MHR 650 Study Guide - Balanced Set, Learning Organization, Deinstitutionalisation
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Ch 12: Sustaining Change
Images of Managing Change and Sustaining Change
How Sustaining Change is Viewed
It is the responsibility of the change manager to design the change process and direct people to comply such
that the change objective is achieved as planned.
The change manager designs the change process so as to best fit the conditions faced, recognizing that
modifications will almost certainly need to be made en route and that the final outcome may not be as originally
To the extent to which intended outcomes are achieved, this is primarily the result of environmental factors, not
If intended outcomes are achieved, it is because the change manager has been successful in helping
organizational members develop within themselves the capabilities necessary for success.
The change manager plays a central role in the development of an understanding of the meaning of outcomes, in
particular with regard to what is taken as a successful resolution of the change process.
Change processes will have outcomes, but these are in continual state of flux and are largely out of the hands of
Actions to Sustain Change
A. Redesigning roles: This is a common outcome of change and is a sign that the change is of considerable importance.
- Beer, Eisenstat, and Spector argue that the more significant direction of causality is that both behaviour and attitudes are most influenced by
context of roles, relationships and responsibilities in which people find themselves
B. Redesign reward systems: reward systems form part of the culture and changing this is a way to directly influence the core values of the
- Rewards should include public recognition of those whose behaviours are consistent with the desired change; this both reinforces the
behaviour of the individual concerned and sense strong signals to others
- The opposite also applies: failure to act in the face of behaviour that is in direct opposition to the change undermines the credibility of the
C. Link selection decisions to change objectives: Selection criteria are symbols of whether new ideas and change are being encouraged.
- Selection of staff constitutes “one of the most subtle yet potent ways through which cultural assumptions get embedded and perpetuated
- As with the allocation of rewards, who gets appointed to key positions can have significant symbolic role in signaling whether the organization
is “for real" in regard to espoused change
D. Act consistently with advocated actions: This indicates the permanency of change through adopted practices and priorities.
- Organization members often wait for for signals from senior management that say “we mean it” (or “we don’t really mean it”)
- What is required is action, not just words
- Credible commitment: an action involving the allocation of resources to a project in such a way that to withdraw from the project would involve
a real cost to the organization. By so doing, it conveys to those affect by the change that the architects of the change are prepared tp “put their
money where their mouth is.”
E. Encourage “voluntary acts of initiative”: New practices that support the change should be encouraged as the norm at all levels of the
- Most effective senior managers specified the general direction in which they wished the company to move but left the details of specific changes
to be determined ”closer to the action,” that is lower down the organization
- Change was more likely to be embedded if those at the operational level were supported when they took action to develop the specific form of
the general initiative that they believed appropriate for their local circumstance
F. Measure progress: Measures are used as a means to quantify the progress of change and to provide achievable goals.
- Focus on measurement is important for two reasons
o Means of monitoring the progress of the change
o What gets measured is likely to have a significant impact on how people act
- At the very least, an organization should conduct a full scale assessment within six months of the initiation of major change activities and then
ever year thereafter. Recommended methods include
o Quantitative performance measures, attitudes surveys, focus groups, and individual interviews
- Two kinds of measure are helpful
o Results measures – how we will know what we’re there and that we have done it
o Process measures – how we will know we are doing the things all along that will get us to it or whether re-adjustments are in order
- Balanced set of performance measures will include
o Leading measures – those that show the immediate results of a new initiative such as changes in processing time or time to market for new
o Lagging measures – those such as financial performance and company image that take some time to become apparent
o Internal measures – focus on intra-organizational processes
o External measures – those that either give information on the perspective of stakeholders such as customers and suppliers or allow the
performance of an organization to be compared with that of it competitors
o Cost measures – directly financial
o Noncost measures – financial implications but are not themselves directly financial (eg market share and brand image)
G. Celebrate “en route”: It is encouraging for all involved in the change if short term wins are acknowledged and celebrated. This enhances the
credibility of the program.