A Brief Summary of Change

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1.0. Introduction to Change Agent

The need for a change agent is when an organization is in crisis, in need of a major change. A change agent is referring to the individual who initiate, lead and support change in an organization. Change agents can be external, where large organization would hire consultants from outside the firm. Change agents can also be internal, such as managers or top management personnel who had worked in the organization for a long period of time (ten years minimum). It take courage to become a change agent and require a new mindset toward individual and organizational performance and a willingness to take risks, dilemma to deal with ambiguity and conflicts, and so forth. The change agent role require individual to possess certain expertise such as problem solving skills, ability to foresee long term perspective and to tolerate rejection, even failure.

1.1 Advantages and Disadvantages of Internal Change Agent

Advantages :
Due to their seniority in the organization, they can save time to identify and understand the organization problems. They have a better understanding of the organization’s history, operating procedures and have maintained a good relationship with various departments in the organization. Easier to be accepted and establish trust.

Disadvantages :
Their strong bond and ties cause they to be less objective and too cautious when making decisions as they now have direct contact to determine their careers. They might be also lack of certain skill to facilitate organizational change.

1.2 Advantages and Disadvantages of External Change Agent

Advantages :
The consultant hire from outside possess special knowledge and skills on organizational development. Based on their knowledge, they are able to help firm walk out of the crisis (most of the time). They also have impartial view point to provide precise justification on management decisions.

Disadvantage :
As they are new to the organization, it took them some time to be familiarise with the culture, personnel, etc. Employees are wary of outsiders thus very hard to establish trust. Employees also believed that if problems occur, external change agents can simply walk away leaving the organization to die.

2.0CEO as external change agent

For major organization wide changes, firms often hire external change agents. They are not constrained by organization’s culture or tradition and politics, therefore it is easier for them to bring a different perspective to the organization for a major change. To offset their limited familiarity with the organization, external change agents usually are coupled with an internal staff from the human resources department. In very large firms, the organization sometimes has its own in-house change specialist. This person replaces the external consultant and works directly with the organization’s management team to facilitate change efforts. Typically, organization hire external change agents is because the lack of skill and experience in critical area from its current leaders. For example, unable to manage organizational change, not making use of new technology, having problems to restructure and improve organization culture and fail to implement frameworks that keep the company going.

2.1Consultant Styles Matrix
The consultant styles matrix can be used to evaluate change agent to determine which kind of consulting style he or she is adopting. The matrix is based on two dimensions – emphasis on morale and emphasis on effectiveness.

The Stabiliser Style – the consultant is trying not to rock the boat, and to maintain a low profile. It is only merely following the direction given by the top management. Individual will learn to conform and supress internal motivations by organization pressures through this style.

The Cheerleader Style – it puts high emphasis on the employee’s motivation and morale. The cheerleader likes to be respected by the group, avoid...
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