What is Organisational Change?
How many times have we heard the adage: ‘the only constant in business is change’ (Burke, Spencer et al. 1991)? It is now commonly accepted that most businesses do, or should, change, but why, what is the force behind change? There tends to be a great deal of consensus amongst researchers regarding the drivers for change, finding three major spheres of influence which drive organisational change. These are Technological, Economic, and Socio-Cultural. Escalating technological advancements have provoked a continuing evolution in the shape and structure of organisations, having a direct influence on the conduct of management. These rapid developments in technology underpin the dramatic shifts in the economic environment. There is now a greater emphasis on knowledge and human capital, and global boundaries have been eroded to extend operations in dimensions of both time and distance. This larger world focus has opened the doors to all aspects of human equality. Combined with these pressures and influences is a greater awareness by employees, customers and shareholders, working to constantly reshape and redefine the paradigms of modern business. Change is thus, the only outlet for organisations, which seek to stake their competitive position in society (Kanter 1983, 37-40; Burke, Spencer et al. 1991, 88; Church, Siegal et al. 1996, 25).
Models of Organisational Change
There are many different models of change. It is however beyond the scope of this paper to discuss them all. A selection of models has been introduced here to illustrate that various different opinions exist. This exposé will commence with the work of Kurt Lewin, whose model is considered by many as the classic model of change. The discussion will then progress through several, more contemporary models. The final model, developed by Nadler and Tushman, is considered to be of significant value, and will be explored in greater detail.
Definition of change management
Change management refers to the making of changes in a planned and managed or systematic fashion." (Nickols, 2002, p. 1). Porras and Robertson (cited in Weick and Quinn, 2000) describe organisational change management as a set of behavioural science based theories, values, strategies and techniques aimed at the planned change of the organisation for the purpose of enhancing individual development and improving organisational performance, through the alteration of employee job behaviours. The corporate leadership council (2004, p3) defines change management as “a critical part of any project that leads, manages, and enables people to accept new process, technologies, system structures, and values. It is the set of activities that helps people transition from their present way of working to the desired way of working. Moran and Brightman (2011, p111 ciiited in Todnem, 2005) define change management as “the process of continually renewing an organisation’s direction, structure and capabilities to serve the ever-changing needs of external and internal customers”. According to Bridges and Mitchell (2000) “Business conditions change and yesterday’s assumptions and practices no longer work”. While it may seem uncommon to some, most businesses are told they have to change everything from the way they think to the way they work (Nortier, 1995)
A complete assessment of the current situation is necessary to begin the process of implementing any kind of change in an organization (Claire V. Brisson-Banks, (2010),"Managing change and transitions: a comparison of different models and their commonalities", Library Management, Vol. 31 Iss: 4 pp. 241 - 252).
The backbone of Change Management is composed of a variety of hard and soft sciences drawn Upon psychology, sociology, business administration, economics, industrial engineering, systems engineering and the study of human and organizational behavior. (Nickols, 2002, p. 2)...
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