Our lives are being shaken to the core with the technological change that has been termed
the fourth industrial wave. These changes have affected everything including the economy of the
nation and the way the companies have to operate in the changing market environment. The
companies have to deal with new products, government regulations, developments, growth, and
changing workforce. As a result, the companies, therefore, have to ensure they undergo at least
moderate change. It is after this observation that Beer, Eisenstat and Spector, (1990 ) claimed
that, “Faced with changing markets and tougher competition more and more companies realize
that to compete effectively they must transform how they function. But while senior managers
understand the necessity for change, they often misunderstand what it takes to bring it about”.
Therefore, this paper will outline the guidelines that will enable managers to know what it takes
to bring about change in an organization by defining their roles in change management and
explaining a few change management models that can be effectively applied in their
Introduction to the change
Due to changes in the market, technological change, competitions, and customer
preference, change has become essential, and companies have realized that they need to change
to keep up with the ever-changing environment they risk phasing out (Rasche and Rehdar, 2018).
However, as pointed out earlier, it is not an easy thing. Kotter and Schlesinger (1989) admit that
advocates for change must consider that “nothing is more difficult to carry out, more doubtful of
success nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things”. However, they
emphasize that the need for change surpasses the risks for not initiating change.
Some models and strategies can be applied to ensure that change is effective and as
smooth as possible. There are different people with different strategies. Advocates of a
particular ideology claim that there are approaches can be universally applicable. However,
according to Dunphy and Stace (1988), the world today is experiencing turbulent times and will
demand different responses despite people scholars and experts suggesting that there are
universal methods. Dunphy and Stace (1988) therefore suggest that the managers and the
consultants need to have a model that will initiate the change and it is “situational or contingency
model that varies according to the change and allow for the optimum fit and moves according to
the changing environment.”
Change to management
Choosing strategies for change
The leaders must choose the strategy that will be used in effecting or managing the
change. They will, therefore, explicitly or implicitly decide the effort needed, the amount of
participation, what they will focus on, how much time will be taken and the different approaches
that will be applied (Kotter and Schlesinger, 1989). It is at this stage that a manager’s skill to
manage the change can be tested, whether they will be able to deliver the change required or not.
If the manager chooses a method that is inconsistent, they will run into predictable problems. If
the efforts are not planned the organizational change will be impossible as they will be unable to
anticipate challenges. Therefore, when choosing a strategy for the organizational change, it is
essential for the manager to consider the amount of resistance that is expected, his position vis-à-
vis the resistors, the available information about the change process. According to Kotter and
Schlesinger, (1989) ignoring those changes will reduce the chances of succeeding to implement
the change. However, knowing them will also not provide you with comfortable options either,
as you will have to begin the change process despite the challenges.
Role of leadership in change
Roles that effective change managers play at the organization
From all the change management roles, managers have emerged as the critical
components in ensuring that the change process does not fail. A lot is required from the
manager, and it is now clear why they might identify the need for change but lack the knowledge
on how it should be done (Hayes, 2018). From the discussion, the managers play different roles,
and in case they miss anyone role they may pace the whole changing or change management in
jeopardy. According to Higgs and Rowland (2005), the employees at the organization see the
leader as the hero, revolutionary, protector, magician, and conscious and seeing individual. As a
result, the employees depend on the leader for almost everything.
Specifically, according to Beer Eisenstat and Spector, 1990., Kotter 1995, and Higgs and
Rowland (2005), “Implementing change is a major challenge to the leaders.” Therefore, to
effectively manage the change, a leader must be able to identify systems that are underpinning
organizations behavior and thus making it difficult to change. Without the ability to identify
them, the leader runs the risk of colluding with the demands of the current systems (Kotter and
Schlesinger, 1989). Therefore, a leader’s role is to read and the symptoms of the organization's
dysfunctions and impact the same to the employees. It’s referred to as the self-awareness of the
leader and provides a basis for equipping them to develop an ability to understand the challenges
facing the organization.
The leader is also supposed to apply the different leadership styles that will enable him to
be able to lead the organization towards the change required. According to Dunphy and Stace
(1988), there is four style of change leadership that the managers can use. They can use the
collaborative approach that allows them to use widespread participation for the employees to
impact organizational change. They can also use consultative which entails the use of
consultation with the employees but maintain limited involvement in the change of the
organization. The third is the directive style that entails the manager using their managerial
authority and just issuing directives to the employees. They are also the main decision makers of
the organizational change — finally, coercive style of leadership that entails forcing or imposing
the change on the employees.
Therefore, the role of the managers in change management can be simplified into four
key roles according to Kotter and Schlesinger, (1989). They are responsible for analyzing to
identify the problem in the organization and the need for change. The managers are also
responsible for analysis of all the relevant factors that will affect change. The managers are
responsible for selecting the change strategy. They are also responsible for monitoring the
Models for Change Management
There are many change models in the world as it is one of the oldest professional.
However, there are three change models that the leaders and most organizations are likely to
choose. The three modes are The Lewis Change Management model, McKinsey 7-s Model, and
Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model. According to (Hayes, 2018), the change models provides a
guideline to the management on what to anticipate and how they can be able to manage the
change. Depending on the requirements of the change and the preferences the administration,
managers should choose a change management model that will yield them the best possible
outcome. The three modes are the most applied models and any manager, or company that has
not been able to set up their change management models can use the three models that will help
them manage change in their company.
i) Lewin’s Change Management Model
Psychologist Kurt Lewin created this model in 1950. The phycologist suggests that people
operate within preferred safety zones. In his explanation, he identified three stages that many
people undergo whenever there is a change taking place. He identified the first stage as unfreeze
stage where the people who receive the change to resist the change. Therefore, to change the
people, one needs to motivate the employees to be able to initiate the thawing unfreezing (Hayes,
2018). The second stage is the transition where the company has to initiate the reassurance and
adequate leadership to motivate people with the change process. The final stage using the
change management approach is the refreeze stage where people have successfully managed to
implement the change, and the company can now become stable again. This change management
approach is one of the oldest and widely used. However, it may take a while to implement and is
ideally possible for only major changes.
ii) McKinsey 7-S model
The model operates by identifying the various agents for change. It was formed by Anthony
Athos, Tom Peters, Robert Waterman, and Richard Pascale. According to Hayes (2018), the
seven factors are shared values, strategy, structure, system, styles, staff, and skills. A manager
can apply the model for change management because it offers an approach and an opportunity to
fully understand the company or the organization before starting the change. In that, the
approach allows for an evidence-based approach (Rasche and Rehder, 2018). The approach is
ideal for a long time strategy as it guides the organizational change The change management
approach using the Mckinsey 7-S models also takes into consideration both the rational and the
emotional components of the change. Additionally, it is an approach that allows the manager
addresses all the integral parts of the change process in a unified manner (Rasche and Rehder,
2018). The model is ideal and comprehensive and can be applied I many change management in
many companies. One shortcoming of the model is that fails to recognize the differences in the
change process. Additionally, when one part of the change process fails, the whole change
process will fail because they are related.
iii) Kotter’s 8 step change Model
The model was developed by John Kotter who argued that the employees would buy into
the idea of change after they can buy into the idea of change. Therefore, the leaders will have to
convince them of the urgency of the change (Hayes, 2018). Under this approach, Kotter suggests
Eight steps that will help the managers affect the changes accurately in the organizations. The
first step is to increase the urgency of change by explanations campaigns and through adequate
communications strategies that will help people understand the need for change. The
management approach also guides the leader to build a team that is dedicated to change. The
third step is to ensure that they create a vision for change that will allow people to be unified by
the vision. The fourth step is to communicate the need for change. The fifth step is for the
leaders to empower the staff with the ability to change. The sixth step is to ensure that within the
entire change objectives there are also short-term goals. The seventh step is to stay persistent in
the change process even if you experience resistance and any other challenges. The final step is
to make the change permanent so that the employees understand that they can never go back to
the old days.
According to Bridges and Mitchell (2000), change is nothing new to managers and their
constituents. In the 21 st characterized with the great technological invention, customer changes,
laws, and regulations, a company cannot be successful by simply replicating what they were
doing yesterday (Bridges and Mitchel, 2000). A company must innovate new products, systems
a to stay in business. Doing so means that the company has to change. One mistake that many
managers who are aware of the need for change make is that they believe that it is a simple,
straightforward thing. They think that they can order change around and they will establish a
task force, establish a plan and roll it out (Bridges and Mitchel, 2000). They will wait to
implement the program. However, change is a complex phenomenon that takes time to plan,
implement and monitor. In implementing the change, there are various steps that if they are not
observed may fail.
After observing the three most common and applied change models the role of the
managers is a critical key to ensure that change is efficiently done. Therefore, the managers can
carefully create an effective change management process that will work clearly for their
organization. The following is an outline of an effective change management approach as
outlined by Beer Eisenstat and Spector, (1990). They had observed the flaws that were present in
theoretical and use of models as a change management approach. Their approach of change
management guides the leaders to understand that the successful efforts focus in the work itself
and not the abstractions outlined like the participation or the culture. ‘The following is a six-step
effective change as outlined by Beer Eisenstat and Spector, (1990).
The first step is to mobilize the commitment of change through shared identification of
the problems. For effective change management, the basis lies on the correct and accurate
problem identification. However, the change will be effective if everybody can see that the
issue, which will inspire the need for change. Therefore, a manager must mobilize the initial
commitment and initiate the change process. It is at this stage that the people will be able to
suggest some of the solutions that can be adopted to tackle and address the issue Beer Eisenstat
and Spector, (1990).
The second step is developing a shared vision and how to organize and manage the
competitiveness Beer Eisenstat and Spector, (1990). This step entails the managers to lead the
group toward a task aligned vision that will define their new roles and responsibilities. In this
stage, the manager must create a communication approach that allows people to work
independently and collaboratively with all the departments and sections of the company that will
be affected by the change the process. In this stage, the management should anticipate any
resistances as outlined by both the McKinsey model and Lewin Change model. The manager
can form a task force that will help them with the change management. However, their other
main task is to ensure that people are committed to the change and supporting the manager
explain the processes that will be involved to the employees. This strategy will be accepted with
less resistance as most they will not be changing in a formal setting, titles or compensations Beer
Eisenstat and Spector, (1990).
The third step is to foster the consensus, competence to enact and cohesion to over the
new visions. It is not enough to let the employees take part in the change process. Once the
organization has managed to define the new roles for the people, they must be able to make it
work. The organization must then develop the competencies that will allow the employees to
make the new approach work. This change in the roles and responsibilities will enable the
employees to gain new skills and enhance participation Beer Eisenstat and Spector, (1990).
Ultimately, it will increase the employees level of participation in information sharing and the
collaboration. However, the management must also provide the necessary support to effect the
change. For example, the management can provide the employees with the consultants who can
attend all their meetings and help them become effective team members.
The fourth step is the implementation of the change using the bottom-up approach. The
manager and the management should spread the revitalization to all the department by starting
from below and going up. The employees will fully participate only if they are fully recognized
in their department fully fledged participants and are involved in the team decisions. It implies
that the department will have different roles in the change process. However, this approach
suggests that it is better for the management to let the department to find their wheel in the
organization. Beer Eisenstat and Spector, (1990). Suggest that there is an increased temptation to
force the newfound insights on the rest of the organization. However, the approach will only
short-circuit change and may thwart the efforts of the organization to effect change using the
The fifth step is to institutionalize the whole revitalization process by outlining the formal
policies the systems and the structures that have been suggested. It is during this stage that the
manager can formally introduce the plans and the structure without risk of backfiring. At this
stage, the right people will be on the job, and the team organization is running. It will be
possible to enact the formal structures without interfering with the ongoing change process at the
company at that time Beer Eisenstat and Spector, (1990). It borrows a leaf from the three change
The sixth step is monitoring and adjusting the strategies in response to the challenges and
issues that arise as they are implemented. The best thing about this approach is that it is a
feedback based approach that allows for open communication and data collection. The main aim
of the change was creating something that was not available before, and they must, therefore, be
able to know how they can monitor it so that they can improve it day in day out to keep them
competitive in the market. It is easy to confuse the monitoring job and think that one it is the
responsibility of the manager. But instead it is a shared job, and all the involved parties must be
keen participants in information collection.
Identification of the need for change in an organization is simple. However, the problem
starts with the implementation of the change process as it entails a lot of procedure protocols and
strategies. Therefore, the manager may be aware of the need for change to keep up with the
competition, and the technology, but lack the necessary managerial skills and resources that will
enable to them to effect the change (Beer Eisenstat and Spector, 1990). Organizational change
requires a lot of effort from both the manager and the employees, and it will take a while. While
scholars suggest the application of theoretical models, in most instances they may never work.
The paper has outlined the fallacies that theoretical frameworks have. However, the
organizations can apply the six-step approach that allows the organization to identify the
problem, develop a shared vision, foster consensus, and vision, spread revitalization,
institutionalize revitalization and monitor and adjust the strategies. If that is observed, the
manager will be able to move from their inability to effect change effectively and manage
changes in their organization.
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