Change Management - Models and Process


Dr. Viju Mathew
Asst. Professor
MOHE, College of Applied Science
Department of International Business Administration Salalah
Sultanate of Oman

Mrs Mary Kavitha


The paper explain some of the issues related to the management of change and issues and factors related to organizational change and the development of the future organizations. 


Change typically results as a reaction to specific problems or opportunities the organization is facing based on internal or external stimuli.  While the notion of "becoming more competitive" or "becoming closer to the customers" or "becoming more efficient" can be the motivation to change, at some point these goals must be transformed into the specific impacts on processes, systems, organizational structure or job roles.  This is the process of defining "the change."  Change Management is the process, tools and techniques to manage the people- side of change to achieve the required business outcome.  Change management incorporates the organizational tools that can be utilized to help individuals make successful personal transitions resulting in the adoption and realization of change.

Ultimately, the goal of change is to improve organization by altering how work is done. Change Management supports moving an organization from a current state (how things are done today), through a transition state to a desired future state (the new processes, systems, organization structures or job roles defined by "the change").Change Management focuses on the people impacted by the change.  Effective change management requires the understanding of various aspects of implications of change and then to set all the actions that need to take place to implement change.  Understanding the implications of change is of high importance as an old aphorism say…..…the surgery was completely successful but unfortunately----The Patient died."

The change will always be the surgery, whether wanted or unwanted, but the purpose of change is to ensure the long survival of the organization.  The future managers must have change management in their "management kit."  They must study change and its various manifestations to successfully deal with it and be ahead of it or else we may be swept by the tidal, tectonic changes sweeping every nation, every industry, and every organization.  The linearity that marked the past will no longer apply to the futures.  Globalization and the rise of new zones of intense economic and consumer activities will breed the need for organizations that are big enough to capitalize on different opportunities but small enough to be nimble in response to local requirements.  According to Kotler, really translates into a multitude of new niche markets of consumers, whose behavior is largely unknown. 

Today's organizations have their tails on fire.  We are now operating in a "Darwinian market place" where "the law of the jungle" prevails.  We are into a dog-eat-dog game, where the game plan is the survival of the fittest.  To be relevant in tomorrow market, the management and the organization should abandon yesterday.  They should immediately free resources from being committed to maintaining what no longer contributes to performance, and no longer produces results.  In fact, it is not possible to create tomorrow unless one first slough off yesterday.  To maintain yesterday is always difficult and extremely time-consuming.  Therefore always commits the organization's scarcest and most valuable resources-and above all, its ablest people-to non-results.  Yet to do anything different- let alone to innovate- always runs into unexpected difficulties.  It therefore always demands leadership by people of high and proven ability.  In addition, this people are committed to maintaining yesterday, they are simply not available to create tomorrow.  Management must create tomorrow through change management to maintain the organization as a "going concern." In addition, to continuous improvements in the operations of the organization and its relevance in the market place.  They lead to new processes.  They lead to innovation.  They lead to new businesses.  Eventually continuous improvements lead to fundamental change- effective change management.

The big challenge in creating tomorrow is not predicting tomorrow.  There is not a single future out their waiting to happen.  The challenge is not to predict which of those potential futures will actually materialize.  Instead, the goal is to try and imagine a future that is plausible.  There are some boundary conditions that management and the organization must understand, like what is going to happen to lifestyles, technology, regulation, competition etc.  Those are the edges of the canvass, and what management paint on the canvass is a product of their own imagination.  The management and the organization must harness the discontinuities- the things that are driving change.  Change is about the only constant in today's highly competitive business environment.  The old organizational structures can no longer compete in this new era of business.  Tomorrow's organizations must be flatter, more flexible, highly responsive, empowering, dynamic entities if they wish to prosper.


One thing you will notice in his book, 29 Leadership Secrets from Jack Welch- Former CEO of General Electric, an effective change manager.  He is always saying things like: "These were our real secrets."  Jack Welch outlined the following rules as a success factor in building an effective change management:

I. The mindset of yesterday's manager – accepting compromise, keeping things tidy – bred complacency.  Tomorrow's leaders must raise issues, debate them, and resolve them.  They must rally around a vision of what a business can become.  Change, before it is too late.

II. Accept Change.  Business Leaders who treat change like the enemy will fail at their jobs. Change is the one constant, and successful business leaders must be able to read the ever-changing business environment.

III. Begin with a vision. Nothing changes without a clear vision of where change is supposed to lead.  The boldest vision may be the best vision.

IV. Let your employees know that change never ends.  Teach your colleagues to see change as an opportunity- a challenge that can be met through handwork and smart.

V. Be ready to rewrite your agenda.  Welch always encourages his managers and employees to be prepared to re-examine their agenda and to make changes when necessary.

VI. Emphasize vision, not supervision.  Managing less let managers think big thoughts and come up with new ideas to benefit the business.

VII. Managers lead with vision.  Managers must persuade others to implement through the force of vision.

VIII. Provide an atmosphere, a climate, a chance, a meritocracy, where people can have the resources to grow, the educational tools are available, they cad expand their horizons, their vision of life.  That is what companies ought to provide.

IX. Have, or have the capacity to develop, global brains and global sensitivity, and be comfortable building diverse global teams.  Stimulate and relish change; do not be frightened or paralyzed by it.  See change as opportunity, not just a threat.

X. Demonstrate, always with infectious enthusiasms for the customers, the 4-E's of GE leadership: the Personal Energy to welcome and deal with the speed of change, the ability to create an atmosphere that Energizes other, the Edge to make difficult decisions, and the ability to consistently Execute.

XI. Create values that are consistent with the organization vision.  Values should reflect the vision, culture, and goals of the organization.  Make sure there is room to maneuver.  Core values should be constant, but strategies may need to change with the competitive environment.

XII. Make searching for new ideas a priority of every employee.  In today's competitive environment, organizations cannot afford to leave anyone out.  Reward employees for sharing knowledge.  Find a way to reward managers and employees for sharing ideas and putting best practices to work at every level.

XIII. Nourish dignity.  The most important thing a leader does- treasure and nourish the voice and dignity of everyone.

XIV. Get the most out of your employees.  Each employee should be "Stretched" to the maximum.  Set stretch goals and then push to exceed them.  If people do not reach those goals.  Fine – as long as they have truly tried to stretch.  Push for the impossible.  Instill in your employees the idea that they should go beyond ordinary goals.

XV. Tackle quality head-on.  Do not rely on other company initiatives or strategies to tackle the problem of quality to make sure that your products are your customers' only actual value choice.  Quality can be just as important as price, features and so no. 

Welch (2003) summed up thus: We want to be more than that.  We want to change the competitive landscape by being not just better than our competitors are but by taking quality to a completely new level.  We want to make our quality so special, so valuable to our customers, so important to their success, that our products become their only real value choice.  There is no company in the world that has ever been better positioned to undertake an initiative as massive and transforming as this one.  Every cultural change we have made over the past couple of decades positions us to take on this exciting and rewarding challenge.


It will be very useful to the change manager to organize and to be prepared for resistance at any level it is and finding the reasons that often lie behind these resistance made and the indicators that apparently face. Sometime the change managers during the process list referred different resistance that is taken from the past experience like personal reasons, technological reasons, leadership reasons, finance and so on. In Leading Change James O'Toole suggests the following, more detailed, common explanations for resistance:

* Homeostatic; stability is the natural order; resistance to change, therefore, is a natural response.

* Inertia; it takes considerable force to get a large body to change direction – the cliché analogy is of changing the course of a supertanker.

* Satisfaction; most people are satisfied with the status quo in comparison with what an alternative future looks like (or they hanker after a status quo that never really existed; they are nostalgic for a 'golden age' of universities).

* Lack of 'ripeness'; the necessary preconditions for change have not yet been met.

* Fear; we have an innate fear of the unknown: 'better the devil you know...'

* Self-interest; change may be good for others, or even the organization as a whole, but unless it can be demonstrated that it is good for me I will resist it.

* Lack of self-confidence; change threatens one's self esteem. New conditions require us to learn new skills and abilities, even values and we lack the confidence to engage with new challenges.

* Future shock; there is only so much change that we can cope with at any one time. With e-learning; new funding models; re-structuring; and implementing PDP all before 2005, I cannot cope with anything else that is new.

* Futility, Cynicism and Human Nature; these combine in the view that any proposed change will be cosmetic; that we are all selfish and since change requires a degree of altruism it cannot work and we must suspect the motives of anyone proposing change. "Isn't it the case that Vice Chancellors routinely propose change in order to conceal mistakes and keep people on their toes?"

* Lack of knowledge; we do not know how to change or what to change to.

* Ego; According to O'Toole, the people in powerful positions having to admit that they have been wrong. Within the context of change we might be more charitable and allow for rapidly changing external influences. It does raise the question, however, of what those influences are and how many of our executives were not able to predict.

* Collective fantasy; this is a group response that ignores the direction that reason points to and is based on an inability of organizations to learn from experience. It is linked to chauvinistic conditioning which holds that the way we do it is correct and they are wrong.

* Fallacy of the exception; there is nothing we can learn from others because we are different.

* Change has no constituency; this is a Machiavellian notion that the stake that a minority of individuals have in preserving their power is far stronger than the stake that the majority have in bringing about an uncertain alternative. This includes the followers who espouse the notion that the people in powerful positions have the ability to steer us on the right course and we should not question their leadership.

To this list prepared by James O'Toole we might add:

* Not clear about the purpose of change; because change brings uncertainty, misunderstanding and ambiguity. Basically, the change cannot be predicted at each point about the issues and results.

* Planning involvement; the managers can be filly equipped and committed if the are involved in the planning process during the change management. The mangers at the middle level are not able to participate fully in the decision-making process.

* Variable personal reasons; the different people in the different department, levels may be resistance because of the personal reason. Institutional loyalty are variable but even different managers at different functional levels doubt the need to change.

* Fear of failure; the mangers may sometimes fear the failure. Failure due to change like loss of status, or the fear of incurring the disapproval and so on. This become acute resistance for the change.

* Lack of trust; the mangers may face lack of trust with respect to the change and is often cited as one of the principal causes of resistance.

* Pressure; the environmental forces act negatively when there is a failure in planning change which create tremendous pressure in the organization.

Obviously, the change managers have to plan the opposite of the issues identified in the reasons for resisting change cited so far. Clearly, what these represent is a failure to manage change effectively and properly. For some scholars of change management it is a question of values and beliefs. For others there is reference to the innate conservatism of organizational culture and, arguably, a romanticized view of professional life that has probably never existed outside the pages of 'organization'. However, the change managers must also look carefully at any expressions of resistance.


Three things that the change manager should know for coping with the change in the organization for future:

I. All Change: The change manager should master the new skill, perfected a technique and should specialize the complex procedures. If the new approach makes things better then it's easy to reconcile for the managers. But change can lead to frustration coupled with heavy lose. Its little comfort to understand the dependence of various factor and condition of the change also manger should analyze the possible change in these factor in the future.

II. Change position: Change feels essential, exhilarating and inevitable in some of the condition. To capitalize on the opportunities change can be welcome but the managers have to determine the work getting at right position.

III. Last out, first in: At times of uncertainty people look for the sudden change. Wait even longer and with the cyclic nature of change you'll find yourself ahead of the game. Pitch in with wisdom gained from the mistakes of others.

Change should not be done for the sake of change -- it's a strategy to accomplish some overall goal of the organisation. Usually organizational change is provoked by some major outside driving force, e.g., substantial financial problem, markets/clients forces, need for dramatic increases in productivity/services, etc.

We live in a dynamic world of ever change. Yet most change program fail. Why is change management so difficult?

Change in simple words "moving from one state of position to another" for benefits. All systems are in stable equilibrium, except when they are destabilized and the manger has to face the problem due to change in variables. Systems continuously seek equilibrium, and large systems are most likely to do this by resisting change and moving back to the existing stable state. Whereas, what we want them to do is to move to a new stable state also helps to understand the dynamics of the system.


Kurt Lewin proposed a model "Unfreeze–Transition–Re-freeze" that recognizes the need to let go of the past.

Others manage change by:-

* Communicating information related to change in variable for the required change.
* Redefining and reinterpreting existing norms and values, and developing commitments to new ones based on the existing and future changes.
* The put into effect of required authority for the expected required change.
* Building a new organization adoptable for future change.


Future change managers must be able to understand and:

1. Identify the difficulty based on the achievement of the organizational objective of the organization and relevance of the different variable and models of planned change and the different levels of uncertainty they carry, and relate them to different organizational situations in terms of outcomes.

2. Identify position required from internal and external resources, expertise, technological expertise, process consultants and so on.

3. Help change process to inhibiting and dominating idea and cultures in the organization

4. Use knowledge management process to learn and creativity in order to challenge the variables planned base for the future.

5. Generate favorable structures and cultures that ensure that:
   * Personnel creatively and development, constructively and constantly modified for the change and
      change variables. 

6. Develop functional managers, who are sensitive to:
   * changing needs and the dynamics of the organization
   * the organization's environment in the context of:
      * intra- and inter-organizational politics and power
      * its stage of growth and strategic direction.

7. Develop strategies and techniques for the successful implementation of change, by developing and sustaining tools across the organization for generating stakeholder commitment to transition and change while maintaining current operations where appropriate.

8. Identify development priorities in the change management process and their relationship to the priorities of other stakeholders.

9. Develop system for the transfer of information and knowledge with small groups to all levels of the management. Ensure the change should help in strategic decision for building new capabilities and capacity in the organization.

10. Create the continuous process to adopt the change and develop the total system to accomplish the future changes.


Steps of organizational change research process:

Story telling: Collect the stories of individuals who have been involved in events of organizational change and learning.

Boje describes postmodern organizational learning as "reintroducing the stories and voices of those excluded, marginalized and exploited the pre-modernist and modernist learning curriculum. Postmodern learning constructs pluralistic participation through multi-voiced dialogue to question grand, totalizing and essential sing claims" (Boje, 1994, p. 449).

Stories are available from a number of sources. They are told face to face on a daily basis as people at work interact to one another.

Stories are told in writing, and through electronic media such as telephones and e-mail (Kaye, 1996). Nevertheless it is possible to collect stories for the specific purposes of research, providing that the researcher can gain access to the storytellers. Researching organizational learning can then be done by asking individuals to recount events in which they have seen change enacted in organizations which were labeled by either themselves or others as "learning experiences".

 These stories can be used to research how people in organizations make sense of organizational learning and to highlight differences between individuals in this sense making process.

The skills for the researcher in gathering such data are first in the selection of story tellers from diverse organizational perspectives. These research skills are akin to what is referred to as "active listening" and involve suspending judgments based on stereotypes, empathizing with the storyteller, and providing reflective responses to encourage storytellers to tell their stories to the end, and giving feedback to the storyteller to ensure that the story has been received "straight" (Kaye, 1996).


* Boje, D.M. 1994. "Organizational Storytelling: The Struggles of Pre-modern, Modern & Postmodern Organizational Learning Discourses, Management Learning Journal, Vol. 25 (3): 433-461.
* Change:  Opportunity or Threat; hhtp: www//Indiainfoline. Com/bisc chan.html.
* Drucker, P. F. (1995) Management In A Time of Great Change. Oxford: Butterworth- Heinemann.
* Drucker, P.F. (2002) Management Challenges for the 21st Century .New York: Butterworth Heinemann.
* http:// www. Change Management. com/ tutorial.
* James O'Toole, 1995, Leading Change: Overcoming the Ideology of Comfort and the Tyranny of Custom, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco
* Kaye (1996). Myths-Maker and story teller, Business and Professional Publisher, Sydney.
* Kotler, P.  (2003), Marketing Management.  New Delhi:  Prentice Hall of India.
* Lewin's freeze Model  phases; accessed on 10th Feb 2009
* Welch, J. (2003) 29 Leadership Secrets From Jack Welch. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Dr. Viju Mathew
Asst. Professor
MOHE, College of Applied Science
Department of International Business Administration Salalah
Sultanate of Oman

Mrs Mary Kavitha

Source: E-mail February 16, 2009


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