Change Management and the CEO
As Stewart Clegg, Martin Kornberger, and Tyrone Pitsis (2004) so adequately described it, “managing innovations requires leadership skills and involvement from the top of an organization” (p. 393). It is inevitable that organizations will require change over time. To reduce the impact of change, it is desirable for top management to recognize what changes will be necessary, and then implement small changes over time to accomplish that goal. Using a phased approach to change management, the CEO and other top managers can minimize the impact of change by avoiding radical shifts. In the end, the CEO must realize that change is inevitable, but the organization as a whole prefers not to change and therefore must be carefully guided (Clegg, Kornberger, & Pitsis, 2004).
Approaches to Change Management
There are several methodologies available to the CEO wishing to implement change management. Kurt Lewin proposed the method of unfreezing the current state of the organization, making a change, and then refreezing. Since organizations are in a constant state of motion, processual change methodologies were developed in reaction to Lewin’s method. This methodology recognizes that change must be a constant process and seeks to implement change periodically. Other theorists agree that organizations are constantly in motion, but reject the notion that they can be controlled systemically. These theorists believe organizations exist in a state of chaos and that chaos allows the creativity necessary to achieve change. Finally, a theory has been developed that marries the creativity of chaotic organizations with the rationality of change management. This theory recognizes that innovation can occur spontaneously, but rejects the idea that the process cannot be managed (Clegg, Kornberger, & Pitsis, 2004).
Data Collection: Questionnaires
There are three primary methods of data collection in relation to organization diagnosis. The first is by dispersing questionnaires. Questionnaires can be distributed to a large audience and have a chance of collecting a large quantity of data. This collection method tends to be fairly inexpensive as questionnaires can be distributed electronically. Additionally, respondents have the opportunity to think about their answers before submitting their feedback. Unfortunately, individuals that do not have strong feelings regarding the subject matter often ignore questionnaires. Therefore, respondents often represent the extreme viewpoints of the target audience. Although administering a questionnaire is relatively inexpensive, designing one requires a certain level of expertise (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 1993).
Data Collection: Behavioral Observation
Behavioral observation is the practice of observing the area that is under diagnosis. While the observed work through their normal processes, observers watch and record all aspects of the process. This data collection method has the benefit of being non-intrusive, since some observations can occur undetected. Studies have shown that observers are often positively impacted by the observations they make. In one case, using employees to observe the safety practices of others resulted in improved safety performance for those acting as observers (Sasson, Austin, & Alvero, 2007). Unfortunately, this data collection method requires a large time investment from a dedicated group of observers in terms of actual observation time and training.
Data Collection: Diagnostic Interviews
Finally, diagnostic interviews combine the interactive question and answer process of questionnaires with the observational aspect of behavioral observation. This gives the interviewer the opportunity to gather feedback from the interviewee while also taking note of the interviewee’s reaction to the questions. Although tone and inflection are not valid scientific measurements, they can be useful when gathering data on human behavior. Unfortunately, diagnostic interviews have two primary drawbacks. The first is that an intense round of interviews can interrupt an organization’s operation and become problematic. Additionally, the very act of being interviewed can have the effect of unintentionally initiating change. Forcing an interview to examine the area under diagnosis may highlight problems the interviewee had not previously considered (Schein, 1995).
Clegg, S., Kornberger, M., & Pitsis, T. (2008). Managing and organizations: An introduction to theory and practice (2nd ed.). London: SAGE.
Sasson, J., Austin, J., & Alvero, A. (2007, April). Behavioral Observations. Professional Safety, 52(4), 26-32. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from MasterFILE Premier database.
Schein, E. H. (1995). Kurt Lewin’s change theory in the field and in the classroom: Notes toward a model of managed learning. Retrieved May 29, 2009.
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. (1993). Data collection methods. Retrieved April 14, 2009.