Organizations need tactical responsiveness to external dynamics to bring strategic renewal within the continuum, which organizations need to create and maintain outstanding performance (Spencer, 2010). Through strategic renewal the organization alters its operational strategy to gain economic advantage. Successful of implementation of change should be a long-lasting occurrence often determined by readiness, resources necessary to implement change successfully, how the organization monitors such change (Whelan-Berry, Karen, Somerville & Karen, 2010). Gaps or omissions in the process of change often lead to disastrous outcomes. This paper will focus on the Lewin’s phases of organizational change reflecting on Concord Bookshop conflict and its effect on organizational failure. Lewin’s Phases of Organizational Change
According to Lewin’s theory in studying human and organizations it is imperative for managers to understand change as forces working in different direction, for change to happen there should be a driving force with less counteracting resistance (Borkowski, 2005). Borkowski further states the importance for managers to understand the external and internal environmental influence and differentiating between forces that need to stay status quo and those that require change. Lewin stated three important steps of change that managers need to follow to attain successful transition to change. Unfreezing
Schein as stated in Spector (2010) for effective learning and change to happen some sort of dissatisfaction should be created, to bring discomfort to the members. Underperformance does not necessarily create change because when people are comfortable with a status quo they are unmotivated to change. Instilling discomfort will force employees to change and unlearn current norms to learning desired new practices. Change
The need for change should be communicated and parties involved must be part of the change process. Dictation by upper management at this phase will meet with resistance. Once employees are open to change, implementing new protocols will not have much resistance, during this phase retraining and
education should take place to eliminate the fear of inadequacy and uncertainties. Employee’s involvement will give them sense of ownership and feeling of adequacy, and they will be willing to move from one set of behaviors to another (Spector, 2010). Refreezing
Companies invest a substantial amount of money to process change within the continuum through training, retraining, and staff development. Therefore, the new learned behaviors should be permanent. “Refreezing stage is where a newly created equilibrium is made relatively secure against change” (Spector, 2010, p. 29). It is important that the management keeps tabs on the implementation phase through monitoring and evaluation process. Concord Bookshop Conflict
Concord bookshop was facing economic turmoil created by the change in customer preferences and tight completion from its rivals. Therefore, it was imperative for management to revise both marketing and operational strategies to save the organization. The decision of hiring a manager without consulting with its departmental management was a serious mistake by the owners. They failed to create the discomfort needed for change. If the managers were put in that predicament they would have responded differently from resigning. The owners omitted unfreezing stage to change process, which did not involve the employees. For change to be successful employees should be part of the change, and they should believe they are indispensable. Announcement by management of hiring new manager brought fear, uncertainty, and inadequacy to the employees. Their job security was at stake, they also feared the unknown. Working for that many years demotion brought a feeling of shame and ambivalence accompanied by loss of status and power. The combination of all these factors brought resistance to change. The Concord management failed participative decision making, delegation, team building, and employee involvement in its organizational transformation, which met with resistance from both employees and the public (Elie-Dit-Cosaque, Pallud & Kalika, 2011 ). Creating a driving force for change, avoidance or elimination of resistance ensures successful strategic transformation in meeting and implementing new goals. Awareness of internal and external factors that influence change is of paramount importance when dealing with organization strategic transition. Knowing and applying Lewin’s phases of organizational changes empowers the managers with essential skill to process change within the continuum and ensure smooth transformation to new ideas and behaviors. Concord Bookshop failed to follow Lewin’s phases, which led to resistance and conflict from both employees and the public.
Borkowski, N. (2005). Organizational Behavior in Health Care. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Elie-Dit-Cosaque, C., Pallud, J., Kalika, M. (2011). The Influence of Individual, Contextual, and Social Factors on Perceived Behavioral Control of Information Technology: A Field Theory Approach. Journal of Management Information Systems,28(3), p201-234. Spector, B. (2010). Implementing Organizational Change: Theory into Practice (2nd ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Whelan-Berry, Karen S., Somerville, & Karen A. (2010) ‘Linking Change Drivers and the Organizational Change Process: A Review and Synthesis’, Journal of Change Management, 10(2), 175-193.
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