Management: Leading Change by John P. Kotter

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MNGT 5590 OE|
Integrative Paper|
Spring 1 2011|


There are many factors that impose organizational change which include technological, international economic and opening market forces. These forces can create more risks and opportunities for organizations. Change is inevitable, in order to successfully bring an organization into the twenty-first century, this must be recognized. There are many ways for an organization to achieve change; some are scientific theories like those stated in Organizational Behavior and Management written by John Ivancevich, while others stated in Leading Change by John P. Kotter believe it’s about paying attention to your employees. One can find the relationship between the books to be fascinating as the authors appear to be consistent in one another’s ideas, but one author, Kotter, offers a situational approach that one can relate to, while the other, Ivancevich, provided the research and theories on the effective use of human resources. John P. Kotter has developed an eight-step process to assist those in need of change to achieve their goals and avoid the areas where processes can go a rye. Kotter’s eight steps are: 1) to Establish a Sense of Urgency, 2) Create the Guiding Coalition, 3) Develop a Vision and Strategy, 4) Communicate the Change Vision, 5) Empower Employees for Broad-Based Action, 6) Generate Short Term Wins, 7) Consolidate Gains and Produce More Change, and 8) Anchor New Approaches in the Culture.   While Kotter doesn’t have any scientific proof to back up his theories, there are others like Ivancevich who have conducted research regarding change. Ivancevich uses many theories and research to back up his writings about change in an organizational setting. The theories that I can relate most to Kotter’s approach are those involving motivation. It seems most apparent to me that the motivation of employees is deep rooted into the process of organizational change. Unless employees are motivated to work towards the change goals, the change fail. Without the motivation of employees, organizational change would be unsuccessful. Discussion:

The purpose of Kotter’s first stage is to create a sense of urgency. Individuals and organizations need a reason to change. Establishing a sense of urgency is crucial to gaining needed cooperation. With complacency high and urgency low it’s hard to motivate a group of people to work towards a much needed change. (JK 36) Motivation is one of the most important concepts managers can use to improve performance towards the change effort. In order to motivate people to be involved in the change, Kotter states that “visible crises can be enormously helpful in catching people’s attention and pushing up urgency”. (JK 44) Increasing urgency, especially revealing the negative facts, will give employees motivation to work towards the change. According to Ivancevich, motivation refers to the person's willingness to exert effort in a specific direction or way, at a given level of intensity, and for a given duration. (I 121) It’s up to the employee to decide whether or not to jump on board with the change initiative. Direction relates to what an individual chooses to do when presented with a number of possible alternatives. (I 121) In the case of a change, the employee could choose to work towards the change, sticking with the status quo. Ivancevich presents several motivation theories. In McClelland’s Learned Needs Theory he states that needs are acquired from the culture. The main theme of this theory is that needs are learned through coping with one’s environment. McClelland contends that when a need is strong in a person, its effect is to motivate the person to use behavior that leads to its satisfaction. (I 130) Kotter and Ivancevich, though using different methods, are consistent with regards to motivation. A sense of urgency is essentially a motivational technique, in the sense that they both...
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