of Contents:
  1. The Challenge for Organizations:The Growth and Relevance of OD
  2. OD: A Unique Change Strategy:OD consultants utilize a behavioral science base
  3. What an “ideal” effective, healthy organization would look like?:
  4. The Evolution of OD:Laboratory Training, Likert Scale, Scoring and analysis,
  5. The Evolution of OD:Participative Management, Quality of Work Life, Strategic Change
  6. The Organization Culture:Adjustment to Cultural Norms, Psychological Contracts
  7. The Nature of Planned Change:Lewin’s Change Model, Case Example: British Airways
  8. Action Research Model:Termination of the OD Effort, Phases not Steps
  9. General Model of Planned Change:Entering and Contracting, Magnitude of Change
  10. The Organization Development Practitioner:External and Internal Practitioners
  11. Creating a Climate for Change:The Stabilizer Style, The Analyzer Style
  12. OD Practitioner Skills and Activities:Consultant’s Abilities, Marginality
  13. Professional Values:Professional Ethics, Ethical Dilemmas, Technical Ineptness
  14. Entering and Contracting:Clarifying the Organizational Issue, Selecting an OD Practitioner
  15. Diagnosing Organizations:The Process, The Performance Gap, The Interview Data
  16. Organization as Open Systems:Equifinality, Diagnosing Organizational Systems
  17. Diagnosing Organizations:Outputs, Alignment, Analysis
  18. Diagnosing Groups and Jobs:Design Components, Outputs
  19. Diagnosing Groups and Jobs:Design Components, Fits
  20. Collecting and Analyzing Diagnostic information:Methods for Collecting Data, Observations
  21. Collecting and Analyzing Diagnostic information:Sampling, The Analysis of Data
  22. Designing Interventions:Readiness for Change, Techno-structural Interventions
  23. Leading and Managing Change:Motivating Change, The Life Cycle of Resistance to Change
  24. Leading and managing change:Describing the Core Ideology, Commitment Planning
  25. Evaluating and Institutionalizing Organization Development Interventions:Measurement
  26. Evaluating and Institutionalizing Organization Development Interventions:Research Design
  27. Evaluating and Institutionalizing Organization Development Interventions
  28. Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches:Group Process
  29. Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches:Leadership and Authority, Group Interventions
  30. Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches:Third-Party Interventions
  31. Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches:Team Building, Team Building Process
  32. Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches:Team Management Styles
  33. Organization Process Approaches:Application Stages, Microcosm Groups
  34. Restructuring Organizations:Structural Design, Process-Based Structures
  35. Restructuring Organizations:Downsizing, Application Stages, Reengineering
  36. Employee Involvement:Parallel Structures, Multiple-level committees
  37. Employee Involvement:Quality Circles, Total Quality Management
  38. Work Design:The Engineering Approach, Individual Differences, Vertical Loading
  39. Performance Management:Goal Setting, Management by Objectives, Criticism of MBO
  40. Developing and Assisting Members:Career Stages, Career Planning, Job Pathing
  41. Developing and Assisting Members:Culture and Values, Employee Assistance Programs
  42. Organization and Environment Relationships:Environmental Dimensions, Administrative Responses
  43. Organization Transformation:Sharing the Vision, Three kinds of Interventions
  44. The Behavioral Approach:The Deep Assumptions Approach
  45. Seven Practices of Successful Organizations:Training, Sharing Information