Individual assignment: the critical essayObjective‘There are basically just two ways to change an organization. One is the incremental, step-by-step approach in which you attempt to bring people along with you. The ether is by engaging in rapid discontinuous change that is dramatic and which pulls people along by its sheer momentum. ’AimThis section presents the management of change and consultancy practice within the context of the organization. It provides an overview of the key issues involved in the management of change and some of the key issues that influence consultancy practice and the relationship with the client.
It stresses the need to get away from the ‘hype’ that some writers generate on the topic of change management, to develop models and approaches to change that are grounded in experience. It goes on to argue that whatever the overt task of consultants within the organisation they are all at some level engaged in the processes of change management. Learning outcomesUnderstand how the external environment impacts on the organisation. have an analytical understanding of issues of proactive and reactive approaches to change undertake a stakeholder analysisappreciate the ways in which change can happen at different levels undertake a Systems Analysis to understand change issuesplace consultancy into the context of the development of organisationshave an understanding of the underlying issues of planned change as an issue for consultantsidentify the different phases of the change processunderstand the different levels at which change can be approached and the implications in terms of the consultant's roleidentify the key roles of change agency and their situational appropriateness for the consultantCHANGE IN DIFFERENT LEVELS As we showed in the section on reactive/proactive change, efforts to undertake change can occur at a number of different levels.
They suggest that there are three fundamental approaches to change - Alpha, Beta and Gamma. They suggest that: Alpha change is fairly superficial, sometimes referred to as “beauty parlour” approaches to change. It really only looks at symptoms and is essentially reactive change applied over a wide range of issues. In that sense although the change may have short term useful affects it never gets to be embedded deeply into the organisation. An example, from IT driven change at this level would be the installation of web/online access to all desktops in an office situation.
This might well increase efficiency and even in some cases effectiveness in the production of required materials - although it can lead to an excess of information - but little else. Beta change is change which goes rather deeper than alpha. It is liable to be much more systematic and planned and can be organisation-wide in its implications. It is, however, essentially single-loop in its intent - it gets an improved state of organisational operation but essentially the organisation and its members do not undergo fundamental change - they are shaken but not stirred.
In IT driven change Process Improvement would be an example of this level of change. It has these characteristics - it is incremental, it starts with where the organisation is at the time of change, implementation takes a short time, it requires bottom-up participation, its scope is fairly narrow and its level of risk is contained.