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  • Notes

    1. Retrieved July 16, 2003, from


    2. Van de Ven, A. H., & Poole, M. S. (1995). Explaining development and change in

    organizations. Academy of Management Review, (20)3, 510540.

    3 Szamosi, L. T. (1999, June). A new perspective on the organizational change process:

    Developing a model of revolutionary change and a measure of organizational support for revo-

    lutionary change (p. 15). Unpublished PhD Thesis, Carleton University.

    4. Carroll, G., & Hannan, M. T. (1989). Density delay in the evolution of organizational

    populations: A model of five empirical tests. Administrative Science Quarterly, (34)3,


    5. Szamosi, op. cit., p. 19.

    6. Burke, W. W. (2002). Organization change: Theory and practice (p. 148). London:


    7. Higgs, M., & Rowland, D. (2005, June). All changes great and small: Exploring

    approaches to change and its leadership. Journal of Change Management, (5)2, 121151.

    8. Op. cit., p. 144.

    9. Part of this categorization is drawn from Robbins, S., & Langton, N. (2003).

    Organizational behavior (3rd ed., p. 530). Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.

    10. Sull, D. N. (1999). Why good companies go bad. Harvard Business Review, (77)4,


    11. Handy, C. (1994). The age of paradox (p. 50). Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

    12. Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social science. New York: Harper & Row.

    13. A recent discussion of Lewins contribution can be found in Rosch, E. (2002).

    Lewins field theory as situated action in organizational change. Organization Development

    Journal, (20)2, 814.

    14. Beckhard, R., & Harris, R. T. (1987). Organizational transitions: Managing complex

    change. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.


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  • 53

    Change Frameworksfor OrganizationalDiagnosis

    What to Change

    There is nothing so practical as a good theory.

    K. Lewin

    Chapter Overview

    Change leaders need to understand both how to go about change (theprocess of making the change) and what changes need to be made (the content of those changes). Understanding what needs to change isthe focus of this chapter. Knowing what to change depends on your skillin organizational diagnosis.

    Change leaders abilities to determine what needs changing require themto have a clear organizational framework that they can use for analysis.They need to understand how complex and interactive organizationalcomponents are, how analysis can occur at different levels, and how orga-nizations and their environments will shift over time.

    This chapter outlines three models that provide organizational frameworks:the McKinsey 7-S model, the Burke-Litwin causal model, and Nadler and


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  • Tushmans organizational congruence model. While each of these modelsis useful, this book uses the Nadler and Tushman model as its frameworkbecause it balances the complexity needed for organizational analysis andthe simplicity needed for action planning and communication.

    The complexity of organizations is highlighted by Stermans systemsdynamics model. It helps us to think of the nonlinear and interactivenature of organizations.

    Quinns competing values model provides a framework that bridges indi-vidual and organizational levels of analysis.

    Organizational changes over time are highlighted by Greiners five phasesof organizational growth model.

    Complexity theory is introduced to highlight the interactive, time-dependent nature of organizations and organizational change.

    In Chapter 2, we considered how to change. That is, we outlined a processapproach to effective change. In this chapter, we deal with the content of change, orwhat to change. Change leaders need to understand and be skilled in both the whatand the how. Differentiating the process from the content is sometimes confusing,but the rather unusual example below will highlight the difference.

    Bloodletting is a procedure that was performed to help alleviate the ills ofmankind. . . . In the early nineteenth century adults with good health from thecountry districts of England were bled as regularly as they went to market; thiswas considered to be preventive medicine.1

    The practice of bloodletting was based on a set of assumptions about how thebody workedbloodletting would diminish the quantity of blood in the systemand thus lessen the redness, heat, and swelling that was occurring. As a result,people seemed to get better after this treatmentbut only in the short term. Thereality was that they were weakened by the loss of blood. As we know today, theso-called science of bloodletting was based on an inaccurate understanding ofthe body.

    It is likely that bloodletting professionals worked to improve their competenciesand developed reputations based on their skills in bloodletting. They worked hardat the how aspects of their craft. Advances in medicine prove that they did notreally understand what they were doing.

    Similarly, a highly gifted change leader may be able to shift the organization. Butthe usefulness of that shift is determined by what they choose as well as how theydo it. For example, a change leader might embark on developing a customer rela-tions focus for the organization when it is really the computer system that needsfixingbeing nice to customers isnt helpful if you are working with the wrongdata. This is highlighted by the following:


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  • Magna Corporation, a $22 billion revenue company, designs, develops, andmanufactures automotive components and vehicles primarily for sale to orig-inal equipment manufacturers worldwide.

    Magna International Inc. had for over 10 years spun off divisions whenthey reached sufficient size for an initial public offering. This was based on theassumption that focusing on special parts and components achieved efficien-cies and higher profits. Clearly, by 2004, this diagnosis was incorrect. AsMagna shifted to making complex modules and entire vehicles, the need forcoordination soared. This was increasingly difficult given the independence ofeach spun-off division.2

    Magna had transformed its organization from 1994 to 2004. They may havebeen good at how they did things, but by 2004, there was concern that what tochange had shifted. Magnas approach was increasingly out of alignment with whatwas needed in the marketplace. As has been stressed, effective change leaders needboth: a good understanding of what to change and excellent skills at how to goabout achieving those changes. Further, they need to understand that the what andthe how will change over time as the environmental conditions shift.

    Bruch and Gerber differentiate the what and the how into a leadership question:What would be right? and a management question: How do we do it right?3

    They analyze a strategic change program at Lufthansas from 2001 to 2004. Thisprogram successfully generated over one billion euros in sustainable cash flow.While the how questions focussed on gaining acceptance of the changefocusingthe organization, finding people to make it happen, and generating momentumthe what questions were more analytical, asking what change was right, whatshould the focus be, and what can be executed given the culture and situation. Theyconclude that a focus on implementation is not sufficient. A clear grasp of the crit-ical needs, the change purpose, or vision is essential.4

    Underlying our understanding of what needs to change in an organization is theset of assumptions and beliefs about the organization and how it works. In ourexample above, barber-surgeons believed that the body consisted of humors thatneeded to be in balance. Bloodletting could restore that balance. Todays physicianshave a much more complex, science-based, systemic view of the body. The parallelis clear. Determining what should change in an organization relies heavily on themodels we have of how organizations work and our skill in using them to identifyappropriate, needed changes.

    In this chapter, we outline three models that provide a framework for organiza-tions.* As well, we provide other models that highlight the need to understandorganizational dynamics, the level of analysis, and how organizations shift overtime. The models help us to understand the underlying patterns of causationwithin an organization. Market intelligence gathering, news reports, benchmarkingstudies, and the like can be excellent sources for ideas, but they are not a substitutefor the careful thinking and detailed organizational analysis that is needed.

    Change Frameworks for Organizational Diagnosis55

    *We provide three models as examples of frameworks for analysis. Many other models exist,of course. However, the focus for this book is on helping change leaders to be effective ratherthan helping them to understand the differences and intricacies of many models. Thus, welimit the numbers covered.

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  • Consider the following account of employee reactions to the introduction ofnew uniforms for cabin staff at Air Canada. It was part of a rebranding effort forthe airline that occurred within the backdrop of bankruptcy proceedings, layoffs,organizational restructuring, and significant compensation and benefit reductionsthat resulted from the renegotiation of existing collective agreements.

    Negative Union Reaction to Air Canadas New Uniforms

    New uniforms for Air Canadas flight attendants were introduced in the fal