It is obvious that there is not only one right way, but there is different ways of seeing. Then there can be better and worse ways compatible with the problem you stand in front of. In this case we identify one perspective Gunther had and how he approached his problem in the organization. What perspective that drove him forward and how he then tried to manage change. Continuously how he was able to see this problem in another perspective and how the consultant helped him to interpret the situation differently.
Gunthers first attempts of managing change
To identify what assumptions that changed Gunther we use the model; six images of change. These are different images for the manager to see the organization and themselves in different perspectives (Palmer & Dunford, 2009, p. 26). In the case “green mountain resort” the resort manager Gunther, believed a frightening problem for both the current situation but especially for the future was the high turnover.
He tried to manage this with different organizational changes and believed on a positive outcome. So he believed they already were on the edge of chaos and he had to take them out of there to get “better” (Palmer & Dunford, 2009, p. 40). In the article by (Weick and Quinn, 1999, p. 365-366) they label this form of thinking as episodic change. It is explained as a change that occurs in a distinct period because of a step away from its equilibrium. So in the beginning Gunther believes in a good outcome and is acting according to a change that is episodic
. I interpret the text as if he went through different stages and different change processes to reach an outcome in what he believed was positive. Gunther tried to control the changes and the outcome, which is linked to the thoughts of a director. A director also often makes a strategic choice to make the company survive which also Gunther did (Palmer & Dunford, 2009, p. 27). When you hit the bottom and look at things in a certain perspective it’s hard do see anything else. This is were the hospitality industry and the consultant comes in.
To look at things in a new perspective
The hospitality industry first opened up a new view were the “turnover was defined as chronic, always there, something to be endured” (Palmer & Dunford, 2009, p. 40). This brings us to the continuous view in (Weick and Quinn, 1999, p. 366). Where they underline a continuous view as constant and evolving. The hospitality industry believed in adapting to the current situation, more on a micro level. In the current routines of the company, like streamline training, simplify jobs and make HR processes more effective (Palmer & Dunford, 2009, p. 41).
This draws attention to the article by (Feldman, 2000, p. 626-627) that supports continuous change and makes points about how organizations always adapt and changes continuously. (Feldman, 2000, p. 626-627) showed changes in the routines, instead of making big changes. This shows how a company evolves and adjust over time, not only “fix” the company when it´s far away from it´s equilibrium.
The consultant however continued to make sense for Gunther and followed this approach. He made Gunther see the turnover in a positive matter (Palmer & Dunford, 2009, p. 41). The consultant took an interpreter image and helped Gunther to make sense of this organizational event (Palmer & Dunford, 2009, p. 31).
So going from a very controlled behavior, believing that both the change and outcome can be decided, the consultant wanted Gunther to have another attitude to the turnover in the company. You can now draw a parallel to the management of shaping. Today Gunther is more seen as a mentor (Palmer & Dunford, 2009, p. 42), and this is appropriate with the shaping perspective that there is a more participative style of managing (Palmer & Dunford, 2009, p. 25). An explanation of this image is that you believe it is possible to shape people; you believe in them and treat them as a living person, who has feelings and opinions.
It is also believed that you can change these people through for example rewards (Palmer & Dunford, 2009, p. 25). Gunther still has a goal, but now he believes in high turnover as a good thing. He wants to have motivated and good staff, and changed the view of failure to success. This means he still believes in an outcome but maybe more a partially intended outcome when not all intentions with the changes are achievable (Palmer & Dunford, 2009, p. 26). This because he acknowledged that it´s hard
to control all people in the organization in the way you want to. This is compatible with the interpreter image. Where you do believe in a partially intended outcome and that you can create a shared meaning of the situation for the organizational members (Palmer & Dunford, 2009, p. 31).
Going from a control approach on change Gunther reached a more shaping approach; that people and organization doesn´t change exactly in the way you want them to. From the director image of change when Gunther believed in a controlled change and a positive outcome, to a more accepting view; that a change often does not go perfect all the way. He more reached the area of an interpreter. Where you believe in making sense for both organizational members as well as yourself. One importance of sensemaking is making the organization to try to have the same view of the company.
When you look at the case again you can identify the problem Gunther had with the people/personal in the organization. They had feelings and opinions and it was hard for him to control them. This leads to better fit for Gunther to look it in a different view, that he shapes his personal and give them the reward of developing themselves, having good resumes and a shot of a good future in a different company if they do their best. Fight hard and wanting to evolve. So it was not only the organization members and the organization that was the problem but also Gunther’s own view of the company and his own approach.
Palmer, I. Dunford, R. Akin, G (2009). Managing Organizational Change. McGraw-Hill Companies
Martha S. Feldman (2000). ‘Organizational Routines as a source of continuous change’. Organizational Science, vol 11, 611-629.
Weick, K. And Quinn, R. (1999) ”Organizational Change and Development”. Annual Reviews, 50, 361-386