Change Management

1 Introduction

The purpose of this wiki page is to inform readers about change management; changes are regularly occurring in the business world and the world as a whole, with new trends developing constantly, and this wiki page looks at how organisations react to these changes. These changes can be either planned or emergent, or a combination of the two. If change is managed correctly, then it is thought that it could be very beneficial for individuals, organisations and society (Hughes, M. (2006).

Innovation and change are becoming increasing central parts of business life as organisations struggle to keep up with changing tastes, global competition and faster product life cycles (Henry, J. & Mayle, D., 2002). Managers, at all levels, have to be competent at identifying the need for change. They also have to be able to act in ways that will secure change. Getting it ‘wrong’ can be costly. It is imperative, therefore, that managers get it ‘right, but getting it right is not easy. There is no single ‘recipe’ that can be applied to all organisations at all times (Hayes, J., 2010). The topic itself has grown in importance as organisations in both the public and private sector have struggled to cope with change. During the 1980s the principal challenges were privatization on the one hand and growth on the other. More recently, the deep economic recession in the UK has switched the pressures for change to those downsizing, cost control and survival (Mabey, C. & Mayon-White, B., 2003).

This wiki page will go on to define what change actually means; reasons for change; different approaches for change; theories and models of change management; analysis of two case studies with different approaches to change; conclusion and recommendations. Sources of collecting data will be online news websites and company websites to gather up to date information; change management textbooks; academic journals and articles; and online videos from reputable sources.

2 Change Management Definitions

There is no universal definition to actually describe what is meant by change, however, the concept of change management is commonly understood. Dawson (1994) suggests that changes in organisations are never clearly defined. Fincham and Rhodes (2005: 525) define change management as “the leadership and direction of the process of organisational transformation – especially with regard to human aspects and overcoming resistance to change”. It is clear to note, that this definition by Fincham and Rhodes may be more effective as a definition for change leadership, with the understanding that resistance should be overcome. The following definition may be more suitable “attending to organisational change transition process at organisational, group and individual levels”. This definition takes into account the organisation as a whole in the change process, rather than just one person as a manager, despite the fact that the involvement of these individuals carrying out change may be somewhat different according to what level they are in an organisation. Furthermore, this definition acknowledges that change may be planned or emergent (Hughes, M. 2006, 2006:2).

3 The Nature of Change

Change in organisations can take place in different ways. Sometimes this change is expected, and takes place gradually over a certain time period. On the other side, change can also be sprung upon an organisation, happening at a fast pace. These different types of change are known as incremental or evolutionary change and revolutionary or transformational change. Organisations need to be prepared to deal and react to these kind of changes, and there are different theories and models that all good managers and should familiarise themselves with to be able to cope with these pressures.

3.1 Incremental or Evolutionary Change

Evolutionary change is incremental and takes place gradually, over time. Incremental change can be described as change taking place when an industry is in equilibrium, and then the focus of change will be ‘doing things better’ through continuous tinkering, adaptation and modification. Nadler and Tushman (1995) make a point that incremental changes are not necessarily small changes. They can be subsequently large in terms of the resources that will be needed and the impact that they can have on people in the organisation. A key feature of this type of change is that it builds on what has already been accomplished and has the flavor of continuous improvement. This type of change can be cumulative, and, over time, can lead to organisations transforming deep structures and reinventing themsleves. However, incremental change is incapable of fundamentally transforming the deep structures of an organisation (Hayes, J., 2010: 24).

3.2 Revolutionary or Transformational Change

In contrast to incremental or evolutionary change, transformational change takes place in organisations during periods of disequilibrium. Weick and Quinn (1999) and Gersick (1991) refer to this kind of change as ‘revolutionary’, but most writers, for example Tichy and Devanna (1986), Kotter (1999) and Burke and Litwin (1992), use the term ‘transformational change’. This change involves breaking away from the past, a one-step function change, instead of following change and development patterns. This kind of change is based upon doing this differently, and not necessarily on doing this better (Hayes, J., 2010:24-25).

3.3 Typology of Change


Figure 1 Types of organisational change
Source: Adapted from Nadler et al., 1995: 24

From combining the two dimensions of change, we can measure the extent to which change involves incremental adjustment or transformational change and the extent to which the organisation’s response to change is proactive or reactive, providing a useful typology of organisational change (see Figure 1).

Nadler et Al identifies 4 types of change:

Tuning is a type of change that occurs when there is no immediate requirement to change. This type of change involves seeking better ways of doing things; such as improving policies, methods, procedures, introducing new technologies, redesigning processes to reduce cost, time to market and so on, or development of workers.

Adaptation is an incremental and adaptive response to a pressing external demand for change. This type of change may involve responding to a successful new marketing strategy adopted by a competitor or to change in the availability of a key resource. It involves doing the same thing, but better, in order to stay competitive in the market.

Reorientation involves the redefinition of an organisation. This type of change is proactive and usually initiated as a result of transformational force in the industry. This change takes place to make sure that the company survives in the future, and is usually done to become pioneers in taking the step before others in the industry. A sense of urgency needs to be created within the organisation by mangers and leaders in order to push forward with the change, as it may not be obvious to everyone, and this can be tricky.

Re-creation change is both reactionary and transformational, and involves changing the organisations basic elements and it affects the business as a whole. Nadler and Tushman (1995) state that it inevitably involves organisational frame breaking and the destruction of some elements of the system. If done well, it can be very rewarding for an organisation, however, it is very difficult to manage and carry out due to how big the change actually is.

‘Group and team based change’ (Change from G.S)



Jabri (2012) presents how a Greek philosopher once reported that “you cannot step into the same river twice”. This observation emphasises that change will always be ongoing and is an area which will always have to be revised. A key area in change is group and team based with Hughes (2006) cited in Thompson and McHugh (2002) showing how teams are replacing individuals as the basic units of work organisations. This suggests how within change management a current and important trend is group and team based change.

Effectiveness of group and team based change

In the video presented above it suggests how there are 5 key themes in order to have an affective team through change. They are as follows

  • Clear objectives
  • Clear processes
  • Clear roles
  • Work well with other teams
  • Trust and respect

Looking into these further by having all members in the team knowing the objectives it can produce the positive impact of everyone being accountable and a measure of success can be achieved. Through this everyone will know their role and everyone else’s. This in turn makes communication channels easier and due to one team not being sufficient to do everything in an organisation it is important
to be able to communicate and work well with other teams.

Downside of groups and teams

Hughes (2006) present that there is a theme in current literature implying that anyone who is not part of a group or a team is in some way deviant. Through this there are many reports, articles and surveys that produce the positive impact but inevitably there are disadvantages to working in a team. Potential disadvantages include the problematic nature of team working, social loafing, de-individuation and inter-group conflict. (2006: 138).

The concept of social loafing provides a great example of the negative side of group work. Cited in Bowditch and Buono social loafing is described as -

‘The tendency towards diminished performance in groups appears to be a universal phenomenon. It has been observed in a variety of groups working on an array of different tasks, among both males and females, across people of all ages and in many different cultures’ (2005: 149)

In terms of how to stop the disadvantage of social loafing Schippers (2014) showed how collectivism has been shown to be related to lower levels of social loafing. High collectivism which is shown as the principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it showed the advantage of less social loafing than individualists. When collectivism is involved it also produced employees to perform even better in a group than when working alone.

Dealing with change

Paton and McCalman (2008) present how dealing with change is one of the most crucial factors that a manager will have to experience within an organisation. It is presented that more often than not; it is resistance to change as a result of insufficient attention being paid to the process of change that causes problems (2008: 237) CIPD (2014) also show how resistance to change can be identified as a group engaging in acts to block or disrupt an attempt to introduce change. CIPD (2014) produce further information to change producing two broad types of resistance can be considered:

  • Resistance to the content of change - for example to a specific change in technology or to the introduction of a particular reward system.
  • Resistance to the process of change. This concerns the way a change is introduced rather than the object of change per se, for example, management re-structure jobs without prior consultation of affected employees.

In terms of taking this on board further Paton and McCalman (2012 show how there are several types of resistance which can happen looking specifically at groups.

Group which would include resistance due to group norms, group cohesiveness and groupthink. (Paton and McCalman, 2008: 237)

Group Norms
Resistance to this occurs when change alters interactions between group members due to changes in task and role relationship within a group.
Group Cohesiveness
Resistance will happen when all the group members want to keep things the same ways.
Cited in Janis (1972) it classifies as
  • a feeling of invulnerability creates excessive optimism and encourages risk taking.
  • Discounting warnings that might challenge assumptions.
  • Stereotyped views of enemy leaders
  • Shutting down of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.

4 Organisational Change Model

Organisations need to be cautious when adopting any organizational change model, as it is unlikely that any one change model will fit perfectly. Nelson (2003) suggests that there needs to be a move away from ‘static’ models of change, which stress the content and substance of change, to the dynamics of change, with the exception that change occurs within a less certain environment, where less flexibility is required to maintain or enable competitive advantage.

Three different change management models will be introduced, and examples will be shown from case studies, to demonstrate how an organization can effectively manage change.

4.1 Lewin’s three-phase change model

Kurt Lewin’s three-phase model focuses on the psychological aspects of behavioral modification. It was one of the first models to be applied to change management. As the name suggests, the model has three steps:
  1. when an organisation realises that they need to change, and thus lowers their resistance to change.
  2. changing the attitudes of people within the organisation, which is necessary for change to take place.
  3. the process of moving forward with change, by ‘stabilising’, ‘supporting’, and ‘reinforcing’ change.

This model presents a systematic approach to change management. The premise for this model was that by identifying and understanding the key stages involved in the process, the likelihood that effective management would take place to take that change forward (Rees, G. & French, R., 2010). Weick and Quinn (1999: 379) suggest that the appropriate change sequence required to redirect change actually begins with ‘freezing’ in order to be able to highlight what is happening, then moving over to ‘rebalancing’, a process that involves interpreting history and identifying patterns so that they unfold with fewer blockages, followed by ‘unfreezing’ to resume improvisation.

Lewin’s model has been criticised for oversimplifying change. French, Kast and Rosenzweig (1985) have since introduced a more contemporary change model, which can be related to Lewin’s model, eight components of a planned-change effort:


Other criticism surrounding Lewin and other linear change models is that they describe the process of change transforming from an initial state to a final stage. In current organisational climates, change is recognised as being constant and continuous for most organisations, although moving at a faster rate in some.

4.2 Kotter’s eight-stage change model

John Kotter (1995) developed an eight-stage change process for managing change in large organisations, although the model appears to be a linear and sequential set of processes, in the final two steps Kotter attempts to address the problem of ‘refreezing’ stage in Lewin’s model by encouraging organisations and their employees to develop attitudes and values which help to promote the behavior required to encourage and support further change (Rees, G. & French, R., 2010).

The eight stages, which will be detailed futher below, are as follows:

  1. Establish a sense of urgency
  2. Create a guiding coalition
  3. Develop a vision and strategy
  4. Communicate the change vision
  5. Empower broad-based action
  6. Generate short-term wins
  7. Consolidate gains and produce more change
  8. Anchor new approaches in the culture

A particular feature of Kotter’s model is the role of leadership: developing and communicating the vision for change. Getting the communication for change across is critical to transformational leadership, and for the management of change in large-scale organisations (Bass, 1985).

An organisation that has adopter Kotter’s approach to managing their acquisitions and change is Ardagh Group.

Businesses must work hard to change an organisation successfully. In planning carefully and building proper foundations the implementation of change can be much easier and more effective, improving the chances of success. If organisations are too impatient in so much as they expect results too soon their plans for change are much more likely to fall flat and fail. As a result, by following Kotter’s ‘8 stage change model’ framework (Kotter, 1995) a business can tailor the various aspects to suit them and create a far more solid and well thought through plan.

Stages 1-3 Creating a Climate for Change

1. Establish a sense of urgency

‘Craft and use a significant opportunity as a means for exciting people to sign up to change their organization’ (Kotter International, 2015).

In order for change to happen, it is far easier to implement if the whole organisation believes it should also happen. And therefore this stage has been developed and introduced to initiate and inspire the organisation as a whole to accept change is needed. By developing a sense of urgency surrounding the need for change may help the business get things going and moving in the right direction to begin with at the start of the change management process.

This can not be done by simply ‘showing people poor statistics or talking about increased competition’ (Mindtools, 2015), it needs to be done by opening and allowing for an ‘honest and convincing dialogue about what’s happening in the marketplace and with your competition’ (Mindtools, 2015) and from doing so the business can then identify if there is a any major issues currently or potentially and work towards what can be done to tackle them moving forward. Ultimately, this stage involves and relies on engagement; if people start talking and becoming aware of potential future change, urgency builds and change is easier to implement.
Things businesses can do include:
  • Look at the business as a whole, possibly do a PEST and/or SWOT analysis to identify what could happen in the future to determine what should or may change and examine what opportunities could be or should be potentially exploited.
  • Begin open, honest and frank discussions within the organisation, giving dynamic and compelling reasons about changes in order to get people talking and thinking about the future.
  • If relevant or an option, look into gaining support from stakeholders external to the internal business, for example, customers and industry people, in order to strengthen your arguments and ideas.

2. Creating a Guiding Team
‘Assemble a group with the power and energy to lead and support a collaborative change effort’ (Kotter International, 2015).
Once a business has established a sense of urgency surrounding the need for change, it is important to convince stakeholders that change is necessary. Often requiring strong leadership and visible support from important people within the business simply managing change isn't enough, a business, or key people within a business, has to lead it. On that note however, this stage is also about ensuring that companies are aware that change may not work with one person alone leading, however capable they may be, and that for the most effective chance of success, a team needs to be developed and formed in order to head up and lead the changes desired within the organisation.
The creation of this team to lead is vital to the success of change management and it is the responsibility of the project manager of the team to ensure that the group works effectively together. It is not just important to have an effective team leader, there must also be members with a vast knowledge of the business, including its business operations and future ambitions who are innovative, original and creative individuals that will help to push and navigate the change in the right direction. These ‘effective change leaders’ (Forbes, 2015) can be found throughout an organisation, in so much as they do not have to be among a businesses traditional hierarchical structure and may be a lower level member of staff. It is vital businesses remember this; they want change to be implemented successfully across all levels of the organisation and in order to do this, change must be led from a variety of source in coalition with one another from people ‘whose power comes from a variety of sources, including job title, status, expertise, and political importance’ (Mindtools, 2015).
Once formed, the ‘change coalition’ (Tanner, 2015) needs to work together in order to continue building urgency and momentum around the need for change in the organisation.
How a business can do this includes:
  • Identifying the true leaders in their organisation as well as their key stakeholders.
  • Asking from these individuals, an emotional commitment to this pursuit.
  • Continually working on team building within the change coalition.
By checking the coalition for weak areas and ensuring that there is a good mix of people from different areas of the business.

3. Developing a vision and a strategy
‘Shape a vision to help steer the change effort and develop strategic initiatives to achieve that vision’ (Kotter International, 2015).
This next step is so an organisation creates a clear vision in order to direct their change towards. When businesses and/or the ‘change coalitions’ first start thinking about the change they want to implement there will likely be an abundance of ideas, ways, concepts and solutions surrounding them, and it is the culmination of all of these that should be linked together at this stage to create the overall vision for people to grasp, remember and understand where they are headed for. This process of vision development helps to also streamline the decisions and processes that need to occur throughout the process, as having a clear vision helps the organisation develop the strategy needed to achieve the vision
The development of a clear vision can help everyone involved understand why they are being asked for example, to do something, as they see themselves all working towards a clearly defined vision and goals within the organisation. When stakeholders see, understand and believe what the organisation is trying to achieve the directions, guidance and in some cases orders that they are given, on the whole, make far more sense to them and are easier to implement.
Practical ways in which businesses can develop this stage are:
  • By determining what the values are central to the change that is occurring.
  • Businesses could develop a short summary or mission statement purely for the means of the change management process of simply one or two sentences that represents what the vision is at the end of the process.
  • Create a well developed and detailed strategy in order to execute the defined vision.
  • Ensure that the ‘change coalition’ can describe the vision in five minutes or less in order to promote it across the organisation.

Stages 4-6 Engaging & Enabling the whole Organisation

4. Communicating the change vision
‘Raise a large force of people who are ready, willing and urgent to drive change’ (Kotter International, 2015).
‘What you do with your vision after you create it will determine your success’ (Mindtools, 2015). Kotter developed this step in the framework so that businesses consider all members of an organisation in so much that they must understand and ideally accept the changes that are being proposed. Kotter saw this as an area that is often overlooked as when implementing change many companies do not communicate this across their business community, resulting in a common reason why changes sometimes fail. Businesses should use all tools to their advantage to communicate with members of the organisation about what is occurring, ensuring that everyone is aware; this can include but is not exclusive to, meetings, conferences, emails and company newsletters for example. The messages being conveyed will ‘probably have strong competition from other day-to-day communications within the company, so you need to communicate it frequently and powerfully, and embed it within everything that you do’ (Mindtools, 2015).
Real ways businesses can communicate their vision for change includes:
  • Talk often about the changes that will have to occur to reach the ultimate vision in the business.
  • Be open and honest with employees and other stakeholders when addressing their concerns and also listening to their ideas.
  • Applying the devised vision across all aspects of operations in order to make everyone aware and familiar with the end goal.
  • Leading by example; within the organisation, everyone involved in the development and implementation of the change process should lead by example and pave the way for all other stakeholders to embrace change.

5. Empowering broad-based action

‘Remove obstacles to change, change systems or structures that pose threats to the achievement of the vision’ (Kotter International, 2015).

In an indeal scenario at this stage all areas of the organisation have bought in to the change and are engaging in order to reach the promised vision and start getting the benefits of the change. However, there may be resistance to change or structures and/or processes in the way preventing the transition period moving along smoothly. It is at this point where there is a good opportunity to identify these barriers that may have the ability to undermine the change. There are many forms this could take, for example, it could be resistant managers that are simply unwilling to cooperate and therefore solutions need to be devised. For example in that situation, solutions can range from retraining to dismissal of those unwilling to change.
Essentially, what this stage is tackling is putting in place the ‘structure for change, and continually check for barriers to it. Removing obstacles can empower the people you need to execute your vision, and it can help the change move forward’ (Mindtools, 2015).
Some things businesses could do at this stage:
  • Select leaders from within the organisation or externally whose main job is to deliver the change.
  • Examine the structure of the organisation to ensure the processes and systems are in line with the targeted vision.
  • Acknowledge the people in the organisation that have been instrumental and important in making and helping changes occur and reward them accordingly.
  • Alternatively, those that appear to be resisting change, make an effort to identify them and help them to understand the vision in order to move forward.
  • In line with this, take action to remove and deal with other barriers causing issues.

6. Generating short term wins
‘Consistently produce, track, evaluate and celebrate volumes of small and large accomplishments – and correlate them to results’ (Kotter International, 2015).
This stage of the framework Kotter is suggesting that ‘nothing motivates more than success’ (Mindtools, 2015). By giving the organisation and those in it early victories within the change process within a short period of time, for example, the first month of implementation, this provides stakeholders with ‘quick wins’ (Pink Consulting, 2005) that they are very aware off and that gives the perception that the strategy and process to the vision are working, which also may silence critics and negative thinkers within and around the organisation that may otherwise badly affect the progress of the change. Although the ultimate goal is the big change at the end, this principle of creating short term targets and changes to achieve the ultimate, leaves little room for failure as it provides the basis of a very detailed plan and easy to reach, achievable targets. However, this aspect of the process could be very time consuming in coming up with lots of smaller short term goals for the ‘change coalition’ but if done effectively should make it remarkably easier to reach the long term large goals, with each success motivating the organisation that bit more.
Small wins alleviate the pressure within the project team as they can quite clearly see if the determined strategy is working and developing successfully and if not they can take proactive measures to resolve any issues before it is too late. Kotter also suggests that this goal is crucial and that those who are key players are ultimately responsible for the small achievements and should be recognised and rewarded for their hard work accordingly, giving employees something to work towards.

Practical measures to take at this stage for businesses:
  • ‘Look for sure-fire projects that you can implement without help from any strong critics of the change.
  • Don't choose early targets that are expensive. You want to be able to justify the investment in each project.
  • Thoroughly analyse the potential pros and cons of your targets. If you don't succeed with an early goal, it can hurt your entire change initiative.
  • Reward the people who help you meet the targets’ (Mindtools, 2015).

Stages 7-8 Implementing & Sustaining for Change

7. Consolidating gains and producing more change
‘Use increasing credibility to change systems, structures and policies that don’t align with the vision; hire, promote and develop employees who can implement the vision; reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes and volunteers’ (Kotter International, 2015).
Kotter argues that many change projects fail because victory is declared too early. Real change runs deep. ‘Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change’ (Kotter, 1995). Alternatively referred to as the ‘don’t let up stage’ (The Chartered Institute for IT, 2013), this element concentrates on imposing the changes in all aspects of an organisation to increase the credibility of the changes in other areas, thus consolidating the overall benefits and objectives for change. All departments of an organisation must be reached when changing aspects and those structures, policies and processes for example, that are not in line with the ultimate vision also need to be addressed and plans put in place to rectify any issues that conflict with the overall vision. Like with other aspects to this framework, clever utilisation of members of the organisation is key and can aid in identification of areas that need attention.
In line with the framework, things businesses can do to tackle this stage include:
  • After each small win reflect upon what went well and areas of improvement.
  • Set achievable goals in order to continue developing the momentum the organisation has achieved so far.
  • Discover more and learn from Kaizens concept of ‘continuous improvement’ (Imai, 1986).
  • Ideas need to be new and innovative; consider rotating and adding different people to the project team.

8. Anchoring the new approach into the culture

‘Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success, and develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession’ (Kotter International, 2015).

Finally in this framework, ensuring that this new vision remains strong in the company is essential. In order to make any change a long term reality, it needs to become a part of the core of the business. ‘The corporate culture often determines what gets done, so the values behind your vision must show in day-to-day work’ (Mindtools, 2015). Regardless of the size, change is difficult to both implement and manage, especially in order to change an organisations culture and also to make sure those changes last.
In following this framework and the likes of Kaizens ‘Continuous Improvement’ model, constant efforts must be made even after the conclusion of any project to ensure that the change is present in every aspect of the organization, for example, further engagement with existing staff and extra effort when new staff begin as having the support of the workforce is vital and ultimately helps to give the change or changes a firm place in the businesses culture for the long term.
What can businesses actually do to ensure this?
  • ‘Talk about progress every chance you get. Tell success stories about the change process, and repeat other stories that you hear.
  • Include the change ideals and values when hiring and training new staff.
  • Publicly recognize key members of your original change coalition, and make sure the rest of the staff – new and old – remembers their contributions.
  • Create plans to replace key leaders of change as they move on. This will help ensure that their legacy is not lost or forgotten’ (Mindtools, 2015).



4.3 Ardagh Metal Netherlands B.V.

Ardagh is a privately owned worldwide manufacturer of metal food cans. As well as having 89 glass and metal manufacturing production facilities in 21 countries, it is estimated that in an average household you will find at least six products in packaging produced by Ardagh Group.

As a global leader in glass and metal packaging solutions, the unprecedented growth of our business has been driven by unrivaled expertise, obsession with quality and commitment to continuous improvement (Ardagh website, 2014).
Ardagh Metal Netherlands B.V. was formerly known as Impress Coöperatieve UA. As a result of acquisition of Impress by Ardagh, the name got changed. However, looking at a former case study for Impress, which is still relevant in Ardagh today, you can see that their strategy is to be the best metal manufacturers as opposed to the most profitable or biggest. Impress, now known as Ardagh, adopts an acquisition strategy in order to meet company obejctives.

Impress uses a ‘learning by doing’ framework for acquisitions, which facilitates the integration process and creates enough flexibility within Impress to allow its processes and values to be influenced by the cultures of the companies it acquires and the countries in which it operates.

5 Organisational Development

Organisations can also take on change as part of ‘organisational development’ which is an incremental change taking place over time. CIPD (2009) define organisational development as a ‘planned and systematic approach to enabling sustained organisational performance through the involvement of its people’. OD emphasises the management of culture and employee behavior as the central interventions for sustaining organisational capability to deal with long term-change and improve performance (Rees, G. & French, R., 2010).

Organisational development can be carried out by developing a ‘high performance culture’, where employees are praised for their hard work. This is a sophisticated and complex form of organisational control based on influencing normative behavior which is acceptable to managers and employees (Rees, G. & French, R., 2010).

Guest and Conway’s (2004) psychological contract model can be used to apply organisational development in organisations. The psychological contract is defined as by Guest and Conway as ‘…the perceptions of the two parties, employee and employer, of what their mutual obligations are towards each other’.


Figure 2 A simplified model of the psychological contract
Source: Adapted from Guest and Conway (2004)

5.1 NHS Modernisation Programme

nhs logo.png

The NHS has attempted to take the organisational development approach, and has undergone radical change since introducing their Modernisation Programme.

The OD approach implies that normal business is about to change at NHS, because they wanted to improve their healthcare due to dramatic change in the UK healthcare, external forces means they need to change. They aim to ‘improve quality, financial management, and frontline service deliveries through a host of innovative measures aimed at improving quality and outcomes’ (Inside Government Website, 2013). The OD approach means that dealing with this change is implicit in what organisations and their people do – it is ‘business as usual’ (Rees, G. & French, R., 2010). The changes at NHS have taken a long time to come around, with the plan being in place for many years now.

This change strategy works for the NHS as it means employees can get used to the change ‘slowly’ by continuous improvements, which will involve leaders using the psychological contract mentioned above, of praise and understanding from employees to employers to encourage change. If the NHS where to imply change as a ‘permanent phenomenon’, some employees would become exhausted and de-motivated due to being presented with a programme of such change. However, this does not mean that organisations who adopt an OD approach, such as the NHS, cannot roll out specific projects for introducing change. However, all these projects are managed with clearly defined and measurable objectives. In an article for The Times regarding the NHS Modernisation, David Cameron (2011) states that the change ‘is not a revolution, it is evolution. The modernisation programme aims to develop the whole organisation together, in a clear and consistent way’.

6 System Approach to Change

Another way to manage organisational change is a systematic approach. Systems models of change are a useful tool for undertaking change. The chart below shows what a classis systems approach model looks like showing the types of action and tools and techniques in place.


Figure 3 A systems model of change
Adapted from Leading, Managing & Developing People textbook, 2010

This approach focuses on the functional complementarity of parts of the organisation and the nature of the organisations relationship with the environment. The organisation is viewed as an open system that imports inputs from the environment, transforming them into outputs which are then exported (Hayes, J., 2010). The organisation’s main focus is to survive, and in order to do this they rely on the maintenance of functional complementarity within the organisation and between the organisation and the wider environment. Goodman and Pennings (1980) suggest that a systems perspective views functional complementarity as more important than the achievement of any goal.

6.1 HMRC

HRMC logo.jpg

HM Revenue and Customs is an example of an organisation that would have benefited from a ‘Systems Intervention Strategy’ to bring about effective change. An article published by The Times (2010), Chris Mills states that it is ‘ironic that HMRC, which has undergone radical change, should be incapable of managing change effectively’.

Mills goes on to explain how the company focused more on tax-raising at a strategic level, but lost the sense of purpose lower down. The involvement of operational staff, where they drive the process quickly and effectively, was lacking. He states that what was required was a ‘comprehensively thought-through model of the entire organisation, which encompasses vision, strategic performance measures, organisational structures, projects and business-as-usual activities’.

If HMRC had used a SIS change intervention, they would have assessed the organisation as a whole, and being able to identify any sub systems in need of extra support, such as the operational staff. Furthermore, they could have also used Organisational Development approach, in order to change the organisational vision and involve everyone in the process, so that no one was lost ‘lower down’. Change is something that took place in the whole of the organisation, and taking a light-hearted approach only leaves employees with low engagement and morale.

7 Organisational Change and the Learning Organisation

Change is inevitable for an organisation to survive and thrive in an ever changing business environment. Organisational change is relevant to accommodate creativity, innovation and to increase an organisation’s competitive advantage. A definition of change management as described by Fincham and Rhodes (2005:525), as ‘the leadership and direction of the process of organisational transformation – especially with regard to human aspects and overcoming resistance to change,’ can be linked to organisation learning, or the Learning Organisation where the process of transformation can be learned through experience. Organisations are assumed to be in constant disequilibrium and that change is necessary to equal and to create actions to modify the imbalance, this is where learning occurs. One must also consider referencing Dixson’s (1994) research that suggests an organisation must learn quicker than the conditions it faces. The organisation therefore is in continual learning and change is desirable for the successful organisation. The relationship between change and learning is that, change drives learning and learning drives organisations forward in becoming more competitive and resourceful.

7.1 The Learning Organisation

A learning organisation as a concept has been suggested ‘as a way of moving an organisation towards an improved performance’ and that a constant improvement ‘requires commitment to learning’ and viewing things from a ‘different perspective’ (Paton and McCalman 2008:279). Senge (1990) describes that a learning organisation is not just simply learning, but ‘for learning also involves a fundamental shift or movement of mind’ (1990:13). The learning organisation is really about re-creating something new from something it was unable to do before, not only just to survive but rather as Senge suggests, ‘continuously expanding its capability to create its future (1990:14). What Senge (1990) argues when he defines an organisation in terms of ‘survival learning’, is an approach to change management that offers an ever expanding capacity to improve and develop or adapt to its circumstances in order to create and ultimately to survive in an ever changing environment, leading to a commutative advantage. As an organisation grows or expands, it is said that it loses its ability to learn as a whole and in a way becoming rigid (Pedler et al 1997). As a growing trend, organisations have been restructured to become more receptive to new opportunities and as Paton and McCalman (2008:277) suggests ‘there is a general trend, not only at the organisational level, but also at the level of society at large, to realise the full potential of the working community’.

7.2 Building a Learning Organisation

The learning organisation can be argued to have five main features or disciplines, as Senge (1990) illustrates in his book ‘The Firth Discipline’, these characteristics are: ‘System Thinking’, ‘Personal Mastery’, ‘Mental Models’, ‘Building a Shared Vision’ and ‘Team Learning’ (1990:6-10). Using these disciples will enable organisations to be equipped to enhance their creative capacity to solve problems, learn and so becoming more competitive.

Personal Mastery

Commitment by an individual to learn and develop knowledge and commercial wealth adding levels of proficiency and competitive advantage through constant improvements. Allowing for the individual to acknowledge and express clarification of ‘personal vision, of focusing energies, of developing patience and seeing reality objectively’ (Senge 1990.7).

Mental Models

‘Assumptions that shapes one’s view of the world’ (Paton and McCalman 2008:288). These may be drawn from past experiences or influences one may have had, which can have a dramatic impact on markets and on organisation’s development of strategies. Senge (1990) argues that if organisations align their thinking collectively there is more chance of success.

royal-dutch-shell_416x416.jpgMascarenhas (2011) writs how in 1970 Royal Dutch/Shell was one of the weakest of the seven largest oil companies, but by 1979 they had grown to become one of the largest. Mascarenhas (2011) argues in his book, Business Transformation Strategies that the success of Royal Dutch/Shell was achieved by addressing the company’s mental model. In that it applied a centralised staff planning model and replaced challenging attitudes with an open culture that communicated the alignment of the organisation’s mental mode towards their management and operational strategies (McHugh et al 1998).

Building a Shared Vision

Developing people to build a shard picture or a common identity, working for the good of the organisation will help to facilitate and inspire change through a shared vision. Senge (1990) argues that the collective ability to ‘realise the vision is more powerful than that of a single individual’ (Paton and McCalman 2008:288).


Steve Jobs late CEO of Apple Inc. describes the importance of a shared vision and how the translation of a vision throughout the company demonstrated Apples ability to develop great quality products and employee ownership. Please read this extract on Jobs' opinion of shared vision.

Source: rework365, Steve Jobs about Leadership

Team Learning

Team learning is fundamental to a modern organisation in that, if the team as a whole cannot learn then the organisation cannot learn and develop. Teams as a co-ordinated, well-oiled machine preform effectively and confidently Aligning and developing the capacity of a team to create the results that its members truly desire. The benefits to the company is that team learning is quicker than individual learning and the organisation’s capacity to problem solves increase significantly as there is a better access to knowledge. Senge (1990:10) argues that ‘team learning starts with dialog’ in order to ‘suspend assumptions and enter into a genuine thinking together’ and further more will develop their communication, opening themselves to a shared sense of meaning and understanding (Senge 1990:10).

System Thinking
Systems thinking is the understanding of how separate elements within a complex system can influence, connect and interact with one another within the structures of body. The key to a system thinker is to be able to see the structures for what they are in order to control an organisations behaviour and actions, solving their problems.

Systems thinking in terms of the ‘fifth discipline’ enables organisations to become visionaries in their own right enabling the implementation of a learning organisation. Senge (1990) argues that not all disciplines can be developed and learnt at once, this take time and discipline. To help understand the disciplines of learning mentioned above, Diana Smith elaborates and identifies a three-phases-continuum.

Figure 1: Three-Phases-Continuum.Source: Barnard (2015:18) From School Delusion to Design: Mixed-Age Groups and Values-Led Transformation. Senge, Peter (1990:377): The Fifth Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization.

7.4 An Input/Output Model of the Learning Organisation

Incorporating Senge’s disciplines into a learning organisation model shown below (fig 2), illustrates that the outcomes of such a learning organisation is knowledge creation, competitive advantage and transformational change. The input/output model describes two types of input changes as being needed to develop the desired output changes. Firstly, organisational inputs designed to develop individual learning and, secondly, specific learning organisation behaviours that will support the sharing of the individual developments and as Dixon argues that ‘it is this joint construction of meanings that is organisational learning’ (1997:25).


Figure 2: Input/Output Model of the Learning OrganisationSource: Blackman and Henderson (2005)

7.5 Types of Learning Styles

There are arguably two distinct types of learning styles single-loop and double-loop, which involves an organisation’s ability to identify, understand and correct errors.

Single-Loop Learning

Single-loop learning styles or ‘adaptive learning’ as defined by Senge (1990), is the use of changes in responds to problems and actions taken when errors arise. Argyris (1999:68) distinguishes single-loop learning as ‘when matches are created, or when mismatches are corrected by change actions.’ Single-loop learning is an incremental approach to change management, and according to Argyris and Schön (1974) organisation that approach single-loop learning will address problems with a defined operationalised strategy ‘within the boundaries of current thinking’ (Paton and McCalman 2008:280).

Problems Faced by Organisations Adopting the Single-Loop Learning Style

Problems and errors that are addressed by current operationalised single-loop style learning strategies are not questioned or altered, leading to the re-occurrence of the problems. Paton and McCalman (2008:280) suggests that, ‘this form of learning is restrictive and non-challenging.’ They continue to argue that an organisation’s core compatibilities can be transformed or perceived to become ‘core rigidities’ and thus failing ‘to challenge existing patterns of thinking and behaviour, resulting in an inflexible, reactive company, categorised by short termism’ (Paton and McCalman 2008:280). Organisations may become familiar and secure by solving daily re-occurring issues, resulting in a perpetual cycle of interchangeable learning patterns altering the organisations ability to adapt or creative innovative thinking.

Double-Loop Learning Style

The double-loop learning style can be describe as the transformational nature of change management as ‘there is a willingness to challenge long held assumptions and create new ways of looking at the world’ (Paton and McCalman 2008:280). Double-loop learning is also referred to as ‘generative learning’ and that it is about creating knowledge, by examining and altering the governing variables and then acting on them (wikiquotes 2015). The framework of the double-loop learning model looks at increasing competitive advantage by focusing on changing and reviewing business systems.

Double-loop learning has been identified as being more challenging for an organisation to integrate within a learning organisation, ‘because it forces them to consider that their accepted ways of thinking and behaving may no longer be appropriate’ (Paton and McCalman 2008:280). To develop the capacity for an organisation to meet demanding and emerging business environmental challenges they need to activate ‘the capacity for generative learning’ (Paton and McCalman 2008:281). Fig 2 illustrates the interaction and demonstrates the activities involved with each learning style and their relationship each other, with change, results and implementation of new strategies and procedures.


Figure 3: Interaction between single and double-loop learning stylesSource: Leadership Now

The YouTube video above identifies and describes in more detail single-loop and double-loop learning styles.
Argyris (1999:69) argues that all organisation should adopt both single-loop and double-loop learning style. But goes on to suggest, cited in Hughes (2006:181) that ‘in terms of organisation change, single-loop learning is the norm.’ The Lewin (1951) three-phase change management models identified earlier in the wiki, examines the unfreezing and refreezing of the psychological aspects of behavioural modification, which is more suited for a single-loop learning value whereas, gaps emerge as Hughes (2006) suggestes, when applying the double-loop learning style to such a model. The focus of much of Argyris’ (1999) research has been to explore how organisations may increase their capacity for double-loop learning. He argues that double-loop learning is necessary if organisations are to make informed decisions in rapidly changing and often uncertain contexts.

toyota-logo.jpg7.6 Toyota

According to Liker (2004) The Toyota Way, describes how Toyota has became a learning organisation and that no one has done it better than they. It is evident within their policy, actions and visions that they identified with the disciplines mentioned by Senge (1990) and incorporated the learning cycle implemented by Kolb (1975) (fig 4) and Kim’s (1994) OADI (Observe, Access, Design, Implement) individual learning cycle (fig 5), which implies that learning is an adaptation of one’s experiences.


Figure 4: Kolb’s learning cycle (Kolb 1975)Source:

Figure 5: OADI Individual learning cycle (Kim 1994)Source:

Toyota ask the question ‘why’ as a technique to examine and learn, as a means to optimise its operational procedures, while implementing policies of self-reflection and responsibility to explore the concepts of weakness and mistakes presented within the organisation. They further acknowledge a shared vision and development structure for their workforce by entailing a mental module that implies The Toyota Way. Paton and McCalman (2008:281) describe it as the ‘learning process-acquiring, processing and the storing of information’.

In an attempt to examine a meaning of a learning organisation in response to The Toyota Way, Kim (1994) incorporates the OADI model with Senge’s (1990) Fifth Discipline and mental model to form OADI-SMM Mobel (Observe, Access, Design, Implement – Shared Mental Model) (fig 6). The advantage of using this model identifies with the adoption of the single and double-learning styles indicated earlier. As with the success of The Toyota Way, the OADI-SMM model can indicate an entitlement to an alignment with the thinking processes of learning acquiring a vast amount of organisational knowledge which lies within the individuals mental model. The 'shared mental model is what makes the rest of the organisations knowledge accessible' (Kim 1993:44), and requires constant experience which in contrasts creates experience.


Figure 6: OADI-SMM Learning Organisation Model (Kim 1994)Source:

Based on the physical principles of learning and integrating learning procedures and learning outcomes for both individual and organisation, the model indicates that learning promote and changes organisational actions in response to changes in environment. However, the model identifies that if environmental circumstances change, mental models are not affected, but can be altered through double-loop learning style. To further a learning organisations initiatives to enhanced level of effectiveness and competitive advantage, Paton and McCalman (2008:279) suggest to implement ‘continuous improvement (CI), business process re-engineering (BP or), total quality management (TQM) and even the balanced scorecard (BSC) to maintain the competitiveness of the organisation and increase its position within the market.

8 Managing and Leading Change Effectively

In the video below adapted from TED talks, Mark Mueller-Berstein talks about leading change.

Mueller-Berstein outlines a very useful model adapted from Professor Schlosberg, which defines five steps to follow when confronted with radical transformation.

  1. Identify Vision – 80% of change management implementations fail due to no clear vision. Vision should be ‘clear, sharp and crisp’
  2. Clarify Impact – address negative and positive impacts, address fears and concerns and search for opportunities to get create drive and energy
  3. Communicate - over communicate the impact, searching for opportunities to encourage people no matter where they are on the emotional curve
  4. Team Up – do not do it alone, build a team to help understand the big picture, get a better view point and strategy
  5. Lead – celebrate each step by step victory, stay engaged and you will start to see progress. Once you have managed a successful change once, it gets easier

The talk ends with Mueller-Berstein saying that change is scary, but there are many opportunities out there. This suggests that organisations have many opportunities that they could take advantage of, however, managing the change is a hard process, which can be made easier if the right models and theories are applied to the organisation.

8 Conclusions and Recommendations

In conclusion, this wiki page has detailed some theories and models that organisations could adopt to try to implement change. Unfortunately, there is no one correct change method to use, and organisations need to assess which method will be the best for them. From the organisations analysed, you can see that leading change is not always easy, and sometimes it is not effectively communicated down the hierarchy, which can cause people to be disengaged and fearful of change.

In order for organisations to successfully carry out change, they need to find a model, or a combination of models that is best fit for their organisation. Furthermore, they need to lead the change through with passion and strong communication through the whole organisation as a whole in order to engage everyone in the process.


Argyris, C. (1999) On Organisational learning. Oxford: Blackwell Business

Adargh Metal Netherlands B.V, website (2015)!corporate-introduction [Accessed 2nd February 2015].

Barnard (2015) From School Delusion to Design: Mixed-Age Groups and Values-Led Transformation. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefiled (Online) Available at: Accessed 21.04/2015

Blackman, D. (2006) How Measuring Learning May Limit New Knowledge Creation: Journal of Knowledge Management Practice, Vol. 7, No. 3. (Online) Available at Accessed 21/04/2015

Blackman, D.A. and Henderson, S. (2005) Why Learning Organisations Do Not Transform, The Learning Organization Journal, 12.1; pp.42-45.

Bass, B.M. (1985) Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations. New York: Free Press.

Burke, W.W. & Litwin, G.H. (1992) A casual model of organisational performance and change, Journal of Management, 18(3): 523-45.

Burke, W.W. (2002) Organsiational Change, Theory and Practice.Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Cameron, D. (2011) Modernisation of the NHS: Article by David Cameron. The Times. Retrieved from

CIPD (2009) Learning and Talent Development. Report. London: CIPD.

Dawson P. (1994) Organizational Change: A processual approach. London: Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd.

Dixon, N. (1994) The Organizational Learning Cycle: How We Can Learn Collectively. London: McGraw-Hill

Fincham R. and Rhodes P. (2005) Principles of Organizational Behavior. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

French, W. L., Kast, F.E. & Resenzweig, J.E. (1985) Understanding Human Behaviour in Organizations. London: Harper & Row.

Gersick, C.J. (1991) Revolutionary change theories: a multilevel exploitation of punctuated equilibrium paradigm, Academy of Management Review, 16: 10-36.

Goodman, P.S. & Pennings, J.M. (1980) Critical Issues in assessing organisational effectiveness, in E.E Lawler, D.A Nadler and C. Cammann (eds) Organisational Assessment. New York: Wiley.

Guest, D. & Conway, N. (2004) Employee well-being and the psychological contract: a report for the CIPD. Research report. London: CIPD.

Hayes, J. (2010) The Theory and Practice of Change Management. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Henry, J. & Mayle, D. (2002) Managing Innovation and Change. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Hughes, M. (2006) Change Management: A critical perspective. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Huws, U. & O’Keefe, B. (2008) Managing Change in EU cross-border mergers and acquisitions. Case example Impress.Dublin: EMCC.

Inside Government, Website (2013) [Accessed 2nd February 2015].

Kotter, J.P. (1999) On What Leaders Really Do. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Mabey, C. & Mayon-White, B. (2003) Managing Change. 2nd Edition. London: Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd.

Mascarenhas, O. (2011) Business Transformation Strategies: The Strategic Leader as Innovation Manager. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. (Online). Available at:'mental%20model'&f=false Accessed on the 20/04/2015

McHugh, D., Groves, D. and Alker, A. (1998) Managing learning: what do we learn from a learning organization? The Learning Organization. 5 (5) pp.209-220.

Mills, C. (2010) HMRC running out of time to regain its sense of purpose. The Times [Accessed 2nd February 2015]

Mueller-Eberstein, M. (2012) Lead And Be The Change. [Online] Available from:

Nadler, D.A. & Tushman, M.L. (1995) Types of organisational change: from incremental improvements to discontinuous transformation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Nelson, L. (2003) A case study in organizational change: implications for theory.The Learning Organisation, Vol. 10, No. 18-30.

Paton, R. and McCalman, J. (2008) Change management. A guide to effective implementation. 3rd edition. London: SAGE Publications Ltd

Pedler, M., Burgogyne, J. and Boydell, T. (1997) The Learning Company: A strategy for sustainable development. 2nd Edition. London; McGraw-Hill.

Rees, G. & French, R. (2010) Leading, Managing and Developing People. 3rdEdition. London: CIPD.

Senge, P. (1990) The Fifth Discipline: The Art And Practise Of The Learning Organisation. Kent: Mackays of Chatham PLC

Tichy, N.M. & Devanna, M.A. (1986) The Transformational Leader. Chichester: Wiley.

Weick, K.E. & Quinn, R.E. (1999) Organisational change and development, Annual Review of Psychology, 50: 361-86.

Wikiquote (2015) Chris Argyris (online) Available at: Accessed on 21/04/2015

Additional references G.S

  • Hughes, M. (2006) Change Management: a critical perspective. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

  • Jabri, J. (2012) Managing Organizational Change: Process, Social Construction and Dialogue. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Paton, A. and McCalman, J. (2008). Change Management: A Guide to Effective Implementation. 3rd Ed. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Additional References K.S

Forbes. (2015). ‘How have Kotter’s 8 steps for change changed?’ Online source. Available at: [Accessed April 10 2015].

Imai, M. (1986). ‘Kaizen: The Key to Japan's Competitive Success’. McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Kotter International. (2015). ‘Kotters 8 step process for leading change’. Online source. Available at: [Accessed April 10 2015].

Kotter, P. (1995). ‘Leading Change’. Harvard Business Press, 1996.

Mindtools. (2015). ‘Implementing Change Powerfully & Successfully’. Online source. Available at: [Accessed April 10 2015].

Pink Consulting. (2005). ‘Creating Quick Wins’. Online source. Available at: [Accessed April 10 2015].

Tanner, R. (2015). ‘Leading Change – Create a Guiding Coalition’. Online source. Available at: [Accessed April 10 2015].

The Chartered Institute for IT. (2013). ‘Don’t Let Up’. Online source. Available at: [Accessed April 10 2015].