To make meaningful and long-term change in an organization, an organization needs to follow the guidelines of a change model, a diagnostic instrument, and change intervention. This paper will discuss two change models, two diagnostic instruments, and two change interventions.
The two change models discussed in this paper are Lewin’s Change Model and the Action Research Model. Both of these models give a map on how to create change. Lewin’s model simplifies the process into three steps while the Action Research Model consists of eight steps. Both models three phases: Research phase, changing phase, and solidification phase (Luckett, 2003).
Lewin’s Change Model
Lewin developed one of the very first models for change management (Luckett, 2003). He stated there are two types of people in an organization; those who resist change and those who strive for change (Luckett, 2003; JPC, 1995; Spector, 2007). He stated the two groups need to be of equal measure to maintain homeostasis (Luckett, 2003; JPC, 1995; Pellettiere, 2006; Spector, 2007). When both groups of people are equal, a frozed state (freeze) is achieved. Lewin (as cited by JPC, 1995) states a driving force is needed to either “strengthen the driving forces or weaken the restraining forces” to achieve change (para 3). Spector (2007) states, “to break the social habits that support existing patterns of behaviors, effective implementation needs to start with dissatisfaction, disequilibrium, and discomfort” (p. 29). When one side is strengthened and/or one side is weakened then change (move) can be achieved.
During this time, the organization goes through redesign, new roles and responsibilities, and new relationships are made (Spector, 2007). After the change, or movement, is completed, the organization then needs to go back to a state of homeostasis (refreeze). Bridges (2003) echoed Lewin’s three stages to organizational change in his naming of the stages: Ending, losing, letting go; neutral zone, and New Beginning (Bridges, 2003, p. 5 as cited by Stragalas, 2010, p. 31). Lewin’s model with its three steps may be too simplistic for many organizations to achieve change. Without a less ambiguous map, the organization may not be able to sustain change.
Action Research Model
The Action Research Model consists of eight steps: Problem identification, consultation with behavioral science expert, data gathering and preliminary diagnosis, feedback to key client or group, joint diagnosis of problem, joint action planning, action, and data gathering after collection (Boonstra, 2003; Luckett, 2003). The last five stages can be perpetual. After the last data gathering, the organization should return to “feedback to key client or group”. Once the feedback is given, the group may want to continue through the next steps. Whereas the diagnosis is completed through the “unfreeze” in Lewin’s model, in the Action Research model, diagnosis is completed during the “problem identification, consultation, and data gathering steps” (Luckett, 2003, p. 25).
The changing phase for Lewin is the “move” step. In the Action Research model, the changing phase occurs during the “feedback, joint diagnosis, action planning, and action steps” (Luckett, 2003, p. 26). In Lewin’s model, the solidified phase takes place during the refreeze. In the Action Research model, solidification takes place during the “gathering after the action” (Luckett, 2003, p. 26). Moreover, “the continual process of feedback analysis solidifies the changes as the occur” (Luckett, 2003, p. 27). Unlike the Lewin model, Action Research allows for perpetual analysis that “facilitates adjustments in the organizations change plan” (Luckett, 2003, p. 28).
Diagnostic instruments, or assessment instruments, are used for data collection and to analyze an organization. Without a proper diagnosis, change is very likely to fail (Pellettiere, 2006). Alderfer (1980) states “organizational diagnosis proceeds in there orderly phases: entry, data collection, and feedback” (p. 460). The entry phase consists of identifying who will participate in the assessment and if an agreement can be reached (Alderfer, 1980). The data collection phase consists of collecting the information and then analysis of the information (Alderfer, 1980). The feedback phase consists of sharing the results with the organization along with suggestions for the organization (Alderfer, 1980; Preziosi, 2012).
The feedback should consist of strengths and weaknesses within the organization (Alderfer, 1980). Salem (2002) states there are three type of assessments: structural assessments, functional assessments, and process assessments. Structural assessments are a snapshot of a specific point in time, functional assessments relates antecedents with actions and outcomes, and process assessments consists of collecting data over an extended period of time (Alderfer, 1980).
SWOT Anlysis is an acronym which stands for strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats (Balamuralikrishna & Dugger, 1995; Boonstra, 2003; Hughes, 2007; Mind Tools, 2012; RapidBI, 2010; Renault, 2012). According to Balamuralikrishna & Dugger (1995), a SWOT analysis should cover the internal environment and external environment. In regards to education, the internal environment consists of “faculty and staff, the learning environment, current students, operating budget, various committees, and research programs” (Balamuralikrishna & Dugger, 1995, para. 13). External environment includes “propective employers of graduates, parents and families of students, competing schools, population demographics, and funding agencies” (Balamuralikrishna & Dugger, 1995, para. 14).
SWOT analysis would be very beneficial to school systems. Understanding an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats assists the organization and their leaders to develop a plan of change that will be meaningful, measurable, and achievable. Balamuralikrishna & Dugger, 1995 give many drawbacks to the SWOT analysis. They warn against misusing information to “justify a previously decided course of action rather than used as a means to open up new possibilities” (Balamuralikrishna & Dugger, 1995, para. 19). They also warn against being too concerned about labels. For example, in many instances threats can also be considered opportunities depending upon the mindset of the leader and/or organization (Balamuralikrishna & Dugger, 1995).
Functional assessments are another diagnostic tool useful to organizations. Functional assessments look at antecedents, behaviors, reasons for the behaviors, and outcomes (Salem, 2002). Antecedents describe what happened before the behavior. The behavior refers to how a person(s) or organization responded to the antecedent. The next question one must ask is “why did the person(s)/organization act this way?” There are several reasons a person or organization responds the way they do. However, there are only a few categories for any given behavior: attention, avoidance/escape, and control/tangible (McConnell, Cox, Thomas, & Hilvitz, 2001). Finding the reasoning behind a behavior can be very important in overcoming a behavior/resistance to change or to repeat desirable behaviors to change. Problems associated with functional assessments often revolve around lack of direction. What does the organization do with this data? Functional assessments should be followed by goals. Goals are long-term change for an organization. To achieve their goals, organizations need to develop short-term wins, also called objectives.
Change interventions are the “planned programmatic activities aimed at bringing changes in an organization” (Sadhu, 2009, para. 1). Interventions are detailed maps to help an organization achieve its long-term change.
Aligning Reward Systems through Objectives
Objectives are a road map to achieving an organizations long-term goal. Objectives need to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (Morrison, 2010). As employees or other stakeholders meet objectives, a reward system should be set in place. The reward system needs to be appropriate and balanced with regard to the objective and motivate the organization to meet the objective(s) by the deadline. Problems with reward systems include over compensating, under compensating, and the reward not being meaningful to the recipient (Cole, Harris, & Bernerth, 2006; Morrison, 2010; Nevis, Melnick, Nevis, 2008; Sadhu, 2009.
Polarity Management Intervention
Morrison (2010) states there are benefits of embracing resistance. He states embracing resistance can speed up the change process, help build strong relationships, help all stakeholders to meet some of their own personal goals, and keeping leaders from “taking untimely or foolish action” (Morrison, 2010, para. 22). Johnson (1992) developed a table with four quadrants to “depict change initiators and resisters” for both individuals and teams. Using this table helps organizations to see the whole picture, understanding where individuals and the organization as a whole is at this time and how to get it individuals and teams from polar opposites to common ground so change can be made (Morrison, 2010). Downsides to Polarity Management Intervention include loosing individual creativity and freedom as well as neglect of personal needs (Morrison, 2010).
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