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MHR 650 Lecture Notes - Force-Field Analysis, Team Dynamics, Appreciative Inquiry

Human Resources
Course Code
MHR 650
Frank Miller

of 2
Chapter 15: Organizational Change
Lewin’s Forcefield Analysis Model
- Force field analysis: Kurt Lewin’s model of system-wide change that helps change agents diagnose the forces that drive and restrain proposed
organizational change. There are two sides of the force field that represents:
o Driving forces pushes organization toward a new state of affairs (eg. New competitors or technologies, evolving workforce expectations,
or a host of other environmental changes)
o Restraining forces (aka. Resistance to change) maintain the status quo
- Unfreezing: the first part of the change process whereby the change agent produces disequilibrium between the driving and restraining forces
- Refreezing: the latter part of the change process in which systems and conditions are introduced and reinforce and maintain the desired
Why Employees Resist Change
- Direct costs people tend to block actions that result in higher direct costs or lower benefits than the existing situation
- Saving face resists change as a political strategy to “prove” that the decision is wrong or that the person encouraging change is competent
- Fear of the unknown worry that they cannot adjust to the new work requirements
- Breaking routines the need to bring in new knowledge and the need to unlearn
- Incongruent organizational systems rewards, information systems, patterns of authority, career paths, selection criteria, and other systems
and structures are both friends and foes of organizational change
- Incongruent team dynamics teams develop and enforce conformity to a set of norms that guide behaviour
Reducing the Restraining Forces
Six strategies to address the sources of employee resistance
When Applied
Customer complaint letters shown to
When employees dont feel an urgency
for change, or don’t know how the
change will affect them
Time-consuming and potentially costly
Employees learn how to work in teams
as company adopts a team based
When employees need to break old
routines and adopt new role patterns
Time-consuming and potentially costly
Company forms new task force to
recommend new customer service
When the change effort needs more
employee commitment, some employees
need to save face, and/or employee ideas
would improve decisions about the
change strategy
- Future search: system-wide group
sessions, usually lasting a few days, in
which participants identify trends and
identify ways to adapt to those changes
Very time-consuming. Might also lead to
conflict and poor decisions if employees’
interests are incompatible with
organizational needs
Employees attend sessions to discuss
their worries about the change
When communication, training, and
involvement do not sufficiently ease
employee worries
Time-consuming and potentially
expensive. Some methods may not
reduce stress for all employees
Employees agree to replace strict job
categories with multitasking in return
for increased job security
When employees will clearly lose
something of value from the change and
would not otherwise support the new
conditions. Also necessary when the
company must change quickly
May be expensive, particularly if other
employees want to negotiate their
support. Also tends to produce
compliance but not commitment to
Company president tells managers to
“get on board” the change or leave
When other strategies are ineffective and
the company needs to change quickly
Can lead to more subtle forms of
resistance, as well as long term
antagonism with change agent
Three Approaches to Organizational Change
1. Action Research Approach
- Action research: a problem-focused change process that combines action orientation (changing attitudes and behaviour) and research
orientation (testing theory through data collection and analysis)
- The main phases of action research process:
i. From client-consultant relationship consultants need to determine the client’s readiness for change, including whether people are
motivated to participate in the process, are open to meaningful change, and possess the abilities to complete the process
ii. Diagnose the need for change gather and analyze data about ongoing system, decide objectives
iii. Introduce intervention implement the desired incremental or quantum change
iv. Evaluate and stabilize change determine change effectiveness, refreeze new conditions
2. Appreciative inquiry approach
- Appreciative inquiry: an organizational change strategy that directs the group’s attention away from its own problems and focuses participants
on the group’s potential and positive elements
- The “Four-D” model of appreciative inquiry
i. Discovery identifying the best of “what is”
ii. Dreaming envisioning “what might be”
iii. Designing engaging in dialogue about “what should be”
iv. Delivering “developing objectives about “what will be”
3. Parallel Learning Structure Approach
- Parallel learning structures: high participative arrangements, composed of people from most levels of the organization who follow the action
research model to produce meaningful organizational change
Targets of Change
1. People and Culture
2. Structure
3. Technology
4. Work Processes and Tasks