What is Change Management?
Organizational change can be described as the process of moving away from a current condition to realize some future state. Change management involves managing the process of achieving this future state. 1 (Nickols, 2004) Change can be viewed from two vantage points, that of the people making the changes and that of the people experiencing the changes. 2 In the top-down, or strategic viewpoint associated with management, the focus is on technical issues such as the investment required, the processes for implementing the change, how soon the change can be realized, and the outcome. In the bottom-up viewpoint of the employee, the focus is on what the change means to the individual, how they can cope with the change, and also how management can assist them through the transition. In this context, effective change management should be able to help individuals evolve from negative feelings such as fear and anxiety towards positive feelings about the changes being made. 3 Effective change management deals with diagnosing problems and determining an alternative that involves changing the organizational structure or processes. It also identifies and deals with the individual responses to change that can hinder the success of the project. To understand change management better, we need to understand the various models and strategies that managers may follow. Some of the models include the Leadership model, Improvisational Model, Theory E versus Theory O, and the ADKAR model.
Models of Change Management - Leadership Model
John Kotter's leadership model is an extension of Lurt Lewin's model that identifies three phases to the change process. These three phases are described as:
Unfreezing the status quo in preparation for the change
Implementing the change
Refreezing and reinforcing the new culture
The first phase involves preparing the people for change with the focus on getting them to let go of what is familiar. The second phase involves taking the steps that actually implement the change, while the last phase involves returning the organization to a stable state again based on the new culture. In Kotter's leadership model, the emphasis is on leadership and not just management of change since change involves people and their emotions. In each of these phases, he identifies important concepts that management needs to follow in order to lead the organization through the transition. In the first phase, the goal is to convince the employees that they need to abandon the old way of doing the work and to embrace the concept of change. This requires a lot of work in breaking down the barriers that hinder change. For most people the natural instinct is to resist change, and in this phase, it is management's job to convince the employees of the validity of the change based on a business need. They need to create a sense of urgency, and build a team of supporters that can act as a catalyst to develop a buy-in for the project. Management also needs to develop a clear direction for the future and effectively communicate this vision. During the second phase management needs to empower their employees to take the required actions to remove both organizational and individual obstacles. They need to establish short-term goals, and consolidate these victories in order to keep the momentum of change moving forward. These early wins provide incentive to the employees that the change is worthwhile and in their best interest. In the final phase, management needs to reinforce the concept that these changes are permanent by demonstrating how they contribute to the company's success. 4 (Rose, 2002)
The traditional change management models start with the idea that change is the result of a well thought out plan of action that identifies certain goals, how these objectives will be met, and the tools and techniques that...
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