Change described change as a multi-level, cross-organizational process

Change is one essential and inescapable
component of life. Those who escape change cannot survive for long.
Organizations, typically have to accept and incorporate change in their day to
day routine in order to survive and prosper and stay ahead of competition.
Change may be individual, technological, structural or cultural. Accepting and
implementing change becomes difficult, as it involves moving from a familiar
and comfortable work setting, towards something which might be more
challenging. Implementation of change depends largely on people’s acceptance of
the changed working conditions.

Change management can be referred to as “the
adoption of an idea, procedure, process or behavior that is new to an
organization” (Pierce & Delbecq, 1977). Berger (1994) had defined change
management as “the continuous process of aligning an organization with its
marketplace and doing it more responsively and effectively than its
competitors” (p. 7). Lichtenstein (2000) stated that “organizational
change is a transformative change through a complex adaptive system model of
change, which comprises of three stages: increased organizing, tension and a
threshold and newly emerging configuration”. It is the movement of an
organization from the existing plateau towards a desired future state in order
to increase organizational efficiency and effectiveness (George & Jones,
2002; Cummings & Worley, 2005). Bumes (2000) described change as a
multi-level, cross-organizational process that unveils a disorganized and
incompetent trend over a period of time and comprises a series of interlocking
projects. He also identified organizational change management as a continuous
process consisting of experiment and adaptation, intended to match an
organization’s capabilities to the needs of a volatile environment. Struckman
and Yammarino (2003) considered change as a process or an action. They defined
organizational change as “a managed system, process or behavioral response
over time to a trigger event” (p. 10).

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Researchers have long been focused on
managing and implementing change within the organizations through factors such
as motivation, leadership and organizational culture, which are however
important and vital, but these cannot be the sole factors that help in
implementing change within organizations. The four factors that determine the
result of any transformational initiative are

The DURATION of time until the change program
is over, and if it is one comprising of a longer span of time, then the same
analyzed over frequent time intervals. Mostly change is resisted because it
might take a long period of time for its implementation and so it is felt that
change which requires a long period of time for its implementation has higher
chances of its failure, which is certainly not the case, as research suggests
that any transformational initiative which takes a longer time span for its
accomplishment, heightens up its chances of success, while the one with a
shorter time period might have increased chances of failure.

The second factor is the PERFORMANCE
INTEGRITY of the people responsible for the implementation of the change. This
depends on the skills and competencies of the task force, which has been
entrusted with the task of implementing the change and here it becomes
essential that specific tasks are given to people, keeping in mind their skills
and competencies.

The third factor is the COMMITMENT which is
displayed by the top management and those which are most affected by the
change. Employees resist change because it is a detachment from the usual
course of action, and if they are convinced that the change is for their best
interests, they might not be so resistant to accept change.

The fourth factor is the EFFORT which is
above the usual amount of efforts to be put to implement the change which must
be done by the top management and the employees affected by the change.

These four factors which can also be referred
to as the DICE (Duration, Integrity, Commitment and Effort) framework, provide
an indication of the success or failure of any change program, and the same can
be known by asking the executives to calculate the DICE scores.

Although, we have always been considering
resistance, as the enemy of change, and it has long been felt that resistance
is a hindrance to change and past researches also indicate the same, but
researchers have now found that managing resistance also helps in managing
change and that resistance, if managed and utilized properly, can help in
managing change.

Schein (1988) considers resistance to change
to be one of the most frequent occurring of organizational phenomena. A number
of authors have de?ned resistance. For instance, Ansoff (1988, p. 207) de?nes
resistance as a multifaceted phenomenon, which introduces unanticipated delays,
costs and instabilities into the process of strategic change, whereas Zaltman
and Duncan (1977, p. 63) de?ne resistance as “any conduct that serves to
maintain the status quo in the face of pressure, to alter the status quo”.
Thus, resistance, in an organizational setting, is an expression of reservation
which normally arises as a response to, or as a reaction to change (Block 1989,
p. 199). This is normally experienced by management as any employee actions
perceived as attempting to stop, delay, or alter change (Bemmels and Reshef,
1991, p. 231). Thus resistance is most commonly associated with negative
attitudesof employees or counter-productive behaviors.

Another way of predicting and anticipating
change is through change management models, which have been given by various


One of the earliest models of change was
developed by Kurt Lewin in as early as 1947. The model developed by him has 3
stages, namely; Unfreeze, Change and Refreeze. The unfreeze stage involves a
disturbance in the existing state of equilibrium, which may be by introducing a
new process, a new machine equipment or anything which causes a change in
present behaviors and attitudes, then with the help of this disturbance in the
present state, a refreezing takes place, which is nothing but, incorporating
these changes into the routine and then again establishing a new state of


Richard Beckhard (1969) developed a change
plan which incorporates the processes as below:

goals and defining the future organizational situations desired after the

current conditions in relation to the goals.

the transition state activities and commitments needed to meet the future

strategies for managing the transition or the change, based on the study of
aspects expected to influence the beginning of change.

This model takes into consideration a long
range approach, and is aimed at improving the performance and the competence of
the organization as a whole.


The continuous change process approach looks
at change from the perspective of the top management and indicates that change
is continuous. It incorporates Lewin’s concept into the implementation phase.
Management perceives that certain forces or trends call for change and the
issue is put to the organization’s usual problem-solving and decision-making
procedures. Top management states its goals in terms of what the organization
or certain processes or outputs will be like after change. Alternatives for
change are generated, evaluated and an acceptable alternative is chosen. Early
in the process, the organization might seek the assistance of a change agent- a

person who will be responsible for managing
the change and all the efforts. The change agent

might also help management recognize and
define the problem or the need for the change and may be involved in generating
and analyzing potential plans for action. Under the direction and management of
the change agent, the organization implements the change through Lewin’s
unfreeze, change and refreeze process. In the final stage, evaluation and control,
the change agent and top management assess the degree to which the change is
having the desired impact. The more closely the change agent is involved in the
process, the less distinct the steps become.

As the change agent becomes engrossed in
defining and solving the problem with the members of the organization, he or
she becomes a “helper” to the organization. Throughout the process,
the change agent brings new ideas and alternatives that help members address
the old problems in new and innovative ways.

Management of change is an essential
ingredient, if organizations wish to survive and prosper in the long run. As
much as this is the task of the top management and the managers, employees also
are bound to accept any kind of change.