Kotter vs Bion Essay

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Sources: 1
  • Subject: Business - Management
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #81350174

Excerpt from Essay :

Cameron leadership textbook and find two models, one each in the second and third chapters, and offer several points of analysis on each. For each of the two models, the author is to compare, contrast, why the model was chosen for review and how it can or should be applied thoughtfully and effectively in organizations. The models selected are Bion's basic assumptions and Kotter's Eight Step model. While models and frameworks can be used too casually as well as too strictly, proper use of either or both of these models will help an organization change and adapt quite well and expediently.

Bion created three basic assumptions about group dynamics and how they tend to or at least can operate. The first of those three assumptions is dependency. This assumption presumes that people gain their security and protection from a single dominant individual. The second assumption is fight or flight, which dictates that a group will preserve itself through fighting to preserve itself or by fleeing from the conflict. The third and final assumption is pairing. Beyond that, Bion presumes that both a work group and the aforementioned assumption group work in concert in any group. The Kotter model, as it name makes clear, is comprised of eight steps and those eight steps are actually broken into three phases as a project starts, progresses and finishes. The first phase is comprised of the first three steps, those being establishing a sense of urgency, forming of a powerful guiding coalition and the creation of the vision. The next phase correlates to the next three steps, those being communication of the vision, empowerment of others to act on the vision and to plan for and create short-term wins while the larger goal is being progressed towards. The third and final phase contains the seventh and eighth step. Those steps are consolidation of improvements and produce still more change as well as institutionalize new approaches (Cameron & Green, 2004).

The picking of these two models by the author of this report is no accident. They are different in that they look at two different things. Kotter's model looks at the proper way a team needs to operate to achieve proper change management while Bion's work is more in line with theories like theory X and Y, expectancy theory and so forth. While they are quite different, they should be evaluated and taken seriously collectively rather than instead of each other so that one knows both the right way to do things as well as the tendencies of group dynamics to falter and wander if they are not wielded and controlled. Corroboration to this is clearly present in Kotter as there are several clues as these potential failures and trappings are made quite clear. Not getting buy-in from the people required to implement the vision is something that has to be addressed head on. Also true is the need to celebrate interim victories rather than focusing on the grand prize alone the entire time. In particular, dependency should be avoided as no one person or series of persons should be the fuel that runs the group. It is also true is that people will indeed engage in fight or flight if things get rough. If one group is for a change process that is supposed to be following the Kotter model but a different group is undermining, explicitly or implicitly, the aims of the first group then the two groups will either recoil or actively become abrasive towards each other (Cameron & Green, 2004).

As far as how this can and should be applied to a group that the author could be in or has in mind, the parallels and needs are obvious. First off, engaging in a mission or change that does not have a clear objective, a clear pathway or a clear definition of what should be when all is said and done is bound to fail. Not only should the objectives be clear, they should also be clearly communicated and understood by the people that are responsible for implementing or following the new procedures and protocols. Setting a goal that is nebulous and ambiguous like "work in synergy as a team is not going to cut it as a proper and definitive goal. In contrast, aiming to cut down operational expenses by ten percent is a much more specific objective. However, the "how" of getting to that point is still missing so the proper set of changes and objectives is not clear enough. However, if the operational expenses goal is coupled with specific, measured and realistic ways to achieve exactly that, then the odds of success are much higher (Cameron & Green, 2004).

Truly engaging and exciting people is the very definition of buy-in. However, it should be viewed more as a way to avoid resistance and/or ambivalence to change as either of those can lead to major problems as not everyone will be on the same pathway towards embracing and enforcing change. It is fairly established and well-known that many people are protectionist and/or resistant to change in general and this can absolutely undermine any change management or even general group performance if it becomes too pervasive and extensive. One tidbit about Bion that can be brought into focus here is that he focused on pairing. Even with the sexual overtones he used, Bion asserted that even in a work situation people will often pair together and work in a consistent fashion until the work is done or in perpetuity if a project or task is ongoing. Laying the groundwork using Kotter's model but on a grander scale is part and parcel to getting the desired outcomes and in sufficient amounts. The quintessential example of "pairing" that can and should be used is manifested by what Kotter calls the guiding coalition. Obviously, the endgame is to have everyone on board with and committed to the mission but a guiding coalition is necessary to get the ball rolling properly and keep it rolling when any sort of resistance happens to bubble up (Cameron & Green, 2004).

Kotter also showed that getting that guiding coalition in place and in force is not enough. In addition, people have to be empowered and allowed to exert and exude the protocols and procedures that are part of the change. For example, a middle manager that is expected to enforce the new process needs to be given the power to push back on employees that resist changes for whatever reason. They need to be given the information and answers to retort with if people question the wisdom of the change. At the same time, this theoretical middle manager needs to take feedback from the employees and feed it back to the guiding coalition in case there are indeed any legitimate concerns (Cameron & Green, 2004).

Coming back to Bion and intermixing with Kotter, there are going to be situations where dependency kicks in because people will be confused and they will glom onto people that are perceived to be knowledgeable and well-versed in the new setups. However, if no such source authority exists, then the people that are seeking a dependency will coalesce around the wrong ideas and actions. In addition, information vacuums will create a rumor mill and/or people will make their own conclusions. This is not to say that all information should be available at all times as this can lead to an overload. Some people can simply on take on more than a certain amount of information lest they become confused or overwhelmed. However, what there needs to be is the information that is key to why the change is needed, how it will be done, when it will be done, how feedback can be fed back up the chain (and how…

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