Managing Organizational Change

Managing Organizational Change
Chapter 2
Images of Managing Change
Images of Organizations
• Affect our interpretations of what we think is
going on
• What we think needs to happen
• How we think things should happen
• aka “metaphors”, “frames”, or “perspectives”
• Mental models (Senge)
• Eg. Organizations as “machines” leads to
“breakdowns” – strive to use multiple
Images of Managing Change: Where
they Come From
• Images of Managing
– Management as control
• Planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating,
• Top-down, hierarchical view of managing
– Management as shaping
P. 24 – Table 2.1 –
Images of Managing Change
Images of Managing
Images of Change
Image of managing
Image of managing
Partially Intended
Image of managing
Image of managing
Image of managing
Image of managing
Management as Shaping
• More recent approach
• Associated with a perceptive style of
managing in which people are encouraged to
be involved in decisions and to help identify
how things can be done better
• Shaping employee behaviour in ways that
encourage them to take actions of most
benefit to the organization
P. 25 –
Corporate Capabilities
• “Corporate capabilities are embedded in the
fabric of the organization – in its practices,
processes, systems, structures, culture, values,
know-how and technologies.”
• “While personal capabilities leave the
organization when their owner does,
corporate capabilities tend to endure, despite
the comings and goings of individuals”
Images of Change Outcomes
• Intended Change Outcomes
– Intended change outcomes can be achieved
– Change is treated as the realization of prior intent
through the action of change managers
3 Strategies for Producing Intentional
Change (Chin & Benne, 1976)
• Empirical-Rational Strategies
– Assume people are rational and follow their own
– Effective change occurs when a change can be
demonstrated as desirable and aligned with the
interests of the group affected by the change
• Normative-Re-educative Strategies
– Assume that changes occur when people dispense
with their old, normative orientations and gain
commitment to new ones
3 Strategies for Producing Intentional
Change (Chin & Benne, 1976) -- continued
• Power-Coercive Strategies
– Rely upon achieving intentional change by those
with greater power gaining compliance in
behaviour from those with lesser power
– Can be through legitimate authority or more
coercive means
Partially Intended Change Outcomes
• In this image, some, but not all, change
intentions are achievable
• The link between what is intended and what is
the final outcome is not necessarily direct
(Mintzberg & Waters, 1985)
• This is due to the fact that both intended and
unintended consequences may emerge from
the actions of change managers
Unintended Change Outcomes
• There is less attention paid to this image within
the change literature although it is common in
the mainstream organizational theory literature
• A variety of forces that either lead to:
– Change outcomes that are not intended by managers,
– Inhibit the ability of managers to implement the
changes that they desire
– Forces may be internal or external to an organization
Six Images of Managing Change
Image 1: Change Manager as Director
Image 2: Change Manager as Navigator
Image 3: Change Manager as Caretaker
Image 4: Change Manager as Coach
Image 5: Change Manager as Interpreter
Image 6: Change Manager as Nurturer
Image 1: Change Manager as Director
• Based on an image of management as control
and of change outcomes as being achievable
• It is up to the change manager to direct the
organization in particular ways in order to
produce the required change
• Assumption – change is a strategic choice
• An optimistic view that intentional change can
be achieved– as long as the change manager
follows the correct steps that need to be taken
Image 2: Change Manager as Navigator
• Control is 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
• Outcomes are at least partially emergent/controllable
• The change unfolds differently over time and
according to the context in which the organization
finds itself
• Change managers are urged to incorporate bottomup involvement of staff in their approach
Image 3: Change Manager as Caretaker
• The ideal image of management is still one of
control, although the ability to exercise
control is severely constrained by a variety of
forces, both internally and externally driven,
that propel change relatively independent of a
manager’s intentions
• 3 organizational theories reinforce the
caretaker image of managers of change: lifecycle, population ecology, and institutional
Image 4: Change Manager as Coach
• The assumption is that change managers are able
to intentionally shape the organization’s
capabilities in particular ways
• The coach 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
• Traditional organizational development (OD)
theory reinforces the manager as coach image
Image 5: Change Manager as Interpreter
• The change manager creates meaning for other
organizational members, helping them to make sense
of various organizational events and actions
• Managers “need to be able to provide legitimate
arguments and reasons for why their actions fit
within the situation and should be viewed as
• Better change managers are those who are able to
dominate stories and understandings about the
meaning of a specific change (and don’t allow
speculation to take over)
Image 6: Change Manager as Nurturer
• Assumes that even small changes may have a
large impact on the organization and managers
are not able to control the outcome of these
• Managers enable positive self-organizing to occur
• Chaos theory supports this image – change is
non-linear, is fundamental rather than
incremental, and does not necessarily entail
Three Key Uses of the Six-Images
• Surfacing Our Assumptions about Change
• Assessing Dominant Images of Change
• Using Multiple Images and Perspectives of

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