Research Paper Sample on Kotter's Theory of Change Management

7 pages
1893 words
Harvey Mudd College
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Research paper
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According to Kotter, change can be achieved in the organisation through eight steps. The first step involves what Kotter referred to as create urgency. For change to be achieved, it is essential that the whole organisation is in need of change. Therefore, it is important to create a sense of urgency around the needed change. This is crucial in motivating all the members of the organisation involved in the change. A manager who is successful in creating urgency is keen to open dialogue with his or her followers about the position of the organisation in the marketplace as well as the competitions that exist. If the members begin talking about the proposed change, the urgency gains momentum. One of the ways of creating urgency involves identification of possible threats to the organisation and creating scenarios of the future expectations. Second, the leader of the organisation needs to identify opportunities that need to be exploited. Third, honest discussions about the proposed change need to conducted and vibrant and convincing reasons given to the members of the organisation to make them start to talk and think. Fourth, the manager needs to seek for support from all the stakeholders of the organisation (such as the customers and industry personnel) to reinforce the argument for change. According to Kotter, change can only be realised in an organisation if 75% of those sitting in a managerial position of the company "buy into" the change (Rudd 2010, p.34).

It is worth noting that managers who are wellversed with the importance of a sense of urgency understand the state of their organization. At any given time, organisation can be at the state of complacency, false urgency, or true urgency. Complacency in a company is characterised by failure of members to read the signs of trouble in the business and take appropriate actions to bring about normalcy. In this state, the members assume and tell each other, "Everything is fine." False urgency state is characterised by people being busy, but their activities do not help the business accomplish its primary goal. Consequently, the company does not post impressive results, leading to burnout. In the state of true urgency, employees are driven by the need to make substantial progress every day. The employees derive their motivation from the belief that there are immense opportunities and great hazards in the world. This is a source of employees strong will to move and win, now.

The second step in the road to the realisation of change is to form a powerful coalition. The step is chiefly characterised by the need to convince individual members of the company that change is indeed necessary. In this step, there is a need for a manager to have strong leadership and to be supported by key persons in his or her organisation. To ensure that a powerful coalition is built, the leader needs to seek the support of effective change leaders within the organisation and establish a coalition of influential people whose power is derived from various sources such as political status, job title, and proficiency in a particular field. Once the coalition has been formed, teamwork is critical in building the urgency and the energy needed to achieve the change. Kotter proposed that the managers or leaders need to pick genuine leaders in the organization, request for their emotional commitment towards the change, help build the change coalition team, and identify the weak areas of the team as well as ensure that the team is composed of individuals from various departments working at different levels of the organization (Young and Price 2013, p.229).

It is worth noting that assembling the right combination of individuals to lead a change initiative is key to ensuring that the change is achieved. The membership of the coalition should be properly composed, must be built on mutual trust, and should pursue a common objective. It is critical that the team members have trust in each other because trust holds the group together despite all the external negative forces and enables it to function effectively. Teams are of utmost importance in a dynamic world, where organisations are under pressure to make quick decisions with less certainty than they would wish and with a lot of sacrifices that they would like to make. Moreover, in a rapidly changing world, well-assembled teams acting in unison are the only qualified entities that can make meaningful decisions under difficult circumstances. To create a powerful coalition of team members, it is essential that the team should possess four key qualities: position power, expertise, credibility, and leadership (Kotter and Gabarro 2015, p.59). Position power of a team is attained when adequate key players are on board, while expertise of a team is achieved when relevant viewpoints are availed to the team so that well though-out decisions can be made. On the other hand, a credible team is realised when all the members of the organisation respect it. Lastly, the group the group should manifest its leadership power by having strong leaders who can drive the change process (Wallin 2010, p.26).

The third step involves the creation of a Vision for Change. This begins with linking the concepts and ideas of change to an overall vision. The development of a clear vision helps the members of the organisation to have an excellent understanding of why they are being asked to carry out a particular task. When they are capable of visualising what they are required to accomplish, then the instructions and directions they will be given will become meaningful. In this stage, the manager needs to identify the values that are crucial to change, summarize what he or she sees to be the future of the company in one or two sentences, develop a strategy needed to implement the vision, make sure that the members of the change coalition are capable of describing the vision in less than five minutes, and frequently practice the "vision speech" (Onchiri 2015, p.85).

Six key features distinguish compelling visions from non-effective ones. First, they are imaginable or show a vivid picture of what the future of the business will look. Secondly, effective visions are desirable. This means that they should capture the interest of all the stakeholders of the company. They should also be feasible and thus should have realistic and achievable objectives and goals. Fourth, they should be focused or clear to guide the decision-making process. Moreover, attainable visions are characterised by their flexibility or its ability to allow alternative ways of doing things in light of dynamic environment. Lastly, a good vision should be communicable or easy to be explained to all the individuals who have a stake in the organisation (Thorsborne and Blood 2013, p.155).

The fourth stage is known as communicate the vision. The ability to articulate the vision and communicate regularly and powerfully to the members of the organisation and entrench it in everything conducted within the organisation is crucial in determining the success of the vision. Effective communication of the vision can be accomplished by frequently talking about the change vision, by addressing members concerns and uncertainties through open and honest discussions, through the incorporation of the vision in all the facets of operations of the organisation, and through leading by example (Onchiri 2015, p.85).

In the fifth stage, the manager is required to remove the obstacles. The manager needs to identify the individuals who are resisting change within the organisation as well as determine the structures that are deterrent to change. To successfully go past this stage, the manager needs to employ change leaders whose primary responsibility is to bring about the change. The managers should also ensure that the companys structure, job specifications, and performance-based compensation system are aligned with the vision. Moreover, motivated individuals who are driving change should be recruited. Furthermore, people who are resistant to change should be identified and made to see the need for it. Lastly, the obstacles to change should be speedily removed (Onchiri 2015, p.86).

In the sixth step, the managers create short-term wins. To keep the staff involved in the change process motivated, the leadership of the organisation needs to create short-term targets and release the results of the successes within a short time frame. Short-term targets tend to be more achievable and are more likely to act as motivators to the entire staff. If short-term achievements are not released, those who are against change might become obstacles to progress. Some of the specific steps that need to be undertaken to move past this stage successfully include identification of sure-fire projects that can be implemented without seeking for assistance from anti-change agents, choosing inexpensive targets, a thorough analysis of the possible advantages and disadvantages of the targets, and motivation of staff who are helpful in realization of the targets (Onchiri 2015, p.86).

In the seventh stage, the manager build on the change. Successes accomplished in the short-term targets provide chances to build on the successes and identify areas that are in need of improvement. To build on the change, the manager needs to scrutinise the rights and areas to be improved after every success. He or she also needs to set goals needed to continuously build on the momentum that has been attained, acquaint self with Kaizens continuous improvement ideas, and maintain freshness of ideas by recruiting new agents of change and leaders to the change coalition (Onchiri 2015, p.87).

The last step of Kotter's theory of change management is known as anchor the changes in corporate culture. In this stage, the manager is tasked with making sure that the changes stick and become part and parcel of the running of the organisation. The values that support the vision must be incorporated in the daily functioning of the organisation. This will ensure that the change is embedded in the companys culture. Additionally, at this stage, it is paramount that the companys leadership, staff, and new leaders continue to sustain the change. This is because any loss of an important support agent in this stage can roll back the gains that have been achieved along the way.

Force Field Analysis

Force field analysis is a management tool that is used in the analysis of factors that interact in complex organisations and the forces that lead to change planning in management. Examples of factors include; resources, people, attitudes, tradition, values, needs and desires. These factors found in an organisation must interact to bring about certain desired outcomes. Force field analysis looks at the interaction between different forces acting on a given factor some of which are for change (driving forces) while others are for maintenance of the status quo (Sabri et al. 2006, p.195).The two forces, driving force and restraining force, are often allowed to interact, and ways are devised meant to leverage the driving forces while at the same time reduce the restraining forces. This interaction of the two forces helps bring out the strengths and weaknesses of particular changes in management programmes, which after that will assist in decision-making, planning and implementation. Force field analysis will, therefore, help identify and monitor those factors that should be addressed before attaining success in change management. Changes may occur in the driving forces and restraining forces leading to organisational change. Strengthening the driving forces and reduction or removal of restraining forces is what brings about organisational change. To attain this success, the manager must first start by defining the problem in an organisation...

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