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examining the case of Netflix and Blockbuster. You will examine the reasons why Netflix thrived, and blockbuster declined during a period of technological transition. It is crucial to utilize course material to show your understanding of the change processes needed for successful transitions.

Praise for the previous editions of Making Sense of Change Management

‘I commend it highly. It has a good coverage of relevant theoretical work while at
the same time giving plenty of practical examples. It is written in an accessible
style that engages the reader and it is full of useful ideas without being overly
prescriptive or formulaic.’
Philip Sadler, author of a number of acclaimed business titles and
former chief executive of Ashridge Business School

‘I really enjoyed this book. I like the straightforward approach, the inclusion of the
author’s opinion and the insight provided by the case studies. This book will be
very useful for those business managers in my organization who need to prepare
themselves for tackling major organizational change.’
Andy Houghton, Managing Director of YSC and former Head of
Organization Development, Retail Direct, Royal Bank of Scotland

‘There has long been a need for a readable, practical but theoretically under-pinned
book on Change which recognized a multiplicity of perspectives. By combining
the behavioural, humanistic, organizational and cognitive perspectives and by
helping the reader make sense of what each perspective brings to understanding
Change, this book should help students and practitioners. By linking in work on
personality tests such as MBTI™ the book breaks new ground from a practitioner
point of view not least because these tests are widely used in practice. I thoroughly
recommend it.’
Professor Colin Carnall, Chief Executive, Executive Education, Cass
Business School

‘If you’re interested in successfully managing and leading change, then read this
book! It not only covers change from both the individual and organizational
perspective, but also increases the number of options available to you.’
Judi Billing, former Director of IDeA Leadership Academy, Improvement
and Development Agency

‘Change is a huge thing wherever you work. The key is to make change happen,
and make it happen well – with everyone on side, and everyone happy. This book


provides an extremely stimulating and accessible guide to doing just that. There
are a few people at the Beeb who could do with this. I’ll definitely be placing copies
on a couple of desks at White City.’
Nicky Campbell, Presenter Radio Five Live and BBC1’s The Big

‘This book is a great resource for managers thrown into the midst of change, who
need to gain understanding of what happens when you try to make significant
changes in a business, and how best to manage people through it. The authors
have tackled a complex topic in a lively and engaging way, leading readers
through the maze of theory available and offering just the right amount of practical
Andy Newall, Group HR Director United Biscuits and former
Organizational Effectiveness Director, Allied Domecq plc

‘This impressive book on change is an essential read for any professional manager
who is serious about getting to grips with the important issues of making change
Dr Jeff Watkins, former MSc Course Director, Management Research
Centre, University of Bristol

‘This practical handbook, combining contemporary management theory with very
practical suggestions, is an indispensable tool for any manager involved in change
processes. And aren’t we all …’
Adriaan Vollebergh, Director, Tata Steel Europe

‘This is a book which lives up to its title. By combining a guide to the ideas of
key thinkers on change and useful tips for making change happen, it really does
provide a toolkit to help us to make sense of change. It is useful to see a focus on
the individual, team and organizational levels, and in particular, on the role of the
leader in the change process. It is written in a way that makes the book interesting
to read both at length as well as to dip into.’
Dr Richard McBain, Head of Postgraduate Post Experience Programmes,
Henley Business School








A complete guide to the models, tools

and techniques of organizational change

3rd edition

Esther Cameron and Mike Green



Publisher ’s note
Every possible effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate
at the time of going to press, and the publishers and authors cannot accept responsibility for any
errors or omissions, however caused. No responsibility for loss or damage occasioned to any person
acting, or refraining from action, as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by
the editor, the publisher or either of the authors.

First published in Great Britain and the United States in 2004 by Kogan Page Limited
Second edition 2009
Third edition 2012

Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as
permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, this publication may only be repro-
duced, stored or transmitted, in any form or by any means, with the prior permission in writing of
the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with the terms and licences
issued by the CLA. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside these terms should be sent to the
publishers at the undermentioned addresses:

120 Pentonville Road
London N1 9JN
United Kingdom

1518 Walnut Street, Suite 1100
Philadelphia PA 19102

4737/23 Ansari Road
New Delhi 110002

© Esther Cameron and Mike Green, 2004, 2009, 2012

The right of Esther Cameron and Mike Green to be identified as the authors of this work has been
asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

ISBN 978 0 7494 6435 6
E-ISBN 978 0 7494 6436 3

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Cameron, Esther.
Making sense of change management : a complete guide to the models, tools, and techniques of
organizational change / Esther Cameron, Mike Green. – 3rd ed.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-7494-6435-6 – ISBN 978-0-7494-6436-3 1. Organizational change–Management.
2. Teams in the workplace–Management. 3. Reengineering (Management)
4. Information technology–Management. I. Green, Mike, 1959- II. Title.
HD58.8.C317 2012

Typeset by Graphicraft Ltd, Hong Kong
Printed and bound in India by Replika Press Pvt Ltd



Acknowledgements xi

Introduction 1
Who this book is aimed at 2; The basic content of the book 3;
Why explore different approaches to change? 4; Overview of
structure 6; Message to readers 9


1 Individual change 14
Introduction 14; Learning and the process of change 16; The
behavioural approach to change 22; The cognitive approach
to change 28; The psychodynamic approach to change 36;
The humanistic psychology approach to change 45;
Personality and change 56; Managing change in self and
others 58; Summary and conclusions 66

Contents vii
Acknowledgements xi
The underpinning theory 11
Team change 69
Organizational change 107
Leading change 151
T H E I M P O R T A N C E O F S E L F – K N O W L E D G E A N D
The change agent 201
The applications 255
Restructuring 261
C H A N G E P E R S P E C T I V E :
Mergers and acquisitions 297
A P P L Y I N G T H E C H A N G E T H E O R Y :
Emerging inquiries 391
Complex change 393
Conclusion 455
References 457
Index 471


Contents ___________________________________________________________________


2 Team change 69
Introduction 69; What is a group and when is it a team? 70;
Why we need teams 72; The types of organizational
teams 73; How to improve team effectiveness 82; What team
change looks like 85; The leadership issues in team
change 91; How individuals affect team dynamics 95; How
well teams initiate and adapt to organizational change 101;
Summary and conclusions 105

3 Organizational change 107
How organizations really work 108; Models of and
approaches to organizational change 119; Summary
and conclusions 147

4 Leading change 151
Introduction 151; Visionary leadership 156; Roles that
leaders play 166; Leadership styles, qualities and skills 174;
Different leadership for different phases of change 184;
The importance of self-knowledge and inner resources 192;
Summary and conclusions 197

5 The change agent 201
Introduction 201; Models of change agency 202;
The consulting process 205; Change agent tools and
frameworks 215; Competencies of the change agent 226;
Deeper aspects of being a change agent 233; Summary and
conclusions 252


Strategic change process 256; Overview of structure 258

6 Restructuring 261
Reasons for restructuring 263; The restructuring process 264;
Restructuring from an individual change perspective: the
special case of redundancy 285; Enabling teams to address
organizational change 290; Conclusion 296

___________________________________________________________________ Contents


7 Mergers and acquisitions 297
The purpose of merger and acquisition activity 298; Lessons
from research into successful and unsuccessful mergers and
acquisitions 304; Applying the change theory: guidelines for
leaders 319; Summary 332

8 Cultural change 334
Guidelines for achieving successful cultural change 338;
Case study one: aligning the organization 341; Case study
two: rebranding the organization 348; Case study three:
creating an employer brand 356

9 IT-based process change 362
Strategy and IT 365; The role of IT management 369;
The need for IT change managers 373; Achieving process
change 378; Changing the information culture 385;
New rules for a new age 388; Summary and conclusions 389


10 Complex change 393
Introduction 393; When is change complex? 394;
Understanding how complexity science applies to
organizational change 395; Tools that support complex
change 405; The role of leaders in complex change 411;
Summary and conclusions 414

11 Leading change in uncertain times 416
Introduction 416; The impact of uncertainty on our working
lives 418; New organizational forms and ways of doing
business 424; New careers and the need for ‘managing
oneself’ 428; Decision making in an uncertain world 430;
Skills and tools to support leading change through
uncertainty 442; Summary and conclusions 452

Contents ___________________________________________________________________


Conclusion 455
How to get in touch with the authors of this book 456

References 457
Index 471


We want to start by acknowledging the many people in organizations
with whom we have worked over the years. You are all in here in some
shape or form! We have worked with many generous, courageous and
inspiring managers of change who we thank for the privilege of working
alongside them to make real change happen. Without these experiences
the book would be a dry catalogue of theory, devoid of life and character.

Then of course there are our colleagues who challenge and support us
every day as we reflect on our work and make decisions about what to do
next. Particular thanks go from Mike to Andy Holder, Mhairi Cameron,
Philip Darley and Tim Hockridge, who probably do not know how much
they are appreciated, and to Mike’s MBA and Executive Education Pro-
gramme Members at Henley Business School for a never-ending supply
of ideas and challenges. Esther wants to specially acknowledge Nick
Mayhew for his encouragement, wisdom and sensitive feedback, particu-
larly in relation to Chapter 11, Anne-Marie Saunders and Alex Clark for
their humour, friendship and generosity in sharing their expertise; so many
of their insights are embedded in this book. Also, thanks go to Esther’s
learning set who really boosted the leadership chapter in particular.



Acknowledgements __________________________________________________________

Thanks too to Bill Critchley for his ideas on linking metaphor and change,
which form the bedrock of the organizational change chapter.

Really special thanks go to Ailsa Cameron for her wonderful pictures,
which soften the pages so beautifully.

We also want to thank from the bottom of our hearts the hard-working
reviewers who squeezed the time out of their busy agendas to read
draft versions of these chapters. Special thanks go to Louise Overy,
Steve Summers, Duncan Cameron, Mervyn Smallwood, Peter Hyson,
Richard Lacey and Richard Smith for their timely and thoughtful
suggestions throughout the iterative process of writing the book.

Our families have helped too by being very patient and supportive. So
love and thanks from Mike to his children Lewin, Oliver and Brigit, who
make it all worthwhile. Love and thanks too from Esther to Duncan,
Ailsa, Ewan and Katka amongst many others who have walked dogs and
cleaned-up when I’ve had my head in my PC.

We also want to thank each other. We have learnt a lot from this rich
and sometimes rocky process of writing a book together. We do not
always see things the same way, and we do not work from an identical
set of assumptions about change, so the book is the culmination of much
healthy airing of views. Let’s hope we are still writing, talking and enjoy-
ing each other’s company many years from now.

Note: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™ and MBTI™ are registered trade-
marks of Consulting Psychologists Press. Anyone interested in knowing
more about Myers-Briggs should contact Consulting Psychologists Press
in the United States (800-624-1765) and OPP in the UK (08708 728 727).


I balance on a wishing well that all men call the world.
We are so small between the stars, so large against the sky,
and lost amongst the subway crowd I try and catch your eye.

L Cohen

This book is about making sense of
change management. The world we live
in continues to change at an intense
rate. Not a day goes by, it seems, with-
out another important discovery or
boundary-pushing invention in the
scientific fields. The economics of global-
ization seems to dominate much of our
political and corporate thinking, while
the shadow side of globalization – re-
fugees, exploitation, terrorism and the like
– develops at an equally alarming pace.


Making sense of change management ___________________________________________


The rate of change and discovery outpaces our individual ability to
keep up with it. The organizations we work in or rely on to meet our
needs and wants are also changing dramatically, in terms of their strate-
gies, their structures, their systems, their boundaries and of course their
expectations of their staff and their managers.


Making Sense of Change Management is aimed at anyone who wants to
begin to understand why change happens, how change happens and
what needs to be done to make change a more welcoming concept. In
particular we hope that leaders and managers in organizations might
appreciate a book that does not give them the one and only panacea, but
offers insights into different frameworks and ways of approaching
change at an individual, team and organizational level.

We are mindful of the tremendous pressures and priorities of prac-
tising managers – in both the private and the public sector – and Making
Sense of Change Management is our attempt at making their lives that little
bit easier. It is also our attempt at convincing them that addressing the
issues that cause change to be so poorly managed in organizations will
lead not only to more satisfying experiences for them, but to more fulfill-
ing lives for their staff.

Framework: an essential supporting structure;
Model: a simplified description of a system;
Tool: a thing used in an occupation or pursuit;
Technique: a means of achieving one’s purpose.

Concise Oxford Dictionary

Students of learning – be they MBA or MSc programme members, or
individuals who just want to do things better – will hopefully find some
models, tools and techniques that bridge the gap between the purely
academic and the more pragmatic aspects of management theory and

________________________________________________________________ Introduction


practice. The intention is to help them to make sense of the changes that
they will undergo, initiate and implement.


We focus our attention on individual, team and organizational change
with good reason. Many readers will be grappling with large-scale change
at some point, which might be departmental, divisional or whole organ-
izational change. Whatever the level or degree of organizational change,
the people on the receiving end are individual human beings. It is they
who will ultimately cause the change to be a success or a failure. Without
looking at the implications of change on individuals we can never really
hope to manage large-scale change effectively.

In addition, one of the themes of organizational life over recent years
has been the ascendancy of the team. Much of today’s work is organized
through teams and requires team collaboration and teamworking for it to
succeed. Very little has been written about the role of teams in organiza-
tional change, and we have attempted to offer some fresh ideas mixed
with some familiar ones.

A thread running through the book is the crucial role of leadership. If
management is all about delivering on current needs, then leadership is
all about inventing the future. There is a specific chapter on leadership,
but you will find the importance of effective leadership arising throughout.

In some respects the chapters on individual, team and organizational
change, together with the chapter on leadership of change, are freestand-
ing and self-contained. However, we have also included application
chapters where we have chosen a number of types of change, some of
which, no doubt, will be familiar to you. These chapters aim to provide
guidelines, case studies and learning points for those facing specific
organizational challenges. Here the individual, team and organizational
aspects of the changes are integrated into a coherent whole.

In addition to the application chapter on managing complex change
that we added for the second edition, we have added two new chapters
for the third edition – one on the role and nature of the change agent and
another on leading change in uncertain times.

Making sense of change management ___________________________________________



Managers in today’s organizations face some bewildering challenges.
Paul Evans (2000) says that 21st century leadership of change issues is not
simple; he sees modern leadership as a balancing act. He draws our atten-
tion to the need for leaders to accept the challenge of navigating between
opposites. Leaders have to balance a track record of success with the
ability to admit mistakes and meet failure well. They also have to balance
short-term and long-term goals, be both visionary and pragmatic, pay
attention to global and local issues and encourage individual account-
ability at the same time as enabling team work.

It is useful to note that while some pundits encourage leaders to lead
rather than manage, Paul Evans is emphasizing the need for leaders to
pay attention to both management and leadership. See the box for a list
of paradoxes that managers at Lego are asked to manage.


• To be able to build a close relationship with one’s staff, and to keep a
suitable distance.

• To be able to lead, and to hold oneself in the background.

• To trust one’s staff, and to keep an eye on what is happening.

• To be tolerant, and to know how you want things to function.

• To keep the goals of one’s department in mind, and at the same time
to be loyal to the whole firm.

• To do a good job of planning your own time, and to be flexible with your

• To freely express your view, and to be diplomatic.

• To be a visionary, and to keep one’s feet on the ground.

• To try to win consensus, and to be able to cut through.

• To be dynamic, and to be reflective.

• To be sure of yourself, and to be humble.
Source: Evans (2000)

________________________________________________________________ Introduction


We believe that anyone interested in the successful management of
change needs to develop the ability to handle such paradoxes. Throughout
this book we offer a range of ideas and views, some of which are contra-
dictory. We would urge you to try to create a space within yourself for
considering a variety of perspectives. Allow your own ideas and insights
to emerge, rather than looking for ideas that you agree with, and discard-
ing those you do not care for. It is highly probable that there is some merit
in everything you read in this book!

With so many choices and so many dynamic tensions in leadership,
how does a manager learn to navigate his or her way through the maze?
We have developed a straightforward model of leadership that acts as a
strong reminder to managers that they need to balance three key dimen-
sions; see Figure 0.1.

Figure 0.1 Three dimensions of leadership
Source: developed by Mike Green, Andy Holder and Mhairi Cameron

Making sense of change management ___________________________________________


Managers usually learn to focus on outcomes and tangible results very
early on in their careers. This book is a reminder that although outcomes
are extremely important, the leader must also pay attention to underlying
emotions, and to the world of power and influence, in order to sustain
change and achieve continued success in the long term. Leaders of
change need to balance their efforts across all three dimensions of an
organizational change:

• outcomes: developing and delivering clear outcomes;

• interests: mobilizing influence, authority and power;

• emotions: enabling people and culture to adapt.

Leaders are at the centre of all three. They shape, direct and juggle them.
One dimension may seem central at any time: for example, developing a
strategy. However, leadership is about ensuring that the other dimensions
are also kept in view. The three balls must always be juggled successfully.

In our experience, if you as leader or manager of change are unaware
of what is happening (or not happening) in each of the three dimensions,
you will have ‘taken your eye off the ball’. Your chances of progressing in
an effective way are diminished.

The early chapters of this book give the reader some underpinning
theory and examples to illustrate how people initiate change and react
to change at an individual level, when in teams, or when viewed as part
of a whole organization. This theory will help managers to understand
what is going on, how to deal with it and how to lead it with the help
of others. The later chapters take real change situations and give specific
tips and guidelines on how to tackle these successfully from a leadership
point of view.


We have structured the book principally in three parts.
Part One, ‘The underpinning theory’, comprises five chapters and aims

to set out a wide range of ideas and approaches to managing change.

________________________________________________________________ Introduction


Chapter 1 draws together the key theories of how individuals go through
change. Chapter 2 compares different types of team, and examines the
process of team development and also the way in which different types
of team contribute to the organizational change process. Chapter 3 looks
at a wide range of approaches to organizational change, using organiza-
tional metaphor to show how these are interconnected and related.
Chapter 4 examines leadership of change, the role of visionary leadership,
the roles that leaders play in the change process and the competencies
that a leader needs to become a successful leader of change. Chapter 5
looks at the critical role and nature of the agent of change, both from a
competency perspective and also from the use of the self as an instrument
for change.

Table 0.1 Where to read about individual, team,
organizational change and leading change





















































Type of change In






































Individual xxx x x xx x x x x

Team xxx x x xx x x x x

Organizational x x x xxx x x xx xx xx xx xx xx

Leading change x x x x xxx xx xx x x x xx

Making sense of change management ___________________________________________


These chapters enable the reader to develop a broader understanding
of the theoretical aspects of individual, team and organizational change,
and to learn more about a variety of perspectives on how best to be a
leader of change. This lays firm foundations for anyone wanting to learn
about new approaches to managing change with a view to becoming
more skilled in this area.

Part Two, ‘The applications’, focuses on specific change scenarios with
a view to giving guidelines, hints and tips to those involved in these
different types of change process. These chapters are illustrated with case
studies and make reference to the models and methods discussed in Part
One. Chapter 6 looks at organizational restructuring, why it goes wrong,
and how to get it right. Chapter 7 tackles mergers and acquisitions by
categorizing the different types of activity and examining the learning
points resulting from research into this area. Chapter 8 examines cultural
change by describing some diverse case studies and extracting the learn-
ing points, and Chapter 9 attempts to shed some light on IT-based process
change, why it so often goes awry and what organizations can do to
improve on this.

One of the clear things that has emerged for us in helping others lead
and manage change is the tension between overly planning and control-
ling change on the one hand, and the fact that change is often not simple
enough to plan or control on the other. In Part Three, Chapter 10 looks
at the whole area of complexity science and how it can inform your
approach when managing complex change. Chapter 11 looks at leading
change in times of uncertainty.

Please do not read this book from beginning to end in one sitting. It is
too much to take in. We recommend that if you prefer a purely pragmatic
approach you should start by reading Part Two. You will find concrete
examples and helpful guidelines. After that, you might like to go back
into the theory in Part One to understand the choices available to you as
a leader of change.

Likewise, if you are more interested in understanding the theoretical
underpinning of change, then read Part One first. You will find a range
of approaches together with their associated theories of change. After
that, you might like to read Part Two to find out how the theory can be
applied in real situations.

________________________________________________________________ Introduction



We wish you well in all your endeavours to initiate, adapt to and survive
change. We hope the book provides you with some useful ideas and
insights, and we look forward to hearing about your models, approaches
and experiences, and to your thoughts on the glaring gaps in this book.
We are sure we have left lots of important things out!

Do e-mail us with your comments and ideas, or visit us at:

E-mail: [email protected]

E-mail: [email protected]



Part One

The underpinning

All appears to change when we change.
Henri Amiel

Individual change is at the heart of everything that is achieved in organ-
izations. Once individuals have the motivation to do something different,
the whole world can begin to change. The conspiracy laws in the UK
recognize this capacity for big change to start small. In some legal cases,
the merest nod or a wink between two people seems to be considered
adequate evidence to indicate a conspiratorial act. In some respects this
type of law indicates the incredible power that individuals have within
them to challenge existing power strongholds and alter the way things
are done.

However, individuals are to some extent governed by the norms of the
groups they belong to, and groups are bound together in a whole system
of groups of people that interconnect in various habitual ways. So the


The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


story is not always that simple. Individuals, teams and organizations all
play a part in the process of change, and leaders have a particularly onerous
responsibility: that is, making all this happen.

We divided this book into three parts so that readers could have the
option either to start their journey through this book by first reading
about the theory of change, or to begin by reading about the practical
applications. We understand that people have different preferences.
However, we do think that a thorough grounding in the theory is useful
to help each person to untangle and articulate his or her own assump-
tions about how organizations work and how change occurs. Do you, for
instance, think that organizations can be changed by those in leadership
positions to reach a predetermined end state, or do you think that people
in organizations need to be collectively aware of the need for change
before they can begin to adapt? Assumptions can be dangerous things
when not explored, as they can restrict your thinking and narrow down
your options.

Part One comprises five chapters. These have been chosen to represent
five useful perspectives on change: individual change, team change,
organizational change, leading change and the role of the change agent.
Chapter 1 draws together the four key approaches to understanding indi-
vidual change. These are the behavioural, cognitive, psychodynamic and
humanistic psychology approaches. This chapter also looks at the connec-
tion between personality and change, and how to enable change in others
when you are acting in a managerial role.

Chapter 2 identifies the main elements of team and group theory that
we believe are useful to understand when managing change. This chap-
ter compares different types of team, looks at the area of team effective-
ness, and examines the process of team development. The composition of
the team and the effect this has on team performance are also examined,
as well as the way in which different types of team contribute to the
organizational change process.

Chapter 3 looks at a wide range of approaches to organizational
change, using organizational metaphor to show how these are intercon-
nected and related. Familiar and unfamiliar models of the change process
are described and categorized by metaphor to enable the underpinning


______________________________________________________ The underpinning theory

assumptions to be examined, and we give our views on how useful these
various models are to leaders of change.

Chapter 4 examines the leadership of change. We start by looking at the
variety of leadership roles that arise from using different assumptions
about how organizations work. The need for visionary leadership, the
characteristics of successful leaders and some thoughts on the need for a
different sort of leadership in the 21st century are all aired. The chapter
also examines how communities of leaders can work together to make
change happen, and what styles and skills are required of a leader,
including the need for emotional competencies. The phases of a change
process are looked at in order to illuminate the need for different leader-
ship actions and attention during the different phases of change, and the
importance of self-knowledge and self-awareness is highlighted.

Chapter 5 looks at the role of the change agent, highlighting areas
of competence needed and exploring the unique role that the agent of
change plays in the change process, particularly what is going on inside
for them; how they can use that to great effect; and how they might
need help in the change process itself.


Individual change


This chapter draws together the key theories of how individuals go
through change, using various models to explore this phenomenon. The
aims of this chapter are to give managers and others experiencing or
implementing change an understanding of the change process and how
it impacts individuals, and strategies to use when helping people through
change to ensure results are achieved.

This chapter covers the following topics, each of which takes a different
perspective on individual change:

• Learning and the process of change – in what ways can models of
learning help us understand individual change?

• The behavioural approach to change – how can we change people’s

• The cognitive approach to change – how change can be made attrac-
tive to people and how people can achieve the results that they want.


____________________________________________________________ Individual change


• The psychodynamic approach to change – what’s actually going on
for people.

• The humanistic psychology approach to change – how can people
maximize the benefits of change?

• Personality and change – how do we differ in our responses to

• Managing change in self and others – if we can understand people’s
internal experience and we know what changes need to happen,
what is the best way to effect change?

As the box points out, a key point for managers of change is to under-
stand the distinction between the changes being managed in the external
world and the concurrent psychological transitions that are experienced
internally by people (including managers themselves).


It was the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who maintained that
you never step into the same river twice. Of course most people interpret
that statement as indicating that the river – that is, the external world –
never stays the same, is always changing: constant flux, in Heraclitus’s
words again. However, there is another way of interpreting what he said.
Perhaps the ‘you’ who steps into the river today is not the same ‘you’ who
will step into the river tomorrow. This interpretation – which might open
up a whole can of existential and philosophical worms – is much more to
do with the inner world of experience than with the external world of facts
and figures.

Immediately, therefore, we have two ways of looking at and responding
to change: the changes that happen in the outside world and those
changes that take place in the internal world. Often though, it is the
internal reaction to external change that proves the most fruitful area of
discovery, and it is often in this area that we find the reasons external
changes succeed or fail.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


To demonstrate this we will draw on four approaches to change. These are
the behavioural, the cognitive, the psychodynamic and the humanistic
psychological approaches, as shown in Figure 1.1.

Figure 1.1 Four approaches to individual change

We will also look at Edgar Schein’s analysis of the need to reduce anxiety
about the change by creating psychological safety. This is further illumin-
ated by discussion of the various psychodynamics that come into play
when individuals are faced with change, loss and renewal.

Finally, we will explore tools and techniques that can be used to make
the transition somewhat smoother and somewhat quicker. This will
include a summary of how the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™, which is
used to develop personal and interpersonal awareness, can illuminate the
managerial challenges at each stage of the individual change process. But
first we will begin our exploration by looking at how individuals learn.


Buchanan and Huczynski (1985) define learning as ‘the process of acquiring
knowledge through experience which leads to a change in behaviour’.
Learning is not just an acquisition of knowledge, but the application of it
through doing something different in the world.

Many of the change scenarios that you find yourself in require you
to learn something new, or to adjust to a new way of operating, or to

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


unlearn something. Obviously this is not always the case – a company
takes over your company but retains the brand name, the management
team and it is ‘business as usual’ – but often in the smallest of changes
you need to learn something new: your new boss’s likes and dislikes,
for example.

A useful way of beginning to understand what happens when we go
through change is to take a look at what happens when we first start to
learn something new. Let us take an example of driving your new car for
the first time. For many people the joy of a new car is tempered by the
nervousness of driving it for the first time. Getting into the driving seat
of your old car is an automatic response, as is doing the normal checks,
turning the key and driving off. However, with a new car all the buttons
and control panels might be in different positions. One can go through
the process of locating them either through trial and error, or perhaps
religiously reading through the driver’s manual first. But that is only the
beginning, because you know that when you are actually driving any
manner of things might occur that will require an instantaneous response:
sounding the horn, flashing your lights, putting the hazard lights on or
activating the windscreen wipers.

All these things you would have done automatically but now you need
to think about them. Thinking not only requires time, it also requires a
‘psychological space’ which it is not easy to create when driving along at





Figure 1.2 The learning dip

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


your normal speed. Added to this is the nervousness you may have about
it being a brand new car and therefore needing that little bit more atten-
tion so as to avoid any scrapes to the bodywork.

As you go through this process, an external assessment of your per-
formance would no doubt confirm a reduction in your efficiency and
effectiveness for a period of time. And if one were to map your internal
state your confidence levels would most likely dip as well. Obviously this
anxiety falls off over time. This is based on your capacity to assimilate new
information, the frequency and regularity with which you have changed
cars, and how often you drive.

Conscious and unconscious competence and incompetence

Another way of looking at what happens when you learn something new
is to view it from a Gestalt perspective. The Gestalt psychologists sug-
gested that people have a worldview that entails some things being in the
foreground and others being in the background of their consciousness.

To illustrate this, the room where I am writing this looks out on to a
gravel path which leads into a cottage garden sparkling with the sun
shining on the frost-covered shrubs. Before I chose to look up, the garden
was tucked back into the recesses of my consciousness. (I doubt whether
it was even in yours.) By focusing attention on it I brought it into the
foreground of my consciousness. Likewise all the colours in the garden
are of equal note, until someone mentions white and I immediately start
to notice the snowdrops, the white narcissi and the white pansies. They
have come into my foreground.

Now in those examples it does not really matter what is fully conscious
or not. However, in the example of driving a new car for the first time,
something else is happening. Assuming that I am an experienced driver,
many of the aspects of driving, for me, are unconscious. All of these
aspects I hopefully carry out competently. So perhaps I can drive for
many miles on a motorway, safe in the knowledge that a lot of the activ-
ities I am performing I am actually doing unconsciously. We might say
I am unconsciously competent. However, as soon as I am in the new situ-
ation of an unfamiliar car I realize that many of the things I took for
granted I cannot now do as well as before. I have become conscious of

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


my incompetence. Through some trial and error and some practice and
some experience I manage – quite consciously – to become competent
again. But it has required focus and attention. All these tasks have been in
the forefront of my world and my consciousness. It will only be after a
further period of time that they recede to the background and I become
unconsciously competent again (Figure 1.3).






Figure 1.3 Unconscious competence

Of course there is another cycle: not the one of starting at unconscious
competence, but one of starting at unconscious incompetence! This is
where you do not know what you do not know, and the only way of real-
izing is by making a mistake (and reflecting upon it), or when someone
kind enough and brave enough tells you. From self-reflection or from
others’ feedback your unconscious incompetence becomes conscious, and
you are able to begin the cycle of learning.

Kolb’s learning cycle

David Kolb (1984) developed a model of experiential learning, which
unpacked how learning occurs, and what stages a typical individual goes

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


through in order to learn. It shows that we learn through a process of
doing and thinking (see Figure 1.4). The labels of activist, reflector, theor-
ist and pragmatist are drawn from the work of Honey and Mumford

Figure 1.4 Kolb’s learning cycle

Following on from the earlier definition of learning as ‘the process of
acquiring knowledge through experience which leads to a change in
behaviour’, Kolb saw this as a cycle through which the individual has a
concrete experience. The individual does something, reflects upon his or
her specific experience, makes some sense of the experience by drawing
some general conclusions, and plans to do things differently in the future.
Kolb would argue that true learning could not take place without some-
one going through all stages of the cycle.

In addition, research by Kolb suggested that dif-
ferent individuals have different sets of preferences
or styles in the way they learn. Some of us are quite
activist in our approach to learning. We want to
experience what it is that we need to learn. We
want to dive into the swimming pool and see what
happens (immerse ourselves in the task). Some of
us would like to think about it first! We like to

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


reflect, perhaps on others’ experience before we take action. The theorists
might like to see how the act of swimming relates to other forms of sport-
ing activity, or investigate how other mammals take the plunge. The
pragmatists amongst us have a desire to relate what is happening to their
own circumstances. They are interested in how the act of swimming will
help them to achieve their goals.

Not only do we all have a learning preference but also the theory sug-
gests that we can get stuck within our preference.


If you were writing a book on change and wanted to maximize the
learning for all of your readers perhaps you would need to:

• encourage experimentation (activist);

• ensure there were ample ways of engendering reflection through
questioning (reflector);

• ensure the various models were well researched (theorist);

• illustrate your ideas with case studies and show the relevance of what
you are saying by giving useful tools, techniques and applications

So activists may go from one experience to the next, not thinking to
review how the last one went or planning what they would do differ-
ently. The reflector may spend inordinate amounts of time conducting
project and performance reviews, but not necessarily embedding any
learning into the next project. Theorists can spend a lot of time making
connections and seeing the bigger picture by putting the current situation
into a wider context, but they may not actually get around to doing any-
thing. Pragmatists may be so intent on ensuring that it is relevant to their
job that they can easily dismiss something that does not at first appear
that useful.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Q 1.1 A new piece of software arrives in the office or in your home. How

do you go about learning about it?

• Do you install it and start trying it out? (Activist)

• Do you watch as others show you how to use it? (Reflector)

• Do you learn about the background to it and the similarities
with other programmes? (Theorist)

• Do you not bother experimenting until you find a clear purpose
for it? (Pragmatist)


The behavioural approach to change, as the name implies, very much
focuses on how one individual can change another individual’s behav-
iour using reward and punishment, to achieve intended results. If the
intended results are not being achieved, an analysis of the individual’s
behaviour will lead to an understanding of what is contributing to success
and what is contributing to non-achievement. To elicit the preferred
behaviour the individual must be encouraged to behave that way, and
discouraged from behaving any other way. This approach has its advan-
tages and disadvantages.

For example, an organization is under-
going a planned programme of culture change,
moving from being an inwardly-focused
bureaucratic organization to a flatter and
more responsive customer-oriented organ-
ization. Customer-facing and back office staff
will all need to change the way they behave
towards customers and towards each other
to achieve this change. A behavioural
approach to change will focus on changing
the behaviour of staff and managers. The
objective will be behaviour change, and there

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


will not necessarily be any attention given to improving processes,
improving relationships or increasing involvement in goal setting. There
will be no interest taken in how individuals specifically experience that

This whole field is underpinned by the work of a number of practi-
tioners. The names of Pavlov and Skinner are perhaps the most famous.
Ivan Pavlov noticed while researching the digestive system of dogs that
when his dogs were connected to his experimental apparatus and offered
food they began to salivate. He also observed that, over time, the dogs
started to salivate when the researcher opened the door to bring in the
food. The dogs had learnt that there was a link between the door opening
and being fed. This is now referred to as classical conditioning.


Unconditioned stimulus (food) leads to an unconditioned response

If neutral stimulus (door opening) and unconditioned stimulus (food) are
associated, neutral stimulus (now a conditioned stimulus) leads to uncon-
ditioned response (now a conditioned response).

Pavlov (1928)

Further experimental research led others to realize that cats could learn
how to escape from a box through positive effects (rewards) and negative
effects (punishments). Skinner (1953) extended this research into operant
conditioning, looking at the effects of behaviours, not just at the behav-
iours themselves. His experiments with rats led him to observe that they
soon learnt that an accidental operation of a lever led to there being
food provided. The reward of the food then led to the rats repeating the

Using the notion of rewards and punishments, additions and sub-
tractions of positive and negative stimuli, four possible situations arise
when you want to encourage a specific behaviour, as demonstrated in
Table 1.1.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Table 1.1 Rewards and punishments

Actions Positive Negative

Addition Positive reinforcement
Desired behaviour is
deliberately associated with
a reward, so that the behaviour
is displayed more frequently.

Negative addition
A punishment is
deliberately associated
with undesired behaviour,
reducing the frequency
with which the behaviour
is displayed.

Subtraction Positive subtraction
An unpleasant stimulus
previously associated with the
desired behaviour is removed,
increasing the frequency with
which that desired behaviour
is displayed.

Negative subtraction
A pleasant stimulus
previously associated with
undesired behaviour is
removed, which decreases
the frequency of such

Q 1.2 What rewards and what punishments operate in your organization?

How effective are they in bringing about change?

So in what ways may behaviourism help us with individuals going
through change? In any project of planned behaviour change a number
of steps will be required:

• Step 1: The identification of the behaviours that impact performance.

• Step 2: The measurement of those behaviours. How much are these
behaviours currently in use?

• Step 3: A functional analysis of the behaviours – that is, the identifica-
tion of the component parts that make up each behaviour.

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


• Step 4: The generation of a strategy of intervention – what rewards
and punishments should be linked to the behaviours that impact

• Step 5: An evaluation of the effectiveness of the intervention strategy.

Reinforcement strategies

When generating reward strategies at Step 4 above, the following possi-
bilities should be borne in mind.

Financial reinforcement

Traditionally financial reinforcement is the most explicit of the rein-
forcement mechanisms used in organizations today, particularly in sales-
oriented cultures. The use of bonus payments, prizes and other tangible
rewards is common. To be effective the financial reinforcement needs to
be clearly, closely and visibly linked to the behaviours and performance
that the organization requires.

A reward to an outbound call centre employee for a specific number of
appointments made on behalf of the sales force would be an example of a
reinforcement closely linked to a specified behaviour. A more sophisticated
system might link the reward to not only the number of appointments
but also the quality of the subsequent meeting and also the quality of the
customer interaction.

An organization-wide performance bonus unrelated to an individual’s
contribution to that performance would be an example of a poorly linked

Non-financial reinforcement

Non-financial reinforcement tends to take the form of feedback given to
an individual about performance on specific tasks. The more specific the
feedback is, the more impactful the reinforcement can be. This feedback
can take both positive and negative forms. This might well depend on the

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


organizational culture and the managerial style of the boss. This feedback
perhaps could take the form of a coaching conversation, where specific
effective behaviours are encouraged, and specific ineffective behaviours
are discouraged and alternatives generated.

Social reinforcement
Social reinforcement takes the form of interpersonal actions: that is, com-
munications of either a positive or negative nature. Praise, compliments,
general recognition, perhaps greater (or lesser) attention can all act as a
positive reinforcement for particular behaviours and outcomes. Similarly
social reinforcement could also take the form of ‘naming and shaming’ for
ineffective performance.

Social reinforcement is not only useful for performance issues, but
can be extremely useful when an organizational culture change is under
way. Group approval or disapproval can be a determining factor in defin-
ing what behaviours are acceptable or unacceptable within the culture.
New starters in an organization often spend quite some time working out
which behaviours attract which reactions from bosses and colleagues.

Motivation and behaviour

The pure behaviourist view of the world, prevalent in industry up to the
1960s, led to difficulties with motivating people to exhibit the ‘right’
behaviours. This in turn led researchers to investigate what management
styles worked and did not work.

In 1960 Douglas McGregor published his book The Human Side of
Enterprise. In it he described his Theory X and Theory Y, which looked at
underlying management assumptions about an organization’s workforce,
as demonstrated in Table 1.2.

Theory X was built on the assumption that workers are not inherently
motivated to work, seeing it as a necessary evil and therefore needing
close supervision. Theory Y stated that human beings generally have a
need and a desire to work and, given the right environment, are more than
willing to contribute to the organization’s success. McGregor’s research
appeared to show that those managers who exhibited Theory Y beliefs
were more successful in eliciting good performance from their people.

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


Frederick Herzberg also investigated what motivated workers to give
their best performance. He was an American clinical psychologist who
suggested that workers have two sets of drives or motivators: a desire to
avoid pain or deprivation (hygiene factors) and a desire to learn and
develop (motivators) (see Table 1.3). His work throughout the 1950s and 1960s
suggested that many organizations provided the former but not the latter.

An important insight of his was that the hygiene factors did not motiv-
ate workers, but that their withdrawal would demotivate the workforce.
Although later research has not fully replicated his findings, Herzberg’s
seminal, ‘One more time: How do you motivate employees?’ (1968) has
generated more reprints than any other Harvard Business Review article.

Q 1.3 What are the underlying assumptions built into the behaviourist

philosophy, and how do they compare to McGregor’s theories?

Q 1.4 In a change programme based on the behaviourist approach,
what added insights would Herzberg’s ideas bring?

Q 1.5 If one of your team members is not good at giving presentations,
how would you address this using behaviourist ideas?

Table 1.2 Theory X and Theory Y

Theory X assumptions Theory Y assumptions

People dislike work
They need controlling and

They require security
They are motivated by threats

of punishment
They avoid taking responsibility
They lack ambition
They do not use their imagination
People can be creative and


People regard work as natural and normal
They respond to more than just control or

coercion, for example recognition and

They commit to the organization’s
objectives in line with the rewards

They seek some inner fulfilment from

Given the right environment people
willingly accept responsibility and

Source: McGregor (1960)

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Summary of the behavioural approach

If you were to approach change from a behavioural perspective you are
more likely to be acting on the assumption of McGregor’s Theory X: the
only way to motivate and align workers to the change effort is through a
combination of rewards and punishments. You would spend time and
effort ensuring that the right reward strategy and performance manage-
ment system was in place and was clearly linked to an individual’s behav-
iours. Herzberg’s ideas suggest that there is something more at play than
reward and punishment when it comes to motivating people. That is not
to say that the provision of Herzberg’s motivators cannot be used as some
sort of reward for correct behaviour.


Cognitive psychology developed out of a frustration
with the behaviourist approach. The behaviourists
focused solely on observable behaviour. Cognitive
psychologists were much more interested in learn-
ing about developing the capacity for language and
a person’s capacity for problem solving. They were
interested in things that happen within a person’s

Table 1.3 Herzberg’s motivating factors

Hygiene factors Motivators

Company policy
Quality of supervision/management
Working relations
Working conditions

The type and nature of the work

Source: adapted from Herzberg (1968)

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


brain. These are the internal processes which behavioural psychology did
not focus on.

Cognitive theory is founded on the premise that our emotions and our
problems are a result of the way we think. Individuals react in the way
that they do because of the way they appraise the situation they are in.
By changing their thought processes, individuals can change the way
they respond to situations.

People control their own destinies by believing in and acting on the values
and beliefs that they hold.

R Quackenbush, Central Michigan University

Much groundbreaking work has been done by Albert Ellis on rational-
emotive therapy (Ellis and Grieger, 1977) and Aaron Beck on cognitive
therapy (1970). Ellis emphasized:

[T]he importance of 1) people’s conditioning themselves to feel disturbed
(rather than being conditioned by parental and other external sources);
2) their biological as well as cultural tendencies to think ‘crookedly’ and to
needlessly upset themselves; 3) their uniquely human tendencies to invent
and create disturbing beliefs, as well as their tendencies to upset themselves
about their disturbances; 4) their unusual capacity to change their cognitive,
emotive and behavioural processes so that they can: a) choose to react
differently from the way they usually do; b) refuse to upset themselves about
almost anything that may occur, and c) train themselves so that they can
semi-automatically remain minimally disturbed for the rest of their lives.
(Ellis, in Henrik, 1980)

If you keep doing what you’re doing you’ll keep getting what you get.


The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Beck developed cognitive therapy based on ‘the underlying theoretical
rationale that an individual’s affect (moods, emotions) and behaviour are
largely determined by the way in which he construes the world; that is,
how a person thinks determines how he feels and reacts’ (A John Rush,
in Henrik, 1980).

Belief system theory emerged principally from the work of Rokeach
through the 1960s and 1970s. He suggested that an individual’s self
concept and set of deeply held values were both central to that person’s
beliefs and were his or her primary determinant. Thus individuals’ values
influence their beliefs, which in turn influence their attitudes. Individuals’
attitudes influence their feelings and their behaviour – ‘an enduring belief
that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or
socially preferable to alternative modes of conduct or end-states of exist-
ence’ (Rokeach, 1973: 5).

Out of these approaches has grown a way of looking at change within
individuals in a very purposeful way. Essentially individuals need to
look at the way they limit themselves through adhering to old ways of
thinking, and replace that with new ways of being.

This approach is focused on the results that you want to achieve,
although crucial to their achievement is ensuring that there is alignment
throughout the cause and effect chain. The cognitive approach does not
refer to the external stimuli and the responses to the stimuli. It is more con-
cerned with what individuals plan to achieve and how they go about this.

Achieving results

Key questions in achieving results in an organizational context, as shown
in Figure 1.5, are:

• Self concept and values: what are my core values and how do they
dovetail with those of my organization?

• Beliefs and attitudes: what are my limiting beliefs and attitudes and
with what do I replace them?

• Feelings: what is my most effective state of being to accomplish my
goals and how do I access it?

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


• Behaviour: what specifically do I need to be doing to achieve my goals
and what is my first step?

• Results: what specific outcomes do I want and what might get in the

Figure 1.5 Achieving results

Setting goals

The cognitive approach advocates the use of goals. The assumption is that
the clearer the goal, the greater the likelihood of achievement. Consider
the following case study. Graduates at Yale University in the United States
were surveyed over a period of 20 years. Of those surveyed, 3 per cent
were worth more than the other 97 per cent put together. There were no
correlations with parental wealth, gender or ethnicity. The only difference
between the 3 per cent and the 97 per cent was that the former had clearly
articulated and written goals, and the latter grouping did not. (This is
perhaps just an apocryphal story, as the details of this case study are much
quoted on many ‘positive thinking’ websites but we have been unable to
trace the research back to where it should have originated at Yale.)

However, research undertaken by one of the authors (Green, 2001) into
what makes for an outstanding sales person suggests that in the two
key areas of business focus and personal motivation, goals setting looms
large. The outstanding sales people had clearer and more challenging
business targets that they set themselves. These were coupled with very
clear personal goals as to what the sales person wanted to achieve per-
sonally with the rewards achieved by business success.

This is further backed up by research conducted by Richard Bandler
and John Grinder (1979), creators of neuro-linguistic programming,
who found that the more successful psychotherapists were those who
were able to get their clients to define exactly what wellness looked
like. This in turn led to the idea of a ‘well-formed outcome’ that enabled

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


significantly better results to be achieved by those who set clear goals
as opposed to those with vague goals. The goals themselves were also
more ambitious.

Making sense of our results

The cognitive approach suggests we pay attention to the way in which
we talk to ourselves about results. For example, after a particularly good
performance one person might say things such as, ‘I knew I could do it,
I’ll be able to do that again.’ Another person might say something like,
‘That was lucky, I doubt whether I’ll be able to repeat that.’ Likewise, after
a poor or ineffective performance our first person might say something
like, ‘I could do that a lot better next time’, while the second person might
say, ‘I thought as much, I knew that it would turn out like this.’

Once we have identified our usual way of talking to ourselves we can
look at how these internal conversations with ourselves limit us, then
consider changing the script.


Reflect upon a time when you did not achieve one of your results:

• What did you say to yourself?

• What was your limiting belief?

• What is the opposite belief?

• What would it be like to hold the new belief?

• How might your behaviour change as a result?

• What results would you achieve as a consequence?

Techniques for change

The cognitive approach has generated numerous techniques for chang-
ing the beliefs of people and thereby improving their performance. These
include the following.

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


Positive listings

Simply list all the positive qualities you have, such as good feelings, good
experiences, good results, areas of skills, knowledge and expertise. By
accepting that these are all part of you, the individual, you can reinforce
all these positive thoughts, feelings and perceptions, which then lead to
enhanced beliefs.


An affirmation is a positive statement describing the way that you want
to be. It is important that the statement is:

• Personal: ‘I am always enthusiastic when it comes to work!’ It is you
who this is about, and it is as specific as you can make it.

• Present tense: ‘I am always enthusiastic when it comes to work!’ It is
not in the future, it is right now.

• Positive: ‘I am always enthusiastic when it comes to work!’ It describes
a positive attribute, not the absence of a negative attribute.

• Potent: ‘I am always enthusiastic when it comes to work!’ Use words
that mean something to you.

Try writing your own affirmation. Put it on a card and read it out 10 times
a day. As you do so, remember to imagine what you would feel, what you
would see, what you would hear if it were true.


Visualizations are very similar to affirmations but focus on a positive,
present mental image. Effective visualizations require you to enter a
relaxed state where you imagine a specific example of the way you
want to be. You imagine what you and others would see, what would
be heard and what would be felt. Using all your senses you imagine
yourself achieving the specific goal. You need to practise this on a
regular basis.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________



Reframing is a technique for reducing feelings and thoughts that impact
negatively on performance. You get daunted when going in to see the
senior management team? Currently you see them looming large, full of
colour, vitality and menacing presence? Imagine them in the boardroom,
but this time see them all in grey. Maybe shrink them in size, as you
would a piece of clip art in a document that you are word-processing.
Turn down their volume so they sound quite quiet. Run through this
several times and see what effect it has on your anxiety.

Pattern breaking

Pattern breaking is a technique of physically or symbolically taking atten-
tion away from a negative state and focusing it on a positive. Take the
previous example of going into the boardroom to meet the senior man-
agement team (or it could be you as the senior manager going out to meet
the staff and feeling a little awkward). You find you have slipped into
being a bit nervous, and catch yourself. Put your hand in the shape of a
fist to your mouth and give a deep cough, or at an appropriate moment
clap your hands firmly together and say, ‘Right, what I was thinking
was ….’ Once you’ve done the distraction, you can say to yourself, ‘That
wasn’t me. This is me right now.’


This is a similar technique with the same aim. Imagine a time when you
did not like who you were. Perhaps you were in the grip of a strong
negative emotion. See yourself in that state, then imagine yourself step-
ping outside or away from your body, leaving all that negativity behind
and becoming quite calm and detached and more rational. When you
next catch yourself being in one of those moods, try stepping outside
of yourself.

Anchoring and resource states

These are two techniques where you use a remembered positive experi-
ence from the past which has all the components of success. For example,

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


remember a time in the past where you gave an excellent presentation.
What did you see? What did you hear? What did you feel? Really enter
into that experience, then pinch yourself and repeat a word that comes
to mind. Rerun the experience and pinch yourself and say the word. Now
try it the other way, pinch yourself and say the word – and the experience
should return. Before your next presentation, as you go into the room
reconnect to the positive experience by pinching yourself and saying the
word. Does it work? If it does not, simply try something else.

Rational analysis

Rational analysis is a cognitive technique par excellence. It is based on the
notion that our beliefs are not necessarily rational: ‘I could never do that’
or, ‘I’m always going to be like that’. Rational analysis suggests you write
down all the reasons that are incorrect. You need to be specific and not
generalize (for example, ‘I’m always doing that’ – always?). You need
to set measurable criteria, objectively based, and you need to use your
powers of logic. By continuously proving that this is an irrational belief
you will eventually come to disbelieve it.

Q 1.6 What might the main benefits be of a cognitive approach?

Q 1.7 What do you see as some of the limitations of this approach?

Summary of the cognitive approach

The cognitive approach builds on the behaviourist approach by putting
behaviour into the context of beliefs, and focusing more firmly on out-
comes. Many cognitive techniques are used in the field of management
today, particularly in the coaching arena. This approach involves focus-
ing on building a positive mental attitude and some stretching goals,
backed up by a detailed look at what limiting beliefs produce behaviour
that becomes self-defeating.

A drawback of the cognitive approach is the lack of recognition of the
inner emotional world of the individual, and the positive and negative

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


impact that this can have when attempting to manage change. Some
obstacles to change need to be worked through, and cannot be made ‘ok’
by reframing or positive talk.


The idea that humans go through a
psychological process during change
became evident due to research pub-
lished by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (1969).
The word ‘psychodynamic’ is based
on the idea that when facing change
in the external world, an individual
can experience a variety of internal
psychological states. As with the

behavioural and cognitive approaches to change, research into the
psychodynamic approach began not in the arena of organizations, but
for Kubler-Ross in the area of terminally ill patients. Later research
showed that individuals going through changes within organizations can
have very similar experiences, though perhaps less dramatic and less

The Kubler-Ross model

Kubler-Ross published her seminal work, On Death and Dying in 1969.
This described her work with terminally ill patients and the different
psychological stages that they went through in coming to terms with their
condition. Clearly this research was considered to have major implica-
tions for people experiencing other types of profound change.

Kubler-Ross realized that patients – given the necessary conditions –
would typically go through five stages as they came to terms with their
prognosis. The stages were denial, anger, bargaining, depression and
finally acceptance.

____________________________________________________________ Individual change











Figure 1.6 The process of change and adjustment
Source: based on Kubler-Ross (1969)


People faced with such potentially catastrophic change would often not
be able to accept the information. They would deny it to themselves.
That is, they would not actually take it in, but would become emotionally
numb and have a sense of disbelief. Some would argue that this is the
body’s way of allowing people to prepare themselves for what is to
follow. On a more trivial scale, some of us have experienced the numb-
ness and disbelief when our favourite sports team is defeated. There is
little that we can do but in a sense ‘shut down’. We do not want to accept
the news and expose ourselves to the heartache that that would bring.


When people allow themselves to acknowledge what is happening they
enter the second stage, typically that of anger. They begin to ask them-
selves questions like, ‘Why me?’, ‘How could such a thing happen to
someone like me? If only it had been someone else’, ‘Surely it’s the doctors
who are to blame – perhaps they’ve misdiagnosed’ (back into denial).
‘Why didn’t they catch it in time?’

Anger and frustration can be focused externally, but for some of us
it is ourselves we blame. Why did we not see it coming, give up smoking?
‘It’s always me who gets into trouble.’

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


In some ways we can see this process as a continuation of our not
wanting to accept the change and of wanting to do something, anything,
other than fully believe it. Anger is yet another way of displacing our
real feelings about the situation.


When they have exhausted themselves by attacking others (or them-
selves) people may still want to wrest back some control of the situation
or of their fate. Kubler-Ross saw bargaining as a stage that people would
enter now.

For those who themselves are dying, and also for those facing the
death of a loved one, this stage can be typified by a conversation with
themselves. Or if they are religious, this may be a conversation with God,
which asks for an extension of time. ‘If I promise to be good from now on,
if I accept some remorse for any ills I have committed, if I could just
be allowed to live to see my daughter’s wedding, I’ll take back all the
nasty things I said about that person if you’ll only let them live.’

Once again we can see this stage as a deflection of the true gravity of
the situation. This is bargaining, perhaps verging on panic. The person is
desperately looking around for something, anything, to remedy the situ-
ation. ‘If only I could get it fixed or sorted everything would be all right.’


When it becomes clear that no amount of bargaining is going to provide
an escape from the situation, perhaps the true momentousness of it kicks
in. How might we react? Kubler-Ross saw her patients enter a depression
at this stage. By depression we mean mourning or grieving for loss,
because in this situation we will be losing all that we have ever had and
all those we have ever known. We shall be losing our future, we shall be
losing our very selves. We are at a stage where we are ready to give up on
everything. We are grieving for the loss that we are about to endure.

For some, this depression can take the form of apathy or a sense of
pointlessness. For others it can take the form of sadness, and for some a
mixture of intense emotions and disassociated states.

____________________________________________________________ Individual change



Kubler-Ross saw many people move out of their depression and enter
a fifth stage of acceptance. Perhaps we might add the word ‘quiet’ to
acceptance, because this is not necessarily a happy stage, but it is a stage
where people can in some ways come to terms with the reality of their
situation and the inevitability of what is happening to them. People have
a sense of being fully in touch with their feelings about the situation, their
hopes and fears, their anxieties. They are prepared.

Further clinical and management researchers have added to Kubler-
Ross’s five stages, in particular Adams et al (1976) as follows and as
illustrated in Figure 1.7:

Figure 1.7 Adams, Hayes and Hopson’s (1976) change curve

• shock and/or surprise: really a subset of denial but characterized by a
sense of disbelief;

• denial: total non-acceptance of the change and maybe ‘proving’ to
oneself that it is not happening and hoping that it will go away;

• anger: experiencing anger and frustration but really in an unaware
sort of way, that is, taking no responsibility for your emotions;

• bargaining: the attempt to avoid the inevitable;

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


• depression: hitting the lows and responding (or being unresponsive)
with apathy or sadness;

• acceptance: the reality of the situation is accepted;

• experimentation: after having been very inward looking with accept-
ance, the idea arrives that perhaps there are things ‘out there’:
‘Perhaps some of these changes might be worth at least thinking
about. Perhaps I might just ask to see the job description of that new

• discovery: as you enter this new world that has changed there may
be the discovery that things are not as bad as you imagined. Perhaps
the company was telling the truth when it said there would be new
opportunities and a better way of working.

The authors have noted that there can be a preliminary stage around the
initial stage of shock – one of relief: ‘At least I now know what’s happen-
ing, I had my suspicions, I wasn’t just being paranoid.’

Virginia Satir model

Virginia Satir, a family therapist, developed her model (Satir et al, 1991)
after observing individuals and families experience a wide range of
changes. Her model not only has a number of stages but also highlights
two key events that disturb or move an individual’s experience along: the
foreign element and the transforming idea; see Figure 1.8.

She describes the initial state as one of maintaining the status quo. We
have all experienced periods within our lives – at home or at work –
where day-to-day events continue today as they have done in previous
days, and no doubt will be the same tomorrow. It may be that the organ-
ization you are working in is in a mature industry with well established
working practices which need little or no alteration. This is a state in
which if you carry on doing what you are doing, you will continue to get
what you are getting. The situation is one of relative equilibrium where
all parts of the system are in relative harmony. That is not to say, of
course, that there is no dissatisfaction. It is just that no one is effecting

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


This changes when something new enters the system. Satir calls it a
‘foreign element’ in the sense that a factor previously not present is intro-
duced. As with the examples from the two previous models, it might be
the onset of an illness or, in the world of work, a new chief executive with
ideas about restructuring. Whatever the nature of this foreign element, it
has an effect.

A period of chaos ensues. Typically this is internal chaos. The world
itself may continue to function but the individual’s own perceived world
might be turned upside down, or inside out. He or she may be in a state
of disbelief – denial or emotional numbness – at first, not knowing what
to think or feel or how to act. Individuals may resist the notion that things
are going to be different. Indeed they may actually try to redouble their
efforts to ensure that the status quo continues as long as possible, even
to the extent of sabotaging the new ideas that are forthcoming. Their
support networks, which before had seemed so solid, might now not be
trusted to help and support the individual. They may not know who to
trust or where to go for help.

During this period of chaos, we see elements of anger and disorganiza-
tion permeating the individual’s world. Feelings of dread, panic and


Old status


Integration &

New status






Figure 1.8 Satir’s model

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


despair are followed by periods of apathy and a sense of pointlessness. At
moments like this it may well seem like St John of the Cross’s Dark Night
of the Soul (2003) when all hope has vanished.

But it is often when things have reached their very worst that from
somewhere – usually from within the very depths of the person – the
germ of an idea or an insight occurs. In the Kubler-Ross model, the indi-
vidual is coming to terms with the reality of the situation and experien-
cing acknowledgement and acceptance. He or she has seen the light, or at
least a glimmer of hope. An immense amount of work may still need to
be done, but the individual has generated this transforming idea, which
spreads some light on to the situation, and perhaps shows him or her a
way out of the predicament.

Once this transforming idea has taken root, the individual can begin
the journey of integration. Thus this period of integration requires the
new world order to be assimilated into the individual’s own world.

Imagine a restructuring has taken place at your place of work. You
have gone through many a sleepless night worrying what job you may
end up in, or whether you will have a role at the end of the change. The
jobs on offer do not appeal at all to you at first (‘Why didn’t they ask me
for my views when they formulated the new roles?’, ‘If they think I’m
applying for that they have another think coming!’). However, as the chief
executive’s thinking is made clearer through better communications, you
grudgingly accept that perhaps he did have a point in addressing the
complacency within the firm. Then perhaps one day you wake up and
feel that maybe you might just have a look at that job description for
the job in Operations. You have never worked in that area before and
you have heard a few good things about the woman in charge.

You begin to accept the idea of a new role and ‘try it on for size’.
Perhaps at first you are just playing along, but soon it becomes less
experimentation and more of an exploration. As time moves on the
restructure is bedded into the organization, roles and responsibilities
clarified, new objectives and ways of working specified and results
achieved. A new status quo is born. The scars are still there perhaps but
they are not hurting so much.

Gerald Weinberg (1997), in his masterly book on change, but with
a title that might not appeal to everyone (Quality Software Management,

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


Volume 4: Anticipating change) draws heavily on the Satir model and
maps on to it the critical points that can undermine or support the change
process (see Figure 1.9). Weinberg shows that if the change is not planned
well enough, or if the receivers of change consciously or unconsciously
decide to resist, the change effort will falter.

Summary of the psychodynamic approach

The psychodynamic approach is useful for managers who want to under-
stand the reactions of their staff during a change process and deal with

Foreign element introduced

Try to reject foreign element

Try to accommodate foreign
element in old model

Try to transform old model to
receive foreign element

Can’t reject

Can’t accommodate



Try to integrate

Practice to master
transformed model

New status quo

Old status quo

Can’t integrate

Can’t master






Can’t transform

Figure 1.9 Critical points in the change process
Source: Weinberg (1997)

Reprinted by permission of Dorset House Publishing. All rights reserved.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


them. These models allow managers to gain an understanding of why
people react the way they do. It identifies what is going on in the inner
world of their staff when they encounter change.

As with all models, the ones we have described simplify what can be
quite a complex process. Individuals do not necessarily know that they
are going through different phases. What they may experience is a range
of different emotions (or lack of emotion), which may cluster together
into different groupings which could be labelled one thing or another.
Any observer, at the time, might see manifestations of these different
emotions played out in the individual’s behaviour.

Research suggests that these different phases may well overlap, with
the predominant emotion of one stage gradually diminishing over time
as a predominant emotion of the next stage takes hold. For example, the
deep sense of loss and associated despondency, while subsiding over
time, might well swell up again and engulf the individual with grief,
either for no apparent reason, or because of a particular anniversary,
contact with a particular individual or an external event reported on
the news.

Individuals will go through a process which, either in hindsight or
from an observer’s point of view, will have a number of different phases
which themselves are delineated in time and by different characteristics.
However, the stages themselves will not necessarily have clear begin-
nings or endings, and characteristics from one stage may appear in
other stages.

Satir’s model incorporates the idea of a defining event – the transform-
ing idea – that can be seen to change, or be the beginning of the change
for, an individual. It may well be an insight, or waking up one morning
and sensing that a cloud had been lifted. From that point on there is a
qualitative difference in the person undergoing change. He or she can see
the light at the end of the tunnel, or have a sense that there is a future

Key learnings here are that everyone to some extent goes through the
highs and lows of the transitions curve, although perhaps in different
times and in different ways. It is not only perfectly natural and normal
but actually an essential part of being human.

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


Q 1.8 Think of a current or recent change in your organization.

• Can you map the progress of the change on to Satir’s or
Weinberg’s model?

• At what points did the change falter?

• At what points did it accelerate?

• What factors contributed in each case?


The humanistic psychological approach to change combines some of
the insights from the previous three approaches while at the same time
developing its own. It emerged as a movement in the United States
during the 1950s and 1960s. The American Association of Humanistic
Psychology describes it as ‘concerned with topics having little place
in existing theories and systems: eg love, creativity, self, growth …
self-actualization, higher values, being, becoming, responsibility,
meaning … transcendental experience, peak experience, courage and
related concepts’.

In this section we look at how the humanistic approach differs from the
behavioural and cognitive approaches, list some of the key assumptions
of this approach, and look at three important models within humanistic

Table 1.4 charts some of the similarities and differences between the
psychoanalytic, behavioural, cognitive and humanistic approaches.
Although taken from a book more concerned with counselling and psycho-
therapy, it illustrates where humanistic psychology stands in relation to
the other approaches.

Humanistic psychology has a number of key areas of focus:

• the importance of subjective awareness as experienced by the

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Table 1.4 The psychoanalytic, behavioural, cognitive and humanistic

Theme Psychoanalytic Behavioural Cognitive Humanistic

approach – looking for
what is behind surface

Yes No Yes Yes

Action approach –
looking at actual
conduct of person,
trying new things

No Yes Yes Yes

Acknowledgement of
importance of sense-
making, resistance, etc

Yes No No Yes

Use of imagery,

No Yes Yes Yes

Use in groups as well
as individual

Yes No No Yes

Emphasis on whole

No No No Yes

Emphasis on
gratification, joy,

No No No Yes

Adoption of medical
model of mental illness

Yes Yes Yes No

Felt experience of the
practitioner important
as a tool for change

Yes No No Yes

Mechanistic approach
to client

No Yes Yes No

Open to new paradigm
research methods

No No Yes Yes

Source: adapted from Rowan (1983).
Note: Although the humanistic and psychoanalytic approaches are both
psychodynamic, we have differentiated between them to focus on the maximizing
potential aspect of the humanistic school.

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


• the importance of taking responsibility for one’s situations – or at least
the assumption that whatever the situation there will be an element
of choice in how you think, how you feel and how you act;

• the significance of the person as a whole entity (a holistic approach)
in the sense that as humans we are not just what we think or what we
feel, we are not just our behaviours. We exist within a social and
cultural context.

In juxtaposition with Freud’s view of the aim of therapy as moving the
individual from a state of neurotic anxiety to ordinary unhappiness,
humanistic psychology has ‘unlimited aims … our prime aim is to enable
the person to get in touch with their real self’ (Rowan, 1983).

Maslow and the hierarchy of needs

Maslow did not follow the path of earlier psychologists by looking for
signs of ill health and disease. He researched what makes men and
women creative, compassionate, spontaneous and able to live their lives
to the full. He therefore studied the lives of men and women who had
exhibited these traits during their lives, and in so doing came to his theory
of motivation, calling it a hierarchy of needs (see Figure 1.10).

Maslow believed that human beings have an inbuilt desire to grow and
develop and move towards something he called self-actualization.
However, in order to develop self-actualization an individual has to over-
come or satisfy a number of other needs first.

One of Maslow’s insights was that until the lower level needs were met
an individual would not progress or be interested in the needs higher up
the pyramid. He saw the first four levels of needs as ‘deficiency’ needs.
By that he meant that it was the absence of satisfaction that led to the
individual being motivated to achieve something.

Physiological needs are requirements such as food, water, shelter
and sexual release. Clearly when they are lacking the individual will
experience physiological symptoms such as hunger, thirst, discomfort
and frustration.

Safety needs are those that are concerned with the level of threat
and desire for a sense of security. Although safety needs for some might

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


be concerned with actual physical safety, Maslow saw that for many
in the western world the need was based more on the idea of psycho-
logical safety. We might experience this level of need when faced with

Love and belonging needs are more interpersonal. This involves the
need for affection and affiliation on an emotionally intimate scale. It is
important here to note that Maslow introduces a sense of reciprocity into
the equation. A sense of belonging can rarely be achieved unless an
individual gives as well as receives. People have to invest something of
themselves in the situation or with the person or group. Even though
it is higher in the hierarchy than physical or safety needs, the desire for
love and belonging is similar in that it motivates people when they feel
its absence.

Self-esteem needs are met in two ways. They are met through the
satisfaction individuals get when they achieve competence or mastery in
doing something. They are also met through receiving recognition for
their achievement.

Maslow postulated one final need – the need for self-actualization. He
described it as ‘the desire to become more and more what one is, to
become everything that one is capable of becoming’. He observed that

Figure 1.10 Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Source: Maslow (1970)

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


people continued to search for something else once all their other needs
were being satisfied. Individuals try to become the person they believe or
feel that they are capable of becoming. It is a difficult concept to put into
words. Perhaps it is a longing for something to emerge from the depths
of your being.

Before his death, Rabbi Zusya said, ‘In the coming world, they will not ask me,
“Why were you not Moses?” They will ask me, “Why were you not Zusya?”’

Martin Buber, 1961, Tales of the Hasidim

Self-actualization can take many forms, depending on the individual. These
variations may include the quest for knowledge, understanding, peace, self-
fulfilment, meaning in life, or beauty … but the need for beauty is neither
higher nor lower than the other needs at the top of the pyramid. Self-
actualization needs aren’t hierarchically ordered.

(Griffin, 1991)

Rogers and the path to personal growth

Carl Rogers is one of the founders of the humanistic movement. He has
written extensively on the stages through which people travel on their
journey towards ‘becoming a person’. Rogers’ work was predominately
based on his observations in the field of psychotherapy. However, he was
increasingly interested in how people learn, how they exercise power and
how they behave within organizations.

Rogers is an important researcher and writer for consultants, as his
‘client-centred approach’ to growth and development provides clues
and cues as to how we as change agents might bring about growth and
development with individuals within organizations. Rogers (1967) high-
lighted three crucial conditions for this to occur:

1 Genuineness and congruence: to be aware of your own feelings, to
be real, to be authentic. Rogers’ research showed that the more

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


genuine and congruent the change agent is in the relation ship, the
greater the probability of change in the personality of the client.

2 Unconditional positive regard: a genuine willingness to allow the
client’s process to continue, and an acceptance of whatever feelings
are going on inside the client. Whatever feeling the client is experi-
encing, be it anger, fear, hatred, then that is all right. It is saying that
underneath all this the person is all right.

3 Empathic understanding: in Rogers’ words, ‘it is only as I under-
stand the feelings and thoughts which seem so horrible to you, or so
weak, or so sentimental, or so bizarre – it is only as I see them as you
see them, and accept them and you, that you feel really free to
explore all the hidden roots and frightening crannies of your inner
and often buried experience.’

Rogers continues: ‘in trying to grasp and conceptualize the process of
change … I gradually developed this concept of a process, discriminating
seven stages in it’. The following are the consistently recurring qualities
at each stage as described by Rogers:

• One:
– an unwillingness to communicate about self, only externals;
– no desire for change;
– feelings neither recognized nor owned;
– problems neither recognized nor perceived.

• Two:
– expressions begin to flow;
– feelings may be shown but not owned;
– problems perceived but seen as external;
– no sense of personal responsibility;
– experience more in terms of the past not the present.

• Three:
– a little talk about the self, but only as an object;
– expression of feelings, but in the past;

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


– non-acceptance of feelings; seen as bad, shameful, abnormal;
– recognition of contradictions;
– personal choice seen as ineffective.

• Four:
– more intense past feelings;
– occasional expression of current feelings;
– distrust and fear of direct expression of feelings;
– a little acceptance of feelings;
– possible current experiencing;
– some discovery of personal constructs;
– some feelings of self-responsibility in problems;
– close relationships seen as dangerous;
– some small risk-taking.

• Five:
– feelings freely expressed in the present;
– surprise and fright at emerging feelings;
– increasing ownership of feelings;
– increasing self-responsibility;
– clear facing up to contradictions and incongruence.

• Six:
– previously stuck feelings experienced in the here and now;
– the self seen as less of an object, more of a feeling;
– some physiological loosening;
– some psychological loosening – that is, new ways of seeing the

world and the self;
– incongruence between experience and awareness reduced.

• Seven:
– new feelings experienced and accepted in the present;
– basic trust in the process;
– self becomes confidently felt in the process;
– personal constructs reformulated but much less rigid;
– strong feelings of choice and self-responsibility.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


There are a number of key concepts that emerge from Rogers’ work
which are important when managing change within organizations at an
individual level:

• The creation of a facilitating environment, through authenticity,
positive regard and empathic understanding, enables growth and
development to occur.

• Given this facilitating environment and the correct stance of the
change agent, clients will be able to surface and work through any
negative feelings they may have about the change.

• Given this facilitating environment and the correct stance of the
change agent, there will be a movement from rigidity to more fluidity
in the client’s approach to thinking and feeling. This allows more
creativity and risk-taking to occur.

• Given this facilitating environment and the correct stance of the
change agent, clients will move towards accepting a greater degree of
self-responsibility for their situation, enabling them to have more
options from which to choose.

The role and the stance of the change agent will be discussed in
Chapter 5; many of the attributes of Rogers’ approach would be a
welcome addition to the change agent’s ‘kit bag’.

Gestalt approach to individual and organizational change

Gestalt therapy originated with Fritz Perls, who was interested in the here
and now. Perls believed that a person’s difficulties today arise because of
the way he or she is acting today, here and now. In Perls’ words:

[T]he goal … must be to give him the means with which he can solve his
present problems and any that may arise tomorrow or next year. The tool is
self-support, and this he achieves by dealing with himself and his problems
with all the means presently at his command, right now. If he can be truly
aware at every instant of himself and his actions on whatever level – fantasy,
verbal or physical – he can see how he is producing his difficulties, he can

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


see what his present difficulties are, and he can help himself to solve them
in the present, in the here and now.

(Perls, 1976)

A consultant using a Gestalt approach has the primary aim of showing
clients that they interrupt themselves in achieving what they want.
Gestalt is experiential, not just based on talking, and there is an emphasis
on doing, acting and feeling. Gestaltists use a cycle of experience to map
how individuals and groups enact their desires, but more often than
not how they block themselves from completing the cycle as shown in
Figure 1.11.

A favourite saying of Fritz Perls was to ‘get out of your mind and come
to your senses’. Gestalt always begins with what one is experiencing in
the here and now. Experiencing has as its basis what one is sensing.
‘Sensing determines the nature of awareness’ (Perls et al, 1951).

What we sense outside of ourselves or within leads to awareness.
Awareness comes when we alight or focus upon what we are experien-
cing. Nevis (1998) describes it as ‘the spontaneous sensing of what arises


Awareness Contact


of attention

of energy

of energy

or closure







Figure 1.11 The Gestalt cycle

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


or becomes figural, and it involves direct, immediate experience’. He
gives a comprehensive list of the many things that we can be aware of
at any one moment, including the following:

• what we sense: sights, sounds, textures, tastes, smells, kinaesthetic
stimulations and so on;

• what we verbalize and visualize: thinking, planning, remembering,
imagining and so on;

• what we feel: happiness, sadness, fearfulness, wonder, anger, pride,
empathy, indifference, compassion, anxiety and so on;

• what we value: inclinations, judgements, conclusions, prejudices and
so on;

• how we interact: participation patterns, communication styles, energy
levels, norms and so on.

Although your awareness can only ever be in the present, this awareness
can include memory of the past, anticipation of the future, inner experi-
ence and awareness of others and the environment.

Mobilization of energy occurs as awareness is focused on a specific
facet. Imagine you have to give a piece of negative feedback to a col-
league. As you focus on this challenge by bringing it into the foreground,
you might start to feel butterflies in your stomach, or sweaty palms. This
is like using a searchlight to illuminate a specific thing and bring it into
full awareness. In Nevis’s terminology, this brings about an ‘energized

This energy then needs to be released typically by doing something, by
taking action, by making contact in and with the outside world. You give
the feedback.

Closure might come when the colleague thanks you for the feedback
and compliments you on the clarity and level of insight. Or perhaps you
have an argument and agree to disagree. You will then experience a
reduction in your energy, and will complete the cycle by having come to
a resolution, with the object of attention fading into the background once
more. The issue of the colleague’s performance becomes less important.

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


For real change to have occurred (either internally or out in the world)
the full Gestalt cycle will need to have been experienced.

Nevis shows how the Gestalt cycle maps on to stages in managerial
decision making:

• Awareness. Data generation, Seeking information, Sharing informa-
tion, Reviewing past performance, Environmental scanning

• Energy/action. Attempts to mobilize energy and interest in ideas or
proposals, Supporting ideas presented by others, Identifying and
experiencing differences and conflicts of competing interests or views,
Supporting own position, Seeking maximum participation

• Contact. Joining in a common objective, Common recognition of
problem definition, Indications of understanding, not necessarily
agreement, Choosing a course of possible future action

• Resolution/closure. Testing, checking for common understanding,
Reviewing what’s occurred, Acknowledgement of what’s been accom-
plished and what remains to be done, Identifying the meaning of the
discussion, Generalizing from what’s been learned, Beginning to
develop implementation and action plans

• Withdrawal. Pausing to let things ‘sink in’, Reducing energy and
interest in the issue, Turning to other tasks or problems, Ending the

Q 1.9 Use the Gestalt curve to describe how a manager moves from a

concern about the team’s performance to launching and executing
a change initiative.

Summary of the humanistic psychology approach

For the manager, the world of humanistic psychology opens up some
interesting possibilities and challenges. For years we have been told that
the world of organizations is one that is ruled by the rational mind.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Recent studies such as Daniel Goleman’s (1998) on emotional intelligence
and management competence (see Chapter 4) suggest that what makes
for more effective managers is their degree of emotional self-awareness
and ability to engage with others on an emotional level. Humanistic psycho-
logy would not only agree, but would go one step further in stating that
without being fully present emotionally in the situation you cannot be
fully effective, and you will not be able to maximize your learning, or
anyone else’s learning.


We have looked at different approaches to change, and suggested that
individuals do not always experience these changes in a consistent or
uniform way. However, we have not asked whether people are different,
and if so, whether their difference affects the way they experience

We have found in working with individuals and teams through change
that it is useful to identify and openly discuss people’s personality types.
This information helps people to understand their responses to change.
It also helps people to see why other people are different from them,
and to be aware of how that may lead to either harmony or conflict.

The most effective tool for identifying personality type is the Myers-
Briggs Type Indicator™ (MBTI™). This is a personality inventory developed
by Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers. The MBTI™ is based
on the work of the Swiss analytical psychologist Carl Jung. The MBTI™
identifies eight different personality ‘preferences’ that we all use at differ-
ent times – but each individual will have a preference for one particular
combination over the others. These eight preferences can be paired as set
out below.

Where individuals draw their energy

Extraversion is a preference for drawing energy from the external world,
tasks and things, whereas Introversion is a preference for drawing energy
from the internal world of one’s thoughts and feelings.

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


What individuals pay attention to and how they receive data and

Sensing is concerned with the five senses and what is and has been
whereas Intuition is concerned with possibilities and patterns and what
might be.

How an individual makes decisions

Thinking is about making decisions in an objective, logical way based on
concepts of right and wrong whereas Feeling is about making decisions
in a more personal values-driven and empathic way.

What sort of lifestyle an individual enjoys

Judging is a preference for living in a more structured and organized
world which is more orderly and predictable, whereas Perceiving is
a preference for living in a more flexible or spontaneous world
where options are kept open and decisions not made until absolutely

So for example, a person who has a preference for Introversion,
Intuition, Thinking and Judging (an INTJ, in the jargon) will have
certain characteristics. Likewise an individual with a preference for
Extroversion, Sensing, Feeling and Perceiving (ESFP) will have quite
different characteristics.

The MBTI™ has been researched and validated for over 50 years now,
and people rarely move permanently from their preferred ‘home’ type.
That is not to say that Extroverts cannot spend time reflecting and being
on their own, nor Introverts spend time in large groups discussing a
broad range of issues. What it means is that if you are a particular type
you have particular preferences and are different from other people of
different types. This means that when it comes to change, people with
different preferences react differently to change, both when they initiate
it and when they are on the receiving end of it.

Although there are 16 MBTI™ types, in our work with managers and
leaders we have found that grouping them into four categories can

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


generate significant understanding of the change process (see for example,
Green, 2007b). One group of people will be cautious and careful about
change – the Thoughtful Realists (those who are introverted sensing
types). A second group will generate concepts that represent how things
should be – the Thoughtful Innovators (introverted intuitives). A third
group will have the energy and enthusiasm to get things done – the
Action-oriented Realists (extraverted sensing). Meanwhile the fourth
group – the Action-oriented Innovators (extraverted intuitives) – will be
wanting to move into new areas and soon! (See Table 1.5.)

Q 1.10 Use the Myers-Briggs quadrants to identify your reactions to


• In what ways do you fit the various profiles and in what ways
do you differ?

• How would you deal with someone like this when going
through a challenging change process?

• How do you like to be managed through change?


We now look at some of the factors that arise when you as a manager are
required to manage change within your organization. We will:

• discuss individual and group propensity for change;

• introduce the work of Edgar Schein and his suggestions for managing

• describe some of the ways that change can be thwarted;

• identify how managers or change agents can help others to change.

____________________________________________________________ Individual change



Those who let it happen.
Those who make it happen.
Those who wonder what happened.


Table 1.5 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™ types by quadrant

IS Thoughtful Realist IN Thoughtful

What they are most
concerned with

Practicalities Thoughts, ideas,

How they learn Pragmatically and
by reading and

Conceptually by
reading, listening and
making connections

Where they focus
their change efforts

Deciding what should be
kept and what needs

Generating new ideas
and theories

Motto ‘If it isn’t broke don’t fix it’ ‘Let’s think ahead’

ES Action-oriented Realist EN Action-oriented

What they are most
concerned with

Actions New ways of doing

How they learn Actively and by

Creatively and with

Where they focus
their change efforts

Making things better Putting new ideas
into practice

Motto ‘Let’s just do it’ ‘Let’s change it’

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Propensity for change

We have isolated five factors, shown in Figure 1.12, that have an influence
on an individual’s response to change. As a manager of change you will
need to pay attention to these five areas if you wish to achieve positive
responses to change:

Figure 1.12 Five factors in responding to change

• The nature of the change varies. Changes can be externally imposed
or internally generated. They can be evolutionary or revolutionary
in nature. They can be routine or one-off. They can be mundane
or transformative. They can be about expansion or contraction.
Different types of change can provoke different attitudes and different

• The consequences of the change are significant. For whose benefit are
the changes seen to be (employees, customers, the community, the
shareholders, the board)? Who will be the winners and who will be
the losers?

• The organizational history matters too. This means the track record of
how the organization has handled change in the past (or how the

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


acquiring organization is perceived), what the prevailing culture is,
what the capacity of the organization is in terms of management
expertise and resources to manage change effectively, and what the
future, beyond the change, is seen to hold.

• The personality type of the individual is a major determining factor
in how she or he responds to change. The Myers-Briggs type of
the individual (reviewed earlier) can give us an indication of how an
individual will respond to change. People’s motivating forces are also
important – for example, are they motivated by power, status, money
or affiliation and inclusion?

• The history of an individual can also give us clues as to how he or she
might respond. By history we mean previous exposure and responses
to change, levels of knowledge, skills and experience the individual
has, areas of stability in his or her life and stage in his or her career.
For example an individual who has previously experienced redund-
ancy might re-experience the original trauma and upheaval regard-
less of how well the current one is handled. Or he or she may have
acquired sufficient resilience and determination from the previous
experience to be able to take this one in his or her stride.

Schein’s model of transformative change

Edgar Schein has been a leading researcher and practitioner in the fields
of individual, organizational and cultural change over the last 20 years.
His seminal works have included Process Consultation (1988) and
Organizational Culture and Leadership (1992).

Schein elaborated on Lewin’s (1952) model by drawing on other dis-
ciplines such as clinical psychology and group dynamics. This model
influenced much OD and coaching work throughout the 1990s. (See
Chapter 3 for Lewin’s original model.)

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________



Stage One
Unfreezing: Creating the motivation to change:

• Disconfirmation.

• Creation of survival anxiety or guilt.

• Creation of psychological safety to overcome learning anxiety.

Stage Two
Learning new concepts and new meanings for old concepts:

• Imitation of and identification with role models.

• Scanning for solutions and trial-and-error learning.

Stage Three
Refreezing: Internalizing new concepts and meanings:

• Incorporation into self-concept and identity.

• Incorporation into ongoing relationships.

Schein sees change as occurring in three stages:

1 unfreezing: creating the motivation to change;

2 learning new concepts and new meanings from old concepts;

3 internalizing new concepts and meanings.

During the initial unfreezing stage people need to unlearn certain things
before they can focus fully on new learning.

Schein says that there are two forces at play within every individual
undergoing change. The first force is learning anxiety. This is the
anxiety associated with learning something new. Will I fail? Will I be
exposed? The second, competing force is survival anxiety. This concerns
the pressure to change. What if I don’t change? Will I get left behind?
These anxieties can take many forms. Schein lists four of the associated

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


1 Fear of temporary incompetence: the conscious appreciation of one’s
lack of competence to deal with the new situation.

2 Fear of punishment for incompetence: the apprehension that you
will somehow lose out or be punished when this incompetence is
discovered or assessed.

3 Fear of loss of personal identity: the inner
turmoil when your habitual ways of
thinking and feeling are no longer
required, or when your sense of self is
defined by a role or position that is no
longer recognized by the organization.

4 Fear of loss of group membership: in the
same way that your identity can be
defined by your role, for some it can be
profoundly affected by the network of
affiliations you have in the workplace. In
the same way that the stable equilibrium
of a team or group membership can foster
states of health, instability caused by shifting team roles or the dis-
integration of a particular group can have an extremely disturbing

What gets in the way of change: resistance to change

Leaders and managers of change sometimes cannot understand why
individuals and groups of individuals do not wholeheartedly embrace
changes that are being introduced. They often label this ‘resistance to

Schein suggests that there are two principles for transformative change
to work: first, survival anxiety must be greater than learning anxiety, and
second, learning anxiety must be reduced rather than increasing survival
anxiety. Used in connection with Lewin’s force field (see Chapter 3), we
see that survival anxiety is a driving force and learning anxiety is a
restraining force. Rather than attempting to increase the individual or

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


group’s sense of survival anxiety, Schein suggests reducing the individual’s
learning anxiety. Remember also that the restraining forces may well
have some validity.

How do you reduce learning anxiety? You do it by increasing the
learner’s sense of psychological safety through a number of interventions.
Schein lists a few:

• a compelling vision of the future;

• formal training;

• involvement of the learner;

• informal training of relevant family groups/teams;

• practice fields, coaches, feedback;

• positive role models;

• support groups;

• consistent systems and structures;

• imitation and identification versus scanning and trial and error.

Q 1.11 Think of a recent skill that you had to learn in order to keep up

with external changes. This could be installing a new piece of
software, or learning about how a new organization works.

• What were your survival anxieties?

• What were your learning anxieties?

• What helped you to change?

How managers and change agents help others to change

We have listed in Table 1.6 some of the interventions that an organization
and its management could carry out to facilitate the change process. We

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


have categorized them into the four approaches described earlier in this

From the behavioural perspective a manager must ensure that reward
policies and performance management is aligned with the changes taking
place. For example if the change is intended to improve the quality of
output, then the company should not reward quantity of output. Kerr
(1995) lists several traps that organizations fall into:

We hope for: But reward:
Teamwork and collaboration The best team members
Innovative thinking and risk-taking Proven methods and no mistakes
Development of people skills Technical achievements
Employee involvement and

Tight control over operations

High achievement Another year’s effort

Table 1.6 Representative interventions to facilitate the change process

Behavioural Cognitive

Performance management
Reward policies

Values translated into behaviours
Management competencies

Skills training
Management style

Performance coaching
360 degree feedback

Management by objectives
Business planning and

performance frameworks
Results based coaching
Beliefs, attitudes and
cultural interventions


Understanding change dynamics
Counselling people

through change
Surfacing hidden issues

Addressing emotions
Treating employees and

managers as adults

Living the values
Developing the learning

Addressing the hierarchy of needs

Addressing emotions
Fostering communication and


Psychodynamic Humanistic

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Managers and staff need to know in detail what they are expected to do
and how they are expected to perform. Behaviour needs to be defined,
especially when many organizations today are promoting ‘the company

From the cognitive perspective a manager needs to employ strategies
that link organizational goals, individual goals and motivation. This will
create both alignment and motivation. An additional strategy is to pro-
vide ongoing coaching through the change process to reframe obstacles
and resistances.

The psychodynamic perspective suggests adapting one’s managerial
approach and style to the emotional state of the change implementers.
This is about treating people as adults and having mature conversations
with them. The psychodynamic approach enables managers to see the
benefits of looking beneath the surface of what is going on, and uncover-
ing thoughts that are not being articulated and feelings that are not being
expressed. Working through these feelings can release energy for the
change effort rather than manifesting as resistance to change. Drawing on
the transitions curve we can plot suitable interventions throughout the
process (see Figure 1.13).

The humanistic psychology perspective builds on the psychodynamic
ethos by believing that people are inherently capable of responding to
change, but require enabling structures and strategies so to do. Healthy
levels of open communication, and a positive regard for individuals and
their potential contribution to the organization’s goals, contribute to
creating an environment where individuals can grow and develop.


• Learning to do something new usually involves a temporary dip in

• When learning something new, we focus on it and become very
conscious of our performance. Once we have learnt something we
become far less conscious of our performance. We are then uncon-
sciously competent. This continues until something goes wrong, or
there is a new challenge.

____________________________________________________________ Individual change


• There are four key schools of thought when considering individual

– The behavioural approach is about changing the behaviours of
others through reward and punishment. This leads to behav-
ioural analysis and use of reward strategies.

– The cognitive approach is about achieving results through
positive reframing. Associated techniques are goal setting and
coaching to achieve results.

– The psychodynamic approach is about understanding and
relating to the inner world of change. This is especially signi-
ficant when people are going through highly affecting change.

– The humanistic psychology approach is about believing in devel-
opment and growth, and maximizing potential. The emphasis is
on healthy development, healthy authentic relationships and
healthy organizations.

Minimize shock
Give full & early
of intentions,
possibilities and
overall direction
of change

implications of
change with
individuals and
Pay attention to
people’s needs
& concerns

Listen, empathize,
Don’t suppress
conflict or different
views & emotions
Help individuals
weather the storm
Recognize how
change can trigger
off past experiences
in individuals
Remember people
aren’t necessarily
attacking you

Help others
the ending of
an era
Allow others
to take
Create goals

Encourage risk

meaning &
Reflect on

Prepare to
move on

Figure 1.13 Management interventions through the change process

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


• Personality type has a significant effect on an individual’s ability to
initiate or adapt to change.

• The individual’s history, the organization’s history, the type of change
and the consequence of the change are also key factors in an indi-
vidual’s response to change.

• Schein identified two competing anxieties in individual change:
survival anxiety versus learning anxiety. Survival anxiety has to be
greater than learning anxiety if a change is to happen. He advocated
the need for managers to reduce people’s learning anxiety rather than
increase their survival anxiety.

• Each of the four approaches above leads to a set of guidelines for

– Behavioural: get your reward strategies right.
– Cognitive: link goals to motivation.
– Psychodynamic: treat people as individuals and understand

their emotional states as well as your own!
– Humanistic: be authentic and believe that people want to grow

and develop.


Team change


This chapter will look at teams, team development and change from
a number of perspectives and will be asking a number of pertinent

• What is a group and when is it a team?

• Why do you need teams?

• What types of organizational teams are there?

• How do you improve team effectiveness?

• What does team change look like?

• What are the leadership issues in team change?

• How do individuals affect team dynamics?

• How well do teams initiate and adapt to organizational change?


The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


The chapter aims to enhance understanding of the nature of teams and
how they develop, identify how teams perform in change situations,
and develop strategies for managing teams through change and change
through teams.

We open with a discussion around what constitutes a group and what
constitutes a team. We will also look at the phenomena of different types
of teams: for example, virtual teams, self-organizing teams and project

Models of team functioning, change and development will be explored.
We look at the various components of teamworking, and at how teams
develop and how different types of people combine to make a really
effective (or not) team.

We take as our basic model Tuckman’s (1965) model of team develop-
ment to illustrate how teams change over time. This is the forming,
storming, norming and performing model. But we will add to it by dif-
ferentiating between the task aspects of team development and the
people aspects of team development.

Finally we look at the way in which teams can impact or react to organ-
izational change.


There has been much academic discussion as to what constitutes a team
and what constitutes a group. In much of the literature the two terms are
used indistinguishably. Yet there are crucial differences, and anyone
working in an organization instinctively knows when he or she is in a
team and when he or she is in a group. We will attempt to clarify the
essential similarities and differences. This is important when looking at
change because teams and groups experience change in different ways.

Schein and Bennis (1965) suggest that a group is ‘any number of people
who interact with each other, are psychologically aware of each other,
and who perceive themselves to be a group’. Morgan et al (1986) suggest
that ‘a team is a distinguishable set of two or more individuals who
interact interdependently and adaptively to achieve specified, shared,
and valued objectives’. Sundstrom et al (1990) define the work team as

_______________________________________________________________ Team change


‘A small group of individuals who share responsibility for outcomes for
their organizations.’

Cohen and Bailey (1997) define a team as ‘a collection of individuals
who are interdependent in their tasks, who share responsibility for
outcomes, who see themselves and who are seen by others as an intact
social entity embedded in one or more larger social systems (for example,
business unit or the corporation), and who manage their relationships
across organizational boundaries’. Our own list of differentiators appears
in Table 2.1.

A group is a collection of individuals who draw a boundary around
themselves. Or perhaps we from the outside might draw a boundary
around them and thus define them as a group. A team on the other hand,
with its common purpose, is generally tighter and clearer about what it is
and what its raison d’être is. Its members know exactly who is involved

Table 2.1 Differences between groups and teams

Group Team or work group

Indeterminate size Restricted in size

Common interests Common overarching objectives

Sense of being part of something or
seen as being part of something

Interaction between members to
accomplish individual and group goals

Interdependent as much as
individuals might wish to be

Interdependency between members to
accomplish individual and group goals

May have no responsibilities
other than a sense of belonging to
the group

Shared responsibilities

May have no accountabilities other
than ‘contractual’ ones

Individual accountabilities

A group does not necessarily have
any work to do or goals to accomplish

The team works together, physically
or virtually

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


and what their goal is. Of course it turns out that we are speaking hypo-
thetically here, as any one of us has seen teams within organizations that
appear to have no sense at all of what they are really about!

Let us illustrate the difference between a team and a group by using
an example. We might look into an organization and see the Finance
Department. The Finance Controller heads up a Finance Management
Team that leads, manages and coordinates the activities within this area.
The team members work together on common goals, meet regularly and
have clearly defined roles and responsibilities (usually).

Perhaps the senior management team has decreed that all the high
potential managers in the organization shall be members of the Strategic
Management Group. So the Finance Controller, who is on the high
potential list, gets together with others at his or her level to form a collec-
tion of individuals who contribute to the overall strategic direction of the
organization. Apart from gatherings every six months, this group rarely
meets or communicates. It is a grouping, which might be bounded but
does not have any ongoing goals or objectives that require members to
work together.

Q 2.1 Within your working life, what teams are you a member of and to

which groups do you belong?

Q 2.2 Within your personal life, what teams are you a member of and to
which groups do you belong?

Q 2.3 In what ways was it easier to answer in your personal life, and in
what ways more difficult?


Why do we need teams and teamworking? Casey (1993), from Ashridge
Management College, researched this question by asking a simple ques-
tion of each team he worked with: ‘Why should you work together
as a team?’ The simplest answer is, ‘Because of the work we need to

_______________________________________________________________ Team change


accomplish.’ Teamwork may be
needed because there is a high
volume of interconnected pieces
of work, or because the work is
too complex to be understood
and worked on by one person.

What about managers? Do they need to operate as teams, or can they
operate effectively as groups? The Ashridge-based writers say that a man-
agement team does not necessarily have to be fully integrated as a team
all of the time. Nor should it be reduced to a mere collection of individuals
going about their own individual functional tasks.

Casey believes that there is a clear link between the level of uncertainty
of the task being handled and the level of teamwork needed. The greater
the uncertainty, the greater the need for teamwork. The majority of
management teams deal with both uncertain and certain tasks, so need to
be flexible about the levels of teamworking required. Decisions about
health and safety, HR policy, reporting processes and recruitment are
relatively certain, so can be handled fairly quickly without a need for
much sharing of points of view. There is usually a right answer to these
issues, whereas decisions about strategy, structure and culture are less
certain. There is no right answer, and each course of action involves
taking a risk. This means more teamworking, more sharing of points of
view, and a real understanding of what is being agreed and what the
implications are for the team.


Robert Keidal (1984) identified a parallel between sports teams and
organizational teams. He uses baseball, American football and basket-
ball teams to show the differences.

A baseball team is like a sales organization. Team members are rela-
tively independent of one another, and while all members are required
to be on the field together, they virtually never interact together all at
the same time.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Football is quite different. There are really three subteams within the
total team: offence, defence and the special team. When the subteam
is on the field, every player is involved in every play, which is not the
case in baseball. But the teamwork is centred in the subteam, not
the total team.

Basketball is a different breed. Here the team is small, with all players
in only one team. Every player is involved in all aspects of the game,
offence and defence, and all must pass, run, shoot. When a substitute
comes in, all must play with the new person.

Many different types of team exist within organizations. Let us look at a
range of types of team found in today’s organizations (see Table 2.2).

Work team

Work teams or work groups are typically the type of team that most
people within organizations will think of when we talk about teams. They
are usually part of the normal hierarchical structure of an organization.
This means that one person manages a group of individuals, and that
person is responsible for delivering a particular product or service either
to the customer or to another part of the organization.

These teams tend to be relatively stable in terms of team objectives,
processes and personnel. Their agenda is normally focused on mainten-
ance and management of what is. This is a combination of existing pro-
cesses and operational strategy. Any change agenda they have is usually
on top of their existing agenda of meeting the current operating plan.

Self-managed team

A sub-set of the work team is the self-managed team. The self-managed
team has the attributes of the work team but without a direct manager or
supervisor. This affects the way decisions are made and the way in which
individual and team performance is managed. Generally this is through
collective or distributed leadership.

_______________________________________________________________ Team change


Table 2.2 Types of team

Team Group Work Parallel Project

Continuity Variable Stable Stable or one-off

on project

Lifespan Variable Unlimited Variable Time limited


Can be part
of the formal

Part of

Outside of


Led by Dependent
on nature
and purpose
of group

One manager
or supervisor

or facilitated


Location Variable Co-located Converge for


Purpose Variable Business
as usual

function or
part of

Change or

Authority Dependent
on nature
and purpose
of group

the line

Depends Via project
and project

Focus Communication Task Communication Task

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Team Matrix Virtual Network Management Change

Continuity Stable as a
but fluid by



Stable Fluid

Lifespan Unlimited Variable Variable Unlimited Variable


Part of

Can be part
of the

across the

Part of


Led by Project
manager and

manager or

leadership or

One manager Sponsor or

Location Co-located,

Dispersed Dispersed Often


Purpose Project

BAU or

Change or

as usual
Change and

Change and

Authority Dual

the line or

Depends Through
the line

Via project
manager and

Focus Task Task Communi-

Task and

Task and

Table 2.2 continued

_______________________________________________________________ Team change


Self-managed work teams are more prevalent in manufacturing indus-
tries rather than the service arena. Once again there is an emphasis on
delivery of service or product rather than delivering change.

Parallel team

Parallel teams are different from work teams because they are not part
of the traditional management hierarchy. They are run in tandem or
parallel to this structure. Examples of parallel teams are:

• teams brought together to deliver quality improvement (for example,
quality circles, continuous improvement groups);

• teams that have some problem-solving or decision-making input,
other than the normal line management processes (for example,
creativity and innovation groups);

• teams formed to involve and engage employees (for example, staff
councils, diagonal slice groups);

• teams set up for a specific purpose such as a task force looking at
an office move.

These teams have variable longevity, and are used for purposes that tend
to be other than the normal ‘business as usual’ management. They are
often of a consultative nature, carrying limited authority. Although not
necessarily responsible or accountable for delivering changes, they often
feed into a change management process.

Project team

Project teams are teams that are formed for the specific purpose of com-
pleting a project. They therefore are time limited, and we would expect
to find clarity of objectives. The project might be focused on an external
client or it might be an internal one-off, or cross-cutting project with an
internal client group.

Depending on the scale of the project the team might comprise indi-
viduals on a full- or part-time basis. Typically there is a project manager,

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


selected for his or her specialist or managerial skills, and a project
sponsor. Individuals report to the project manager for the duration of
the project (although if they work part-time on the project they might
also be reporting to a line manager). The project manager reports to the
project sponsor, who typically is a senior manager.

We know the project team has been successful when it delivers the
specific project on time, to quality and within budget. Brown and
Eisenhardt (1995) noted that cross-functional teams, which are teams
comprised of individuals from a range of organizational functions, were
found to enhance project success.

Project teams are very much associated with implementing change.
However, although change may be their very raison d’être it does not
necessarily mean that their members’ ability to handle change is any dif-
ferent from the rest of us. Indeed built into their structure are potential

• The importance of task achievement often reigns supreme, at the
expense of investing time in meeting individual and team mainten-
ance needs.

• The fact that individuals have increased uncertainty concerning their
future can impact on motivation and performance.

• The dynamic at play between the project team and the organizational
area into which the change will take place can be problematic.

Matrix team

Matrix teams generally occur in organizations that are run along project
lines. The organization typically has to deliver a number of projects to
achieve its objectives. Each project has a project manager, but the project
team members are drawn from functional areas of the organization.
Often projects are clustered together to form programmes, or indeed
whole divisions or business units (for example, aerospace, defence or oil
industry projects). Thus the team members have accountability both to
the project manager and to their functional head. The balance of power

_______________________________________________________________ Team change


between the projects and the functions varies from organization to
organization, and the success of such structures often depends on the
degree to which the project teams are enabled by the structure and the
degree to which they are disabled.

Virtual team

Increasing globalization and developments in the use of new technolo-
gies mean that teams are not necessarily co-located any more. This has
been true for many years for sales teams. Virtual teams either never meet
or they meet only rarely. Townsend et al (1998) defined virtual teams as
‘groups of geographically and/or organizationally dispersed co-workers
that are assembled using a combination of telecommunications and infor-
mation technologies to accomplish an organizational task’. An advantage
of virtual teams is that an organization can use the most appropriately
skilled people for the task, wherever they are located. In larger companies
the probability that the necessary and desired expertise for any sophistic-
ated or complex task is in the same place geographically is low.

Disadvantages spring from the distance between team members.
Virtual teams cross time zones, countries, continents and cultures. All
these things create their own set of challenges. Current research suggests
that synchronous working (face-to-face or remote) is more effective in
meeting more complex challenges. Team leadership for virtual teams
also creates its own issues, with both day-to-day management tasks and
developmental interventions being somewhat harder from a distance.

When it comes to change, virtual teams are somewhat paradoxical.
Team members can perhaps be more responsive, balancing autonomy
and interdependence, and more focused on their part of the team
objective. However, change creates an increased need for communica-
tion, clear goals, defined roles and responsibilities, and support and
recognition processes. These things are more difficult to manage in the
virtual world.

Erich Barthel (Building relationships and working in teams across
cultures) and Inger Buus (Leading in a virtual environment) write about
this in more detail in Leadership and Personal Development (2011).

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Networked team

National, international and global organizations can use networked
teams in an attempt to add a greater cohesion to their organization, which
would not otherwise be there. Additionally they may wish to capture
learning in one part of the organization and spread it across the whole

We might have grouped virtual and networked teams under the same
category. However, we could think of the networked team as being
similar to a parallel team, in the sense that its primary purpose is not
business as usual, but part of an attempt by the organization to increase
sustainability and build capacity through increasing the reservoir of
knowledge across the whole organization.

Networked teams are an important anchor for organizations in times
of change. They can be seen as part of the glue that gives a sense of
cohesion to people within the organization.

Management team

Management teams coordinate and provide direction to the sub-units under
their jurisdiction, laterally integrating interdependent sub-units across key
business processes.

(Mohrman et al, 1995)

The management team is ultimately responsible for the overall perform-
ance of the business unit. In itself it may not deliver any product, service
or project, but clearly its function is to enable that delivery. Management
teams are pivotal in translating the organization’s overarching goals into
specific objectives for the various sub-units to do their share of the organ-
ization task.

Management teams are similar to work teams in terms of delivery of
current operational plan, but are much more likely to be in a position
of designing and delivering change as well. We expect a more senior
management team to spend less time on ‘business as usual’ matters and
more time on the change agenda.

_______________________________________________________________ Team change


The senior management team in any organization is the team most
likely to be held responsible for the organization’s ultimate success or
failure. It is in a pivotal position within the organization. On the one
hand it is at the top of the organization, and therefore team members
have a collective leadership responsibility; on the other, it is account-
able to the non-executive board and shareholders in limited companies,
or to politicians in local and central government, or to trustees in not-
for-profit organizations. Along with the change team (see below) the
management team has a particular role to play within most change
scenarios, for it is its members who initiate and manage the implemen-
tation of change.

Change team

Change teams are often formed within organizations when a planned
or unplanned change of significant proportions is necessary. We have
separated out this type of team because of its special significance.
Sometimes the senior management team is called the change team,
responsible for directing and sponsoring the changes. Sometimes the
change team is a special project team set up to implement change. At
other times the change team is a parallel team, set up to tap into the
organization and be a conduit for feedback as to how the changes are
being received.

Obviously different organizations have different terminologies, so
what in one organization is called a project team delivering a change
will be a change team delivering a project in another organization.

More and more organizations also realize that the management of
change is more likely to succeed if attention is given to the people side of
change. Hence a parallel team drawn from representatives of the whole
workforce can be a useful adjunct in terms of assessing and responding
to the impact of the changes on people.

We see the change team as an important starting point in the change
process. Research by one of the authors (Green, 2007a) and Prosci (2003,
2007) suggests the criticality of a credible effective dedicated change
management team.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________



Rollin and Christine Glaser (1992) have identified five elements that
contribute to the level of a team’s effectiveness or ineffectiveness over
time. They are:

1 team mission, planning and goal setting;

2 team roles;

3 team operating processes;

4 team interpersonal relationships; and

5 inter-team relations.

If you can assess where a team is in terms of its ability to address these
five elements, you will discover what the team needs to do to develop
into a fully functioning team.

Team mission planning and goal setting

A number of studies have found that the most effective teams have a
strong sense of their purpose, organize their work around that purpose,
and plan and set goals in line with that purpose. Larson and LaFasto
(1989) report: ‘in every case, without exception, when an effectively func-
tioning team was identified, it was described by the respondent as having
a clear understanding of its objective’.

Clarity of objectives together with a common understanding and
agreement of these was seen to be key. In addition Locke and Latham
(1984) report that the very act of goal setting was a prime motivator

Q 2.4 Of the teams of which you are a member, which are more suitable

to lead change and which more suitable to implement change?
Justify your answer.

_______________________________________________________________ Team change


for the team; the more your team sets clear goals the more likely it is
to succeed. They also reported a 16 per cent average improvement in
effectiveness for teams that use goal setting as an integral part of team

Clear goals are even more important when teams are involved in
change, partly because unless they know where they are going they are
unlikely to get there, and partly because a strong sense of purpose can
mitigate some of the more harmful effects of change. The downside
occurs when a team rigidly adheres to its purpose when in fact the world
has moved on and other objectives are more appropriate.

Team roles

The best way for a team to achieve its goals is for the team to be structured
logically around those goals. Individual team members need to have
clear roles and accountabilities. They need to have a clear understanding
not only of what their individual role is, but also what the roles and
accountabilities of other team members are.

When change happens – within, to or by the team – clarity about
role has two useful functions. It provides a clear sense of purpose and it
provides a supportive framework for task accomplishment. However,
during change the situation becomes more fluid. Too much rigidity
results in tasks falling down the gaps between roles, or overlaps going
unnoticed. It might result in team members being less innovative or
proactive or courageous.

Team operating processes

A team needs to have certain enabling processes in place for people to
carry out their work together. Certain things are needed to allow the task
to be achieved in a way that is as efficient and as effective as possible.
Glaser and Glaser (1992) comment: ‘both participation in all of the pro-
cesses of the work group and the development of a collaborative approach
are at the heart of effective group work. Because of the tradition of auto-
cratic leadership, neither participation nor collaboration are natural or
automatic processes. Both require some learning and practice.’

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Typical areas that a team need actively to address by discussing and
agreeing include:

• frequency, timing and agenda of meetings;

• problem-solving and decision-making methodologies;

• groundrules;

• procedures for dealing with conflict when it occurs;

• reward mechanisms for individuals contributing to team goals;

• type and style of review process.

In the turbulence created by change, all these areas will come under
additional stress and strain, hence the need for processes to have been
discussed and agreed at an earlier stage. During times of change when
typically pressures and priorities can push people into silo mentality and
away from the team, the team operating processes can act like a lubricant,
enabling healthy team functioning to continue.

Team interpersonal relationships

The team members must actively communicate among themselves. To
achieve clear understanding of goals and roles, the team needs to work
together to agree and clarify them. Operating processes must also be
discussed and agreed.

To achieve this level of communication, the interpersonal relationships
within the team need to be in a relatively healthy state. Glaser and Glaser
(1992) found that the literature on team effectiveness ‘prescribes open
communication that is assertive and task focused, as well as creating
opportunities for giving and receiving feedback aimed at the develop-
ment of a high trust climate’.

In times of change, individual stress levels rise and there is a tendency
to focus more on the task than the people processes. High levels of
trust within a team are the bedrock for coping with conflict.

_______________________________________________________________ Team change


Inter-team relations

Teams cannot work in isolation with
any real hope of achieving their organ-
izational objectives. The nature of
organizations today – complex, sophis-
ticated and with increasing loose and
permeable boundaries – creates situ-
ations where a team’s goals can rarely
be achieved without input from and
output to others.

However smart a team has been in
addressing the previous four categor-
ies, the authors have found in con-
sulting with numerous organizations
that attention needs to be paid to inter-team relations now more than
ever before. This is because of the rise of strategic partnerships and global
organizations. Teams need to connect more. It is also because the envir-
onment is changing faster and is more complex, so keeping in touch with
information outside of your own team is a basic survival strategy.

Q 2.5 Using the five elements above, what is your current team


Q 2.6 What needs to change, and how would you go about it?


All teams go through a change process when they are first formed, and
when significant events occur such as a new member arriving, a key
member leaving, a change of scope, increased pressure from outside, or
a change in organizational climate.

Tuckman (1965) is one of the most widely quoted of researchers into
the linear model of team development. His work is regularly used in

Table 2.3 Effective and ineffective teams

Element Team mission,
planning and
goal setting

Team roles Team operating




Team more
and change

Clarity of goals
and clear
direction lead to
greater task
and increased

Clear roles and
and allow others
to work at their

Problem solving
and decision
making are
smoother and
enable task
without undue

Open data flow
and high levels
of team
working leading
to task
in a supportive

Working across
ensures that
goals are more
likely to be

Team less
and change

Lack of purpose
and unclear
goals result in
dissipation of
energy and

Unclear roles and
lead to increased
conflict and

increase time and
effort needed to
progress task

team working
causes tensions,
conflict, stress
and insufficient
focus on task

Teams working
in isolation or
against other
teams reduce the
likelihood of
goal achievement


_______________________________________________________________ Team change


team building within organizations. Most people will have heard of it as
the ‘forming, storming, norming, performing’ model of team develop-
ment. His basic premise is that any team will undergo distinct stages of
development as it works or struggles towards effective team functioning.
Although we will describe Tuckman’s model in some detail, we have
selected a range of models to illustrate the team development process, as
shown in Table 2.4.

Tuckman’s model of team change


Forming is the first stage.
This involves the team ask-
ing a set of fundamental

• What is our primary purpose?

• How do we structure ourselves as a team to achieve our purpose?

• What roles do we each have?

• Who is the leader?

• How will we work together?

• How will we relate together?

• What are the boundaries of the team?

(Bion’s insights – see below – refer to observed phenomena and do not
imply a sequence.)

If we were to take a logical rational view of the team we could imagine
that this could all be accomplished relatively easily and relatively pain-
lessly. And sometimes, on short projects with less than five team mem-
bers, it is. However, human beings are not completely logical rational
creatures, and sometimes this process is difficult. We all have emotions,
personalities, unique characteristics and personal motivations.

Table 2.4 Key attributes in the stages of team development


Forming Storming Norming Performing
Attempt at establishing
primary purpose,
structure, roles, leader,
task and process
relationships, and
boundaries of the team

Dealing with arising
conflicts surrounding
key questions from
forming stage

Settling down of team
dynamic and stepping into
team norms and agreed
ways of working

Team is now ready
and enabled to focus
primarily on its task
while attending to
individual and team
maintenance needs

and Faris

Structuralism Unrest Change Integration
Attempt to recreate
previous power within
new team structures

Attempt to resolve
power and interpersonal

Roles emerge based on task
and people needs
Sense of team emerges

Team purpose and
structure emerge and
accepted, action
towards team goals


Preaffiliation Power and control Intimacy Differentiation
Sense of unease, unsure
of team engagement,
which is superficial

Focus on who has power
and authority within the
Attempt to define roles

Team begins to commit to
task and engage with one

Ability to be clear about
individual roles and
interactions become

Scott Peck

Pseudocommunity Chaos Emptiness Community
Members try to fake

Attempt to establish
pecking order and team

Giving up of expectations,
assumptions and hope of
achieving anything

Acceptance of each
other and focus on
the task


In or out Top or bottom Near or far
Members decide whether they
are part of the team or not

Focus on who has power and
authority within the team

Finding levels of commitment and
engagement within their roles

Hill and

Orientation Exploration Production
Structure sought Exploration around team roles

and relations
Clarity of team roles and team

Bion (1961) Dependency Fight or flight Pairing
Team members invest the leaders
with all the power and authority

Team members challenge the
leaders or other members
Team members withdraw

Team members form pairings in an
attempt to resolve their anxieties


_______________________________________________________________ Team change


As we saw when we were exploring individual change, human beings
react to change in different ways. And the formation of a new team is
about individuals adjusting to change in their own individual ways.

Initially the questions may be answered in rather a superficial fashion.
The primary task of the team might be that which was written down in a
memo from the departmental head, along with the structure they first
thought of. The leader might typically have been appointed beforehand
and ‘imposed’ upon the team. Individuals’ roles are agreed to in an initial
and individual cursory meeting with the team leader.

The team may agree to relate via a set of ground rules using words
that nobody could possibly object to, but nobody knows what they
really mean in practice: ‘be honest’, ‘team before self’, ‘have fun’, and
so on.


Tuckman’s next stage is storming. This is a description of the dynamic
that occurs when a team of individuals come together to work on a
common task, and have passed through the phase of being nice to one
another and not voicing their individual concerns. This dynamic occurs
as the team strives or struggles to answer fully the questions postulated
in the forming stage.

Statements articulated (or left unsaid) in some fashion or form might
include ones such as:

• I don’t think we should be aiming for that.

• This structure hasn’t taken account of this.

• There are rather a lot of grey areas in our individual accountabilities.

• Why was he appointed as team leader when he hasn’t done this

• I don’t know whether I can work productively with these people.

• How can we achieve our goals without the support from others in
the organization?

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


An alternative word to storming is ‘testing’. Individuals and the team as a
whole are testing out the assumptions that had been made when the team
was originally formed. Obviously different teams will experience this stage
with different degrees of intensity, but important points to note here are:

• It is a natural part of the process.

• It is a healthy part of the process.

• It is an important part of the process.

The storming phase – if successfully traversed – will achieve clarity on
all the fundamental questions of the first phase, and enable common
understanding of purpose and roles to be achieved. In turn it allows
the authority of the team leader to be seen and acknowledged, and it
allows everyone to take up his or her rightful place within the team. It
also gives team members a sense of the way things will happen within the
team. It becomes a template for future ways of acting, problem solving,
decision making and relating.


The third stage of team development occurs when the team finally settles
down into working towards achievement of its task without too much
attention needed on the fundamental questions. As further challenges
develop, or as individuals grow further into their roles, then further
scrutiny of the fundamental questions may happen. They may be dis-
cussed, but if they instead remain hidden beneath the surface this can
result in loss of attention on the primary task.

Tuckman suggests in his review of the research that this settling pro-
cess can be relatively straightforward and sequential. The team moves
through the storming phase into a way of working that establishes team
norms. It can also be more sporadic and turbulent, with the team needing
further storming before team norms are established. Indeed some readers
might have experienced teams that permanently move back and forth
between the norming and storming stages – a clear signal that some team
issues are not being surfaced and dealt with.

_______________________________________________________________ Team change



The final stage of team development is performing. The team has success-
fully traversed the three previous stages and therefore has clarity about
its purpose, its structure and its roles. It has engaged in a rigorous process
of working out how it should work and relate together, and is comfort-
able with the team norms it has established. Not only has the team
worked these things through, but it has embodied them as a way of work-
ing. It has developed a capacity to change and develop, and has learnt
how to learn.

The team can quite fruitfully get on with the task in hand and attend
to individual and team needs at the same time.


A fifth stage was later added that acknowledged that teams do not last
for ever. This stage represents the period when the team’s task has
been completed and team members disperse. Some practitioners call this
stage mourning, highlighting the emotional component. Others call it
transforming as team members develop other ways of working.



Ralph Stacey, in his book Strategic Management and Organisational
Dynamics (1993), describes what happens when a group is brought
together to study the experience of being in a group, without any further
task and without an appointed leader. Known as a Group Relations
Conference and run by the Tavistock Institute in London, this process
involves a consultant who forms part of the group to offer views on the
group process but otherwise takes no conscious part in the activity. This:

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


always provokes high levels of anxiety in the participants … which …
find expression in all manner of strange behaviours. Group discussions
take on a manic form with asinine comments and hysterical laughter …
the participants attack the visiting consultant … becoming incredibly
rude ….

Members try to replace the non-functioning consultant … but they rarely
seem to be successful in this endeavour. They begin to pick on an
individual, usually some highly individualistic or minority member of the
group, and then treat this person as some kind of scapegoat. They all
become very concerned with remaining part of the group, greatly fearing
exclusion. They show strong tendencies to conform to rapidly established
group norms and suppress their individual differences, perhaps they are
afraid of becoming the scapegoat … the one thing they hardly do at all is
to examine the behaviour they are indulging in, the task they have actually
been given.

The situation described in the box offers a way of exploring some of the
unconscious group processes that are at work just below the surface.
These are not always visible in more conventional team situations. The
work of Bion (1961) and Scott Peck (1990) is useful to illuminate some of
the phenomena that can be observed and experienced in groups, and
highlight the challenges for leaders.

Moving through dependency

In any team formation the first thing people look for is someone to tell
them what to do. This is a perfectly natural phenomenon, given that
many people will want to get on with the task and many people will
believe someone else knows what the task is and how it should be

In any unfamiliar situation or environment people can become
dependent. Jon Stokes (in Obholzer and Roberts, 1994) describes what
Bion observed in his experience with groups and called basic group

_______________________________________________________________ Team change


a group dominated by basic assumption of dependency behaves as if its
primary task is solely to provide for the satisfaction of the needs and wishes
of its members. The leader is expected to look after, protect and sustain the
members of the group, to make them feel good, and not to face them with
the demands of the group’s real purpose.

The job of the leader, and indeed the group, is not only to establish leader-
ship credibility and accountability but to establish its limits. This will
imbue the rest of the team with sufficient power for them to accomplish
their tasks. The leader can do this by modelling the taking of individual
responsibility and empowering others to do the same, and by ensuring
that people are oriented in the right direction and have a common under-
standing of team purpose and objectives.

Moving through conflict

Bion’s second assumption is labelled fight or flight. Bion (1961) says:

There is a danger or ‘enemy’, which should either be attacked or fled from
… members look to the leader to devise some appropriate action … for
instance, instead of considering how best to organize its work, a team may
spend most of the time worrying about rumours of organizational change.
This provides a sense of togetherness, whilst also serving to avoid facing the
difficulties of the work itself. Alternatively, such a group may spend its time
protesting angrily, without actually planning any specific action to deal with
the perceived threat.

The threat might not necessarily be coming from outside, but instead
might be an externalization – or projection – from the team. The real
threat is from within, and the potential for conflict is between the leader
and the rest of the team, and between team members themselves. Issues
about power and authority and where people sit in the ‘pecking order’
may surface at this stage.

The leadership task here is to surface any of these dynamics and work
them through, either by the building of trust and the frank, open and
honest exchange of views, or by seeking clarity and gaining agreement
on roles and responsibilities.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Moving towards creativity

The third assumption that Bion explored was that of pairing. This is:

based on the collective and unconscious belief that, whatever the actual
problems and needs of the group, a future event will solve them. The group
behaves as if pairing or coupling between two members within the group,
or perhaps between the leaders of the group and some external person,
will bring about salvation … the group is in fact not interested in working
practically towards this future, but only sustaining a vague sense of hope
as a way out of its current difficulties … members are inevitably left with a
sense of disappointment and failure, which is quickly superseded by a hope
that the next meeting will be better.

Once again there is a preoccupation. This time it is about creating some-
thing new, but in a fantasized or unreal way, as a defence against doing
anything practical or actually performing. The antidote of course is for the
leader to encourage the team members to continue in their endeavours
and to take personal responsibility for moving things on. Collaborative
working requires greater openness of communication and data flow.

Moving through cohesion and cosiness

Turquet (1974) has added a fourth assumption, labelled ‘oneness’. This is
where the team seems to believe it has come together almost for a higher
purpose, or with a higher force, so the members can lose themselves in a
sense of complete unity.

There are parallels to the stage of performing but somehow, once again,
the team has fallen into an unconscious detraction from the primary task
in hand. Attainment of a sense of oneness, cohesiveness or indeed cosi-
ness is not the purpose the team set out to achieve. Good and close team-
working is often essential and can be individually satisfying, but it is
not the purpose. Too much focus on team cohesion can lead to abdication
from the task, and is only a stage on the way to full teamworking. The
goal is interdependent working co-existing with collaborative problem
solving. This requires the leader to set the scene and the pace, and team
members to act with maturity.

_______________________________________________________________ Team change


See Chapter 4 for more ideas on leading change.

Q 2.7 Imagine that you are one of a team of five GPs working at a local

practice. You want to initiate some changes in the way the team
approaches non-traditional medical approaches such as coun-
selling, homeopathy and osteopathy. The GPs meet monthly for
one hour to discuss finances and review medical updates. They
do not really know each other well or work together on patient
care. There is no real team leader, although the Practice Manager
takes the lead when the group discusses administration.

Using one of the models of team development described above,
explain how you could lead the team towards a new way of
working together. What obstacles to progress do you predict, and
how might you deal with them?


Here we use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™ to see how individual
personalities might influence and be influenced by the team. We also use
Meredith Belbin’s (1981) research into team types to indicate what types
of individuals best make up an effective team.

MBTI™ and teams

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™ suggests that if you are a particular
type you have particular preferences and are different from other people
of different types (see Table 1.5 for MBTI™ types). This means that when
it comes to change, people with different preferences react differently to
change, both when they initiate it and when they are on the receiving
end of it. This is also true when you are a member of a team. Different
people will bring their individual preferences to the table and behave in
differing ways.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ ‘Let’s think ahead’

‘Let’s just do it’ ‘Let’s change it’

When undergoing team change, individual team members will typically
react in one of four ways (see the four illustrations):

• Some will want to ascertain the difference between what should
be preserved and what could be changed. There will be things they
want to keep.

_______________________________________________________________ Team change


• Some will think long and hard about the changes that will emerge
internally from their visions of the future. They will be intent on
thinking about the changes differently.

• Some will be keen to move things on by getting things to run more effec-
tively and efficiently. They will be most interested in doing things now.

• Some will be particularly inventive and want to try something
different or novel. They will be all for changing things.

The use of MBTI™, or any other personality-profiling instrument, can
have specific benefits when teams are experiencing or managing change.
It can identify where individuals and the team itself might have strengths
to be capitalized on, and where it might have weaknesses that need to
be supported.

Behaviours exhibited by team members will run ‘true to type’, so know-
ing your preferences and those of the rest of the team will help aid under-
standing. It is also true that different team tasks might be suitable for
different types – either because they are best matched or because it pro-
vides a development opportunity. Surfacing differences helps individuals
see things from the other person’s perspective, and adds to the effective
use of diversity within the team.

Researching in the health care industry, McCaulley (1975) made the
point that similarity and difference within teams can have both advan-
tages and disadvantages:

• The more similar the team members are, the sooner they will reach
common understanding.

• The more disparate the team members, the longer it takes for under-
standing to occur.

• The more similar the team members, the quicker the decision will be
made, but the greater the possibility of error through exclusion of
some possibilities.

• The more disparate the team members, the longer the decision-
making process will be, but the more views and opinions will be taken
into account.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


McCaulley also recognized that teams valuing different types can ultim-
ately experience less conflict.

A particular case worth mentioning is the management team.
Management teams both in the United States and the United Kingdom
are skewed from the natural distribution of Myers-Briggs types within the
whole population. Typically they are composed of fewer people of the
feeling types and fewer people of the perceiving types. This means that
management teams, when making decisions about change, are more
likely to put emphasis on the business case for change, and less likely
to think or worry about the effect on people. You can see the result of
this in most change programmes in most organizations. They are also
more likely to want to close things down, having made a decision, rather
than keep their options open – thus excluding the possibility of enhanc-
ing and improving on the changes or responding to feedback.

There are some simple reminders of the advantages and disadvantages
of the preferences for teams making decisions about managing change
within organizations listed in Table 2.5.

Belbin’s team types

What people characteristics need to be present for a team to function
effectively? Belbin (1981) has been researching this question for a number
of years. The purpose of his research was to see whether high and low
performing teams had certain characteristics. He looked at team members
and found that in the higher performing teams, members played a role or
number of roles. Any teams without members playing one of these roles
would be more likely to perform at a lower level of effectiveness. (Of
course different situations require certain different emphases.) He identi-
fied the roles shown in Table 2.6, with their contributions and allowable

Q 2.8 What team role(s) are you likely to use?

Q 2.9 What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of the eight

_______________________________________________________________ Team change


Table 2.5 Complementarity and conflict in teams

Needed to raise energy,
show enthusiasm, make
contacts and take action.

But they can appear
superficial, intrusive and


draw their

energy from

Needed for thinking
things through and

depth of understanding.
But can appear

withdrawn, cold and

Needed to base ideas

firmly in reality and be
practical and pragmatic.

Can appear rather
mundane and


What an
individual pays
attention to or

how he/she
receives data

and information

Needed to prepare for

the future and generate
innovative solutions.

Can appear to have head
in the clouds, impractical

and implausible.

Needed to balance

benefits against the costs
and make tough

Can appear rather

critical and insensitive.

How an


Needed to be in touch

with emotional
intelligence, to negotiate

and to reconcile.
Can appear irrational

and too emotional.

Needed for his/her

organization and ability
to complete things and

see them through.
Can appear overly rigid

and immovable.

What sort of
lifestyle an


Needed for his/her

flexibility, adaptability and
information gathering.

Can appear rather
unorganized and

somewhat irresponsible.

Belbin concluded that if teams were formed with individuals’ preferences
and working styles in mind, they would have a better chance of team
cohesion and work-related goal achievement. Teams need to contain a
good spread of Belbin team types.

Table 2.6 Belbin team-role summary sheet

_______________________________________________________________ Team change


Different teams might need different combinations of roles. Marketing
and design teams probably need more Plants, while project implemen-
tation teams need Implementers and Completer Finishers. Likewise, the
lack of a particular team type can be an issue. A management team
without a Co-ordinator or Shaper would have problems. An implementa-
tion team without a Complete Finisher might also struggle.


Throughout the last decades of the 20th century many organizations
repeated the mantra, ‘people are our greatest assets’, and many would
then apologize profusely when they were forced into downsizing or
‘rightsizing’ the workforce. Similarly, many organizations have sung the
praises of teams and how essential they are within the modern organiza-
tion. Many organizations have sets of competences or stated values that
implicitly and explicitly pronounce that their employees need to work in
the spirit of teamwork and partnership.

It was therefore interesting for the authors to discover that there was
a real lack of any authoritative research on the interplay between organ-
izational change and teamworking. We have seen the effect that change
has on individuals and groups of individuals, but what has not been
studied is the effect of change on teams. And as a consequence there is
very little research on strategies for managing and leading teams through
organizational change.

Whelan-Berry and Gordon (2000), in their research into effective organ-
izational change, conducted a multi-level analysis of the organizational
change process. To quote them:

they found no change process models at the group or team level of analysis
in the organization studies and change literature. Literature exists which
explores different aspects of team or group development, team or group
effectiveness, implementation of specific interventions, and organizational
and individual aspects of the change, but not a group/team change process
model … the lack of change process models for the team or group level

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


change process in the context of organizational change leaves a major
portion of the organizational change process unclear.

They continue:

The primary focus of existing organizational change models is what to do as
opposed to explaining or predicting the change process. Most of the models
implicitly, and a few explicitly, acknowledge, the inherent (sub) processes of
group level and individual level change, but do not include the details of
these processes in the model. The question is how does the change process
vary when considered across levels of analysis? For example, how does a
vision get ‘translated,’ that is, take on meaning, in each location or depart-
ment? In addition, what happens at the point of implementation? We must
‘double click’ at the point of implementation in the organizational level
change process; that is, we must look at the group and individual levels
and their respective change processes to understand the translation and
implementation of the organizational level change vision and desired change
outcomes to group and subsequently to individual meanings, frameworks,
and behaviours.

Table 2.7 examines each type of team
previously identified and looks at the way
in which this type of team can impact
or react to organizational change. We also
look at the pros and cons of each team
type when involved in an organizational
change process.

Team development processes are dis-
turbed in times of change. An external event can shift a performing team
back into the storming stage. Only teams that are quite remote from the
changes can simply incorporate a new scope or a new set of values and
remain relatively untouched.

Table 2.7 Teams going through change

Team type Group Work Parallel Project Matrix

Propensity to
initiate change

Dependent on
nature and
of group

Limited Limited in terms of
organizational impact

Potentially high
depending on integration
into organization

Fair given
propensity to
address change

Propensity to
adapt to

Dependent on
purpose and
of group

Dependent on
team members
and team

Dependent on
purpose and team

Theoretically high.
Good for limited changes
in scope but not total

Dependent on
degree of enabling
or disabling

during change

Difficult to get

Good at
once it is clear

Good for pilot

Good focus for specific
implementation goals

Flexible, so good
for initiating ideas

during change

Useful for
coming up
with out-of-
the-box ideas

Does not like
change too

Can become alienated
through failure, or
through boasting
about success

Not good for tackling
complex topics such as
values or leadership

sometimes not
clear, so discussion
can go on for ever

Advice for

Good for
ideas and
the word

Need to involve
the leaders or
shapers of these
teams early –
especially if
you need their
rather than

Useful for starting
things up and
proving an idea.
Do not let members
become too isolated.
Encourage them to
link in with the
outside world

Good for short-range tasks
such as appointing
consultants or researching
techniques. Not good for
the complex stuff.
Do not be tempted to give
complex issues like
‘improve communication’
to a project team

Good for initiating
ideas and
spreading the


Team type Virtual Network Management Change

Propensity to
initiate change

Limited unless project

Potentially large
depending on nature and
composition of group

Theoretically and practically high.
Typically should be the team that
initiates change

Raison d’être

Propensity to
adapt to

Dependent on purpose
and team members

Dependent on purpose
and team members

Theoretically and practically high.
Sometimes will have difficulty
adapting to others’ change

Theoretically and
practically high

during change

Brings disparate groups
together if tightly

Wide reaching, so good
for sharing sense of
purpose and sense of

Powerful, so makes an impact Has increased
energy and sense of
purpose because it
was set up to make
change happen

during change

Lack of cohesion means
purpose may be
misunderstood and
important issues are not

Not good for monitoring
implementation because
of lack of process and

Often resistant to changing
through lack of time or lack of
teamwork, so role modelling of
desired changes can be weak.
Focus on events after the launch
often poor due to packed agenda
and belief that it will all happen

Not impactful if it
lacks influence
(presence of
powerful people)

Advice for

Involve the key virtual
teams early especially
the leaders and shapers,
but do not expect them
to implement anything

Good for initiating ideas
and spreading the word

Do something surprising yourself
if you want your management
team to change the way it works.
Insist on role-modelling.
Keep your eye on the ball
because there will be problems

Recruit powerful
Work on alignment
Ensure resources

Table 2.7 continued


_______________________________________________________________ Team change



• Groups and teams are different, with different characteristics and
different reasons for existing.

• Teams are important in organizational life for accomplishing large or
complex tasks.

• Teamwork is important for management teams when they work on
risky issues that require them to share views and align.

• There are many different types of organizational team, each with
significant benefits and downsides.

• Teams can become more effective by addressing five elements:
– team mission, planning and goal setting;
– team roles;
– team operating processes;
– team interpersonal relationships;
– inter-team relations.

• Teams develop over time. Tuckman’s forming, storming, norming
and performing model is useful for understanding this process.

• The team development process involves different leadership chal-
lenges at each stage.

• Bion’s work highlights four possible pitfalls that need to be worked

– dependency;
– fight or flight;
– pairing; and
– oneness.

• The composition of a team is an important factor in determining how
it can be successful. Belbin says that well-rounded teams are best.
Deficiencies in a certain type can cause problems.

• The Myers-Briggs profile allows mutual understanding of team
member’s preferences for initiating or adapting to change.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


• Belbin’s team types offer a way of analysing a team’s fitness for
purpose and encouraging team members to do something about any
significant gaps.

• Leaders need to be aware of the types of team available during a
change process, and how to manage these most effectively.

Below is a summary checklist of the key questions you need to be asking
and answering before, during and after the change process:

• Where are the teams affected by the change process?

• What types of team are they and how might they respond to change?

• What do they need to be supported through the change process?

• How can we best use them throughout the change process?

• What additional types of team do we need for designing and imple-
menting the changes?

• As all teams go through the transition, what resources shall we offer
to ensure they achieve their objectives of managing business as usual
and the changes?

• How do we ensure that teams that are dispersing, forming, inte-
grating or realigning stay on task?

• What organizational process do we have for ensuring teams are clear
about their:

– mission, planning and goal setting;
– roles and responsibilities
– operating processes;
– interpersonal relationships;
– inter-team relations?


Organizational change

This chapter tackles the issue of organizational change. How does the
process of organizational change happen? Must change be initiated and
driven through by one strong individual? Or can it be planned collec-
tively by a powerful group of people and, by sheer momentum, the
change will happen? Perhaps there is a more intellectual approach that
can be taken. Are there pay-offs to understanding the whole system,
determining how to change it, and predicting where resistance will
occur? On the other hand, maybe change cannot be planned at all.
Something unpredictable could spark a change, which then spreads in
a natural way.

This chapter addresses the topic of organizational change in three

1 how organizations really work;

2 models and approaches to organizational change; and

3 summary and conclusions.


The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


In the first section we look at assumptions about how organizations work
in terms of the metaphors that are most regularly used to describe them.
This is an important starting point for those who are serious about organ-
izational change. Once you become aware of the range of assumptions
that shape people’s attitudes to and understanding of organizations, you
can take advantage of the possibilities of other ways of looking at things,
and you can begin to understand how other people in your organization
may view the world. You can also begin to see the limitations of each
mindset and the disadvantages of taking a one-dimensional approach
to organizational change.

In the second section, we set out a range of useful models and ideas
developed by some of the most significant writers on organizational
change. This section aims to illustrate the variety of ways in which you
can view the process of organizational change. We also make sense of the
different models and approaches by identifying the assumptions under-
pinning each one. When you understand the assumptions behind a
model, you can start to see its benefits and limitations.

In the third section, we come to some conclusions about organizational
change, and stress the importance of being aware of underlying assump-
tions and having the flexibility to employ a range of different approaches.


We all have our own assumptions about how organizations work, devel-
oped through a combination of experience and education. The use of
metaphor is an important way in which we express these assumptions.
Some people talk about organizations as if they were machines. This
metaphor leads to talk of organizational structures, job design and pro-
cess reengineering. Others describe organizations as political systems.
They describe the organization as a seething web of political intrigue
where coalitions are formed and power rules supreme. They talk about
hidden agendas, opposing factions and political manoeuvring.

Gareth Morgan’s (1986) work on organizational metaphors is a good
starting point for understanding the different beliefs and assumptions
about change that exist. He says:

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


Metaphor gives us the opportunity to stretch our thinking and deepen our
understanding, thereby allowing us to see things in new ways and act in new
ways … Metaphor always creates distortions too … We have to accept that
any theory or perspective that we bring to the study of organization and
management, while capable of creating valuable insights, is also incomplete,
biased, and potentially misleading.

Morgan identifies eight organizational metaphors:

1 machines;

2 organisms;

3 brains;

4 cultures;

5 political systems;

6 psychic prisons;

7 flux and transformation; and

8 instruments of domination.

We have selected four of Morgan’s organizational metaphors to explore
the range of assumptions that exists about how organizational change
works. These are the four that we see in use most often by managers,
writers and consultants, and that appear to us to provide the most useful
insights into the process of organizational change. These are:

• organizations as machines;

• organizations as political systems;

• organizations as organisms;

• organizations as flux and transformation.

Descriptions of these different organizational metaphors appear below.
See also Table 3.1, which sets out how change might be approached using

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


the four different metaphors. In reality most organizations use combina-
tions of approaches to tackle organizational change, but it is useful to pull
the metaphors apart to see the difference in the activities resulting from
different ways of thinking.

Table 3.1 Four different approaches to the change process

Metaphor How change is tackled Who is


Machine Senior managers define targets
and timescale. Consultants
advise on techniques. Change
programme is rolled out from
the top down. Training is given
to bridge behaviour gap.


Change must be
Resistance can
be managed.
Targets set at
the start of the
process define
the direction.


A powerful group of individuals
builds a new coalition with new
guiding principles. There are
debates, manoeuvrings and
negotiations which eventually
leads to the new coalition either
winning or losing.
Change then ensues as new
people are in power with new
views and new ways of
allocating scarce resources.
Those around them position
themselves to be winners rather
than losers.

Those with

There will be
winners and
Change requires
new coalitions
and new

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


Metaphor How change is tackled Who is


Organisms There is first a research phase
where data is gathered on the
relevant issue (customer
feedback, employee survey etc).
Next the data is presented to
those responsible for making
changes. There is discussion
about what the data means, and
then what needs to be done.
A solution is collaboratively
designed and moved towards,
with maximum participation.
Training and support are given
to those who need to make
significant changes.


There must be
participation and
and an
awareness of the
need for change.
The change is
designed as a
response to
changes in the
People need to
be supported
through change.

Flux and

The initial spark of change is an
emerging topic. This is a topic
that is starting to appear on
everyone’s agenda, or is being
talked about over coffee.
Someone with authority takes
the initiative to create a
discussion forum. The discussion
is initially fairly unstructured,
but well facilitated. Questions
asked might be ‘Why have you
come?’ ‘What is the real issue?’,
‘How would we like things to
be?’ The discussion involves
anyone who has the energy to
be interested.
A plan for how to handle the
issue emerges from a series of
discussions. More people are
brought into the net.

Someone with
authority to act

Change cannot
be managed;
it emerges.
Conflict and
tension give rise
to change.
Managers are
part of the
Their job is to
highlight gaps

Gareth Morgan’s metaphors used with permission of Sage Publications Inc.

Table 3.1 continued

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________



The new organizational structure represents an injection of fresh skills into the
Marketing Function.

Fred Smart will now head up the implementation of the Marketing Plan,
which details specific investment in marketing skills training and IT systems.
We intend to fill the identified skills gaps and to upgrade our customer
databases and market intelligence databank. A focus on following correct
marketing procedures will ensure consistent delivery of well-targeted
brochures and advertising campaigns.

MD, Engineering Company

Organizations as machines

The machine metaphor is a well-used one
that is worth revisiting to examine its impli-
cations for organizational change. Gareth
Morgan says, ‘When we think of organiza-
tions as machines, we begin to see them as
rational enterprises designed and structured
to achieve predetermined ends.’ This picture
of an organization implies routine operations,
well-defined structure and job roles, and

efficient working inside and between the working parts of the machine
(the functional areas). Procedures and standards are clearly defined, and
are expected to be adhered to.

Many of the principles behind this mode of organizing are deeply
ingrained in our assumptions about how organizations should work. This
links closely into behaviourist views of change and learning (see descrip-
tion of behavioural approach to change in Chapter 1). The key beliefs are:

• each employee should have only one line manager;

• labour should be divided into specific roles;

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


• each individual should be managed by objectives;

• teams represent no more than the summation of individual efforts;

• management should control and there should be employee discipline.

This leads to the following assumptions about organizational change:

• The organization can be changed to an agreed end state by those in
positions of authority.

• There will be resistance, and this needs to be managed.

• Change can be executed well if it is well planned and well controlled.

What are the limitations of this metaphor? The mechanistic view leads
managers to design and run the organization as if it were a machine. This
approach works well in stable situations, but when the need for a signi-
ficant change arises, this will be seen and experienced by employees as a
major overhaul that is usually highly disruptive and therefore encounters
resistance. Change when approached with these assumptions is therefore
hard work. It will necessitate strong management action, inspirational
vision, and control from the top down. (See the works of Frederick Taylor
and Henri Fayol if you wish to examine further some of the original
thinking behind this metaphor.)

Organizations as political systems

When we see organizations as political systems we are
drawing clear parallels between how organizations
are run and systems of political rule. We may refer to
‘democracies’, ‘autocracy’ or even ‘anarchy’ to describe
what is going on in a particular organization. Here we
are describing the style of power rule employed in that

The political metaphor is useful because it recognizes
the important role that power-play, competing interests
and conflict have in organizational life. Gareth Morgan

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


comments: ‘Many people hold the belief that business and politics should
be kept apart … But the person advocating the case of employee rights or
industrial democracy is not introducing a political issue so much as argu-
ing for a different approach to a situation that is already political.’

The key beliefs are:

• You can’t stay out of organizational politics: you’re already in it.

• Building support for your approach is essential if you want to make
anything happen.

• You need to know who is powerful, and who they are close to.

• There is an important political map that overrides the published
organizational structure.

• Coalitions between individuals are more important than work teams.

• The most important decisions in an organization concern the alloca-
tion of scarce resources, that is: who gets what, and these are reached
through bargaining, negotiating and vying for position.

This leads to the following assumptions about organizational change:

• The change will not work unless it’s supported by a powerful

• The wider the support for this change, the better.

• It is important to understand the political map, and to understand
who will be winners and losers as a result of this change.

• Positive strategies include creating new coalitions and renegotiating

What are the limitations of this metaphor? The disadvantage of using this
metaphor to the exclusion of others is that it can lead to the potentially
unnecessary development of complex Machiavellian strategies, with an
assumption that in any organizational endeavour, there are always win-
ners and losers. This can turn organizational life into a political war zone.

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


(See Pfeiffer’s book, Managing with Power: Politics and influence in organiza-
tions (1992) to explore this metaphor further.)

Organizations as organisms

This metaphor of organizational life sees the organization as a living,
adaptive system. Gareth Morgan says: ‘The metaphor suggests that dif-
ferent environments favour different species of organizations based on
different methods of organizing … congruence with the environment is
the key to success.’ For instance, in stable environments a more rigid
bureaucratic organization would prosper. In more fluid, changing envir-
onments a looser, less structured type of organization would be more
likely to survive.

This metaphor represents the organization as an
‘open system’. Organizations are seen as sets of
interrelated sub-systems designed to balance the
requirements of the environment with internal
needs of groups and individuals. This approach
implies that when designing organizations, we
should always do this with the environment in
mind. Emphasis is placed on scanning the environ-
ment and developing a healthy adaptation to the
outside world. Individual, group and organiza-
tional health and happiness are essential ingredients of this metaphor.
The assumption is that if the social needs of individuals and groups in the
organization are met, and the organization is well designed to meet the
needs of the environment, there is more likelihood of healthy adaptive
functioning of the whole system (socio-technical systems).

The key beliefs are:

• There is no ‘one best way’ to design or manage an organization.

• The flow of information between different parts of the systems and its
environment is key to the organization’s success.

• It is important to maximize the fit between individual, team and
organizational needs.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


This leads to the following assumptions about organizational change:

• Changes are made only in response to changes in the external envir-
onment (rather than using an internal focus).

• Individuals and groups need to be psychologically aware of the need
for change in order to adapt.

• The response to a change in the environment can be designed and
worked towards.

• Participation and psychological support are necessary strategies for

What are the limitations of this metaphor? The idea of the organization
as an adaptive system is flawed. The organization is not really just an
adaptive unit, at the mercy of its environment. It can in reality shape the
environment by collaborating with communities or with other organiza-
tions, or by initiating a new product or service that may change the envir-
onment in a significant way. In addition, the idealized view of coherence
and flow between functions and departments is often unrealistic.
Sometimes different parts of the organization run independently, and
do so for good reason. For example the research department might run
in a very different way to and entirely separately from the production

The other significant limitation of this view is noted by Morgan, and
concerns the danger that this metaphor becomes an ideology. The result-
ing ideology says that individuals should be fully integrated with the
organization. This means that work should be designed so that people
can fulfil their personal needs through the organization. This can then
become a philosophical bone of contention between ‘believers’ (often,
but not always the HR Department) and ‘non-believers’ (often, but
not always, the business directors). (See Burns and Stalker’s book The
Management of Innovation (1961) for the original thinking behind this

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


Organizations as flux and transformation

Viewing organizations as flux and transformation takes us into areas
such as complexity, chaos and paradox. This view of organizational life
sees the organization as part of the environment, rather than as distinct
from it. So instead of viewing the organization as a separate system that
adapts to the environment, this metaphor allows us to look at organiza-
tions as simply part of the ebb and flow of the whole environment, with
a capacity to self-organize, change and self-renew in line with a desire to
have a certain identity.

This metaphor is the only one that
begins to shed some light on how
change happens in a turbulent
world. This view implies that man-
agers can nudge and shape progress,
but cannot ever be in control of
change. Gareth Morgan says: ‘In
complex systems no one is ever in a
position to control or design system
operations in a comprehensive way. Form emerges. It cannot be imposed.’

The key beliefs are:

• Order naturally emerges out of chaos.

• Organizations have a natural capacity to self-renew.

• Organizational life is not governed by the rules of cause and effect.

• Key tensions are important in the emergence of new ways of doing

• The formal organizational structure (teams, hierarchies) only repre-
sents one of many dimensions of organizational life.

This leads to the following assumptions about organizational change:

• Change cannot be managed. It emerges.

• Managers are not outside the systems they manage. They are part
of the whole environment.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


• Tensions and conflicts are an important feature of emerging change.

• Managers act as enablers. They enable people to exchange views and
focus on significant differences.

What are the limitations of this metaphor? This metaphor is disturbing for
both managers and consultants. It does not lead to an action plan, or a
process flow diagram, or an agenda to follow. Other metaphors of change
appear to allow you to predict the process of change before it happens
(although we believe that this is illusory!). With the flux and transfor-
mation metaphor, order emerges as you go along, and can only be made
sense of during or after the event. This can lead to a sense of powerless-
ness that is disconcerting, but probably realistic! (See Chapter 10 on
complex change for further reading on this metaphor.)

Q 3.1 Which view of organizational life is most prevalent in your


What are the implications of this for the organization’s ability to

Q 3.2 Which view are you most drawn to personally?

What are the implications for you as a leader of change?

Q 3.3 Which views are being espoused here? (See A, B, C and D.)

A: All staff memo from management team

The whole organization is encountering a range of difficult environmental
issues, such as increased demand from our customers for faster delivery and
higher quality, more legislation in key areas of our work, and rapidly devel-
oping competition in significant areas.

Please examine the attached information regarding the above (customer
satisfaction data, benchmarking data vs competitors, details of new legisla-
tion) and start working in your teams on what this means for you, and how
you might respond to these pressures.

________________________________________________________ Organizational change



Now that we have set the backdrop to organizational behaviour and our
assumptions about how things really work, let us now examine ways of

The whole company will gather together in October of this year to begin
to move forward with our ideas, and to strive for some alignment between
different parts of the organization. We will present the management’s vision
and decide on some concrete first steps.

B: E-mail from CEO

A number of people have spoken to me recently about their discomfort with
the way we are tackling our biggest account. This seems to be an important
issue for a lot of people. If you are interested in tackling this one, please
come to an open discussion session in the Atrium on Tuesday between
10.00 and 12.00 where we will start to explore this area of discomfort. Let
Sarah know if you intend to come.

C: E-mail from one manager to another

John seems to be in cahoots with Sarah on this issue. If we want their support
for our plans we need to reshape our agenda to include their need for extra
resource in the operations team. I will have a one-to-one with Sarah to
check out her viewpoint. Perhaps you can speak to John.

Our next step should be to talk this through with the key players on the
Executive Board and negotiate the necessary investment.

D: Announcement from MD

As you may know, consultants have been working with us to design our new
objective-setting process, which is now complete. This will be rolled out
starting 1 May 2011 starting with senior managers and cascading to team

The instructions for objective setting are very clear. Answers to frequently
asked questions will appear on the company website next week.

This should all be working smoothly by end of May 2011.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


looking at organizational change as represented by the range of models
and approaches developed by the key authors in this field. Table 3.2 links
Gareth Morgan’s organizational metaphors with the models of and
approaches to change discussed below.

Table 3.2 Models of change and their associated metaphors

Model or approach Machine Political

Organism Flux and


Lewin, three-step model ✓ ✓

Bullock and Batten,
planned change

Kotter, eight steps ✓ ✓ ✓

Beckhard and Harris,
change formula

Nadler and Tushman,
congruence model

✓ ✓

William Bridges, managing
the transition

✓ ✓ ✓

Carnall, change
management model

✓ ✓

Senge, systemic model ✓ ✓ ✓

Stacey and Shaw, complex
responsive processes

✓ ✓

Lewin, three-step model: organism, machine

Kurt Lewin (1951) developed his ideas about organizational change from
the perspective of the organism metaphor. His model of organizational

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


change is well known and much quoted by managers today. Lewin is
responsible for introducing force field analysis, which examines the driv-
ing and resisting forces in any change situation (see Figure 3.1). The
underlying principle is that driving forces must outweigh resisting forces
in any situation if change is to happen.

Figure 3.1 Lewin’s force field analysis
Source: Lewin (1951)

Using the example illustrated in Figure 3.1, if the desire of a manager is to
speed up the executive reporting process, then either the driving forces
need to be augmented or the resisting forces decreased. Or even better,
both of these must happen. This means, for example, ensuring that those
responsible for making the changes to the executive reporting process
are aware of how much time it will free up if they are successful, and
what benefits this will have for them (augmenting driving force). It might
also mean spending some time and effort managing customer expect-
ations and supporting them in coping with the new process (reducing
resisting force).

Lewin suggested a way of looking at the overall process of making
changes. He proposed that organizational changes have three steps. The
first step involves unfreezing the current state of affairs. This means

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


defining the current state, surfacing the driving and resisting forces and
picturing a desired end state. The second is about moving to a new state
through participation and involvement. The third focuses on refreezing
and stabilizing the new state of affairs by setting policy, rewarding
success and establishing new standards. See Figure 3.2 for the key steps
in this process.

Figure 3.2 Lewin’s three-step model
Source: Lewin (1951)

Lewin’s three-step model uses the organism metaphor of organizations,
which includes the notion of homeostasis (see box). This is the tendency
of an organization to maintain its equilibrium in response to disrupting
changes. This means that any organization has a natural tendency to
adjust itself back to its original steady state. Lewin argued that a new state
of equilibrium has to be intentionally moved towards, and then strongly
established, so that a change will ‘stick’.

Lewin’s model was designed to enable a process consultant to take
a group of people through the unfreeze, move and refreeze stages.
For example, if a team of people began to see the need to radically alter
their recruitment process, the consultant would work with the team to

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


surface the issues, move to the desired new state and reinforce that
new state.


In the 1990s many organizations embarked on TQM (total quality
management) initiatives that involved focusing on customer satisfaction
(both internally and externally) and process improvement in all areas of
the organization. An Economic Intelligence Unit report indicated that
two-thirds of these initiatives started well, but failed to keep the momentum
going after 18 months. Focus groups were very active to start with, and
suggestions from the front line came rolling in. After a while the focus
groups stopped meeting and the suggestions dried up. Specific issues
had been solved, but a new way of working had not emerged. Things
reverted to the original state of affairs.

Our view

Lewin’s ideas provide a useful tool for those considering organizational
change. The force field analysis is an excellent way of enabling, for
instance, a management team to discuss and agree on the driving and
resisting forces that currently exist in any change situation. When this
analysis is used in combination with a collaborative definition of the
current state versus the desired end state, a team can quickly move to
defining the next steps in the change process. These next steps are usually
combinations of:

• communicating the gap between the current state and the end state
to the key players in the change process;

• working to minimize the resisting forces;

• working to maximize or make the most of driving forces; and

• agreeing a change plan and a timeline for achieving the end state.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


We have observed that this model is sometimes used by managers as
a planning tool rather than as an organizational development process.
The unfreeze becomes a planning session. The move translates to imple-
mentation. The refreeze is a post-implementation review. This approach
ignores the fundamental assumption of the organism metaphor, which

is that groups of people will change
only if there is a ‘felt need’ to do so.
The change process can then turn into
an ill-thought-out plan that does not
tackle resistance and fails to harness
the energy of the key players. This is
rather like the pro cess of blowing up
a balloon and forgetting to tie a knot
in the end!

Bullock and Batten, planned change: machine

Bullock and Batten’s (1985) phases of planned change draw on the disci-
plines of project management. There are many similar ‘steps to changing
your organization’ models to choose from. We have chosen Bullock and

• exploration;

• planning;

• action; and

• integration.

Exploration involves verifying the need for change, and acquiring any
specific resources (such as expertise) necessary for the change to go
ahead. Planning is an activity involving key decision makers and tech-
nical experts. A diagnosis is completed and actions are sequenced in
a change plan. The plan is signed off by management before moving
into the action phase. Actions are completed according to plan, with
feedback mechanisms that allow some re-planning if things go off track.

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


The final integration phase is started once the change plan has been
fully actioned. Integration involves aligning the change with other areas
in the organization, and formalizing them in some way via established
mechanisms such as policies, rewards and company updates.

This particular approach implies the use of the machine metaphor of
organizations. The model assumes that change can be defined and moved
towards in a planned way. A project management approach simplifies
the change process by isolating one part of the organizational machinery
in order to make necessary changes, for example developing leadership
skills in middle management, or reorganizing the sales team to give more
engine power to key sales accounts.

Our view

This approach implies that the organizational change is a technical
problem that can be solved with a definable technical solution. We have
observed that this approach works well with isolated issues, but works
less well when organizations are facing complex, unknowable change
that may require those involved to discuss the current situation and
possible futures at greater length before deciding on one approach.

For example, we worked with one organization recently which, on
receiving a directive from the CEO to ‘go global’, immediately set up
four tightly defined projects to address the issue of becoming a global
organization. These were labelled ‘global communication’, ‘global values’,
‘global leadership’ and ‘global balanced scorecard’. While on the surface
this seems a sensible and structured approach, there was no upfront
opportunity for people to build any awareness of current issues, or to
talk and think more widely about what needed to change to support
this directive. Predictably, the projects ran aground in the ‘action’ stage
due to confusion about goals and dwindling motivation within the
project teams.

Kotter, eight-steps: machine, political, organism

Kotter’s (1995) ‘eight steps to transforming your organization’ goes a little
further than the basic machine metaphor. Kotter’s eight-step model

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


derives from analysis of his consulting practice with 100 different organ-
izations going through change. His research highlighted eight key les-
sons, and he converted these into a useful eight-step model. The model
addresses some of the power issues in making change happen, highlights
the importance of a ‘felt need’ for change in the organization, and empha-
sizes the need to communicate the vision and keep communication levels
extremely high throughout the process (see box).


1 Establish a sense of urgency. Discussing today’s competitive reali-
ties, looking at potential future scenarios. Increasing the ‘felt-need’ for

2 Form a powerful guiding coalition. Assembling a powerful group of
people who can work well together.

3 Create a vision. Building a vision to guide the change effort together
with strategies for achieving this.

4 Communicate the vision. Kotter emphasizes the need to communi-
cate at least 10 times the amount you expect to have to communicate.
The vision and accompanying strategies and new behaviours need to
be communicated in a variety of different ways. The guiding coalition
should be the first to role model new behaviours.

5 Empower others to act on the vision. This step includes getting rid of
obstacles to change such as unhelpful structures or systems. Allow
people to experiment.

6 Plan for and create short-term wins. Look for and advertise short-
term visible improvements. Plan these in and reward people publicly for

7 Consolidate improvements and produce still more change. Promote
and reward those able to promote and work towards the vision. Energize
the process of change with new projects, resources, change agents.

8 Institutionalize new approaches. Ensure that everyone understands
that the new behaviours lead to corporate success.

Source: Kotter (1995)

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


Our view

This eight-step model is one that appeals to many managers with whom
we have worked. However, what it appears to encourage is an early burst
of energy, followed by delegation and distance. The eight steps do not
really emphasize the need for managers to follow through with as much
energy on Steps 7 and 8 as was necessary at the start. Kotter peaks early,
using forceful concepts such as ‘urgency’, ‘power’ and ‘vision’. Then after
Step 5, words like ‘plan’, ‘consolidate’ and ‘institutionalize’ seem to imply
a rather straightforward process that can be managed by others lower
down the hierarchy. In our experience the change process is challenging,
exciting and difficult all the way through.

When we work as change consultants, we use our own model of organ-
izational change (see Figure 3.3), which is based on our experiences of
change, but has close parallels with Kotter’s eight steps. We prefer to
model the change process as a continuous cycle rather than as a linear
progression, and in our consultancy work we emphasize the importance
of management attention through all phases of the process.

Figure 3.3 Cycle of change
Source: Cameron Change Consultancy Ltd

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Beckhard and Harris, change formula: organism

Figure 3.4 Beckhard’s formula

Beckhard and Harris (1987) developed their change formula from some
original work by Gelicher. The change formula is a concise way of captur-
ing the process of change and identifying the factors that need to be
strongly in place for change to happen. Beckhard and Harris say:

Factors A, B, and D must outweigh the perceived costs [X] for the change to
occur. If any person or group whose commitment is needed is not suffici-
ently dissatisfied with the present state of affairs [A], eager to achieve the
proposed end state [B] and convinced of the feasibility of the change [D], then
the cost [X] of changing is too high, and that person will resist the change.

… resistance is normal and to be expected in any change effort. Resistance
to change takes many forms; change managers need to analyze the type of
resistance in order to work with it, reduce it, and secure the need for
commitment from the resistant party.

The formula is sometimes written (A × B × D) > X. This adds something
useful to the original formula. The multiplication implies that if any one
factor is zero or near zero, the product will also be zero or near zero and

Q 3.4 Reflect on an organizational change in which you were involved.

How much planning was done at the start? What contribution did
this make to the success or otherwise of the change?

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


the resistance to change will not be overcome. This means that if the
vision is not clear, or dissatisfaction with the current state is not felt, or the
plan is obscure, the likelihood of change is severely reduced. These
factors (A, B, D) do not compensate for each other if one is low. All factors
need to have weight.

This model comes from the organism metaphor of organizations,
although it has been adopted by those working with a planned change
approach to target management effort. Beckhard and Harris emphasized
the need to design interventions that allow these three factors to surface
in the organization.

Our view

This change formula is deceptively simple but extremely useful. It can
be brought into play at any point in a change process to analyse how
things are going. When the formula is shared with all parties involved
in the change, it helps to illuminate what various parties need to do to
make progress. This can highlight several of the following problem areas:

• Staff are not experiencing dissatisfaction with the status quo.

• The proposed end state has not been clearly communicated to key

• The proposed end state is not desirable to the change implementers.

• The tasks being given to those implementing the change are too
complicated or ill-defined.

We have noticed that depending on the metaphor in use, distinct differ-
ences in approach result from using this formula as a starting point. For
instance, one public sector organization successfully used this formula to
inform a highly consultative approach to organizational change. The
vision was built and shared at a large-scale event involving hundreds
of people. Dissatisfaction was captured using an employee survey that
was fed back to everyone in the organization and discussed at team
meetings. Teams were asked to work locally on using the employee feed-
back and commonly created vision to define their own first steps.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


In contrast, a FTSE 100 company based in the UK used the formula
as a basis for boosting its change management capability via a highly
rated change management programme. Gaps in skills were defined and
training workshops were run for the key managers in every significant
project team around the company. Three areas of improvement were

1 Vision: project managers were encouraged to build and communi-
cate clearer, more compelling project goals.

2 Dissatisfaction: this was translated into two elements – clear rationale
and a felt sense of urgency. Project managers were encouraged to
improve their ability to communicate a clear rationale for making
changes. They were also advised to set clear deadlines and stick to
them, and to visibly resource important initiatives, to increase the
‘felt need’ for change.

3 Practical first steps: project managers were advised to define their
plans for change early in the process and to communicate these in a
variety of ways, to improve the level of buy-in from implementers
and stakeholders.

Nadler and Tushman, congruence model: political, organism

Nadler and Tushman’s congruence model takes a different approach
to looking at the factors influencing the success of the change process
(Nadler and Tushman, 1997). This model aims to help us understand
the dynamics of what happens in an organization when we try to
change it.

This model is based on the belief that organizations can be viewed
as sets of interacting sub-systems that scan and sense changes in the
external environment. This model sits firmly in the open systems school
of thought, which uses the organism metaphor to understand organiza-
tional behaviour. However, the political backdrop is not ignored; it
appears as one of the sub-systems (informal organization – see below).

This model views the organization as a system that draws inputs from
both internal and external sources (strategy, resources and environment)

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


and transforms them into outputs (activities, behaviour and performance
of the system at three levels: individual, group and total). The heart of the
model is the opportunity it offers to analyse the transformation process
in a way that does not give prescriptive answers, but instead stimulates
thoughts on what needs to happen in a specific organizational context.
David Nadler writes: ‘it’s important to view the congruence model as
a tool for organizing your thinking … rather than as a rigid template to
dissect, classify and compartmentalize what you observe. It’s a way of
making sense out of a constantly changing kaleidoscope of information
and impressions.’

The model draws on the sociotechnical view of organizations that looks
at managerial, strategic, technical and social aspects of organizations,
emphasizing the assumption that everything relies on everything else.

Figure 3.5 Nadler and Tushman’s congruence model
Source: Nadler and Tushman (1997). Copyright © Oxford University Press.

Use by permission of Oxford University Press, Inc.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


This means that the different elements of the total system have to be
aligned to achieve high performance as a whole system; so the higher the
congruence the higher the performance.

In this model of the transformation process, the organization is com-
posed of four components, or sub-systems, which are all dependent on
each other. These are:

1 The work. This is the actual day-to-day activities carried out by indi-
viduals. Process design, pressures on the individual and available
rewards must all be considered under this element.

2 The people. This is about the skills and characteristics of the people
who work in an organization. What are their expectations, what
are their backgrounds?

3 The formal organization. This refers to the structure, systems and
policies in place. How are things formally organized?

4 The informal organization. This consists of all the unplanned,
unwritten activities that emerge over time such as power, influence,
values and norms.

This model proposes that effective management of change means attend-
ing to all four components, not just one or two components. Imagine

tugging only one part of a child’s mobile.
The whole mobile wobbles and oscillates
for a bit, but eventually all the different
components settle down to where they
were originally. So it is with organiza-
tions. They easily revert to the original
mode of operation unless you attend to
all four components.

For example, if you change one com-
ponent, such as the type of work done in an organization, you need to
attend to the other three components too. The following questions pin-
point the other three components that may need to be aligned:

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


• How does the work now align with individual skills? (The people.)

• How does a change in the task line up with the way work is organized
right now? (The formal organization.)

• What informal activities and areas of influence could be affected by
this change in the task? (The informal organization.)

If alignment work is not done, organizational ‘homeostasis’ (see above)
will result in a return to the old equilibrium and change will fizzle out.
The fizzling out results from forces that arise in the system as a direct
result of lack of congruence. When a lack of congruence occurs, energy
builds in the system in the form of resistance, control and power:

• Resistance comes from a fear of the unknown or a need for things to
remain stable. A change imposed from the outside can be unsettling
for individuals. It decreases their sense of independence. Resistance
can be reduced through participation in future plans, and by
increasing the anxiety about doing nothing (increasing the ‘felt need’
for change).

• Control issues result from normal structures and processes being
in flux. The change process may therefore need to be managed in
a different way by, for instance, employing a transition manager.

• Power problems arise when there is a threat that power might be
taken away from any currently powerful group or individual. This
effect can be reduced through building a powerful coalition to take
the change forward (see Kotter, above).

Our view

The Nadler and Tushman model is useful because it provides a memor-
able checklist for those involved in making change happen. We have also
noticed that this model is particularly good for pointing out in retrospect
why changes did not work, which although psychologically satisfying is
not always a productive exercise. It is important to note that this model
is problem-focused rather than solution-focused, and lacks any reference

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


to the powerful effects of a guiding vision, or to the need for setting and
achieving goals.

As an alternative we have found that the McKinsey seven ‘S’ model is
a more rounded starting point for those facing organizational change.
This model of organizations uses the same metaphor, representing the
organization as a set of interconnected and interdependent sub-systems.
Again, this model acts as a good checklist for those setting out to make
organizational change, laying out which parts of the system need to
adapt, and the knock-on effects of these changes in other parts of the

The seven ‘S’ categories are:

• staff: important categories of people;

• skills: distinctive capabilities of key people;

• systems: routine processes;

• style: management style and culture;

• shared values: guiding principles;

• strategy: organizational goals and plan, use of resources; and

• structure: the organization chart.

(See Managing on the Edge by Richard Pascale (1990) for full definitions of
the seven S framework.)

William Bridges, managing the transition: machine,
organism, flux and transformation

Bridges (1991) makes a clear distinction between planned change and
transition. He labels transition as the more complex of the two, and
focuses on enhancing our understanding of what goes on during transi-
tion and of how we can manage this process more effectively. In this way,
he manages to separate the mechanistic functional changes from the
natural human process of becoming emotionally aware of change and
adapting to the new way of things.

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


Bridges says:

Transition is about letting go of the past and taking up new behaviours or
ways of thinking. Planned change is about physically moving office, or
installing new equipment, or re-structuring. Transition lags behind planned
change because it is more complex and harder to achieve. Change is situ-
ational and can be planned, whereas transition is psychological and less easy
to manage.

Bridges’ ideas on transition lead to a deeper understanding of what is
going on when an organizational change takes place. While focusing on
the importance of understanding what is going on emotionally at each
stage in the change process, Bridges also provides a list of useful activities
to be attended to during each phase (see Chapter 4 on leading change).

Transition consists of three phases: ending, neutral zone and new
beginning; see Figure 3.6.

Figure 3.6 Bridges: endings and beginnings


Before you can begin something
new, you have to end what used
to be. You need to identify who is
losing what, expect a reaction and
acknowledge the losses openly.
Repeat information about what is
changing – it will take time to sink
in. Mark the endings.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Neutral zone

In the neutral zone, people feel disoriented. Motivation falls and anxiety
rises. Consensus may break down as attitudes become polarized. It can
also be quite a creative time. The manager’s job is to ensure that people
recognize the neutral zone and treat it as part of the process. Temporary
structures may be needed – possibly task forces and smaller teams. The
manager needs to find a way of taking the pulse of the organization on
a regular basis.

William Bridges suggested that we could learn from Moses and his
time in the wilderness to really gain an understanding of how to manage
people during the neutral zone.


• Magnify the plagues. Increase the felt need for change.

• Mark the ending. Make sure people are not hanging on to too much
of the past.

• Deal with the murmuring. Don’t ignore people when they complain.
It might be significant.

• Give people access to the decision makers. Two-way communica-
tion with the top is vital.

• Capitalize on the creative opportunity provided by the wilderness.
The neutral zone provides a difference that allows for creative thinking
and acting.

• Resist the urge to rush ahead. You can slow things down a little.

• Understand the neutral zone leadership is special. This is not a
normal time. Normal rules do not apply.

Source: Bridges and Mitchell (2002)

New beginning

Beginnings should be nurtured carefully. They cannot be planned and
predicted, but they can be encouraged, supported and reinforced. Bridges

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


suggests that people need four key elements to help them make a new

1 the purpose behind the change;

2 a picture of how this new organization will look and feel;

3 a step by step plan to get there;

4 a part to play in the outcome.

The beginning is reached when people feel they can make the emotional
commitment to doing something in a new way. Bridges makes the point
that the neutral zone is longer and the endings are more protracted for
those further down the management hierarchy. This can lead to impa-
tience from managers who have emotionally stepped into a new begin-
ning, while their people appear to lag behind, seemingly stuck in an
ending (see box).


As part of the management team, I knew about the merger very early, so
by the time we announced it to the rest of the company, we were ready
to fly with the task ahead.

What was surprising, and annoying, was the slow speed with which
everyone else caught up. My direct reports were asking detailed ques-
tions about their job specifications and exactly how it was all going to
work when we had fully merged. Of course I couldn’t answer any of these
questions. I was really irritated by this.

The CEO had to have a long, intensive heart-to-heart with the whole
team explaining what was going on and how much we knew about the
future state of the organization before we could really get moving.

Our view

This phased model is particularly useful when organizations are faced
with inevitable changes such as closure of a site, redundancy, acquisition

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


or merger. The endings and new beginnings are real tangible events in
these situations, and the neutral zone important, though uncomfortable.
It is more difficult to use the model for anticipatory change or home-
grown change where the endings and beginning are more fluid and
therefore harder to discern.

We use this model when working with organizations embarking on
mergers, acquisitions and significant partnership agreements. In par-
ticular, the model encourages everyone involved to get a sense of where
they are in the process of transition. The image of the trapeze artist is
often appreciated as it creates the feeling of leaping into the unknown,
and trusting in a future that cannot be grasped fully. This is a scary

The other important message Bridges communicates well is that those
close to the changes (managers and team leaders) may experience a dif-
ficulty when they have reached a new beginning and their people are still
working on an ending. This is one of the great frustrations of this type of
change process, and we counsel managers to:

• recognize what is happening;

• assertively tell staff what will happen while acknowledging their

• be prepared to answer questions about the future again and again
and again;

• say you don’t know, if you don’t know;

• expect the neutral zone to last a while and give it a positive name such
as ‘setting our sights’ or ‘moving in’ or ‘getting to know you’.

Carnall, change management model: political, organism

Colin Carnall (1990) has produced a useful model that brings together
a number of perspectives on change. He says that the effective man-
agement of change depends on the level of management skill in the
following areas:

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


• managing transitions effectively;

• dealing with organizational cultures;

• managing organizational politics.

A manager who is skilled in managing transitions is able to help people
to learn as they change and create an atmosphere of openness and

A manager who deals with organizational cultures examines the current
organizational culture and starts to develop what Carnall calls ‘a more
adaptable culture’. This means, for example, developing better informa-
tion flow, more openness and greater local autonomy.

A manager who is able to manage organizational politics can under-
stand and recognize different factions and different agendas. He or
she develops skills in utilizing and recognizing various political tactics
such as building coalitions, using outside experts and controlling the

Carnall (see Figure 3.7) makes the point that ‘only by synthesizing
the management of transition, dealing with organizational cultures and
handling organizational politics constructively, can we create the environ-
ment in which creativity, risk-taking and the rebuilding of self-esteem
and performance can be achieved’.

Figure 3.7 Carnall: managing transitions
Source: Carnall (1990). Printed with permission of Pearson Education Ltd.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Our view

Carnall’s model obviously focuses on the role of the manager during a
change process, rather than illuminating the process of change. It pro-
vides a useful checklist for management attention, and has strong paral-
lels with William Bridges’ ideas of endings, transitions and beginnings.

Q 3.5 Compare the Nadler and Tushman congruence model with

William Bridges’ ideas on managing transitions. How are these
ideas the same? How are they different?

Senge et al: systemic model: political, organism, flux and

If you are interested in sustainable change, then the
ideas and concepts in Senge et al (1999) will be of
interest to you. This excellent book, The Dance of
Change, seeks to help ‘those who care deeply about
building new types of organizations’ to understand
the challenges ahead.

Senge et al observe that many change initiatives fail
to achieve hoped for results. They reflect on why this might be so, com-
menting, ‘To understand why sustaining significant change is so elusive,
we need to think less like managers and more like biologists.’ Senge et al
talk about the myriad of ‘balancing processes’ or forces of homeostasis
that act to preserve the status quo in any organization.


We wanted to move to a matrix structure for managing projects. There was
significant investment of time and effort in this initiative as we anticipated
pay-off in terms of utilization of staff and ability to meet project deadlines.

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


Senge et al say:

Most serious change initiatives eventually come up against issues embedded
in our prevailing system of management. These include managers’ commit-
ment to change as long as it doesn’t affect them; ‘undiscussable’ topics that
feel risky to talk about; and the ingrained habit of attacking symptoms and
ignoring deeper systemic causes of problems.

Their guidelines are:

• Start small.

• Grow steadily.

• Don’t plan the whole thing.

• Expect challenges – it will not go smoothly!

Senge et al use the principles of environmental systems to illustrate how
organizations operate and to enhance our understanding of what forces
are at play. Senge says in his book, The Fifth Discipline (1993):

Business and other human endeavours are also systems. They too are bound
by invisible fabrics of interrelated actions, which often take years to fully play
out their effects on each other. Since we are part of that lacework ourselves,

This approach would allow staff to be freed up when they were not fully
utilized, so that they could work on a variety of projects.

Consultants worked with us to design the new structure. Job specs
were rewritten. People understood their new roles. For a couple of
months, it seemed to be working. But after four months, we discovered
that the project managers were just carrying on working in the old
way, as if they still owned the technical staff. They would even lie about
utilization, just to stop other project managers from getting hold of their

I don’t think we have moved on very much at all.
Business Unit Manager, Research Projects Department

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


it’s doubly hard to see the whole patterns of change. Instead we tend to
focus on snapshots of isolated parts of the systems, and wonder why our
deepest problems never seem to get solved.

The approach taken by Senge et al is noticeably different from much of
the other work on change, which focuses on the early stages such as
creating a vision, planning, finding energy to move forward and deciding
on first steps. They look at the longer-term issues of sustaining and
renewing organizational change. They examine the challenges of first
initiating, second sustaining and third redesigning and rethinking
change. The book does not give formulaic solutions, or ‘how to’
approaches, but rather gives ideas and suggestions for dealing with the
balancing forces of equilibrium in organizational systems (resistance).

What are the balancing forces that those involved in change need to
look out for? Senge et al say that the key challenges of initiating change
are the balancing forces that arise when any group of people starts to
do things differently:

• ‘We don’t have time for this stuff!’ People working on change initia-
tives will need extra time outside of the day-to-day to devote to
change efforts, otherwise there will be push back.

• ‘We have no help!’ There will be new skills and mindsets to
develop. People will need coaching and support to develop new

• ‘This stuff isn’t relevant!’ Unless people are convinced of the need for
effort to be invested, it will not happen.

• ‘They’re not walking the talk!’ People look for reinforcement of the
new values or new behaviours from management. If this is not in
place, there will be resistance to progress.

They go on to say that the challenges of sustaining change come to the
fore when the pilot group (those who start the change) becomes success-
ful and the change begins to touch the rest of the organization:

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


• ‘This stuff is _____!’ This challenge concerns the discomfort felt by
individuals when they feel exposed or fearful about changes. This
may be expressed in a number of different ways such as, ‘This stuff
is taking our eye off the ball’ or, ‘This stuff is more trouble than it’s

• ‘This stuff isn’t working!’ People outside the pilot group, and some of
those within it, may be impatient for positive results. Traditional ways
of measuring success do not always apply, and may end up giving a
skewed view of progress.

• ‘We have the right way!’/‘They don’t understand us!’ The pilot group
members become evangelists for the change, setting up a reaction
from the ‘outsiders’.

The challenges of redesigning and rethinking change appear when the
change achieves some visible measure of success and starts to impact
on ingrained organizational habits:

• ‘Who’s in charge of this stuff?’ This challenge is about the conflicts
that can arise between successful pilot groups, who start to want to do
more, and those who see themselves as the governing body of the

• ‘We keep reinventing the wheel!’ The challenge of spreading know-
ledge of new ideas and processes around the organization is a tough
one. People who are distant from the changes may not receive good
quality information about what is going on.

• ‘Where are we going and what are we here for?’ Senge says: ‘engaging
people around deep questions of purpose and strategy is fraught with
challenges because it opens the door to a traditionally closed inner
sanctum of top management’.

Our view

We like the ideas of Senge et al very much. They are thought-provoking
and highly perceptive. If we can persuade clients to read their book, we

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


will. However, in the current climate of time pressure and the need for
fast results, these ideas are often a bitter pill for managers struggling to
make change happen despite massive odds.

Whenever possible we encourage clients to be realistic in their quest for
change, and to notice and protect areas where examples of the right sort
of behaviours already exist. The messages we carry with us resulting from
Senge et al’s thoughts are:

• consider running a pilot for any large-scale organizational change;

• keep your change process goals realistic, especially when it comes to
timescales and securing resources;

• understand your role in staying close to change efforts beyond the

• recognize and reward activities that are already going the right

• be as open as you can about the purpose and mission of your

There are no standard ‘one size fits all’ answers in the book, but plenty
of thought-provoking ideas and suggestions, and a thoroughly inspira-
tional reframing of traditional ways of looking at change. However, those
interested in rapid large-scale organizational change are unlikely to find
any reassurance or support in Senge et al’s book. The advice is, start small.

Q 3.6 Reflect on an organizational change in which you were involved

that failed to achieve hoped-for results. What were the balancing
forces that acted against the change? Use Senge et al’s ideas to
prompt your thinking.

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


Stacey and Shaw, complex responsive processes: political,
flux and transformation

There is yet another school of thought represented by people such
as Ralph Stacey (2001) and Patricia Shaw (2002). These writers use the
metaphor of flux and transformation to view organizations. The implica-
tions of this mode of thinking for those interested in managing and
enabling change are significant:

• Change, or a new order of things, will emerge naturally from clean
communication, conflict and tension (not too much).

• As a manager, you are not outside of the system, controlling it, or
planning to alter it: you are part of the whole environment.

In Patricia Shaw’s book Changing Conversations in Organizations, rather
than address the traditional questions of ‘How do we manage change?’
she addresses the question: ‘How do we participate in the ways things
change over time?’ This writing deals bravely with the paradox that ‘our
interaction, no matter how considered or passionate, is always evolving
in ways that we cannot control or predict in the longer term, no matter
how sophisticated our planning tools’.

Our view

This can be disturbing stuff, and a paradox that sets up some anxiety in
managers and consultants who are disquieted by the suggestion that our
intellectual strivings to collectively diagnose problems and design futures
may be missing the point. Shaw says: ‘I want to help us appreciate our-
selves as fellow improvisers in ensemble work, constantly constructing
the future and our part in it.’ Stacey says of traditional views of organ-
izations as systems: ‘This is not to say that systems thinking has no use
at all. It clearly does if one is trying to understand, and even more, trying
to design interactions of a repetitive kind to achieve kinds of performance
that are known in advance.’

Ralph Stacey and Patricia Shaw have both written about complexity
and change. Managers, and particularly consultants, often find this

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


difficult reading because on first viewing it appears to take away the
rational powers we have traditionally endowed upon our managers,
change agents and consultants. Patricia Shaw says of the traditional view
of the process consultant:

I would say that [the] ideal of the reflective practitioner [who can surface
subconscious needs so that groups of people can consciously create a
directed form of change] is the one that mostly continues to grip our imagin-
ations and shape our aspirations to be effective and competent individual
practitioners engaged in lifelong learning. Instead, I have been asking
what happens when spontaneity, unpredictability and our capacity to be
surprised by ourselves are not explained away but kept at the very heart
[of our work].

In contrast, those working in hugely complex environments such as the
health sector or government have told us that they find the ideas in
this area to be a tremendous relief. The notion that change cannot be
managed reflects their own experiences of trying to manage change;
the overwhelming feeling they have of constantly trying to push heavy
weights uphill.

But how can managers and consultants use these ideas in real situ-
ations? We have distilled some ground rules for those working with
complex change processes, although the literature we have researched
studiously avoids any type of prescription for action.

In complex change, the leader’s role is to:

• decide what business the organization is in, and stretch people’s
thinking on how to get there;

• ensure that there is a high level of connectivity between different
parts of the organization, encouraging feedback, optimizing informa-
tion flow, enabling learning;

• focus people’s attention on important differences: between current
and desired performance, between style of working, between past
and present results.

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


(See Chapters 10 and 11 for more insights and tips in the areas of complex
change and leading through uncertainty.)


• It is useful to understand our own assumptions about managing
change, in order to challenge them and examine the possibilities
offered by different assumptions. It is useful to compare our own
assumptions with the assumptions of others with whom we work.
This increased understanding can often reduce frustration.

• Gareth Morgan’s work on organizational metaphors provides a useful
way of looking at the range of assumptions that exist about how
organizations work.

• The four most commonly used organizational metaphors are:
– the machine metaphor;
– the political metaphor;
– the organism metaphor;
– the flux and transformation metaphor.

• The machine metaphor is deeply ingrained in our ideas about how
organizations run, so it tends to inform many of the well-known
approaches to organizational change, particularly project manage-
ment and planning-oriented approaches.

• Models of organizations as open, interconnected, interdependent
sub-systems sit within the organism metaphor. This model is very
prevalent in the human resource world, as it underpins much of the
thinking that drove the creation of the HR function in organizations.
The organism metaphor views change as a process of adapting to
changes in the environment. The focus is on designing interventions
to decrease resistance to change and increase the forces for change.

• The political map of organizational life is recognized by many of the
key writers on organizational change as highly significant.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


• The metaphor of flux and transformation appears to model the true
complexity of how change really happens. If we use this lens to view
organizational life it does not lead to neat formulae, or concise how-to
approaches. There is less certainty to inform our actions. This can be
on the one hand a great relief, and on the other quite frustrating.

• There are many approaches to managing and understanding change
to choose from, none of which appears to tell the whole story, most
of which are convincing up to a point. See Table 3.3 for a summary
of our conclusions for each model.

• To be an effective manager or consultant we need to be able flexibly
to select appropriate models and approaches for particular situations.
See the illustrations of different approaches in Part Two.

Table 3.3 Our conclusions about each model of change

Model Conclusions


Lewin’s ideas are valuable when analysing the change process
at the start of an initiative. His force-field analysis and current
state/end state discussions are extremely useful tools.
However, the model loses its worth when it is confused with
the mechanistic approach, and the three steps become ‘plan,
implement, review’.

Bullock and

The planned change approach is good for tackling isolated, less
complex issues. It is not good when used to over-simplify
organizational changes, as it ignores resistance and overlooks
interdependencies between business units or sub-systems.

eight steps

Kotter’s eight steps are an excellent starting point for those
interested in making large or small-scale organizational change.
The model places most emphasis on getting the early steps
right: building coalition and setting the vision rather than later
steps of empowerment and consolidation.
Change is seen as linear rather than cyclical, which implies that
a pre-designed aim can be reached rather than iterated

________________________________________________________ Organizational change


Model Conclusions

and Harris,

The change formula is simple but highly effective. It can be
used at any point in the change process to analyse what is
going on.
It is useful for sharing with the whole team to illuminate
barriers to change.

Nadler and

The congruence model provides a memorable checklist for the
change process, although we think the seven ‘S’ model gives a
more rounded approach to the same problem of examining
interdependent organizational sub-systems.
Both are also useful for doing a post-change analysis of what
went wrong!
Both encourage a problem focus rather than enabling a vision-
setting process.

managing the

Bridge’s model of endings, neutral zone and beginnings is good
for tackling inevitable changes such as redundancy, merger or
acquisition. It is less good for understanding change grown
from within, where endings and beginnings are less distinct.


Carnall’s model combines a number of key elements of
organizational change together in a neat process.
Useful checklist.


Senge challenges the notion of top-down, large-scale
organizational change. He provides a hefty dose of realism for
those facing organizational change: start small, grow steadily,
don’t plan the whole thing.
However, this advice is hard to follow in today’s climate of fast
pace, quick results and maximum effectiveness.

Stacey and

The complex responsive process school of thought is new,
exciting and challenging; however it is not for the faint-hearted.
There are no easy solutions (if any at all), the leader’s role is
hard to distinguish and the literature on the subject tends to be
almost completely non-prescriptive.

Table 3.3 continued

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Q 3.7 Which model of organizational change would help you to move

forward with each of the following changes:

• Combining two well-respected universities to form one excel-
lent seat of learning.

• Turning the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra into the Boston
Improvisational Jazz Band.

• Evolving a group of mature MBA students into a networked
organization of management consultants.

Q 3.8 A fast food organization introduced a set of values recently which
were well communicated and enthusiastically welcomed. The
senior management team publicly endorsed the values and
said: ‘This is where we want to be in 12 months’ time so that we
are ready for industry consolidation. You will all be measured on
achieving these values in your day-to-day work.’

The values were put together by a consultancy, which put a
great deal of effort into interviewing a broad range of people in
the organization. People at all levels liked the look of the values,
but the situation three months later is that activity and conversa-
tions on the values are diminishing. A lot of people are saying:
‘We are doing this already.’ There is still some enthusiasm, but
people are now getting scared that they will fall short of the values
somehow, and are starting to resent them.

What needs to happen now?

Q 3.9 If Stacey and Shaw have ‘got it right’ with their ideas about how
change emerges naturally, does that make books such as this
one redundant? Answers on a postcard!


Leading change


In this chapter we look at the leader’s role in the change process. The
objectives of the chapter are to:

• enable leaders of change to explore the different roles they and their
colleagues need to play in a change process;

• explore the range of skills and qualities that leaders need to ensure

• identify how leaders of change can adapt their style and focus to the
different phases of the change process;

• emphasize the importance of self-knowledge and inner resources in
any leadership role.


The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


The chapter is divided into six sections:

1 visionary leadership;

2 roles that leaders play;

3 leadership styles, qualities and skills;

4 different leadership for different phases of change;

5 the importance of self-knowledge and inner resources; and

6 summary and conclusions.

It is important to first make the point that good leadership is well-
rounded leadership. We believe that all four metaphors of organizations
give rise to useful notions of leadership. Leaders go wrong when they
become stuck in one metaphor, or in one way of doing things, and there-
fore appear one-dimensional in their range of styles and approaches.

To begin, we link leadership to the ideas presented in Chapter 3 on
organizational change by looking at the type of leadership that follows
from approaching organizational change using each of the four key
metaphors (see Table 4.1):

1 the machine metaphor;

2 the political system metaphor;

3 the organism metaphor; and

4 the flux and transformation metaphor.

Table 4.1 illustrates that the use of each metaphor brings both advant-
ages and disadvantages for those wishing to be successful leaders of

The machine metaphor draws attention to clear goals and the need for
structure, but overuse of this metaphor results in micromanagement of
outcomes and too little risk taking. The political system metaphor adds
the harsh reality of organizational life, and reminds us of the necessity of

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


Table 4.1 Leadership linked to organizational metaphors

Metaphor Nature of


Type of

Typical pitfalls for
the leader

Machine The designed
end state can be
worked towards.
Resistance must
be managed.
Change needs to
be planned and

designer and
of the

Goal setting.

by leader means
activity focuses on
measuring, rather
than experimenting
or taking risks.


Changes must
be supported by
a powerful
Change needs
a powerful
behind it.
Winners and
losers are

Politician –
speaker and
behind the

Building a

Change leaders are
seen as
Leaders cannot be
trusted, so people
comply rather than
commit. People do
the minimum.
Leaders begin to
follow their own
agenda (cover their
backs), rather than
some higher

Organism Change is
and groups
need to be
aware of the
‘felt need’ for
change. End
state can be
defined and
worked towards.

holding up
the mirror.


The metaphor
becomes an
ideology. The
change process
becomes self-
serving and
achieves very little.
There is a focus on
reacting rather than
initiating. Change
happens, but too
little too late.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Metaphor Nature of


Type of

Typical pitfalls for
the leader

Flux and

Change cannot
be managed,
it emerges.
Managers are
part of the
system, not
outside the
system. Conflict
is useful.
Managers enable
between people.

Facilitator of

Getting the

Leaders and others
involved become
confused and
frustrated. There is
chaos. The change
effort becomes
vague and
There is no sense
of progress to
motivate future
become sticking

Table 4.1 continued

involving influential people when change is desired, but overuse can be
seen as manipulation. The organism metaphor highlights the need for
people to be involved, and to feel the need for change, but runs the risk
of moving too slowly and too late. Finally, the flux and transformation
model is useful as a reminder that organizations and their people cannot
be wholly controlled unless we rule by fear! Leaders must encourage
discussion of conflicts and tensions to enable change to emerge, while
avoiding the trap of being too vague and lacking direction.

We believe that successful change leadership is achieved by combining
aspects of all four metaphors. This is evidenced by the models and
approaches introduced in Chapter 3, Table 3.2, which combine different
metaphors to some degree.

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change



Once I realized that my boss was using a completely different organizational
metaphor from myself, I began to see how we were clashing in our discussions
about how to run projects and how to improve processes.

I prefer the machine metaphor. I like things to be pretty clear. In my area
we have a well-defined structure with clear roles and objectives set for each
person. The team runs like a well-oiled machine, with me in the engine
room pulling levers and thinking about plans and processes.

On the other hand, my boss prefers a more fluid style of working. Objectives
are flexible and revised daily, and the hierarchy means very little to him. If
someone shows initiative and promise, he will go directly to that person and
have a quite intense conversation to convey the importance of a particular
initiative. It used to drive me crazy. I couldn’t keep control.

One day we had a chat about this using metaphor to discuss our differences.
It was most illuminating, and we started to see the pros and cons of each
approach. As a result I agreed to incorporate more flexibility in certain projects,
and he agreed to stick with the plan rather than review and change other, more
stable processes. We still clash from time to time, but it doesn’t cause quite so
much irritation!

Global Services Manager, Oil Company – on use of metaphor to enhance
understanding of other people’s viewpoints

Table 4.1 is also useful because it reveals a wide range of styles and skills
required of leaders, depending on the metaphor in use:

• goal setting;

• monitoring and controlling;

• coaching and supporting;

• building vision;

• communicating vision;

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


• building coalitions;

• networking;

• negotiating;

• facilitating;

• dealing with conflict.

The difficulty with a list of skills this long is that is seems unattainable.
In this chapter we try to help leaders to find a way through the various
requirements of a leader to pinpoint the most important roles, skills,
styles and areas of focus needed to make change happen.


The first basic ingredient of leadership is a guiding vision. The leader has a
clear idea of what he wants to do – professionally and personally – and the
strength to persist in the face of setbacks, even failures. Unless you know
where you are going, and why, you cannot possibly get there.

Warren Bennis (1994)

Visionary leadership has become something
of a holy grail. It seems to be a rare commod-
ity which is greatly sought after. Our recent
research (see box) indicates that today’s
business leaders place considerable value on
visionary leadership as a tool for organiza-
tional change. But is visionary leadership
really the answer?

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


In our change leadership sessions with private sector senior and middle
managers in the UK we ask people to name significant leaders of change.
The top four names mentioned over the period 1997–2002 were:

1 Winston Churchill;

2 Margaret Thatcher;

3 Nelson Mandela;

4 Adolf Hitler.

The top five characteristics that emerged through a typical discussion of
these significant leaders were:

1 clear vision;

2 determination;

3 great speaker, great presence;

4 tough when needed; and

5 able to stand alone.
Cameron Change Consultancy data, 2002

Here we explore the views of the supporters of visionary leadership, and
those who make the case against it.

Bennis on the characteristics of visionary leaders

Warren Bennis identified three basic ingredients of leadership:

1 a guiding vision;

2 passion; and

3 integrity.

He also developed a useful comparison of the differences between man-
agement and leadership (see Table 4.2), which unpacks some of the
different qualities of a visionary leader.

This comparison exercise separates management from leadership in
a very clear way. This is useful for those wishing to take on more of a

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


leadership role, although it is sometimes interpreted as slightly down-
playing the important role of a good manager in organizational life. Most
managers have to do both roles.

Kotter on what leaders really do

Kotter (1996) echoes the ideas of Bennis. He says: ‘we have raised a gen-
eration of very talented people to be managers, not leader/managers, and
vision is not a component of effective management. The management
equivalent to vision creation is planning.’ He says that leaders are differ-
ent from managers: ‘They don’t make plans; they don’t solve problems;
they don’t even organize people. What leaders really do is prepare organ-
izations for change and help them cope as they struggle through it.’ He
identifies three areas of focus for leaders and contrasts these with the
typical focus of a manager:

1 setting direction versus planning and budgeting;

2 aligning people versus organizing and staffing; and

3 motivating people versus controlling and problem solving.

Table 4.2 Managers and leaders

A manager A leader

Administers Innovates
Is a copy Is an original
Maintains Develops
Focuses on systems and structure Focuses on people
Relies on control Inspires trust
Has a short-range view Has a long-range perspective
Asks how and when Asks why
Has his eye on the bottom line Has his eye on the horizon
Imitates Originates
Accepts the status quo Challenges the status quo
Classic good soldier His own person
Does things right Does the right thing

Source: Bennis (1994)

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change



We go to liberate, not to conquer.
We will not fly our flags in their country.
We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in
that ancient land is their own.
Show respect for them.

There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly.
Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send.
As for the others, I expect you to rock their world.
Wipe them out if that is what they choose.
But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory.
Iraq is steeped in history.
It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of
Tread lightly there.

You will see things that no man could pay to see
– and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and
upright people than the Iraqis.
You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing.

Don’t treat them as refugees for they are in their own country.
Their children will be poor; in years to come they will know that the light of
liberation in their lives was brought by you.

Extract from speech widely hailed in the UK press at the time as visionary.
It was given by Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins to around 800 men of the
battle group of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment, at their Fort
Blair Mayne camp in the Kuwaiti desert about 20 miles from the Iraqi
border on Wednesday 19 March 2003. His intention was to prepare the
men for the battle that lay ahead. Many of the men were young and the
support from people back in the UK was patchy.

Since 2003 Tim Collins has had cause to reflect on his celebrated visionary
call to action. He says he made assumptions about the motives at higher
levels of the army and government, and is quoted as saying:

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


What I had not realized is that there was no plan at the higher levels to
replace anything, indeed a simplistic and unimaginative overreliance in
some quarters on the power of destruction and crude military might … If
freedom and a chance to live a dignified and stable life free from terror was
the motive, then I can think of more than 170 families in Iraq last week who
would have settled for what they had under Saddam.

The Observer, 18 September 2005


I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true
meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are
created equal.’ I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons
of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down
together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering
with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be trans-
formed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where
they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their

I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with

its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullifi-
cation; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be
able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and moun-

tain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked
places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all
flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the
South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair
a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords
of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will
be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail
together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


Extract from speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a driving force in
the non-violent push for racial equality in the 1950s and the 1960s. This
speech was given on 28 August 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln
Memorial. It mobilized supporters and acted as the catalyst for the 1964
Civil Rights Act.

Bass: proof that visionary leadership works!

Bass (in Bryman, 1992) developed the notion of transformation leader-
ship, which many managers find meaningful and helpful. He distin-
guished between transactional leadership and transformational leadership
(see box), and identified through extensive research that charismatic and
inspirational leadership were the components most likely to be associated
with leadership success.


Transformational leadership involves the leader raising the followers’
sense of purpose and levels of motivation. The aims of the leader and the
followers combine into one purpose, and the leader raises the followers’
confidence and expectations of themselves. Transformational leadership

• charisma;

• inspiration;

• intellectual stimulation;

• individualized consideration.

Transactional leadership is simply an exchange in which the leaders hand
over rewards when followers meet expectations.

• contingent reward;

• management by exception.
Source: Bryman (1992)

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Gardner: the need for leaders to embody a story

Howard Gardner’s (1996) influential research into the nature of successful
leaders gave rise to some interesting lessons about visionary leadership.
He chose 11 20th-century leaders who have really made a difference, and
researched their lives and their work by reading their biographies and

tracking down any speeches, letters, audiotapes
and videotapes that were available.

He chose a mixture of different types of leader,
combining business leaders, political leaders and
those who influenced our thinking and behav-
iours without being in a position to lead directly.
The list included among others Alfred Sloan, head
of General Motors, Pope John XXIII, one of the
most influential and popular popes of modern
times, Martin Luther King, the advocate of African
Americans, and Margaret Mead, a cultural anthro-
pologist who deeply influenced our ideas about
childhood, family life and society. (There have
been attempts made to discredit her research, but
she is still supported by many as being highly
innovative and influential.)

Gardner’s findings indicated that those leaders who had really made a
difference to the way others thought, felt and acted all appeared to have
a central story or message. Stories not only provide background but also
help the followers to picture the future. The story must connect with the
audience’s needs and be embodied in the leader him- or herself. Gardner
makes the point that phonies are never in short supply, and the individ-
ual who does not embody or act out his or her messages will eventually
be found out.

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change



Margaret Thatcher
‘Britain has lost its way in defeatism and socialism. We must reclaim the
leadership from “them” (socialists, union trouble makers and the “wets”)
and restore earlier grandeur.’

Margaret Mead
‘As human beings we can make wise decisions about our own lives by
studying options that many other cultures pursue.’

Mahatma Gandhi
‘We in India are equal in status and worth to all other human beings.
We should work cooperatively with our antagonists if possible, but be
prepared to be confrontational if necessary.’

Leadership stories from Gardner (1996)

Heifetz and Laurie: vision is not the answer

Heifetz and Laurie (1997) say that vision is not the answer. They say
that the senior executive needs to alter his or her approach to match the
needs of 21st century organizations. They say that what is needed is
adaptive leadership. This is about challenging people, taking them out
of their comfort zones, letting people feel external pressure and exposing

‘Followers want comfort and stability, and solutions from their leaders.
But that’s babysitting. Real leaders ask hard questions and knock people
out of their comfort zones. Then they manage the resulting distress.’ They
believe the call for vision and inspiration is counter-productive and
encourages dependency from employees.

There is a difference between the type of leadership needed to solve a
routine technical problem and the type of leadership needed to enable
complex organizational change. Leaders of change should concentrate
on scanning the environment, and drawing people’s attention to the

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


complex adaptive challenges that the organization needs to address, such
as culture changes, or changes in core processes. This means not solving
the problems for people, but giving the work back to them. It also means
not protecting people from bad news and difficulty, but allowing them to
feel the distress of things not working well. These ideas are quite a long
way from the concept of transformational leadership mentioned above,
which indicates that successful leaders are charismatic, visionary and

Jean Lipman-Blumen: leaders need to make connections
rather than build one vision

Jean Lipman-Blumen (2002) says that vision is no longer the answer. She
encourages leaders to search for meaning and make connections, rather
than build one vision. She notes that there is a growing sense that old
forms of leadership are untenable in an increasingly global environment.
She says that the sea change in the conditions of leadership imposed
by the new global environment requires new ways of thinking and
working that confront and deal constructively with both interdepend-
ence (overlapping visions, common problems) and diversity (distinctive
character of individuals, groups and organizations).

Lipman-Blumen talks about connective leaders (see box) who perceive
connections among diverse people, ideas and institutions even when the
parties themselves do not. In the new ‘connective era’, she says that lead-
ers will need to reach out and collaborate even with old adversaries.
Mikhail Gorbachev is a good example of this in the political arena. Nelson
Mandela is another.

Again, this approach is different from the suggestion that leaders
need to develop and communicate clear vision in an inspiring way. Jean
Lipman-Blumen encourages leaders to help others to make good con-
nections, and to develop a sense of common purpose across boundaries,
thus building commitment across a wide domain.

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change



• Ethical political savvy. A combination of political know-how with
strong ethics. Adroit and transparent use of others and themselves to
achieve goals.

• Authenticity and accountability. Authenticity is achieved by dedi-
cating yourself to the purpose of the group. Accountability is achieved
by being willing to have every choice scrutinized.

• A politics of commonalities. Searching for commonalities and
common ground, and building communities.

• Thinking long-term, acting short-term. Coaching and encouraging
successors, and building for a long-term future despite the current
demands of the day to day.

• Leadership through expectation. Scrupulously avoiding micro-
managing. Setting high expectations and trusting people.

• A quest for meaning. Calling supporters to change the world for the

Source: Lipman-Blumen (2002)

Leadership for the 21st century: less vision, more

The world is changing. Organizations are more dispersed and less hier-
archical. More information is more freely available. People want more
from their jobs than they used to. Does this change the role of the leader
of change?

As we write this book, the world’s economy is in turmoil, with a par-
ticular focus on the difficulties of the Eurozone. It seems that many of the
old certainties are dissolving, and it’s almost impossible for leaders to lead
through offering a clear, authoritative vision. The increasingly globalized
economy and access to immediate, 24-hour news and information and
the rise of social media all work to create more independence of mind
of individuals, increased inter-connectivity between interest groups and

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


less reliance on traditional forms of leadership. Are people’s needs for
strong leadership starting to shift? Perhaps clear, visionary, authoritative
leadership is no longer working.

When we look inside organizations, the territory is also changing. John
Kotter (1996) draws our attention to changes in organizational structures,
systems and cultures (see Table 4.3). What does this mean for leading
change? We think this means a shift from expectations of one visionary
leader to the need for increased connectivity and overlapping agendas
between different groups.

Q 4.1 Name your top five contemporary leaders and say why you

chose each one. Reflect on how important visionary leadership
is to you.

Q 4.2 What are the most significant changes that have happened in the
world since your childhood? Who was responsible for leading
these? Did visionary leadership play a key role?

Q 4.3 Draw up a table identifying the pros and cons of:

• visionary leadership;

• adaptive leadership;

• connective leadership.

Q 4.4 Re-read Kotter’s (1996) comparison of 20th and 21st century
organizational structures, systems and cultures. Then fill in your
own ideas about leadership of change.


There are various views about the role a leader should play in the change
process (see Table 4.1, page 153):

• The machine metaphor implies that the leader sits at the top of the
organization, setting goals and driving them through to completion.

Table 4.3 20th century organizations and 21st century organizations

Structure Systems Culture Leadership of change

20th century

• bureaucratic;
• multilevelled;
• organized with the

expectation that senior
management will manage;

• characterized by policies
and procedures that create
many complicated internal

• depend on fewer
information systems;

• distribute
information to
executives only;

• offer management
training and support
systems to senior
people only.

• inwardly focused;
• centralized;
• slow to make

• political;
• risk averse.

Our thoughts:
• directive;
• visionary;
• charismatic;
• participative at top

levels only.

21st century

• non-bureaucratic, with
fewer rules and employees;

• limited to fewer levels;
• organized with the

expectation that
management will lead,
lower-level employees
will manage;

• characterized by policies
and procedures that
produce the minimal
internal interdependence
needed to serve customers.

• depend on many
information systems,
providing data on
customers especially;

• distribute
information widely;

• offer management
training and support
systems to many

• externally

• empowering;
• quick to make

• open and candid;
• more risk tolerant.

Our thoughts:
• scanning and


• encouraging

• giving meaning
and purpose.

Source: adapted from Kotter (1996)


The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


• The political system metaphor implies that the leader needs to become
the figurehead of a powerful coalition which attracts followers by
communicating a compelling and attractive vision, and through nego-
tiation and bargaining.

• The organism metaphor says the leader’s primary role is that of coach,
counsellor and consultant.

• The flux and transformation metaphor says the leader is a facilitator
of emergent change.

How does the leader of a change process ensure that all the necessary
roles are carried out? Should the leader try to perform all these roles
personally, or select a specific role for him- or herself and distribute sup-
porting roles among his or her colleagues?

Senge: dispersed leadership

Senge (Senge et al, 1999) has some fairly challenging ideas about this.
He says that successful leadership of change does not have to come from
the top of an organization. It comes from within the organization. He
remarks that senior executives do not have as much power to change
things as they would like to think.

He asks why we are struggling so much with changing our organ-
izations, and he attacks our dependence on the ‘hero leader’. He claims
it results in a vicious circle. The circle begins with a crisis, which leads to
the search for a new CEO in whom all hopes are invested. The new CEO
acts proactively and aggressively, and makes some dramatic short-term
improvements such as cutting costs and improving productivity. Everyone
then falls in line to please the new CEO, who does not suffer fools gladly.
Employees comply rather than work hard to challenge the status quo,
and a new crisis inevitably occurs. This vicious circle does not result in
new thinking, organizational learning or renewal, or even growth, and in
turn feeds our desire to find new hero leaders. See Figure 4.1.

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


Senge offers some stark truths about organization change, which counter-
act the reliance on top-level vision set out by Bennis and Kotter:

• Little significant change can occur if it is driven from the top.

• CEO programmes rolled out from the top are a great way to foster
cynicism and distract everyone from real efforts to change.

• Top management buy-in is a poor substitute for genuine commitment
and learning capabilities at all levels in an organization.

You can see Senge’s point. How could one or two brave people at the
top of an organization really be responsible for envisaging and tackling
the enormous range of challenges that present themselves when funda-
mental change is attempted? He claims that we need to think about
developing communities of interdependent leaders across organizations.
Different types of leaders have different types of role. He identifies three
important, interconnected types of leader: local line leaders, executive
leaders and network leaders.

Search for

Staff compete to
please the boss rather

than creating new
products and processes

New crisis

New CEO typically
cuts costs and improves

productivity and profit

Figure 4.1 The search for a hero-CEO
Source: Senge et al (1999)

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Local line leaders

These are the front-line managers who design
the products and services and make the core
processes work. Without the commitment of
these people, no significant change will hap-
pen. These people are usually very focused on
their own teams and customers. They rely on
network leaders to link them with other parts
of the organization, and on executive leaders
to create the right infrastructure for good
ideas to emerge and take root.

Executive leaders

These are management board members.
Senge does not believe that all change starts
here. Rather, he states that these leaders are
responsible for three key things: designing
the right innovation environment and the
right infrastructure for assessment and
reward, teaching and mentoring local line
leaders, and serving as role models to
demonstrate their commitment to values
and purpose.

Network leaders

Senge makes the point that the really
significant organizational challenges
occur at the interfaces between project
groups, functions and teams. Network
leaders are people who work at these
interfaces. They are guides, advisers,
active helpers and accessors (helping
groups of people to get resource from
elsewhere), working in partnership

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


with line leaders. They often have the insight to help local line leaders
to move forward and make changes happen across the organization.

The interconnections are hard to achieve in reality. We have observed
the following obstacles to achieving smooth interconnections between
the different roles:

• Executive leaders are busy, hard-to-get-hold-of people who can
become quite disconnected from their local line leaders.

• Executive leaders and local line leaders rarely meet face-to-face and
communicate by e-mail, if at all.

• Network leaders, such as internal consultants or process facilitators,
are often diverted from their leadership roles by requests either to
perform expert tasks or to implement HR-led initiatives.

• Network leaders may be busy and effective, but are usually under-
valued as leaders of change. They often have to battle to get recog-
nized as important players in the organization.

Senge’s model recognizes the need for all three types of leader, and the
need for connectivity between different parts of the organization if
change is desired.

O’Neill: four key roles for successful change

Mary Beth O’Neill (2000) agrees with Senge’s idea of communities of
leaders, and identifies four specific leadership roles necessary for suc-
cessful and sustained change efforts in organizations. She uses Daryl
Conner’s work on family therapy as her model for the change process,
and identifies the important roles as sponsor, implementer, advocate and
agent. See Table 4.4.


The sponsor has the authority to make the change
happen. He or she legitimizes and sanctions the
change, and has line authority over the people who

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


will implement the change and control of resources – such as time, money
and people. There are also sustaining sponsors who are responsible for
sponsoring change in their own area.

Good sponsors have a clear vision for the change. They identify goals
and measurable outcomes for the initiative. Sustaining sponsors must
be careful not to telegraph cynicism about the change to the team of

Table 4.4 Roles in a change process

Role Description Hint

Sponsor Has the authority to make the
change happen.
Has control of resources.

Needs to have a clear vision
for the change.
Identify goals and measurable


Sponsors change in own area,
although top-level
responsibility lies further up
the hierarchy.

Must be careful not to
transmit cynicism.

Implementer Implements the change.
Reports to sponsor.
Responsible for giving live
feedback to the sponsor on
change progress.

Needs to listen, enquire and
clarify questions with the
sponsor at the start of an

Change agent Facilitator of change. Helps
sponsor and implementers
stay aligned.
Keeps sponsor on board.
No direct authority over

Acts as data gatherer,
educator, adviser, meeting
facilitator, coach.

Advocate Has an idea. Needs a sponsor
to make it happen.
Usually highly motivated.

Must make idea appealing to

Source: adapted from O’Neill (2000)

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change



Implementers are the people who must actually implement the change.
They have direct line responsibilities to the sponsor. Their job is to pro-
vide the sponsor with live feedback from the change initiative. They can
save the sponsor from tunnel vision, or from being surprised by obstacles
that those closest to the change sometimes notice first.

Implementers are most effective when they listen, inquire and clarify
their questions and concerns with the sponsor at the beginning of an
initiative. This means they can commit to an effort rather than falsely
complying early on and sabotaging later.

Change agent

A change agent is the facilitator of the change. He or she helps the spon-
sor and the implementers stay aligned with each other. The effectiveness
of this role depends on the sponsor not abandoning the change agent
to the implementers. The sponsor must not ‘drop the ball’. When this
happens the change agent can over-function, making the system ineffec-
tive and unbalanced, and the change temporary.

The change agent acts as data gatherer, educator, adviser, meeting
facilitator and coach. Most often he or she has no direct line authority
over the implementers, and is therefore in a naturally occurring triangle
among sponsor–implementer–agent.


An advocate has an idea about how a change can happen but needs a
sponsor for his or her idea. All change needs to be sponsored.

Advocates are often passionate and highly motivated to make the
change happen. They must remember the key factor, which is to get a
sponsor. Without this, advocates become frustrated and demoralized.
Shrewd advocates promote ideas by showing their compatibility with
issues near and dear to sponsors’ change projects and goals.

We have included Mary Beth O’Neill’s definitions of these roles because
they provide a clear framework for those approaching organizational
change, and illustrate the range of leadership roles necessary for change

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


to occur. Our experience is that people at all levels in organizations find
this framework useful for kicking off and sustaining change, and for judg-
ing how well the community of leaders is supporting the change process.
This model seems to provide the necessary amount of clarity in today’s
organizations, where hierarchy is unclear and jobs and projects overlap.
There is often a need for a simple but flexible way of defining who does
what in any process of change.

Q 4.5 Use Mary Beth O’Neill’s four roles to analyse a change process in

your organization. Who performed which role? How well were the
roles performed? What contribution did the performance of these
roles make to the level of success of the changes?


Much has been written about leadership styles, qualities and skills. We
have included two different ways of looking at this area to illustrate two
complementary ‘lenses’. The first comes from Goleman (2000) and the
second from Cameron and Green (2008).

We have chosen the work of Goleman because our clients tend to find
it illuminating and useful as a first stage ‘ready-reckoner’ regarding their
leadership style. Goleman identifies a set of six ‘relationship-oriented’
styles for the leader to choose from in any situation – as if choosing from
a set of golf clubs. Leaders we have worked with find this very useful,
particularly when faced with new people challenges, either one-to-one or
in a group context (see boxed examples). This set of six styles is under-
pinned by Goleman’s work on emotional intelligence, which sets out the
underlying competencies associated with successful leadership. This acts
as a convenient checklist for those assessing their skills.

We have also chosen, in contrast, our own set of five leadership quali-
ties which we believe leaders need to demonstrate in varying amounts
when facing significant change. Derived from analysis and research in the
field, we have found this set of qualities to be very easily digested and

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


understood by the leaders with whom we’ve worked over the past
few years. It also seems to offer a way – particularly in a leadership team
setting – of inquiring more deeply into the type of leadership that’s being
called for according to the change challenges ahead, and therefore where
leaders need to develop or ‘step up’.

Goleman: leadership that gets results

In his quest to discover the links between emotional
intelligence and business results, Daniel Goleman
(2000) developed a set of six distinct leadership styles
through studying the performance of over 3,800 execu-
tives worldwide. These six leadership styles, arising
from various different components of emotional intel-
ligence, are used interchangeably by the best leaders.
He encourages leaders to view the styles as six golf
clubs, with each one being used in a different situation.
Goleman also found that each style taken individually
has a unique effect on organizational climate over time,
some positive and some negative. This in turn has a
major influence on business results.

Goleman links the competence of leaders directly to business results,
but also identifies the situations in which each style is effective:

• Coercive style. Only to be used sparingly if a crisis arises. This is a
useful style to employ if urgent changes are required now, but must
be combined with other styles for positive results long term. Negative
effects such as stress and mistrust result if this style is overused.

• Authoritative style. Useful when a turnaround is required and the
leader is credible and enthusiastic. This is the ‘visionary’ leadership
style. Goleman indicates that this style will only work if the leader
is well respected by his or her people, and is genuinely enthusiastic
about the change required. He acknowledges the strongly positive
effect of this approach, given the right prevailing conditions.

• Affiliative style. This style helps to repair broken relationships and
establish trust. It can be useful when the going gets tough in a change

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


process and people are struggling. However, it must be used with
other styles to be effective in setting direction and creating progress.

• Democratic. This is an effective style to use when the team knows
more about the situation than the leader does. They will be able to
come up with ideas and create plans with the leader operating as
facilitator. However, it is not useful for inexperienced team members
as they will go round in circles and fail to deliver.

• Pacesetting. This style can be used effectively with a highly motiv-
ated, competent team, but does not lead to positive results long term
if used in isolation. Overuse of this style alone results in exhausted
staff who feel directionless and unrewarded. The leader needs to
switch out of this style to move into a change process rather than
simply drive for more of the same.

• Coaching. This is an appropriate style to use if individuals need to
acquire new skills or knowledge as part of changes being made.


I realize on reflection that I have been using just two leadership styles all my
working life. I am 54, and this has been something of a revelation. I have been
using the coercive style together with the affiliative style. It never occurred to
me to do it any other way. I would tell the staff how things would be, give them
a dressing down, and make up afterwards by talking about the football or
asking about the family.

No one would make suggestions or use their initiative, and no one ever
seemed to learn anything new. I was completely in charge of an efficient but
stagnant site.

It wasn’t easy incorporating other styles, but once I had cracked the
coaching style, things began to change. The staff began to see me as more
accessible. Now my people trust me more, and they are prepared to take
responsibility and to suggest things and to make changes. I use less energy to
carry out my role, and can think more clearly about how best to lead.

General manager of a manufacturing plant

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change



At first glance I thought I was using all six styles in the right measure. Then
when I began to talk to my team about it, I realized that I was using the pace-
setting style 85 per cent of the time. Even my attempts at being friendly (or
affiliative) turned out to be pacesetting approaches. People described how a
casual chat with me would end up feeling like an interrogation. People on the
shop floor actively avoided me after a while. Or they spent ages preparing for
an encounter with me.

Of course, all my star performers loved this style. They found it thrilling and
stimulating. The others fell by the wayside as I had no time for coaching at all.
My style became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The competent people did well, and
those who needed to learn didn’t get the airtime from me that they needed,
so they failed.

I’m not saying that this has completely changed. But now I do recognize
when I need to coach and when I need to pace-set. My actions are more
aligned to my intentions, rather than being simply a question of habit.

Head teacher

See Table 4.5 for our summary of the six different styles and their

Goleman: the importance of emotional intelligence for
successful leaders

Underpinning Goleman’s six leadership styles is his work on emotional
intelligence (see Goleman, 1998). This is worth examining as it sets out
all the competencies required to be a successful leader.

Goleman’s research into the necessity for emotional intelligence is
convincing. First, his investigation into 181 different management com-
petence models drawn from 121 organizations worldwide indicated that
67 per cent of the abilities deemed essential for management competence
were emotional competencies. Further research carried out by Hay/
McBer looked at data from 40 different corporations to determine the

Table 4.5 Our summary of Goleman’s six leadership styles

Coercive Authoritative Affiliative Democratic Pace-setting Coaching


people what
to do when.

and attracting
people with
an engaging

with people
through use
of positive

Asking the
team what
they think,
and listening
to this.

Raising the
bar and
asking for
a bit more.
the pace.

and supporting
people to try
new things.
their skills.

When to use
this style

When there
is a crisis.

When step
change is
required. When
manager is both
credible and

are broken.

When the
team members
something to

When team
are highly
and highly

When there is
a skills gap.

of this style

People stop

Has a negative
effect if
manager is not

productive if
it is the only
style used.

May lead
nowhere if
team is

if used too
much. Not
when team
need help.

If manager is
not a good
coach, or if
individual is
not motivated,
this style will
not work.


_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


difference in terms of competencies between star performers and average
performers. Again emotional competencies were found to be twice as
important as skill-based or intellectual competencies.



Knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources, and intuitions:

• Emotional awareness: recognizing one’s emotions and their effects.

• Accurate self-assessment: knowing one’s strengths and limits.

• Self-confidence: a strong sense of one’s self-worth and capabilities.


Managing one’s internal states, impulses, and resources:

• Self-control: keeping disruptive emotions and impulses in check.

• Trustworthiness: maintaining standards of honesty and integrity.

• Conscientiousness: taking responsibility for personal performance.

• Adaptability: flexibility in handling change.

• Achievement orientation: striving to improve or meeting a standard of

• Initiative: readiness to act on opportunities.

Social awareness

Awareness of others’ feelings, needs, and concerns:

• Empathy: sensing others’ feelings and perspectives, and taking an
active interest in their concerns.

• Organizational awareness: reading a group’s emotional currents and
power relationships.

• Service orientation: anticipating, recognizing, and meeting customers’

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Social skills

Adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others:

• Developing others: sensing others’ development needs and bolstering
their abilities.

• Leadership: inspiring and guiding individuals and groups.

• Influence: wielding effective tactics for persuasion.

• Communication: listening openly and sending convincing messages.

• Change catalyst: initiating or managing change.

• Conflict management: negotiating and resolving disagreements.

• Building bonds: nurturing instrumental relationships.

• Teamwork and collaboration: working with others toward shared goals.
Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals.

Source: Goleman (1998), reproduced with permission of
Bloomsbury Publishing, London

Goleman defined a comprehensive set of emotional competencies for
leaders (see box). He grouped these competencies into four categories:

1 self-awareness;

2 self-management;

3 social awareness; and

4 social skills.

Self-awareness, he says, is at the heart of emotional intelligence. To back
this up, Goleman’s research shows that if self-awareness is not present
in a leader, the chance of that person being competent in the other three
categories is much reduced.

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change



The managers that we work with often have high drive levels and are also very
intelligent. When this combination of characteristics is present in an individual,
that individual often experiences a lot of frustration. Other people are either
too slow, or too relaxed, or simply ‘not getting it’.

This was crystallized by a very dynamic and successful IT manager whom I
worked with recently. When I went through her emotional intelligence feed-
back with her using HayGroup’s Emotional Competence Inventory, her self-
management scores were low, especially in the area of self-control. I asked her
how often she felt frustrated in her work. She paused for a moment and then
with a sudden realization she said, ‘All the time.’ Up until that point, she had
not realized that there was an issue. This had just become a way of life. Others
were experiencing her as bad tempered, moody and occasionally bullying.
Then we started to talk about strategies for dealing with this.

Esther Cameron, 2003

A brief scan of the competence set will confirm that self-awareness,
self-management and social awareness are all competencies that are
not necessarily observable. We call this inner leadership. Only the social
skills category contains obvious observable behaviours. We call this outer

In our experience those involved in leading change have to develop
especially strong inner leadership because of the emotions arising from
their own drive to achieve, coupled with potential resistance from many
levels, and the discomfort involved in letting go of old habits. It is a very
emotional landscape!

Daniel Goleman says that it is vital that leaders develop emotional

In the new stripped-down, every-job-counts business climate, these human
realities will matter more than ever. Massive change is constant; technical
innovations, global competition, and the pressures of institutional investors

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


are ever-escalating forces for flux. As organizations shrink through waves
of down sizing, those people who remain are more accountable – and
more visible.

Whereas a bully, or a hypersensitive manager, might have gone un-
noticed deep in many organizations 10 years ago, he or she is much more
visible now.

Cameron and Green: five leadership qualities to support

Since the first edition we have become very interested in the possibility
that different leadership qualities may be required in different organiza-
tional change contexts. We searched the literature, and combined this
with our knowledge of many different sets of leadership competences
from organizations we work with. From this process we derived a set of
five leadership qualities that cover the full set of possibilities using a clus-
tering approach.

We invited research participants, all experienced managers or Organ-
ization Development professionals, to use their organizational wisdom to
select the leadership qualities they thought would be most effective in a
range of contexts. We wanted to find out if different leadership qualities,
or combinations of qualities, appeared to match up to any particular
contexts. We asked participants to select the one or two leadership
qualities that they thought would be most effective in each of a range of
organizational contexts.

The summary of results appears in Figure 4.2. It is clear from this
information that a wide range of roles are useful, and that combinations
of roles work well. There are some interesting patterns to notice about
particular contexts, but the overall message is that all the roles are useful
at times.

In our book Making Sense of Leadership (2008), we describe our research,
set out the results and conclude that there are five qualities to select from
which leaders need to use flexibly if they are to be versatile performers.
Again, we concluded that there is no one right way, but there are some

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


The five qualities, shown in Figure 4.3 for a summary, are:

1 The Edgy Catalyser: focuses on creating discomfort to catalyse

2 The Visionary Motivator: focuses on engagement and buy-in to ener-
gize people.

3 The Measured Connector: focuses on sense of purpose and connec-
tivity across the organization to help change to emerge.

4 The Tenacious Implementer: focuses on projects, plans, deadlines
and progress to achieve results.

5 The Thoughtful Architect: focuses on frameworks, designs and
complex fit between strategies and concepts to ensure that ideas
provide a sound basis for change.


























































t o

r s

















r c












l c




l c
















+ Well-defined
* Long range,
complex change

Figure 4.2 The five leadership qualities
Source: Cameron and Green (2008)

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Figure 4.3 Summary of the five leadership qualities
Source: Cameron and Green (2008)

Q 4.6 Draw a pie chart that represents your own use of Goleman’s six

leadership styles. Are you using them in the right proportion? If
not, what do you plan to do differently and why? Try this exercise
again, but this time use the framework to help someone else to
focus on his or her leadership style. Write up the conversation,
indicating what insights the exercise provoked.

You can also try the exercise with the five leadership qualities.


In this section we examine the different phases of the change process,
to identify the need for a leader to perform different skills or activities
during each phase. We do this by using three different but complement-
ary models of the change process.

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


Cameron and Green: inner and outer leadership

In our own experience of working with leaders on change processes, it is
important to establish phases of change so that plans can be made and
achievements recognized. This phasing also enables a leader to see the
need for flexibility in leadership style, as the change moves from one
phase into another phase. We have identified both the outer leadership
and inner leadership requirements of a leader of change for each phase;
see Table 4.6.

Table 4.6 Leadership of change phase by phase, comparing inner and
outer leadership requirements

Phase of change Outer leadership –
observable actions of
the leader

Inner leadership – what
goes on inside the leader

1. Establishing the need
for change
The leader illuminates a
problem area through

presenting, listening

Managing emotions,
maintaining integrity,
being courageous, being
patient, knowing yourself,
judging whether you really
have the energy to do this

2. Building the change
The leader brings the
right people together
and establishes
momentum through

Chairing meetings,
connecting agendas,
facilitating discussion,
building relationships,
building teams,
cutting through
the politics

Social and organizational
awareness, self-awareness,
managing emotions,
adaptability, taking
initiative, having the drive
to achieve, maintaining
energy despite knock-backs

3. Creating vision and
The leader works with
the group to build a
picture of success

Initiating ideas,
divergent and creative
thinking, challenging
others constructively,
envisaging the future,
facilitating agreement

Strategic thinking, taking
time to reflect, social
awareness, drive to
achieve, managing

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Phase of change Outer leadership –
observable actions of
the leader

Inner leadership – what
goes on inside the leader

4. Communicating and
The leader plays his or
her role in
direction, giving it
meaning, being clear
about timescale and
letting people know
what part they will be

Persuading and
engaging, presenting
with passion,
listening, being
assertive, being
creative with ways of

Patience, analysis of how to
present to different
audiences, managing
emotions with regard to
other people’s resistance,
social awareness,
adaptability, empathy

5. Empowering others
The leader entrusts
those who have been
involved in the creation
of the new vision with
key tasks

Clear target setting,
good delegation,
managing without
micromanaging or
abdicating, coaching

Integrity, trust, patience,
drive to achieve, steadiness
of purpose, empathy

6. Noticing
improvements and
The leader stays
interested in the process.
This involves the ability
to juggle lots of different
projects and initiatives

Playing the
sponsorship role well,
walking the talk,
rewarding and
sharing success,
building on new ideas

Steadiness of purpose,
organizational and social
awareness, empathy,
managing emotions, drive
to achieve

7. Consolidating
The leader encourages
people to take stock of
where they are, and
reflect on how much has
been achieved

Reviewing objectively,
celebrating success,
giving positive
feedback before
moving on to what’s

Social awareness, empathy,
drive to achieve, taking
time to reflect, steadiness
of purpose

Table 4.6 continued

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


Kotter: the importance of getting the early steps right

Kotter’s eight steps to transforming your organization (see Chapter 3)
form a comprehensive guide to tackling the process of change. Kotter
says that good leaders must get all eight steps right. However, he predicts
that the process will be a great deal easier if groundwork is done well.

In Leading Change (1996), Kotter describes some of the actions a leader
needs to take during all eight steps. In Table 4.7 we give some of Kotter’s
suggestions for the first four steps, as they seem to necessitate the most
direct action from the leader.

Table 4.7 Kotter’s recommended actions for the first four change steps

Kotter’s step Recommended actions

1. Establishing a
sense of urgency

Push up the urgency level. Create a crisis by exposing
issues rather than protecting people from them. Send
more data to people about customer satisfaction,
especially where weaknesses are demonstrated.
Encourage more honest discussion of these issues.

2. Creating the
guiding coalition

Include enough main line managers, enough relevant
expertise, enough people with good credibility and
reputation in the organization and enough ability to lead.
Avoid big egos and snakes (who engender distrust).
Talk a lot together, build trust and build a common goal.

3. Developing a
vision and strategy

Vision building is a messy, difficult and sometimes
emotionally charged exercise. Take time to do the process
properly and expect it to take months. It is never achieved
in a single meeting.

4. Communicating
the change vision

Keep the communication simple and use metaphor and
Creativity is necessary to ensure that many different
forms of communication are used to repeat the message,
including leading by example. Use two-way discussions
and listen to the feedback.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Rosabeth Moss Kanter: learning how to persevere

Rosabeth Moss Kanter (2002) highlights the need for keeping going in
the change process, even when it gets tough. She says that too often
executives announce a plan, launch a task force and then simply hope
that people find the answers. Kanter’s emphasis is different from Kotter’s.
She says the difficulties will come after the change is begun.

Kanter says that leaders need to employ the following strategies to
ensure that a change process is sustained beyond the first flourish:

1 Tune into the environment. Create a network of listening posts to
listen and learn from customers.

2 Challenge the prevailing organizational wisdom. Promote kaleido-
scopic thinking. Send people far afield, rotate jobs and create inter-
disciplinary project teams to get people to question their assumptions.

3 Communicate a compelling aspiration. This is not just about
communicating a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to better
ourselves and become something more. The aspiration needs to be
compelling as there are so many sources of resistance to overcome.

4 Build coalitions. Kanter says that the coalition-building step, though
obvious, is one of the most neglected steps in the change process.
She says that change leaders need the involvement of people who
have the resources, the knowledge and the political clout to make
things happen.

5 Transfer ownership to a working team. Once a coalition is formed,
others should be brought on board to focus on implementation.
Leaders need to stay involved to guarantee time and resources for
implementers. The implementation team can then build its own
identity and concentrate on the task.

6 Learn to persevere. Kanter says that everything can look like a failure
in the middle. If you stick with the process through the difficult times
(see box), good things may emerge. The beginning is exciting and the
end satisfying. It is the hard work in the middle that necessitates the
leader’s perseverance.

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


7 Make everyone a hero. Leaders need to remember to reward and
recognize achievements. This skill is often underused in organ-
izations, and it is often free! This part of the cycle is important to
motivate people to give them the energy to tackle the next change


• Forecasts fall short. Change leaders must be prepared to accept
serious departures from plans, especially when they are doing some-
thing new and different.

• Roads curve. Expect the unexpected. Do not panic when the path of
change takes a twist or a turn.

• Momentum slows. When the going gets tough it is important to
review what has been achieved and what remains – and to revisit the

• Critics emerge. Critics will emerge in the middle when they begin to
realize the impact of proposed changes. Change leaders should
respond to this, remove obstacles and move forward.

Source: Kanter (2002)

Bridges: leading people through transition

William Bridges (1991) has very clear ideas about what leaders need to do
to make change work. Bridges says that what often stops people from
making new beginnings in a change process is that they have not yet let
go of the past. He sees the leader as the person who helps to manage that
transition. We see this as a particularly useful frame of thinking when an
inevitable change such as a merger, acquisition, reorganization or site
closure is under way. In Chapter 3 we referred to his three phases of tran-
sition: ending, neutral zone and new beginning.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Leadership for the ending

Here is Bridges’ advice for how to manage the ending phase (or how to
get them to let go):

• Study the change carefully and identify who is likely to lose what.

• Acknowledge these losses openly – it is not stirring up trouble.
Sweeping losses under the carpet stirs up trouble.

• Allow people to grieve and publicly express your own sense of loss.

• Compensate people for their losses. This does not mean handouts!
Compensate losses of status with a new type of status. Compensate
loss of core competence with training in new areas.

• Give people accurate information again and again.

• Define what is over and what is not.

• Find ways to ‘mark the ending’ (see box).

• Honour rather than denigrate the past.


When a large publicly owned utility company in the UK split up into a
myriad of small privatized units, there was a great sense of loss. Old
teams and old friendships were breaking up. It was the end of an era. The
organization held a wake, at which everyone moaned and complained
and generally got things off their chest. There was much talk late into the
night. The transition moved more smoothly after that event as people
began to accept the reality and inevitability of the ending.

Leadership for the neutral zone

The neutral zone is an uncomfortable place to be. This is the time
when, for instance, the reorganization has been announced but the new

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


organization is not in place, or understood, or working. Anxiety levels go
up and motivation goes down, and discord among the team can rise. This
phase needs to be managed well, or it can lead to chaos. A selection of
Bridges’ tips for this phase are listed below (he itemizes 21 in his book):

• Explain the neutral zone as an uncomfortable time which, with
careful attention, can be turned to everyone’s advantage.

• Choose a new and more affirmative metaphor with which to
describe it.

• Reinforce the metaphor with training programmes, policy changes
and financial rewards for people to keep doing their jobs during the
neutral zone.

• Create temporary policies, procedures, roles and reporting relation-
ships to get you through the neutral zone.

• Set short-range goals and checkpoints.

• Set up a transition monitoring team to keep realistic feedback flowing
upward during the time in the neutral zone.

• Encourage experimentation and risk taking. Be careful not to punish
all failures.

• Encourage people to brainstorm many answers to the old problems
– the ones that people say you just have to live with. Do this for
your own problems too.

Leadership for the new beginning

Here are some of Bridges’ ideas for this phase:

• Distinguish in your own mind the difference
between the start, which can happen on
a planned schedule, and the beginning,
which will not.

• Communicate the purpose of the change.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


• Create an effective picture of the change and communicate it

• Create a plan for bringing people through the three phases of transi-
tion, and distinguish it from the change management plan.

• Help people to discover the part they will play in the new system.

• Build some occasions for quick success.

• Celebrate the new beginning and the conclusion of the time of

Q 4.7 Reflect on an organizational change in which you were involved.

Did the ‘sticky moments’ suggested by Rosabeth Moss Kanter
arise, and how were they dealt with? What could have been done
differently by those leading the change?

Q 4.8 Imagine that the organization you work for as a line manager is
about to be taken over by one of your key competitors. You have
been told that everyone in your area will still have a job, but you
will have to learn about the other organization’s way of doing
business and drop many of the products and services you deliver
now. Use the William Bridges’ tips to list some of the things you
would need to start doing to enable the transition.


Much is expected of a leader throughout a change process. It takes cour-
age, a sense of purpose, the ability to manage your emotions, high integ-
rity and a wide range of skills to lead change well. A great deal has been
written about skills development, but what about self-knowledge and
inner resources? How great a part does the inner life of the leader play in
his or her ability to lead change, and how can this capacity be developed
or improved?

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


We believe that this is the key to successful leadership; so does Daniel
Goleman. See above to read about his research into leadership success,
which indicates that self- awareness forms the bedrock of the emotionally
intelligent leader.

Bennis: the role of self-knowledge

Warren Bennis (1994) emphasizes the need to know yourself in order to
become a good leader. He says that leaders must have self-knowledge if
they want to be freed up sufficiently to think in new ways. Bennis claims
that you make your life your own by understanding it, and become your
own designer rather than being designed by your own experience. He
itemizes four lessons of self-knowledge. These are:

• One: be your own teacher. Leaders assume responsibility for their
own learning, and treat it as a route to self-knowledge and self-
expression. No one can teach them the lessons they need to learn.
Stumbling blocks can be denial and blame.

• Two: accept responsibility and blame no one. Do not expect other
people to take charge or do things for you.

• Three: you can learn anything you want to learn. Leadership involves
a kind of fearlessness, an optimism and a confidence.

• Four: true understanding comes from reflecting on your experience.
Leaders make reflection part of their daily life. An honest look at the
past prepares you for the future.

Bennis also notes the potential benefits of leaders recalling their child-
hoods honestly, reflecting on them, understanding them, and thereby
overcoming the influence that childhood has on them. He quotes Erikson,
the famed psychoanalyst, who says that there are eight stages of life, each
with an accompanying crisis (see Table 4.8). Erikson claims that the way
in which we resolve the eight crises determines who we will be. He also
notes that we may get stuck at a particular stage if we do not manage to
solve the crisis satisfactorily. For instance, many of us never overcome the
inner struggle between initiative and guilt, and so we lack purpose.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Table 4.8 Development stages and their challenges

Stage Crisis Resolution Conditions
for optimal

(0–18 months)

Trust vs mistrust Hope or


Early childhood
(18 months–3 years)

Autonomy vs
shame and doubt

Will or

Security (routines
and rituals)

Play age
(3–5 years)

Initiative vs guilt Purpose or

Clear boundaries
Vision setting

School age
(8–12 years)

Industry vs

or inertia


(12 –28 years)

Identity vs
identity confusion

Fidelity or


Young adulthood
(28 – 40 years)

Intimacy vs

Love or


(40–55 years)

Generativity vs

Care or



Integrity vs

Wisdom or


Source: adapted from Erik Erikson, in Bennis (1994)

As a leader you may need to overcome some of the habits you developed
at an early age, which will be challenging but rewarding. Usually this
process is accomplished via coaching, counselling or therapy depending
on how deep you want or need to go.

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


Covey: the need for principle-centred leadership

Steve Covey is a writer and teacher who has had a tremendous effect
on the psyche of UK and US managers. His book, Principle-centred
Leadership (1992) was a New York Times bestseller for 220 weeks. His eight
characteristics of principle-centred leaders (see box) and his seven habits
(see below) are much quoted in management and leadership training
courses. Again, his focus is on inner leadership; that is, on how to be
rather than on what to do.


1 They are continually learning.

2 They are service oriented.

3 They radiate positive energy.

4 They believe in other people.

5 They lead balanced lives.

6 They see life as an adventure.

7 They are synergistic.

8 They exercise for renewal on all four dimensions of human personality
– physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Source: Covey (1992)

Covey’s organization runs workshops and programmes underpinned
by a humanistic self-development approach. Unlike Bennis, he does not
advocate revisiting your childhood to overcome difficulties, but encour-
ages us to focus on visualizing a positive outcome and working with
energy and enthusiasm towards it.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Covey’s seven habits (Covey, 1989) connect the leader’s outer habits
with the inner capability, which he labels ‘endowments’:

Habit 1: Be proactive. Know what needs to be done and decide to do it.
Do not be driven by circumstances. (Needs self-awareness and self-

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind. Have a clear sense of what you are
trying to achieve in each year, month, day, moment. (Needs imagina-
tion and conscience.)

Habit 3: Put first things first. This is about organizing how you
spend your time in line with Habit 2. He talks about looking at
level of urgency and level of importance of activities, and comments
that we spend too much time responding to urgent issues. (Needs

Habit 4: Think win-win. Manage all interactions with the assumption
that mutually beneficial solutions are possible. (Needs an abundance

Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Be prepared to
clarify what other people are getting at before you put your point
across. (Needs courage balanced with consideration.)

Habit 6: Synergize. Value differences in
people and work with others to create a
sum that is greater than the parts. (Needs

Habit 7: Sharpen the saw. Avoid the futility
of endless ‘busyness’. Make time to renew.
Covey says: ‘Without this discipline, the
body becomes weak, the mind mechanical,
the emotions raw, the spirit insensitive,
and the person selfish.’ (Needs continuous
improvement or self-renewal.)

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change



• Different metaphors of change lead to different assumptions about
what good leaders do. We believe that the most effective ideas about
change combine a number of metaphors, bringing the maximum
benefits and avoiding the pitfalls of blinkered thinking.

• A popular notion of leadership is of the hero leader who leads
from the front with determination, great vision and independence of

– Bennis places visionary leadership high on the agenda, and
makes a point of distinguishing leadership from management.
Kotter echoes this view.

– Studies that compared the effects of ‘transformational leader-
ship’ with those of ‘transactional leadership’ at the end of the
20th century indicated that charismatic and inspirational leader-
ship were the elements that led most reliably to team success.

Q 4.9 Identify the top five inner leadership strengths that you believe

the headmaster or headmistress of an underperforming school
needs to have. Use the ideas of Bennis and Covey in the section
above, and consider also Goleman’s emotional competencies.
Justify your choices. How could these areas be developed if
they were lacking?

Q 4.10 Reflect on your own leadership using Covey’s seven habits. What
are your strengths and weak areas?

Q 4.11 Imagine you have just been asked to lead a cultural change
programme in a 10,000-strong organization based throughout
Europe and the United States. The organization is a micro-
electronics company that has grown through acquisition and
now wants to strengthen its unique culture as one organization
emphasizing commercial applications, customer service and inno-
vation. Using the ideas presented in this chapter, describe the
approach you would take to leading this initiative and explain why.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


– Howard Gardner’s research into the minds of significant 20th
century leaders indicated that leaders who had great influence
embodied stories and took care to connect well with their

– Heifetz and Laurie and Jean Lipman-Blumen all argue against
the need for visionary leadership. Heifetz and Laurie advocate
adaptive leadership, which is about taking people out of their
comfort zones, letting people feel external pressure and exposing
conflict. Jean Lipman-Blumen instead emphasizes the need for
leaders to ensure connectivity. She says leaders need to be able
to perceive connections among diverse people, ideas and institu-
tions even when the parties themselves do not.

• 21st century organizations are different, and the pace of change is
even faster. This has given rise to new ideas about where leaders
need to put their energies. Perhaps this means less vision and more

• Different metaphors of the change process imply different leadership
roles. Senge advocates dispersed leadership, identifying three key
types of leader in an organizational system. If these three roles are in
place and are well connected, change will happen naturally. Mary
Beth O’Neill names four key leadership roles in any change process.

• Inner leadership is about what goes on inside the leader. Outer leader-
ship is about what the leader does. Outer and inner leadership are
both important for achieving organizational change.

• Daniel Goleman defines six leadership styles. A leader can select the
right style for the right situation, taking into account the necessary
conditions for success and long-term consequences. Goleman’s check-
list of emotional intelligence competencies is useful for any leader
wishing to be successful. These competencies include both inner and
outer leadership elements.

• Cameron and Green identify five leadership qualities that leaders
need to demonstrate in varying amounts according to the type of
change challenge being faced. This set of five qualities is particularly

_____________________________________________________________ Leading change


useful to support a leadership team facing significant change chal-
lenges in identifying where team members need to develop their
leadership skills or ‘step-up’ in some way.

• Kotter says that the hard work must be put in early in the change
process, while Rosabeth Moss Kanter says the hardest part comes in
the middle and that perseverance is key. Bridges identifies specific
leadership tasks during endings, the neutral zone and beginnings.

• Bennis and Covey both place high value on the inner life of leaders.
Bennis emphasizes the need for self-knowledge, whereas Covey lists
a set of principles and guidelines to help leaders to develop positive
thinking patterns.

Leadership is a fascinating subject. We all have different experiences and
different views about what makes a good leader, and many of these views
are ones we hold quite strongly. There are many apparent contradictions
here. It is always intriguing to see how leaders with very different styles
can be equally successful. This observation can appear baffling to those
wishing to make a rational assessment of what works in leadership and
what does not.

So how do we get to the truth about leaders? Do our heroes give us
useful clues? The hero leader is an enduring theme in discussions of
leadership. Even the process of asking people to name their ‘top leaders’
encourages an individualist perspective, and automatically results in
the naming of heroes. Perhaps this type of information is flawed, as it
depends so much on the profile-raising skills of the leader, and his or
her own personal brand. The facts concerning how these leaders demon-
strated good leadership get lost in the general impression of success.

Leaders who offer a vision, or have a strong story, tend to be the most
memorable. Their stories, or new ways of thinking, if taken on, may out-
live the leader. Is this a sign of great leadership: when the story begins
to live outside of the leader? There is also a strong sense that today’s
followers need more than just a good story. They need a credible story
that stands up to scrutiny.

On the other hand, those who doubt the viability of the role of vision-
ary leadership suggest that leaders need to focus instead on connecting

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


agendas and highlighting painful challenges. Our view is that all these
things are necessary to create change, including the articulation of
an attractive vision. Just read the words of Martin Luther-King again to
feel the power of a well-articulated vision. Other things need to be in
place too: the timing has to be right, and the vision has to be accepted
by followers.

The leader of change has to be courageous and self-aware. He or she
has to choose the right action at the right time, and to keep a steady eye
on the ball. However, the leader cannot make change happen alone. A
team needs to be in place, with well-thought-out roles, and committed
people who are in for the duration, not just for the kick-off.

One thing is certain: the going will not be smooth.


The change agent


The objective of this chapter is to look at the role of the change agent in
supporting the management of change. It looks at the change agent,
rather than the leader, in terms of the nature of the role – whether it is
internal or external to the organization, the focus, the competencies
needed, and some of the deeper psychological aspects. It will look at what
goes on inside the change agent – thoughts, decision making, feelings –
and also the outwardly observable effective behaviours.

The purpose of the chapter will be to understand:

• models of change agency;

• the consulting process and the role of the change agent within it;

• change agent tools and frameworks;

• the competencies of the change agent;

• deeper aspects of being a change agent.


The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________



Chapter 4 looked at leading change and touched on the particular role of
the change agent and defined it in O’Neill’s (2000) terminology as:

A Change Agent is the facilitator of the change. He/she helps the Sponsor
and the Implementers stay aligned with each other.

The Change Agent acts as data gatherer, educator, advisor, meeting facili-
tator and coach. Most often he or she has no direct line authority over the
implementers and is therefore in a naturally occurring triangle among

Caldwell (2003), in researching the role of the change agent, recognized
the shift over the last few decades away from a planned approach to
change, which often required or was exemplified by a top-down
approach. He saw different approaches that organizations were begin-
ning to adopt to meet unprecedented levels of change – for example, the
growth in the use of management consultants specializing in change
management; the realization that more emergent approaches to change
might be necessary; and the conflation of the concept of leadership with
change management. Caldwell developed a fourfold classification cover-
ing leadership, management, consultancy and team models (see Table 5.1),
which were all supported by extensive reference to research in the field.

Each of these models will bring their own challenges and perhaps dif-
ferent emphases on the core skills needed.

Q 5.1 Reviewing Caldwell’s framework, can you identify different

change scenarios that you have experienced or observed that
use all or some of the leadership, management, consultancy and
team models?

Q 5.2 In what ways was the use of the model(s) effective and ineffective?

Table 5.2 shows the key strengths of each of these models and some of the
areas of potential concern.

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


Table 5.1 Models of change agency


Change agents are identified as leaders or senior executives
at the very top of the organization who envision, initiate or
sponsor strategic change of a far-reaching or
transformational nature.


Change agents are conceived as middle level managers
and functional specialists who adapt, carry forward or
build support for strategic change within business units or
key functions.


Change agents are conceived as external or internal
consultants who operate at a strategic, operational, task,
or process level within an organization, providing advice,
expertise, project management, change programme
coordination, or process skills in facilitating change.

Team models Change agents are conceived as teams that may operate at
a strategic, operational, task, or process level within an
organization and may include managers, functional
specialists and employees at all levels, as well as internal
and external consultants.

Source: Caldwell (2003)

In the previous chapter we looked at a number of leadership models and
to some extent the management model. The management model is an
interesting one because those with line management responsibility, often
the middle manager, have a special role to play in the vast majority of
change initiatives. Balogun (2003) suggests that:

managers at middle levels in organizations may be able to make a strategic
contribution … middle managers fulfil a complex ‘change intermediary’
position during implementation … [they] engage in a range of activities to
aid their interpretation of the change intent. This interpretation activity then
informs the personal changes they attempt to undertake, how they help
others through change, how they keep the business going during the transi-
tion and what changes they implement in their departments.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Table 5.2 Key strengths of Caldwell’s four models and potential concerns

Key strengths Things to watch out for


Clear sponsorship and clear
Power and authority to
‘make change happen’
Stakeholders can see the
commitment of senior
management to the change

Potential for the change to be too
top-down and have too directive an
If leaders are unresponsive there is
the potential for ‘voices from below’
not to be heard and those with
different views to be seen as resistors


The ability to translate
strategic vision to more local
Much nearer the ‘coal face’ so
greater knowledge of what
works and what doesn’t
Ability for more immediate

Capacity and capability issues for
middle managers given their
necessary attention on business as
usual as well as the changes. They
may be ill-equipped with the
necessary skills and resources
Senior managers can abdicate


Ability to coach and advise
and work in partnership with
the organization
Change management
expertise and experience in
a multitude of settings
Can use their objectivity to
the full as they have (ideally)
no personal (career or
job-related) investment
in the solutions
Can take more of a whole
systems view

Can be detached with no
demonstrable commitment to
the area undergoing change
Staff might feel ‘done to’
May have no power or authority to
progress the changes or no explicit
or implicit ‘licence to operate’
Driving for delivery (in order to
Diminishing others with their
May be limited skills transfer into
the organization


Have the ‘requisite variety’
of people on the team
Both change management
expertise and business
Have a greater network into
the organizational system

Can replicate the organizational
dysfunction by becoming
fragmented and dysfunctional
Can become insular and isolated
from the rest of the organization
They can feel superior and believe
they know best

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


The consultancy model is probably the one that allows more latitude for
an emergent approach rather than a purely programmatic approach to
change. Partly this is due to the psychological and contractual distance
that the consultants may have, and partly due to the fact that they are not
so embedded in the organization to be part of both the change and the
organization after the change. Positioned where they are, the effective
consultant can support leaders to provide a containing environment for
reflection and emergence to occur, even within the midst of the pressure
to deliver.

The research from Prosci (2003, 2007) and Green (2007a) supports the
view that the team model – properly configured – is a critical part of
change management success. Prosci sees the need for an ‘exceptional
change management team taking the form of an experienced credible
team who maintained good internal working relations and also net-
worked into the organization’ together with dedicated resources. Green
highlights the importance of the change team being convened from
representative parts of the organization including those with change
management expertise together with knowledge of the business areas
and the business processes, with attention also given to the effective
functioning of the change team itself.

One could argue that a fifth model, perhaps a meta-model, might be
called for, where there is a more holistic approach, maybe a ‘responsibility-
taking model’ where all four Caldwell models are in evidence and
aligned, and key players work together across the whole system.


Whichever of Caldwell’s models you use,
there needs to be strong contracting
between the change agent and the leader-
ship line, which is best supported by a
clear consulting process. It makes sense to
identify the stages of the classical consult-
ing process to establish such a framework,

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


and this section will look at each of these stages, together with the typical
features and imperatives of each stage.

Before we look at the process itself it is worth understanding the types
of roles a change agent can play within it. Block (2000) sees that there
can be three types of role that the change agent can play in the consulting

1 The Expert – someone who is brought in because other people in the
organization need someone who knows what to do and how to do it.
The organization doesn’t have the capability without the expert, so
this is a directive role.

2 The Extra Pair of Hands – someone who is brought in to help out
because the organization doesn’t have the capacity. This is a more
compliant role and the subject of direction.

3 The Collaborative Role – someone who has expertise and experience
in the change field. They can collaborate with people within the
system to make sense jointly of the situation and what needs to be
addressed. They can work alongside people to facilitate the process
of change and support leaders to step up to what’s required of

There is further consideration of these roles in Chapter 11.
Of course it is important in the initial stages of any change process to

establish which type of role is being asked for and indeed ensure that
there is agreement at the beginning and throughout the process that the
role’s integrity is maintained. It is also important to estab lish that the
change agent has the capacity and the capability to fulfil the chosen role.

Block helpfully suggests that the primary tasks of the consultant
are to:

• establish a collaborative relationship;

• solve problems so that they stay solved; and

• ensure attention is given to both the technical/business problem and
the relationships.

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


Different commentators delineate the stages of the consulting process in
different ways (see Table 5.3) but generically they can be described as
an entry stage, followed by contracting, diagnosing, implementing and
evaluating (Lacey, 1995).

Table 5.3 Stages of the consulting process

Kubr (1986) Lacey

et al (1997)

Block (2000) Cummings and
Worley (2009)

Judge and

Entry Entry Scouting Entry and

Entry and


Diagnosis Contracting Entry Discovery
and dialogue




Diagnosing Contracting Feedback and
the decision
to act







Collecting and


Termination Evaluating Diagnosis Extension,
recycle, or

Feeding back


Planning Designing


Intervention Leading and
managing change


Evaluation Evaluating and
development (OD)



The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Skills at each stage

The consulting process suggests that different sets of knowledge, cogni-
tive skills and behaviours are needed at different stages in the consulting
process. Table 5.4 summarizes the work of a number of researchers who
suggest what is required of the change agent at each stage.

Table 5.4 The consulting process and the range of knowledge, skills and


Indicative knowledge, skills and behaviours

Entry Interpersonal
Communication skills – particularly spirit of inquiry and deep

and active listening
Impact and influence
Build trust and commitment
Interpersonal and relationship skills
Ability to appraise the match between the client and the

consultant and decision whether to ‘enter the system’
Ability to establish an initial relationship with the client and build

the basis for involvement
Strategic and analytic skills
Political sensitivity to the system and stakeholder groupings
Change readiness assessment
Application of relevant frameworks and models
In touch with own feelings re the client, organization and project
Pragmatism (art of the possible)
Coping with mixed motivation on the part of the client and

dealing with their concerns about exposure and the loss of

Project management
Project planning

____________________________________________________________ The change agent



Indicative knowledge, skills and behaviours

Contracting Interpersonal
Relationship building
Ability to use every intervention as part of the discovery process
Clarifying expectations
Understanding of the whole system and network of stakeholders
Development of an effective proposal – goals, recommended

actions (preliminary), responsibilities and accountabilities,
strategies for achieving end state, fees, terms and conditions

Establishment of monitoring methods and evaluation criteria
Understand the levels of motivation and engagement for the

project and within the change agents
Project management
Ability to co-generate achievable objectives and metrics
Clarity of scope – what is and isn’t in the project
Clear governance framework
Project management methodology and skills
Resource management
Developing a mutually agreed contract, clarifying expectations

and the way of working

Diagnosis Interpersonal
Understanding of the operating environment, different

organizational elements, and strategic imperatives
Plan the data collection jointly with the client
Ability to coach, facilitate and tutor others in the diagnostic methods
Ability to feed back to client, and develop a joint understanding
Ability to feed back relevant, understandable, descriptive,

significant and verifiable information in a timely, even if
perhaps tentative, way

Facilitation of different stakeholders in understanding of data,
option generation, and securing of agreement for action

Action planning by self, and team and client
Facilitating group meetings
Gathering ‘sensing data’ through interview and conversations –

information gleaned from observational and intuitive awareness
Involve the client in interpreting the data collected

Table 5.4 continued

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________



Indicative knowledge, skills and behaviours

Stakeholder mapping
Mapping of political domain
Understanding different and appropriate diagnostic models at an

organizational, group, team and individual level
Diagnostic skills and an ability to interpret data
Ability to measure the organization’s efficiencies and effectiveness
Critical analysis of feedback data
Generation of viable options for action
An understanding of the multi-faceted nature of the organization

and the degree of complexity of the system
Understanding the various elements of the Change Kaleidoscope
An assessment of the organization’s readiness for change
Identification of specific interventions together with who will be

doing what and how it may be evaluated
Distinguish between the presenting problem and the underlying

Elicit and describe both the technical/business problem and how

the problem is being managed
Presentation techniques
Dealing with political climate
Resisting the urge for complete data
Seeing all contact with the client as an intervention
Identifying and working with different forms of resistance
Presenting personal and organizational data
Not taking client reactions personally
Ask questions about the client’s own role in causing or

maintaining the situation
Ask questions about what others in the organization are doing to

cause or maintain the presenting or target problem
Recognize the similarity between how the client manages you

and how they manage their own organization
Project management
Ability to make sense of the data and translate into manageable

action and project plans

Table 5.4 continued

____________________________________________________________ The change agent



Indicative knowledge, skills and behaviours

Intervening Interpersonal
Continued collaborative working in terms of sense making, action

planning and interventions
Ensure shared responsibility between client and consultant, while

ensuring that organizational leaders are leading
Continued transfer of knowledge from consultant to client and

attention to internal capability building
Focus more on engagement over mandate and persuasion
Design more participation than presentation
Thought and methodological leadership in the range of

Alignment between theoretical insight and designed methods
Ability to design interventions informed by the various elements

of the Change Kaleidoscope
Ability to choose interventions on organizational, group, team

and individual levels that fit
Development of creative and innovative ideas and interventions
Alert to feedback and consequences of interventions and other

changes in the system
Using self as instrument for understanding
Providing containment and creation of a facilitating environment

or supporting leaders in doing so
Have an open mind and a stance of curiosity especially when

‘resistance’ is experienced
Encourage difficult public exchanges
Put real choice on the table
Change the conversation to change the culture
Project management
Sensible sequencing of interventions
Learning and development interventions delivered by skilled

trainers and management developers

Table 5.4 continued

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________



Indicative knowledge, skills and behaviours

Evaluating Interpersonal
Ability to show how evaluation is a key aspect in the whole

change process
Ability to co-design, implement and monitor evaluation methods

and metrics
Financial acumen to evaluate costs and benefits of interventions
Assessing the success of the interventions across a range of

appropriate measures and agreement on the need for further
action or exit

Be open to the idea that all feedback is valid data
Project management
Ensuring different stakeholder groups have clarity about the

objectives and whether they have been achieved
Recognizing that evaluation begins at contracting stage and

developing shared understanding of what can be achieved
together with a realistic set of evaluation methods and, if no
further action is required, managing the termination of the
work while leaving the system with an enhanced capacity to
manage change by itself in the future

Adapted from Block (2000), Cheung-Judge and Holbeche (2011), Cummings and
Worley (2009) and Huffington et al (1997)

Differences between internal and external change agents

Some organizations rely on outside help whilst others believe that they
have the change agency capacity in-house. Although the core competen-
cies of internal and external change agents are similar it is worth consider-
ing some of the differences between the two, partly so one can consider
what may be best for any particular change situation, and partly so that
the change agent can understand some of the nuances. Lacey (1995), in
Table 5.5, identifies some of these different factors.

Table 5.4 continued

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


Table 5.5 Differences between internal and external consultants


Internal change agent External change agent

Entry Ready access to clients
Ready relationships
Knows company jargon
Understands root causes
Time efficient
Congenial phase
Obligated to work with

Steady pay

Source (find) clients
Build relationships
Learn company jargon
‘Presenting problem’

Time consuming
Stressful phase
Select client /project

according to own criteria
Unpredictable outcome

Contracting Informal agreements
Must complete projects

No out of pocket expenses
Information can be open or

Risk of client retaliation and

loss of job at stake
Acts as third party (on behalf

of client), or pair of hands

Formal documents
Can terminate project at will
Guard against out of pocket

Information confidential
Loss of contract at stake
Maintain third-party role

Diagnosing Has relationship with many
organization members

Prestige determined by job
rank and client stature

Sustain reputation as
trustworthy over time

Data openly shared can
reduce political intrigue

Meet most organization
members for the first time

Prestige from being external
Build trust quickly
Confidential data can

increase political

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________



Internal change agent External change agent

Intervening Insist on valid information,
and internal commitment;
free and informed choice –
people can choose to
participate or not – is a luxury

Run interference for client
across organizational lines to
align support (‘allowed’ to
engage with other parties of
the organization if need be)

Insist on valid information,
free and informed choice,
and internal commitment

Confine activities within
boundaries of client

Evaluating Rely on repeat business, pay
rise, and promotion as key
measures of success

Can see change become

Little recognition for job
well done

Rely on repeat business and
customer referral as key
measures of project

Seldom see long-term results

Source: Lacey (1995)

We can see that throughout the course of the assignment both internal
and external consultants will have challenges, but often of a different
nature. Huffington et al (1997) building on the work of Basset and
Brunning (1994) suggest some criteria for when internal and external
consultants may be indicated for a particular project:

• Internal, when there is a need to work longer term with the out-
comes of the change; when there is an internal driver to use or
rely upon internal capacity or capability; when internal knowledge of
the system now and into the future is required; when engagement
with the wider groupings will be improved with internal change
agents; and when there is a belief that ownership should clearly be

Table 5.5 continued

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


• External, when there is the need for a major organization-wide change
especially when there is high-level senior management involve-
ment or sponsorship; when the changes are of a complex nature with
limited capacity or capability within; when there is a need for an
external, more objective, perspective; and when the situation requires
an intervention by people with no conflicts of interest, loyalty or

Q 5.3 Review Table 5.4, ‘The consulting process and the range of

knowledge, skills and behaviours’ and identify some areas of
strength and some areas you need to develop. For the latter draw
up a number of possible next steps you could take to improve.

Q 5.4 Review Table 5.5, ‘Differences between internal and external
consultants’ and list the pros and cons of using each type for
a particular change intervention you have in mind. What are the
implications for the organization and the key questions for the
change agent?


By definition a change agent is seeking or supporting some sort of organ-
izational change in, for example the strategy, the structure, the systems
and processes, the people, their capabilities, the management style, and
the shared values all within the context of the organizational culture.
The change agent crafts interventions that either align with the current
culture – the way things are done around here – or are deliberately counter-
cultural, introducing and role-modelling new ways of behaving. Often
the change agent has to facilitate people and the organization going
into the unknown, with the known knowns being a clear boundary to
the scope of the project, but with the final destination as yet unclear,
to be fleshed out or discovered.

Whether the focus is at an individual, team or organizational (or large
group) level, the change agent supports leaders to make people aware of

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


the specific or general direction of change; is able to support the organ-
ization and implementation of the changes; is able to support leaders to
mobilize necessary stakeholder groups and accompany them through the
transition; and finally ensure that leaders focus on some integration of
the process (Green, 2007a).

In the first four chapters we looked at change from the perspective of
the individual, the team and the organization as well as different ways of
leading change. We can summarize what the agent of change needs to be
focusing on by building on the key elements of each of those chapters.

Facilitating individual change

As we saw in Chapter 1, a key aspect for individuals is the necessity to
undo some current ways of seeing and behaving and learn new ways.
Indeed Schein points out that a key task is to balance the anxiety people
feel about surviving this change with the paralysing effect of the anxiety
felt about being able to learn new ways of doing things. The critical task
therefore is to help people through the learning cycle. To do this, both
the change agent and the individual need to be aware of their levels of
competence and indeed incompetence.

At a global level, and taking into account Virginia Satir’s dictum that
change happens ‘one person at a time’, one needs to ensure that indi-
viduals are clear about what practical steps need to be taken to ensure
they are ready and able to step into the changes. At an emotional level
they may need to be assisted in understanding the choices available to
them and helped through the change curve. For this to happen the
change agent can draw upon his or her knowledge of what motivates
people and then ensure that an appropriate suite of psychological inter-
ventions are available to use. These can be informed by the behavioural,
cognitive, psychodynamic or humanistic principles and indicative inter-
ventions discussed in Chapter 1.

Increasingly the authors believe that tough conversations and high-
quality dialogue are key factors in helping the facilitation of change at
every level within the system. These two factors need to be supported by
a range of organizational development interventions, relying more on

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


inter-relatedness and discovering meaning, such as balancing advocacy
with inquiry and catalytic questions.

Based on the work of Scoular (2011), Table 5.6 looks at some of the
different questions that the change agent may use – be it the leader, the
line manager or the (internal/external) consultant – at the stages Prochaska
et al (2006) postulates people go through when approaching and reacting
to change – precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and

Table 5.6 Questions for stages of change

Stage Questions

Precontemplation Not intending to act.
Questions can only raise

• How could things be

• What are the implications
of not changing?

Contemplation Intending to act, but
ambivalent. Questions
should still raise
awareness, and
acknowledge the
ambivalence (don’t
confront the resistance).
Can also gently test their
concerns – using ‘R’
(Reality) of GROW

• So on the one hand, this
could be helpful, but on
the other you’re
concerned it might not

• I’m hearing a choice here,
between … and … is that

• You said the new strategy
is a ‘total disaster’, would
it be helpful to explore
that – or not at this

Preparation Intending to act soon.
Questions are still raising
awareness, and
transitioning towards

• So how could you explore
this further?

• What might you broadly
want to achieve?

• Any thoughts on how
you might go about it?

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Stage Questions

Action Acting:
Questions are helping to
plan action and
monitoring results. ‘O’
and ‘W’ of GROW.

If relapse:
Emphasize this is normal,
and as in GROW, go back
to whatever was missed
and rebuild the process.

Maintenance may need to
continue for life. If Exit
happens, celebrate!

• What specifically could
you do? Etc

• How did that work out?
So how will you adjust
the plan?

The GROW Model of Coaching stresses the importance of having a clear Goal,
an understanding of current Reality, the generation of Options, and an
exploration of the Will or Way forward.

Adapted from Prochaska et al (2006) and Scoular, A (2011)

In the more emergent types of change there may well need to be a good
understanding of the consequences of the action, and rather than just
‘maintenance’ there may well need to be a considered response, which
in itself would most likely follow the cycle again from precontemplation

To help people move through these stages, in a similar way to helping
people move through the stages of the change curve, an understanding
of people’s learning styles, their motivation levels, their personality type
are all important. Schein’s (see Chapter 1) ideas for overcoming resistance
will also help. Likewise, having enough strategies drawn from the four
psychologies in Table 1.6 (Representative interventions to facilitate the
change process) is crucial. How the change agent does this – for example

Table 5.6 continued

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


drawing on Rogers’ positive regard, facilitating environment, etc will be
explored later in this chapter.

Facilitating team change

In addition to the complexity of dealing with one or more individuals,
the change agent also needs to deal with groups of individuals experien-
cing change, usually within their previously defined teams. This presents
both challenges and opportunities. Reviewing Chapter 2 you will recog-
nize that it is important to understand the current state and status of
the teams involved in change and the future state and status desired
by those engaged in the change, from both a task and psychological

• Identifying the nature of the team and what might need to change in
its structure, format and the role it will perform.

• Understanding how much of a team and teamworking are now
needed (the more complex the decisions and uncertain the context,
the more teamworking is needed).

• Understanding what the requirements are in terms of changes to the
team’s five elements (Glaser and Glaser, 1992):

– team mission, planning and goal setting;
– team roles;
– team operating processes;
– team interpersonal relationships; and
– inter-team relations.

• And through this process ensuring that the team and its members
address the issues of new team formation and realignment – (re)
forming, storming, norming and performing.

Times of change and uncertainty can put considerable stress on individu-
als and teams, and often individuals’ survival instincts can take prece-
dence over the team’s cohesion. It is at these times that the unconscious
processes and phenomena alluded to can be observed.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Responses can include team fragmentation, with individuals going off
in different directions with their own personal agendas, and also ‘Group
Think’ where the embattled team creates an island fortress oblivious
and impervious to outside influences. Bion’s (1961) basic assumptions
may also be much in evidence.

It is of paramount importance to have the ability to observe uncon-
scious processes, to have an understanding of these team dynamics, to be
able to facilitate team movement through these states and to be able to
create a ‘holding environment’ for team functioning. The change agent
needs to be aware of these phenomena and be able to help the organiza-
tional leadership in dealing with them.

Understanding individual and team MBTI types and Belbin Team roles
can also be extremely useful during these times. Additionally, MBTI-
trained facilitators can assist individuals and teams who are ‘in the grip’
– manifesting atypical parts of their personalities during times of change
and stress.

Table 2.3 ‘Effective and ineffective teams’ and Table 2.7 ‘Teams going
through change’, highlighted key aspects for the change agent to be
noticing and addressing. Chapter 6 also explores how to enable teams’
functioning during organizational change with a four-stage team align-
ment model and a comprehensive table (6.4): ‘Addressing team change
during restructuring’, which is valid in any change involving teams.

Facilitating organizational change

In the Introduction to Part Two you will see two diagrams which graphi-
cally represent the strategic change process. One is a rather linear, more
planned, approach to change. The second is represented as more fluid
and perhaps more emergent. Whichever framework you employ, the role
of the change agent in facilitating organizational change does require an
understanding of both, and the skills necessary to be able to negotiate
oneself and others through the challenges presenting themselves each
step of the way.

Using Balogun and Hope Hailey’s ‘Change kaleidoscope’ (2004) (see
Figure 5.1) you can begin to see the different aspects of change that the
change agent needs to be able to diagnose and assess to decide what type

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


of interventions might be feasible. This framework would most likely sit
more comfortably in the planned approach to change. However the more
emergent the situation the more complexity there is, and this frame-
work can help reduce, to some degree, the feelings of chaos which might

Power Time




Orqanizational Chanqe Context


Readiness Desiqn choices

Change path
Change start-point

Change style
Change target
Change levers
Change roles

Figure 5.1 Change kaleidoscope

Contextual choices

• Time. How quickly is change needed? Is the organization in crisis or
is it concerned with longer-term strategic development?

• Scope. What degree of change is needed? Realignment or transfor-
mation? Does the change affect the whole organization or only part
of it?

• Preservation. What organizational assets, characteristics and practices
need to be maintained and protected during change?

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


• Diversity. Are the different staff/professional groups and divisions
within the organization relatively homogeneous or more diverse in
terms of values, norms and attitudes?

• Capability. What is the level of organizational, managerial and
personal capability to implement change?

• Capacity. How much resource can the organization invest in the
proposed change in terms of cash, people and time?

• Readiness for change. How ready for change are the employees
within the organization? Are they both aware of the need to change
and motivated to deliver the changes?

• Power. Where is power invested within the organization? How much
latitude for discretion does the unit need to change and the change
leader possess?

Design choices

• Change path: the type of change to be undertaken in terms of the
nature of the change and the desired end result.

• Change start-point: where the change is initiated and developed,
which could be summarized simplistically as top-down or bottom-up,
but there are other choices.

• Change style: the management style of the implementation, such as
highly collaborative or more directive.

• Change target: the target of the change interventions, in terms of
people’s attitudes and values, behaviours or outputs.

• Change levers: the range of levers and interventions to be deployed
across four subsystems – technical, political, cultural and interpersonal.

• Change roles: who is to take responsibility for leading and imple-
menting the changes.

Reading the chapter on organizational change you would have realized
the many different approaches and choices that the change agent engages
with and the levels of complexity of the situation. Notwithstanding that,

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


there are some key practices to engage in. Understanding the culture of
the organization underpins much of what one then has to work with or
work against.

If the changes are totally within the ‘boundary’ of the current cultural
practices, how one manages change will no doubt be aligned to the values
and the behaviours of the prevailing culture. If, however, the reason or
rationale for change is to shift the culture in some way, or the culture
needs to be shifted to enable other changes to occur, then the interven-
tions and the role-modelling of the change agent will need to be aligned
with either the current culture or the preferred one. Table 5.7 highlights
these possible choices.

Table 5.7 Choices of intervention based on the nature of the cultural change

Organization change required Possible Choices Change agent stance

Change within current culture
(local restructure, geographic
expansion, etc)

 
Role modelling based
on current ways of
doing things including
management style,
degree of consultation,
processes, etc

Change outside current
culture norms
(diversification requiring new
way of working, partnership
working, etc)

Role modelling based
on new ways of doing
things including
management style,
degree of consultation,
processes, etc

Culture change itself
(eg new ways of doing things
to meet external or internal
drivers for change)

Role modelling based
on effective change
management practices
including management
style, degree of
consultation, decision-
making processes, etc

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________



Fragmented Mercenary









Figure 5.2 Organizational cultures (1)
Source: Goffee and Jones (1998)

The four metaphors that we have used to illustrate different cultures
and ways of doing things will assist in determining the stance that you
take and what you may need to do differently to move towards a differ-
ent culture. Likewise, both Goffee and Jones (1998) and Cameron and
Quinn (2011) offer models of organizational culture (both across two
axes resulting in four possible cultures, or parts thereof) (see Figures 5.2
and 5.3). The authors of both these models provide sets of interventions
which help the shift from one culture to another.

For example with Goffee and Jones, if the change agent were involved
in a change that included moving the organization from a more
Fragmented culture to a more Communal one, it would make sense for
the change agent’s style and the interventions to be highly participative,
with reward structures being targeted to encourage teamworking and

With Cameron and Quinn’s cultural framework, if the change agent
were involved in a change that included moving the organizational
from a more Hierarchical culture to an Adhocracy, it would make

____________________________________________________________ The change agent



Flexibility & Discretion

Stability & Control


l F







l F


s &



nHierarchy Market


Figure 5.3 Organizational cultures (2)
Source: Cameron and Quinn (2011)

sense for them to be role-modelling creative and innovative ways of
doing things, checking what the customers wanted, and allowing con-
siderable autonomy in the shaping on the change process and the final

Exploring the notion of culture, and the assumptions that lie beneath
the surface, helps trigger reflections of your assumptions, as change
agent, about culture and about the nature of change itself, which can
subconsciously skew your approach.

An important aspect of the change agent’s role is to be able to be both
sufficiently close to the change to understand how it is going and what
now needs to be done, and sufficiently detached – up on the balcony – to
be able to see the system at work. Change agents need to move between
those two positions, to engage in both active reflection and reflective
activity and to make meaningful decisions about the change.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________



In the previous section we saw the myriad of different things that change
agents need to be aware of and skilled at if they want to be effective at
an individual, team and organizational level across a range of different
organizational cultures and throughout the life cycle of the consulting
process. In Part Two we look at specific change situations, which may
also require specific knowledge, skills and understanding.

Making Sense of Change Management was written to develop readers’
knowledge in areas such as individual psychology, group dynamics and
organization behaviour. In addition it aims to introduce, describe and
discuss many if not all of the key influences and influencers in the field
of change along with the most widely regarded theories and models of
change together with emerging ideas.

It is appropriate to look at the range of competencies that might be
required of the skilled change agent, and to ascertain which are essential
and which are nice-to-have. Cummings and Worley (2009) have pro-
duced a definitive list of the knowledge and skill requirements of the
organization development practitioner (see Table 5.8), which correspond
well with those of the change agent.

The change agent will, in addition, need to have a good understanding
of how business works, together with knowledge (or a knowledgeable
partner) in the field of Human Resources. The final aspect referred to by
Cummings and Worley is the skills set acquired through management

Q 5.5 As you work through the various phases of the consulting

process, where do your strengths lie and what knowledge, skills
and understanding do you need to develop?

Q 5.6 Think of a current or future change you are involved in: what are
the individual, team and organizational challenges that you face?

Q 5.7 What cultural sensitivities do you need to be aware of and how
might you plan your interventions to be aligned with the current
or future culture?

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


Table 5.8 Knowledge and skill requirements of the organization development

Existing system −

How systems change over
time − Knowledge

How systems change
over time − Skills

Organization behaviour
A. Organization culture
B. Work design
C. Interpersonal

D. Power and politics
E. Leadership
F. Goal setting
G. Conflict
H. Ethics

Organization design
Decision making process
associated with
formulating and aligning
HR systems; information
systems; reward systems;
work design; political
systems; culture; etc.
A. The concept of fit and

B. Diagnostic and design

model for sub-systems
C. Key thought leaders in

organization design

Managing the consulting
A. Entry
B. Contracting
C. Diagnosing
D. Designing

E. Implementation
F. Managing emergent

G. Evaluation

Individual psychology
A. Learning theory
B. Motivation theory
C. Perception theory

Organization research
Field research;
interviewing; content
analysis; change
evaluation processes;
quantitative and
qualitative methods

Inquiry into the system’s
effectiveness at an
individual, group and
organization wide level
Ability to understand
and inquire into
one’s self

Group dynamics
A. Roles
B. Communication

C. Decision-making

D. Stages of group

E. leadership

System dynamics
Understanding of how
systems evolve and
develop over time; how
systems respond to
planned and unplanned

appropriate and relevant
Understanding how to
select, modify, or design
effective interventions
that will move the
organization from its
current state to its
desired future state

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Table 5.8 continued

Existing system −

How systems change over
time − Knowledge

How systems change
over time − Skills

Management and
organization theory
A. Planning, organizing,

leading, and

B. Problem solving and
decision making

C. Systems theory
D. Contingency theory
E. Organization

F. Characteristics of

environment and

G. Models of
organization and

History of organization
A. Human relations

B. National Training Lab
C. Survey research
D. Quality of life
E. Tavistock Institute
F. Key thought leaders
G. Humanistic values
H. Statement of ethics

Facilitation and process
Ability to assist an
individual or a group
towards a goal
Ability to inquire into
individual and group
processes so that the
client system
(organization) maintains
ownership of the issue,
increases the capacity
for reflection on the
consequences of its
behaviours and actions,
and develops a sense of
increased control and

Research methods/statistics
A. Measures of central

B. Measures of

C. Basic sampling theory
D. Basic experimental

E. Sample inferential


Theories and models of
A. Basic action research

B. Change topologies
C. Lewin’s model
D. Transition models, etc

Developing client
The ability to conduct a
change process so that
the client is better able
to plan and implement
a successful change
process in the future,
using technologies of
planned change in a
values-based and ethical

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


development and interpersonal training together with a serious attempt
at ongoing personal learning and development.

Having looked at generic competencies applied across all change situ-
ations we can now approach this from a different perspective. Léon de

Table 5.8 continued

Existing system −

How systems change over
time − Knowledge

How systems change
over time − Skills

Comparative cultural
A. Dimensions of

national culture
B. Dimensions of

industry culture
C. Systems implications

Evaluating organization
The ability to design and
implement a process to
evaluate the impact and
effects of change
intervention, including
control of alternative
explanations and
interpretations of
performance outcomes

Functional knowledge of
A. Interpersonal

(listening, feedback,
and articulation)

B. Collaboration/
working together

C. Problem solving
D. Using new

E. Conceptualizing
F. Project management
G. Present/education/


From Cummings/Worley. Organization Development and Change, International Edition, 9E.
© 2009 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning, Inc. Reproduced by permission. /permissions.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Caluwé and Hans Vermaak (2004) have categorized approaches to change
in a somewhat similar way to the four organizational metaphors we have
used throughout this book. They use the notion of five paradigms or
lenses, each tagged with a colour, through which change can be

• Blue – change through design is the programmatic or planned approach
to change, which can be mapped on to the Machine metaphor.

• Yellow – change through addressing interests is mainly focused on
aligning stakeholders to the overarching aims. This can be mapped on
to the Political Systems metaphor.

• White – change through emergence corresponds to the Flux and
Transformation metaphor.

• Green – change through learning fits very well with the Organism

• Red – change through people focuses on ensuring that an HR expert
manages the practical side of people management, together with the
realization of the need to manage people through the emotional
aspects of psychological transition. This paradigm can principally be
overlaid onto the Machine and Organism metaphors.

One of the reasons why the five paradigms approach is so useful is
that de Caluwé and Hans Vermaak suggest what role the change agent
should be playing together with the necessary knowledge, skills and
attitude (see Table 5.9).

The implications of this are that the change agent will need to craft his
or her objectives and interventions in a way that is congruent with the
prevailing culture to ensure some traction, even if at a later date interven-
tions from different paradigms are warranted. For example, managing
change within the blue paradigm will call for a clear set of objectives that
have been established at the outset, a set of rational interventions
conducted by a competent specialist and in a very planned and orderly
manner. The box below described implications across the five paradigms
and four change metaphors.

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


Table 5.9 Paradigms and the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes

Paradigm and role Knowledge Skills Attitude

Blue – Design
The right solution
The best solution
Full responsibility for

Plan, Do, Review


Relevant subject

SWOT analysis
Processes, systems

and projects

Project management
Planning and control
Analytic thinking
Research methods
Presentation techniques


Yellow – Addressing
Power broker
Looks for solutions

with a chance
Art of the possible

Top structure


Network identification
Understanding and using

Conflict resolution
Strategic interventions


White – Emergence
Sets out general

direction and

Holds up a mirror

Chaos theory
Systems theory

Pattern recognition
Challenging the status quo
Dealing with conflicts
Creating dialogue
Dealing with uncertainty

Self confidence

Green – Learning

Learning theories

OD thinking

Designing and facilitating
learning situations

Creating an open and safe

Coaching, listening,

Role model


Red – People
Manager of Human
HR procedure expert
Involvement and




People and


HRM policies and

Communication planning
Discussion facilitation


Adapted from de Caluwé, L and Hans Vermaak, H (2003) Learning to Change:
A guide for organization change agents, Sage, CA

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________



Entering into a change process when operating within one of the four
change metaphors or five paradigms has implications for how you
construct your change process and what sort of role you need to play.

Using the machine metaphor or the ‘change through design’ paradigm
will entail a rigorous project management approach with a leadership style
that is one of architect and grand designer. The terrain is about efficiency
and effectiveness of project planning processes and their well-oiled
implementation. It’s about an unambiguous mapping out of the plan to get
from A to B and the careful planning, managing, monitoring and control-
ling of this process.

The political metaphor and ‘change through addressing interests’ will
require a greater focus on managing stakeholders, the informal organiza-
tion and ensuring that key players are brought on board and potential
winners are motivated enough and potential losers’ needs are managed.
The terrain for the change agent within this paradigm is all about power
and the harnessing of it. The change agents themselves have to have
perceived power as well as requiring powerful sponsors.

The organism metaphor requires the change agent to be monitoring the
environment and taking the pulse of the organization. A key focus will be
to create an enabling environment where people can learn to become
responsive to the environment and the changes that are necessary. And it
is also necessary to be aware of the process in order for responses and
reactions and adaptations to be factored in as the change proceeds.

The flux and transformation metaphor and the ‘change through emer-
gence’ paradigm recognize that change cannot be explicitly managed,
but rather needs to emerge. The tensions, the conflicts, the hot spots
within the organization and those on the boundary are where the change
agent is focused. Once again the role is one of enabling emergence
rather than directing and controlling it. The concepts of setting param-
eters, acting as a container and reminding people of core values are
critical to this process.

The ‘change through learning’ paradigm draws on the key ideas from
the Organizational Development movement originating in the 1960s
and the writers and researchers of the Learning Organization. Coaching,

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


training and group and team facilitation are all ways of providing opportu-
nities for learning to take place.

The ‘change through people’ paradigm is situated between the learning
paradigm and the interest paradigm. It recognizes the need to include,
involve and engage with all stakeholders, but principally managers and
staff in order to create solutions which address the important issues.
Given that change happens through people, winning the hearts and minds
of the people is clearly a key factor in this. Affiliative and democratic man-
agement styles, human resource management and a collaborative culture
are strong indicators of change agents operating within this paradigm.

Green (2007a)


In this section we look at some of the difficulties that a change agent
may encounter in his or her work at a deeper level. Although you may
have been enlisted to assist the organization, that doesn’t mean that the
organization or its constituent parts will want to change or welcome your
interventions. The organization and its protagonists can ‘act out’ in terms
of dysfunctional behaviour. This has been well documented by authors
such as Argyris (1990), Egan (1994) and Kets de Vries (2001). We will
look at organizational defence mechanisms and then how you can better
equip yourself to address these issues and work well within the organ-
izational system and create an environment that is conducive to growth
and development.

Q 5.8 Review Table 5.8, ‘Knowledge and skill requirements of the

organization development practitioner’, highlight the knowledge
and the skills that you consider to be essential and produce a
mini-personal development plan for those aspects you consider
you need to develop.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Overcoming organizational defences

Chris Argyris in his book Over coming Organizational Defenses – Facilitat ing
organizational learning (1990) highlights a challenge that most change
agents will encounter during their organizational work – organizational
defensive routines and how to overcome them. He defines organiza-
tional defensive routines as:

actions or policies that prevent individuals or segments of the organization
from experiencing embarrassment or threat. Simultaneously they prevent
people from identifying and getting rid of the causes of the potential em-
barrassment or threat. Organizational defensive routines are antilearning,
overprotective, and self-sealing.

Both he and Peter Block (2000) provide familiar examples in action:

‘I don’t mean to interrupt you but …’ or, ‘I don’t want to upset you …
but’, which translates as: ‘I don’t want you to feel bad about my
interrupting you or upsetting you but actually that is exactly what
I intend to do.’

‘Thank you for your feedback …’ translates as: ‘I really didn’t like it’;
‘That’s a very interesting idea …’ when actually I’m clear that I won’t
be using it.

And finally: ‘That’s a great proposal … let me go away and think about
it’ – meaning there is no way we will accept it.

These could perhaps be categorized as everyday examples but once
embedded in the culture the malaise of organizational defensive routines
has far greater import. Many actions – particularly of the senior manage-
ment – will not be questioned, and especially in times of change people
lower down an organization can see the truth or parts of the truth of a
situation but are afraid to point out, for example, the emperor’s new
clothes or the fault lines in the strategy.

Argyris suggests that ‘organizational defensive routines make it highly
unlikely that individuals, groups, inter-groups and organizations will not

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


detect and correct the errors that are embarrassing and threatening’
because the fundamental rules are to:

1 bypass the errors and act as if they were not being done;

2 make the bypass undiscussable; and

3 make its undiscussability undiscussable.

To challenge the undiscussable feels like a very high risk strategy, even at
the best of times, but when uncertainty prevails during times of change,
the risks can be even higher. And these phenomena are more likely
precisely during times of change … and the change agent is in the ‘privi-
leged’ position of being able to spot and point out these phenomena. In
order to do so the change agent will need to have a high degree of self-
and social awareness and be skilled at creating the right environment
within which to intervene.

Self as instrument

If we were to adopt the mechanistic view of managing change, the
change agent would be the rational expert with specialist knowledge
who would plan the change process and the process itself would run
according to plan, if properly executed. The feedback mechanisms would
be through project reviews, and cost, quality and time measurements.
The change agent would be taking an objective stance in this and any
intervention would be based on rational analysis of evidence based
information – operating within the rational, change through design

In our experience however, the world doesn’t work like this. From
science we know that the ‘observer effect’ will have the potential of
making the act of observing a determinant of the outcome. Likewise in
information systems, if a process is electronically monitored the process
itself will potentially be influenced by the monitoring. And importantly
we know from the ‘Hawthorne effect’ (Mayo, 1949) that people will

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


change their behaviour simply when they are put under the spotlight
by being observed by external researchers or consultants.

One of Freud’s definitions of psychoanalysis was the procedure for the
investigation of mental processes that are almost inaccessible in any other
way – that is the unconscious phenomena in human interaction. As such
it is one way of being able to understand the more irrational aspects of
human behaviour. Table 5.10 lists a number of psychoanalytic terms
which describe phenomena that not only manifest themselves on the
analyst’s couch but are very much alive in the world of individual, team
and organizational change.

Table 5.10 Psychoanalytic terms useful in the change agent’s practice

Psychoanalytic term

Transference The process by which emotions and desires originally
associated with one person, such as a parent or
sibling, are unconsciously shifted to another person,
especially to the analyst

Projection The attribution of one’s own attitudes, feelings, or
suppositions to others

Counter-transference The psychoanalyst’s displacement of emotion onto
the patient or more generally the psychoanalyst’s
emotional involvement in the therapeutic

For example, people might transfer their very positive parental feelings
onto the consultant and imagine that the consultant will have the power,
authority and magic to take away all the pain and fix things. Or they
might see you as the autocratic despotic father figure who is to be feared
and shied away from. They can also transfer any negative feelings that
they have for the management onto the consultancy team.

In the same way that the client system might be impacted by the
change agent entering the system, the question can be asked whether the

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


change agents themselves can be impacted by being in the client system
and, if so, how might this look? We need to enter the realm of depth
psychology and psychoanalysis to aid our understanding. Freud and
Jung, both in their own ways, suggested that communication between
therapist and patient operated not only on the rational, conscious level,
but also on the unconscious level. Patients would, for example, project
their own, cut-off feelings onto the therapist and also transfer feelings
associated with other (significant) figures in their lives onto the therapist.
The therapist in turn would have feelings about the client. These Jung
labelled as ‘counter-transference’. Initially this was seen as unresolved
issues within the therapist’s own psyche, but has later become relevant in
terms of feelings that the therapist is ‘holding’ for the patient – that is,
feelings that don’t belong to the therapist at all but tell him or her some-
thing about the inner world of the patient.

Jung was adamant that therapists needed a rigorous analysis them-
selves to ensure that they could see clearly what their issues were and
what were legitimately the patient’s and therefore ‘grist for the mill’ of
the therapeutic work. Hanna Segal (quoted in Bell, 1997) did issue a
health warning though by saying: ‘Counter-transference can be the best
of servants but is the most awful of masters.’ She meant that change
agents need to be able to own what is theirs, in terms of what is being
experienced, rather than merely seeing it as part of the client system.
Seeing it as part of the client system and seeking to understand what that
means are crucial, but one should always be looking inward too, ensuring
that intense feelings are not part of one’s own psychopathology. Because
change can produce intense emotional reactions and some people may
not want to admit or live with those feelings, they can unconsciously
project these onto the consultant who, to them may then appear as, for
example, bored, irritating or angry.

The important thing to note here is that when people do this, they do
so unconsciously and then react to you as if you were exhibiting those
attributes and feelings. As the consultant you therefore need to be aware
of other people’s reactions and behaviours, especially when they appear
to be at odds with your reality.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


The consultant might find himself, for example, uncomfortably aligned with
a group that is being scapegoated, that is perceived as troublesome or
difficult. Given the job of helping its members to ‘improve’, he may come
to feel that his choice is to fight back on their behalf against the unfair
projections, or he may join in and come to believe the projections and
blame the members of the group for their shortcomings.

Czander and Eisold (2003)

This is where being in touch with your own feelings is so important, and
feelings of counter-transference can help. When you have strong positive
or negative feelings – and indeed when you are feeling nothing at all – it
is wise to ask yourself whether these could be someone else’s in the client
system and what that might mean for them, for you and for the project.

Developing observational skills of self and others is extremely impor-
tant if you want to use yourself as an instrument of change. Cheung-
Judge (2001) suggests that:

In practice, owning the self means devoting time and energy to learning
about who we are, and how issues of family history, gender, race and sexu-
ality affect self-perception. It means also identifying and exploring the values
by which we live our lives, as well as developing our intellectual, emotional,
physical and spiritual capacities.

She is clearly proposing that to be effective in this kind of work one has
to work ‘on oneself’ as well as developing the technical and inter-personal
skills necessary to interact with confidence and competence.

This is further endorsed when one looks at what Nevis (1987) calls the
five basic roles played by the (Gestalt) consultant:

1 To be totally attentive to the client system through detailed observa-
tions of both the specific and the patterns.

2 To be aware of one’s own experience of feelings, sensations and
thoughts and to appropriately share these constructively and thereby
establish one’s presence.

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


3 To focus on where the energy or lack of it is in the client system and
the emergence of or lack of issues for which there is energy and to be
able to catalyse the energy to enable action to happen.

4 To facilitate clear and meaningful contact between parts of the client
system, including the change agent.

5 To help the group achieve heightened awareness of its process in
completing the tasks in front of it.

Cheung-Judge recommends that you have to:

• develop lifelong learning habits (in both the technical and inter-
personal aspects of the role);

• work through issues of power (which clearly manifest when dealing
with multiple stakeholders in times of change and uncertainty);

• build emotional and intuitive self-awareness (through understanding
one’s strengths, weaknesses, blind spots and areas of anxiety, and
developing emotional intelligence); and

• have a serious commitment to self-care (in the form of looking after
yourself, body, mind and spirit, nurturing your support networks and
developing practices of reflection and self-renewal).

Nevis suggests that the change agent be focused on the interpersonal
aspects of intervening in the client system highlighting the fact that it is:

interaction with the client as a means through which movement toward
improved organizational functioning will occur. Specifically, the practitioner
models a way of approaching problems and, through interest in the attrac-
tiveness of this way of being, hopes to mobilize the energy of the client.

Tolbert and Hanafin (2006) see the need for the change agent to develop
a sense of presence, which they believe to be one of the key enablers
for genuine interaction to occur. They define presence as representing
‘the translation of personal appearance, manner, values, knowledge,
reputation, and other characteristics into interest and impact … Presence

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


is use of self with intent.’ They highlight the principles of presence
(see Table 5.11).

We will return to the notion of ‘presence’ in Chapter 11 when we look
at leaders’ ability to deal with uncertainty.

Creating the holding environment

If only we can wait, the patient arrives at understanding creatively and with
immense joy … The principle is that it is the patient and only the patient
who has the answers.

Winnicott (1969)

Table 5.11 Principles of presence

Be Honourable
Align personal assumptions, values, beliefs, behaviour
Stand for something; take a position
Dare to be different (or similar)
State the obvious
Speak the unspeakable

Be an Effective Agent of Change
Be an awareness expert
Facilitate enhanced interaction among members of the client system and

with self
Teach basic behavioural skills
Model a methodology for solving problems and for dealing with life in general
Cultivate conditions for the client to experiment with new behaviour
Help the client complete work and achieve closure on unfinished business

Be Curious
Stay in a space of perpetual wonderment
Show genuine interest in the client
Be interested in self
Explore the nature of relationships between self and client and among

individuals in the client system

Tolbert and Hanafin (2006) Use of Self in OD Consulting, Chapter 4 in The NTL
Handbook of Organization Development and Change, Jones, B and Brazzel, M (eds)
© 2006. Reproduced with permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc.

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


Individual and group psychoanalytic practitioners and psychologists
such as Bion (1961), Winnicott (1965) and Bowlby (1980, 1988) stressed the
importance of the change agent’s ability to create a psychological safe
place – a holding environment, a facilitating environment – which is a
container for change to be explored and developed, in which individuals
and groups can be more at ease with their uncertainty and anxiety about
the changes they are experiencing. The principles of presence described
above will engender the creation of a holding environment. We will
return to the idea of ‘containment’ from a leadership perspective in
Chapter 11.

Creation of such an environment has physi-
cal and tangible as well as psychological
aspects; one example of both is the idea of
boundaries – boundaries such as clarity about
project scope, meetings times, and a clearly
defined set of operating procedures and
ground rules in which people can be together,
share feedback together and learn together.
This then transcends into an environment
where anxieties and concerns can be explored
without the fear of their getting out of control or being talked about out-
side destructively.

Much of what Carl Rogers wrote about (see Chapter 1) is in fact con-
cerned with creating such an environment for learning, development
and change. His three conditions to bring about growth and develop-
ment are genuineness and congruence; unconditional positive regard;
and empathetic understanding.

Heifetz and Linsky (2002), recognizing that change will inevitably
move people away from their comfort zones and cause disquiet and
unease, stress the importance of developing a holding environment ‘to
contain and adjust the heat that is being generated by addressing difficult
issues or wide value differences’. They define a holding environment as:

a space formed by a network of relationships within which people can tackle
tough, sometimes divisive questions without flying apart. Creating a holding
environment enables you to direct creative energy toward working out the
conflicts and containing passions that could easily boil over.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


This can be created in one-to-one, team and larger group situations by
attention to a number of facets, particularly the need to create a tangible
as well as psychological safe space. This requires stability, continuity and
reliability – things which of course are often lacking in times of change.
However, the change agent can engender these through the careful use
of structures, boundaries, routines, communications and attentive listen-
ing. The change agent can be a constant, reliable and stable presence
within the organization and specifically in meetings, conversations and
role-modelling. Heifetz and Linsky give some practical examples of ways
that a holding environment can be created or strengthened:

Shared language.

Shared orienting values and purposes.

History of working together.

Lateral bonds of affection, trust and camaraderie.

Vertical bonds of trust in authority figures and the authority structure.

At the micro level for a working group, a meeting room with comfortable
chairs, a round table, and rules of confidentiality and brainstorming that
encourage people to speak their minds.

Kahn (2001) writes at length about the holding environment. He draws
the parallel with the nature of adult relationships of friendship by quot-
ing Klein (1987):

they produce speculations, explanations, and suggestions of their own for
us to consider, and much else. In times of crisis they are especially import-
ant, sustaining us while we encounter and explore new things, encouraging
us to carry on, holding us when we temporarily lose our footing in the
stress of reorganizing our concepts. They take care of us and step in when,
in the course of the temporary disorganization that new developments
may bring, we are about to do something permanently detrimental to our

According to Kahn, holding environments are created with the juxta-
position of opportunity, desire and competence – three elements that

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


the change agent needs to ensure. He lists the facilitating conditions for
a holding environment:

• Optimum range of anxiety – there is no need when people are not
unduly worried about the changes being proposed; and if individuals
have too much stress and anxiety, which are creating dysfunction,
then additional professional support may be required.

• Trusting movements towards others – clearly if the organization has a
culture that has created trust, a holding environment is that much
easier to create. Creating trust in the organization is a prerequisite for
this type of work, and can be seen to be an important initial stage.

• Available, competent holding – this requires the physical and psycho-
logical availability of trusted colleagues or advisers who have suffi-
cient competence and a balance of objectivity and empathy.

• Competent receiving – so that those who need support do not become
overly dependent and have the maturity to receive support while
maintaining their self-reliance and resilience.

• Resilient boundaries – time and space are required for the holding en-
vironment and these need to be created out of what may be a pres-
sured work situation with people juggling ‘business as usual’ and the

• Positive experiences and outcomes – the more that these environments
are seen to work and be a force for positive outcomes, the more
trust will be placed in the process, which in turn will strengthen the

Kahn cites three crucial dimensions of holding behaviours and suggests
12 behaviours that will help; see Table 5.12.

Klonsky (2010) in her doctoral research on how leaders enable the
undiscussables to be discussed, found a clear link between creating a
holding environment within the organization and the ability of the
organization to surface undiscussables and to address the issues that
they pertain to. The leaders displayed ‘relational authenticity’ through a

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Table 5.12 Kahn’s dimensions of holding behaviours

Dimension Task Behaviours Receiver

Containment Create safe,
enabling the
expression of
strong emotions
and impulses

Accessibility – remain in the
vicinity of the other person,
allowing time and space for
uninterrupted contact and
Attention – actively attend to
the other’s experiences, ideas,
and expressions; show
comprehension with eye
contact, verbal and nonverbal
Inquiry – probe for the other’s
experiences, thoughts and
Compassion – show emotional
presence by displaying
warmth, affection, and
Acceptance – accept the other’s
thoughts and feelings without
judgement; bear painful affect
without withdrawal; resist
own impulses to react in
evaluative, non-accepting ways

Receiver feels
cared for,
joined, not


context that
affirms the
other’s sense
of self as
worthwhile, and
laying the
groundwork for
the resumption
of ego

Curiosity – acknowledge the
other’s individuality by
inquiring about and accepting
the other’s unique experiences
of situations
Empathy – become
imaginatively engrossed in
and identify with the other’s
Validation – communicate
positive regard, respect, and
appreciation to the other;
reflect back and confirm the
other’s positive qualities

Receiver feels
valued and
attention and
curiosity; feels
through the
and empathy

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


Dimension Task Behaviours Receiver


Create context
in which the
other can
recover sense of
primary work
task and
reengage ego
functioning on
behalf of that
task; involves
separating the
other from their
experiences and
creating space
for rational
thought and

Sense-making – help other make
sense of experiences and
situations through focus on
individual and contextual
Self-reflection – use own
experiences about other and of
situation as useful data
Task focusing – help the other
focus on controllable elements
of situation and the primary
task rather than on
unproductive, anxiety-
arousing elements
Negotiated interpretation – help
the other develop actionable
interpretations of situations
and experiences based on
critical thinking about tasks

Receiver feels
less bound up
less anxiety,
and more
accepting of
self in relation
to situation;
has clearer
of personal
and contextual
factors; is
toward task;
and has more
capacity for
thought and

Source: Kahn, W A (2001) Holding Enviroments at Work, Journal of Applied Behavioural
Science, September 2001, 37(3)

Table 5.12 continued

demonstration of such qualities as awareness of others, active listening,
acting with care, building community, empathy, growing employees’
capacity, inspiring trust and acting respectfully.

Supervision and shadow consultancy

Hawkins and Smith (2006) define supervision as:

the process by which a coach/mentor/consultant with the help of a super-
visor, who is not working directly with the client, can attend to under-
standing better both the client system and themselves as part of the
client–coach/mentor/consultant system and transform their work.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


Some of the key aspects of supervision that Hawkins and Smith identify

• space for reflection on the work in progress;

• to review interactions and interventions and help develop them

• to be offered advice and/or expertise to better equip the supervisee;

• to monitor progress and receive both process and content feedback;

• to have a critical friend who can support and challenge;

• to not be scapegoated and isolated;

• to reflect upon one’s own psychological reactions to the intensity of
the project and individuals within it;

• to make sense of the project and the client system and develop addi-
tional approaches;

• to plan further interventions and maintain one’s professionalism.

(Adapted from Hawkins and Smith, 2006)

This type of supervision is a real support for individual practitioners and
their reactions to intervening in the client system. In addition there is
a whole discipline that has emerged called ‘shadow consultancy’, which
addresses the same arena but has advantages when there is a consultancy
team engaged on a project and the ‘shadow consultant’ can act as an
additional resource outside of the client and (to some extent) the con-
sultant system. We use ‘shadow’ here in the context of shadowing.
Hawkins and Smith define it as:

The process by which a consultant (or team of consultants) with the help of
an experienced shadow consultant, who is not working directly with the
client, attends to understanding better the client system and themselves as
part of the client/consultant system. Systemic shadow consultancy focuses
on the interconnections between what the consultant(s) need to shift in
themselves; their relationship with the client system; and in the client system
– in order to be more successful.

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


Apart from ensuring ongoing professional development at both a task
and process level, supervision and shadow consultancy can also surface
‘parallel processes’ – the re-enactment within the consultant-supervisor
relationship of phenomena that are being played out within the client
system. As such this space is fertile
ground for exploring first-hand
the client system and its conscious
and unconscious processes.

Encountering the organizational
shadow and defence systems, using
oneself as an instrument and creating and nurturing a holding environ-
ment can be intense experiences and psychologically draining. On assign-
ments where there are substantial elements of the shadow being present,
where undiscussables are not being discussed, where there is a highly
political culture, or where the task within the system is complex, supervision
and shadow consultancy can mean the difference between a successful
project and failure, between maintaining one’s sanity or burn out.

Within organizations the shadow manifests in many ways – it’s the hidden,
the unspoken, the undiscussable, the power plays, all the things that sap
the energy from an organization and divert it from achieving its objectives
and addressing the issues that are holding it back.

Green (2007a)

Looking after yourself as the change agent so you can effectively engage
with the client’s issues and challenges has been a key theme of this chap-
ter. It is wise, if not essential, to ensure that you have access to your own
adviser, coach or supervisor in addition to developing one’s technical
expertise and competency and working on oneself to ensure develop-
ment of interpersonal skills and all-round emotional intelligence, when
engaging in difficult, complex assignments there are (inevitably) degrees
of organizational dysfunction. Lone consultants and indeed whole teams
of consultants can get mired in the very dysfunction they were brought
in ostensibly to address.

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________



What are some of the indications for when a change agent might need

• When you have strange dreams – for example of King Kong climbing
the tower block of the organization’s HQ where you are working….

• When you feel ‘out of sorts’ or ‘not yourself’ for no apparent reason….

• When you have intense feelings (or lack of feelings) while engaged on
an assignment….

• When whatever you say to the client they just don’t get it….

• When you start having conflict in the consultancy team….

• When you feel totally inadequate and have lost the confidence to

• When everyone is being very compliant….

• When lots of people are gossiping to you about other people in the

• When the CEO gets very angry with some feedback you give him
or her….

Flawless consulting

Finally, being a change agent can be a challenging role requiring not only
high degrees of knowledge, skills and understanding but also high
degrees of emotional intelligence and resilience. Peter Block, in his book
Flawless Consulting (2000) defines the act of consulting as an act of love –
‘the wish to be genuinely helpful to another … To use what we know,
or feel, or have endured in a way that lightens the weight on another’ and

Q 5.9 Which aspects of this section ‘Deeper aspects of being a change

agent’ do you find intriguing and what might you do to develop
your expertise in those particular areas?

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


he continues by suggesting that attention always needs to be paid to
two processes: being as authentic as you can be at all times with the
client; and attending directly, in words and actions, to the business of
each stage of the consulting process.

Amongst a plethora of practical advice for the consultant and the con-
sulting process there are a number of particularly important points that
are useful for this chapter. In keeping with the section on ‘self as instru-
ment’ above, Block also highlights that you should be using your experi-
ence in the project within the organization as an important part of the
data-gathering process:

The client manages you, the consultant, the same way the client manages
other resources and people. If you want to understand the client’s manage-
ment style, you simply have to observe how you are treated. Are you feeling
controlled, listened to, supported, treated with respect or disdain? Are the
decisions with the client collaborative or one-way? Is the client open to
options or forever on one track? Your observations and experience about
the client are valid data. Paying close attention to how you are managed by
the client early in the project gives you more guidance on what to explore
in determining how the technical business problem is being managed.

In addition he has wise words to keep you sane by adopting a number
of stances:

• Choose learning over teaching – rather than step into the expert role
of dispensing wisdom, endeavour to work collaboratively with
members of the organizational system to facilitate their learning about
how things work and their roles in the process.

• See learning as a social adventure – which requires the elements of
doubt and risk and inquiry to be present, a mutual journey of
discovery which is enabled by valuing ‘struggle over prescription,
questions over answers, tensions over comfort, and capacities over
needs and deficiencies’.

• Know the struggle is the solution – allow for the insight that perhaps
there is not necessarily one or indeed any clear answer. Consulting
around change will often involve looking at the tensions between

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


choosing one thing over the other (more or less control, more or less
centralization, for example). The solution emerges from grappling
with the issues.

• See the question as more important than the answer – as Heifetz and
Linsky (2002) observe, leaders don’t know all the answers, but they
ask the right questions.

• Mine the moments of tension for insight – in the change process,
when there is tension, conflict or resistance you should investigate
more thoroughly the situation. The energy or lack of energy will
tell you a lot about the organization and the changes.

• Focus on strengths rather than deficiencies – in the spirit of apprecia-
tive inquiry there is growing evidence that the more you focus on
what is going right rather than what is wrong, and your strengths
rather than your weaknesses, the more you’ll be able to leverage far
more of the innate capabilities within the organization.

• Take responsibility for one another’s learning – which is another way
of saying one needs to breed collaboration rather than competition
in the system and proactively facilitate connection-making and
organization-wide learning.

• Let each moment be an example of the destination – paraphrasing
Mahatma Ghandi, Block is saying that if you are in the process of
creating culture change, that moment-to-moment activity and being
should reflect the culture that you wish to create. It is not just some-
thing that happens in the future, but in every action that you take.

• Include ourselves as learners – given the particular ‘take’ of this
chapter, it is clear that one cannot enter into a change situation
knowing all that needs to be done to ‘fix’ the situation. The change
process itself is a learning process, and the change agent will be
amongst those who might need to learn the most as actions are
carried out and consequences are made, and the change agent
reviews and reflects and learns to intervene in a different way.

• Be authentic – in the way we manage ourselves and in our connection
to our clients.

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


Q 5.10 Jaap Boonstra, in Dynamics of Organizational Change and

Learning (2004) asks a series of penetrating questions of change
agents that help raise self-awareness, challenge assumptions,
and identify potential areas for further growth and development.

Read through the list of questions below and see which ones
you feel able to answer clearly and which ones you find difficult.
Take time out to review and reflect and then note down your
answers and, if necessary, draw up a plan to more fully address
the issues that arise:

• Why am I working in the field of organizational change and

• Towards what purpose am I working in change and learning?

• What are my assumptions about organizations, change, and

• What kind of paradoxes and dilemmas do I experience
when working in change management and how do I deal with

• How do I define success (and failure) in organizational change?

• What is my own theoretical framework and what are the impli-
cations for me and others I am working with?

• How do I relate to different theoretical frameworks?

• What are the principles that guide my choices and actions?

• How do I interact with senior management?

• What is the nature of relationship with others in the field of
change and learning?

• What roles do I prefer for change managers and consultants?

• How do I view power and resistance in change management?

• What power do I have, how do I use it, and what are the ethical
values that guide my choices?

• What do interaction and communication mean for me in
change and learning?

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________



O’Neill (2000) defined the change agent as ‘data gatherer, educator, advisor,
meeting facilitator, coach. Most often he or she has no direct line author-
ity over the implementers.’ Caldwell (2003) suggests there are four models
of change agency:

1 leadership;

2 management;

3 consultancy; and

4 team.

The classical consulting process comprises various stages:

1 entry;

2 contracting;

3 diagnosis;

4 implementation; and

5 evaluation.

• How do I view the notion of participation in change and

• How do I choose specific interventions and why some more
often than others?

• What knowledge and added value to my profession do I have
to offer?

• How can I contribute to sharing insights and knowledge with
participants, practitioners, and scholars?

Adapted from Boonstra (2004)

These questions will repay further reflection during your next
change project.

____________________________________________________________ The change agent


In the consulting process you may be asked to perform one of three roles:

• The Expert.

• The Extra Pair of Hands.

• The Collaborative Role.

You can perform these either as an internal or external agent, but be
aware of the differences.

Block (2000) suggests that the two processes you need to always pay
attention to are: being as authentic as you can be at all times with the
client; and attending directly, in words and actions, to the business of
each stage of the consulting process.

At each stage of the consulting process you need to ensure you
have the necessary Interpersonal, Analytic, Personal and Project man-
agement skills.

In order to intervene in a client system at an individual, team and
organizational level you need to evaluate the culture and tailor your
interventions to be either aligned or counter-culture. Frameworks to
use may include:

• Change Kaleidoscope (Balogun and Hope Hailey, 2004)

• Goffee and Jones’ Character of the Corporation (1998)

• Cameron and Quinn’s Competing Values Framework (2011)

• The four organizational metaphors (Morgan, 1986)

• The change five paradigms (Léon de Caluwé and Hans Vermaak,

Areas of competency and skill for the change agent should include:

• organization behaviour;

• individual psychology;

• group dynamics;

The underpinning theory ______________________________________________________


• management and organization theory;

• research methods/statistics;

• comparative cultural perspectives;

• functional knowledge of business;

• organization design;

• organization research;

• system dynamics;

• history of organization development;

• theories and models of change;

• managing the consulting process;

• analysis/diagnosis;

• designing/choosing appropriate and relevant interventions;

• facilitation and process consultation;

• developing client capability;

• evaluating organization change.

For the deeper aspects of being a change agent you need to understand
the importance of:

• overcoming organizational defences;

• using the self as an instrument;

• creating the holding environment;

• supervision and shadow consultancy.

Part Two

The applications

Strategy is the pattern or plan that integrates an organization’s major
goals, policies and action sequences into a cohesive whole.

James Quinn (1980)

In Part One we looked at change and the management of change from
three different perspectives: the individual, the team and the organiza-
tion. We also examined the roles, styles and skills needed to become a
successful leader of change and the final chapter looked at the role of the
change agent.

In Part Two we apply this learning to specific types of change. We have
identified four generic change scenarios, and we look at the particular
management challenges involved in initiating and implementing each
type of change. These change scenarios are:

• structural change;

• mergers and acquisitions;


The applications _____________________________________________________________


• cultural change; and

• IT-based process change.

We look at what differentiates these changes, and for each scenario we
identify which approach to managing organizational change is the most
relevant, and look at the implications for individuals and teams. We also
give tips and resources for managers in these situations.

In this introduction we briefly review the strategic change process,
identifying the elements that make a strategic change process successful.


When we look at Figure II.1, or probably more realistically Figure II.2, we
can see that typically the whole process begins with an internal or exter-
nal trigger for change. In a way we compartmentalize the universe so as
to make sense of it. This whole book is an attempt to make order out of
the chaos we sometimes feel around change. It is very rare that anyone
could say for sure that this change began on that particular day or at that
particular meeting. But in our ideal universe these triggers for change
make us take a long hard look at the market or industry we are in, exam-
ine our customer and stakeholder relationships, and scrutinize our organ-
izational capability. As a result we review where we want to be, how we
want to get there and what we need to do to get there. We develop our
new vision, mission and values.

All sorts of changes may need to happen as a result of this exercise, but
typically we will need to adjust one or all of the following:

• the organizational structure;

• the commercial approach;

• the organizational culture;

• the relevant processes.

_____________________________________________________________ The applications


Figure II.1 The strategic change process (1)

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Figure II.2 The strategic change process (2)



internal drivers

external drivers

analysis direction



lenses leadership

styles & roles

building capacity,
capability & readiness


the changes

aligning the

individual, team &
organizational learningattuning

teams &



We tackle all four types of change identified above. In Chapter 6 we tackle
structural changes head on. This is because we observe how many strate-
gic changes result in structural changes, and we wanted to write some-
thing helpful about how to make this approach work well. Chapter 7

_____________________________________________________________ The applications


tackles mergers and acquisitions, and deals with change situations when
competitors or suppliers (and indeed customers) are brought into the
organization. Although it is not specifically addressed, many of the issues
raised are pertinent to partnering as well. Chapter 8 focuses on cultural
change, and specifically deals with three areas: aligning the organization
to a market and customer focus, aligning the organization to its overarch-
ing objectives, and developing an employee brand. All three areas have
something important to say about how to tackle cultural change. Finally,
Chapter 9 is focused on IT-enabled process change, as so many of us have
undergone change as a direct result of developments in technology or the
re-engineering of processes.

Other important aspects of the change process

There are six other essential characteristics of successful strategic change

1 Alignment is an important feature of a successful change initiative.
This is about ensuring that all the components of the change plan are
an integrated whole. This means that they have an internal integrity
but are also linked into the whole organizational system and beyond,
if necessary.

2 Attunement is important too. This is about mirroring the preferred
organizational culture, and ensuring that all aspects of the change are
carried out in line with organizational values and with sufficient
attention to the human side of change.

3 Critical mass is vital. The aim of a change management plan is to
develop momentum and build sustainability. This occurs when a
sufficiently critical mass of people are aligned and in tune with senior

4 Building organizational capacity, capability and readiness. Change
management capacity and capability within organizations vary
dramatically. Even organizations that seem to go through constant
change do not necessarily have this as a key competency within their

The applications _____________________________________________________________


people. Our contention is that the more the senior management
recognizes the need to develop this capability within itself and a
significant proportion of its managers, the sooner change can become
a way of life and not something to be feared, shunned and avoided.

5 Encouraging individual, team and organizational learning. Change
managers should be well supported with training and coaching if
they are to be successful. Some succeed without this, but they are the
exception. Usually the demands of implementing change, together
with a need to keep the day-to-day requirements of the job going,
mean that everything gets done in a rush, without pausing to review,
develop or integrate. The habit is then set: managers hop from ex –
perience to experience without learning very much. Learning clearly
doesn’t stop at an individual level. Mentoring, reviewing and feed-
back mechanisms help the change process and also build ongoing
change capability.

6 Mindset. The whole of the change process will operate within a
certain mindset or prevailing culture. It is important to understand
that all our observations, calculations and decisions will be influ-
enced by the lens through which we look.

As you go through the following chapters, it may help to refer back to
Figures II.1 and II.2 as you think through how each type of change can be
achieved successfully as part of an organization-wide strategic change.



We trained hard. But it seemed that every time we
were beginning to form into teams, we would be
reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend
to meet any new situation by reorganizing. And
what a wonderful method it can be for creating
the illusion of progress while producing confusion,
inefficiency, and demoralization.

Gaius Petronius Arbiter, The Satyricon,
1st century ad

These words, spoken two millennia ago, might be very familiar to some
of you. They certainly are to us, and we believe they are as insightful now
as they were then. However, even though these words have been much
quoted, organizations do not necessarily take any notice of them!

Although some managers are now getting this process right, most
people’s experience of restructuring is negative. People often roll their
eyes and say, ‘Not again’, ‘It failed’, ‘Why didn’t they manage it better?’,
and ‘Why can’t they leave us to just get on with the job?’


The applications _____________________________________________________________


Restructuring as a theme for change might seem a little strange because
restructuring as a key strategic objective is not particularly meaningful;
surely we should be looking at the reasons behind the change. There are
a number of important points here:

• It seems that restructuring becomes the solution to a variety of organ-
izational issues, and in that sense we need to look at the restructuring
process itself as it impacts on so many people’s lives.

• Given that managers and staff are restructured so often, it is import-
ant to understand the dynamics of restructuring, what typically goes
wrong and what a good process looks like.

• In our view restructuring should be the last option considered by
management rather than the first. It is often a method for not
addressing the organizational issues that it seeks to resolve.

• Many of the tools are useful in other change situations.

This chapter looks at:

• the reasons for restructuring;

• the restructuring processes:
– strategic review and reasons for change;
– critical success factors, design options and risk assessment;
– learnings from previous projects and best practice;
– project planning and project implementation;
– monitoring and review;

• restructuring from an individual change perspective – the special case
of redundancy;

• enabling teams to address organizational change.

In the UK the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
is running an ongoing research project, ‘Organising for Success in the
21st century’ ( looking at current and future themes

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring


of restructuring in organizations today. It stresses the importance to
companies of this process:

[W]hen DuPont announced its reorganization in February 2002, its stock
price rose 12%, putting a valuation on the new organization design of
$7 billion (£4.5 billion). Less fortunate was the reception of Proctor and
Gamble’s … launched in 1999 by the company’s new chief executive, Durk
Jager, this reorganization had a $1.9 billion (£1.2 billion) budget over six
years. Within 18 months, the perceived difficulties … had cost Jager his job.

On a macro level, the survey found that during the 1990s the top 50 UK
companies moved from having on average one major reorganization
every five years to having one every three years. On a micro level, indi-
vidual managers had personally experienced seven reorganizations
within their organizations. Not all of the seven were major organization-
wide change, some were more local. Nonetheless managers encountered
various challenges as a result: managing the changes within themselves,
managing the changes within their staff, ensuring that both large-scale
and minor changes were aligned to the wider organizational strategies,
and last but by no means least, delivering on business as usual and ensur-
ing staff were motivated to deliver on business as usual.


We are concerned in this chapter with the dynamics of change and
restructuring, less so with why the organization or part thereof is being
restructured. Restructuring can occur for numerous reasons:

• downsizing or rightsizing (market conditions or competitiveness);

• rationalization or cost-cutting (market conditions or

• efficiency or effectiveness (drive towards internal improvement);

• decentralization or centralization (drive towards internal

The applications _____________________________________________________________


• flattening of the hierarchy (drive towards internal improvement);

• change in strategy (strategy implementation);

• merger or acquisition (strategy implementation);

• new product or service (strategy implementation);

• cultural change (strategy implementation);

• internal market re-alignment (strategy implementation);

• change of senior manager (leadership decision);

• internal or external crisis (unforeseen/unplanned change).

We believe that restructuring should only take place as a result of a
change in strategy. It should have a clear rationale and should be done in
conjunction with other parallel changes such as process change and cul-
ture change. Of course this is not always the case. Sometimes other events
kick off restructuring processes, such as a new boss arriving, a process or
product failure, an argument, a dissatisfied client or an underperforming
person or department. In these cases it is sometimes difficult for employ-
ees to curb their cynicism when changes in structure seem to be a knee-
jerk reaction that lacks direction, appears cosmetic and fails to lead to any
real improvement.

We look at specific cases of restructuring such as mergers and acquisi-
tions, cultural change and rebranding, and IT-based change in the other
application chapters.


Whereas some of the other change scenarios we discuss in this book are
more problematic (for instance, culture change and merger/acquisition),
on the surface a restructuring of the organization should be a relatively
straightforward affair. If we recollect the organizational change meta-
phors, the restructure could be quite neatly placed into the machine

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring


Within this metaphor we could perhaps draw on Kurt Lewin’s three-step
process of organizational change (see Figure 6.1). The first step involves
unfreezing the current state of affairs. This means defining the current
state, surfacing the driving and resisting forces and picturing a desired
end state. The second step is about moving to a new state through par-
ticipation and involvement. The third step focuses on refreezing and
stabilizing the new state of affairs by setting policy, rewarding success
and establishing new standards. Clearly an organizational restructuring
process could follow this model. There is a current state that needs
unfreezing and a perceived end state that is required. The main focus
therefore is the need to ensure that movement between the former to
the latter state is as smooth and quick as necessary.

However, our experience when facilitating organizational change is
that a restructuring process will not be successful if it is focused solely
on generating organizational structure charts and project plans. It is dis-
appointing to note that the CIPD research (CIPD, 2003) suggests that
organizations typically devote much more time during restructuring to

The key beliefs of the machine metaphor are:

• Each employee should have only one line manager.

• Labour should be divided into specific roles.

• Each individual should be managed by objectives.

• Teams represent no more than the summation of individual efforts.

• Management should control and there should be employee

This leads to the following assumptions about organizational change:

• The organization can be changed to an agreed end state by those in
positions of authority.

• There will be resistance, and this needs to be managed.

Change can be executed well if it is well planned and well controlled.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


areas other than human resources. The finance and systems functions
accounted for double the time and attention that HR issues received.
Anyone managing or experiencing restructuring knows that there are
many other factors to consider. The politics of the situation and the psy-
chological needs of managers and staff play a key role. It is also important
to ensure that the restructuring process is positioned as a framework to
enable the organization to do something it has not done before, rather
than simply as a tool for changing the structure around.

It is therefore useful to remind ourselves of Nadler and Tushman’s
congruence model, which derives from the political and organism meta-
phors. One of the key aspects of the congruence model is that if you
change something in one part of the organizational system, the whole
system and other component parts are affected. If you do not factor this
into your change equation you may well face unintended consequences.
For example, restructuring in one part of the organization means that
people in other areas may well have to develop a whole new set of rela-
tionships. Very often little is done to communicate the changes, let alone
actively work to foster new working relationships.

Figure 6.1 Lewin’s three-step model
Source: Lewin (1951)

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring


The authors have witnessed numerous restructures in a variety of
public and private sector organizations, and have concluded that perhaps
the best way to approach the restructuring process is as a mixture of the
machine and organism metaphors. Beckhard and Harris’ change formula
(1983) is useful here:

C = [ABD] > X

C = Change
A = Level of dissatisfaction with the status quo
B = Desirability of the proposed change or end state
D = Practicality of the change (minimal risk and disruption)
X = ‘Cost’ of changing.

According to this formula, there are three important factors in any
restructuring. First, the reasons, timing and rationale for the restructure
must be made very clear. Second, the end goal or vision must be com-
municated in an appealing way. Third, the whole exercise must appear
doable by being well planned and well implemented. For the majority
of individuals the overwhelming experience is one of upheaval. The cost
of changing is high. It is therefore imperative that the benefits are accen-
tuated and then planned for in the most authentic and genuine way as

In Figure 6.2 we outline our generic approach to restructuring, which
can be tailored to individual circumstances. We highlight areas of poten-
tial problems and also suggest ways of making it a more effective process.

Strategic review and reasons for change

Any attempt to restructure needs to have a clear communicable rationale.
This will typically come from a review of strategy that highlights the need
to address a specific issue relating to the internal or external business
environment. In the CIPD research cited above, restructuring was often
undertaken to improve customer responsiveness, gain market share or
improve organizational efficiency. Key drivers in the private sector were
‘typically performance declines, mergers and acquisitions and a change
of chief executive. In the public sector, key drivers are the need for new

The applications _____________________________________________________________


collaborations and legislative and regulatory change, though chief execu-
tive changes are again important.’

Critical success factors

Planning a structure requires the generation of critical success factors,
design options and a risk assessment. The purpose of a restructure is to
align the organization to better achieve its strategy. Critical success factors
are important to define, because if they are met they will ensure success
for the new structure and by implication the strategy. Although identi-
fication of these key factors is an important prerequisite to any restruc-
turing, this task is not necessarily clear-cut. The factors themselves will

Figure 6.2 A generic approach to restructuring

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring


depend on the organizational strategy, its culture, its market, its infra-
structure and its internal processes.

In the box we give an example from a local government authority
that needed to reorientate itself to have a much greater customer and
citizen focus. One of the explicit strategies was to restructure the organ-
ization in a way that would dissolve the traditional departmental
boundaries and their associated destructive tensions and unhelpful
silo mentality.


Public service users (and relevant stakeholders), not providers, are
the focus

Will this structure result in clear, measurable deliverables to the customers
and citizens?

To what extent have we consulted with our customers?

New working relationships are accommodated such as community
leadership, neighbourhood working and political management

Does the structure reflect and support key changes in the political
arrangements and thinking?

A realistic interaction is demonstrated between policy planning in all
its forms, business development and financial planning at every level

Does the structure enable clear links between the different types of plans
and the relevant timescales?

Better prioritization of objectives and decision making on workloads
and resourcing can take place

Does the structure enable clarity around the authority’s strategic objectives?
Are there linkages across the organization?
Is there clarity as to who is accountable for what?
Are there supporting processes that manage potentially conflicting


The applications _____________________________________________________________


Individuals are clear about their responsibilities and accountabilities
and can act in an empowered way

Does the structure enable better application of the performance
management system?
Are individual and team development needs identified and resourced
to meet business outcomes?

A performance and feedback culture is developed across the organ-
ization, internally and externally

Does the structure help strengthen the performance and feedback culture?

Design options

Once it has been decided what factors it is impor-
tant for the restructure to meet, it is important
to demonstrate that these are better achieved
through this structure rather than any other one.

Design options are the different ways in which
the particular organization can be structured. It
is not within the scope of this book to discuss in
depth the different types of organizational struc-
ture – readers are encouraged to read an overview in Organization Theory,
edited by D S Pugh (1990). However, we are interested not only in the
general impact of restructuring but also in any specifics relating to a move
from one type of structure to another. Miles and Snow (1984) detailed
the evolution of organizational structure and its relationship to business

• an entrepreneurial structure when there is a single product or service,
or local/regional markets;

• a functional structure when there is a limited, standardized product
or service line, or regional/national markets;

• a divisional structure when there is a diversified, changing product or
service line, or national/international markets;

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring


• a matrix structure when there are standard and innovative products
or services, or stable and changing markets;

• a dynamic network when there is the need for product or service
design or global changing markets.

The majority of organizations are structured according to an entrepre-
neurial, functional, divisional or matrix structure. All have their advan-
tages and their limitations, as outlined in Table 6.1.

Risk assessment

As you can detect from the limitations described for each of the organiza-
tional structures, there are risks attached to the restructuring process.
Those identified here are obviously generic risks; however, each organ-
ization will need to identify the specific risks associated with moving from
one structure to another. The management therefore needs to under-
stand fully the nature of these risks. As a concrete example we have
included in the box excerpts from a risk assessment generated for a
medium-sized company that had decided to move from a function-
oriented organization to a divisionalized structure incorporating five
product-based business units together with a centralized ‘shared services’
and financial control unit.

Table 6.1 Advantages and limitations of different types of organization structure

Structure Entrepreneurial Functional Divisional by product,
geography or both



around one
central figure.
no division of

Organized around tasks
to be carried out.

Divisions likely to be profit centres
and may be seen as strategic
business units for planning and
control purposes.
Divisions/business units headed
by general managers who have
responsibility for their own

Double definition of profit
Permanent and full dual
control of operating units –
though one will be generally
more powerful than the other.
Authority and accountability
defined in terms of particular


companies in
early stages of

Small companies, few plants,
limited product or service
Relatively stable situations.

Growing in size and complexity.
Appropriate divisional/business
splits exist.
Organizations growing through
mergers and acquisition.
Turbulent environments.
When producing a number of
different products or services.
Geographic splits with cultural
distinctions in company’s markets.

Large multi-product,
multinational companies with
significant interrelationships
and interdependencies.
Small sophisticated service

Source: summarized from Thompson (2001)

Structure Entrepreneurial Functional Divisional by product,
geography or both


Advantages Enables the
founder, who
has a logical or
intuitive grasp
of the business,
to control its
early growth

Controlled by strategic
leaders/chief executive.
Relatively low overheads.
Clearly delineated external
Specialist managers develop
Relatively simple lines of control.
Can promote competitive
advantage through the functions.

Spreads profit responsibility.
Enables evaluation of
contributions of various activities.
Motivates managers and facilitates
development of both specialists
and generalists.
Enables adaptive change.
CEO concentrates on corporate
Growth through acquisition easier.
Can be entrepreneurial.
Divestment can be managed more

Decisions can be taken locally,
decentralized within a large
corporation, which might
otherwise be bureaucratic.
Optimum use of skills and
resources – and high-quality
informed decisions,
reconciling conflicts within
the organization.
Enables control of growth and
increasing complexity.
Opportunities for
management development.

Limitations Founder may
have insufficient
knowledge in
certain areas.
appropriate up
to a certain size.

Succession problems – specialists
not generalists are created.
Unlikely to be entrepreneurial or
Profit responsibility exclusively
with CEO.
Becomes stretched by growth and
product diversification.
Functional managers may
concentrate on short-term routine
activities at the expense of longer-
term strategic developments.
Problems of ensuring coordination
between functions – rivalry may
Functional experts may seek to
build mini-empires.

Conflict between divisions for
Possible confusion over locus of
responsibility (local or head office).
Duplication of efforts and
Divisions may think short-term
and concentrate on profits.
Divisions may be of different sizes
and some may grow very large.
Evaluation of relative
performances may be difficult.
Coordination of interdependent
divisions and establishing transfer
pricing may be difficult.

Difficult to implement.
Dual responsibilities can
cause confusion.
Accounting and control
Potential conflict between
the two wings, with one
generally more powerful.
High overhead costs.
Decision making can be

Source: summarized from Thompson (2001)


The applications _____________________________________________________________



Structure and interdependencies

Business unit structures will require some level of consistency (shape,
size, roles and responsibilities, reporting lines, etc) amongst themselves
to ensure that they can be adequately serviced from the centre.

Being very clear about the boundaries of the businesses we are in. That is,
boundaries of the markets and boundaries between the business units.

There needs to be clarity of role and responsibility between the central
services, shared services and business units.

Shared services/central service effectiveness

Shared services and, to a slightly lesser degree, central services need to
be closely aligned culturally and process-wise with the business units
that they interact with, to encourage efficient and effective management
across the boundary.

How support services are devolved, shared and centralized requires
careful planning to ensure cost-effective, efficient and productive functions.

Corporate identity

The corporate identity will be dissipated and may not be replaced.
In some areas staff’s ‘affinity’ will be significantly diminished – how can

this be managed?


Synergies may be harder to exploit (eg deploying e-commerce solutions
across business units).


Costs are likely to increase if we move to devolved support functions –
what are the specific proposals that will increase income?

Cost inefficiency is a risk – the structure will inevitably lead to some
duplication of costs across the business units. The structure is not ideal
from a cost point of view.

Root cause

We may not address some true causes of problems that we have by
thinking that we are dealing with them by restructuring.

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring



Management of change

The organization will spend another six months to a year with the ‘eye off
the ball’.

There is a lack of change/implementation expertise and skills.
The executive management team tends to get ‘bored with the detail’

quickly and therefore may lose interest and impetus and let both the
transition and the transformation peter out.


Staff may see this as ‘yet another restructure’ not tackling the real prob-
lems, and therefore become demotivated.


We need to ensure the best people possible for each job. We need to
ensure that we keep the people we want to keep.

Management of synergies

Loss of knowledge – we need to capture and transfer knowledge of,
for example, strategy formulation and implementation.

We need to ensure best practice in one part of the company is trans-
ferred across the company.

Roles, responsibilities and interdependencies

Risk of business units declaring ‘UDI’ and not fully engaging with central
services and company-wide issues.

We need to ensure those in the centre are motivated and their perform-
ance measured. We need to establish levers other than the policeman
role and the threat of regulators, etc.

The task for the management team was to generate an honest list, assess
the degree of risk (probability × impact) and agree actions to minimize the
risks. In addition, and as an example of good practice, a risk assessment
was also completed for the process of managing the change as well as the
changes themselves, as listed in the box.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Learning from previous projects and best practice
Clearly you do not have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to restruc-
turing. Given the propensity for restructuring that most organizations
have, you and your colleagues will have a reservoir of knowledge as to
what has worked before. You will also know quite a lot about what has
not worked! Now is the time to check back to see what the learnings are
from previous change projects. If your organization has not formally
retained this knowledge, a requisite variety of managers and staff can
quite easily generate such a list. We include an example list (see box). The
headings are the central themes that emerged during the session. These
were the most relevant issues for the organization under review. Yours
might well be different.

In terms of best practice there are many resources: this book for
example, a wide range of literature, professional bodies and consultancy
firms. It is important to get the right balance between what has worked
elsewhere and what will work in your organization. And there is no
guaranteed formula for that.

Change management/project management

Utilize previous learning from projects.
Check for false assumptions.
Always, always do a potential problem analysis.
Look for design faults at an early stage and throughout.
Significant top-level commitment.

Induction for all in the change.
Ensure earliest possible involvement of stakeholders.
Take the board with you.
Ensure cohesion across organization.
Harness energy and enthusiasm across organization.

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring


Lack of focus produces failures.
Link the hard and soft interventions and measures.
Have clear objectives.
Differentiate between the what and the how.
Specific behaviour objectives help.


It helps to have people who have been through similar projects before.
Network of people and resources.
Dedicated project management.
Multidisciplinary approach.
Build the change management team.


Build in a process of automatic review.
Always evaluate, financially and otherwise.
To ensure sustainability, have follow-through.

Leadership and strategy

Vision, mission and values need to be overt, obvious, communicated
and followed.

Ensure alignment to strategy.


Don’t let line managers duck the issues – build responsibilities and
accountabilities into the process.

Requires involvement of people – as part of buy-in, and they can
actually help!

Requires communication with people.
Be honest with people.
All the new teams need to be motivated and built.
Get the right people in the right jobs.


Always cost the initiative.
Be clear where the value is added.
Separate infrastructure investment from return on investment.
Check for false assumptions.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Project planning and project implementation

The restructuring process can create considerable turbulence within an
organization, its managers and its staff. In the box is a copy of a note to
a chief executive shortly after a restructuring process had begun. It clearly
identifies the state of confusion that people throughout the organization
were experiencing.


People were still very much in the throes of the changes – many clearly
still affected on an emotional level by the restructuring process and all
highlighting areas that need clarifying going forward.

People thought that there was a tremendous energy surrounding the
changes – seeing lots of activity and lots of change being managed at
a rapid pace. The downside to this was the sense that it was too fast and
out of control, certainly outside of their control.

The majority of people felt positive at the ideas introduced at a high
level by the strategy. Some saw it as new and exciting, others as
providing one clear direction and having a certain theoretical clarity.
However, the overwhelming feeling was a sense that while the Vision was
fine, there was a real lack of clarity around how it would be translated
into a living workable strategy. They needed something not only motiv-
ating to aim for but also something quite specific.

Coupled with people’s sense of the pace of change, many reported
that not only was the direction somewhat hazy, but they saw different
managers going off in different directions.

There was a certain resignation to the fact that the organization was
going round and round – a ‘here we go again’ attitude – a sense that they
had been here before and wondering whether this time would be any

They recognized that the direction might be clearer from the top;
perhaps they were not in the right place to be seeing the bigger picture.

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring


Some people complained of having too little information, while others
complained of having too much information. Although one could say that
staff going through change may never be satisfied – or that management
will always get it wrong (damned if you do, damned if you don’t) – the key
question is ‘How do we deliver the right message, at the right time, to the
right people, through the right medium?’

Coupled with this theme of communication was the perceived need to
provide answers to the many questions people have when they are ex –
periencing (psychologically) the chaos of change. Often people were left
with no one to ask, or asking questions of managers who either didn’t
know or were themselves preoccupied with their own reactions to
changes they were going through.

In summary, and from an emotional perspective, the effect of combining
the various themes described above is quite a heady one. People have
reported feelings of being lost and confused, anxious and worried,
degrees of uncertainty and puzzlement, an inability to piece the jigsaw
together and, to some, the tremendous strain of having to wait while the
changes were revealed. Points to note here include the feeling of having
no control over their destiny and also watching as others (often their
managers) were suffering the traumatic effects of the changes which they
themselves might have to suffer at some stage.

This is often at the very time that ‘business as usual’ efforts need to be
redoubled. The tasks of those leading the restructure are to ensure that
business as usual continues; that people are readied for operating within
the new structure; and that the transition from the old structure to the
new is smooth and timely.

Attention to both the task and people sides of the process is imperative.
Depending on people’s predisposition, normally one will take precedence
over the other. There is a need to ensure that plans are in place for all the
necessary processes that are part of the change:

• communication plans: what, to whom, when and how;

• selection/recruitment plans: clear guidelines for both those under-
going selection, their managers and interested onlookers. These

The applications _____________________________________________________________


should include criteria for selection, information about the process,
timescales and rationale behind the process;

• contingency plans: necessary if key people are unavailable at critical
times or if timescales look like slipping.

Future direction and strategy

For many people the strategy and future direction behind a restructure
are hazy. This is very often a case of too much vision and not enough
pragmatism, but sometimes a case of too much pragmatism and not
enough vision! A balance is needed.

In any restructure it is imperative to describe a positive future as well
as to explain fully the rationale behind it, how it links to the strategy, how
it will work in practice, how it differs from what went before, how it is
better than what went before and what the benefits will be from it.


Communication in any change is absolutely essential. However, commu-
nications are often variable. There is sometimes too much communica-
tion, but more often too little too late. An added problem is communication
by e-mail. This is such a useful mechanism when managers need large
numbers of people to receive the same information at the same time, but
it is so impersonal and so heartless when delivering messages of an emo-
tional and potentially threatening nature.

A more tailored or personalized approach is better. The greater the
access to people who know the answers to the important questions, the
better. It is useful to compile and communicate FAQs (frequently asked
questions) but do not expect this to be the end of the story. Just because
you think you have told someone something it does not mean to say he
or she has heard it, assimilated it or believed it. People do strange things
under stress, like not listening. And they need to see the whites of your
eyes when you respond!

Key questions in people’s minds will be:

• What is the purpose of the restructure?

• How will it operate in practice?

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring


• Who will be affected and how?

• What are the steps along the way, including milestones and timescales?

• How will new posts be filled and people selected?

• What happens to the others?

• Where do you go to get help and how do you get involved?

• What is the new structure and what are the new roles?

• What new behaviours will be required?

• Will training and development be provided?

Communication needs to be well planned, and these plans need to be
clear about how to get the right information to the right people at the
right time through the right medium (for the recipient). This includes
well-presented briefing notes for managers if they are to be the channel
for further communication. It is also worth checking for understanding
before these messengers are required to communicate the message.

Change in any form can trigger a number of emotional responses. If the
messages can be personalized the recipient is more likely to receive them
in a positive frame of mind. Personalized messages such as face-to-face
and one-to-one communications are especially relevant when an indi-
vidual may be adversely affected by the change.

Different communities of interest have different needs when it comes
to communications. Some people will need to be involved, some con-
sulted and some told. It is important that the right people get the appro-
priate level of communication. It is important for them and it is important
for those around them. If your manager is seen to be ignored, what does
it say about the value of your work section?

Thought needs to be given to the recipients of the communication.
Those responsible for communicating need to ask:

• What are their needs for information?

• What is their preferred form of communication?

• When is the best time for them to be communicated with?

The applications _____________________________________________________________


For example, people in a contact centre may not have the time to read
endlessly long e-mails informing them of changes in other parts of the
business. However, they would probably like to be told face-to-face of
events that will involve changes to their management structure, or the
introduction of a new way of working.

To prevent the rumour mill growing it is important that communica-
tion is timely, and reaches each of the chosen communities at the agreed
time. Start–stop–start again communications do not help either. A con-
tinuing flow of communication will engender more confidence in the
change process.

Implementation process

The complexity of the restructuring task is often underestimated.
Timescales are often not met. Staff directly affected by the change and
potentially facing redundancy are subjected to undue stress because the
whole process takes too long to complete.

Managing people’s expectations is key. If you announce a plan, it needs
to be adhered to, or changes to the plan clearly communicated.

Supporting mechanisms

To make the restructuring as smooth as
possible and ensure that the new struc-
ture gets up and running quickly, a
number of support mechanisms need to
be in place.

Visible managerial support
A key response of people going through
the process is that their management was
often ineffectual at managing change
during this period. This is not necessarily
the manager’s fault. Many experience
having to go through a selection process
themselves, many do not seem to get
adequately briefed as to the nature of

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring


the changes, and some either lose their jobs or get appointed to new posi-
tions and so do not or cannot provide the necessary support through

Management styles across an organization can also be variable. Often
there is a reduced rather than increased management visibility at these

People can see a restructure as just that – a change in structure, rather
than an internal realignment that would help them and the business
focus on, for example, their customers and with a different way of
doing things. It is the role of the manager to translate the purpose of the
restructure into an understandable and viable way of doing things

Continued communication of the purpose
There needs to be an ongoing planned and ‘personalized’ communi-
cation programme to ensure the right people get the right information
at the right time in the right format for them. People need to be told
and involved in how the organization will be operating differently in
the future. In these two-way communications staff and managers’ per-
spectives need to be listened to and, where valid, they need to be

Clear selection process
During any selection process certain things need to be in place: first,
a selection process plan that is agreed, is sensible, has an inner integrity,
is consistent, equitable and scheduled; and second, clear guidelines for
those undergoing selection, their managers and interested onlookers.
These should include criteria for selection, information about the pro-
cess, timescales, and the rationale behind the process.

Senior management attention
In most instances where senior management are involved, their presence
is generally appreciated, even if the restructure is perceived as a negative
change. The more people see the commitment of senior management
the better; by attending meetings, visiting departments, branches or con-
tact centres to explain the rationale, and facing the staff.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Constructive consultation

Different organizations will have different ways of involving staff
in changes. We believe that if middle managers and staff have a say in
the planning of change, some of the inconsistencies and incongruities
emerging from the change are picked up and addressed at a much earlier
stage. If there is more input and involvement at an earlier stage from
those managers who have a responsibility to manage the changes, this
too has an impact on the success of the change.

Monitoring and review
Monitoring and review is not something just to be done at the end of the
process and written up for the next time. If you have adopted the machine
approach to restructuring, perhaps you may think that once the plan is
in place, all it needs is a robotic implementation. Of course organizations
are not entirely mechanistic, and individuals and groups going through
change can react in all sorts of ways. The restructuring plan needs to be
monitored constantly to see how both the task and people aspects of the
plan are progressing. Feedback loops need to be built into the plan so that
senior managers and those responsible for implementation have their
fingers on the pulse of the organization.

In our discussion of individual change (see Chapter 1) we remarked
that a certain amount of resistance to proposed changes is to be expected.
Just because people resist change does not mean to say that you are doing
it wrong! It is a natural, healthy human reaction for individuals and
groups to express both positive and negative emotions about change.
Managers can help this process along by encouraging straight talk.

Also, just because people resist change it does not mean to say that they
have got it wrong! They might well see gaps and overlaps, or things that
just are not going to work. Listening to the people who will have to make
the new structure work is not only a nice thing to do, it is useful and con-
stitutes effective use of management time.

The process of monitoring and review should begin at the planning
stage and be an important part of the whole process, right through to the
point where you evaluate the effectiveness of the new structure in the
months and years after implementation.

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring




This section looks at redundancy and
how it affects those made redundant
and those who survive. David Noer
spent many years working with indi-
viduals in organizations and support-
ing them through change. He has
captured much of this experience in his
book, Healing the Wounds: Overcoming
the trauma of layoffs and revitalizing down-
sized organizations (1993). Although, as
the title suggests, the book is primarily
focused on redundancy, there is much
of benefit to anyone who wants to tackle
organizational change and change
management. The recent recession has
resulted in a new spate of redundancies, initially in the private sector
but increasingly within the public sector.

Noer’s research is useful for illuminating the short-, medium- and long-
term impact of change. He also suggests how a manager can intervene
on a number of levels to help smooth and perhaps quicken the change

Table 6.2 looks at the individual and organizational short- to long-term
impact that redundancy can have. Many of these feelings are not neces-
sarily disclosed: some are acted upon, others just experienced internally
but with a clear effect on morale and motivation. Table 6.3 suggests a
breakdown of what feelings are disclosed and undisclosed. You might
notice that many of the feelings found among those going through this
process are precisely the same ones that Kubler-Ross described in her
work on the change curve (1969).

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Table 6.2 The individual and organizational short- to
long-term impact of redundancy

Individual impact Organizational impact

Short to
medium term

Psychological contract broken
Job insecurity
Distrust and sense of betrayal
Depression, stress, fatigue
Wanting it to be over

Reduced risk taking
Reduced motivation
Lack of management credibility
Increased short-termism
Dissatisfaction with planning

and communication
Anger over the process
Sense of permanent change
Continued commitment

to long term

Depression, stress, fatigue

Extra workload
Decreased motivation
Loyalty to job but not to company
Increased self-reliance
Sense of unfairness regarding

top management pay and

Source: summarized from Noer (1993). Reprinted by permission of Jossey-Bass

Dealing with redundancy: Noer’s model

Noer sees interventions at four different levels when dealing with redun-
dancy in an organizational context. Most managers only progress to level
one, whereas Noer suggests that managers need to work with their
people at all four levels (see Figure 6.3).

Level one: getting the implementation process right

Level one interventions are all about getting the process of change right.
In any change process there needs to be a good level of efficient and effec-
tive management. This includes a communication strategy and a process
that is in line with organizational values.

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring


Table 6.3 Disclosed and undisclosed feelings about redundancy

Feelings Disclosed Undisclosed

Held in Fear, insecurity and uncertainty.
Easier to identify and found in

every redundancy situation.

Sadness, depression and guilt.
Often not acknowledged and

hidden behind group

Acted out Unfairness, betrayal and distrust.
Often acted out through blaming

others and constant requests
for information.

Frustration, resentment
and anger.

Often not openly expressed but
leak out in other ways.

Source: summarized from Noer (1993). Reprinted by permission of Jossey-Bass

Figure 6.3 Noer’s four-level redundancy intervention model
Source: Noer (1993)

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Noer suggests that once the decision is made to effect redundancies, it
needs to be done cleanly and with compassion. This requires open com-
munication – ‘over-communicating is better than under-communicating’
– emotional honesty and authenticity.

Although this is just level one, it is hard to get it absolutely right!

Level two: dealing with emotions

Once you have attended to getting the task process right, the next level
is getting the emotional process right. This involves dealing with the dis-
closed and undisclosed feelings mentioned above. Let us be frank: a lot
of people are not very good at this. For many, allowing the release of
emotions and negative thoughts about the situation feels like they are
opening a hornet’s nest. Managers need some support and a considerable
amount of self-awareness if they are to handle this well.

There are many ways that managers can facilitate this process, with
either one-to-one meetings or team meetings.

This level is about ‘allowing time for expressions of feelings about the
situation plus implications for the future and next steps for moving on’.

Level three: focusing on the future

The change curve indicates that a period of inner focus is followed by
a period of outward focus. Noer’s research suggests that once levels one
and two have been dealt with, the organization now needs to focus on
those surviving the redundancy. This is aimed at ‘recapturing’ their sense
of self-control, empowerment and self-esteem. Those who have been made
redundant need to go through a process of regaining their self-worth and
focusing on their strengths; those remaining need to do the same.

There should be plenty of organizational imperatives for this to happen!
But once again, let it be a considered approach rather than haphazard.
The organization would not have gone through the changes that it has
without a clear need to do so. It remains to those left to address that
need – be it cost-efficiency, productivity, culture change or merger. The
more that individuals and teams can be involved in shaping the organ-
ization’s future, the greater will be the engagement and commitment,
and the greater the chances of success.

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring


Level four: embedding the changes

Level four interventions occur at a whole-system level. One option – the
laissez-faire or reactive one – is to pretend that nothing much has changed.
In terms of Satir’s model, as described by Weinberg (1997), the organization
can fail to really address or redress the situation. It could:

• try to reject foreign elements;

• try to accommodate foreign elements in its old model;

• try to transform the old model to receive foreign elements, but fail.

Any of these options creates a scenario in which the changes are not
sustainable. Noer suggests embedding any changes made into the new
way of working. This includes:

• creating structural systems and processes that treat and/or prevent
survivor syndrome symptoms;

• redefining the psychological contract – being clear about what the
new deal now is between employer and employee;

• enacting and embodying the new culture and its values if that is
one of the stated objectives;

• ensuring all HR practices and management style are aligned with
the espoused culture.

Key lessons that Noer teaches us are:

• to address change on both the task and people level;

• to pay attention, not only to what individuals and groups are going
through now, but also the tasks necessary to move the organization
along; to use these tasks to engage people as they come out of the
more negative aspects of the change curve;

• to take the opportunity of the turbulence of the situation to embed in
the organization those structures, systems and processes that will be
necessary to sustain the changes in the longer term.

The applications _____________________________________________________________



Teams are often strongly impacted by restructuring processes. Their com-
position changes, or they have a new leader, or maybe they have a new
purpose. There needs to be a process for quickly establishing individual
and team roles, responsibilities and priorities.

Issues that teams and groups have to contend with during periods of
organizational change brought about by restructuring include:

• loss of individual roles and jobs;

• new individual roles and jobs;

• loss of team members;

• new team members;

• new team purpose and objectives;

• new line manager;

• new organizational or departmental strategy.

Any of these can cause individual members of a team, or the team as
a whole, to experience a range of emotions and new ways of thinking
about their organization, their colleagues and their own career.

Teams need to develop so that their
contribution to the organizational changes
can be as good as possible as quickly as

From our consultancy experience we find
one particular framework useful for newly
restructured teams. This framework (see
Figure 6.4) encompasses a number of the
issues we have highlighted. We encourage
teams to work through the four-part frame-
work in order to establish quickly the sense
of team cohesion necessary for tasks to be

________________________________________________________________ Restructuring


accomplished in a meaningful and collaborative way. This is best done in
a workshop format.

We have found that if a team spends time to focus both on the people
and task side of this process, it will be able to deal with the transition
less turbulently than one that has not.

Four-stage team alignment

1 Understanding one another’s skills, feelings and values. It is useful for the
team to acknowledge its own journey to where it is today. This
means talking about the individuals, the team and other influential
parts of the organization, and the processes of change that have been
gone through to arrive at the current situation. How much of this it
is necessary to acknowledge will depend upon the scale of change
and the story so far.

2 Clarifying and prioritizing current work. The team needs to clarify the
current level of demand, and must work together to satisfy current
customer needs.

Understanding own and
others’ feelings around
the change and current

skills and values

Clarifying and

prioritizing future work
and direction

Functioning effectively

as a team

Clarifying and

prioritizing current work,
roles and responsibilities

Figure 6.4 The four-stage team alignment model

Table 6.4 Addressing team change during restructuring

Forming Storming




Team purpose Establish purpose of
change and team
objectives in relation
to change.

Ensure understanding
and commitment from
team around change
purpose on an
intellectual and
emotional level.

Ensure clarity around
purpose of change and
team objectives in relation
to change.

Check out individual
purpose engagement to
enrolment; enlistment;
compliance; resistance.
Discuss differences.

Team roles Establish roles and
responsibilities of
whole team and

Ensure individuals
understand their roles
and those of others.
Establish whether
there are any overlaps
or grey areas.

Ensure clarity of roles
and responsibilities of
whole team and
individual members.

Establish degree of comfort
with individual roles and
establish levels of support
and challenge required.
Highlight areas of team


Highlight the need
for team processes.

Establish ground rules
for team working.

Establish processes
for decision making,
problem solving, conflict
resolution if not already
in place.

Check out levels of
trust and agreement.
Surface areas of team

* MBTI™ = Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™292

Forming Storming




Team relations Highlight the need
for team processes.

Establish ground rules
for team working.

Ensure team is agreed
on purpose, objectives,
roles and processes.

Build safe environment for
team to openly express
thoughts and feelings.


dependencies on
and with other

Highlight the need to
establish protocols
with key

Establish process for
communicating with
other organizational

Engage with other
groupings on how they will
work together.

MBTI™* Ensure balance
between high level
vision and more
tangible and
specific objectives.

Balance between
the business case for
the change and
individuals’ feelings
about the change.

Ensure balance between
tying agreements down
and keeping options

Ensure that different types
are understood and potential
pitfalls and communication

Key Belbin

shaper, plant,

team worker.

Co-ordinator, resource

Co-ordinator, team worker,


Ensure alignment
of team goals to
change objectives.

Ensure team members
engage on an
intellectual and
emotional level with
organizational goals.

Ensure team structure,
roles and responsibilities
fit with proposed
changes and
organizational ethos.

Ensure commitment to
organizational goals and
operating in line with values.

* MBTI™ = Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™


Forming Storming




Norming Performing




Team purpose Review progress on
team purpose and
objectives; adjust as

Review progress,

Review progress on team
purpose and objectives;
adjust as necessary.

Review team performance
against purpose, recommit
as necessary.

Team roles Review roles and
adjust as necessary.

Review progress,
achievements and
development areas.

Review roles and
responsibilities; adjust as
Develop strategies for
improving performance.

Review individual role
performance and structure,
recognize achievement and
provide development.


Review team
processes; adjust
as necessary.

Review team
processes; adjust as

Review team processes;
adjust as necessary.
Develop strategies for
improving performance.

Review level of team
efficiency; adjust as
Develop strategies for
improving performance.

Team relations Review team
relations; attend to
if necessary.

Review progress;

Review team relations;
attend to if necessary.
Develop strategies for
improving performance.

Reflect upon level of team
Develop strategies for
improving performance.

* MBTI™ = Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™

Table 6.4 continued


Forming Storming





Review level of
inter-team working;
plan negotiations if

Review level of inter-
team working; engage
others in negotiating
better relations if

Implement actions from
review if necessary.
Develop strategies for
improving performance.

Continue to foster good
working relations with other
organizational groupings.

MBTI™* Review
predominate team
type, take
managerial action, if

Review team
strengths and
weaknesses and
develop blind spots.

Balance time between
reviewing past
performance and
planning future changes.

Balance time between
individual and team needs,
past performance and future

Key Belbin


team worker.

Shaper, (plant),

team worker.


As team begins to
experience less
turbulence, review
alignment with
organizational goals
and check team
performance against

Ensure team model
values and espoused
behaviours within and
outside of team.

Ensure team in all of
its five elements is
performing at an effective

Ensure team is operating
effectively across
organizational boundaries.

* MBTI™ = Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™


The applications _____________________________________________________________


3 Clarifying and prioritizing future work and direction. If teams are facing
a large change agenda, they can easily become overwhelmed unless
activities are phased and planned. Do-ability must be convincing.
Teams need to take stock of their current agenda, ensure it is under-
stood, and agree priorities, responsibilities and timing.

4 Functioning effectively as a team. The impact of stages 1 to 3 can be
extremely demanding on a team. The team needs to develop clarity
about its roles, dynamics, practicalities of meetings, phasing of its
development activities, communication and follow-through. Most
teams will have deficiencies and development needs in one or more
areas. Teams need to assess where they need to improve and focus
on those areas as a priority.

The specific outcome of this process for individuals and teams is greater
clarity about the practical changes that need to happen and how neces-
sary transformations can be managed.

You will have seen from the chapters on individual and team change
that all individuals and teams undergoing change will progress through
various stages. The four-stage team alignment model above attempts to
address some of the key points from those chapters. Table 6.4 brings all
the key team factors together as a useful reference.


Restructuring is an ever-present phenomenon in today’s organizations,
and the process itself can be deeply unrewarding for those who initiate
and those who experience it. We have drawn together ideas in Table 6.4,
from both a task and a people perspective, which will increase the
chances of achieving a smoother journey. However, it must be empha-
sized that turbulence is one thing you will not avoid. How you manage it
will be the test of how well you can lead change.


Mergers and acquisitions

This chapter addresses the specific change scenario of tackling a merger
or an acquisition. We pose the following questions:

• Why do organizations get involved in mergers and acquisitions
(M&As)? Are there different aims and therefore different tactics
involved in making this type of activity work?

• M&A activity has been very high
over the last 15 years, and on a
global scale. We must have learnt
something from all this activity.
What are the conclusions?

• Can the theory of change in indi-
viduals, groups and organizations
be used to increase the success rate
of M&As, and if so, how can it be


The applications _____________________________________________________________


The chapter has the following four sections:

1 the purpose of M&A activity;

2 lessons from research into successful and unsuccessful M&As;

3 applying the change theory: guidelines for leaders;

4 conclusions.


We begin with a short history of M&As. It is useful to track the changes
in direction that M&A activity have gone through over the last 100 years
to achieve a sense of perspective on the different strategies employed.
Gaughan (2010) refers to six waves of M&A activity since 1897 (see box).


First wave (1897–1904): horizontal combinations and consolidations of
several industries, US dominated.

Second wave (1916 –29): mainly horizontal deals, but also many vertical
deals, US dominated.

Third wave (1965–69): the conglomerate era involving acquisition of
companies in different industries.

Fourth wave (1981–89): the era of the corporate raider, financed by junk

Fifth wave (1992–2001): larger mega mergers, more activity in Europe
and Asia. More strategic mergers designed to complement company
strategy. Emerging market acquirers built through acquisitions and
consolidations of smaller companies, eg Mittal and Tata Group.

Sixth wave (2005–08): shareholder activism. Private equity. Leveraged
buy-outs. Subprime crisis in 2007 leading to recession in 2008.

Source: adapted from Gaughan (2010)

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions


It is important to classify types of M&A to gain an understanding of
the different motivations behind the activity. Gaughan (2010) points
out that there are three types of merger or acquisition deal: a horizontal
deal involves merging with or acquiring a competitor, a vertical deal
involves merging with or acquiring a company with whom the firm has
a supplier or customer relationship, and a conglomerate deal involves
merging with or acquiring a company that is not a competitor, a buyer
or a seller.

So why do organizations embark on a merger or acquisition? The main
reasons are listed below.


Most commercial M&As are about growth. Merging
or acquiring another company provides a quick way
of growing, which avoids the pain and uncertainty of
internally generated growth. However, it brings with
it the risks and challenges of realizing the intended
benefits of this activity. The attractions of immediate
revenue growth must be weighed up against the
downsides of asking management to run an even
larger company.

Growth normally involves acquiring new custom-
ers (for example, Vodafone and Airtouch), but can be
about getting access to facilities, brands, trademarks,
technology or even employees.


Synergy is a familiar word in the M&A world. If two organizations are
thought to have synergy, this refers to the potential ability of the two to
be more successful when merged than they were apart (the whole is
greater than the sum of the parts). This usually translates into:

• growth in revenues through a newly created or strengthened product
or service (hard to achieve);

The applications _____________________________________________________________


• cost reductions in core operating processes through economies of
scale (easier to achieve);

• financial synergies such as lowering the cost of capital (cost of
borrowing, flotation costs);

• more competent, clearer governance (as in the merger of two hospitals).

However, there may be other gains. Some acquisitions can be motivated
by the belief that the acquiring company has better management skills
and can therefore manage the acquired company’s assets and employees
more profitably and more successfully in the long term.

M&As can also be about strengthening quite specific areas, such as
boosting research capability or strengthening the distribution network.


Diversification is about growing business outside the company’s tradi-
tional industry. This type of merger or acquisition was very popular
during the third wave in the 1960s (see box). Although General Electric
(GE) has flourished by following a strategy that embraced both diversifi-
cation and divestiture, many companies following this course have been
far less successful.

Diversification may result from a company’s need to develop a port-
folio through nervousness about the earning potential of its current
markets, or through a desire to enter a more profitable line of business.
The latter is a tough target, and economic theory suggests that a diversi-
fication strategy to gain entry into more profitable areas of business will
not be successful in the long run (see Gaughan, 2010, for more explan-
ation of this).

A classic recent example of this going wrong is Marconi, which tried to
diversify by buying US telecoms businesses. Unfortunately, this was just
before the whole telecoms market crashed, and Marconi suffered badly
from this strategy.

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions


Integration to achieve economic gains or better services

Another increasingly common motive for M&A activity is to achieve
horizontal integration. A company may decide to merge with or acquire
a competitor to gain market share and increase its marketing strength.

Public sector organizations may merge purely to achieve cost savings
(often a guiltily held motivation) or to enhance partnership working in
the service of customers.

Vertical integration is also an attraction. A company may decide to
merge with or acquire a customer or a supplier to achieve at least one
of the following:

• a dependable source of supply;

• the ability to demand specialized supply;

• lower costs of supply;

• improved competitive position.

Defensive measures

Some mergers are defensive and are a response to other mergers that
threaten the commercial position of a company.

Pressure to do a deal, any deal

There is often tremendous pressure on the CEO to reinvest cash and
grow reported earnings (Selden and Colvin, 2003). He or she may be
being advised to make the deal quickly before a competitor does, so much
so that the CEO’s definition of success becomes completion of the deal
rather than the longer-term programme of achieving intended benefits.
This is dangerous because those merging or acquiring when in this frame
of mind can easily overestimate potential revenue increases or costs
savings. In short, they can get carried away.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Table 7.1 Comparison of reasons for embarking on a merger or acquisition

Reason for
M&A activity

Advantages Disadvantages Organizational

Growth Immediate revenue
growth pleases
Reduction in
competition (if other
party is competitor).
Good way of
barriers to entry to
specific areas of

More work for
the top team.
Hard to sustain the
benefits once initial
savings have been
Cultural problems
often hard to
overcome, thus
potential not

Top team required to
make a step change
in performance.
New arrivals in top
team. Probably some
Integration in some
areas if beneficial to

Synergy May offer
significant easy
Attractive concept
for employees
(unless they have
‘heard it all

More subtle forms
of synergy such as
product or service
gains may be
difficult to realize
without significant
Cultural issues may
cause problems
that are hard to

Top teams need to
work closely
together on key
areas of synergy.
Other areas left

Diversification May offer the
possibility for
entering new,
Allows company to
expand its portfolio
if uncertain about
current business

Economic theory
suggests that
potential gains of
entering more
profitable profit
streams may not be
May be hard for top
team to agree
strategy due to little
understanding of
each other’s
business areas.

Loosely coupled
management teams,
joint reporting, some
efficiencies, separate
identities and logos.

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions


Reason for
M&A activity

Advantages Disadvantages Organizational

Integration Buyer or supplier
reduced if other
party is buyer or
supplier. More
control of customer
demands or supply
chain respectively.
Better partnership
desired for public
Reduction in
(if other party is
Increase in market

More work for
the top team.
In the case of
(other party is
a competitor),
cultural problems
often hard to
overcome, thus
potential not
Complex ‘dual’
structures often
result to spare

Integated top team,
systems, tightly
coupled core
processes, single
corporate identity,
better partnership
working, pooled
resources, better


Enhance the
position in the face
of weighty

May be very
unexpected for
staff and low
performance can
result from

If managed well,
it leads to greater
commercial strength.

Deal doing Seductive and
Publicity about
the deal augments
the CEO’s and the
company’s profile.

The excitement of
the deal may
cloud the CEO’s

Anyone’s guess!

Table 7.1 continued

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Feldmann and Spratt (1999) warn of the seductive nature of M&A activity:

Executives everywhere, but most particularly those in the world’s largest
corporations and institutions, have a knack for falling prey to their own hype
and promotion … Implementation is simply a detail and shareholder value
is just around the corner. This is quite simply delusional thinking.


The following quote from Selden and Colvin (2003) gives us a starting point:

70% to 80% of acquisitions fail, meaning they create no wealth for the share
owners of the acquiring company. Most often, in fact, they destroy wealth …
Deal volume during the historic M&A wave of 1995 to 2000 totalled more
than $12 trillion. By an extremely conservative estimate, these deals annihi-
lated at least $1 trillion of share-owner wealth.

Selden and Colvin put the problems down to companies failing to look
beyond the lure of profits. They urge CEOs to examine the balance
sheet, and say that M&As should be seen as a way to create shareholder
value through customers, and should start with an analysis of customer

However, this quote from Alex Mandl, CEO of Teligent since 1996, in a
Harvard Business Review interview (Carey, 2000) provides a different view:

I would take issue with the idea that most mergers end up being failures.
I know there are studies in the 1970s and 80s that will tell you that. But when
I look at many companies today – particularly new economy companies like
Cisco and WorldCom – I have a hard time dismissing the strategic power of
M&A. In the last three years, growth through acquisition has been a critical
part of the success of many companies operating in the new economy.

Carey’s interview occurred before the collapse of Enron and WorldCom,
so he did not know what we know now. The recent demise of both Enron
and WorldCom due to major scandals over illegal accounting practices

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions


has considerably dampened enthusiasm for M&A activity worldwide.
These events have raised big questions about companies that finance
continuous acquisitions as a core business strategy. The use of what
BusinessWeek describes as ‘new era’ accounting is making investors ner-
vous, and causing companies to be very careful with their investments
and their financial reporting.

Public sector mergers, such as the Inland Revenue merging with
Customs and Excise in the UK, have been plagued with problems, and in
full public view. However, the Ofcom merger, which brought together
five regulators into one organization, was seen as a great success.

The National Audit Office blames the public sector merger difficulties
on the leadership vacuum between those who decide on the merger and
those who are to implement it. Also, the amount of time taken by the
legislative process and consultation requirements leads to much greater
uncertainty for staff and stakeholders than in the private sector.

The discussion about the overall success rate of M&A activity still
continues. But what lessons can be learnt from previous experience of
undertaking these types of organizational change?


Ispat is an international steel-making company which successfully
pursues long-term acquisition strategies. It is one of the world’s largest
steel companies and its growth has come almost entirely through a
decade-long series of acquisitions.

Ispat’s acquisitions are strictly focused. It never goes outside its core
business. It has a well-honed due diligence process which it uses to learn
about the people who are running the target company and convince
them that joining Ispat will give them an opportunity to grow.

The company works with the potential acquisition’s management to
develop a five-year business plan that will not only provide an acceptable
return on investment, but chime with Ispat’s overall strategy.

Ispat relies on a team of 12 to 14 professionals to manage its acquisi-
tions. Based in London, the team’s members have solid operational
backgrounds and have worked together since 1991.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


We have taken several different sources, all of which propose a set of
rules for M&As, and distilled these into five learning points:

1 Communicate constantly.

2 Get the structure right.

3 Tackle the cultural issues.

4 Keep customers on board.

5 Use a clear overall process.

Communicate constantly

In the excitement of the deal, company bosses often forget that the merger
or acquisition is more than a financial deal or a strategic opportunity. It is
a human transaction between people too. Top managers need to do more
than simply state the facts and figures; they need to employ all sorts of
methods of communication to enhance relationships, establish trust, get
people to think and innovate together and build commitment to a joint
future. They also need to use all the avenues available to them such as:

• company presentations;

• formal question and answer sessions;

• newsletters;

• team briefings;

• notice boards;

• newsletters;

• e-mail communication;

• confidential helplines;

• websites with questions and answer sessions;

• conference calls.

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions



The top team had been working on the acquisition plans for over four months.
Once the announcement was eventually made to all employees I just wanted
to get on with things. I had so much enthusiasm for the deal. There was just
endless business potential.
The difficulties came when I realized that not everyone shared my enthu-
siasm. My direct reports and their direct reports constantly asked me detailed
questions about job roles and terms and conditions. It was beginning to really
frustrate me that they couldn’t see the big picture.
I found I had to talk about our visions for the future and our schedule for
sorting out the structure at least five times a day, if not more. People needed
to hear and see me say it, and needed me to keep on saying it. I learnt to keep
my cool when repeating myself for the fifth time that day.

MD of acquiring company

Devine (1999) of Roffey Park Management Institute says that man-
agers with M&A experience tend to agree that it is impossible to over-
communicate during a merger. They advocate the use of specific
opportunities for staff to discuss company communications. They also
advise managers to encourage their people to read e-mails and attend
communication meetings, watching out for those who might be inclined
to stick their heads in the sand. Managers need to be prepared as regards
formal communications:

• Develop your answers to tricky questions before you meet up with
the team.

• Expect some negative reactions and decide how to handle these.

• Be prepared to be open about the extent of your own knowledge.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Carey (2000) says it is necessary to have constant communication to coun-
teract rumours. He advises: ‘When a company is acquired, people become
extremely sensitive to every announcement. Managers need to constantly
communicate to avoid the seizure that may come from over-reaction to
badly delivered news.’

In company communications, it is very important to be clear on time-
scales, particularly when it comes to defining the new structure. People
want to know how this merger or acquisition will affect them, and when.
Carey says: ‘Everyone will be focused on the question “what happens to
me?” They will not hear presentations about vision or strategic plans.
They need the basic question regarding their own fate to be answered. If
this cannot be done, then the management team should at least publish a
plan for when it will be done.’


A very interesting statistic I once read says that people are normally productive
for about 5–7 hours in an eight-hour business day. But any time a change of
control takes place, their productivity falls to less than an hour.

Dennis Kozlowski, CEO Tyco International, quoted in Carey (2000)

In the public sector this challenge is even greater because of extended
timescales. The National Audit Office recommends that regular commu-
nications need to be clear about what has been decided and what has yet
to be decided.

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Get the structure right


At the time we thought it best to keep everyone happy and productive. Both
the merged companies had good production managers, so we decided to ask
them to work alongside each other, to share skills and learn a bit about the
other person’s way of working.

We thought this was the best idea to keep production high, and to promote
harmony and learning. However, in the end it turned out to be highly unpro-
ductive. It was a huge strain for the two individuals involved in both cases. They
thought they were being set up to compete, despite protestations that this was
not so. Both began to show signs of stress.

This structural decision (or rather indecision) also slowed the integration
process down as people wanted to stay loyal to their original manager. They
studiously avoided reporting at all to the new manager from the other
company. Joint projects ended in stalemate and integration of working stand-
ards was almost impossible to achieve.

HR Director, involved in designing structure for merger

Structure is always a thorny issue for merging or acquiring companies.
How do you create a structure that keeps the best of what is already there,
while providing opportunities for the team to achieve the stretching
targets that you aspire to?

Carey makes the point that it is essential to match the new company
structure to the logic of the acquisition. If, for example, the intention was
to fully integrate two sales teams to provide cost savings in administra-
tion and improve sales capability, then the structure should reflect this.
It is tempting for senior managers to avoid conflict by appointing joint
managers. Although this may work for the managers, it does not usually
work for the teams. Integration becomes hard work as individuals prefer
to keep reporting lines as they were.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Structure work should start early. Carey advises managers to begin
working on the new structure before the deal is closed. Some companies
use an integration team to work on this sort of planning. These people are
in the ideal position to ask the CEO, ‘What was the intended gain of this
acquisition?’ and, ‘How will this structure support our goals?’

It is important that promotion possibilities provided by merger or
acquisition activity are seen as golden opportunities for communicating
the goals and values of the new company. Feldmann and Spratt (1999)
warn against ‘putting turtles on fence posts’. They emphasize the import-
ance of providing good role models, and encourage senior managers to
promote only those who provide good examples of how they want things
to be. They say ‘do not compromise on selection by indulging in a quota
system (two of theirs and two of ours)’. And do not be tempted to fudge
roles so that both people think they have got the best deal. This will
only result in arguments and friction further down the line.

In public sector mergers a decision-making vacuum should be avoided
by making it clear who is responsible for each phase, even if officers are
not finally in position.

Tackle the cultural issues

Cultural incompatibility has often
been cited as a problem area when
implementing a merger or acquisition.
Merging a US and a European com-
pany can be complicated because
management styles are very different.
For instance, US companies are known
to be more aggressive with cost cut-
ting, while European companies may

take a longer view. Reward strategy and degree of centralization are also
areas of difference. Jan Leschly, CEO of SmithKline Beecham, says in
‘Lessons for master acquirers’ (in Carey, 2000), ‘The British and American
philo sophies are so far apart on those subjects they’re almost impossible
to reconcile.’

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions


David Komansky, CEO of Merrill Lynch, made over 18 acquisitions
between 1996 and 2001. In the same HBR article (Carey, 2000), he says:

It’s totally futile to impose a US-centric culture on a global organization. We
think of our business as a broad road within the bounds of our strategy and
our principles of doing business. We don’t expect them to march down the
white line, and, frankly, we don’t care too much if they are on the left-hand
side of the road or the right-hand side of the road. You need to adapt to local
ways of doing things.

The amount of cultural integration required depends on the reason for
the merger or acquisition. If core processes are to be combined for
economies of scale, then integration is important and needs to be given
management time and attention. However, if the company acquires a
portfolio of diverse businesses it is possible that culture integration will
only be necessary at the senior management level.

The best way to integrate cultures is to get people working together
on solving business problems and achieving results that could not have
been achieved before the merger or acquisition. In ‘Making the deal real’
(Ashkenas et al, 1998), the authors have distilled their acquisition experi-
ences at GE into four steps intended to bridge cultural gaps:

1 Welcome and meet early with the new acquisition management
team. Create a 100-day plan with their help.

2 Communicate and keep the process going. Pay attention to audience,
timing, mode and message. This does not just mean bulletins, but
videos, memos, town meetings and visits from management.

3 Address cultural issues head-on by running a focused, facilitated
‘cultural workout’ workshop with the new acquisition management
team. This is grounded on analysis of cultural issues and focused on
costs, brands, customers and technology.

4 Cascade the integration process through, giving others access to a
cultural workout.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Roffey Park research (Devine, 1999) confirms the need to tackle cultural
issues. This research shows that culture clashes are the main source of
merger failure and can cost as much as 25–30 per cent in lost performance.
They identify some of the signs of a culture clash:

• people talk in terms of ‘them and us’;

• people glorify the past, talking of the ‘good old days’;

• newcomers are vilified;

• there is obvious conflict – arguments, refusal to share information,
forming coalitions;

• one party in the merger is portrayed as ‘stronger’ and the other as

Therefore an examination of existing cultures is normally useful if there
is even a small possibility that cultural issues will get in the way of the
merger or acquisition being successful. This is a good exercise to carry
out in workshop format with the teams themselves at all levels. The best
time to look at cultural issues is when teams are forming right at the start
of the integration. It breaks the ice for people and allows them to find out
a bit about each other’s history and company culture.


The managers from company A described their culture as:

• fairly formal;

• courteous and caring;

• high standards;

• lots of team work;

• clear roles.

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions


Company B added:

• precise;

• good reputation.

The managers from company B described their culture as:

• highly informal;

• a bit disorganized;

• relationships are important;

• customer focused;

• fast and fun.

Company A added:

• flexible roles;

• lack of hierarchy.

New culture – what did they need:

• role clarity;

• adaptability;

• high standards;

• customer focus;

• responsiveness;

• enjoyment;

• team work.

What might be the difficult areas:

• Balancing clarity of roles with adaptability – culture clash?

• Achieving high standards without getting too formal.

• Being responsive while keeping to high standards.

• Working as one team, rather than two teams.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Action plan:

1 Define flexible roles for all management team. Must be half page long.

2 Highlight areas where standards need to be reviewed.

3 Audit customer responsiveness and set targets.

4 Tackle each of the above by creating small task force with members
from both companies.

Output from a management team meeting focusing
on building a new culture

Cultural differences can be looked at using a simple cultural model such
as the one offered in Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding cultural
diversity in business by Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner
(1997); see Figure 7.1 for our representation of the various scales. People

Figure 7.1 Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner’s cultural dimensions
Source: Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1997)

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions


from each merger partner mark themselves on these scales and openly
compare scores. In the workshop it is useful to ask the team to predict
what kind of difficulties they might have as they start to work together,
and to make an action plan to address these. We have run several such
workshops, and in these we strongly encourage people to try to work
together to define the new culture. This can be challenging work, espe-
cially if the acquisition or merger is perceived as hostile, but necessary
work if any sort of integration is desired.

Roffey Park’s advice is:

• Identify the key tactics used by team members to adhere to their own

• Identify cultural ‘hot-spots’, highly obvious differences in working
practices that generate tension and conflict.

• Using a cultural model, get team members to explore the traits of
their cultures; ask them what was good or bad about their former

• Get your people to identify cultural values or meanings that are
important to them and that they wish to preserve.

• Challenge team members to identify a cluster of values that everyone
can commit to and use as a foundation for working together.

Keep customers on board
Customers feel the effects first … They don’t care about your internal prob-
lems, and they most certainly aren’t going to pay you to fix them.

(Feldmann and Spratt, 1999)

‘It’s very easy to be so focused on the deal that customers are forgotten.
Early plans for who will control customer relationships after the merger
or acquisition are essential,’ says Carey (2000). Devine (1999) adds weight
to this by commenting:

Mergers are often highly charged and unpredictable experiences. It is all
too easy to take your eye off the ball and to forget the very reason for

The applications _____________________________________________________________


your existence. Ensure that your team concentrates on work deliverables
so that everyone remembers that there is a world outside and that it is still
as competitive and pressurized as ever. Help everyone to realize that your
competitors will be on the lookout for opportunities to exploit any weaknesses
arising from the merger. You might find that in the face of an external threat,
cultural differences shrink in importance.

Some of our experiences as consultants contradict the idea that increased
focus on the customer can help a team to forget cultural differences. The
opposite effect can happen, where teams and individuals from the two
original merging companies use customer focus to further accentuate
cultural difficulties:

• sales people fight over customers and territory;

• managers blame each other rather than help each other when
accounts are lost;

• people from company A apologize to customers for the ‘shortcomings’
of people from company B rather than back them up.

This lesson accentuates the need to tackle cultural issues early, as well as
to define clear ground rules for working with customers as one team.


One of our first actions was to embark on a series of customer visits that
involved a senior sales person from both the merging companies. This allowed
us to learn how to work together, and fast! It reassured customers and allowed
us to deliver a clear message:

• we were now one company;

• there would be a single point of contact going forward;

• the merger was amicable and well managed.

Sales Manager from merged retail company

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions



Feldmann and Spratt (1999) identify seven deadly sins in implementing
a merger or acquisition. Their book goes on to describe in detail how to
ensure that you avoid these problems:

• Sin 1: Obsessive list-making. Don’t make lists of everything that
needs to be done – it is exhausting and demoralizing. Instead, use the
80:20 rule. Focus on the 20 per cent of tasks that add the most value.

• Sin 2: Content-free communications. Don’t send out communications
that contain only hype and promotion. Employees, customers, suppliers
and shareholders all have real questions, so answer them.

• Sin 3: Creating a planning circus. Use targeted task forces, rather
than a hierarchy of slow-paced committees.

• Sin 4: Barnyard behaviour. Unless roles and relationships are clarified,
feathers will fly in an attempt to establish the pecking order. Simply
labelling the hierarchy will not sort this one out.

• Sin 5: Preaching vision and values. If you want cultural change, you
have to work at it. It will not happen through proclamation.

• Sin 6: Putting turtles on fence posts. Ensure that the role models
you select for promotion provide good examples of how you want
things to be. Do not compromise on selection by indulging in a quota
system (two of theirs and two of ours).

• Sin 7: Rewarding the wrong behaviours. Sort out compensation and
link it to the right behaviours.

Use a clear overall process

The pitfalls associated with planning and successfully executing a merger
or acquisition imply that it is important to have an overarching process to
work to. GE’s Pathfinder Model is summarized in Table 7.2. It acts as a
useful checklist for those involved in acquisition work (more in Ashkenas
et al, 1998). This model, derived through internal discussion and review,
forms the basis for GE’s acquisitions programme.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Table 7.2 Adapted version of GE’s Pathfinder Model

Preacquisition • Assess cultural strengths and potential barriers to

• Appoint integration manager.
• Rate key managers of core units.
• Develop strategy for communicating intentions and



• Induct new executives into acquiring company’s core

• Jointly work on short- and long-term business plans
with new executives.

• Visibly involve senior people.
• Allocate the right resources and appoint the right


Rapid integration • Speed up integration by running cultural workshops
and doing intensive joint process mapping.

• Conduct process audits.
• Pay attention to and learn from feedback as you go

• Exchange managers for short-term learning


Assimilation • Keep on learning and developing shared tools,
language, processes.

• Continue longer-term management exchanges.
• Make use of training and development facilities to

keep the learning going.
• Audit the integration process

Source: Ashkenas et al (1998).

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions



It’s easy to get sucked into mindless list generation. There is an extraordinary
amount of stuff to be done when you merge with another company. The
trouble is that list making is very tiring, and the lists have to be numbered and
monitored, which takes time and effort. We found that it was much simpler
to develop a phased process than to list everything that needed to be done.
We then created a timeline with obvious milestones such as ‘structure chart
delivered’, or ‘terms and conditions harmonized’. This helps people to keep
on track without creating a circus of action planning and reporting.

Organization development manager talking about
the merger of two management consultancies

The National Audit Office recommends specialist programme manage-
ment help to ensure continued business as usual, and to tackle HR,
finance and particularly pensions issues.


Which elements of the theories discussed in earlier chapters can be used
to inform those leading M&A activity? We make links with ideas about
individual, team and organizational change to help leaders channel their
activities throughout this turbulent process. In addition, we refer to the
previously mentioned research into successful mergers and acquisitions
by Roffey Park Institute (Devine, 1999), which offers some useful guide-
lines for organizational leaders.

Managing the individuals

M&As bring uncertainty, and uncertainty in turn brings anxiety. The
question on every person’s mind is, ‘What happens to me in this?’ Once

The applications _____________________________________________________________


this question is answered satisfactorily, each individual can then begin to
address the important challenges ahead. Until that time, there will be
anxiety. Some people will be more anxious than others, depending on
their personal style, personal history and proximity to the proposed
changes. And if people do not like the look of the future, there will be a

The job of the leader in a merger or acquisition situation is, first, to
ensure that the team know things will not be the same any more. Second,
he or she needs to ensure people understand what will change, what will
stay the same, and when all this will happen. Third, the leader needs to
provide the right environment for people to try out new ways of doing

Schein (see Chapter 1) claims that healthy individual change happens
when there is a good balance between anxiety about the future and
anxiety about trying out new ways of working. The first anxiety must be
greater than the second, but the first must not be too high, otherwise
there will be paralysis or chaos.

In a merger or acquisition situation there is very little safety. People are
anxious about their futures as well as uncertain about what new behav-
iours are required. This means the leader has to create psychological
safety by:

• painting pictures of the future (visioning);

• acting as a strong role model of desired behaviours;

• being consistent about systems and structures.

But not by:

• avoiding the truth;

• saying that nothing will change;

• hiding from the team;

• putting off the delivery of bad news.

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions


Chapter 1 addressed individual change by first introducing four schools
of thought:

• behavioural;

• cognitive;

• psychodynamic;

• humanistic.

The behavioural model is useful as a reminder that reward strategies form
an important part of the M&A process and must be addressed reasonably
early. The cognitive model is based on the premise that our thinking
affects our behaviour. This means that goal setting and role-modelling too
are important.

However, the psychodynamic approach provides the most useful
model to explain the process of individual change during the various
stages of a merger or acquisition. In Table 7.3 we use the Kubler-Ross
model from Chapter 1 to illustrate individual experiences of change and
effective management interventions during this process of change.

Managing the team

Endings and beginnings are important features of M&As, and these are
most usefully addressed at the team level. The ideas of William Bridges
(Chapter 3) provide a useful template for management activity during
ending, the neutral zone and the new beginnings that occur during a
merger or acquisition.

Managing endings

The endings are about saying goodbye to the old way of things. This
might be specific ways of working, a familiar building, team mates, a high
level of autonomy or some well-loved traditions. In the current era of
belt-tightening and cost-cutting, there might be quite a lot of losses for
people, similar to the effects of a restructuring exercise. (See Chapter 1 for

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Table 7.3 Stages of merger or acquisition process and how to
manage reactions of staff

Stage Employee experience Management action

Merger or
acquisition is



Relief that rumours are

Give full and early communication of
reasons behind, and aims of this merger
or acquisition.

Specific plans are

Denial – it’s not really

Mixture of excitement
and anxiety.

Anger and blame –
‘This is all about
greed’, ‘If we’d won
the ABC contract we
wouldn’t be in this
position now.’

Discuss implications of the merger or
acquisition with individuals and team.

Give people a timescale for clarification
of the new structure and when they
will know what their role will be in
the new company.

Acknowledge people’s needs and
concerns even though you cannot solve
them all.

Be patient with people’s concerns.

Be clear about the future. Find out and
get back to them about the details you
do not know yet.

Do not take their emotional outbursts

Changes start to
happen – new bosses,
new customers,
new colleagues,

Depression – finally
letting go of two
companies, and
accepting the new


Acknowledge the ending of an era.

Hold a wake for the old company and
keep one or two bits of memorabilia
(photos, T-shirts).

Delegate new responsibilities to your

Encourage experimentation, especially
with new relationships.

Give positive feedback when people
take risks.

Create new joint goals.

Discuss and agree new groundrules for
the new team.

Coach in new skills and behaviours.

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions


Stage Employee experience Management action

New organization
begins to take shape

Trying new things out.

Finding new meaning.


New energy.

Encourage risk taking.

Foster communication at all levels
between the two parties.

Create development opportunities,
especially where people can learn from
new colleagues.

Discuss new values and ways of

Reflect on experience, reviewing
how much things have changed since
the start.

Celebrate successes as one group.

more tips on handling redundancies.) Here is some advice for how
managers can manage the ending phase (or how to get them to let go):

• Acknowledge that the old company is ending, or the old ways of
doing things are ending.

• Give people time to grieve for the loss of familiar people if redundan-
cies are made. Publish news of their progress in newsletters.

• Do something to mark the ending: for example have a team drink
together specifically to acknowledge the last day of trading as the old

• Be respectful about the past. It is tempting to denigrate the old
management team or the old ways of working to make the new
company look more attractive. This will not work. It will just create

Table 7.3 continued

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Managing the transition from old to new

This phase of a merger or acquisition, often known as integration, can be
chaotic if it is not well managed. The ‘barnyard behaviour’ mentioned
above, combined with high anxiety about the future, can lead to good
people leaving and stress levels reaching all-time highs. Conflicts that are
not nipped in the bud at this stage can lead to huge and permanent rifts
between the two companies involved.

Tuckman’s model of team development is useful to explain what goes
on in a new, merged management team, or a newly merged sales team.
We have added some suggestions on how to manage these phases; see
Table 7.4.

Timing for this stage is also important. The integration stage should
neither be squeezed into an impossible two-week period, nor be treated
as an open-ended process that continues unaided for years. The need to
squeeze this phase into a two-week period comes from management
denial of the very existence of integration issues. Conversely, the need to
let things take their course over time comes from a belief that time will
solve all the issues and they cannot be hurried. Therefore they are allowed
to drag on and possibly get worse, and more entrenched.

Bridges offers advice about managing the integration phase that we
have adapted to be directly useful for M&As:

• Explain that the integration phase will be hard work and will need
(and get) attention.

• Set short-range goals and checkpoints.

• Encourage experimentation and risk taking.

• Encourage people to brainstorm with members of the new company
to find answers to both old and new problems.

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions


Table 7.4 How to manage the development of a merged team

Stage Team activity Advice for leaders

Forming Confusion
Assessing situation
Testing ground rules
Feeling out others
Defining goals
Getting acquainted
Establishing rules

Be very clear about roles and
responsibilities in the new company.
Talk about where people have come
from in terms of the structure, process
and culture in their previous situation.
Compare notes.
Define key customers for the team and
begin to agree new ground rules for
how the team will work together.

Storming Disagreement over
Struggle for leadership
Clique formation

Make time for team to discuss important
Be patient.
Be clear on direction and purpose of
the team.
Nip conflict between cultures and
people in the bud by talking to those

Norming Consensus
Leadership accepted
Trust established
Standards set
New stable roles

Develop decision-making process.
Maintain flexibility by reviewing goals
and process.

Performing Successful performance
Flexible task roles

Delegate more.
Stretch people.
Encourage innovation.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Managing beginnings

It is important to recognize when the timing is right to celebrate a new
beginning. Managers need to be careful not to declare victory too soon.
Here are some ideas for this phase:

• Be really clear about the purpose of the merger or acquisition, and
keep coming back to this as your bedrock.

• Paint a vision of the future for you and your team, describing an
attractive future for those listening. (ROCE or ROI just doesn’t do it
for most people!)

• Act as a role model by integrating well at your own level, and being
seen to be doing so.

• Do something specific to celebrate a new beginning.

Managing yourself

There are many challenges ahead for managers as they enter a merger or
acquisition. Managers may be uncertain about their own position, while
attempting to reassure others about theirs. They may even be considering
their options outside the organization while encouraging others to wait
and see how things turn out.

Other difficulties include the overwhelming needs of team members
for clarity, reassurance and management time. Managers find themselves
repeating information again and again, and become frustrated with their
team’s inability to ‘move on’. A glance at the Kubler-Ross curves pictured
in Figure 7.2 will reveal that this problem comes from managers and their
teams being out of ‘sync’ in terms of their emotional reactions. While
the manager is accepting the situation and trying out new ideas, the team
is going through shock, denial, anger and blame. This is quite a stark

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions


Devine (1999) offers a checklist for line managers:

• Get involved. Try to get in on the action and away from business as
usual. Show you are capable of dealing with change.

• Get informed. Find out who is going up or down, especially among
your sponsors or mentors. Have a ‘replacement’ boss you can turn to
if your current one leaves.

• Get to know people. Network hard, get to know the people in the
other company. Do not think of them as ‘the enemy’.

• Deal with your feelings. Openly recognize feelings of anxiety and
frustration. Form a support network and discuss these feelings with

• Actively manage your career. Think carefully before moving func-
tion/role at the time of a merger. You are remembered for your
current job, whatever your past experience. Do not necessarily accept
the first role that is offered to you. Decide what you would like to do,
prepare your CV and work towards it – everything is up for grabs!

Figure 7.2 Change curve comparisons







Progression (Time)

The applications _____________________________________________________________


• Identify success criteria. Often performance criteria have changed or
become unclear. Re-benchmark yourself by talking to people involved
in the merger. Get informal feedback from subordinates, peers and

• Be positive. Be philosophical and objective about what is under your
control. Do not beat yourself up – you can’t win ‘em all.

Handling difficult appointment and exit decisions
M&As often involve a restructuring process, which in turn involves man-
agers in making difficult appointment and exit decisions. These decisions
need to be fair, transparent, justified, swift and carried out with attention
to people’s dignity.

In one company that we know of, top management decided to reveal
the newly merged company’s structure chart in a formal town hall meet-
ing of all staff. Those who did not appear on the chart had to make their
own conclusions. You can imagine the resentment and lack of trust that
this foolish and undignified process generated.

Devine advises:

• New appointments need to be seen to be fair. Try to ensure that selec-
tion criteria are objective, transparent and widely understood.

• Stick to company policy and processes. Do not take short-cuts as they
are likely to backfire on you.

• Do not dither. This will cause resentment.

• Treat employees at every level with dignity.

Managing the organization

It is important to select and agree a change process that matches the chal-
lenges posed by the specific merger and acquisition. If the most important
challenge is to achieve cost-cutting goals, then project management
techniques can be applied and the changes made swiftly. This may mean
the use of a task force to make recommendations, and the agreement of

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions


a linear process for delivering the cost-cutting goals. However, if the most
important challenges are integration issues or cultural issues, then the
ideas of both Bridges and Senge are relevant. Attention must be paid to
managing endings, transitions and beginnings for specific teams involved
in significant processes. Other teams may remain untouched.

We have used the Kotter model, introduced in Chapter 3, to illustrate
the steps from initial news of the deal to full integration. This model is
useful because it combines a range of different assumptions about
change, so tackles the widest range of possible challenges:

1 Establish a sense of urgency. This is a tough balancing act for
management. They must start to raise the issues that have led to the
merger or acquisition without revealing the deal itself. For instance,
if the company is currently operating in a dwindling market, then
managers should highlight the need to do something about this,
without necessarily revealing any intentions to buy or to merge.
People will be suspicious and resentful of a deal that does not make
any sense. ‘Why are we diversifying now? I thought the plan was to
buy the competition!’

2 Form a powerful guiding coalition. Managers of both companies
need to begin working together as soon as they can. They need to
spend time together and build a bit of trust. When the deal is
announced, managers will then be able to work together at speed.

3 Create a new vision. A top-level vision for the new company must be
built by the new top management team. This vision will be used to
guide the integration effort and to develop clear strategies for
achieving this. The integration effort needs to be targeted on specific
areas rather than be a blanket process, and clear timescales for imple-
mentation must be given.

The new structure needs to be put quickly into place, a level at a
time, ensuring that customers are well managed throughout.
The new sales and customer service structure is therefore a priority.
New values and ways of working should also be discussed and

The applications _____________________________________________________________


4 Communicate the vision. Kotter emphasizes the need to communi-
cate at least 10 times the amount you expect to have to communicate.
In addition, all the research about M&As indicates that it is impos-
sible to over-communicate. Managers need to be creative with their
communication strategies, and remember to work hard at getting the
two companies to build relationships at all levels.

The vision and accompanying strategies and new behaviours will
need to be communicated in a variety of different ways: formal
communications, role-modelling, recruitment and promotion deci-
sions. The guiding coalition should be the first to role-model new

5 Empower others to act on the vision. The management team now
need to focus on removing obstacles to change such as structures that
are not working, or cultural issues, or non-integrated systems. At this
stage people are encouraged to experiment with new relationships
and new ways of doing things.

6 Plan for and create short-term wins. Managers should look for and
advertise short-term visible improvements such as joint innovation
projects, or the day-to-day achievements of joint teams. Anything
that demonstrates progress towards the initial aims of the merger or
acquisition is newsworthy. It is important to reward people publicly
for merger-related improvements.

7 Consolidate improvements and produce still more change. Top
managers should make a point of promoting and rewarding those
able to advocate and work towards the new vision. At this point it is
important to energize the process of change with new joint projects,
new resources and change agents.

8 Institutionalize new approaches. It is vital to ensure that people see
the links between the merger or acquisition and success. If they have
had to work hard to make this initiative happen, they need to see
that it has all been worthwhile.

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions



When we were acquired by ITSS we were full of trepidation. Our previous
owners had stripped us of costs and then looked around for a buyer. We felt
a bit used. So we were in no mood to start building trust.

ITSS kept calling this deal a merger, but we were hugely cynical about that.
They had bought us after all. This was a case of vertical integration where
a supplier buys its customer to gain access to primary clients and grow the
business. We thought they would start to take our jobs and move the company
to their own headquarters, around four hours down the motorway!

The whole thing came to a head one morning when some consultants were
running an integration workshop for the new management team. ITSS were
getting frustrated with our hostility. We were getting angry about their constant
questioning about finances and account management and project costs.
Someone from our company was brave enough to share his emotions.

The MD of ITSS, who is actually a pretty decent guy, sat down amidst us all
and spoke quite calmly for about 10 minutes. He said, ‘Look guys, I will do
anything to make this company a success. Anything. But I need to know what
I’m running here. I can’t take that responsibility without knowing all the facts.
I really want us to make this thing a success. But I need your help.’

After that we trusted him a bit more. Then things got better and better. That
was four years ago. Things have improved every year since then. He kept his
word, and that was really important to everyone.

Project Leader, acquired company

The applications _____________________________________________________________



There are five main reasons for undertaking a merger or acquisition:

1 growth;

2 synergy;

3 diversification;

4 integration; and

5 deal doing.

Recent research indicates that five golden rules should be followed dur-
ing mergers and acquisitions:

1 Communicate constantly.

2 Get the structure right.

3 Tackle the cultural issues.

4 Keep customers on board.

5 Use a clear overall process.

Individuals can be managed through the process using the Kubler-Ross
curve as a basis for understanding how people are likely to react to the
changes. Teams can be managed through endings, transitions and new
beginnings using the advice of Bridges. Tuckman’s forming, storming,
norming and performing process also lends understanding to the
sequences of activities that leaders of new joint teams need to take their
teams through.

______________________________________________________ Mergers and acquisitions


Managers need to manage themselves well through an integration
process. Roffey Park’s advice is:

• Get involved.

• Get informed.

• Get to know people.

• Deal with your feelings.

• Actively manage your career.

• Identify success criteria.

• Be positive.

Difficult appointment and exit decisions also need to be well managed
using these principles:

• Be fair.

• Stick to the procedures.

• Do not dither.

• Remember people’s dignity.

Kotter’s model can be used to plan an M&A process as it combines several
different assumptions about the change process, so providing adequate
flexibility for the range of different purposes of merger or acquisition


Cultural change

If you were asked to give a new recruit some words
of encouragement on how to be successful within
your organization, what would you say? You
might give some formal advice about carrying your
ID at all times, but you might also make some of the
following suggestions:

Keep your head down.

It’s ok to make mistakes here, as long as you don’t
repeat them.

The boss likes to see you working really hard at all

We work hard but play hard. The people who get on here work long
hours but enjoy themselves in the pub afterwards.

It doesn’t pay to ask too many questions.

You’ll find everyone pulls together here and will want to see you as part
of the team.


_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change


With this helpful advice, you begin to educate the person about the way
things get done in the organization. You also reveal what some of the
required behaviours are, and thus you actively reinforce the prevailing
culture. As Schein (1990) says, culture is:

the pattern of basic assumptions that a given group has invented, discovered
or developed in learning to cope with its problems of external adaptation
and internal integration, and that have worked well enough to be considered
valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to
perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems.

Culture is not just about induction programmes; it is everywhere in
organizational life. Culture is vitally important for the organization
because of its impact on performance. Molenaar et al (2002), quoting lead-
ing writers in the field, say:

[T]o truly understand corporate culture, its characteristics must also be

The following is a compilation of the most prevalent cultural characteristics:

Corporate culture represents behaviours that new employees are
encouraged to follow (Kotter and Heskett, 1992)

It creates norms for acceptable behaviour (Hai, 1986)
Corporate culture reinforces ideas and feelings that are consistent with

the corporation’s beliefs (Hampden-Turner, 1990)
It influences the external relations of the corporation, as well as the

internal relations of the employees (Hai, 1986)
Culture can have a powerful effect on individuals and performance

(Kotter and Heskett, 1992)
It affects worker motivation and goals (Hai, 1986)
Behaviours such as innovation, decision making, communication,

organizing, measuring success and rewarding achievement are affected
by corporate culture (Hai, 1986).

If we want to learn about how to change culture, we need to understand
how it is created. Schein (1999) suggests that there are six different ways
in which culture evolves. Some of these can be influenced by leaders
and some cannot:

The applications _____________________________________________________________


1 a general evolution in which the organization naturally adapts to its

2 a specific evolution of teams or sub-groups within the organization to
their different environments;

3 a guided evolution resulting from cultural ‘insights’ on the part of

4 a guided evolution through encouraging teams to learn from each
other, and empowering selected hybrids from sub-cultures that are
better adapted to current realities;

5 a planned and managed culture change through creation of parallel
systems of steering committees and project-oriented task forces;

6 a partial or total cultural destruction through new leadership that
eliminates the carriers of the former culture (turnarounds, bankrupt-
cies, etc).

Schein underscores the fact that organizations will not successfully
change culture if they begin with that specific idea in mind. The starting
point should always be the business issues that the organization faces.
Additionally he suggests that you do not begin with the idea that the
existing culture is somehow totally ‘bad’. He urges leaders to always
begin with the premise that an organization’s culture is a source of
strength. Some of the cultural habits may seem dysfunctional but it is
more viable to build on the existing cultural strengths than to focus on
changing those elements that may be considered weaknesses.

This chapter focuses on culture in the context of managing change.
We have chosen not to discuss concepts and theories of organizational
culture as this is done so well elsewhere (see the reference list to get
you started). We have instead decided to share our tips and guidelines
on achieving culture change. These are derived from a variety of experi-
ences of working within organizations helping teams and individuals to
make significant cultural shifts. We have also selected three case studies
to illustrate the range of ways in which culture change can be tackled.
The structure of this chapter is:

_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change


• guidelines for achieving successful cultural change;

• case study one: aligning the organization;

• case study two: rebranding the organization;

• case study three: creating an employer brand.

We introduce the concept of ‘rebranding’ as a way of exploring cultural
change. Our three case studies each take a slightly different approach to
the process of rebranding. The first concerns the challenge of aligning the
organization more closely to customer needs, the second is about reflect-
ing the brand in everyday employee interactions with customers, and the
third is about creating an employer brand to enable the organization to
attract and retain the best staff and to engage the energy and motivation
of all employees.

Extensive academic research in the 1990s (see for instance Kohli and
Jaworski, 1990) has consistently found that organizations with a strong
market focus and brand presence experience better performance, based
on measures such as sales revenue, profitability, growth rates and return
on investment. Additionally, a strong market focus has a number of related
benefits including developing strong organizational culture, success in
developing new products and services, sales force job satisfaction and
offering a source of competitive advantage. This approach also aligns with
our view that any culture change initiative must have sound customer-
focused objectives at its core.

Internal rebranding is sometimes referred to as internal marketing.
Greene et al (1994) define internal marketing as ‘the promoting of the firm
and its product(s) or product lines to the firm’s employees’. Berry and
Parasuraman’s (1991) definition is: ‘internal marketing is attracting,
developing, motivating, and retaining qualified employees through
job-products that satisfy their needs. Internal marketing is the philosophy
of treating employees as customers’. However, although these defini-
tions both point us in the right direction, the important end goal is
to ensure that the key components of the brand are communicated to
customers and the wider external audience. The brand must therefore
be understood, believed and exemplified by customer-facing staff, sup-
ported by the rest of the organization.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Crosby and Johnson (2001) conclude:

The strongest brands are those that elicit emotional attachment from
customers. When interacting with your company, customers and prospects
may have feelings of safety, pride, excitement, comfort, confidence, caring,
or trust. These interactions activate feelings and build strong brand

… it’s important not to overlook the effects of brand on the employees of
the firm. Employees often have a large role to play in managing customer
relationships, and the brand can help guide their behaviour. In effect, the
brand is a promise to customers of how they can expect to be treated by
the company. To the extent employees understand the expectations being
created by the brand, and are motivated and trained to live up to those
expectations, then the firm can have a truly integrated customer relationship
management strategy.


Here we draw together some of the key themes arising from our experi-
ence, which we hope will help you to address the issues of culture change
in your own organization. Specific themes are reflected in the three chosen
case studies, and we pick these out in the separate introductions to each
one later in the chapter.

Always link to organizational vision, mission and objectives

Culture change as an isolated objective is meaningless. Organizations
should only involve themselves in culture change if the current culture
does not adequately support the achievement of strategic objectives. Start
from the business strategy to determine what organization capability or
core competencies need to be developed. Ensure that there is a clear
vision and a real need to change. People need to be convinced by a com-
pelling vision rather than compelled in a coercive way. They need to
see the overwhelming logic of the proposed changes. The more people
are drawn towards the vision the better.

_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change


Create a sense of urgency and continually reinforce the need
to change

The introduction of a foreign element into the organizational system is
a good way of making change happen (see Satir’s model in Chapter 1).
This can come from an external or internal source. Whatever it is, it needs
to have the force to kick-start the culture change process. And there need
to be plans and processes in place which keep the momentum going.

Attend to stakeholder issues

When you want culture to change you have to put yourself in the shoes
of the stakeholders. Address the issues of the people who need to change
by involving them as much as possible. Change introduced in a crass or
unthoughtful way will rebound on management. Whether change is
being proposed for positive or negative reasons the organization’s future
success is dependent on engaging staff to enter into the new way of doing
things. How will the proposed changes benefit stakeholders? Will cus-
tomers, partners, staff and suppliers really feel a positive difference? If
some parties are going to lose out, how will you handle this?

Remember that the how is as important as the what

Culture is about the way you do things in the organization. So if your
organization has a set of core values, and of course it does explicitly or
implicitly, then you need to manage the cultural change in line with these
values. If you say one thing but do another, you might as well give up
now. For instance, a stated value of ‘integrity’ is rather hollow if senior
managers do not keep their promises or fail to explain why the plan has

Build on the old, and step into the new

If you want to shift the organization from one way of doing things to a
new way, you will need to see and do things from a variety of perspec-
tives. Any current culture, like any person, will have positive and negative

The applications _____________________________________________________________


features. You will need to retain and build on the current strengths and
ensure that you do not throw the baby out with the bathwater. You will
also need to start right now in modelling aspects of the new culture – if
you want a coaching culture then start coaching; if you want people to be
empowered then start empowering! Now is also the opportunity to step
outside of the bubble that you’re in. No one ever changed a culture by
simply drawing up plans and listing required behaviours, so now is the
time to be creative, do things in different ways and learn from people
outside of the system.

Generate enabling mechanisms

It is important to generate enabling mechanisms such as reward systems
and planning and performance management systems that support the
objectives and preferred behaviours of the new culture. For example, this
means ensuring that teams have clear objectives that are closely aligned
to organizational objectives.

Act as role models

Managers need to act as role models. They will need to model the new
values but also support individuals and teams through a period of
upheaval. This can be done through using some of the strategies outlined
in Chapters 1 and 2, such as working with teams through the stages of
forming and storming, and working with individuals as they adjust to
the new ways of doing things.

Create a community of focused and flexible leaders

On the one hand many people want clear, confident and focused leader-
ship during periods of change; on the other, people also want leaders
who will reflect upon what is happening ‘on the ground’ and adjust their
plans accordingly. Leadership of cultural change requires clarity of end
vision together with the ability to manage and cope with emergent issues.
All six of Goleman’s leadership styles might be called for during a period
of cultural change (see Chapter 4), but it would be a mistake to believe

_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change


that any one individual could carry this off alone. Chapter 4 also describes
a number of ways that leadership can be dispersed throughout the
organization to make change happen.

Insist on collective ownership of the changes

One common trap is to make the HR department the owners of cultural
change, while the CEO and the senior management team own the
changes in business strategy. This type of functional decomposition of
a change initiative is doomed to failure. It generally leads to senior man-
agers becoming detached from the cultural issues, and thus neglecting
their role-modelling responsibilities. Employee cynicism grows (quite
rightly!) and this can become a very powerful force for resisting change.
This division of labour also leads to HR people being lumbered with
programmes and initiatives that look like unnecessary overheads to the
local line leaders, which HR people end up having to ‘push’ and ‘sell’.
This can be a very disheartening outcome, especially when the initial
ideas are often entirely sound.


This case study sets out our analysis and recommendations for an
organization facing major strategic and cultural change. Some of these
recommendations were taken up, and some withered on the vine, but
the process of analysing and recommending is thought-provoking in
itself and we felt it worthy of inclusion here.

Summary of key points arising from the case study

• Even if employees sense the need to change, and want to change, this
is not always enough. In this case study, people were asking for
a clear sense of direction. A clear vision is often required to catalyse
action, especially if it translates well into specific tasks.

• The greater the depth and breadth of people involved in diagnosing
the current state, developing a vision of where the organization needs

The applications _____________________________________________________________


to be heading and generating solutions to bridge the gap, the more
chance the organization has of gaining sufficient momentum for
change. In this case study, many people were engaged in the analysis,
which led to increased interest and energy in making things happen.

• The greater the clarity of focus (towards the end user) the greater the
chance one has of aligning people, processes, systems and structures
to this end. Business as usual and change initiatives have to be dove-
tailed. It is no use if there are 101 initiatives that are not joined up and
working with one another.

• Processes and standards must support the desired behaviours. An
organization cannot strive for a quality service, for instance, if the
culture does not support people doing quality things. It is of little value
if the customer services assistant is exceedingly pleasant but not
empowered to take decisions when the customer needs a decision.

• Managers and staff need to be supported through the transition pro –
cess with the necessary coaching and training. For the organization
to become more focused, efficient and effective people have to be
doing something different. Faster rubbish collection will not impress
the public if a trail of litter is left after each collection. Not only do
these changes have to be communicated clearly, they also have to
be followed by the necessary skills development and induction.

• Organizations do not change by themselves – not at the speed that is
normally required in this world of ever-increasing demands. The
momentum is generated first by leadership and then by follower-
ship. Leaders at all levels within the organization have to have clarity
of purpose, the relevant leadership skills and knowledge to deploy
and to see themselves as leading from the middle, with the organ-
ization and its stakeholders all around them. Top team alignment is
also crucial in times of change.

Case study description

A large local authority was not functioning as efficiently or as effectively
as it wanted. It was not being fully responsive to the needs of its citizens

_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change


or its various communities of interest. We conducted an organizational
analysis of the city council to find out what was helping it achieve its
stated outcomes and what was getting in the way of this. The analysis
consisted of interviews with directors and strategic managers, and focus
groups with middle managers and front-line staff. Leading politicians
of all political persuasions were interviewed. A number of key stake-
holders such as citizens’ panels, partnerships and the trade unions were
also involved. Our report highlighted six interrelated areas in which the
council needed to significantly improve its overall effectiveness and
thereby reduce internal and external pressure.

The commitment, talent and effort of all those we met were impressive.
Many people, from front-line workers to the most senior politicians and
officers, were enthusiastic about the city and what the council might
contribute to its life and development. There were clearly many very
good services being offered to the city. However, at the same time there
was a strong feeling at all levels of untapped potential. The council’s ener-
gies were being dissipated through not having a true focus.

The emerging themes are outlined below and illustrated in
Figure 8.1.

Continually increasing customer and citizen focus

The passion to deliver the best possible service to both external and
internal customers, colleagues and partners was variable, with many
parts of the organization moving forward, but at an uneven pace. The
various self-inspection and external inspection processes were prompting
the council to streamline systems and procedures for service delivery.
However, there were many instances cited where ‘customer care’ was
not part of the mindset and where systems, policies and procedures
conspired to hinder the achievement in this area.

The interface between front-line services and the centre required par-
ticular attention, specifically on how best to commission the providers.
Service level agreements, for example, were not fully used, and other
mechanisms needed to be installed to ensure there was both a psycho-
logical and a written commitment to achieve excellent service delivery
across directorates and to the end user.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Figure 8.1 Six key points from case study one

Clarity and impact of core values and direction setting on service

Everyone had accepted the council’s core values, but that was perhaps
because they were commonsensical and there was nothing in them that
anyone could contest. However, there was scope for them to be revisited,
made more specifically demanding and directed towards action in
order to realize their potential. There were too many values, and these
were neither meaningfully translated into ways of working nor
explicitly linked to preferred outcomes or any performance management
system. They had been launched with a fanfare some time before, and
no investment had been put into their continued dissemination and

_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change


Everyone in the council had a mix of agendas to work to: various
corporate policy priorities, service delivery priorities, inter-agency work-
ing and development initiatives. Greater clarity was needed throughout
the council about what outcomes were being sought and how they could
come together at every level. All managers and service heads felt the
tension of multiple demands and needed an effective process for balanc-
ing these demands and setting personal and team targets.

The corporate policy priorities had a tremendously varied degree of
ownership, due partly to the lack of clarity on what they actually meant,
and also to some doubts whether the political leadership and corporate
managerial leadership were really committed to driving them through.
They did not translate easily into a vision for a better city that employees
could rally behind, and therefore the result was confusion and a growing
cynicism, rather than commitment.

There was little evidence that people were rewarded or recognized
for moving the corporate agenda on, and the lack of ongoing budget
provision for these corporate initiatives also indicated a hesitancy when
it came to putting money where the mouth was.

A visible and congruent leadership and management style

At all levels, but notably at middle and front line, there were requests for
clearer, bolder and consistent leadership. This was seen as particularly
being the challenge for political leaders and senior officers in managing
the council’s myriad conflicting demands.

Clarity of vision and articulation of the council’s true direction and the
way it was to be achieved were needed to minimize confusion and focus
people’s minds and resources.

Clearer, bolder and consistent leadership needed to include:

• a consistent and congruent set of priorities;

• processes for managing conflicts of priority and pressure that inevitably
occur within complex organizations;

• a demonstrable commitment and accountability for driving the prior-
ities through;

The applications _____________________________________________________________


• a set of values embodied throughout the leadership, and used as a
reference point for decision making;

• minimization, at the very least, of cross-party destructive tensions.

Corporate leadership was most needed for tackling conflicts between
front-line services and the centre. It was also needed for harmonizing
corporate policy and the service/functional agenda, and for improving
the way change was managed across the organization.

Good management of change was lacking. This was seen as particularly
necessary with regards to the major modernizing agenda facing the
council. Management needed to start to communicate these changes so
that staff felt engaged in the co-creation of their futures, and so that
the feeling of initiative overload, where change is endured rather than
embraced, was reduced.

It was also noticeable that the roles of different management teams
and groups were not always clear. The senior management team and the
service heads needed to begin to take a more strategic role, at least part
of the time.

Moving to a more consistent performance and enabling culture

There was wide recognition that the council was improving its ability
to manage performance, but many wished to see greater consistency and
general improvement. This meant a need to establish realistic targets
for everyone across all their work, and to review progress regularly
against these, ensuring that any changes to plan were discussed and

The organization was already moving towards a performance manage-
ment and competency-based framework. Some areas were beginning to
experiment with a development process that linked to service plans, team
plans and individual plans. This was successfully helping people to
clarify key outcomes and contributions from individuals and teams, and
this approach promoted greater ownership of the service and the council’s

_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change


For the organization to embrace performance management more
fully, it needed to begin to address a number of cultural issues that were
hindering progress:

• the lack of direction and multiple priorities;

• the overwhelming feeling of organizational complexity;

• the uncertainty of what the city council actually stood for;

• the lack of understanding (in both senses of the word) between the
constituent parts of the organization;

• the ‘political’ nature of many of the transactions and relationships;

• the tendency towards a blame culture where valuing, appreciating
and recognizing the contribution of others was kept to a minimum;

• the ‘closedness’ of the culture (inability to look outside for new

• the lack of focus on developing people.

More effective ways of working

There were many ways to improve council working, from making meet-
ings more productive and less time-consuming, through to mastering the
complexities of matrix management and having effective information
management systems. With the complexity of the council’s task, with
demands coming from all directions at all levels, there needed to be
a clear (or as clear as possible) way of working a matrix structure to cope
with the specialist, cross-cutting and geographical dimensions of service

There was a real need to accelerate the business planning process, to
ensure a performance management system was delivered in a consistent
way across the organization and to reduce conflict at the myriad of
boundaries within the organization.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Extending the council’s capacity for community and partnership

Increasingly the role for all staff required greater community engagement
and partnership working. Although this was demanding both on work-
load and skills it also offered greater learning, and interestingly for some
was preferable to internal working.

Most managers when prompted could cite examples of good partner-
ship working that had been developed over the previous few years. This was
one of a number of areas that the organization could be justifiably proud
of. The challenge was for people to have the confidence to communicate
this to all the stakeholders and be able to applaud and celebrate success.

The competencies in this new area of effective partnership were real
nuggets of success. These competencies needed to be transferred not only
to other areas of partnership working but also to where different parts of
the council could work more effectively with each other.


This case study describes one organization’s journey as it worked towards
reinvigorating its brand. The process chosen and the choices made along
the way make interesting reading.

Summary of key points arising from case study

• It is important to create a sense of urgency and
momentum when a major cultural change is
required. In this case study, the senior manage-
ment team made a strong start, and put in the
effort to keep things going. This required many
people to be involved and energized, and for the
number of people involved to keep growing.

• Commitment to culture change cannot be devel-
oped by e-mail or by memo. It has to be done
face-to-face and in real time. Cultural change is

_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change


achieved through action rather than words, so people need to see
their managers doing it as well as talking about it. In this case study
there was a lot of face-to-face straight talking.

• Breaking the mould is hard work! It involves planning, thinking and
role-modelling, plus developing and implementing supporting pro –
cesses and policies.

• New teams provide new opportunities. Bridges (see Chapter 4)
describes the neutral zone as a time of tremendous creative opportu-
nities. Similarly we have noticed that new senior management teams
such as the one featured in this case study are more likely to be able
to change an organizational culture because they themselves are

• Supporting individuals is not soft! The hard work involved in facing
the real issues one-to-one with people pays off. It builds trust and
ensures understanding. But it takes courage, especially when change
involves the communication of unwelcome and painful news. Even
when change appears to offer hope for a brighter and better future,
some may not see it that way.

Case study description

The case study concerns a financial services organization that undertook
a strategic review and decided that it needed to reinvigorate the brand.
With the previous case study we focused on gaining internal alignment
to the organizational service; this case study takes a different perspective.
The key focus of this rebranding exercise was the external marketing of
the products and services on offer, and the way that customer-facing staff
represented the brand. This is best illustrated by Wasmer and Bruner’s
research (1991), which maps the relationship flows between the customer,
the organization and the customer service provider (see Figure 8.2). They
saw the major constituents of their brand as:

• marketing communications;

• products on offer;

The applications _____________________________________________________________


• speed of service;

• quality of service.

As a result of the strategic review the organization decided that the key
to its competitive advantage was the way in which its customer-facing
employees transacted with customers and potential customers. They
were referring to not just the usual types of customer service behaviour
such as greeting, courtesy and complaint handling but also the ways that
the brand itself was being portrayed. The customer does not just receive
communication from the organization in terms of its marketing and its
goods; it also receives information via the customer service providers.

To focus more clearly on its target audience, the organization seg-
mented its potential customer market into four quadrants based on their
interest in financial services and their level of knowledge of financial
needs and potential solutions. One quadrant of the market was gener ally
knowledgeable and sophisticated; another quadrant had a high interest
in the financial area of their lives but relatively little knowledge. The third

Figure 8.2 Map of relationship flows between the customer,
the organization and the customer service provider

Source: Wasmer and Bruner (1991)

Organization Customer service


_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change


quadrant had a reasonable knowledge base but this was not accompanied
by any great level of interest; the final quadrant had little interest and
little knowledge (see Figure 8.3).

This segmentation generated a number of questions:

• What type of advice was best suited to each quadrant?

• Did the organization want to deliver that sort of advice?

• What was the organizational capability to deliver that advice

• Could the organization be developed to bridge any gaps?

The areas that showed most promise were those potential customers who
either were interested in investing in their financial future but needed
help in negotiating their way through the financial maze, or did not have
the interest but wanted someone to do it for them, and do it well. These
were the ‘Show it to me!’ and ‘Do it for me!’ customers.

Figure 8.3 Segmentation of financial services customers

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Although those in the High–High quadrant were generally high net
worth individuals, the people who fell into that category wanted a high
level of service and were more liable to shift their savings and invest-
ments from one financial institution to another fairly frequently. The
Low–Low quadrant likewise required a high level of support but did not
necessarily have the available funds to warrant that level of investment
from the organization.

Once the primary focus for business development opportunities had
been established, the next stage was to decide what sort of things needed
to happen for customer needs to be satisfied. This included outlining the
behaviours and attitudes that customer-facing staff (and those back-office
staff supporting them) needed to exhibit. Key areas included the ability to
generate interest, to establish credibility, to have clarity of communication
and to be proactive to customer needs.

The reorientation of the company to this particular strategy included
the generation of a new set of company values. These values were not just
a list of slogans but were translated into behavioural statements. These
statements defined the preferred way of operating in the business and
indeed also became part of the recruitment process.

The values were not only ‘nice-to-have’ or ‘motherhood and apple pie’,
but were designed to align people within the organization to the com-
pany strategy and the preferred behaviours. So, for example, a value of
‘treat people well’ was translated into making people feel they are your
number one priority, and treating all customers and each other with
respect. The value of ‘say it as it is’ was translated into talking to custom-
ers and colleagues in a straightforward manner. These behaviours could
be verified by observation or customer feedback. They could also be

Of course to get to the stage where front-line staff behaved in accord-
ance with company strategy required other enabling actions, which were
drawn from best practice and appropriate models of individual, team and
organizational change.

_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change


Getting started

The whole change started with a comprehensive strategy review and the
generation of a programme plan with specific projects covering areas
such as brand development, systems development, business lead gener-
ation and defining the customer experience. This was kick-started by the
senior management team with some input from relevant stakeholders.
However, initially it was a ‘top-down’ process which drew a lot from the
machine metaphor. Using Kotter’s terminology a sense of urgency was
created (‘with the market as it is we cannot carry on as we have been
doing’) and an overarching vision developed.

The next layer of managers below the senior management team were
enlisted to form part of the guiding collation. A change management
team was formed, tasked with managing the transition from both a task
and people perspective, with sponsorship from and a direct reporting line
into the senior management team. Quite soon, however, the changes
picked up their own momentum.

Gaining commitment

It became apparent that not everyone was dissatisfied with the status
quo. People were a little unclear about the desirability of some of the
changes, and some of the more impractical aspects of the proposed
changes were accentuated. The senior management team by now had
extended the members of the guiding coalition to involve a critical mass
of 85 ‘strategy leaders’. It was their task to reinforce the need to change,
and to develop a clarity of vision that could be translated into tangible
objectives and behaviours throughout the organization.

This translation process occurred over several months, and became an
iterative process with all staff. Conversations were had, which set out
what the managers wanted to see but involved staff at the front line talk-
ing through the practicalities. This process raised some points about the
original thinking that needed amending, and enabled staff to get a much
better idea of what was required of them.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Breaking the mould

The transition from the old to the new was effectively dealt with by the
good use of programme management, led by the senior management
team, and supported by a specially constituted change management
team. Feedback loops to and from key stakeholders including staff were
an integrated part of the process.

The generation of a set of values that were translated into behavioural
imperatives, coupled with values workshops with all staff, set a bench-
mark for the organizational culture. The values helped to minimize organ-
izational politics by encouraging ‘straight talk’. This was impressively
role-modelled by the senior management team and the change manage-
ment team, who were open and honest with both good news and bad.

A key aspect of the new way of doing things was the openness to ideas
wherever they came from and the development of an enabling and em –
powering culture. Creativity, risk taking and learning were encouraged
through the co-option of diagonal slices of staff onto change initiative
working groups and by scheduled reviews throughout the transition period.

Self-esteem and performance can drop during periods of change. In a
sense this is unavoidable – a natural and normal reaction to change affect-
ing individuals (see Chapter 1). Key interventions here included demon-
strable listening to staff concerns and many examples of staff issues being
dealt with in a way that satisfied them but did not compromise the general
business direction. Objective third-party consultants were used as addi-
tional support for individuals and groups of individuals who were most
affected by the changes. Line managers were prepared with full com-
munication of the changes to pass on, and open access was given to more
senior managers to tap into their knowledge and experience. Greater
emphasis was put on coaching through the line, which quickly enabled
managers to tackle performance issues arising from the change.

Building new teams

The realignment of the organization as a result of the new strategy had
a number of knock-on effects on different teams. The senior team was
a newly configured team at the beginning of the strategy review pro-
cess, and acquired a new sales director part-way through the process. An

_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change


important component of the time its members spent together was attend-
ing to their team development process. The development process was
focused on the tasks in hand – strategy review and strategy implementa-
tion – but on a regular basis members took the time out to look at where
they were as a team, and how they were performing and interrelating.

The generation of the values was both a real and a symbolic act for the
senior management team. Having generated the values, they translated
them into actions for themselves. They offered this to the rest of the organ-
ization as a guideline, but wanted different parts of the organization to
discover what the values meant for them personally as a part of a team.
This, together with the senior management team role-modelling the values,
was seen as a crucial part of the process.

The realignment within the organization meant that other teams and
groups throughout the organization were affected to a greater or lesser
degree. For example, the increased focus on savings, investments and
mortgages led to a division of labour and separate reporting lines for staff
within the branch network. In addition the centralized contact centre was
required to develop greater links and better lines of communication with
the national adviser sales force. Both these examples necessitated a break-
ing down of old groupings and the development of a new set of teams
and consequent relationships.

Supporting individuals

People processes formed a large part of the change plan. This included
a communication strategy that was in line with the new values of open-
ness, honesty and straight talk. Processes were put in place to ensure that
displaced individuals had clarity about their situation and guidelines as
to how things would progress. Selection to new posts was made using an
equitable process, and the new reward scheme was aligned to the new
strategy and values.

Outplacement was provided for those leaving the organization and
counselling provided for those who needed to talk their situation through
in a confidential setting. Coaching and mentoring were provided for
more senior managers who had to take up new roles and needed to make
sense of the changes and make their own adjustments within themselves.

The applications _____________________________________________________________



Summary of key points arising from case study

• Start from the business strategy. An employer brand only has meaning
when it is presented in the context of an overarching company

• Lead change from within the business to enhance success. In the case
study, the trap of HR owning the culture change was studiously
avoided. This enhanced the acceptability of the new brand.

• Do not over-plan the change process – stay flexible. Things change
as organizations move through a change process. This case study
illustrates how to plan phase by phase, ensuring that feedback is
incorporated into future plans.

• Be creative – do things in new ways. Culture change can only be
achieved by doing things differently. In this case, the organization
incorporated some radically new ways of doing things by using the
principles of marketing to engage employees in the desired changes.

• Build on the current cultural strengths rather than attack current
habits or try to break things down. The employer brand was derived
from conversations with a wide cross-section of employees, so there
was a ‘rightness’ about the brand values, which impressed people.

Case study description

This third case study illustrates the challenges and opportunities offered
by creating an employer brand. The organization in this case study is a
highly successful and dynamic global spirits and wine business that has
grown steadily through merger and acquisition over the last 10 years. The
steady progress of industry consolidation worldwide led this business to
consider its future as either an acquiring or an acquired company. This
contemplation led to a desire to strengthen various aspects of the busi-
ness, resulting in three interrelated aims:

_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change


1 To be fit and ready to take opportunities as they arise, whether they
come from industry consolidation, acquisition or new ventures.

2 To achieve quality growth by:
– generating volume and share growth on specific existing key

– encouraging innovation and launching new products;
– integrating newly acquired brands and businesses.

3 To enable the above to happen smoothly by implementing simple
and flexible systems and processes such as those delivered by SAP.

To encourage full engagement and involvement in the new strategy, the
organization decided to launch an employer brand that challenged all
business units to get the full commitment of all employees, so that each
person could become part of a unified winning team, connecting with
consumers and taking the business to new levels of growth. The top team
wanted everyone to be engaged in the action, committed to the goal and
confident of their part in achieving it. Everyone was expected to take
an active role individually, and work with others as part of the team.

One of the significant pieces of data that informed this employer
brand strategy was the following quote from the Collins and Porras
survey, Built to Last (1994): ‘Companies with strong positive core vision
and core values have outperformed the general stock market by a factor
of 12 since 1925.’

The employer brand

The employer brand arose from the existing culture. It was worked on
by both internal and external people through eliciting current views of
the company ethos, and gathering the aspirations of current employees.

The concept of the brand wheel was used to define the brand. This is
encapsulated in Figure 8.4. The brand wheel idea, developed by Bates
North America, is used to define the functional and emotional components
of a brand. Bates North America has developed an impressive reputation
for reinvigorating brands. The brand wheel is based on various concepts

The applications _____________________________________________________________


that go into creating a brand such as essence, values and personality.
The brand essence is the heart or spirit of the brand. The brand values
are about how the brand makes a person feel and what it says about them
if they become associated with the brand. The brand personality is a way
of talking about the brand as if it were a person, to get to the emotional
content of the brand itself.

Out of the brand wheel came a concise definition of the six key brand
values together with their associated behaviours; see the box.

Figure 8.4 Brand wheel for employer brand


Performance with


Development &

Recruitment systems
High performance


Delivery of AD
vision & strategies

Single global
people strategy


Open &

Sharing &

Committed to







Quality of

Reward &

Quality of social

Job design & career








to succeed

How it
makes us


Facts/Icons (End) product

What it

about us

Core values

Physical benefits


_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change



Value: integrity


• Expressing views and opinions in an open, honest and constructive

• Consistently delivering on their promises and commitments.

• Taking accountability for decisions and actions.

Value: unity


• Contributing enthusiastically to team goals, sharing and aligning own
objectives with team(s).

• Supporting and encouraging players on their own team and other

• Building personal success on team success and contributing to other
teams’ success.

Value: diversity


• Treating diverse views, cultures and communities with respect.

• Learning from the variety of different cultures, countries, functions and
teams within the organization.

• Acknowledging different approaches and seeking win–win solutions.

Value: performance with passion


• Setting and exceeding stretching targets, individually and in teams.

• Demonstrating high levels of pace, energy and commitment in
achieving goals.

• Finding new opportunities to improve their game and being cour-
ageous by trying them.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


Value: celebration


• Sharing success, recognizing and rewarding achievement of other

• Encouraging the celebration of success and building a ‘success leads
to more success’ culture.

• Having a can-do mentality and encouraging others to do the same.

Value: learning


• Being proactive in professional and personal development.

• Sharing learning and supporting the development of other players.

• Going outside the ‘comfort zone’, challenging the status quo, and
learning from mistakes.

The process

The organization devised a three-stage process to move from this defini-
tion of six core values to a position of full involvement with the new
strategy. The three stages were awareness, adoption and advocacy (see
Figure 8.5), with only the first stage planned in detail. The second and
third stages were given a broad-brush plan, but awaited the results of the
first stage to enable sensible planning.

The awareness stage involved three main activities:

1 A video was circulated to all managers, which identified the values in
an exciting way.

2 Senior managers were asked to introduce the values at any business
meetings they were already running within a six-month period
(special meetings were not held, and HR people did not run the
process alone).

_____________________________________________________________ Cultural change


3 The six values were integrated into the performance review process.
They became key performance measures for each individual.

The Adoption stage was preceded by a questionnaire that tested the
success of the awareness stage. Adoption in this context is about imple-
mentation, so this stage of the process is very practical and involves lots
of ‘hands-on’ activities. A brand director was appointed at the end of the
awareness stage to look after and promote the employer brand and, inter-
estingly, this person has a marketing rather than an HR background.
Activities included a newsletter circulating stories of success and the cre-
ation of a website on the company intranet that allows exchange of views
and offers team exercises and thought-provoking resources to help
people to get to grips with the values. Employer brand items and gifts
such as mugs, sweatshirts and hats were also available for those who want
to promote the brand locally, or wish to have themed celebrations.

Advocacy is already appearing in pockets around the organization.
Various managers have been selected as brand champions, but this pro-
cess is seen as emergent rather than one that needs to be closely managed.

The planning team also used the Beckhard change formula to guide
their actions (see Chapter 3). This meant having a clear vision, explaining
the need for change and devising some first steps.

Figure 8.5 Financial service quadrants


IT-based process change

IT has become a significant part of every
person’s working life. According to US
economic analysis figures, companies
are now spending an average of 30 per
cent of their capital expenditures on
information technology compared with
5 per cent in the 1960s. It is viewed as a
critical resource.

However, despite the sophistication
of the IT equipment available and the range of IT tools and techniques
that have been devised and in many cases heavily promoted, organiza-
tions are still failing to gain the business value they hope for when they
embark on IT-based change. It seems that while the promise of IT is high,
the reality of what we actually experience is disappointing. It is as if the
capacity of IT to deliver great things has overtaken our ability to use it
effectively within our organizations.


______________________________________________________ IT-based process change


Data gathered by Wharton Management School in 1996 reinforces
this gap between expectation and reality. The research indicates that
although 72 per cent of company executives asked say that it is critical
for their organization to use high-tech tools such as IT to be competitive,
only 17 per cent of respondents say that the benefits of these tools are
being realized.

So what goes wrong in the process of realizing the benefits? Why do
organizations have trouble with IT-based change? This chapter looks at
the particular difficulties of achieving successful IT-based change and
offers advice on how to overcome particular obstacles associated with this
type of endeavour. The topics addressed are:

• strategy and IT;

• the role of IT management;

• the need for IT change managers;

• achieving process change;

• changing the information culture; and

• new rules for a new age.

The potential gains of successfully implementing IT-based change are
many and varied. Organizations are attracted by the idea that they will
gain the capability to do a range of highly desirable things. Some of the
potential gains concern innovation and development:

• to achieve flexible, responsive production of customized goods;

• to segment the marketplace in new ways through analysing informa-
tion, and then create new products for those segments;

• to serve customers in new ways by creating access via the internet;

• to create new forms of partnership and new types of organization.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


But many of the potential gains concern achieving efficiencies to:

• reduce the need for agents and intermediaries by providing employee
or customer self-service facilities over the internet or intranet;

• achieve sophisticated functionality at reasonable cost (for instance by
introducing standard packages such as ERP);

• allow globalization of operations;

• enable choices to be made about how the company is structured while
retaining the necessary level of central control;

• produce better information, with a greater level of detail than was
possible before, and make it available faster to allow better decisions
to be made;

• enable 24-hour working to maximize the ability to serve the global
market and make best use of resources;

• encourage greater staff involvement by making information available
to more people in the company;

• increase the opportunity for flexible working on the road or at

• reduce staff costs;

• increase the value of skills and knowledge by sharing information

Consider the growth in the use of SAP systems as an example of how
companies are responding to the need to realize some of the potential
gains listed above. SAP is a company that provides enterprise-wide appli-
cations that can satisfy most of a business’s activities. SAP global sales
have seen phenomenal growth over the last 20 years, particularly during
the 1990s. Companies are obviously impressed by the powerful system,
but there are many stories of the painful struggles that people have to go
through before they achieve optimum usage of the software. It is certainly
not an easy ride to move from strategy to implementation.

______________________________________________________ IT-based process change



It all started in the Head Office in the United States. We developed a strict plan
of action. We had a very clear timetable for the coming 18 months. A series of
conference calls with the financial directors in each region made it clear what
the time frame was for rolling out the system, and what needed to be done in
preparation for this. However, when the moment came, they just were not
ready, despite continuous reassurances that it would be done in time.

At the last minute we had to call in some consultants to work through the
readiness checklist with the various regional teams. This cost us quite a bit of
extra money that we had not budgeted for.

I don’t think I have ever met such silent resistance. Until then, the regional
offices had been allowed to report financial information in their own way. To
them, the requirement to use the new system seemed very intrusive, and of no
practical value. I guess we had only really seen and explained the advantages
from a central point of view. If I did the same process again, I would take more
time to go through the ‘What’s in it for them?’ angle.

Financial projects manager, IT company


It used to be that managers could delegate IT decisions to the organiza-
tion’s resident computer experts and they would simply go away and
decide how to design and build a solution. But now, the decisions being
made can affect the whole business in terms of service and product pos-
sibilities, smooth running of day-to-day operations and opportunities for
sharing information. Is it sensible to leave these decisions to technical
experts who do not always have a full understanding of the organiza-
tion’s vision and purpose? Companies can and frequently do end up with
a range of incompatible systems that may never achieve an optimum
configuration. This can take years to sort out. Or even worse, a significant
component system may be unable to fulfil management’s long-term plans

The applications _____________________________________________________________


for organizational change, which may necessitate being able to segment
data in different ways.

But there is a problem with senior management getting closer to the IT
decision-making process. Davenport (1994) says, ‘General managers …
usually don’t know much about computers. They may like the idea of
using information technology strategically … But they seldom know how
to translate their wishes into specific IT investments.’ How can this situ-
ation be managed?

IT strategic grid

First, it is important to decide what sort of contribution IT makes to the
organization’s strategy. This enables the senior management team to
gauge how much and what sort of attention the development and run-
ning of IT systems should be given by themselves and by others.

To make this decision it is necessary to look at two factors: strategic
impact of application development and strategic impact of existing
systems. For some organizations, the development of new innovative
IT systems has a significant strategic impact; for others, they are more
focused on installing off-the-shelf packages to enhance some aspect of
internal performance. Similarly, some organizations are 100 per cent
dependent on IT to maintain operational performance, such as manufac-
turing organizations. For others, it might take quite a period of time
before a disruption in IT services would create a significant performance

The grid in Figure 9.1 is useful for assessing the organization’s current
IT strategic position and thus deciding how much senior management
attention needs to be spent on IT issues, and how IT should be managed.
It is worth noting that the organization may change its position on the
grid over a number of years.

‘Support’ organizations may spend a lot of money on IT, but they are
not totally dependent on IT systems for operational success day to day,
minute to minute. Neither do they gain strategic advantage from inno-
vative application developments. A doctor’s surgery would qualify here.
In this case, senior management can be quite distant from the IT planning

______________________________________________________ IT-based process change


Figure 9.1 IT strategic grid
Source: adapted from Cash et al (1992)

‘Factory’ organizations are completely dependent on the smooth run-
ning of their IT systems. For instance, a manufacturing unit might grind
to a halt if the IT systems were to fail. However, with this type of organ-
ization, innovative applications developments, although important, are
not crucial to the organization’s ability to be competitive, except when its
performance starts to lag behind competitors, and a move to the ‘strategic’
quadrant occurs.

‘Turnaround’ organizations are those in which innovative applications
developments are crucial to the firm’s strategic success, but the day-to-
day running of IT systems is not so critical. This might, for example, be an
organization developing e-learning packages. The other classic examples
are DHL, UPS and FedEx, which all offer customers the ability to go
online and check the status of packages being dispatched. This gave them
tremendous strategic advantage. In this case IT planning needs substan-
tial effort, and needs to be linked closely to organizational strategy.

‘Strategic’ organizations such as banks and insurance companies are
those in which innovative applications development brings significant
competitive advantage and day-to-day processes are highly dependent
on the smooth running of IT systems. In these types of organization, there
is a very tight link between business strategy and IT strategy, and the
head of IT normally sits on the board of directors.

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Developing guiding principles

How do senior managers ensure that IT investment
decisions are in line with the organization’s long-
term strategy? The answer may be to develop a set
of guiding principles that govern IT investment

The ‘principles’ approach to IT is advocated by
Davenport. He recommends that a task force of five
to 10 senior managers is set up, including a senior
information systems person, together with a small

group of IS managers. This group should begin to devise a set of guiding
principles that link strategy to IT investment decisions. The senior man-
agers act as sponsors later in the process, endorsing the principles devised
by the group.

The IS managers create the initial set of principles, which convey the
basic attitudes of the company to technology, the overall direction the
business is taking and the use to be made of existing technologies. These
principles should be good for two or three years, or until there is a major
shift in strategy. They should cover infrastructure, applications, data and
organization. Examples of such principles are given by Davenport:

On infrastructure: We are committed to a single vendor environment.

On applications: IS will provide applications that support cross-functional
integration of business processes.

On data: Data created or obtained within the company belongs to the
corporation – not to any particular function, unit, or individual. It is available
to any user in the company who can demonstrate a need for it.

On organization: The user-sponsor of a systems project will be responsible
for the business success of the system.

Once this amount of time and effort is spent aligning the thinking
between senior business managers and IT managers, the strategic course
for IT progress is set, and decision making becomes much easier.

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Enterprise architectures

The term ‘enterprise architecture’ is becoming widely used when talk-
ing about IT strategy. It means building an organizing logic for business
processes and IT infrastructure, so that the alignment between the busi-
ness and IT is more visible, more dynamic and more focused on creating


IT management skills are critical to an organization’s ability to incorpor-
ate the technologies that are ‘out there’ and use them to best advantage.
However, IT staff are often left out of the core decision-making processes
and treated as implementers rather than strategists. The solution, we
believe, is to ensure that IT management skills are present not only with
IT departments, but all over the organization (see box).


• Business deployment:

– examination of the potential business value of new, emerging IT;
– utilization of multidisciplinary teams throughout the organization;
– effective working relationships among line managers and IT staff;
– technology transfer, where appropriate, of successful IT applications,

platforms and services;

– adequacy of IT-related knowledge of line managers throughout the

– visualizing the value of IT investments throughout the organization;
– appropriateness of IT policies;
– appropriateness of IT sourcing decisions;
– effectiveness of IT measurement systems.

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• External networks:

– existence of electronic links with the organization’s customers;
– existence of electronic links with the organization’s suppliers;
– collaborative alliances with external partners (vendors, systems integrators,

competitors) to develop IT-based products and processes.

• Line technology leadership:

– line managers’ ownership of IT projects within their domains of business

– propensity of employees throughout the organization to serve as ‘project

• Process adaptiveness:

– propensity of employees throughout the organization to learn about and
subsequently explore the functionality of installed IT tools and applications;

– restructuring of business processes, where appropriate, throughout the

– visualizing organizational activities throughout the organization.
• IT planning

– integration of business strategic planning and IT strategic planning;
– clarity of vision on how IT contributes to business value;
– effectiveness of IT planning throughout the organization;
– effectiveness of project management practices.

• IT infrastructure

– restructuring of IT work processes, where appropriate;
– appropriateness of data architecture;
– appropriateness of network architecture;
– knowledge of and adequacy of the organization’s IT skills base;
– consistency of object (data, process, rules) definitions;
– effectiveness of software development practices.

• Data centre utility:

– appropriateness of processor architecture;
– adequacy of quality assurance and security controls.

Source: Sambamurthy and Zmud, in Sauer and Yetton (1997).
Reprinted by permission of Jossey-Bass

______________________________________________________ IT-based process change


Sambamurthy and Zmud (in Sauer and Yetton, 1997) say:

In our experience the most valued IT management skills tend to require
lengthy development periods as they are heavily dependent on local – for
example organization-specific – knowledge. We have also found that not all
firms are equally endowed with the most valuable IT management skills.
Furthermore, in order to be effectively applied, a firm’s IT management skills
must be intricately woven into the complex milieu of an organization’s struc-
tures, roles, processes, culture, and the many relationships among a firm’s
business and IT managers.

In today’s organizations the responsibility for managing IT is widely dis-
persed. It no longer sits solely with the IT director, but is shared among
group-level IT people, business-level IT people, business line management,
vendors, partners, consultants and contractors. This web of inter-
connected individuals somehow needs to sustain the organization’s ability
to innovate, plan, design, develop, implement, integrate and maintain
IT systems.

So what are the unique skills and knowledge required by an organ-
ization collectively to ensure that IT is used to improve business pro-
cesses, enable changes in organizational structure, add value to its
knowledge base and create or support the development of new products
and services? Sambamurthy and Zmud carried out a four-year research
programme in the early 1990s, out of which emerged seven categories
of IT management competencies:

1 Business deployment. The key competences in this area are the
ability to examine, visualize and communicate the value offered by
emerging IT. This needs to be coupled with the use of multidiscipli-
nary teams, with a good shared understanding of IT, to rapidly
implement innovative IT solutions.

2 External networks. This area of competence refers to the need for
the organization to develop close partnerships with external parties
to increase their awareness of emerging IT.

3 Line technology leadership. Users such as line managers and senior
managers need to participate actively in championing IT initiatives.

The applications _____________________________________________________________


This area of competence concerns the ability to take technical leader-
ship, which line managers may delegate rather too quickly to IT
people through lack of understanding of the technology.

4 Process adaptiveness. This competence refers to the ability of all
employees to relate to IT and the way it can transform business pro –
cesses. It is also about the organization’s track record in restructuring
its processes, and the existence of an environment where employees
can discover and explore the functionality of IT systems. This means
anything from the existence of a help desk, to online tutorials, to
devoting time to training. For instance, Deloitte and Touche has
an innovation centre where employees can experiment with new
technologies such as web services to decide whether or not they
could be useful.

5 IT planning. This competence concerns the ability of managers
within the organization to link strategic plans with IT plans, and to
plan and execute individual projects.

6 IT infrastructure. This competence is about the appropriateness and
flexibility of the underlying infrastructure which allows innovative
IT practices to emerge and to be capitalized upon.

7 Data centre utility. This competence concerns the ability of those
within the organization to build, maintain and secure fundamental
information-processing services.

We would add one further competence to this list, as many organizations
have completely outsourced IT operations and development, just leaving
themselves with project managers and business analysts:

8 Managing outsourced services. This concerns the ability to evaluate
potential service options, manage the transition to outsourced IT
services and manage service levels and service evaluation.

Sambamurthy and Zmud asked 230 senior IT executives to assess the
levels of these competencies in their own organizations and to rate
their organization’s success in deploying IT successfully. This research

______________________________________________________ IT-based process change


revealed a strong link between the level of these competencies and
the organization’s level of success with deploying IT in support of its
business strategy and work processes. The organizations in the group
of respondents characterized by the highest level of IT management
competency were also those demonstrating the highest success rate in
deploying IT.

We offer the following three-stage process for moving towards better
IT management.

Step one

Bring together a task force including senior management, line manage-
ment and IT people. Start a discussion about how IT strategy will link to
organizational strategy over the next five years. Select the IT manage-
ment competencies that you think will be most important.

Step two

Conduct an audit of the key IT management competencies, involving as
many people as possible. Use internal (good development for them) or
external (better access to benchmarking data) consultants for this process.
Feed back the results and identify hot spots where competence is low
but importance is high.

Step three

Plan how to raise the level of the most significant competences, allocating
resources and responsibility and defining a specific timescale.


The days of the highly specialized in-house technical IT expert or ‘geek’
are probably numbered. Many IT solutions are off-the-shelf, and the teams
of analysts and developers that used to occupy in-house IT departments
are shrinking, or being outsourced, or simply not required. IT people
with change management skills are needed now more than ever. Those

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IT people who can understand technol-
ogy, be aware of what is ‘out there’ and
what it can do for organizations, plus
grasp how to create the changes desired
by the organization are highly valuable.

IT courses and literature both tend to
focus on the acquisition of IT skills and
knowledge, or on the importance of good
project management. The goal of IT work
has traditionally been to deliver a piece
of finished software to timescale and to
budget, according to the specification.

Much emphasis is made on getting the specification right, getting the
right skills in place and controlling changes along the way. (See Figure 9.2,
which illustrates a typical IT roll-out process.) There is precious little refer-
ence to stakeholder management or business user involvement, although
it may be implicit.

The emergence of rapid development techniques allows for real-time
updating of software and flexible scoping of a project, but this approach
involves a new way of specifying and managing development of IT
systems that can be hard to establish and keep going.

Figure 9.2 Typical IT roll-out process

______________________________________________________ IT-based process change


IT people tend not to learn about change management. They learn to
see their job as ending when the system is delivered. This is beginning
to change in more forward-looking organizations, but is still an issue in
many IT departments, and in many software development companies
and consultancies too. IT people need to improve their skills in influen-
cing and managing change, as well as their understanding of how organ-
izational change works, and the nature of motivation and resistance in
organizational systems.

The first aspect of the way the IT people work in organizations is the
role that they tend to assume when working with business clients. As we
saw in Chapter 5, block (2000) offers a useful way of describing the three
types of role that a consultant can have when dealing with a client. This
is helpful when considering the ways in which IT people can choose to
work with their clients. The three types of role are:

1 expert role;

2 pair of hands role;

3 collaborative role.

The expert role

The consultant is the expert. The client has fully delegated the authority to
plan and implement changes to the consultant. Decisions on how to pro-
ceed are made by the consultant on the basis of his or her expert judge-
ment. The client elects to play an inactive role, and is responsive only when
required by the consultant to respond. The client’s role is to judge and evalu-
ate after the fact. The consultant’s goal is to solve the immediate problem.

When IT people choose this role (as they very often do) it means that
they have the space to get on with the job in hand without interruption
or interference, but it also means that they can hide behind their expertise
when things go wrong, much to the frustration of business managers.
The other problem with this approach is that the client’s commitment to
the technical solution is often rather thin. This means that when the client
gets the end product he or she is not always happy, having taken little
interest until the finished item hits his or her desk.

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The pair of hands role

Here the client sees the consultant as an extra pair of hands. The client
retains full control. The consultant is expected to apply specialized
knowledge to implement action plans for the achievement of goals
defined by the client.

The consultant takes a passive role and does not question the client’s
plans. Decisions on how to proceed are made by the client. The consultant
may prepare recommendations for the client’s review and approval.

Collaboration is not really necessary and two-way communication is
limited. The client initiates and the consultant responds. The client’s role
is to judge and evaluate from a close distance.

When IT people take this type of role with their clients, problems occur
because the manager may not have selected the best solution, and the
consultant did not feel that he or she could question what he or she
was told to do.

The collaborative role

In this case problem solving is a joint undertaking. Consultants working
in this mode apply their special skills to help clients solve problems; they
don’t solve problems for the client. The consultant and client work to
become interdependent. They share responsibility 50/50 for action
planning, implementation and results. Control issues become matters
for discussion and negotiation. Disagreement is expected and seen as a
source of new ideas.

The consultant’s goal is to solve problems so that they stay solved. Next
time the client will have the skills to solve the problem.

In this mode, the relationship between consultant and client is creative
and productive and responsibility is shared. This is the most appropriate
role for IT people to take with clients in today’s complex organizations.
However, it demands that IT people acquire skills beyond the technical.
Some clients will see this type of relationship as slow, and may interpret
collaboration as some form of obstruction. They will want to gain access
to the quick results that the ‘experts’ used to give them, which will lead
them to the problems highlighted above with the expert role.

______________________________________________________ IT-based process change


What skills and knowledge might be required to enhance an IT
person’s ability to work collaboratively with business managers? The
intended outcome is to increase the possibility of implemented IT systems
providing the intended behaviour change. We suggest that IT people
involved in large-scale change initiatives need to acquire the following
skills and knowledge if they are to become better agents of change:

• Knowledge:
– How organizational change happens.
– What motivates people and how that motivation can be activated.
– Where resistance to change comes from and how it can be

– What change processes and leadership styles there are to choose

from, and the effects of each.
– Wide understanding of different business processes.
– Good understanding of organizational culture and its impact

on change.

• Skills:

– Coaching managers to solve change issues.
– Facilitating multidisciplinary team workshops.
– Influencing those outside your direct control.
– Client and stakeholder management (saying no as much as you

say yes)!
– Collaborative process mapping.
– Ability to speak the client’s language (using their terminology).

If you are an IT person reading this, then your irritation level may now
have reached an all-time high! You may be thinking, ‘I am already doing
all this!’ We congratulate you, and offer our additional thoughts on the
role of HR people in IT-based change. HR people suffer this syndrome
in reverse. While they might focus on all the people-related aspects of
desired changes, they often fail to grasp the nature of the technology
involved. Again this is changing, but slowly.

Enterprise-wide applications such as PeopleSoft are now taking hold
in many organizations, replacing many of the tasks that HR people

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have traditionally called their own (promotion, recruitment, arrange-
ment of training). HR people need to be ready to understand and
explore the possibilities offered by these systems so that they can think
through how people will be affected, and orientate their internal struc-
tures and skills accordingly. This might mean setting up some quite
different structures. Some central HR departments that we have worked
with are now providing help desks and supporting users of IT, while
offering HR policy guidance rather than taking on a full HR manage-
ment role.


IT-based change is about process change. It involves people doing dif-
ferent things in different ways with different inputs and different out-
puts. New or improved IT systems are brought in to either increase
efficiency or to allow innovation to occur, not to simply automate what
is already there, so process change almost always occurs. But how is this
best achieved?

In this section we compare two different approaches to process change.
These are BPR (business process re-engineering) and socio-technical
design. We look at the pros and cons of these two approaches, and inves-
tigate how these two approaches can be combined to offer a new way of
successfully improving processes using IT as a lever.


BPR is one of the best known approaches to achieving IT-based change
in organizations. It was first set out in a book by Hammer and Champy in
1993, entitled Reengineering the Corporation: A manifesto for business revolu-
tion, and was received with much enthusiasm from the business commu-
nity, appearing to offer the answer to how to achieve radical change and
maximize effectiveness. The tenets of this approach are:

• rigorous focus on business processes that deliver value to the

______________________________________________________ IT-based process change


• radical process redesign from scratch, leading to radical transformation;

• all unnecessary process detail is eliminated;

• old processes are obliterated;

• redesign produces processes that give significant strategic improve-
ments in competitive performance;

• enabled by IT.


A car leasing organization in the UK decided to completely redesign
its customer service processes, with the goal of gaining competitive
advantage over other car leasing companies by being much faster and
much more responsive. It also intended to offer some self-service opera-
tions to customers via the internet. A task force was selected from the
existing customer service team, and these people worked alongside a
team of specialized BPR consultants to radically redesign the customer
service processes over a period of three to four months.

The new process designs looked excellent, but problems came in the
form of resistance when teams had to work on implementing processes
that were obviously going to lead to staff redundancies. The roll-out was
done over an intensive six-month period, which was very stressful for
managers and staff alike. Customers noticed a significant dip in service,
so much so that two key accounts were lost during the roll-out period.
Things are better now, with new teams in place and improved processes,
but if anyone was brave enough to do a cost–benefit analysis, the results
would probably not look good.

Unfortunately, the number of BPR successes where expectations have
been fully realized is said to be quite small. Advocates of BPR take some
pride in this. They claim that the potential gains of this approach are
so great, it is bound to be risky. However, Sauer and Yetton (1997) say
of BPR:

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Not only is the risk substantial, but the stakes are unusually high. The cost of
failure for a project that involves organizational transformation is likely to be
much greater than the simple loss of investment. The time lost in undertaking
a project that fails may give competitors a lead that cannot be recovered.

This is a mechanistic approach that spends little effort on the social or
organizational side of the process. A typical BPR approach follows the
steps shown in Figure 9.3. There might be some teamwork, some multi-
skilling and some group problem solving; there is usually quite a strong
prescriptive element to the IT solution. Also, although the impact on
structures, skills, culture and standards is thought about, it is often not
acted upon until the later phases of the programme of change, as an
add-on. Many believe that this approach is not the most effective way
of engaging people in defining what process improvements are needed,
and in making them happen. Resistance may be encountered, which
will waste effort or cause the initiative to fail.

BPR therefore offers the very attractive prospect of radically transform-
ing key processes by starting from a totally blank sheet. The downside
comes during implementation, when resistance from those who have
not been involved may be encountered. Radical process improvements
that lead to staff redundancies are difficult to manage, and team perform-
ance will dip during the implementation period. Staff read the signs of
a new systems implementation where redundancies will result and are
demotivated at an early stage in the lifecycle.

Figure 9.3 A typical BPR approach
Source: adapted from Davenport and Short (1990)

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Socio-technical design
The principles of socio-technical design are concerned with getting a bal-
ance between:

• the strategic vision of the organization;

• the technology and the tasks needed to provide the product or
service; and

• the needs of the staff.

This school of thought stems from a systems view of organizations, based
in the organism metaphor (see Senge in Chapter 3), and is a much more
incremental, evolutionary approach. The approach is less widely used
than BPR, and seems more cautious and humanistic than traditional BPR
processes, which have a rather macho feel to them, advocating throwing
everything out and starting again.

The underlying principles of socio-technical design are identified in
Mumford and Beekman (1994). These principles were originally devel-
oped by the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London in the late
1960s, but still appear to hold good today:

• The principle of minimum critical specification: tell people what to
do but not how to do it.

• The principle of variance control: problems must be corrected as
close to the point of origin as possible, and preferably by the group
that caused them.

• The principle of multi-skilling: give individuals a range of tasks,
including some routine and some challenging.

• The principle of boundary management: identify boundaries between
groups or functions and ensure that these are well managed and that
the people on them have the necessary information to pass the
product smoothly to its next transformation stage.

• The principle of information flow: information systems should be
designed so that information goes directly to the place where action
is to be taken, or to the source that originated it.

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• The principle of design and human values: an important objective of
organizational design should be to provide a high quality of working
life for employees, for instance to fulfil the need to feel the job leads
to a desirable future.

• The principle of incompletion: the need to recognize that design is
an ongoing and iterative process.

Socio-technical design involves more forethought, planning and incre-
mental change than BPR, which is faster, more risky and more exciting.
As defined by the Tavistock Group, this process was facilitated by either
a consultant or a manager, and followed the steps shown in Figure 9.4.
Some of these activities may look a bit quaint these days. When compared
with BPR, the focus might appear rather ‘fluffy’, as much attention is
given to the psychological needs of the workforce.

Figure 9.4 The socio-technical design process
Source: Mumford and Beekman (1994)

______________________________________________________ IT-based process change


Socio-technical design is still alive and well in some companies, but has
been rather overtaken by the speed and promise of BPR. Although the
incremental, developmental approach is seen to work well, it is often too
slow for many environments where big results are sought quickly, with-
out taking people off the job to do the research and take action.

Combination approach: PROGRESS methodology
The PROGRESS methodology for process improvement is also offered by
Mumford and Beekman (1994), and brings together the principles of
socio-technical design and the technology focus and efficiency emphasis
of BPR (see Figure 9.5). Key to this method is the belief that the future
users of a system must play a major role in its design. Cross-group design
teams must be set up, sponsored by senior management and facilitated by

Figure 9.5 The PROGRESS methodology for process improvement
Source: Mumford and Beekman (1994)

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a skilled facilitator to achieve their goals. It is useful to illustrate the
PROGRESS approach using a case study.

County planning office case study

The county planning department was overstretched and ‘in crisis’. Plans
were stacking up, and a three-month delay was the normal experience of
those submitting plans for approval. This was starting to become unten-
able, as people in the community wanted to get on with building work
and could not do so without planning approval.

A consultancy firm using the PROGRESS approach was called in to
work with the planning team. The planning process was identified by
the team as being cumbersome and slow, but although they could see the
problems they had never had the time to sort them out. The consultants
planned in some intensive half-day sessions with the planning team to
map out the process and identify weak links. Although the impact of
spending time in the workshop sessions caused even more backlogs to
build up for the team, they were confident that they could reduce the
planning cycle time (from arrival of the application to sending out of
approval) by 30 per cent if they focused on it for long enough and drew
out some simple agreed actions.

Various core problems were identified:

• Location arrangements were not optimal. The department was split
between two buildings for historical reasons. Time was being wasted
going to and fro, looking for people and searching for things.

• Lack of knowledge of different roles in the team was causing mis –
understanding and friction.

• One administrator was particularly overloaded with tasks that she
was finding extremely boring.

• Lack of a cataloguing system meant that time was wasted searching
for paper-based items.

• The planning officers were often out of the office and not accessible.
It was impossible to get messages to them, which was in turn holding
up decision-making processes.

______________________________________________________ IT-based process change


The following actions were agreed:

• The team members were moved so that they could all sit in the same

• Four people were asked to learn more about each other’s roles by
spending two hours a week together on joint projects.

• The administrator shared out her ‘boring’ tasks on a weekly basis.

• A simple computer-based cataloguing system was introduced.

• Planning officers were given a shared mobile phone, which they used
to check every half-day for messages.

These simple measures resulted in a 27 per cent reduction in cycle time of
the planning process. The department started to reduce the backlog, and
life became less stressful for everyone.


One of the difficulties with implementing
new IT systems is getting people to use
them in the manner intended. There
are many horror stories of expensive IT
investments that are never fully incorpor-
ated into daily organizational life.

Does the introduction of technology
automatically change behaviour? Our
experience says it does not. In the worst
case the new technology reinforces the
habits and attitudes already present (see
the example in the box). Organizations
need to do more than simply change the
IT equipment and systems available if they want to experience a radical
shift in behaviour. A culture change may be required to create the shifts

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in information sharing required, because the introduction of new IT sys-
tems alone will not achieve this, suggests Davenport (1994). He says, ‘It
shouldn’t surprise anyone that human nature can throw a wrench into
the best-laid IT plans, yet technocrats are constantly caught off-guard by
the “irrational” behaviour of “end-users”.’ He says that what is important
is how people use information, not how they use technology.


We recruited George in January. He was a dynamic salesman, brought in to
boost our capacity to develop major accounts. George had used this great IT
system in his old company, and encouraged us all to come to a presentation
about what this type of system could offer.

The proposed system would allow sales people to share information about
customers and contacts. He said this would boost our capacity to plan our
sales visits, and partner with each other to work more creatively with existing
and potential clients. It sounded good.

We bought the system in June. It was pretty simple to use, and everyone
seemed in favour, so there should have been no issues. After two months, only
George and two other sales people were using the system and updating
it regularly. This was out of a team of 12 of us. People just weren’t used
to sharing information in this way, and as we were still measured on our
individual sales targets, there was no incentive to help others by revealing
our contacts.

George got really frustrated, and accepted another job by the end of

Sales executive in an electronics company

Perhaps we need to forget about technology for the moment, and look at
existing information-sharing habits and develop some goals for behav-
iour change. But what are the rules governing information-sharing
behaviour? Davenport states the information facts of life:

______________________________________________________ IT-based process change


• Most of the information in organizations – and most of the informa-
tion people really care about – is not on computers.

• Managers prefer to get information from people rather than computers;
people add value to raw information by interpreting it and adding

• The more complex and detailed an information management
approach, the less likely it is to change anyone’s behaviour.

• All information does not have to be common; an element of flexibility
and disorder is desirable.

• The more a company knows and cares about its core business area,
the less likely employees will be to agree on a common definition of it.

• If information is power and money, people will not share it easily.

• The willingness of individuals to use a specified information format is
directly proportional to how much they have participated in defining
it, or trust others who did.

• To make the most of electronic communications, employees must first
learn to communicate face to face.

• Since people are important sources and integrators of information,
any maps of information should include people.

• There is no such thing as information overload; if information is really
useful our appetite for it is insatiable.

IT systems such as Lotus Notes and other forms of groupware are often
readily taken up by employees because of the range of ways of sharing
information offered. However, people need to have time to explore and
learn about the possibilities of these systems so that they can make best
use of them. E-mail is now taken for granted, but also has downsides
such as ‘non-information overload’ rather than information overload.
Non-relevant e-mails take time to scan, process and delete. It is almost too
easy to share information via e-mail, and people will do it for their own
reasons (such as covering their backs, making themselves look good,

The applications _____________________________________________________________


bringing network power into play and making others look bad) rather
than for the benefit of the recipient.

IT systems are expensive to implement. Therefore, it would be bene-
ficial if executives could start to see the difference between deciding
to implement an IT system, and deciding to change the company’s
information-sharing habits. Experience shows us that the first will
certainly not guarantee the second, and the second often requires a
culture change which requires energy, commitment, sponsorship and
clear direction (see Chapter 8).


When we were originally writing this chapter, we noticed an interesting
article in the Harvard Business Review entitled ‘IT doesn’t matter’ (Carr,
2003). The writer suggested that IT is an infrastructure technology, not
a leading edge one. This means that it is no longer a scarce resource that
can give an organization an important competitive edge. It is now readily
available at less cost, but companies are still investing.

For the last 25 years companies have been investing in IT systems to the
point where they are now firmly built into the infrastructure of com-
merce. Compare this with the progress of the railway, or the electricity
generator. At certain points during this progression there have been
moments when companies have gained a competitive advantage from
being the first to implement a particular technology; however, this is
levelling off, and so should investment plans.

The three new rules for IT management offered by Carr give some
guidelines for those ready to review their IT investment strategy:

1 Spend less. Carr says that companies with the biggest IT investments
rarely post the best financial results. The focus should be on ensuring
that you do not put your company at a cost disadvantage, because
the competitive gains will be minimal.

2 Follow, don’t lead. The longer you wait to buy IT systems, the more
you will get for your money. Carr says that it is unwise to be on the

______________________________________________________ IT-based process change


cutting edge, with the possibility that software or hardware is

3 Focus on vulnerabilities, not opportunities. Companies need to
pay more attention to security and network vulnerabilities, as well
as systems reliability and minimizing downtime. IT spend should
be carefully controlled, and resources managed in an economic


It is difficult to align organizational strategy with IT strategy, but unless
this is done the two strategies can drift apart, causing the organization
major problems, especially if strategy changes or enterprise-wide
approaches are sought. Organizations need to assess where they are on
the strategic grid (factory, strategic, support, turnaround) to decide how
closely linked these strategies need to be, and to decide how and what
sort of senior management attention IT deserves.

Strategy and IT decision making can become dangerously decoupled
through lack of communication and understanding between business
managers and IT managers. IT systems begin to drift away from their
original purpose, and may actually begin to limit the company’s possi-
bilities for information sharing and therefore damage its future. In this
case it may be beneficial to generate a list of ‘guiding principles’ to enable
clear decision making by all managers.

IT management needs to be taken more seriously. IT managers are
often left out of the decision-making loop and excluded from the core
decision-making process in an organization. They become mere ‘imple-
menters’ of other people’s solutions. IT management skills need to be
present not only within IT departments but all over the organization.

IT people need to learn more about organizational change processes.
IT people have traditionally not been interested in anything except
technology, which has led to a division between designing the IT system
(IT’s responsibility) and realizing the benefits by getting people to use
it well (business managers’ responsibility). This is changing, but not fast

The applications _____________________________________________________________


enough. IT people need to shift their competency from being technical
experts to being specialists with change management skills.

Human-oriented processes for implementing IT systems work better
than processes that have a purely technical focus, and incremental pro-
cess change has a better record of success than radical process change.
Excitement about ‘radical’ process change has led to a belief that only radical
changes bring radical results. BPR (business process re-engineering) has
not brought all the hoped-for benefits, because of its lack of focus on
people and the inherently risky nature of radical process transformation.
It is highly probable that incremental, more human-oriented solutions
such as those based on socio-technical design actually work better.

If a change in information-sharing habits is required, this means address-
ing the change as you would a cultural change. Problems come when
senior managers and IT people believe that technology will automatically
change behaviour. Often the reverse happens: the new technology rein-
forces existing habits and attitudes. A culture change may be needed to
create the shifts in information sharing required, because the introduc-
tion of new IT systems alone will not achieve this.

Chief executives have started to over-value the power of IT beyond
the strategic gains it can really offer. IT is not now a scarce resource, but
a fact of life. Some say that IT’s importance has diminished, and that
organizations need to approach IT investment and management in a
very different way, allowing others to experiment with new systems
before deciding to buy, and only investing where there is vulnerability.

Part Three

Emerging inquiries

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers.
You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.

Naguib Mahfouz (Nobel Prize Winner)

Although this book has the subtitle ‘A complete guide to the models, tools
and techniques of organizational change’, that is, of course, not quite
the case. Although we have attempted to include the majority of useful
models, tools and techniques, there is still plenty more to ponder on and
discover about how change happens and what enables people in organ-
izations to give of their best when change is in the air.

Since the first and second editions were published we have been pur-
suing a number of our own inquiries into the nature of change, and
we include two of these perspectives in Part Three. In Chapter 10 we
explore Complex Change, identifying when change can be defined as
‘complex’ and uncovering theories, tools and leadership stances that can
help in this situation. In Chapter 11, we explore the topic of Leading
Change in Uncertain Times, which we hope will interest many readers


Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


who are grappling with the particular change challenges of ‘these times’.
In this chapter, we look at the impact of uncertainty on our working lives,
explore the difficulties associated with decision making in an uncertain
world and offer some skills and tools to support leaders faced with deep

Our hope is that these two chapters will stimulate your own further
inquiry into these two fascinating and important topics.


Complex change


Since the first edition of this book, some interesting new ideas have really
started to take hold in the world of organizational development. Ideas
on understanding organizations using complexity science and the notion
of emergence rather than managed change are now being grasped and
worked with by leaders and consultants alike. It is as though we are
appreciating anew the possibility that not everything can be planned
and controlled, and that even having a strong vision only gets you so far.
Sometimes change happens in non-linear and chaotic ways, neither
bottom-up nor top-down, and whether you believe in fate, the stars, the
fundamentals of biology, or in the sheer randomness of life, one man or
woman may really feel quite small in the face of it.

In Chapter 3 on organizational change, we discussed the metaphor of
flux and transformation and briefly explored the assumptions that under-
pin this view of organizations. The flux and transformation metaphor
could equally well be referred to as the complexity metaphor. Here, we
explore this metaphor a bit further.


Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


This chapter looks at a range of different approaches to understanding
and dealing with complex organizational change. The key headings are:

• When is change complex?

• Understanding complexity science.

• Tools that support complex change processes.

• The role of leaders in complex change.


It is easy to say when change is not complex. Installing a new phone
system, or implementing a ready-made IT system, or organizing an office
move are all the types of change activity that benefit from a well-planned,
controlled approach. Any change that has a high ‘technical’ element to
it lends itself to more linear methods. Although these changes may be
complicated, they do tend to happen more easily if the details can be
organized efficiently.

Restructuring programmes, cultural change initiatives, outsourcing,
mergers, acquisitions and strategic-led change, especially when a large
number of people are involved, can all be seen as complex change. These
are changes that involve so many individuals, layers of activity, areas
of focus and so many factors that cannot be pre-thought out that there
will be a need for people to struggle and argue and work their way
through to an unpredictable outcome.

The advantages of understanding the concept of complexity are many.
Managers in today’s organizations are often trained to think in purely
analytical, rational ways. We are taught to see things independently
rather than inter-dependently. Current mainstream management think-
ing is generally based on a mixture of cognitive psychology – which fo-
cuses on motivational goals and behaviour – together with scientific
methods designed to map out and organize tasks, such as process en-
gineering or project management. These disciplines do not leave much

____________________________________________________________ Complex change


space for the possibility of complexity; the possibility that a contained
‘muddle’ may well sort itself out given the right conditions.

When managers begin to appreciate how complex processes work,
they can release themselves from too much over-managing and begin
to think about the different needs they should be fulfilling as leaders
who encourage healthy, creative change to emerge.


Complexity science has been drawn from the scientific world and applied
to organizations in an attempt to understand and explain the behaviour
of large systems. There is no formal definition of what complexity science
means in an organizational context, nor indeed how it is best applied
to organizations.

In this discipline, large systems are often referred to as complex adaptive
systems. Complex adaptive systems are made up of multiple intercon-
nected elements, and have the capacity to change and learn from experi-
ence. Complexity science is a collection of theories that seek to explain
how these systems work. This branch of science is eclectic and draws
its ideas from many other areas of science, for example the fields of
neurology and microbiology. Examples of such large complex systems
are communities, the stock market, the human body’s immune system
and the brain.

One of the most intriguing features of complex adaptive systems for
those who study them in the context of human social organization, is
their capacity to produce coherence, continuity and transformation in
the absence of any external blueprint or nominated designer. The control
of a complex adaptive system is highly dispersed and decentralized, and
the whole system’s behaviour appears to arise from competition and
cooperation among the local agents in the system, coupled with sensitiv-
ity to amplifying or dampening feedback. Even if a major part of the
system is out of action, the system continues to function. A good example
of this in the field of biology is the human brain.

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


At the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, where scientists have
studied the behaviour of computer-simulated complex networks for
some time, the following six characteristics of a complex system were

1 there is no central control;

2 there is an inherent underlying structure within the system;

3 there is feedback in the system;

4 there is nonlinearity – things do not happen in a cause and effect

5 emergence is an outcome of the system – this happens without
planned intent;

6 the system is non-reducible. This means that you cannot understand
the system’s behaviour by looking at one part. It is necessary to
instead look at a representative slice of all of the parts.

Eric Dent of George Washington University (1999) proposed that our
whole world view is beginning to shift from a rational to an emerging
one. It is as if our ‘technical’ rational reactions to political or social situ-
ations are not working any more. For example, use of catalytic converters
in cars represents our increased concern for the environment. However,
the effects in parts of Africa where the platinum to produce these con-
verters is mined are very negative. People are being moved out of
their homelands, health and safety is not being carefully attended to, and
workers are losing their lives through avoidable accidents due to the
commercial drive for production. Our approach isn’t holistic; it’s partial.
And we are worried about it. Dent says we have to shift our thinking if
we are to be successful. He produced a helpful chart that illustrates the
shifts required; the highlights are shown in Table 10.1. Dent (1999) sees
the list on the right as an extension of the list on the left, rather than
replacing it.

____________________________________________________________ Complex change


Capra (1982) explains why we now need to see the world in different

Modern science has come to realize that all scientific theories are approxi-
mations to the true nature of reality, and that each theory is valid for a
certain range of phenomena. Beyond this range it no longer gives a satis-
factory description of nature, and new theories have to be found to replace
the old one, or rather to extend it by improving the approximation.

Systemic views of organizations, such as the concept of the learning
organization promoted by Senge (1993) owe much to the influence of
complexity science. The four basic assumptions that Konigswieser and
Hillebrand (2005) identify in their book about systemic consultancy pro-
vide a useful translation of the principles of complexity for use in organ-
izational work:

Table 10.1 World view descriptors

Traditional world view Emerging world view

Linear causality
Objective reality
Observer outside the observation
‘Survival of the fittest’
Focus on discrete entities
Linear relationships

– marginal increases
Either/or thinking
Focus on directives
Newtonian physics perspectives

– influence occurs as direct result
of force exerted from one person
to another

– the world is predictable
Focus on pace
Focus on results or outcomes

Mutual causality
Perspectival reality
Observer in the observation
Adaptive self-organization
Focus on relationships between entities
Non-linear relationships

– critical mass thresholds
Polarity thinking
Focus on feedback
Quantum physics perspectives

– influence occurs through iterative,
non-linear feedback

– the world is novel
Focus on patterns
Focus on ongoing behaviour

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


• Organizations do not function like trivial machines. They do not
simply work at the push of a button and can therefore neither be
controlled directly nor completely understood.

• They constantly reproduce themselves through communication, are
in a state of permanent change and continually create new order
structures in the form of retained stories, recorded successes and
agreed perceptions, patterns and expectations.

• This self-image gains intensity in the ‘sense constructs’ and views of
the world projected as models from inside the system to the environ-
ment. Internal order structures, sense constructs and images of the
world create security and stability within the organization, yet at
the same time obstruct its ability to react to changes in a dynamic,
rapidly changing environment.

• Organizations can learn from their environment not only in times
of crisis and pressure, but also proactively by assuming an active
and creative role in reshaping themselves and their respective

There are some important principles and ideas embedded within com-
plexity science that are useful for managers and consultants who are
tackling organizational change issues:

• self-organization and emergence;

• rules of interaction;

• attractors;

• power relations;

• forms of communicating;

• polarities and the management of paradox;

• feedback.

Each of these is described and explained below, together with its signifi-
cance for organizational change.

____________________________________________________________ Complex change


Self-organization and emergence

The principle of self-organization is central to
complexity science. The belief behind this prin-
ciple is that we live in a universe that seeks organ-
ization. Patterns and structures emerge that are
not planned or pre-designed. Old structures dis-
appear and new ones come into being. Change
is happening all the time. Individuals within a
system who aren’t capable of change may eventu-
ally disappear.

In the biological sciences there are some good
examples of self-organization working extremely
efficiently. Bacteria, for example, operate as a global super-organism, able
to swap genes and ‘understand’ and absorb each others’ learning. No
single bacterium has the knowledge of the whole, or understands how
everything works. The bacteria, instead of being all-knowing, are superb
at learning from each other, very quickly and efficiently. This is why
bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics develop so quickly. In this type
of system model the world knows how to create itself, as individuals
we are simply partners in the process, not the ones responsible for it.

Patricia Shaw (2002) explains the parameters of self-organization by
referring to an experiment performed by scientists at the Santa Fe
Institute. The scientists modelled a large complex system using a lot of
digital agents. Their experiments illustrated that low connectivity, low
diversity and sluggish interaction between agents tended to result in
stable, frozen or ‘stuck’ patterns of interaction. Conversely, high connec-
tivity, high diversity and intensive interaction between agents results
in disorder with no visible patterns arising. However, when the para-
meters were at certain critical values, the behaviour produced order
and disorder at the same time. Langton (1992) has dubbed the phenom-
enon of complex networks interacting in such conditions as being ‘at
the edge of chaos’, as the patterns produced were neither wholly random
nor wholly repetitive. We can transfer this idea to the domain of human
interaction, but must wonder who controls the parameters, if anyone

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


In economics, the market economy is said to be a self-organizing pro-
cess. Some economists say that central economic planning, ie what will
be produced by whom and how profits will be distributed, disturbs the
efficiency of self-organizing markets. Others say that the propensity of
individuals to pursue self-interest can be so damaging that governments
must intervene and control the economy via taxation. The latter is an
argument for a more controlled approach.

In human social interaction, techniques such as open space, future
search (see later in this chapter), production cells and self-managed teams
all use the principle of self-organization.

Rules of interaction

Complex adaptive systems self-organize and evolve over time using
simple local rules that result in global complex behaviour. However, the
system works without the rules of a central authority governing behav-
iour. Local rules are changed as experience accumulates. In a human
system, these might be limits on activity or altered social norms. In human
social systems these rules are not necessarily explicit and people are not
always aware of them. Local rules exist in peoples’ heads.

Change occurs when either the local rules change, or the pattern of
connectedness changes across the global system. Stacey (2001) argues that
this happens in the absence of an external blueprint. If we transfer this
thinking to large complex organizations, this means that the traditional
role of directors and senior managers who together may aspire to directly
influence local behaviour, is unlikely to have the desired effect, and may
end up stifling creative and healthy change. It may be that the essential
cultural paradigm of the organization needs to shift from within.


Systems in chaos appear to fall under
the influence of different ‘attractors’.
Lorenz (in Gleick, 1987), the mathema-
tician and mete orologist, showed how
complex systems can combine order and

____________________________________________________________ Complex change


disorder, and flip from one patterned state to another as random, non-
linear events trigger a sudden move from being under the influence of
one attractor to that of another. See Figure 10.1 to see how this might look
in an organizational setting.

What are the forces
that keep the
organization in its
current pattern?
Structures? Rules?

What are the
characteristics and
rules of the new
attractor going to
How can we remain
open to emergent

How can small
changes work to
generate large




Figure 10.1 How attractors work in organizations
Source: adapted from Morgan (1998)

To understand this at a conceptual level, imagine sitting in a home
office. At the desk in front of you there are papers, Post-its, pens, a laptop
computer, photos of your family and a list of the things you have to
do today. Outside the window you can clearly see trees blowing in the
wind, a squirrel reaching for nuts on the bird table, the sun shining great
stripes of light through the bushes onto the grass. In this scenario, you
are caught between two attractors. As one comes into focus, the other
fades away. So it appears to be in complex systems; these attractors ultim-
ately define the way the system’s behaviour will unfold. In organiza-
tional life it is not possible to dictate what the attractors will be as they
emerge naturally, but it is possible to try to understand the attractors that
other people in organizations are influenced by (eg their professions,
trade unions, a set of habits) and to try to create an attractor that offers
true value for people.

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


Power relations

Power is an inescapable influence in organizational life. Within complex
systems, power differences can be described as novel and interesting,
creating diversity and therefore giving rise to possible change. When
thinking about organizations as complex responsive processes of relating,
it is possible to see power and communications as very similar entities.
Both have the effect of either constraining or enabling people in their
relationships with each other.

Power in organizations generally arises through patterned talking, and
that patterned talking leads us to define who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’.
For instance, if measurement and control is ‘in’, those who are skilled in
talking about this way of operating will be ‘in’, while those who are more
interested in emergence and chaos will be ‘out’, and will have to find a
way of representing their ideas and suggestions in the dominant lan-
guage, hard though that may be. If they do not do this, they will begin to
feel excluded. This in turn may lead to competition and rivalry. Stacey
(2001) comments:

The consequent feelings of inclusion and exclusion then have significant
effects on the further evolution of joint cooperation, tending to disrupt it
through competition and rivalry … Organizational change is a shift in
patterns of inclusion and exclusion. It is in this process that organizational
identity emerges, that is, the purposes and inspirations for carrying on being
together are continually reproduced and potentially transformed, causing

Forms of communicating

In complex systems, communication occurs between near neighbours.
It is short-range. The effects of an agent’s actions are fed back and
responded to through local interactions. These effects can be amplifying
or dampening. In organizational life therefore, the more important inter-
actions are the day-to-day things that happen in an individual’s neck of
the woods. Grand statements and visions may be made by senior people,
but it’s the local version of that which really influences behaviour. How
does the local boss respond? What sense are we making of this locally?

____________________________________________________________ Complex change


Polarities and the management of paradox

Systems that are moving from one dominant attractor to
another experience struggles with paradox. As a system
begins to fundamentally change, ‘bifurcation’ or ‘choice
points’ present themselves, which can have a draining
effect on the existing energy for change.

For instance, imagine that an organization is trying to create more
headroom for middle managers to take part in decision making. The old
way of operating involved being given a non-negotiable annual target,
and putting a great deal of energy into making it work. The new way
means more discussion and more engagement. However, old patterns of
performance management and career progression rely on a reputation
for ‘toughness’ and high personal achievement, so the polarity between
‘toughness’ and ‘cooperation’ starts to be an important one. This is where
leaders who manage paradox well can be most useful. What elements of
both toughness and cooperation are useful in the new order?

The necessity for either/or thinking is one of the great myths of Western
culture. This occurs when two seeming opposites in any situation are
seen as one ‘good’, one ‘bad’. For instance, cooperation is ‘good’ and
toughness ‘bad’. This can easily lead to the assumption that ‘I am right,
and you are all wrong.’ Either/or thinking demands that for something to
be the ‘right answer’, there must be no contradictions. Combining options
or blurring the boundaries is seen as illogical and muddled.

Once the seeming opposites are seen as a continuum, the polarization
sets in. For instance, one director we work with sees ‘teamworking’ as the
polar opposite of ‘independent working’. This creates stagnation in his
thinking. However, when the continuum is translated into a graph, the
possibility that both of these may coexist, or that both contain both ‘good’
and ‘bad’ elements begins to be visible; see Figure 10.2.

Polarities are sets of opposites that cannot function well independently.
The two sides of a polarity are interdependent, so one side cannot be
‘right’ or the ‘solution’ at the expense of the other. It seems that many of
the current challenges within organizations are about managing polar-
ities or paradoxes, rather than solving problems. So, for example, the
argument about whether top-down or bottom-up change works best

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


implies that one is right and the other is wrong. If these are seen as
polarities that need to co-exist and both have their good points and
bad points, it is possible to reframe the issues that might bring organiza-
tional stagnancy by creating positive new realities.


One of the characteristics of a complex system is that feedback exists
within it. The non-linear nature of change within a complex system
means that linear cause and effect analyses do not work. Mutual causality
is about understanding how change evolves through looping interac-
tions, which can be modelled as positive and negative feedback loops. By
doing this type of analysis it is possible to see where clusters of positive
feedback loops create vicious circles, and where very small changes can
lead to very significant outcomes. In organizations, delayed feedback or

Either/or thinking

Polarity thinking

Team working
= good




working = bad

Independent working

Figure 10.2 Moving from ‘either/or’ thinking to embrace
‘polarity’ thinking

____________________________________________________________ Complex change


counter-responses may destabilize the system by eliciting exaggerated
responses or behaviours.

Stacey (2001) refers to the interaction between agents in a complex
system as ‘gesture and response’. Within systems that are richly enough
connected, and have enough difference within them, this self-organized
interaction of gesture and response will produce both coherence and

Q 10.1 Think of an organization you know well. Taking Dent’s theory of

shifting from traditional to emerging world views (Table 10.1),
discuss with a colleague how a shift in world view might change
what happens in this organization.

Q 10.2 How would a greater belief in self-organization change your
actions as a manager, coach or OD practitioner?

Q 10.3 Consider the paradoxes that exist in your own life as it shifts
and changes, or those that exist in an organization you know
that is going through a change process. How can these be
managed well?



Storytelling is a type of sense making that helps us to
shape our understanding of the complex goings-on in
the world. People tell stories to share wisdom with
each other, entertain each other, influence each other
and help each other make sense of the world. Stories
can be created collectively in the moment, or carefully
crafted by individuals before they are told. Their
essential logic is temporal. They generally move from
the past to the present, and tend to open up possibilities for the future.
So, paradoxically, stories are distinct ways of making sense of the past and

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


showing how the past leads to the future, which in turn affects the
present. Hearing a story may change how we view our current options,
and the way we make sense of what has already happened.

There’s a difference between telling a story and giving an example. A
story has a plot, and characters and emotional and sensory detail. In a
story you can examine both sides of an argument; a manager can tell a
story in which a proposed change is simultaneously awful and exciting.
This is more engaging and more real than an announcement that says:
‘The change is coming. Stop moaning and get on with it.’ A story can
also help someone to walk in your shoes, to see things from your point
of view. It can help others to see things they are not currently seeing.

Leaders can use storytelling to work with their teams to make sense
of their own past, present and future, or to convey to their teams how
they are making sense of it all. It is a way of communicating without over-
simplifying. Instead of being used to convince others of a particular
course of action, a story can be used to awaken sleeping wisdom and lead
to good conversations about what to do next.

Shaw (2002) says of the practice of collective storytelling:

The kind of storytelling I am alluding to is not that of completed tales but
narrative-in-the-making. Rather than stating aims, objective, outcomes, roles
as abstract generalities, people use a narrative mode. The starting point is
often ‘the story so far’. Someone recounts and at the same time accounts for
or justifies the way they make sense of events and their own participation …
As others associate and ‘fill in’ an increasingly complex patterned sense-
making is co-created. This is an absorbing process because a person’s iden-
tity in this situation is evolving at the same time. We are not ‘just talking’.
We are acting together to shape ourselves and our world.


Dialogue is a central tool for those interested in dealing with complexity.
Dialogue is different from other forms of communication such as debate
or discussion, or ordinary conversation. William Isaacs, who founded
the MIT Dialogue Project, has been influential in bringing these ideas
and practices into organizational settings. This way of talking pays

____________________________________________________________ Complex change


particular attention to the meaning that unfolds when people com-
municate collectively.

Isaacs (1999) sees dialogue as not merely about talking but about taking
action, and at its very best it includes meaning making and the expression
of feelings and leads towards powerful action. Dialogue is about thinking
together rather than thinking alone, and demands that we both let go
of our own positional views and begin to face and hear about other
people’s experiences and realities.

Isaacs talks about ‘choice points’ in a conversation. A key choice point
in a conversation that involves some deliberation is whether to either
defend your own view or position, or suspend it and therefore listen
without resistance. Defending usually leads to either productive analy-
tical dialectic or unproductive verbal brawling. Suspending is more likely
to lead to an exploration of the deeper questions, a new framing of key
issues and the possibility of reaching collective, refreshing new insights.

Whole system work

Increasingly, organizations and public bodies are seeing the need to bring
whole systems together to tackle complex and messy issues with multiple
stakeholders. Patricia Shaw (2002) talks about these sorts of events:

Carefully designed and facilitator-led large group events are an increasingly
popular example of ‘intervention’ into the ongoing processes of organizing.
These are intensive interactive conferences intended to stimulate new forms
of action to address ambitious change in complex situations. Participants are
invited to identify issues and create self-managing small groups to generate
proposals for future work. The result is a public plan of action.

Open space technology

Harrison Owen, the originator of open space technology, says that his
ideas are probably as old as homo sapiens; it is just that modern-day
wisdom has obscured our instincts and intuition about how gatherings
of people can self-organize to find what is exciting and energizing, and
then make things happen. Owen’s (1997) ideas emerged when he began

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


to notice that at a regular international symposium he used to attend,
which used the traditional formal presentation of papers plus orches-
trated panel discussions, the real excitement and energy used to burst
out in the coffee breaks. He wondered if it were possible to make the
symposium one big coffee break.

An open space session is typically a large gathering that is clearly
focused on one topic, has no set agenda, no organizing committee and a
small band of facilitators. The agenda is discovered by participants who
wish to pursue topics posting these on a notice board, seeing who signs
up and then running these various conversations simultaneously. People
can move from one conversation to another, and a record of each discus-
sion, with issues ranked and next steps identified for the critical issues, is
given to every participant. It seems that open space represents Owen’s
belief that the one thing we spend our time doing so much of – organiz-
ing and seeking control – is not only unavailable but unnecessary.

When is it appropriate? It works well when there is a very pressing
issue that needs to be sorted out yesterday, when there is a great deal
of complexity, when there is conflict and when there is a lot of diversity
in the people who need to get together to solve the issue.

There are four Principles and one Law of open space sessions. The
four Principles are:

1 Whoever comes are the right people – people demonstrate that they
care by showing up.

2 Whatever happens is the only thing that could have – this helps
people to focus on the here and now, not what could have been
or should have been.

3 Whenever it starts is the right time – creativity is not dictated by
the clock.

4 Whenever it’s over, it’s over – don’t waste time! When the conversa-
tion is finished, move on.

The one Law is called ‘the law of two feet’, which means when you
are no longer listening or contributing, move on to somewhere more to
your liking. This is not just about pleasing yourself, but about taking

____________________________________________________________ Complex change


responsibility for your own learning rather than
sulking or blaming others for not making things
more stimulating. Owen says that the Principles and
Law are not really what makes open space work; it’s
just that these statements free people up to do what
they would do naturally, given a chance.

Future search

Future search is a way of conferencing that is underpinned by research
by Weisbord et al (1992) into the conditions under which diverse groups
seemed to be able to cooperate. Previous work by North American and
Australian social scientists was also highly influential. Future search
involves many people getting together for a large planning meeting,
and is based on principles that enable diverse groups to get together
and cooperate, be very task-focused, and quickly translate their energies
into action.

These principles are:

• get the ‘whole system’ in the room – inviting a cross-section of all
parties who care about the issue;

• explore the ‘whole elephant’ before acting on a part – get everyone
talking about the same big picture;

• put common ground and future focus at the centre, and treat conflicts
as information rather than items to be ‘sorted’;

• encourage self-management and responsibility taking for action by

The conditions for success are:

• encourage full attendance – discourage part-timers;

• meet under healthy conditions – with food and snacks, and adequate

• work across three days (sleep twice) – things need time to be absorbed;

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


• ask for voluntary public commitments to next steps before people

World Café

World Café is a conversational process that en-
ables groups of people to talk together, explore and
find their creativity about an issue that matters.
This is not about problem solving or managed
action. This simple but innovative method was
developed by founders Juanita Brown and David
Isaacs (Brown and Isaacs, 2001).

The World Café Community Foundation can
be found at and is an
excellent source of information. The following
box summarizes their approach to this technique.

The method starts by setting the context: what is the topic, who needs
to be invited, how long do we need, and what is the best outcome we can
hope for? A hospitable space needs to be chosen and prepared with
refreshments and comfort, rather than cold impersonality. A café ambi-
ance is then created, with small tables with tablecloths – perhaps the
type that can be written on – candles, and flowers, with markers ready
for writing.

Compelling questions are then posed to the groups. Sometimes only
one question is used, and sometimes there are deeper levels of inquiry.
Facilitators need to find questions that are relevant to the concerns of
group members and that provoke interest and energy. Questions that
reveal assumptions, enable people to reflect more deeply, seek what is
useful and open up new possibilities are all effective. Questions that
focus on definitions, or the truth or what went wrong seem less effective.

Turn-taking in the discussion is important to ensure everyone can
contribute, as is the connection of diverse perspectives. People are
encouraged to record their emerging discussion visually on the table-
cloth using the pens, and then move to other tables to add to their

____________________________________________________________ Complex change


emerging pictures. One person remains at the original table to sum-
marize what has been discussed, and new arrivals begin by sharing
the threads of their previous table discussion. New possibilities begin
to open up, and the conversation deepens.

At the end of the conversations, tables are invited to distil the parts
of the discussion that have been most meaningful for them and share it
with the rest of the tables. In response, other tables may be invited to
say what was surprising or new in what they have heard, and share
only on that line of inquiry. All this is often captured on flipcharts by the

The final stage involves a short reflective meditation by the group, and
then answers to the following questions are invited:

• What is emerging here?

• If the whole group could speak, what would it say?

• Did we notice any patterns, and if so, what might they indicate?

• What deeper knowledge or understanding are we now holding?

Ideas used by permission from The World Café Community Foundation


In Chapter 4 we talked about the leaders who operate using the assump-
tions of the flux and transformation metaphor as ‘facilitators of emergent
change’. This gives us a good starting point for thinking about the role of
a leader in complex change. We also said that the three main tasks of this
type of leader were to get the governing principles right, enable the right
amount of connectivity and amplify important issues, but that this set
of three tasks merely scratches the surface. What more can be said about
these leaders who facilitate emergent change?

Harrison Owen (1997), pioneer of open space technology and passion-
ate believer in self-organization, says that the job of leaders is about
‘liberating the human spirit to achieve its potential’. He points out that

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


the illusion of control and organization is where many leaders waste a lot
of time and energy.

It seems that leaders need to look beyond the confines of structure and
organization if they are to truly facilitate emergence. Wheatley (1999)
quotes a rather lovely verse that captures the struggle many experience
when we try to grasp the realities of a complex world:

She who wants to have right without wrong,
Order without disorder,
Does not understand the principles
Of heaven and earth.
She does not know how things hang together.

Chang Tzu, 4th century bc

Wheatley urges leaders to lead through vision, values and ethics. This
does not mean crafting a single vision that shines so brightly that it
has its own power, but co-creating a vision that permeates the organ-
ization and harnesses the organization’s own self-organizing power.
However, the difficulty for many leaders is that vision and values seem
‘a bit soft’ when compared to traditional forms of authority, and they
may feel powerless and somehow naked without the familiar controlling

Wheatley also emphasizes the importance of developing a new rela-
tionship with information so that it is embraced for all its vibrant, living
qualities. She notices an unhelpful habit in leaders. Rather than looking
for small differences in the information we receive, often leaders seek
certainty and notice only the big trends and large gaps. They may value
quick, surface decisions over wiser, deeper ones. She says that leaders
need to see information as nourishment rather than power, and keep the
flow well stocked.

Wheatley goes on to say that in this world of chaos and complexity
we appear to need leaders rather than bosses; people who assist their
employees in embodying organizational values and carry a strong sense
of purpose. Policies and procedures curtail creativity and end up failing
to control as effectively as a strong sense of purpose and some clear,
hard rules.

____________________________________________________________ Complex change


Scharmer (2000) is a great believer in self-organization too, but he
also sees a more spiritual dimension to organizational or community
endeavours. As we sense and intuit together, something sacred happens,
and out of the space between us something new emerges.

Scharmer refers to leadership as ‘sensing and actualizing emerging
futures’. He identifies two important methods of learning that are both
important for sustained organizational success. The first is to reflect on
the past in a way that loosens our traditional views of what’s happened.
The second is to begin to sense and embody the emergent future as it
appears out of the mist between us, instead of re-enacting past patterns.
He talks about the processes of both ‘letting go’ and ‘letting come’, which
leaders need to understand as the root of generative learning. This pro-
cess is not about being polite, or getting involved in conflictual debate
or dialectic. It involves true generative and reflective dialogue.

Scharmer sees the leader’s role as creating the conditions that allow
others to ‘shift the place from which their system operates’. There is a
sacred quality to Scharmer’s work that takes us far beyond the focus
on ordinary conversation which sits at the root of complex responsive
process theory.

Presence is another important quality that those writing about the
complex view of change encourage in leaders. Facilitators of emergence
need to embody presence if they are to be truly tuned into the comple-
xities of organizational life. This means being less preoccupied by the
world of objectives and performance indicators, and more open to the
subtle complexities of the world as they unfold in front of them; more
present in the ‘here and now’ moment.

Senge et al (2005) talk about presence as having an even deeper quality
such as ‘grace’, or what the Buddhists call ‘cessation’. This definition of
presence has a spiritual quality to it. They say that presence occurs when
there is a quieting of the mind, and the normal boundaries between self
and the world begin to melt away. For leaders this means being able to let
go, surrender control and open themselves to the wider needs of the
world. The authors of Presence: Exploring profound change in people, organ-
izations and society provide a sentence on what this notion of presence
means to each of them:

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


Jaworski: ‘A profound opening of the heart, carried into action.’
Scharmer: ‘Waking up together … by using the Self as a vehicle for bringing

forth new worlds.’
Flowers: ‘It’s the point where the fire of creation burns and enters the world

through us.’
Senge: ‘We have no idea of our capacity to create the world anew.’


New thinking on how complexity science can be applied to organiza-
tional problems is developing fast and becoming more widely known
and understood.

Small, simple or highly convergent change initiatives such as tech-
nology roll-outs are less complex, and less emergent, and therefore less
likely to benefit from being seen through a complexity lens.

‘Complex adaptive systems’ is the name given to large systems by
complexity scientists. These systems are self-organizing, have no external
blueprint, and yet they still have the capacity to produce coherence,
continuity and transformation.

Dent (1999) suggests that our whole world view is beginning to shift
from the rational to the emerging world view. This is in tune with much
thinking about our ability to see the world as complex and emergent,
rather than linear, rational and controllable.

Q 10.4 How could you use open space technology or World Café to

good effect in your organization or local community?

Q 10.5 Imagine yourself in a leadership role in your organization. Maybe
you are in one already. What is your area’s core purpose? What
is the whole organization’s core purpose? This needs to reflect
some value that is being created in the world. What are the few
simple principles that apply to work in your area? (Once you have
these, it will form the foundation for your leadership.)

____________________________________________________________ Complex change


The important elements of complexity science that relate to organiza-
tional work are: self-organization and emergence, rules of interaction,
attractors, power relations, forms of communicating, polarities, and the
management of paradox and the role of feedback.

Systems thinking and complexity science have very different roots, and
lead to very different assumptions about how change works.

Storytelling, dialogue, whole systems work, open space technology,
future search and World Café are all tools that support complex change.

Leaders have a different role in complex change from the traditional
organizing or controlling roles of managers. The new role may be referred
to as ‘facilitator of emergent change’. This means leading through vision,
values and ethics. It also means creating generative and reflective dia-
logue, and being present in the ‘here and now’.


Leading change
in uncertain times


The whole globe is shook up, so what
are you going to do when things are
falling apart? You’re either going to
become more fundamentalist and try to
hold things together, or you’re going
to forsake the old ambitions and goals
and live life as an experiment, making it
up as you go along.

Pema Chodron (2001)


______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


The inferno of the living is not something that will be: if there is one, it is
what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by
being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy
for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no
longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and
apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of
the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.

Marco Polo’s words, in La Citta Invisibli by Italo Calvino

In Chapter 10 we outlined some of the ideas from complexity science
that support leaders in conceptualizing and leading a way through the
complex nature of many of today’s leadership challenges. This chapter
focuses more specifically on the challenges posed by increased uncer-
tainty in our working lives, the effect this has on leaders and the led,
how organizations are responding, and how leaders can best equip them-
selves to lead and manage change through uncertainty.

The chapter is organized under the following headings:

• the impact of uncertainty on our working lives;

• decision making in an uncertain world; and

• skills and tools to support leading change through uncertainty.

Political, economic and climate instability are all familiar elements of
the global context that we’re now working in. The conundrum is that
although we know that very little is predictable and stable in today’s
world, many of the tools and techniques available for leading and manag-
ing have been devised to fit with an ‘old’ rational, mechanical world view.
This assumes that difficult problems can be reduced and understood,
rational answers found and long-term plans made; leaders are heroes
with an extra dose of this masterful rationality.

Our working lives, personal lives and communities are also more frag-
mented and less predictable than they used to be, Many people’s careers
now encompass several different sub-careers, families are more widely

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


spread geographically and communities have less cohesion around a
local geographic focus.

Some organizations are responding to these challenges with totally
new organizational forms that increase their capacity to adapt and inno-
vate, and flex to new forms of business partnership and to people’s shift-
ing lifestyles, while others struggle to respond at all. Many are calling
for a new world view in which we become more open to uncertainty and
confusion, and more trusting of emergent processes. This means letting
go of heroic plans that no longer seem valid, finding new ways of
responding to the here and now and offering leadership that enables this.

As individuals, many of us have far less stability in our lives than our
parents had, and we are having to find ways of developing new skills
to manage ourselves and tell our stories in this uncertain and turbulent
world so that we can lead fulfilling and ultimately satisfying lives.

This chapter describes key themes that support leaders to find answers
to these dilemmas.

The volume of education continues to increase, yet so do pollution,
exhaustion of resources, and the dangers of ecological catastrophe. If still
more education is to save us, it would have to be education of a different
kind: an education that takes us into the depth of things.

E F Schumacher (1973)


In his dense but highly readable short book, Liquid Times, Professor of
Sociology Zygmunt Bauman (2007) suggests five sources of uncertainty
in today’s world that he says are leading us to be more fearful and ‘self-
focused’ as individuals:

1 Social forms – the institutions, businesses and other organized
entities that limit individual choice and guard behaviour – are not

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


expected to keep their shape for long, and are unlikely to solidify
before re-forming – so can no longer serve as fundamental frames
of reference for human actions.

2 Power and politics are becoming separate. Newly emancipated
global power bases are calling the shots while increasingly irrelevant
local politics is left impotent in the face of people’s real life problems.
Local politicians are now abandoning the functions they traditionally
performed, leaving these to market forces.

3 Individuals feel increasingly vulnerable to the vagaries of the
markets. The reduction of the welfare state’s care for individuals
in tough times encourages competitive attitudes and downgrades
collaboration (unless it’s a temporary strategy for individual success).

4 The collapse of long-term thinking, planning and acting is leading to
a life experienced as a series of fragmented, possibly unrelated steps
or ‘projects’, where dropping old habits can be more important for
success than building on previous learnings.

5 The responsibility for making choices in this constantly changing
environment is put on the shoulders of individuals, who must take
risks beyond their capacity to comprehend and act, without any
authoritative advice.

Otto Scharmer (2007), slightly more optimistically, identifies the key shifts
in our global systems as follows, and says that our challenge in facing
up to these shifts is to find ways of co-creating the future:

• The rise of the global economy: downsizing, deregulation, corporate
restructuring, emerging technologies.

• The rise of the network society: globalization of governance, loss of
lifetime employment and social security, perpetual individualization.

• The rise of a new consciousness: the rise in number of NGOs, the rise
of the creative class, a spiritual revival.

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


Uncertainty, fear and loss of control

The difficulty with high levels of uncer-
tainty and instability is that they tend
to provoke increased levels of fear,
anxiety and a sense of loss of control in
everyone, no matter what their organ-
izational role is. This is particularly dif-

ficult for leaders, or others accountable for ‘delivering change’, because
at the same time, the presence of uncertainty and change increases the
requirement for people to let go of old habits and the old ‘way of things’
and to work closely and creatively together to find new ways forward.
These elements often feel extremely tricky for leaders to balance.

The business of letting go of the past is highly problematic and pro-
vokes fears in itself. Scharmer explains that if organizational leaders
are to find effective ways of leading through uncertainty, they must
understand the process of profound change and be able to overcome
their own resistances to letting go both of old ways of doing things and
of their ‘old selves’. A key resistance to letting go is what Scharmer calls
the ‘voice of fear’, which shows up for leaders in many ways, such as
fear of losing economic security, of being ostracized, of ridicule or even
of death, and can result in all sorts of strategies for pretending that
the uncertainty is not really there at all and there’s no need to let go of
anything! See box.


• Blame stakeholders/the CEO/others for not being decisive – and just
keep your head down and carry on without challenging or requesting
time to talk.

• Avoid your team and your key stakeholders and continue to pursue your
isolated agenda instead of developing a joint agenda.

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


• Invent a series of over-simplified projects that look like they are deliv-
ering something, without having a proper conversation with colleagues
about what they are supposed to achieve.

• Get as close to a senior stakeholder as possible and focus purely on
delivering what he/she wants, rather than understanding the key issues.

• Pack meeting agendas full of updates and reviews of things that have
already happened rather than creating spaces for discussion or ques-
tions about the big, concerning issues.

• Create artificial actions and/or rules and come down very hard on
anyone who transgresses.

Esther Cameron (2011)

Margaret Wheatley (2007) says that the fear leaders feel in times of uncer-
tainty is rooted in a sense of loss of control. She explains how Western
culture has at its heart a belief that mankind has within its grasp complete
dominion over physical matter. This is a belief that still has great hypnotic
power over us. As we start to see the limitations of this core belief through
observing the difficulties that even the most experienced leaders have in
leading through uncertainty, we begin to see the results of our own igno-
rance and to confront our true powerlessness. And as we do this, we tend
to become fearful for ourselves and try to control more. This is a familiar
pattern for leaders, which can lead to extremely stressful and potentially
destructive forms of leadership such as bullying when the leader projects
his or her own sense of inadequacy onto the team. See box.

I realized after the meeting that my anxiety had got the better of me. I just
‘went for’ a member of my team in open forum, just because he hadn’t
completed an action. I really humiliated him out of all proportion. And
afterwards, I could see this was really to do with my own anxiety about
the chaos and uncertainty the team was working in, and my inability to
manage things as brilliantly as usual.

A Senior Project Manager in the motor industry recognizes his anxieties

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


As touched on above, some leaders may decide to give up in the face of
uncertainty, ‘keep their heads down’ and ‘not make waves’. Robert
Quinn (1996) encourages us to resist the lure of being a powerless victim
or a passive observer in this uncertain world, as this type of detach-
ment erodes our sense of meaning and leaves us looking at the world
in superficial ways. He calls this a ‘slow death of the self’ and urges us
instead to make deep changes in ourselves – which might for instance
mean absorbing and role-modelling collaborative behaviours at a com-
pletely new level – and then bring that experience to the world. Quinn
says that this is not a new dilemma, but one that leaders are now facing
more often as the search for meaning and equilibrium is now more elu-
sive than ever before.

Quinn also warns that most of us build our identity on our knowledge
and competence, but that conversely, making a deep change – the type
of change that many leaders are now seeking in their organizations –
involves abandoning both and ‘walking naked into the land of uncer-
tainty’, which means taking significant risks and stepping outside
well-defined boundaries.

Blame, shame and disconnection

In times of great uncertainty, when leaders might be feeling somewhat
confused and ‘at sea’, it’s not only fear and a sense of loss of control that
leaders have to contend with. Feelings of inadequacy and shame can also
arise in the face of organizational or cultural pressure to appear ‘strong’
and ‘in possession of all the answers’. These can be extremely painful,
particularly in organizations where blame is habitually used as a way
of dealing with mistakes, ie the guilty are sought out and named and
swingeing decisions are made as a result.

Shame is an extremely uncomfortable and power-
ful feeling. Kaufman (1989) describes it as ‘an inner
torment … a sickness of the soul. Shame is a wound
felt from the inside, dividing us from both ourselves
and from one another.’ Often experienced as a defi-
ciency in comparison with others, through shame we
feel a failure in our own eyes and those of others.

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


When experiencing this type of private shame, a leader’s instinct is
often to disconnect from others, possibly by blaming them, and to keep
any feelings of ‘stuckness’, confusion or not knowing hidden, even
though these are typical sensations and to be expected in uncertain and
complex contexts. In this frame of mind, it can be almost impossible for
leaders to reach out for help, or to experiment with new, risky ways of
behaving, as seeking help is experienced as yet another sign of weakness
or inadequacy.

However, the negative impact of shame in organizational settings can
be reduced, suggests Cavicchia (2008), if leaders adopt a less ‘reductionist’
or ‘blame-centred’ approach to problem solving and decision making –
which inevitably pits individuals against each other – and instead develop
a more multi-layered, systemically-wise approach to understanding how
things happen in complex settings. This allows everyone to play their
part well, and no one individual to be named as ‘to blame’.

Creativity, energy and personal development

It’s important to note that uncertainty brings upsides as well as down-
sides. Uncertainty in organizations, given the right leadership and con-
text, can also give rise to great creativity, energy and personal development.

In Chapter 4, we referred to William Bridges’ concept of the ‘neutral
zone’ as a place in between an ending and a beginning in an organiza-
tional change process, where people may become disoriented. Bridges
(1991) describes this as a different and potentially creative phase where
experiments can happen, and people can become innovative and enthu-
siastic, given the right focus. Bridges advocates creating temporary systems
and structures during this time, setting short-term goals, strengthening
the skills people need to get through and not promising high levels of
productivity. Creativity can be boosted by stepping back and asking
key questions about the way things are done. It can also be boosted by
supporting the rebuilding of connections between people and acknowl-
edging that business as usual often deadens creativity.

This view is somewhat echoed by Day (2007), whose field research study-
ing people’s reactions to uncertainty and change in an organizational
setting revealed a range of responses, from feelings of disorientation, to

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


increased political activity, to painful emotions such as hostility, anger
and fear, and also increased levels of creativity and enthusiasm. In all
the organizations studied there were individuals and groups who were
energized and excited about the change ahead. Where people were
actively engaged in particular change challenges, there was evidence of
creativity and innovation, and individuals were ‘experimenting with new
ways of working and enthusiastically applying their ideas in their work’.
These individuals also reported that the challenges they were address-
ing were stretching their capabilities and, while they experienced their
contexts as ‘difficult’ or ‘demanding’, they were able to point to their own
‘development and growth’.

So it seems that where leaders offer temporary structures, high levels
of support, clear short-range goals and some easing of the pressure to
deliver business as usual, creativity can flourish and good work gets

New organizational forms and ways of
doing business

In Bauman’s list of sources of instability he mentions that our organiza-
tions and institutions are in great flux. They are not expected to keep
their shape for long and are unlikely to solidify before they begin to
re-form. So what types of organizational forms are now emerging,
how do they differ from traditional organizations and how do they actu-
ally work?

It is clear that there are new organizational forms emerging due to
extreme competition, growing amounts of uncertainty in the global
economy, unpredictable effects of global ‘incidents’, increasing impor-
tance of information, communication and technology, and the rise of
social networking.

According to Child and McGrath (2001), these new forms share a set
of features that contrast with the more traditional and familiar hierarchi-
cal, bureaucratic types of organizations. In Table 11.1, the differences
are set out.

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


Table 11.1 Common features of new organizational forms

Hierarchical New Organizational

Goal setting Top-down Decentralized

Power Concentrated Distributed

Size of units Large Small

Leadership function Control, monitoring Guidance, conflict

Vision Dictated Emergent

Structure Formal hierarchy Team and work-group

Primary unit of

Firm Network

Boundaries Durable, clearly set Permeable, fuzzy

Objective Reliability,


Regulation Vertical Horizontal

Assets Linked to particular

Independent of unit,

Role definition Specialized, clear Fuzzy, general

Uncertainty Try to absorb Try to adapt

Rights and duties Permanent Impermanent

Integrity Rule-based Relationship-based

Motivation Efficiency Innovation

Source: Child and McGrath, 2001

Two new types of organizational form that have attracted much interest
from business people and academics over recent years are ambidextrous
organizations and emergent organizations.

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


Ambidextrous organizations, as described by O’Reilly and Tushman (2004),
separate their new ‘exploratory’ units from their traditional ‘exploitative’
ones, allowing different processes, structure and cultures, but maintain-
ing tight links across these units at a senior level. This means that senior
executives must develop the ability to understand and be sensitive to
two different ways of operating. They must embrace both the rigorous
cost-cutter and the free-thinking entrepreneur, and be able to be objective
enough about both to make trade-offs between the two. In their later
paper, O’Reilly and Tushman (2007) say that senior managers must also
articulate a clear strategic intent that justifies the ambidextrous form as
necessary for long-term survival and effectiveness. This is echoed by
Bryson et al (2008), who examine the possibilities of and barriers to ambi-
dexterity in public organizations, and conclude that effective strategic
leadership is one of the strongest prerequisites for effective management
of organizational dexterity.

It’s important to add that research carried out by O’Reilly and Tushman
indicates that companies using ambidextrous structures are nine times
more likely to create breakthrough products and processes than those
using other organizational structures – while sustaining or even improv-
ing their existing businesses.

Emergent organizations develop in the same way that living systems do.
They evolve naturally and are not consciously directed, are extraordin-
arily decentralized and exist as open or boundary-less structures that
shape themselves as they go. All features of the emergent organization
such as decision processes, social relationships, meaning and culture are
products of constant social negotiation and consensus building.

The rapid evolution of social networks and the accompanying growth
in size, speed and utility of the internet have opened up all sorts of

possibilities for emergence. The development of
user communities, information communities and
social communities has created new possibilities
for businesses and new types of business models
via Google, eBay, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

Examples of emergent, decentralized organi-
zations are Wikipedia (see box), Grokster and
YouTube. Brafman and Beckstrom’s book The

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


Starfish and the Spider (2006) explores the implications of the rise of such
organizations. They use the analogy of the starfish which, in contrast to
the spider, has a decentralized neural system that permits regeneration.
The authors also explore the concept of the ‘sweet spot’; an optimal mix
of centralized and decentralized attributes.

Jimmy Wales, co-founder and promoter of on-line encyclopaedia
Wikipedia talks about his emergent organization’s growth:

The New York Times website is a huge, enormous corporate operation
with … I have no idea how many, hundreds of employees. We have exactly
one employee, and that employee is our lead software developer. And
he’s only been our employee since January 2005, all the other growth was
before that. So the servers are managed by a rag-tag band of volunteers,
all the editing is done by volunteers.

And the way that we’re organized is not like any traditional organization
you can imagine. People are always asking, ‘Well, who’s in charge of
this?’ or ’Who does that?’ And the answer is: anybody who wants to pitch
in. It’s a very unusual and chaotic thing. We’ve got over 90 servers now in
three locations. These are managed by volunteer system administrators
who are online. I can go online any time of the day or night and see eight
to 10 people waiting for me to ask a question or something, anything
about the servers. You could never afford to do this in a company. You
could never afford to have a standby crew of people 24 hours a day and
do what we’re doing at Wikipedia.

Brafman and Beckstrom list the capabilities and behaviours required by
those ‘catalysts’ skilled at creating decentralized organizations. Perhaps
we could see this as a new, emerging form of leadership:

• Genuine interest in others.

• Numerous loose connections rather than a small number of close

• Skill at social mapping.

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


• Desire to help everyone they meet.

• The ability to help people help themselves by listening and under-
standing, rather than giving advice (‘Meet people where they

• Emotional intelligence.

• Trust in others and in the decentralized network.

• Inspiration (to others).

• Tolerance for ambiguity.

• A hands-off approach. Catalysts do not interfere with, or try to control
the behaviour of the contributing members of the decentralized

• Ability to let go. After building up a decentralized organization, cata-
lysts move on rather than trying to take control.

New careers and the need for ‘managing oneself’

It isn’t just leaders who are experiencing the challenges of rising levels
of uncertainty and instability in the world. Changes in the way organ-
izations are being set up, the types of jobs available and the emergence
of new career patterns mean that the onus is increasingly on indi-
viduals to manage their own career paths, rather than rely on employers
to do so.

The new careers of the 21st century are very different from the
‘corporate climb’ that people dreamed of until quite recently. Careers
today tend to be more turbulent and lacking in stability, involving
changes in employer, increased numbers of horizontal rather than verti-
cal moves, changes in location and even changes in core occupation,
although there is evidence that traditional one-company career paths
still do exist.

Reitmann and Schneer (2008) say that the expectation within US organ-
izations is that the employee will manage his or her own career, choosing
companies that provide the right opportunities. They also note that the

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


organization’s role in managing the employee’s career has become
unclear, but suggest that companies that develop a reputation for helping
employees to determine their best possible career path – inside or outside
the organization – should end up with the best employees. They also
say that organizations may need to accept that good workers may go
elsewhere to gain new skills, and would be wise to leave the door open
for employees to return.

What does it mean to manage your own career? Managing oneself
means knowing oneself well, says Peter Drucker (1999). This means
cultivating a deep understanding of yourself – not only what your
strengths and weaknesses are – but also how you learn, how you work
with others, what your values are, and where you can make the greatest
contribution. He urges people to resist trying to change themselves, but
rather to improve the way they perform and to avoid taking on work
that they will not be able to do well. He also urges people to find organi-
zations that match their values, or at least are compatible enough for
them not to get frustrated and demotivated.

The short-term nature of many projects and jobs in the 21st century
means that individuals need to be able to answer Drucker’s question:
‘Where and how can I achieve results that make a difference within the
next year and a half?’ They also need to understand their colleagues
well, spotting their strengths, ways of working and values, and take
responsibility for finding out what others are doing and how they are

There is criticism of some organizations for failing to support em-
ployees in adapting to these new self-managed career paths. Recent
research on ‘career resilience’ by The Career Innovation Group (www. in association with Creative Metier (www. indicates that constant change has left many em-
ployees in a ‘career vacuum’. It seems that most organizations have not
linked their strategic goals with practical support to help people to adapt
to new skill and work requirements. The research cites some examples
of ‘excellence’ where organizations are supporting their workers to
equip themselves to thrive amidst constant change. They highlight three
things that an organization can do:

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


1 Communicate today’s realistic ‘career deals’ and provide a new kind
of roadmap for careers.

2 Help everyone (not just top talent) to be resilient in their careers.
That means blending online tools with encouragement to build their
support network.

3 Support managers to develop their people. Career conversations
are a vital way to raise engagement, and doing this regularly can
build a resilient, change-ready workforce.


One of the most crucial and difficult tasks for leaders
in uncertain times is decision making. When the
goal posts are constantly shifting and changing, how
is it possible to make good, confident decisions about
what markets to target, what resources to commit,
where to cut costs and what type of skills to develop
to help you get there?

In this section we look at different ways of appro-
aching the decision-making process according to the

Q 11.1 What effects do you notice that increased uncertainty and inst-

ability in the world are having on:

• your life and the way you lead it?

• an organization you know well and the way leaders are lead-
ing it?

• your local community and how people are contributing to it?

Q 11.2 What might support those in the above situations, who appear to
be fearful or anxious, to be able to focus on what needs to be
done and contribute more effectively and responsibly?

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times



Is business like poker, a game of skill with a twist of luck … or is business
a game of pure skill where, armed with the right information and the right
‘laws’ of management it is possible to manage your future success?

… to be able to make confident predictions about the future, the
manager needs to be both managing in a world where causes have
predictable effects, and where management theories have the status of
scientific laws

… neither is the case.
(Blake, 2008)

context. We explore both the lure of decisiveness and the difficulties of
dithering, particularly in the political context, and investigate the impact
of personality type on our ability to make good decisions. We also explain
how leaders might benefit from acknowledging that regret is a healthy
part of the decision-making process.

Decision making and poker games

In his slim but informative book, The Art of Decisions: How to manage in an
uncertain world, Chris Blake (2008) takes an extremely pragmatic view of
how leaders need to learn to operate in an uncertain world. He notices
our increasingly futile attempts as leaders to manage uncertainty, and
says we can learn a lot from poker players who have to make quick,
important and skilled judgements under conditions of uncertainty. Poker
players refer to a ‘bad beat’, which is when you are odds on to win but
the cards turn against you. They dust themselves down, take stock, put
it down to luck, and carry on.

Blake says that of course a recipe exists for making the perfect decision,
but it’s not practical when you are in the thick of intense business stress
and pressure because it can take endless resource and a great deal of time
to research something so thoroughly. Here’s the recipe:

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


• Know what you want – your goal.

• Identify all the alternative courses of action.

• Gather the information you need and then deduce all of the conse-
quences of each course of action.

• Select the course of action that best meets your goals.

Blake says that in business, just as in a poker game, time and resources
are limited. You can’t make the perfect decision and it can be counter-
productive to try. At some point, you have to stop searching and start
deciding – and this means using your intuition and judgement. He warns
that leaders shouldn’t be surprised if their goals change. They are never
simple and the process of deciding will help you uncover goals that
may not have been explicit. His top tip is to sample at least a third of the
field before committing to the ‘best you have seen’.


In one global financial services company, senior level investment/
resource decisions are made on the basis of two slides only, presented
by a senior executive at the monthly meeting, within a strict 20-minute slot
for discussion. The presenter must produce evidence that he or she has
had off-line conversations with key stakeholders and secured their
buy-in. A decision is made by the CEO there and then.

A framework for decision making

Recent practical research into decision-making patterns indicates that wise
executives tailor their decision-making approach to the type of situation
being faced. Snowden and Boone (2007) advocate a decision-making

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


framework that distinguishes between four different contexts. They
suggest a different leadership response for each context and alert leaders
to danger signals and potential inappropriate reactions:

• The first is the simple context, characterized by stability and clear cause
and effect relationships. An example of this would be a mistake made
in connection with a payment process, such as the customer paying
the wrong amount. This requires straightforward management and
monitoring. Leaders assess the facts of the situation, categorize them
and then respond based on previous experience. Possible pitfall:
mistaking a complex problem for a simple one.

• The second is the complicated context, which may contain multiple
right answers, and tends to require expertise to analyse the facts and
recommend the best response. An example of this is choosing an
IT system for a specific purpose. Possible pitfall: getting stuck in the
analysis phase.

• The third is the complex context in which there are no right answers,
although instructive patterns may emerge through experimentation.
Leaders are required to patiently allow the path forward to reveal
itself through increased levels of interaction and communication and
by using methods that generate ideas. An example of this is the
problem of setting prices in volatile and changing market conditions.
Possible pitfalls: desire for acceleration or falling back into command
and control.

• The fourth is the chaotic context in which only turbulence exists and
searching for the right answers would be pointless. Leaders are
required to act quickly to restore enough order. An example of this is
a flood in the office or a power cut. Possible pitfalls: leaders apply a
command and control approach longer than needed, and can become
legendary in their capacity to turn things around and protected by
some followers from the truth.

Snowden and Boone say that in a time of increased uncertainty leaders
will be called upon to act against their instincts. Faced with a wide variety

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


of decision-making scenarios they will need to be able to change leader-
ship style flexibly – knowing when to share power and when to wield it
alone, when to look at the wisdom of the group and when to take their
own counsel, when to use expert advice and when to open things up
for discussion.

In our experience, due to the anxiety connected with the feeling of
not knowing the answer, leaders often find themselves mistaking a com-
plex context for a complicated context, and trying to solve unknown
issues with so-called expert advice. A typical example of this is the setting
up of a programme office to drive forward, monitor and control a series
of discrete ‘change projects’. At best, with the necessary discussion and
high-quality interaction, this can catalyse healthy, productive activity.
At worst this approach consumes much expert project management
resources and leadership attention, but there’s a sense of ticking boxes
and ‘going through the motions’ rather than making real, fundamental

The lure of decisiveness and the difficulties of dithering

The quality of decisiveness, ie bold and timely decision making, is seen by
many in the UK and the United States as an extremely attractive leader-
ship quality, particularly in our political leaders, and particularly in times
of uncertainty. Decisiveness is seen as strong, and it’s polar opposite,
dithering, is seen as weak. Sometimes it’s as if we prefer to see our leaders
deciding something – anything at all – rather than being seen to dither.

A recent example of this concerns President Barack Obama and the
public’s shifting view of his capacity to lead on military decisions. Many
criticized his apparent dithering over the issue of whether to send more
troops to Afghanistan in 2009 (see box), but when US special forces shot
dead Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad in 2011, his bold decisiveness was
celebrated. Stephen Hess, one of the United States’ most respected com-
mentators on the White House, said that this would change the dynamics
of US politics: ‘It’s going to be very hard for Republicans to use any more
that label of weak and indecisive.’

At the time of writing, Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition gov-
ernment in the UK is also being criticized for its poor decision making, in

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


this case for a series of policy ‘u-turns’ ranging from the trivial to the sig-
nificant. Cameron’s supporters see these moves as government respon-
siveness and courageous, up-front honesty. Others interpret them as
incompetence and the sign of a government losing its grip.

This societal bias towards decisiveness makes it extremely difficult for
leaders in highly uncertain or complex environments to make good,
timely decisions in the right way. Leaders need to be able to resist caving
in to external pressure to decide something prematurely. They might
need to first hear the views of other stakeholders, or to take a small action
and wait and observe how things work out. It’s also difficult, when the
spotlight is on you, to know exactly when to stop considering and con-
sulting and observing and to get on and decide. For some, the anticipated
pain of the ‘u-turn’ or ‘getting it wrong’ justifies endless delays. Hence
the lure of dithering!

The general call for decisive leadership may also place organizational
leaders under pressure to decide things on behalf of their teams rather


Only 17 percent of Americans saw President Barack Obama as a strong
and decisive military leader according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken after
the United States and its allies began bombing Libya in 2011.

Nearly half of those polled view Obama as a cautious and consultative
commander-in-chief and more than a third see him as indecisive in military

Obama was widely criticized in 2009 for his months-long consultations
with senior aides and military chiefs on whether to send more troops to
Afghanistan. Critics called it dithering, but he said such a big decision
required careful deliberation. He eventually dispatched 30,000 more troops.

But Obama is facing mounting discontent among opposition Republicans
and from within his own Democratic Party over the fuzzy aims of the
US-led mission in Libya and the lack of a clearly spelled out exit strategy
for US forces.

Reuters report, March 2011, pre-Abbottabad

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


than to allow people to struggle in productive ways, and then perhaps
make mistakes and learn or innovate. This is yet another complication
for leaders facing uncertainty. They need to identify which elements of
the work that they can and must be clear and decisive about, and in
which parts it makes more sense for others to find their way. This can be
seen as ‘drawing a line in the sand’ to indicate ‘here’s where I’m clear and
there’s no discussion, and here’s where I need you to engage and work
things out’. See the skill of ‘framing’ later in this chapter.

Similarly, in today’s flatter, more matrix-oriented organizations, deci-
sion making is complex and demands an ever-widening range of skills.
Leaders need to find ways of working with peers and/or stakeholders,
over whom they have no clear authority and possibly with whom they
have no clear agreement, in a shifting and uncertain context. They also
need to develop strong, clear partnerships based on joint goals, despite
temptations to either work out a decisive individual strategy and set
about ‘strongly influencing’ others to play along, or to stay out of partner-
ship altogether for fear of the unmanageable complexity that might need
to be confronted.

Decision making and personality

What makes a good decision maker? How is it possible, in times of uncer-
tainty, to:

• Recognize the type of decision in front of you and respond

• Walk the precarious tightrope between knee-jerk decisiveness and
the paralysis of too much analysis and discussion?

• Come up with a sufficiently good decision?

Is personality type a key factor in being able to do this well? Do some
personality types make better decision makers than others and, if so,
what are they able to do that others might learn from? Research into this
topic has used the Myers Briggs Type Indicator™ (MBTI™) as a basis
for looking at the impact of personality type on decision making success
(see Chapter 1 for more information on the MBTI™).

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


According to Jung, whose theory of personality underpins the Myers
Briggs Type Indicator™, every individual has a set of personality prefer-
ences in the way they take in information and come to conclusions. The
theory says that every individual acquires data to make a decision using
two methods – sensing and intuition, with a preference for one method
over the other. A sensing (S) individual prefers hard data and ‘here and
now’ specifics, while an intuitive individual (N) prefers to look at possi-
bilities and patterns, and ‘what might be’. Similarly, every individual,
after acquiring the data to make a decision, comes to a conclusion using
two methods – thinking and feeling, with a preference for one method
over the other. Thinking (T) stresses logical and formal reasoning, while
feeling (F) considers the decision in personal terms, and relates to the
values of those affected.

Research undertaken by Paul Nutt (1993) indicates that leaders who
have access to all four modes of understanding associated with decision
making (S, N, T and F) are likely to be more successful decision makers
over the longer term, and more immune to the distractions of uncertainty
and ambiguity. Nutt’s research indicates that organizational success may
be influenced by the style of the organization’s top executives. When
making strategic choices in a context of high ambiguity and uncertainty,
the top level decision maker who has a balanced perspective that stems
from good quality access to S, N, T and F modes of understanding is
more apt to seek change and transformation, thus enabling the organiza-
tion to thrive. His research shows that this fully flexible decision-making
style is rare, appearing in only 7.9 per cent of top executives in the study,
and no middle managers. Over-use of the data-processing modes of sens-
ing (S) and thinking (T) were linked to conservatism and lack of risk
taking, and therefore lack of tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty.

Patricia Hedges (1993) offers helpful tips for those trying to develop
their ‘shadow’ modes of understanding, ie the modes of understanding
that are not their first preference; see Table 11.2.

Learning to deal with regret

In this section we’ve been looking at approaches that support leaders
to make good decisions in times of uncertainty. However, the whole

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


mindset we use when making a deci-
sion is important too.

We’ve observed that leadership time
is often devoted to coming up with
the ‘successful strategy’, the ‘brilliant
decision’, or the ‘best practice approach’,

as if it were possible in every given context to come up with the ‘right’
solution. The assumption is that if the right solution is found, and the

Table 11.2 How to develop ‘shadow’ modes of understanding

sensing for
intuitives (S)

intuition for
sensers (N)

thinking for
feelers (T)

feeling for
thinkers (F)

Try to improve
your eye for
detail. You
might compare
what you notice
with an ‘S’

If you have a
‘hunch’ see if
you can follow
it up and take
notice of it.

See if you can
stand outside and
watch a situation
instead of feeling
involved in it.

disagreeing with
people, be sure
to consider their
opinions and
points of view.

Accept that
methods for
doing things
generally work.

When studying
try to see the
thing as a

Even if it means
disagreeing with
someone, stick to
your beliefs and

Find ways of
giving specific
appreciation to
others by
praising them

Good ideas
may come to
nothing if you
fail to take
small and
precise details
into account.

Try doing a job
in an unusual
way. It may not
work, but you
are likely to

Try to be less
concerned in the
circumstances that
occur. Many of
these may not
really involve you.

Try to develop
some close
relationships and
be willing to
spend time and
nurturing them.

Source: adapted from Hedges (1993)

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


right level of commitment is applied, this will be followed by harmonious
patterns, correct actions, brilliant outcomes and all other solutions will
have been proved wrong. This assumption leads to ‘righteousness’,
which Nevis (1998) says is one of the great barriers to organizational
change, and labels it the ‘enemy of regret’.


Once the decision was made to reorganize, senior leaders became
weirdly evangelistic about the new matrix stricture. Rather than being
open to the problems it was throwing up and willing to co-create solu-
tions, they just blamed the middle managers for not being able to make
it work.

I had to go to the lengths of commissioning consultants to audit the
effectiveness of the new structure and feed back the findings before they
would really listen and begin to understand their part in making this work.

HR Director

Why is regret important in leadership? Every strategy or policy carries
with it some benefit and some cost, so leaders make choices between
imperfect solutions, thus rejecting some options that have benefits, and
selecting an option that has some costs. Nevis suggests that if leaders are
aware and accepting of this, they experience the joy and the sadness of
making the decision, and any regrets are acknowledged and felt in that
moment. This makes them better, more effective leaders in an uncertain,
pluralistic environment. If not, this leads to righteous adherence to a
particular choice, and increases the possibility that defensive projections
such as blaming others and seeing alternatives or changes in approach
as ‘wrong’ will take place.

When a leader takes action out of righteousness, the action stands out
as being forceful and provocative in nature, which is qualitatively differ-
ent from a grounded and well-supported decision. Righteousness is

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


more brittle; leaders with a righteous attitude about a particular decision
are likely to be anxiously defensive about it.

Nevis refers to major business decisions as ‘big acts’, such as significant
reductions in workforce, mergers and acquisitions, etc, which leaders
often feel they have to carry out in a righteous manner, perhaps because
they have such huge consequences and are often heavily contested by
others. The question is whether, after a ‘big act’, any kind of learning
can take place as these actions unfold, ie does any new awareness emerge
that might lead to a reshaping of the original assumptions, or does right-
eousness prevent this from happening? See the box for an example of
Horta-Osório’s initial righteousness, followed by a little trace of regret.


António Horta-Osório stamped his mark on Lloyds Banking Group on
Thursday, cutting 15,000 jobs and pledging to revitalize the Halifax brand
in an effort to help taxpayers make a profit on their £20bn investment in
the bailed-out bank.

The Portuguese-born banker, who was lured from Spanish bank
Santander, was at first unrepentant about the scale of the job cuts
although later admitted: ‘I do regret that we have to do this. I would prefer
to put this bank back on its feet without reducing staff.’

But, he insisted the cuts were essential. ‘We have to do this. This bank
has lost money, it’s losing money this year on an after-tax basis.

‘We have to get this bank back on to its feet to support the UK economy
and we have to pay taxpayers’ money back,’ he said.

The Guardian, June 2011

In an uncertain and complex world, those with a tendency towards right-
eousness and ‘big acts’ would be wise to consider other options. They
may give up ‘big acts’ altogether and instead, through greater awareness,
select smaller actions from which yet further awareness may unfold. For
instance, a difficult situation might build up over time, culminating in

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


a big leadership act such as laying off large numbers of staff. However,
with greater awareness, smaller actions might have been chosen during
the build up, such as reducing people’s salaries, and greater learning
may have emerged and a better result been achieved in the long run.
See the box for an example of this from KPMG.


Professional services firm KPMG is seeking to change the terms and
conditions of staff employment contracts in case it needs to reduce the
paid working week or send workers on sabbatical.

The groundbreaking HR initiative is designed to allow KPMG to request
that employees who agree to the change can be required to work a four-
day week or take between four and 12 weeks’ sabbatical at 30 per cent of
their pay.

Rachel Campbell, Head of People at KPMG, said that the scheme,
called Flexible Futures, was introduced to ensure ‘maximum flexibility to
respond proactively and positively to any change in the market’.

The proposed change to the terms and conditions will last for 18
months, and the maximum salary loss in one year will be capped at
20 per cent. The firm will continue to provide full benefits throughout that

KPMG is the first of the ‘big four’ global accountancy firms to ask staff
to cut back their hours, in the hope of staving off redundancies. The move
follows 300 voluntary redundancies at rival firm Deloitte as a result of
slower demand for services across the sector. A spokeswoman there said
there were currently no plans for further redundancies or to put in place
measures such as short-time working.

People Management, 29 January 2009

Another possibility is for leaders to find ways of being more open to
changes of approach following a ‘big act’. This means keeping a close
watch on progress following their decision, being prepared to listen to
feedback, and staying open to the possibility of changing tack in some

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________



A change leadership pathway

In uncertain times, linear models of the change process such as Kotter’s
eight steps (see Chapter 3) don’t serve leaders particularly well. They
tend to imply a predictable sequence of events in which vision and strat-
egy can be decided up front, leading to a plan that sets out key measures,
which then dictates front-line activities. Models of the change process
that acknowledge uncertainty and complexity and enable leaders to find
their way through transition, dealing with whatever emerges as they go,
are significantly harder to find.

One of the authors, as part of her recent consulting work in support
of more emergent forms of change, has co-developed a useful pathway
for guiding leaders through the change process. This is not intended to
be a programmatic solution to modelling the stages of change, but rather
a loose, organic guide – with potentially overlapping stages – that is
used to support leaders who are facing considerable change (see

The key stages of this pathway (see Figure 11.1) are:

Q 11.3 Think of a major decision that you had to make recently. Reflect

on the way you made the decision and identify which of the
four modes of understanding you used to make that decision
(sensing, intuition, thinking and/or feeling). If you used one or
two modes less, explain how you might improve your modes of
understanding and therefore your decision-making.

Q 11.4 Identify a ‘big act’ that a senior manager initiated in your organiza-
tion recently (see Nevis’s definition above). How might this have
been approached as a series of smaller actions and what impact,
positive or negative, might this have had on the organization in
the long term?

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


• Deepening Commitment: leaders work with their teams and stake-
holders to develop a deep sense of purpose that will guide their
collective intent through the process of change. This might involve
top team away-days, sharing ambitions and concerns, identifying
critical success factors and key obstacles and mapping out the journey

• Aligning Strategy: a compelling vision and high-level plan are agreed
that are clear enough to elicit interest, but not so detailed that others
can’t engage with them and play their part. This might involve naming
the ‘top five’ strategic priorities in an attractive, engaging way.

• Focusing Action: leaders focus on connecting key people and agendas,
both internally and externally, communicating constantly and inspir-
ing through words. This might involve an interactive launch event, or
some lively, engaging cascades.

• Growing Capability: people in key roles are supported to step up
through skill-building exercises and coaching. High performing teams

Aligning Strategy

Focusing Action

Clarifying Progress


Growing Capability

Figure 11.1 The change leadership pathway

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


are developed. This might involve one-to-one development conver-
sations, targeted skill-boosting sessions and tailor-made teambuilding

• Clarifying Progress: results are measured simply and elegantly,
successes and difficulties are clarified, and new processes are imple-
mented with increased vigour. This might involve rigorous review
processes, careful tracking of progress, increased focus on accounta-
bility and leaders role-modelling accountability-taking.

Skills for leading through uncertainty

In today’s climate of urgency, high stakes and uncertainty, the traditional
leadership skills of analytical problem solving, crisp decision making,
immaculate forward planning and the articulation of a clear direction
are no longer as useful as they were, and can in fact get in the way of

New leadership skills and practices are required. In this section we set
out the top five skills that we find ourselves, in our consultancy roles, sup-
porting leaders to develop as they step up to the challenges of leading
significant change.

Presence and ‘deep listening’

The concept of ‘presence’, and the notion that it is a fundamental leader-
ship skill, was introduced to the business world by Senge et al (2005) in
the book of the same name. The authors see presence as a core capacity
for leaders faced with uncertainty. They say it involves ‘deep listening’,
which means being open beyond our preconceptions and historical ways
of making sense. This allows leaders to operate from a deeper sense of
purpose. It also means letting go of old identities and the need to control
– two of the very things that are so difficult to let go of in times of change
and uncertainty.

At a basic level, presence means being alert and aware to whatever is
happening right here and now, with the fundamental belief that the
whole is entirely present in any of its parts so it’s always worth paying
attention! A difficulty with this principle for many leaders begins with the

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


challenge of truly listening and this begins with noticing how you are
listening now. As others talk, we tend to experience feelings and reac-
tions, which come in a flood of images and perceptions triggered by our
memories of and anxieties about whoever is talking and whatever they
are talking about. Learning how to be ‘present’ involves being able to
allow these inner voices and thoughts to arrive, not get too caught up in
them, and to somehow quieten the mind, to allow for the possibility that
something new or fresh might arrive. This is quite difficult for most of us,
so a leader has reached quite an advanced state of maturity when he
or she is able to do it well.

A first step is to practise listening in a non-anxious way. This means
slowing down and being much more aware of your thinking and listen-
ing. It also means heading into the difficult areas – for you and for the
speaker/s – using open questions and keeping an open heart. The chal-
lenge is to look for evidence that disconfirms your point of view rather
than just confirms it, and to really try to understand and hear what
others’ perceptions are, no matter how irritating or off-the-mark they
seem to be. The principle here is that once you understand how others
have formulated their perceptions and how they are reacting, you will
have a richer sense of what’s going on with any change process, and it
will ultimately make your next change leadership move much clearer.

The importance of ‘framing’

When there is much uncertainty around and there
are many significant changes to be made, the leader-
ship skill of ‘framing’ becomes extremely important.
This is a guiding rather than a controlling way of
leading, so is well-adapted to times of uncertainty.
When a leader is ‘framing,’ he or she defines a clear
context or operating space for others to step into.
This can mean painting a picture that illustrates the
change destination and holding this frame clearly and consistently so that
others can engage with it and ‘fill it in’. It can also mean setting out the
broad phases of change and key milestones so that others can get a sense
of how this process is going to feel.

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


It is important to note that recent research has demonstrated that the
use of ‘framing’ is strongly correlated with success in most change con-
texts (Rowland and Higgs, 2008). However it’s an element of leading that
is often absent from change management training programmes, and
hasn’t made it into common parlance yet!

This skill also embraces the ability to communicate immediate goals,
purpose and vision in an engaging way, let people know how things are
unfolding and nurture a clear organizational or team identity and culture.

Framing skills are particularly helpful when there’s a great deal of
uncertainty swirling around. When teams have a sense of what they’re
there to do, and a sense of who they are, this gives people a ‘place to
stand’ and a way of anchoring decisions and next steps. Thus leaders who


The MD of a distribution business found a way of framing the challenge
ahead for his sales team that transformed their level of engagement.

He was concerned that some members of the team had become quite
demotivated and had got into the habit of promising much but delivering
little. Even though the market was tough, he knew that they were missing
opportunities and sensed that they had the ability do much better.

At the opening of the Sales Department’s two-day conference, the MD
slowly and carefully told them the story of the last six months, setting out
the figures and telling them about the conversations he was having with
his boss, and being clear – but not alarmist – about the concerns this was
raising at higher levels about the future of the organization. His presenta-
tion culminated in the phrase: ‘So you see my jam tomorrow story is
wearing a bit thin now, and so is yours.’ He then expressed his support
for the measures his Sales Director was putting in place to help improve
performance and urged the team to bring their best to the two days.

This well thought-through piece of framing helped the team to under-
stand and take responsibility for their results and the impact this was
having on the whole business, and to engage more fully in tackling the
challenges ahead.

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


can help organizations to develop their sense of purpose and identity are
very useful in uncertain times.

In times of flux and therefore increased anxiety, leaders need to
increase their use of framing skills in their regular group and individual
meetings with team members and stakeholders. This means introducing
the purpose and context of meetings with much more care than usual,
and ensuring that meeting agendas are particularly well-managed. This
may mean something as simple as re-framing the session if an important
topic overruns. When people are anxious, they need help from leaders in
understanding what’s important for them to focus on and what’s not.
Framing also means sticking to regular meetings and one-to-ones rather
than cancelling them and collapsing into a chaotic, unpredictable meet-
ings schedule, which simply leads to more anxiety.

There is also much off-line, informal framing work to be done by lead-
ers in the midst of a change process. For instance, when people involved
with a change are seeing an issue in an unhelpful way, leaders may
need to re-frame the issue so that people are more able to approach it
constructively. Similarly, when significant obstacles to change do arise,
the leader needs to take responsibility for framing these obstacles so that
people can see and understand the issues and begin to test out and agree
possible ways forward.

Developing the capacity to ‘contain’

The constant requirement to deliver change in
uncertain times is a highly stressful business for
leaders. They must absorb pressure and anxiety
from their boss, make imperfect decisions that can
feel risky and ‘out of control’, listen to and respond to the anxieties and
worries of those around them, and deal with their own emotional ups
and downs. To lead well within this swirling cocktail of emotions, leaders
need to become skilled at ‘containing’.

In the psychodynamic world, ‘containment’ means providing a hold-
ing environment where anxieties can be safely worked through and
processed in a healthy way. For leaders, this means being confident
and calm even in challenging situations, and having an ability to make

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


difficult conversations ‘ok’. It also means practising high-quality dialogue
skills such as advocacy and inquiry (Isaacs, 1999), particularly in a group
or team setting. In times of uncertainty and change, it’s particularly valu-
able to give people the opportunity to air problems and express worries
in a safe, well-bounded environment, rather than let them leak out in
other ways. Some leaders feel tempted to suppress this kind of conversa-
tion, perhaps to give the impression that everything is ‘under control’.

Containing also means being clear with people about priorities,
explaining exactly what you can and can’t do about an issue and being
clear about when significant issues will be resolved. It also involves being
disciplined in recognizing and managing your own emotions and, if nec-
essary, channelling your frustrations into ‘tough conversations’ with the
appropriate people rather than letting them spill over into grumbling,
or cynicism, or other destructive activities.


A large utilities company was facing the possibility of a significant merger,
but much had still to be explored and decided before the merger could
go ahead. This was provoking all sorts of anxieties and concerns in the
80-strong extended leadership team about how to make key decisions,
whether to recruit, what to tell staff, etc.

At the regular quarterly leadership conference the MD made a point of
putting aside two hours for questions about the merger. He let the group
know, ‘I will answer all your questions as honestly as I can. Some ques-
tions I won’t be able to answer, but I’ll tell you why not. For your part, you
need to ensure that when I say something is confidential that it stays in
this room. We have two hours together today, and I am more than happy
to stay beyond that if there are still questions that need answering.’

In this way he provided a container or holding space for his extended
team to have their worries heard and acknowledged and their questions
answered. This session lowered the levels of anxiety in the room, built
trust, and helped leaders to decide what their focus needed to be over
the coming weeks.

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


A difficulty for leaders who are required to develop containing skills is
that it is remarkably hard to do this when you are feeling anxious your-
self! This is why it’s absolutely crucial that leaders of change develop their
own container to support themselves as they work through or let go
of their own anxieties, which may be considerable. This means finding
ways of acknowledging and perhaps skillfully sharing these anxieties
and emotions rather than suppressing them.

All the successful senior change leaders we have worked with over the
years have developed ways of regularly switching off from work and let-
ting go of leadership activity. It seems that this is one of the most funda-
mental keys to being a successful leader of significant change. They have
all found ways to create peaceful spaces for themselves that allow good-
quality processing of anxieties, doubts and ideas. This might involve gar-
dening, cycling, walking, running, yoga, meditation or, in one case,
mucking out cows (see box). Whatever it is, it tends to be a regular, highly
valued, well-guarded space.


A Marketing Director with a high pressure, highly stressful job in a global
FMCG company found a unique way of regularly processing her own
emotions. Every Friday evening, after a week of global travelling and
high-powered meetings, she would come home to the farm that her
husband owned and ran, and he would tell her to get her wellies on and
give her an unpleasant, mucky job to do, like cleaning out the cow shed.
She said she really relished this time, as somehow when she pulled her
boots on and trudged out into the mud – often in the dark – all the pres-
sures of the week would subside, complex issues would swirl and settle,
and insights would begin to emerge in an almost effortless way.

(see Chapter 5 for more explanation of ‘containing from the Change
Agent perspective).

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


Negative capability

When decisions are complex and there is pres-
sure for pace and delivery, leaders often find
themselves driving progress and trying to dem-
onstrate achievement, even if it may be more
effective to create space for further thinking and
struggling, and to wait patiently for a solution
to emerge. It can be very difficult for leaders to

decide whether to deliberately hold off from active intervention or to
‘get stuck in’ more actively.

‘Negative capability’ can be described as the ability to receptively sup-
port teams and individuals to continue to think and struggle in challeng-
ing situations, by holding or ‘containing’ a situation or context. ‘Positive
capability’ is the more familiar face of leadership, which features decisive,
active interventions based on knowing. In a paper on emergent change,
Robertson (2005) describes negative capability as the negating of habitual
patterns of pressured action. This ‘negating’ allows the creative process its
own rhythm and prevents premature closure. He goes on to say that
negative capability is a combination of the ability to resist the inappropri-
ate pressure for solution and the capacity to hold the creative tension. He
warns it takes considerable skill for a leader to remain detached enough
to know not only how but also when to act, especially when there is a
great deal of focus on the bottom line. It’s important to note that it’s not
just the boss, colleagues or stakeholders who pile on the pressure – lead-
ers may also be putting a lot of pressure on themselves to perform.

Practising self-care

Long, drawn-out change processes tend to
cause stress in many leaders and may ultim-
ately lead to burn-out. French (2001) refers to
the tendency for change to cause anxiety and
uncertainty, even if the ‘technical aspects’ such
as the change process itself and the required
roles and procedures are well managed. As a
result of these high levels of anxiety, French

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


notices that leaders have a tendency to ‘disperse’ energy into a range
of avoidance tactics to deflect themselves from their concerns about
the task, as opposed to staying with the issues and demonstrating the
capacity to contain.

This perhaps explains why many leaders sometimes seem to go into ‘hyper-
drive’, indulging in demonstrations of not very productive or thoughtful
‘positive capability’ (see above) and then eventually burning out. Containing,
also mentioned above, is an excellent antidote to this. By becoming their
own containers, leaders can find ways of looking after themselves well.

Senge et al (2005) cites the ancient idea that ‘with power comes
wisdom’, and says that to become a leader in the 21st century one needs
to be dedicated to developing a capacity for delayed gratification, seeing
longer-term effects of actions and achieving quietness of mind. This really
means getting involved in quiet, dedicated, personal work, possibly
involving practices such as meditation or tai-chi, which many leaders
are unfamiliar with and might see as rather alien. Others, however, are
becoming more interested in this type of development and how it might
support them to be more peaceful, compassionate and strong in their
work and in their personal lives.

At a much more basic level, things such as getting enough sleep, taking
regular exercise, eating healthily, avoiding too much alcohol, as well as
finding time to connect with the unchanging aspects of your life that
really matter to you such as family, music, community, etc are all impor-
tant in enabling leaders to take care of themselves and support them-
selves through times of stress, change and uncertainty.

Q 11.5 Interview five senior leaders in your organization (or observe

them from afar if that’s easier) and find out how they might mark
themselves out of 10 on each of the above five skills for leading
through uncertainty. What conclusions do you draw about the
type of development needed to support these leaders as they
tackle the challenges ahead of them?

Q 11.6 And how would you rate yourself? What development might you

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________



The impact of uncertainty on our working lives:

• We are leading more fragmented lives and living in a world that has
more instability and uncertainty than ever before. The current sources
of uncertainty and shifts in our global systems being experienced
are leading us to be more fearful about our future and possibly more

• Even though high levels of uncertainty provoke fear, anxiety and a
sense of loss, those in leadership positions must face their own fears
and find ways to enable people in their organizations to co-create
new ways forward, and to let go of old habits and identities.

• Less blame-centred approaches to problem solving and a more multi-
layered way of understanding how things happen in organizations
will support leaders in feeling less ashamed about ‘not knowing
all the answers’ and being more able to either reach out for help or
experiment with new, more connected ways of behaving.

• Uncertainty and change can also provoke active engagement, enthu-
siasm and highly creative responses from people. This appears to
happen when there is a temporary structure accompanied by short-
term goals.

• New organizational forms are emerging in this highly uncertain and
extremely competitive context, including ‘ambidextrous’ and ‘emer-
gent’ organizations. Ambidextrous organizations survive by sepa-
rating their ‘exploratory’ units from their ‘exploitative’ ones, and need
senior managers who can lead strategically and understand both
sides. ‘Emergent’ organizations evolve naturally, are not consciously
directed and are catalysed by those skilled at creating decentralized

• In the 21st century people are expected to manage their own careers
by cultivating a deep understanding of themselves and by working

______________________________________________ Leading change in uncertain times


on improving their own performance. There is criticism that some
organizations are not supporting employees enough to adapt to
this new era.

Decision making in an uncertain world:

• Decision making can be seen, like poker, as a game of skill with a twist
of luck, rather than an exact science.

• Snowden and Boone (2007) offer a framework to help leaders to iden-
tify the decision making context and select the right approach.

• In the United States and the UK, decisiveness is associated with leader-
ship strength and dithering is seen as weak. Political leaders are more
often criticized for dithering and ‘u-turns’ than they are for making
clear decisions. A balance needs to be struck between sensing,
analysing, discussing and ‘getting on and deciding’.

• Leaders also need to be clear about which decisions they need to
make themselves and which it is important for their teams to
struggle with. In a matrix organization, some decision making may
be better done in partnership with stakeholders rather than in

• Research by Nutt (1993) indicates that successful top executives
include all four Myers Briggs modes of understanding in their
decision-making style. This appears to help them to overcome the
distractions of ambiguity and uncertainty.

• Leaders make choices between imperfect solutions and need to
accept this. Righteous adherence to a particular choice leads to inflex-
ibility, blaming and a lack of learning. Learning to experience the
joy and sadness – and regret – of decision making helps leaders to
be more effective in an uncertain, pluralistic environment. This may
also mean either giving up ‘big acts’ and choosing smaller actions
that lead to greater learning and a more successful outcome, or being
more open to a change of tack following a ‘big act’.

Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________


Skills and tools to support leading change through uncertainty

• The change leadership pathway ( is
a loose, organic guide to support leaders facing complex change
challenges. The key stages are:

– deepening commitment;

– aligning strategy;

– focusing action;

– growing capability;

– clarifying progress.

• Five important skills for leading change through uncertainty are

– Presence and ‘deep listening’: being alert to whatever is happening
here and now, and truly listening.

– Framing: defining a clear context or operating space for others to
step into.

– Containing: being confident and non-anxious even in challenging
situations and providing a bounded space for others to air their
anxieties, both one-to-one and in group settings; developing
a container ‘within’ to process own anxieties.

– Negative capability: being able to resist the urge to act, or drive self
or others to come up with a quick solution, and instead to hold the
creative tension.

– Practising self-care: looking after oneself physically and mentally,
being one’s own ‘container’ and developing deeper skills that
enable a quietening of the mind.


So what did we set out to do, and what did we achieve here? We wanted
to write a book that allowed leaders of all persuasions to dip into the rich
casket of theory on change, and to come out with their own jewels of
learning. We most of all wanted to help to create the time and space for
people to reflect on the changes facing them in the past, now and in the
future by making the theory accessible, asking the right questions and
providing practical glimpses of our experiences. We hope all of this will
stimulate new thoughts and new connections and would urge you to
get in touch if you’d like to exchange views.

And having come this far together we would like to leave you with
a Sufi tale:

Two sides of a river
Nasrudin sat on a river bank
when someone shouted to him
from the opposite side:
‘Hey! How do I get across?’
‘You are across!’ Nasrudin shouted back.


Emerging inquiries ___________________________________________________________




We are interested in hearing from you if you have enjoyed the book or if
you have any suggestions or ideas that would improve it. Please send
your thoughts to us via the contact details below. Since the first edition
we have heard from many people around the world offering us their
experiences and their ideas – as well as sending gratefully received appre-
ciation for our endeavours. So thank you and please do stay in touch!


We have made strenuous efforts to get in touch with and acknowledge
those responsible for the ideas and theories contained in this book.
However, we realize that we may have unintentionally neglected to men-
tion some people. If you are aware of any piece of work contained here
that has not been properly credited, please do let us know so that we can
make amends in future editions of this book.

Coaching and consultancy

If you would like any information about our coaching and consultancy
work in connection with managing change and leadership development,
we would be delighted to hear from you.

E-mail: [email protected]

E-mail: [email protected]


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NB: page numbers in italic indicate figures or tables
NB: ‘food for thought’ and ‘stop and think exercises’ have their own

index entries

activists 20 – 21, 22
Adams, J 30, 39
Airtouch 299
American Association of

Humanistic Psychology 45
anxiety 16, 18, 34, 54, 133, 136, 145,

191, 216, 239, 241, 319–20, 324,
327, 420, 434, 447–48, 450, 452

learning 62, 63 – 64
neurotic 47
optimum range of 243
reducing learning 64
survival 62 – 64
survival vs learning 68

Argyris, C 233, 234 – 35
The Art of Decisions:

How to manage in
an uncertain world 431

Ashkenas, R N 311, 317, 318

Bailey, D E 71
Balogun, J 203, 220, 253
Bandler, R 31
Barthel, E 79
Bass 161
Basset, T 214
Batten, D and planned change

120, 124 – 25, 148


Index ______________________________________________________________________


Bauman, Z 418
and sources of instability 424

Beck, A 29 – 30
Beckhard, R F 120, 128 – 30, 128,

149, 267, 361
change formula 120, 128, 267,

Beckstrom, R 426 – 27
Beekman, G 381, 382

and PROGRESS methodology
383, 383

behavioural approach to
change 22 – 28, 24

classical conditioning
(Pavlov) 23

motivation and behaviour
26 – 27, 27, 28

reinforcement strategies for
25 – 26

financial 25
non-financial 25 – 26
social 26

Belbin, M 95, 98 – 100, 105 – 06,
293, 295

team roles 220
team types 98 – 99, 99, 100, 106

belief system theory 30
Bell, D 273
Bennis, W 70, 156, 157 – 58, 158,

193, 194, 195 – 96, 197, 199
Berry, L 337
Bion, W R 87, 88, 92 – 93, 220, 241
Blake, C 431 – 32
Block, P 205 – 06, 207, 212, 234,

248 – 50, 253, 375
Boone, M 432 – 33, 453

Boonstra, J 251 – 52
Bowlby, J 241
Brafman, O 426 – 27
Bridges, W (and) 134 – 38, 140

endings and beginnings 135,
135 – 38, 149, 189 – 92, 321

managing integration phase

managing the transition 120,

neutral zone 135 – 38, 149, 189,
190 – 91, 199, 321, 349, 423

Briggs, K 56
Brown, J 410
Brown, S L 78
Bruner, G 349, 350
Brunning, H 214
Bryman, A 161
Bryson, J 425
Buber, M 49
Buchanan, D 16
Bullock, R J and planned

change 120, 124 – 25, 148
Burns, T 116
business process re-engineering

(BPR) 378 – 80, 380, 390
Buus, I 79

Caldwell, R 202, 203, 204, 205, 252
Calvino, I (La Citta Invisibili) 417
Cameron, D 435
Cameron, E 174, 181, 182, 183,

184, 185 – 86, 185, 198 – 99,
224, 225, 253, 421

Capra, F 397
Carey, D 304, 308 – 11, 315

______________________________________________________________________ Index


Carnall, C A 138 – 40
change management model

120, 138 – 40, 139, 149
and managing transitions 139,

139 – 40
Carr, N G 388

and new rules for IT management
388 – 89

case studies see also cultural
change case studies

for PROGRESS approach:
a county planning
office 384 – 85

of success: Ispat 305
Casey, D 72 – 73
Cash Jr, J I 367
Cavicchia, S 423
’cessation’ as definition of

presence 413
Champy, J 378
change see also individual subject

entries; leading change and
team change

approaches to 4 – 6, 5
behavioural approach to

change 22 – 28
cognitive approach to

change 28 – 36
formula (Beckhard and

Harris) 267
humanistic psychology

approach to change 45 – 56
learning and process of

change 16 – 22
managing see managing

change in self and others

and personality 56 – 58 see also
personality and change

psychodynamic approach to
change 36 – 45

change agents, possible issues
for 233 – 52, 254

creating the holding environment
240 – 43, 245, 244 – 45

flawless consulting 248 – 50
overcoming organizational

defences 234 – 35
self as instrument: psychology

and psychoanalysis
235 – 40, 236, 240

supervision and shadow
consultancy 245 – 48

change agents 201 – 54 see also
Caldwell and models

competencies of 226, 229 – 30,
227 – 29, 231, 253 – 54

and the consulting process
205 – 08, 207, 208 – 12

deeper aspects for see change
agents, possible issues for
233 – 52

frameworks for 253
and implications /different roles

of leaders and agents
232 – 33

internal and external 212,
214 – 15, 213 – 14

and models of change agency
202–03, 205, 203, 204,

roles: expert, extra pair of hands,
collaborative 205 – 06

Index ______________________________________________________________________


tools and frameworks
facilitating 215 – 26

individual change 216 – 18,
217 – 18

organizational change
220 – 25, 221, 223, 224, 225

team change 219 – 20
change curve (Adams, Hayes and

Hopson) 39, 39
Chang Tzu 412
Chartered Institute of Personnel

and Development
(CIPD, UK) 262 – 63

Cheung-Judge, L M-Y 207, 212,
238, 239

Child, J 424, 425
Chodron, P 416
cognitive approach to change

(and) 28 – 36, 394
achieving results 30 – 31, 31
belief system theory 30
cognitive therapy 29 – 30
drawback of 35 – 36
making sense of results 32
rational-emotive therapy 29
setting goals 31 – 32
techniques for change

see cognitive techniques
cognitive techniques 33 – 35

affirmations 33
anchoring and resource states

34 – 35
detachment 34
pattern breaking 34
positive listings 33
rational analysis 35

reframing 34
visualizations 33

Cohen, S G 71
Collins, J C 357
Collins, T 159 – 60

congruence model 120, 130 – 34,

Colvin, G 301, 304
communication 84
complex change (and) 393 – 415

cognitive psychology 394
complexity science applied to

organizational change
395 – 405, 397

attractors 400 – 401, 401
feedback 404 – 05
forms of communicating 402
polarities and management of

paradox 403 – 04, 404
power relations 402
rules of interaction 400
self-organization and

emergence 399 – 400
role of leaders in 411 – 14
tools supporting 405 – 11

dialogue 406 – 07
future search 409 – 10
open space technology,

its Principles and Law

storytelling 405 – 06
whole system work 407
World Café Community

Foundation 410 – 11
and when is change complex?

394 – 95

______________________________________________________________________ Index


conflict 56, 84, 93, 309, 312, 315,
324, 346, 347, 408 – 09

Conner, D 171
Covey, S 195 – 96, 197, 199

and seven habits and
endowments 196, 197

Crosby, L 338
cultural change 334 – 61

see also cultural change
case studies

guidelines for successful 338–41
cultural change case studies

341 – 61
aligning the organization

341 – 48, 344
creating an employer

brand 356 – 61, 358, 361
and six brand values 359 – 60

rebranding the organization
348 – 55, 350, 351

Cummings, T G 207, 212,
226, 229

Czander, W 238

Dark Night of the Soul 42
Davenport, T H 366, 368, 380,

386 – 87
Day, A 423
de Caluwé, L 229 – 30, 231, 253
de Vries, K 233
decision-making in an uncertain

world (and) 430 – 42
’big acts’ 440 – 41, 453
dealing with regret 437–40, 453
decision-making and personality

436 – 37, 438

decisiveness and dithering
434 – 36, 453

framework for 432 – 34
learning from poker games

431 – 32, 453
recipe for 432
righteousness 439 – 40, 453

defining events 44
definition of

act of consulting 248 – 49
behaviour 66
internal marketing 337
learning 16, 20
presence – cessation 413
psychoanalysis (Freud) 236
six employer brand values

358, 359 – 60
supervision (Hawkins and

Smith) 245
Dent, E 396, 397, 405, 414
Devine, M 307, 312, 315 – 16, 319

checklist for line managers
327 – 28

dialogue 415
Drucker, P 429

Egan, G 233
Eisenhardt, K M 78
Eisold, K 238
Ellis, A 29
emotional competencies

13, 177, 179 – 82, 197
see also Goleman, D

and HayGroup’s Emotional
Competence Inventory

Index ______________________________________________________________________


emotional intelligence 56, 174–75,
177, 180, 198, 239, 247, 248,
428 see also Goleman, D

Erikson, 193, 194
Evans, P 4

Faris, M 88
Fayol, H 113
Feldmann, M L 304, 310, 315, 317

achieving results 31
Beckhard’s formula 128
brand wheel for employer

brand 358
change curve 39
change curve comparisons 327
change kaleidoscope 221
congruence model (Nadler and

Tushman) 131
critical points in the change

process 43
cultural dimensions

(Tromenaars and
Hampden-Turner) 314

cycle of change 127
endings and beginnings

(Bridges) 135
financial service quadrants 361
the five leadership qualities

183, 184
force field analysis (Lewin)

Gestalt cycle 53
individual change,

four approaches to 16
IT roll-out process 374

IT strategic grid 367
Kolb’s learning cycle 20
learning dip 17
Lewin’s three-step model 266
management interventions

through the change process

managing transitions
(Carnall) 139

map of relationship flows
(Wasmer and Bruner) 350

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Noer’s four-level redundancy
intervention model 287

organizational cultures (1) 224
organizational cultures (2) 225
process of change and

adjustment 37
PROGRESS methodology for

process improvement 383
responding to change, five

factors in 60
restructuring, a generic

approach to 268
Satir’s model 41
search for a hero-CEO 169
segmentation of financial

services customers 351
six key points from case study

(aligning the organization)

the socio-technical design
process 382

three dimensions of leadership 5
three-step model (Lewin) 122

______________________________________________________________________ Index


typical BPR approach 380
unconscious competence 19

Flawless Consulting 248
Flowers, B S 414
food for thought on

cognitive approach:
non-achievement of
results 32

and Heraclitus 15
and reflection 32
individual change 15, 21
studying the experience of being

in a group 91 – 92
writing on change 21

Freud, S 47, 236, 237
French, R 450
future search 415

Gandhi, M 163
Gardner, H 162 – 63, 198
Gaughan, P A 298 – 99, 300
Gelicher 128
General Electric (GE) 300

Pathfinder Model 317, 318
George Washington

University 396
Gestalt therapy 18, 52 – 55, 53

and stages in managerial
decision-making 55

Glaser, C 82, 83, 84, 219
Glaser, R 82, 83, 84, 219
Gleick, J 400
globalization 1, 79

of governance 429
of operations 364

Goffee, R 224, 224, 253

Goleman, D (and) 174 – 78,
180 – 82, 193

emotional competencies 197
emotional intelligence 56,

174 – 75, 177, 197, 198
and self-awareness 180 – 81

six leadership styles 175 – 78,
178, 184, 198, 340

Gorbachev, M 164
Gordon, J 101 – 02
Green, M 31, 58, 81, 174, 182,

183, 184, 185 – 86, 185,
198 – 99, 205, 216, 233, 247

Greene, J 337
Grieger, R 29
Griffin, E 49
Grinder, J 31
Grokster 426
Gruner, L 88

Hai, D M 335
Hammer, M 378
Hampden-Turner, C 314, 314,

Hanafin, J 239 – 40, 240
Harris, R T 120, 128 – 29, 149

change formula 120, 128, 267
Harvard Business Review 304, 311,

Hawkins, P 245 – 46
Hayes, J 39, 39
Healing the Wounds 285
Hedges, P 437, 438
Heifetz, R 163 – 64, 198, 241 – 42,

Henrik, R 29, 30

Index ______________________________________________________________________


Heraclitus 15
Herzberg, F 27 – 28, 28
Heskett, J 335
Hess, S 434
hierarchy of needs 47 – 49, 48

see also Maslow, A
Higgs, M 446
Hill, W F 88
Hillebrand, M 397
Holbeche, L S 207, 212
Honey, P 20
Hope Hailey, V 220, 253
Hopson, B 39, 39
Horta-Osório, A and Lloyds

Banking Group 440
Huczynski, A 16
Huffington 207, 212, 214
The Human Side of Enterprise 26
humanistic psychology approach

to change 45, 47 – 56, 46
Gestalt and Fritz Perls

see Gestalt therapy and
Perls, F

for managerial effectiveness and
competence 55 – 56

Maslow and hierarchy of
needs see Maslow, A

Rogers and personal growth
see Rogers, C and Rogers’
personal growth theory

impact of uncertainty on our
working lives 418 – 24,
452 – 53

blame, shame and disconnection
422 – 23

creativity, energy and personal
development 423 – 24

fear 420, 421
and five sources of uncertainty

418 – 19
and key shifts in global systems

pretence 420 – 21
uncertainty, fear and loss of

control 420
individual change 14 – 68, 16

see also change; learning and

schools of thought on 67 – 68
internal marketing 337
Isaacs, D 410
Isaacs, W 406 – 07

and MIT Dialogue Project
406 – 07

IT change managers, roles of
373 – 78, 374

collaborative 376 – 78
expert 375
pair of hands 376

IT management competencies
369 – 73

three-stage process for 373
IT process change, achieving

378 – 85 see also
case studies

with BPR 378 – 80, 380
with combination approach:

PROGRESS methodology
383 – 85, 383

with socio-technical design
381 – 83, 382

______________________________________________________________________ Index


IT-based process change
(and) 362 – 90

achieving 378 – 85 see also IT
process change, achieving

changing the information
culture 385 – 88

IT change managers 373 – 78
see also IT change managers,
roles of

IT management role 369 – 73
see also IT management

new age, new rules: spend less,
follow and focus 388 – 89

strategy and IT 365 – 69, 389 – 90
see also main entry

Jaworski, B 337, 414
Johnson, S 338
Jones, G 224, 224, 253
Jung, C 56, 237

and personality theory 437
see also Myers Briggs Type

Kahn, W A 242 – 43, 244 – 45
Kanter, R M 188 – 89, 199
Kaufman, G 422
Keidal, R 73
Kerr, S 65
King, Jr., M L 161, 162
King, M L 200
Klein, J 242
Klonsky, M 243
Kohli, A 337
Kolb, D 19 – 20, 20

Komansky, D 311
Konigswieser, R 397
Kotter, J 133, 148, 158, 166, 167,

187, 187, 197, 199, 335
eight steps model 120, 125 – 27,

329 – 30, 333
and his terminology 353

Kozlowski, D 308
Kubr, M 207
Kubler-Ross, E 36 – 40

curves 285, 326, 327, 332
model 36 – 40, 37, 321, 322 – 23

acceptance 39
additions to 39 – 40, 39 see also

Adams; Hayes and Hopson
anger 37 – 38
bargaining 38
denial 37
depression 38

Lacey, M 207, 207, 212, 214
LaFasto, F 82
Langton, G C 399
Larson, C 82
Latham, G P 82
Laurie, D 163 – 64, 198

emotional competencies for
179 – 80

executive 168, 169 – 70
inner life of 192, 199
local line 168, 169 – 70
network 168, 169 – 70
self-knowledge for 192 – 94, 194
seven habits for 196

see also Covey, S

Index ______________________________________________________________________


dispersed 168 – 69, 169
five qualities of 182, 183, 198–99
models for different phases of

change 184 – 92
inner and outer (Cameron and

Green) 185, 185 – 86, 198
Kotter’s eight steps 187, 187,

leading through transition/

ending phase (Bridges)
189 – 92

sustaining change process
(Kanter) 188 – 89, 199

paradoxes of 4
principle-centred 195 – 96, 199

see also Covey, S
roles 166, 168, 167, 171 – 73, 172,

styles see also leadership styles
success 161
transformational /transactional

161, 197
visionary 156 – 66, 197, 198

see also visionary leadership
Leadership and Personal

Development 79
leadership styles 174 – 82, 198

and emotional intelligence
177, 179

linked to business results
(Goleman) 175 – 82, 178

Leading Change 187
leading change 151 – 200 see also

leaders; leadership and
leadership styles

metaphors for 152, 154 – 56,
153 – 54

and self-knowledge/ inner
resources 192 – 97

leading change in uncertain
times 416 – 54 see also
individual subject entries

decision-making in an uncertain
world 430 – 42

impact of uncertainty on our
working lives 418 – 24, 452

new careers and ‘managing
oneself’ see new careers /
managing own careers

new organizational forms and
ways of doing business
424 – 28

skills and tools for leading
change through uncertainty
442 – 51

learning (and) 16 – 21, 17

18 – 19, 19

Kolb’s learning cycle 19 – 21, 20
legislation (UK) on conspiracy 11
legislation (US): Civil Rights Act

(1964) 161
Leschly, J 310
Lewin, K 61, 62, 120 – 23, 120, 148,

265 see also Schein
force-field analysis 63, 121, 121
three-step model 120 – 22, 120,

122, 266
line managers, checklist for

327– 28

______________________________________________________________________ Index


Linsky, M 241 – 42, 250
Lipman-Blumen, J 164 – 65, 198
Liquid Times 418
Locke, E A 82
Lorenz, K 400

McCaulley, M 96 – 97
McGrath, R 424, 425
McGregor, D 26, 27, 28

and Theory X 28
Making Sense of Leadership 182
’Making the deal real’ 311
management competence

56, 177
The Management of Innovation

managing change in self and

others (and) 58 – 66
facilitating change 64 – 66, 65
guidelines for 68
learning anxiety 64
propensity for change

60 – 61, 60
resistance to change 63 – 64
transformative change model

(Schein) 61 – 63 see also
Lewin, K

Managing on the Edge 134
Managing with Power: Politics and

influence in organizations 115
Mandela, N 164
Mandl, A 304
Marco Polo 417
Marconi 300
Martin Luther King 162
Maslow, A 47 – 49

and hierarchy of needs 47–49,

and self-actualization 48 – 49
Mayo, E 235
Mead, M 162, 163
merger and acquisition activity

(and) 298 – 304
comparisons of reasons

for 302 – 03
defensive measures 301
diversification 300
growth 299
integration for economic gain /

better services 301
pressure to do deals 301
six waves of 298 – 99

see also Gaughan, P A
synergy 299 – 30

mergers and acquisitions, change
theory guidelines for
319 – 31

handling appointment /exit
decisions 328

managing individuals 319 – 21,
322 – 23

managing the organization
328 – 30 see also Kotter
eight-steps model

managing the team (and)
321, 323 – 26, 333

beginnings 326
the ending phase 321, 323
transition from old to new

324, 325
managing yourself 326 – 28,

327, 333

Index ______________________________________________________________________


mergers and acquisitions,
learning points for
306 – 19, 332

avoiding ‘seven deadly sins’

constant communication
306 – 08

creating the right structure
309 – 10

cultural issues and gaps
310 – 15, 316, 314

action plan for 314
examples of 312 – 14
steps for bridging 311

keeping customers 315 – 16
use of clear overall process:

Pathfinder Model (GE)
317, 318

use of clear phased process 319
mergers and acquisitions (and)

297 – 333
change theory see mergers and

acquisitions, change theory
guidelines for

case study of success: Ispat

learning points for see mergers
and acquisitions, learning
points for

lessons from research
304–19, 332

merger and acquisition activity
see main entry

in the public sector 305, 308
trust 331

Merrill Lynch 311

Miles, R E 270
MIT Dialogue Project 406
Mitchell, S 136
model(s) 87 see also Kotter, J;

Kubler-Ross, E; Lewin, K;
organizational change
models and approaches;
redundancy model (Noer);
Satir, V; Schein, E and
team change model

of change agency 202 – 03, 205,
203, 204, 252 – 53

congruence 130 – 34, 131, 266
Pathfinder (GE) 317, 318

Modlin, H 88
Mohrman, S A 80
Molenaar, K 335
Morgan, G 70, 108 – 09, 111, 112,

113 – 14, 115 – 17, 120, 147,
253, 401

Mumford, A 20
Mumford, E 381, 382, 383, 383

and PROGRESS methodology
383, 383

Myers, I 56
Myers-Brigg Type Indicator™

(MBTI™) 16, 56 – 58, 59, 95,
97, 220, 293, 295, 436 – 37

individual types 61, 98
profile 105

Nadler, D A 120, 130 – 31, 131,
133, 140, 149, 266

congruence model 266
National Audit Office 319

______________________________________________________________________ Index


neutral zone 135 – 38, 149, 189,
190 – 91, 199, 321, 349, 423
see also Bridges, W

Nevis, E 53 – 55, 238, 239, 439 – 40
new careers/managing own

careers (and) 428 – 30
actions for organizations to

take 430
career resilience 429
career vacuums 429

new organizational forms and
ways of doing business
424 – 28, 425

ambidextrous 425, 426
emergent organizations 425,

426 – 27
capabilities and behaviours for

‘catalyst’ leaders 427 – 28
New York Times 195
Noer, D 285 – 89

redundancy model 286 – 89,
268, 287 see also redundancy
model (Noer)

Nutt, P 437, 453

Obama, B 434 – 35
Obholzer, A 92
O’Neill, M B 171 – 74, 198, 202,

and key roles for successful

change 171, 172, 173 – 74
On Death and Dying 36
’One more time: How do you

motivate employees?’
(Harvard Business Review,
1968) 27

open space technology 415
O’Reilly, C A 426
Organization Theory 270
organizational change 107 – 50

see also organizational
metaphors, organizations as

assumptions about 113, 114,
116, 117 – 18

enabling teams to address
290 – 91, 292 – 95, 296
see also restructuring

models of/approaches to
see organizational change
models and approaches

summary and conclusions
147 – 48, 148 – 49, 150

organizational change models and
approaches 119–47, 120,
121 see also individual
author entries

change formula (Beckhard and
Harris) 128, 128 – 30

change management
(Carnall) 120, 138 – 40, 139

complex responsive processes
(Stacey and Shaw) 145 – 47

congruence model (Nadler and
Tushman) 130 – 34, 131,

eight-steps (Kotter) 125–27, 127
managing the transition

(Bridges) 134 – 38, 135
planned change (Bullock and

Batten) 124 – 25
systemic model (Senge et al)

140 – 44

Index ______________________________________________________________________


three-step model (Lewin)
120 – 23, 121, 122

Organizational Culture and
Leadership 61

organizational metaphors,
organizations as 108 – 18,
110 – 11, 147 – 48

flux and transformation 117
key beliefs for 117
limitations of 118

machines 112 – 13
organisms 115 – 16

key beliefs for 115
limitations of 116

political systems 113 – 15
key beliefs for 114
limitations of 114 – 15

Osama Bin Laden 434
Owen, H 407 – 09, 411

paradoxes 145, 251
of leadership 4 – 5
management of 398, 403 – 04,

415 – 7
Parasuraman, A 337
Pascale, R 134
Pavlov, I 23
Perls, F 52 – 53
personality and change 56 – 68
personality type identification

56 – 58, 59, 61, 68, 218, 431,
436 see also Myers-Brigg
Type Indicator™ (MBTI™)

Pfeiffer, T 115
Pope John XXIII 162
Porras, J I 357

pragmatists 20 – 21, 22
Presence: Exploring profound change

in people, organizations and
society 413

Principle-Centred Leadership 195
Process Consultation 61
process engineering 394
Prochaska, J O 217, 218
project management 394
Prosci Benchmarking Report

81, 205
psychodynamic approach to

change 36 – 45
Kubler-Ross model 36–40, 37, 39

see also Kubler-Ross, E
research and key learnings on

43 – 44
Virginia Satir model 40 – 43,

41, 43 see also Satir, V and
Weinberg, G

Pugh, D S 270

Quackenbush, R 29
Quality Software Management

Volume 4: Anticipating
change 42 – 43

Quinn, J 255
Quinn, R E 224, 225, 253, 422

redundancy 285 – 89, 286, 287
redundancy model (Noer)

dealing with emotions 288
embedding the changes 289
focusing on the future 288
implementation process

286, 288

______________________________________________________________________ Index


Reengineering the Corporation:
A manifesto for business
revolution 378

reflectors 20 – 21, 22
Reitmann, R 428
research (on/by)

20th century leaders (Gardner)

career resilience (Career
Innovation Group) 429 – 30

change management team
(Green and Prosci) 81

conditioning 23
cooperation between diverse

groups (future search,
Weisbord 1992) 409

effective organizational change
(Whelan-Berry and
Gordon) 101 – 02

’framing’ in change contexts
(Rowland and Higgs) 446

gap between expectation and
reality (Wharton
Management School,
1996) 363

genuineness and congruence
(Rogers) 49 – 50

IT competencies (Sambamurthy
and Zmud) 372 – 73

and lack of research on
organizational change and
teamworking 101

leaders and decision-making
(Nutt, 1993) 437

leadership success/visionary
leadership 161, 162

learning preferences /styles
(Kolb) 20

organising for success in
the 21st century (CIPD)
262 – 63, 265 – 66

psychodynamic approach 44
qualities of outstanding sales

persons (Green) 31
redundancy (Noer) 288
relationship flows 349 – 50, 350
similarity and difference within

teams, advantages/
disadvantages (McCaulley)

successful psychotherapists
(Bandler and Grinder)
31 – 32

successful top executives and
Myers Briggs modes of
understanding (Nutt, 1993)

tackling cultural issues (Roffey
Park) 312 see also Devine

restructuring 261 – 96
enabling teams to address

organizational change
290 – 91, 292 – 95, 296

with four-stage team alignment
291, 291

process of see restructuring

reasons for 263 – 64
and redundancy

see redundancy
as theme for change 262

Index ______________________________________________________________________


restructuring process (and) 264–84
critical success factors 268 – 70
design options 270 – 71, 272 – 73
learning from previous projects/

best practice 276 – 77
machine metaphor 264 – 65
monitoring and review 284
project planning and

implementation 278 – 84
communication 280 – 82
constructive consultation 284
future direction and

strategy 280
implementation process 282
leadership 278 – 80
supporting mechanisms

282 – 83
risk assessment 271
risks of new structure 274 – 75

and in managing change 275
strategic review and reasons for

change 267 – 68, 268

Riding the Waves of Culture:
Understanding cultural
diversity in business 314

Roberts, V 92
Robertson, C 450
Roffey Park Management

Institute 307, 315, 319, 333
see also research

Rogers, C 49 – 52, 241
personal growth theory 49 – 52

empathic understanding 50

49 – 50

seven stages of change 50 – 51
unconditional positive

regard 50
and positive regard 219

Rokeach, M 30
Rowan, J 46, 47
Rowland, D 446
Rush, A J 30

St John of the Cross 42
Sambamurthy, V 370 – 72
SAP systems 357, 364
Satir, V 40 – 41, 216

model 40 – 44, 41, 289, 339
Sauer, C 370 – 72, 379 – 80
Scharmer, O (and) 413, 414,

419 – 20
key shifts in our global

systems 419 – 20
voice of fear 420

Schein, E 16, 62 – 64, 68, 70, 216,
218, 320, 335 – 36

and elaboration of Lewin’s
model 62

transformative change
model 61 – 63

Schneer, J A 428
Schumacher, E F 418
Schutz, W 88
Scott Peck, M 88, 92
Scoular, A 217
Segal, H 237
Selden, L 301, 304
self-actualization 48 – 49
self-management 179 – 81, 409,


______________________________________________________________________ Index


and self-managed team 74, 77,

Senge, P 140 – 44, 149, 168 – 71,
169, 198, 381, 397, 413, 414,
444, 451

systemic model 120
Shaw, P 120, 145 – 46, 149, 150,

399, 406, 407
Short, J E 380
skills and tools for leading change

through uncertainty
442 – 51

a change leadership
pathway 442 – 44, 443

containing /containment
447 – 49, 454

framing 445 – 47, 454
negative capability 449 – 50, 454
practising self-care 450 – 51, 454
presence and ‘deep

listening’ 444 – 45, 454
Skinner, B F 23
Sloan, A 162
Smith, N 245 – 46
SmithKline Beecham 310
Snow, C C 270
Snowden, D 432 – 33, 453
Spratt, M F 304, 310, 315, 317
Stacey, R D 91, 120, 145, 149, 400,

402, 405
Stalker, G M 116
The Starfish and the Spider 426 – 27
Stokes, J 92
stop and think exercises on

aspects of being a change agent

anxieties on learning new skills

behaviourist philosophy 27
benefits and limitations of

cognitive approach 35
’big acts’ 442
change and Satir / Weinberg

models 45
change agency models 202
change agency questions

251 – 52
change teams 82
complex change, self-organization

and managing paradoxes

consulting process, challenges
and cultural sensitivities

core purpose of leadership role
and organization 414

decision-making 442
effects of uncertainty and

instability in the world

Gestalt and managerial
thinking 55

Goleman’s leadership
styles 184

leading through uncertainty

leadership roles (O’Neill) 174
leadership strengths and

weaknesses 197
learning 22, 64
organizational change 118 – 19,

128, 144, 150, 192

Index ______________________________________________________________________


reactions to change using
Myers-Briggs quadrants 58

review of tables on consulting
process and internal /
external consultants 215

rewards, punishments and
change 24

team change 95
team effectiveness and

change 85
team roles 98
teams in personal and working

lives 72
using open space technology or

World Café 414
visionary leadership 166

storytelling 405 – 06, 415
strategic change process 256, 257,

essential characteristics of

259 – 60
Strategic Management and

Organisational Dynamics 91
strategy and IT 365 – 69, 389 – 90

developing guiding principles
for 368

enterprise architectures for 369
and IT strategic grid 366–67, 367

stress levels 84, 324
Sundstrom, E 70 – 71
surveys/studies on

Built to Last (Collins and Porras,
1994) 357

emotional intelligence and
management competence

frequency of company
reorganizations in the 1990s
in UK 262 – 63

20th and 21st century

organizations 167
adapted version of GE’s

Pathfinder Model 318
addressing team change during

restructuring 292 – 95
advantages and limitations

of different types of
organization structure
272 – 73

Belbin team-role summary sheet

change leadership pathway 443
change models – authors’

conclusions 148 – 49
change process, four different

approaches to 110 – 11
choices of intervention based on

nature of the cultural
change 223

common features of new
organizational forms 425

comparison of reasons for
embarking on a merger or
acquisition 302 – 03

complementarity and conflict in
teams 99

consulting process, stages of 207
consulting process and range of

knowledge, skills and
behaviours 208 – 12

______________________________________________________________________ Index


content of book 7
development stages and their

challenges 194
differences between groups and

teams 71
differences between internal

and external consultants
213 – 14

disclosed and undisclosed
feelings about redundancy

effective and ineffective teams

Goleman’s six leadership styles
(authors’ summary) 178

Herzberg’s motivating
factors 28

how attractors work in
organizations 401

how to develop ‘shadow’
modes of understanding

how to manage the development
of a merged team 325

individual and organization
short to long-term impact
of redundancy 286

Kahn’s dimensions of holding
behaviours 244 – 45

key strengths of Caldwell’s four
models and potential
concerns 204

knowledge and skill
requirements of organization
development practitioner
227 – 29

Kotter’s recommendation actions
for first four change steps

leadership linked to organizational
metaphors 153 – 54

leadership of change phase by
phase 185 – 86

managers and leaders 158
models of change and their

associated metaphors 120
models of change agency 203
moving from ‘either/or’ thinking

to embrace ‘polarity’
thinking 404

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™

paradigms and the necessary
knowledge, skills and
attitudes 231

principles of presence 240
psychoanalytic, behavioural,

cognitive and humanistic
approaches 46

psychoanalytic terms useful in
the change agent’s practice

questions for stages of change
217 – 18

representative interventions to
facilitate the change process

rewards and punishments 24
roles in a change process 172
stagers of merger/acquisition

process and how to manage
staff reactions 322 – 23

Index ______________________________________________________________________


team development, key
attributes in stages of 88

team types 75 – 76
teams going through

change 103 – 04
world view descriptors 397

Tales of the Hasidim 49
Tavistock Group / Institute of

Human Relations
381, 382

Taylor, F 113
team change (and) 69 – 106

checklist of key questions 106
effect of individuals on team

dynamics 95 – 101, 99
and Belbin’s team types

98 – 99, 100
using MBTI™ 95 – 98

Group Relations Conference
(Tavistock Institute) 91 – 92

groups and teams, differences
between 70 – 72 , 71

improving team effectiveness
82 – 85, 86

through interpersonal
relationships 84

through inter-team relations

by team mission planning /goal
setting 82 – 83

with team operating processes
83 – 84

with team roles 83
initiation of/adaptation to

organizational change
101 – 02, 103 – 04

leadership issues in 91 – 95
cohesion and cosiness 94
conflict 93
dependency 92 – 93
pairing and creativity 94
and unconscious group

processes 91 – 92
need for teams 72 – 73

see also team types
organizational teams 73 – 74
summary and conclusions

105 – 06
team development 85, 87,

89 – 91, 88, 324 see also team
change model

team change model
(Tuckman) 87 – 91, 324

adjourning 91
forming 87, 88
norming 90
performing 91
storming 89 – 90

team types 75 – 76
change 81
management 80 – 81
matrix 78 – 79
networked 80
parallel 77
project 77 – 78
self-managed 74, 76
virtual 79
work 74

Teligent 304
Thatcher, M 163
theorists 20 – 21, 22
Theory X 26, 28, 27

______________________________________________________________________ Index


Theory Y 26, 27
Thompson, J 273
Tolbert, M A R 239 – 40, 240
Townsend, A M 79
Trompenaars, F 314, 314

and mergers 331
in teams 84

Tuckman, B (and) 88, 89 – 90, 105,

forming, storming, norming and
performing process 332

model of team change 87
model of team development

70, 85, 87, 324
Turquet, P M 94
Tushman, M L 120, 130, 131, 133,

140, 149, 266, 426
congruence model 266

uncertainty see impact of
uncertainty on our working

Vermaak, H 229 – 30, 231, 253
visionary leadership 156 – 66, 197,

vs adaptive leadership 163 – 64
areas of focus for 158

characteristics of 157 – 58, 158,
199 see also Bennis, W

research on 161 – 62
vs search for meaning /

connections 164 – 66
Vodafone 299

Wales, J 427 see Wikipedia
Wasmer, D 349, 350
website World Café Community

410, 411

Weinberg, G 42 – 43, 289
and Virginia Satir model 43

Weisbord, M R 409
Wheatley, M 412, 421
Whelan-Berry, K 101 – 02
Whittaker, J 88
Wikipedia 426, 427
Winnicott, D 240, 241
World Café Community

Foundation 410 – 11, 414,

Worley, C G 207, 212, 226, 229

Yetton, P W 370 – 72, 379 – 80

Zmud, R W 370 – 72




Part One The underpinning theory
01 Individual change

02 Team change

03 Organizational change

04 Leading change

05 The change agent

Part Two The applications
06 Restructuring

07 Mergers and acquisitions

08 Cultural change

09 IT-based process change

Part Three Emerging inquiries
10 Complex change

11 Leading change in uncertain times
New organizational forms and ways of doing business
New careers and the need for ‘managing oneself’




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