Internal vs External Change Leaders

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Introduction

Organisation development(OD) is a planned process of change in an organisation’s culture through the utilization of behavioral science technology, research and theory (Warner Burke, 1982). It also refers to a long range effort to improve an organisation’s problem solving capabilities and its ability to cope with changes in its external environment with the help of external or internal behavioral-scientist consultant or change agents (Wandell French, 1969).

Organisation transformation(OT) is a term referring collectively to such activities as re-engineering, redesigning and redefining business systems. It is often used when there is existing issue faced by the organisation.

Organisation development is the preferred choice that an organisation wants to be in and continually improve their products and service in an incremental manner. In order to achieve OD, organisation need internal or external change agents to aid them. However, after assessing the advantages and disadvantages of the change agents (Appendix 1 & 2), Internal change agent will be better for organisation to achieve OD as compared to external change agent.

Internal and External Change Leadership

External change agents are consultants who are temporary employed in the  organization to remain engaged only for the duration of the change process. An internal change agent is a staff person who has expertise in the behavioural sciences to help in the OD. Various reviewers of change management argue that OD applied by managers, rather than OD professionals has grown rapidly. It has been suggested that the faster pace of change affection organisation today is highlighting the centrality of the manager in the managing change. Therefore, OD must become a general management skill. Many managerial staffs in an organisation are equipped with this relevant skill. Internal Change Leadership in the Action Research Model

The Action Research model focuses on planned change as a cyclical process in which initially research about the organisation provides information to guide subsequent action. The model emphasises on data gathering and diagnosis pior to action planning and implementation. The result will be carefully evaluated after action has been taken. [pic]

Data gathering and preliminary diagnosis: Although Internal change agents are often limited by perceptions and position in the organization, but they have the value of in-depth knowledge of the business, the organisation and the management. This in-depth knowledge makes them particularly valuable on sensitive implementation of strategic change projects or culture transformation initiatives, managing processes or projects, and integrating or leveraging initiatives across the organisation. It can also help to reduce the time spent on data gathering as internal change agents will have intimate knowledge of the organisation and its dynamics, culture and informal practices. Being part of the organisation, internal change agents are able to interact more freely with the fellow employees. This enable the internal change agents to gather a more reliable information as compared to external change agents. Feedback to client: In this step, clients are given the information gathered by the change agent to help them determining the strengths and weakness of the organisation. Internal change agents are employees and they have a better understanding to the organisational structure. Thus, after gathering the relevant information, it will be easier for them to feedback to the client as the client need not afraid that information on the organisation’s weakness will be exposed. Internal change agents have the knowledge of the politics in the organisation, this will enable to effectively establish rapport and trust better than external change agent. Organisation may be also wary of the external change agents as the organisation may fear that confidential information will be exposed. Joint diagnosis of problem:...
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