Organizational Change Models Introduction Change management models are models that


Organizational Change Models


Change management models are models that are used by organizations in order to ensure swift change management. In order to apply change in an organization then the management needs to adhere to certain principles to effect the change. Different organizations experience different situations; thus they prefer different models. Change cannot be forced on employees and the organization at large therefore the change needs to be achievable, measurable, and realistic. Some of the important aspects in developing of the models are the role of the leaders in the change, the communication process, and overcoming resistance to change. This paper will focus on McKinsey’s – 7’s framework and the Kurt Lewin change management model in respect to the three important aforementioned aspects of change management models.
The McKinsey’s 7-s framework was developed in the 1980’s by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, who were consultants working for McKinsey & Company consulting firm. The model has stood the test of time as it has been able to be relevant till date. This model centers on seven internal factors or aspects that any organization need to be aligned in order for it to be successful. The model can be used in a wide variety of company situations, making it a universal model. The model helps the management to determine how best they can implement a proposed strategy, determine the probable effects of company changes in the future and to improve the general performance of the company.

The seven elements in McKinsey’s model are broadly categorized in to either hard elements or soft elements. The soft elements are intangible and difficult to describe; they include skills, shared values, staff and style. On the other hand, hard elements are easily identifiable, concrete and can be easily be influenced by the management. The hard elements are; systems, structure and strategy (Waterman, Peters & Phillips, 1980).

In order for an organization to succeed then it needs a strategy to do that. The strategy can be attained through setting of objectives and performance metrics of both the employees and the organization. The organization should implement strategies that are geared towards dealing with the competitive pressure and gaining competitive advantage. The strategic plan should be able to deal with client needs and at the same time adapt to the dynamic environmental changes in the business world. The structure of an organization in defining its success, the structure entails how the company or its workforce is divided and the hierarchy. Various departments should be able to coordinate effectively. The structure of the organization defines how the team members align and organize themselves, and the lines of communication present in the organization.

An organization has many systems that run the organization e.g., the IT system and HR system. These systems should be in such a way that it works properly with the culture of the organization. The systems should be properly evaluated, monitored and controlled. Each company has core values that are shared among the employees. The organization should have a corporate culture that is aligned with the objectives of the organization. The strength of the shared values is imperative and the fundamental values the company was built on. The management and leadership style should are instrumental in guiding an organization in the right direction. Some organization may require transformational leadership while others may require charismatic leadership. The leadership should be effective so that the employees can cooperate. The Leadership and management of the organization should ensure that the functional groups and teams are functioning.

Since the division of labor and specialization, staff is placed in areas they are experts in. The positions in an organization should be filled with the right kind of people. It is the mandate of the management to determine the different skills required for the different task jobs and determine if there is and skill gaps. The management should be able to determine if the current employees possess the necessary skills for the job.

In this change model, the communication process can be varied and multi-channeled. The processes and systems in the organization should facilitate good communication flow. The staff should be equipped with good and effective communication skills. The leadership style should react in a way that promotes good communication. The organization should implement strategies that embrace proper communication channels to clearly communicate the goals of the organization.

McKinsey’s model can be used as an analytical tool to gain competitive advantage in the market but one of its major short comings is that it does not clearly address the resistance to change factor therefore it needs to be used with other management tools in order to be effective. The model has several integral parts that can be unified and combined in different form to achieve the success of an organization. The model has an in-depth analysis of the organization covering the overall entity, which is an effective method to diagnose and understand it. The model combines rational and emotional component in understanding the organization. Since the components in this model are interrelated, a change in one component leads to a change in all components and this can be costly and timely to an organization subscribed to it (Cawsey, Deszca & Ingols, 2012). The model has a history of failure especially due to its complex nature.

The Kurt Lewin change Management is simple compared to McKinley’s -7s models. Kurt’s model involves three simple steps i.e., unfreezing, changing and refreezing. Kurt stated that change involves creating a perception that a change is needed (unfreezing), then implementing the change or moving to the new desired change (changing) and lastly, solidifying the new behavior as the norm (refreezing) (Clayton, 2008).

The unfreezing is the first step in Kurt Lewin’s change management model, and as stated earlier, it involves the creation of the perception of a change. Most employees in an organization are resistant to change when it occurs; therefore, a process of unfreezing needs to be initiated, and this can be done through motivation. It is the role of the leader to create awareness of how the current or status quo is hindering the progress of the organization and help them to understand the situation. It is important that this is communicated to all the employees in an organization so there may be no rebellious group due to lack of communication and misunderstanding. All the elements in the McKinsey’s -7’s model should be evaluated to determine how they affect the organization. The skills, systems, styles, structures, staff, shared values, and strategies should be studied and carefully communicated to the employees to show how they should be altered in order for the organization to succeed. The key to unfreezing is communication; the more the employees know about the change, the more they will be willing to adapt and embrace the change. Communication is important in ensuring that the stakeholders are informed about the change, why it is important for the change to occur and how the change will improve the performance of the organization.

Once the change has been communicated and people are unfrozen, then the organization can start to move in the new state. Change is the second step in the model, and it involves the transition from the old to the new state. This is the hardest step in the Lewin’s model because it involves the actual implementation of the change as people struggle to adapt with the change and it is marked with uncertainty and fear. The employees are used to the old routines, and a change in status quo proves difficult to adapt. This stage is marked with slow growth, performance, and development due to the teething problems that is associated with the new system. It is the role of the leadership to provide support and training programs to educate the employees on the new changes.  At this point, it is important for the leaders to practice both participatory management and autocratic leadership to spearhead the changes. Participatory management helps in ensuring that the wellbeing and opinions of the employees are considered amidst the changes. According to Bass & Stogdill (1990), in order for the changes to occur quickly, there need to be fewer layers of management where a few people are involved in decision making, this can streamline any resistance to change with strictness and identifying areas of inefficiencies. Time is critical in effective change; therefore, multiple communication channels should be utilized to ensure there is correct and timely delivery of information and there is also communication between different groups and departments. For this phase to be successful it should be strategically planned and executed.

The last phase of this model is refreezing, which involves reinforced the new state or changes in the organization. The essence of this stage is to ensure consistent change occurs in the organization and people do not revert to the old state. Communication is key in this stage to reinstate the goals and objectives of the change. The changes should be engrained in the organization’s culture, rewards can be used to reinforce and cement the new changes. It is the role of the leaders to reinforce this new state through performance appraisal, evaluation and providing corrective action where necessary.

The major criticism of the model is that it lacks flexibility to fit in the current dynamic world. The third stage of the model talks about refreezing, but critics say that today’s business world is so dynamic to have time for the third stage of Lewin’s model. The model directly addresses resistance to change, which is the biggest impediment when it comes to change management. Of the entire change management models, this is the simplest of them all and therefore easy to plan. Lastly, Lewin’s model simplicity cannot solve the issues of a large organization because big organizations have complex structure and systems; therefore, in this case, it can act as a foundation to change management that may require a supplementary model.

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