Current Issues Problems and Proposed Changes Research Paper

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2010, 10-12 Changes in Organizational Behavior

Current Issues, Problems and Proposed Changes in Organizational Behavior: Cisco Change Management, Kurt Lewin's Three-Step Model and Kotter's Eight-Step Plan

Current Issues, Problems and Proposed Changes in Organizational Behavior: Cisco Change Management, Kurt Lewin's Three-Step Model and Kotter's Eight-Step Plan

The objective of this work in writing is to examine the current issues and problems that are presently faced by contemporary companies and to propose a change utilizing organizational development. This work will examine Cisco's Change Management solution as well as the application of Kurt Lewin's three-step-model and Kotter's eight-step-plan in recommending a new program. This work will outline the required strategies to ensure change and will investigate the resource tools and people that are required in completion of the proposed change.


Cisco's work entitled "Change Management Best Practices White Paper" states that change planning goals should include the following stated goals: (1) Ensure all resources are identified and in place for the change; (2) Ensure a clear goal has been set and met for the change; (3) Ensure the change conforms to all organizational standards for design, configuration, version, naming conventions, and management; (4) Create backout procedure; (5) Define escalation paths; and (6) Define affected users and downtimes for notification purposes. (Cisco, nd) Cisco is characterized by a "cultural aspect of collaboration, the people component of the Cisco Collaboration Framework" seeks how the attitudes and collaborative behaviors of individuals may be influenced. This is stated to include the reasons that employees believe that collaboration is important to their jobs and what they view as "proper behavior'. (Cisco, nd) According to Cisco's report organization influence individuals through: (1) leadership expectations; (2) management practices; (3) performance measurements; (4) incentives; (5) role models; and (6) hiring policies. (Cisco, nd)

II. Cisco's Collaboration Framework

Cisco's collaboration framework holds that new behavioral expectations should be defined and developed clearly and then incorporated into the culture of the organization. It is critical that management and leadership systems align with one another in order to support new collaboration efforts in order to create new collaborative behaviors. In alignment with Lewin's work which has as its last step that of 'making change stick', Cisco states in its report that organizational change requires a value system change." ( ) The first steps in collaboration are stated to include those as follows:

Step 1: Begin by investigating the various collaboration tools available.

Step 2: Draft a collaboration vision statement.

Step 3: Run a series of workshops.

Step 4: Benchmark key metrics.

Step 5: Start building collaboration capabilities.

Step 6: Establish test-and-learn processes.

In order that processes be developed to provide the best support to collaboration it is important hat organizations develop business and management models encompassing staffing, priority setting, support services, executive development, data sharing practices and accountability systems." (Cisco, nd) It is highlighted in Cisco's report that is a model for change it to be effective then it is necessary that all individuals in the organization are speaking the same language.

The report goes on to relate that while people and processes "…are the most crucial aspects of collaboration, organizations should not underestimate the efforts required to fully deploy and integrate new collaborative technologies throughout a company…" (Cisco, nd) Cisco additionally reports that a Web-based workspace may be used however, collaboration technologies ensure that all team members are able to fully participate and benefit.

III. Kurt Lewin's Three-Step Model

The work of Wirth (2004) reports Kurt Lewin's three-stage model of change and states that this model "has come to be known as the unfreezing-change-refreeze model that requires prior learning to be rejected and replaced." (Wirth, 2004, p. 1) Wirth states that stage 1 involves "becoming motivated to change" or "unfreezing." This is said to be a phase of change that is constructed upon the theory that human behavior is established by past observational learning and cultural influences. Change requires adding new forces for change or removal of some of the existing factors that are at play in perpetuating the behavior." (Wirth, 2004, p. 1) This unfreezing process is reported to have "three sub=processes that relate to readiness and motivation to change." (Wirth, 2004, p. 1) Those three sub-processes include:

(1) Disconfirmation where present conditions lead to dissatisfaction, such as not meeting personal goals. However, the larger the gap between what is believed and what needs to be believed for change to occur, the more likely the new information will be ignored.

(2) Previous beliefs now being seen as invalid creates "survival anxiety." However, this may not be sufficient to prompt change if learning anxiety is present.

(3) Learning anxiety triggers defensiveness and resistance due to the pain of having to unlearn what had been previously accepted. Three stages occur in response to learning anxiety: denial; scapegoating & passing the buck; and maneuvering & bargaining. (Wirth, 2004, p. 1)

Lewin's model is such that requires anxiety to be overcome in order for change to occur. The second stage or stage 2 involves changing what needs to be changed in a process much like unfreezing and moving to a new state. When there is enough dissatisfaction with the present conditions and a true desire for changes to be made occurs it becomes necessary to identify "exactly what needs to be changed. Three potential impacts from new information being processed are those as follows: (1) words take on new or expanded meaning, (2) concepts are interpreted within a broader context, and (3) there is an adjustment in the scale used in evaluating new input. (Wirth, 2004, p. 1) Finally, step three of Lewin's model involves making the change a permanent one or 'refreezing' which is the last stage in which behavior becomes a habit including the development of a new conceptualization of self as well as the establishment of new interpersonal relationships. (Wirth, 2004, paraphrased)

IV. Kotter's Eight-Step Plan

The work of John Kotter entitled "Leading Change and The Heart of Change" are stated to be "two of the most popular examples of the 'best practice' guides on organizational change aimed at practicing managers." (Quinn, 2010) The eight steps are reported to be inclusive of those as follows:

(1) Establish a Sense of Urgency (Increase Urgency)

(2) Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition (Build the Guiding Team)

(3) Create a Vision (Get the Vision Right)

(4) Communicate the Vision (Communicate for Buy-In)

(5) Empower Others to Act (Empower Action)

(6) Plan for and Create Short-Term Wins (Create Short-Term Wins)

(7) Consolidate Improvements and Produce Still More Change (Don't Let Up)

(8) Institutionalize the New Approaches (Make Change Stick) (Quinn, 2010)

Kotter holds that in order to establish a sense of urgency that the market and competitive realities must be examined and as well it is necessary to identify and talk about "…crises, potential crises, or major opportunities." (Quinn, 2010) In order to form a powerful guiding coalition it is necessary that a group with enough power to lead the change effort be assembled and that encouragement to the group for teamwork to be demonstrated. The third of Kotter's eight steps or that of creating a vision is an important s5tep as the vision to assist in driving the effort toward change is created and strategies are developed for realizing achievement of the stated vision.

The fourth step is stated to be that of communicating the vision and specifically to make use of "every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies…" [and] "…teach new behaviors by the example of the guiding coalition." (Quinn, 2010) The fifth stated step is that of empowering others to 'act upon the vision' and this may be accomplished through removing obstacles to change, changing systems or structures that serve to "seriously undermine the vision." Finally, empowering others through providing encouragement of others in "risk taking and nontraditional ideas, activities and actions." (Quinn, 2010)

Step six states that one should plan for the creation of 'short-term wins' through planning for visible performance improvements and creating those improvement. This is also accomplished through providing recognition and rewards for employees involved in the improvements. (Quinn, 2010) Step seven is stated as "consolidate improvements and Produce Still More Change" and includes the following: (1) use increased credibility to change system, structures, and policies that don't fit the vision; (2) Hire promote and develop employees who can implement the vision; (3) reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes and change agents. (Kotter, 1998 cited in Quinn, 2010)

V. Proposed Organizational Behavioral Change Management Plan '

Organizational behavioral change generally begins with the project scope being stated and risk assessment and test and validation conducted only then followed by the actual planning and controlling issues guided by the change management team through processes of communication, an implementation team, test of evaluation of change as well as network management update. (Cisco, 2010) Lewin's change management model is one that holds that when workers become dissatisfied then the workers become disconfirmed and it is important to understand that anxiety results in worlds taking on different meanings and…[continue]

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