Model of Organizational Change
The successful merger between Hewlett Packard and Compaq Computer companies in 2002 was not easy for HP CEO Carly Fiorina. Fiorina initiative of the merger was challenged right from the voting stage when the major shareholders such as Deutsche Bank and the co-founder son, Walter Hewlett were against it up to the post-merger lawsuits and hesitant employees. However, the merger was successful due to the convincing power and relentless effort of the CEO (Stories of Change, 2009). Was it a case of inherent resistance to change or difficulty in managing personal change? There are various models of organization change proposed by clinical psychologists, management consultants and social scientists. How well do they address the dynamics of organization change? Do they have measurable constructs that can be applied to monitor changes? The following is a comparison of Burke-Litwin model of organizational performance and change (Burke & Litwin, 1992) with Robertson et al. (1993) model of the dynamics of planned change (Robertson, Roberts & Porras, 1993).
Burke-Litwin model is a broad change management model that outlines relations among twelve organizational changes factors. The authors classified them into transformational and transactional factors. Transformational factors include organizational mission and strategy, leadership, and culture that are affected by external environment. There is reciprocity in the factors whereby alteration of transformational factors by the external environment in turn alters transactional factors that include: organizational structure, task requirements, systems, individual needs, motivation, management practices and climate (Burke & Litwin, 1992). The model outlines a causal-effect framework that creates connections among the twelve variables that affect performance. Alternatively, Robertson et al. (1993) model is a framework consisting of four mutually dependent subsystems of work settings that include: social factors, organizing arrangements, physical setting and technology. These four variables, they claim that they can be altered to bring on change in an individual’s behavior and so cause organizational change (Robertson et al., 1993).
Burke-Litwins model emphasizes on transformational factors claiming that they are weightier in organizational change than transactional factors. Therefore, it asserts that change is majorly influenced by the transformational factors. Robertson et al. (1993) model, on the other hand, stresses that organizational performance is dependent on individual’s behavior and level of development. However, both models acknowledge the influence of organization environment on individual behavior. Robertson et al. model draws on Bandura’s social-cognitive theory of behavior change, where behavior is linked to the environment, that is, the work setting.
Organizational culture and climate are two areas that feature in the two models. According to Burke and Litwins model, culture refers to beliefs and values of the organization members that must be aligned to the mission and strategy. In Robertson et al. model, culture is not explicitly stated but is a feature in the social factors subsystem. According to Burke-Litwins model, climate refers to the individual perceptions on the effectiveness of their work as a group and management. Culture change is the most challenging for any organization due to its deep rooted nature. Nevertheless, Roberson et al. claim that culture change results from a change in technology and occurs as an adaptation.
Burke-Litwins model explains how effectively planned change can be executed by showing the variables to change in order to produce a certain effect. In addition, they contend to put together organizational change and organizational development theories in order to analyze, plan and manage change. The integration serves to show the cause-effect relationships in organization’s external and internal environments so as to link the effects to organizational performance (Burke & Litwin, 1992). The model of dynamic organization change asserts that by proper alignment of an organization’s climate, it is possible to produce and perform maximally. Therefore, behavior change is at the center of organizational change intervention. The model explanation demonstrates how planned change can be executed effectively to cause organizational change and the ease of monitoring the process through the model (Robertson et al. 1993). Unlike Burke-Litwin model, the model recognizes the importance of personal change and effects of factors outside work environment. These factors are essential because they act as a go-between in personal and work issues that impact on individual and organizational performance, as well as individual development (Robertson et al., 1993).
The meta-analysis procedures used by Robertson et al., (1993) form a good attempt to test the viability of the model. Considering that individual behavior is critical to organization change and features in all models with varying degrees of importance, the research gave an insight on the cognitive and affective domains. The acknowledgement calls for an unambiguous focus on a general set of behaviors which would form the basis for a thorough analysis of the correlation in changing individual behavior, work setting and organizational effect variables. It, therefore, recognized the need for models of organization change to have measurable constructs, clear variables and a common set of behaviors that can be used to monitor change.
Resistance to change and commitment to change are two constructs related to behavior change that have been common in organizational change. A scale to measure resistance to change was developed in 2003 by Oreg that was to “measure an individual’s dispositional inclination to resist changes, account for the individual-difference component of resistance to change and to predict reactions to a specific change” (Oreg, 2003). On the other hand, commitment to change was measured using affective, continuance, and normative commitment to change scales and was found to be “a better predictor of behavioral support for organizational change than organizational commitment” (Herscovitch, 2002). The measurements were, however, not accepted to some scholars on the basis of their validity, how they measured and their relationship to organizational commitment and culture (Jaros, 2010: Foster, 2010).
These models use of objective and systematic elements that are dynamic, measurable and interdependent (Burke & Litwin, 1992; Robertson et al., 1993). Nonetheless, the models lack construct clarity especially on the dimension of individual behavior attributes in influencing the success of organizational change. Burke-Litwin’s model has many linked factors and cause-effect relations make it even more complex to measure its validity. The abstract nature of the model makes it difficult to specify measurable attributes on the purported linkages. It has a wide range of domains that can be used to measure change process in order to have empirical meaning and avoid confusion. In addition, constructs should have variables that are observable and measurable in order to test the validity of the model (MacKenzie et al., 2011).
Change management is a calculated and structured approach to help and align the organization with the change. It involves the managerial and behavioral adjustments that need to be laid down to allow and sustain change. All change involves execution of new processes, practices, policies, new approaches and behavior (Stories of Change, 2009). Nonetheless, people are at the center of change and how well the models measure personal change is critical for their application (Chawane, 2003). According to MacKenzie et al., failures to develop explicit constructs that specify the measurement variables make the models to be abstract. It is only through testing their validity using empirical research that would provide evidence on whether the constructs impact on organizational change.
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Herscovitch, L., & Meyer, J. P. (2002). Commitment to organizational change: Extension of a three-component model. Journal Of Applied Psychology, 87(3), 474-487. doi:10.1037//0021-9010.873.3.474
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Oreg, S. (2003, August). Resistance to change: Developing an individual differences measure. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(4), 680-693. doi:10.1037/a0021100
Robertson, P. J., Roberts, D. R., & Porras, J. I. (1993). Dynamics of planned organizational change: Assessing empirical support for a theoretical model. Academy Of Management Journal, 36(3), 619-634. doi:10.2307/256595
Stories of Change by McGraw−Hill Companies. (2009). Managing Organizational Change: A Multiple Perspectives Approach, Second Edition. Introduction: Stories of Change.
Chawane, T., Vuuren, L. J., & Roodt, G. (2003). Personal Change As A Key Determinant Of The Outcomes Of Organisational Transformation Interventions.SA Journal of Human Resource Management,1(3), 62-76.