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Change Management - Introduction

Author: Jim Riley  Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012

Change management is an important aspect of management that tries to ensure that a business responds to the environment in which it operates.

What is change management

There are four key features of change management:

  • Change is the result of dissatisfaction with present strategies
  • It is essential to develop a vision for a better alternative
  • Management have to develop strategies to implement change
  • There will be resistance to change

Many factors drive change in a business.  Lewin identified four forces:

In Lewin’s model there are forces driving change and forces restraining it. Where there is equilibrium between the two sets of forces there will be no change. In order for change to occur the driving force must exceed the restraining force
Lewin’s analysis can be used to:

  • Investigate the balance of power involved in an issue
  • Identify the key stakeholders on the issue
  • Identify opponents and allies
  • Identify how to influence the target groups

Forces for change include:

Lewin - four forces of change

Some examples of the forces that drive change include:

Internal forces

Desire to increase profitability
Reorganisation to increase efficiency
Conflict between departments
To change organisational culture

External forces

Customer demand
Cost of inputs
Legislation & taxes
Ethics & social values
Technological change

Step change versus incremental change

Change can also be defined in terms of the significance and speed of change. A common distinction is made between step change and incremental change.

Step change versus incremental change

Step change

  • Dramatic or radical change in one fell swoop
  • Radical alteration in the business
  • Gets it over with quickly
  • May require some coercion

Incremental change

  • Ongoing piecemeal change which takes place as part of an organisation’s evolution and development
  • Tends to more inclusive

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