Change Management Intervention Models

This topic investigates change management intervention techniques.  There is no one right formula for this as every organisation and environmental context is different.   Your goal is to evaluate and select the most appropriate change management intervention techniques to support the implementation of your innovation and continuous improvement strategy.  Good Luck!

The role of management in an organisation is to set directions and associated goals for the organisation and ensure that the organisation achieves them. This involves both long term and short term strategies and the organisation of work within the organisation to support this. One of the most important tasks of a manager is to decide on and implement change – they do this by planning the change and setting goals, targets, timelines and resource limits. Managers act as ‘change agents’, developing and guiding the change process and getting those at the 'coal face’ onboard with the bigger organisational picture.  By doing this, the whole organisation operates as one large team (systemically) rather than as discrete teams or business units/departments.  A team comprising smaller teams. Implementing strategy requires changes to any one of a number of systems, processes and people.  This is often difficult.  Many argue that the implementation of strategy is much harder than the strategic direction setting and strategy formulation processes.  There are many change models from respected writers.  You should be able to make your informed choice from an understanding of them.  One that is often used either in its entirety, or modified appropriately, is from Harvard's John Kotter.  Kotter (1996:21) advocates an eight stage model for creating major change.  It is worth investigating this model in more detail from other sources.  The stages include:

  1. Establishing a sense of urgency
  2. Creating the guiding coalition
  3. Developing a vision and strategy
  4. Communicating the change vision
  5. Empowering broad based action
  6. Generating short-term wins
  7. Consolidating gains and promoting more change
  8. Anchoring new approaches in the culture

Dunphy (1981: pp52-55) lists 14 characteristics of a successful change program from his perspective.  These include:

  1. clear objectives
  2. realistic and limited scope
  3. informed awareness to build commitment
  4. selection of appropriate systems
  5. good timing
  6. participation
  7. support from key power groups
  8. using the existing power structure
  9. realistic assessment of proposed changes
  10. majority support
  11. competent staff to support changes
  12. integration of new methods into everyday processes
  13. transfer and diffusion of successful innovations to help change occur elsewhere in the organisation
  14. contingency modification

Do you agree? How realistic are these to achieve in your experience? 

The idea in evaluating alternative change programs is to find the most appropriate one for the organisation – one that is compatible with organisational goals and meets its strategic vision and direction. The most important factors to consider are:

Change involves moving from the known to the unknown (Cummins/Worley, 1993; Carnall, 2007). Because the future is uncertain, and may adversely affect peoples competencies, worth, and coping abilities, organisational members generally do not support change, unless compelling reasons convince them otherwise.  Similarly, organisations tend to be heavily invested in the status quo, and they resist changing it in the face of certain losses, uncertain future benefits or perceived personal benefits. Consequently, a key issue in planning for action is how to motivate commitment to organisational change, such as Business Reengineering. This requires management attention to two related tasks:

Change Management focuses on these two tasks by proposing, designing and subsequently executing effective interventions at individual, group, organisational and environmental levels. It should not be overlooked, though, that the environment is often more powerful than the organisation itself, while the psyche, the most personal category, is too deep-seated to respond to external change initiatives.

Interventions refer to a set of planned change activities performed by internal or external people, intended to help an organisation increase its effectiveness. Interventions, which assist in improving productivity and the quality of work life have three characteristics:

  1. they are based on valid information about the organisation's functioning
  2. they provide organisational members with opportunities to make free and informed choices
  3. they gain member's internal commitment to these choices

Valid information is the result of an accurate diagnosis of the organisation's functioning. It must fairly reflect what organisational members perceive and feel about their primary concerns and issues. Free and informed choice suggests that organisational members are actively involved in making decisions about the changes that will affect them. It means that they can choose not to participate and that interventions will not be imposed upon them. Internal commitment means that organisational members accept ownership of the intervention and take responsibility for implementing it. In fact, if interventions are to result in meaningful changes, management must be committed to implementing them (Cummins/Worley, 1993; Carnall, 2007).

Many change managers seem to believe that contrary to these three points proposed, changes must be kept secret from employees until the point of implementation. This approach is only likely to succeed in the most extreme situations and is more likely to result in strong employee resentment and resistance to the change initiatives. In today's better educated community in which legitimate authority is not automatically accepted without questions, employees are likely to expect to be involved in decisions that will accept them personally. Failure to provide opportunity for such involvement can also send a perceived strong message to employees who after all will have to make the changes work, that their opinion or contribution is not valued by their management. It is also important to appreciate it is virtually impossible to keep totally secret major change initiatives. Failure to provide factual communication on the issues and reasons for change, etc, will lead to rumours and a general escalation of fear about the possible changes. Employee morale is likely to plummet and the necessary energy needed to support and implement the change program dissipate.  Such issues can make or break a change program, regardless of how necessary it may be.

Change Management Literature Review

The large number of Change Management approaches available can be classified into six categories as in the following table.

  1. Psychology of the Individual Change Approaches
  2. Social Psychological Change Approaches
  3. Cultural Change Approaches
  4. Innovation Approaches
  5. Global Change Approaches
  6. Practitioner Approaches to Change

 You can read a little more about each one and view some relevant publications from the links below. 

Change Management Category

Intervention Models (IM)

Individual Change Interventions
Social Psychological Change Interventions
Cultural Change Interventions
Innovation Interventions
Global Change Interventions
Practitioner Interventions

You should now have a basic understanding of the models available to you.  Conduct further research regarding change intervention strategies and change management models.   If you'd like to discuss a model, talk to your teacher.

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