Internal or External Change Leaders

Topics: Management, Organization, Organization development Pages: 7 (1625 words) Published: December 22, 2012
Assessment 1, Topic 1:

Analyse the issue of whether change leaders should be
internal or external to the organization. Consider the
circumstances under which you would recommend internal
verses external leadership


There are varying views and opinions on whether external or internal consultants should be used in an organisation. Though the objective of having a consultant is the same, what each have to provide for the organisation differs vastly from

Although external and internal consultants have much in common, their different experiences and positioning in relation to the organisation results in unique strengths and contrasting perceptions by their clients. Their contributions and value differ according to the needs and viewpoints of the clients, and their authority and credibility derive from different sources. The author addresses the special challenges of working with large consulting firms, the requirements for productive partnering between external and internal, and offer advice to managers for maximising the success of consulting projects.


What is Organisational Development

Before analysing the issue of choosing internal or external change agents, we need to understand the reason for hiring one. Firstly we need to understand what organisational development is before understanding a change agents role in the company.

There are many definitions to what organisational development is. (Beckhard, 1969, p. 2) best defines it as, "an effort, planned organisation wide, managed from the top, to increase organisation effectiveness and health through planned interventions in the organisation's process, using behavioural-science knowledge." Through his definition, we can see the few key features of what organisational development is.

Organisation wide - Unlike other approach to change, OD's main differentiating factor is that it applies to the whole organisation and not specific departments, individuals or processes. (textbook)

Managed from the top - Although anyone from the organisation can be a champion for OD, it is preferred that someone from the higher management position participates as they would be in a more direct control over rewards and punishments system. (Practicing Organisational Development)

Planned interventions - Interventions does not mean changing the business plan, creating new standard operating procedures or implementing new technology into the current system. It focuses more on diagnosing and solving the organisation's problems. The planned interventions also has the flexibility of changing or being modified as new input of information is received during the change process. (textbook)

Increase organisation effectiveness - This helps the organisation gain the necessary knowledge and skills required to achieve its goals, mission, and values. It also assist the organisation to respond to the needs of their external clients, mainly, their stockholders, customers, suppliers, and related government agencies. (textbook)

Behavioural-science knowledge - This segment relates to concepts such as, group dynamics, proper leadership, workflow design, and international relations. It does not focus on the technicality and rationality of how the system functions.

What are Change Leaders and their roles

Change agents, change practitioners, organisational development consultant, organisational development professionals are just some of the different titles that a change leader can be named.

Cummings and Worley (2005) defines a change agent as "a person who attempts to alter some aspect of an organisation or an environment. Change agents may come from inside an organisation, in which case they are called internal consultants, or they may come from outside an organisation, in which case they are called external consultants."

By expanding on Cummings and Worley (2005) definition, we can understand that a change agent basically brings about change to the...
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