Challenges of Organisational Change and Effective Change Management

Modified: 17th Dec 2021
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It can be argued that the successful management of organisational change is crucial to any organisation in order to survive and succeed in the highly competitive business environment of today. However, the different theories and approaches to change management are often inconsistent, lacking factual evidence and are backed by unchallenged assumptions about the essence of contemporary management of organisational change.

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The different theories within organisational behaviour make an attempt to try and explain human development. However, people do not act in a productive way or they do not behave as we would expect scientifically. Additionally, it would be difficult to measure human behaviour because it is not controllable. Different theories have their own question they ask and focus upon, different features of an organisation such as the belief about who the organisation should serve – managers, the shareholders, employees. There is no right answer in organisational behaviour (King, D., & Lawley, S. 2016, p.12).

Change management in the organisational behaviour textbook by (King, D., & Lawley, S. 2016) is defined as ‘Any form of effort or initiative undertaken to alter a particular aspect of the organisation’. This relates to one of the most famous theories of change management by Kurt Lewin (1890-1947). Change is something that is always happening in organisations, therefore this means that organisations should know the importance of having the ability to identify where and how the need to be in time to come. Most importantly including, how the organisations manage the changes they will have to face to get there. Due to the level of importance in change management it is becoming a high required skill for managerial staff (Senior, 2002).

Linking to how being a successful management will help towards organisational change can be reflected using the Taylorist View it is stating that by using this view as a managerial role you of the organisation you are seeing the organisation purely as a mechanical, formal and measurable (King, D., & Lawley, S. 2016, p.134). This a called a social side view, claiming that from this perspective you are leading importance of teamwork, organisational culture, motivation and leadership.

On the other hand, Hawthorn experiments have been credited with humanising management practises. People aren't nameless cogs in the process, following automatic, repetitive and routine rules and procedures. Instead this view states that they should feel wanted and be viewed as human beings for people to work effectively and management can be humanised (King, D., & Lawley, S. 2016, p.134). According to this interpretation, the informal of individuals becomes a tool used by administration to increase productivity rather than a challenge as believed by Taylor. As a result, it is indeed possible to be good, and important to consider people as human beings. Therefore, management can be humanised.

Graetz, F. (2000) suggests that against the context of rising globalisation, modernization, the rapid pace of technological innovation, a growing professional population and changing social and demographic patterns, few would argue that leadership in organisational transformation is the primary management challenge today. Due to circumstances sometimes the need or requirements of change can be unpredictable, it can cause a crisis throughout the organisation (Holbeche, L. 2006). (Luecke,R, 2003, p. 35) stated that in order to survive and prosper to today's highly competitive and constantly changing world, effective implementation of transition is recognised as a prerequisite.

Furthermore, (Edmonstone, 2014) stated that ‘many of the change processes over the last 25 years have been subject to fundamental flaws, preventing the successful management of change’. This statement then supports (Doyle’s, 2002) of that there is evidence to suggest with only a few examples, that the principles and reality are mostly accompanied by unchallenged conclusions about the essence of contemporary management and organisational change.

It can be seen difficult to be able to identify the consequences linking to the framework of organisational change management. However, it most cases there seems to be two common issues; Firstly, it has been stated by a variety of different theorists such as; (Kotter, 1996), (Burnes, 2004) & (Luecke, 2003) that the timing and speed of change occurs has never been as important compared to the organisational environment today. Secondly, there was an agreement with the theories that the transition is triggered by both internal and external factors.

In the earlier years of theories relating to organisational change management it was suggested that organisations could not improve or become effective if they were constantly changing (Rieley and Clarkson, 2001). (Luecke, 2003) argued that people need to have a set routine to be able to become successful and enhance their performance. Nowadays, it is also argued that for individuals to progress they must be able to function/ cope with frequent organisational change (Rieley and Clarkson, 2001). Luecke contradicts this and argues that constant change can slowly be adapted and become a part of a routine. Likewise, it has also been stated by Leifer that change is a normal and natural reaction to internal and external situations (Leifer, 1989).

(Burnes, 2004) describes constant change as the capacity to continuously alter radically in order to keep up with the rapidly moving rate of change. The distinction with (Burnes, 2004) definition of continual and gradual improvement is that it was first mentioned as defining continuing departmental, structural improvements. Whereas, (Senior, 2002) associated with operational approaches and the ability to adapt them continuously to internal and external demands. (Luecke 2003) proposes mixing constant and gradual improvement in an attempt to reduce the groups. Nonetheless, this mix can make it difficult to differentiate between departmental and organisational strategies to change management.

Lewin believes that to have a successful change it must include three steps; unfreeze the current level, move to the new level and refreeze this new level. This transition model acknowledges the need to replace old attitudes, systems, procedures and community before adopting new methods effectively (Bamford and Forrester, 2003). It is the complexity of both the external and internal environment that makes this strategy more important than the expected method, according to proponents of the new approach to reform (Bamford and Forrester, 2003). In order to cope with the complexities and volatility of the environment, it is proposed that organisations need to become collaborative learning environments where strategy growth and improvement emerge from the way a business as a whole acquires, interprets and manages environmental knowledge (Dunphy and Stace, 1993). To cope with the complexities and volatility of the environment, it has been proposed that organisations need to become collaborative learning environments where policy growth and transformation derive from the way a business acquires, interprets and manages environmental knowledge as a whole (Dunphy and Stace, 1993).

No two organisations are identical, and the same conditions will not always be met. Hence why organisations may have different operations and systems (Dunphy and Stace, 1993). Nevertheless, in general contingency the theory was criticised for the complexity of performance-related to management and the hypothesis suggests that organisations and executives have no significant influence and discretion about condition factors and function (Burnes, 1996). Burnes indicates that an entity does not automatically have to conform to the external environment and promotes a preference strategy by proposing' there is certainly evidence that companies seeking to preserve or encourage a similar managerial style can choose to manipulate environmental variables in order to achieve this.


King, D., & Lawley, S. (2016). Organizational Behaviour (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Senior, B. (2002). Organisational Change (2nd ed.). London:  Prentice Hall

Graetz, F. (2000). Strategic change leadership. Management Decision, 38(8), 550-562. doi:

Holbeche, L. (2006). Understanding Change

Luecke, R. (2003). Managing Change and Transition

Edmonstone, J. (2014). Managing change: an emerging new consensus.  21(1), 16 - 19. doi:

Rieley, J., & Clarkson, I. (2010). The impact of change on performance. Journal Journal of Change Management , 2(2), 160-172. doi:

Burnes, B. (2004). Managing Change: A Strategic Approach to Organisational Dynamics (4th ed.)

Bamford, D., & Forrester, P. (2003). emergent change within an operations management environment. nternational Journal of Operations & Production Management, 23(5), 546-564.. doi:

Dunphy, D., & State, D. (1993). Human Relations. The Strategic Management of Corporate Change,, doi:


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