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Change Management

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Change Management ­MGMT625
VU
LESSON # 9
TELEOLOGICAL THEORIES OF CHANGE
Teleological theories of Change
According to this theory, human actions are purposive; goal is the final cause for guiding movement of
an entity. This underlies other organization theories like functionalism, decision-making, adaptive
learning & model of strategic planning and goal setting. By this theory development of an
organizational entity proceeds toward a goal or end state. The entity is purposeful and adaptive by itself
or interaction with others. The entity constructs an envisioned state, takes action to reach it, and
monitors the progress. Therefore development process entails the repetitive sequence of goal
formulation, implementation, evaluation and modification of goals.
Individuals or organisations who are sufficiently like-minded strive to act as a single collective entity.
Therefore, the question is why to have organisation in the first case? Its answers lie in the fact that it is
the commonality and convergence of purpose which binds individuals and organizations. Hence task
oriented-ness pre-dominates (technocratization). This is perhaps one such structural difference between
managers in developed and developing countries. But unlike life-cycle theory, teleology doesn't
prescribe necessary sequence of events.
Some teleological models incorporate the systems theory assumption of equi-finality (multiple effective
ways to achieve a goal). In this theory there is no prefigured rule, logically necessary direction or set
sequence of stages. Teleology stresses the purposive ness of the actor and within organisation's
environment and resources constraints
Unit of change
Change processes go on at many organizational levels, including the individual, group, organisation,
industry and on other population as well
Mode of Change
Teleological and dialectical motors incorporate a constructive mode of change and development (2nd
order change). By this very nature teleological processes tend to diverge from the current order. Because
goals can be changed at the will of an entity and can be attained in many ways, therefore this may result
in unpredictability and discontinuity
Application:
New management system like MBO, ISO certification, introduction of new software, quality drives in
organisations are all considered part of teleological approach to change management. Focus in this
approach is on goals or objective setting process or phenomenon in an entity. So the case in point is how
do we set goals? How do we arrive at our decisions? What our objectives or ends are? Are these in
continuity or in discontinuity with the past objectives of an entity? All these dimensions relate with
ends and means debate. Good and quality objectives with legitimate and effective means for an entity
are always difficult to arrive at. Another issue with objective setting is whether goals are rationally
formulated? Rationality, of course is bound by time and space, the concept of bounded rationality earlier
propounded by Herbert Simon. Visionary is the one who can see things at distant, that is, he can give
stretch to time and space. So when we say vision ought to be shared by members of the organization For
example whether this vision is shared by senior executives and the managers in succession (change of
CEO). Hence change of managers or CEO is meaningless if there is no meaningful qualitative change in
objectives of organization. One can apply the same for developing nations like Pakistan. For instance
take the context of history of Pakistan. A Pre-1947 objectives of colonisers was to extract revenue and
control us through the design of strong bureaucratic institutions. After independence this objective ought
to have been revised and replaced by the objectives of growth & development (Constitution is a written
objective of a nation). This never happened as bureaucratic institutions remain oriented towards control
and revenue like the objective of colonisers. Similarly objectives of governing elite whether or not get
changed by the change in personalities, law, system or party change. Similarly in case of organisation
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Change Management ­MGMT625
VU
we have to see mission, vision, objectives, plans, target, what is known as hierarchy on intent truly
reflects organization performance or just a rhetoric. Therefore the need to have an organization is "to
attain our goals" and for the attainment of goals organizations at time becomes autocratic in behaviour.
For that matter, the very first goal being survival or "Self-preservation" all factor of generation-growth-
maturity in organisms are considered to be in line with self-preserving. Therefore, behaviour in
organisation becomes purposive.
Limitations:
Though the tautological theory has good explanatory power yet it is not without its limitations. Two
such stand very obvious. One is that the element of subjectivity is ignored in this kind of explanation.
Human behaviour is not as subjective as explains for all and sundry behaviour. Second this is
considered too much mechanistic, ignoring the organic dynamism of nature.
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