Change Management Models

Introduction

Organizational development [OD] is one of the essential elements that firms’ management teams should consider in their strategic management processes. By investing in OD, organizations are able to deal with change emanating from the external and internal business environments. Currently, organizations are facing numerous challenges and opportunities, such as a high rate of employee turnover, economic changes, political changes, and technological changes, amongst others. Cummings and Worley (2009) are of the opinion that organizations’ management teams should ensure that they undertake effective change management.

There are various change management models that organizations can consider in the process of managing change. Some of these models include Lewin’s planned change model, the positive model, and the action research model. This paper entails a comparison of the three models and an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses associated with each model. Moreover, a personal opinion on the most effective change management models that managers should consider is outlined.

Comparison of Lewin’s planned change model, the positive model, and the action research model

The three change management models are similar in a number of ways. First, the models outline the various steps that managers should take into account in the process of implementing change (Cummings& Worley, 2009). The models are also similar with regard to the various actions that managers should take when implementing change. For example, the preliminary stages in all the three stages are concerned with ensuring that the problem that an organization is facing is effectively understood.

The three models also accentuate the importance of integrating behavioral science knowledge in managing change. Behavioral science knowledge is critical in determining the nature of the interpersonal relationship, and the social system should be developed in order for the change to be effectively integrated.

The models further emphasize the importance of integrating various stakeholders in the process of managing change. Some of these stakeholders include the employees and external consultants. The models assert that a high level of involvement is vital to increase the likelihood of the change process succeeding. For example, involving employees in the process is crucial in minimizing employee resistance (Cummings& Worley, 2009).

Despite the above similarities, the models are different in a number of ways. First, Lewin’s planned model differs from the positive model and action research models with regard to the degree of focus and the extent to which various stakeholders should be involved in the change management process. Lewin’s planned model emphasizes the minimal involvement of various stakeholders. On the other hand, the positive and action research models assert that involving other members is paramount in managing change. The positive model and the action research model consider integrating consultants and internal and external stakeholders as a key component in managing change.

According to Cummings and Worley (2009), ‘the action research model and the Lewin’s planned change models are more concerned with fixing problems facing an organization than with focusing on what an organization does well and leveraging on its strengths’ (p.29).

Strengths and weaknesses of Lewin’s planned change model, the positive model, and the action research model

The charts below illustrate a summary of strengths and weaknesses with regard to Lewin’s planned change model, the positive model and the action research model.

Action research model

Strengths Weaknesses
  • The model is problem-focused- This increases its effectiveness diagnosing the problem that an organization may be experiencing. As a result, managers gain insight on the most appropriate course of action to take (Cummings& Worley, 2009).
  • The model is not practical in resolving problems- This means that an organization can continue experiencing problems despite integrating the model hence minimizing the likelihood of its future success.
  • The action research model is participatory in nature. The model advocates for a high level of participants involvement. This increase the probability of the process succeeding for example by limiting resistance.
  • Action research is time consuming. As a result, it may be ineffective in resolving the problems that an organization may be experiencing.
  • The model is very educative- This is evidenced by the fact that it provides organizational managers with an opportunity to experience the problem that an organization is experiencing and hence formulating the best solution.

The Lewin’s planned change model

Strengths Weaknesses
  • The model appreciates the importance of communicating to various stakeholders prior to implementing the desired change. This is essential in eliminating resistance from the concerned stakeholders such as employees. Therefore, a high level of coordination in the change management process is attained.
  • Considering the numerous changes in the business environment, organizations are required to ensure that they continuously evaluate their internal and external environment in order to implement the necessary change. However, the Lewin’s planned model is criticized for being too mechanistic and simplistic.
  • The model is very effective in enhancing individuals’ growth. This is attained by providing employees with an opportunity to realize their capabilities and weaknesses.
  • The model is not effective in promoting transformational change. As a result, the model is only applicable to isolated change projects.
  • The model advocates for formulation and implementation of new procedures, policies, and methods to be used in managing change.
  • The model advocates for top-down approach in managing change. This limits its effective in that it ignores situations that may demand an organization to integrate the bottom-up approach.

The positive model

Strengths Weaknesses
  • The model enables organizations to focus on their core competences and capabilities. This gives organizations an opportunity to improve their strengths hence enhancing their future success and competitiveness.
  • The model is not problem-focused. This limits its effectiveness in enabling organizations to utilize some of their capabilities and core competences. Consequently, the model may not be effective in enabling organizations deal with the problems faced.
  • The model is very effective in nurturing positive organizational behavior. Therefore, the model contributes towards development of a strong organizational culture.
  • The model is based on the concept of ‘appreciative inquiry’ which suggests that an organization should focus on instilling positive orientation. Through this model, an organization can be able to nurture a high level of member involvement in the process of implementing change.

Opinion on the most effective model

Managing change is a complex process. This is evidenced by the fact that numerous change management efforts in organizations fail. One of the elements that have to be incorporated in the managing change is effective identification of the desired change. Additionally, all the stakeholders must be involved in the change management process. This is essential in ensuring that a high level of collaboration in implementing the change is attained.

In my opinion, organizational managers should integrate all the three models, that is, the Lewin’s planned change model, action research model and the positive model. By integrating these models, organization management teams will be able to identify the problems and opportunities that their firms may be facing. This forms the first step towards ensuring that the most effective solutions to deal with the problems being faced by organizations are implemented. Additionally, integrating the three models will aid in eliminating the limitations associated with each of the three models. As a result, a high level of success in implementing planned change is attained. This contributes towards attainment of the desired level of organizational development.

Conclusion

Organizational development is one of the most important elements that firms’ management teams should incorporate in their strategic management processes. This arises from the fact that it enhances firms’ competitiveness and hence their future success. One of the ways through which this is attained is through effective change management.

Various models have been developed to illustrate the various steps that organizations should take into account in the process of implementing change. The paper assesses three main models which include the Lewin’s planned change model, the positive model and the action research model. The similarities and differences associated with the three models are evaluated. The three models highlight the importance of integrating behavioral science knowledge in managing change.

However, the models differ from each other with regard to the degree of focus and extent to which other stakeholders should be involved in the change management process. When managing change it is important for organizational managers to consider integrating the three models.

Reference

Cummings, T. & Worley, C. (2009). Organizational development and change. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.