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Images of Change Management
On completion of this chapter you should be able to:
- Evaluate the use that different authors make of the terms change agent, change manager, and change leader.
- Understand the importance of organizational images and mental models.
- Compare and contrast six different images of managing change and change managers.
- Explain the theoretical underpinnings of different change management images.
- Apply these six images of managing change to your personal preferences and approach and to different organizational contexts.
Chapter 2 focuses on the six images of change managers outlined in Table 2.1 of the text.
Images of Managing Change (p.35) Images of Managing
Intended DIRECTOR COACH
Images of Change Partially Intended NAVIGATOR INTERPRETER Outcomes
Unintended CARETAKER NURTURER
The two variables that determine the image of a change manager are the images of managing and of change outcomes. These can be defined as follows:
- Images of managing:
- Controlling: This is representative of many of the dominant views associated with top-down management. It is based on controlling the activities in the organization. It can be illustrated by Fayol‟s characteristics of management—planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling.
- Shaping: This illustrates a more participative style of management. It attempts to mold change outcomes through encouraging a variety of players within the organization to be involved in the various stages of change. This view focuses on improving the capabilities of the organization.
- Images of change outcomes:
- Intended: This view regards change as a result of planned action instigated and influenced by a change manager. This can be achieved through three broad strategies: empirical rational strategies, normativere-educative strategies, and power coercive strategies.
- Partially intended: Research in change management has shown that there is often a discrepancy between the change that is planned and that which occurred. The intended outcomes of change may require remodification during the implementation process, the result of which is partially intended change. o Unintended: Often there are forces beyond the control of the change manager that greatly influence the outcomes of change and these can impede any attempts to achieve intended change within an organization. There are a plethora of internal or external factors that prevail over the impact of the change manager.
Based on these variables, the six images of change and their theoretical underpinning are described.
- This is based on an image of management as control and of change outcomes as being achievable.
- Theoretically, this image is supported by the n-step models and contingency theory. Navigator:
- Here, control is still seen as at the heart of management action, although a variety of factors external to managers mean that while they may achieve some intended change outcomes, others will occur over which they have little control.
- Theoretically, this image is supported by the contextualist and processual theories of change.
- Although the management action is still focused on control in this image, the change manager‟s ability to control is severely impeded by a variety of internal and external forces beyond the scope of the manager. The caretaker is seen as shepherding their organizations along as best they can.
- This image is supported by theories that focus on the external environment such as life-cycle, population-ecology, and institutional theories.
- In this image the change manager relies upon building in the right set of values, skills, and “drills” that are deemed to be the best ones that organizational members, as players, will be able to draw on adeptly in order to achieve desired organizational outcomes.
- Theoretically, this is based on organizational development approaches.
- The manager creates meaning for other organizational members, helping them to make sense of various organizational events and actions. Only some of these meanings are realized as change outcomes, however, and these must be legitimized by the change manager.
- Theoretically, this is supported by the sense-making theory of organizational change.
- This image assumes that even small changes may have a large impact on organizations, and managers are not able to control the outcome of these changes. However, they may nurture their organizations, facilitating organizational qualities that enable positive self-organizing to occur. Specific change outcomes cannot be controlled but rather they are shaped and emerge by the organizational qualities and capabilities.
- Theoretically, this is based on chaos and Confucian/Taoist theories.
These six images of change managers have three core uses:
- They highlight a variety of assumptions change managers make about change and increase the awareness of different interpretations of change.
- They draw attention to the dominant images of change within an organization.
- They highlight a range of perspectives available to change managers.
Sidebars in the Text
The following table provides a brief summary of the content of each sidebar.
|Interpreters at Work: Four Conditions for Changing Mindsets
Fleshes out some aspects of what is meant by change manager as interpreter. It draws attention to the importance of changed mindsets if deep organizational change is to be achieved.
|Semco: A Chaotic Business
• Illustrates some aspects of change manager as nurturer.
• Semco is well known in management literature, possibly because it seems to break all the rules of how a company “should” be managed if it is to succeed.
• The management approach of this company contrasts strongly with the more familiar hierarchical organization that most students have experienced.
• It is important for students to understand that in management (and change), “not everything has to be controlled from the top.”
• Raises awareness that there are alternative models for running a business successfully.
|Taos Approach to Change Leadership
• Provides another perspective on the change manager as nurturer, this time through a non-Western view on how change is achieved.
• Introduces students to the idea of looking at the management of change in cultural context, which may mean both that (i) cultural context may be central to how well particular ideas about how to manage change work, and also (ii) familiarizing ourselves with how change is managed in other cultures may give us new ideas that we could apply in our own culture.
Exercises and Answers
EXERCISE 2.1 (pp.52-53)
Assessing Change Managers’ Images
Understanding the importance of organizational images and mental models is part of the process of working successfully with change. Listening to stories from change managers will help students gain an idea of the different situations, attitudes, and perspectives that are possible in managing change. This exercise familiarizes students with the six images framework, its assumptions, and theoretical underpinnings.
- Individually or small groups
- Use Table 2.1 Images of Change Management (p.35), Table 2.2 Life-Cycle Stages and Caretaker Activities (p.40), Table 2.3 Chaos Theory and Change
Management ( p.45), and Table 2.4 Six Images of Change Management
Expected time for each interview is approximately 20 minutes (if the students go to the change manager‟s workplace), or about 10 to 15 minutes each if a number of change managers present to the class. Analyzing the information from change managers (either individually through individual interviews or during class if they present in the lecture time) will take approximately 20 minutes for each change story. More time will need to be allowed for this exercise if students formally submit their work for assessment.
Students may have difficulty finding change managers to interview—the instructor could facilitate the exercise by inviting one or two change managers to the class to share their stories of change. The students could then individually, or in groups of two to three, complete the questions as a discussion in class time or as a project in their own time.
Students with professional experience will have fewer problems organizing an interview than those without, as they are likely to have business contacts who know a change manager. It may be good to direct students towards different industries or organizations so that they can compare and contrast the responses to the questions.
Potential Problems and Helpful Hints
- During the interview, it is important for students to listen to the story the change manager is telling and note the language they use.
- Students may try to ask the change manager about the change “images” they are learning in the course and which one(s) they use. This could be a problem as many change managers do not know what “image” they are using. It is important for students to listen to change stories and work out for themselves the image, type of change, phase of the change, stimulus, or any other factors that were part of the change.
- An important skill for students to acquire is to be able to hear stories of change and interpret them into change terminology. Students would improve their skills by practicing telling stories with and without “change vocabulary,” as clear communication is very important for effective change management.
A helpful approach to debriefing is to summarize the broad conclusions reached by the groups. Revise the six images framework and mental models for approaching change— the three tables referenced above contain the basic information that students need to know at this stage of the course. The six change images are discussed throughout the text and are foundational to many of the subsequent chapters. Completing the exercise by briefly discussing some of the difficulties of finding a change manager will give students some ideas on how to approach others for an interview.
Guidelines for Answers to Questions
The answers to the questions in the exercises will need to be assessed according to the experience and education level of the students. The answers given here are only a guide.
Your task, either individually or in a small group, is to find and interview two people who have managed organizational change or who have been directly involved in change implementation.
Which images of change did those two managers illustrate?
The answer could be one or more of the six images of change.
How did these images affect the change management decisions and actions? The influence of the type of image on the actions of change managers should relate to the information found in Tables 2.1 and 2.4 and be supported by the description of the theoretical underpinnings of the image.
To what extent were these different images related to:
- The type of change?
Refer to Table 2.1 Images of Change Management.
- The context of the change?
The context of the change is found in the theoretical underpinnings of each of the change images. The answers for this question, at this stage of the course, will be fairly broad.
- The phase of the change?
Refer to Table 2.2 Life Cycles Stages and Change Management Issues.
- Simultaneous involvement in multiple changes?
This will depend on the stories that the change managers tell students. This question is for students to think about the fact that change is a complex venture and usually involves a number of changes at the same time.
- Were there any other factors that you identified?
The answer to this question will depend on the information that the students have gathered from the interviews.
- What conclusions can you draw from your analysis about the effects of images and mental models on the way your interviewees approached their change management roles?
The broad conclusions from the change stories should include information from both interviews, including a discussion of the types of images involved in the change and how these mental models will affect the approach to change.
EXERCISE 2.2 (pp.53-55)
Case Study: The turnaround story at Leonard Cheshire
Our suggested responses to the three case questions are:
- What image/s of change management does Clare Pelham illustrate?
Pelham combined the director and caretaker images. When she took over, the charity had a large deficit and its reputation for care quality was threatened. Rapid action and decisions were required, and after meeting with all of the senior managers individually, Pelham made clear what was going to happen. One example was her deeply controversial decision to stop the „15 minute visits.‟ However, she was also clear about working together, transparency, rapid problem solving, establishing procedures, and measuring progress with weekly reports. She explored with the management board how they would work together to address the challenges they faced. She met with staff to gather ideas and decide actions on fundraising. She observes that, „leadership is a caring profession.‟
- What insights does this story have to offer concerning the role of the change leader?
- Work fast: It is usually desirable to act with speed and clarity when an organization is facing difficulties as severe as these, combining financial and reputational damage.
- Build credibility: Pelham was new to the organization, although she had previously worked there as a volunteer. She had to establish her credibility with existing management and staff, while recognizing that they had high expectations of her.
- Involve others (1): Pelham immediately involved the senior management team, capturing their ideas on working practices and on solutions to the organization‟s problems. She quickly convened a management board to discuss working methods.
- Involve others (2): Staff was asked to develop ideas on fundraising tactics, as everyone became involved in that key part of the business.
- Symbolic actions: Pelham convened a board meeting with no agenda, signalling willingness to listen to the suggestions of others. She banned the words „blame,‟ „fault,‟ and „failure,‟ signalling the desire to increase pride in the charity‟s work. She encouraged a culture of „you don‟t walk past,‟ signalling that solving problems on personal initiative was to be expected and rewarded. She led the „15 minute visit‟ campaign, which attracted external criticism, but which staff supported. She accepted responsibility should things go wrong.
- What lessons about managing organizational change can we take from this experience and apply to other organizations, in healthcare and in other sectors?
Acting rapidly to address severe problems, building personal credibility, involving others (at all levels), and using symbolic actions to signal changes in approach and organization culture, are tactics that change managers in other organizations and sectors should find useful.