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Dutch University

Change
Management
310-HRM

Shahid Zaman
Introduction

The world we live in is fast changing, in terms of cultures, business structures and the way,
in which we do things, subsequently we all have to change to attain the much needed
progress that we all desire. Interestingly, not all people are open to change, some are very
resistant and they may interfere with the change implementation process (Jones 2010).

The Dutch university is a classic example of an organization that is seeking to initiate


organisational change on how it operates. The university has made a decision to merge
three academic departments to create a business school. The desire for change by the
university is a result of the university-wide restructuring exercise undertaken as an initiative
of improving the overall university ranking. Accounting and Finance, Economics and
Management studies are the three departments to be merged but they all have different sub-
cultures which may be a major limiting factor in facilitating the change process.

However Hughes (2006) has identified the benefits of change within a business setting
which can be adopted to the Dutch University suggesting improving ones position (Ranking)
leads to an influx of customers, new business opportunities, ability to deal with external
crisis, stronger investment through new donors, and positive reputation and associations
from key stakeholders, however Wilson (1992) mention that change can also play a negative
part affecting status quo, negative perceptions from outside sources as to why change is
occurring, internal conflicts, and lasting resentment from employees for facilitating a change.

Leahy & Chamberlain (2008) mention the success of implementing organisational change on
a large scale is within 25%-35%, this is due to resistance and poor change management,
however change takes three forms developmental, transitional and transformational, where
the university have adopted transitional change, thus much larger than developmental and
therefore more disruptive (Allen et al 2007), these incorporate mergers and introducing new
systems and processes, as well as affecting existing relationships, cultures and job functions
(Marshak 1993).

Subsequently through this merger resistance will occur from employees, managers and
various sub cultures within the organisation, therefore the objective of this paper is to
critically analyse the change management process and evaluate the mechanisms that can
be used to minimize resistance to change, as well as understand the roles of organisational
culture and the effects of the sub-cultures within it, thereafter draw recommendations that
can be used by the university to effectively manage and implement the effective merging of
the three departments.

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Change process

Change management has been defined differently by many scholars Moran and Brightman
(2000), define it as the continuous renewal of a company’s direction, capabilities and
structures to assist in the ever-changing needs of internal (deanery, employees, students)
and external customers (Ministry of education, communities, investors and potential
customers), The process of change is an ever continuing phenomena and is particularly
crucial to the process of organisational development (Cummings, & Worley 2014). Changes
allow the University to implement initiatives or projects that are aimed at improving
performance, seizing new opportunities or addressing the main issues that face it (Benn,
Dunphy, & Griffiths 2014) as for the instance of the Dutch University change is occurring to
gain a higher ranking.

The gradualist paradigm enlists for successful change to occur it should be gradual and
fluent, with incremental changes occurring throughout time thus being unnoticed (Fullen
2011), however in the case of the University and many other companies this fails to occur,
and often posits an punctuated equilibrium change where change occurs at specific times
(e.g. university at the start of the year and reviews after every semester), this results in deep
structures such as cultures, control systems and power distributions, deterring change and
thus questioning the need.

Therefore for successful change to occur the University needs to be continuously adaptive,
taking up the notion of a revolutionary-proactive approach in the form of Re-orientation, thus
to incorporate this incremental changes will need to occur thus improving the alignment
within departments.

Several popular models have been proposed to guide the implementation of change. Such
include Kotter’s (1996), Lewin’s (1947), Galpin, Beer (1990) & Burton’s models. The models
of critical importance to this research are Lewin’s theory of planned change, Kotter’s change
process and Beers six step process.

Burnes (2004) looks at Lewin’s (1947) model from a wider lens and states the benefits of the
framework identifying it as very goal orientated and is simple to follow thus making it a
favourable choice for many, however in terms of the University they have a strict objective
set for the year to achieve a better ranking, whereas this framework takes time to implement
as you need to get everyone on board thus the model is more effective for long term
changes than quick fixes.

Subsequently Kanter (1992) discusses its bureaucratic in nature idealising that within a
project situation this is best to adopt however extremely difficult to implement as not
everyone is likely to get on board or feel comfortable adopting change with Hatch (1997)
suggests that the model fails to discuss resistance from employees and how to deal with this
as often only 75% of employees accept the need for change when using this framework,
however the model fails to identify strategies to overcome employees resistance thus leaving
managers in a predicament.

Consequently Pfeffer (1992) finds criticism within Lewin’s (1947) framework identifying how
employees feelings are disregarded as the process is forced upon and is top-down thus an
ever increase in resistance and rebellious behaviour, where often the case in Universities

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the people at the top fail to understand what it is like at the bottom, as Dicking and Watkins
(1999) goes further stating co-creation is prohibited and employees input is unheard of and
often non-existent within this process, moreover Leahy (2008) mentions the strain on
employees, as blame is pointed in their direction for the failures rather than the overall
business.

The criticisms of Lewin’s (1947) model are that he promotes a top-down, enforced approach
from management however ignores situations that require change from the bottom up such
as the case with the Dutch University (Dawson 1994, Kanter et al 1992 and Wilson, 1992).
Thus In the instance of the university a radical change will be taking place (transitional
change) however Lewin’s (1947) model is only appropriate and relevant for small
incremental changes therefore not appropriate for the university (Dawson 1994, Dunphy and
Stace 1992, 1993) Nonetheless Lewin’s (1947) framework is regarded as being very
mechanistic and simplistic in a world where change in constantly happening within an
organisation context (Dawson1994, Kanter et al, 1992 and Nonaka 1988)

Conversely Kotter’s (1996) framework is very closely aligned with Lewin’s (1947) model as
the model is very bureaucratic as top managers implement the change process and create
the vision of how the future should be, with no employee input, as Schein (1996) mentions
this model is strategic as often employees can be indecisive whereas top management know
what they want. However similarities diminish their as Kotter (1996) encourages the
rewarding of employees this improves morale and thus limits the chance of the 25% resisting
within Lewin’s (1947) model. Moreover Lewin’s (1947) model aims to gain employees
acceptance through reminders which in essence takes time, Kotter (1996) model enforces
an urgency to change where employees buy in sooner rather than later through employee
embracing the need, though Anderson and Anderson (2010) states the advantage
mentioning the speed of change is increased however dissatisfaction from employees are
raised as they may not be willing to embrace change so soon and Gupta (2011) mentions
employees fondness of managers diminishes as their concerns are not heard and no time to
grieve, with Appelbaum et al (2012) mentioning employees dislike to be forced to make a
decision.

Nevertheless Hay et al (2001) mentions the model is a more simplistic and a realistic
approach that fits in with classical hierarchy’s much like the university, however it’s very time
consuming as the steps need to be followed in order furthermore the model suggests that
once implemented it sticks however things need to be adapted over time thus this framework
fails to interpret this (Gupta 2011), additionally employees concerns and grief is not
consoled, and this is an important factor where academics are involved.

Thus Kotter (1996) found limitations within his own framework and thus developed on it
within his 2002 work ‘the heart of change’ and implemented accelerators as he mentions the
previous framework is very time consuming as is a limiting factor to its success and thus by
implementing accelerators such as co-creation and employee involvement speed up the
process thus Beer (1990) considers this as the foundation of his framework.

Nonetheless Beers (1990) model differentiates completely from both Lewin (1947) and
Kotter (1996) and is the best means to adopt by the Dutch University, where the previous
enforce a bureaucratic approach where visions are enlisted from senior management, Beer
envisages communication from bottom-up and therefore gives employees a reaching arm

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and allows them to wear the hat, this is supported by Raineri (2011) who suggests through
this means employees are less resistant and are therefore more embracing to the need for
change, suggesting when employees are involved they are increasingly likely to accept
faster and often encourage others to do so, in addition Lewin (1947) and Kotter (1996) fail to
involve employee involvement and limit co-creation however Beer (1990) enforces this and
suggest employees voices should be heard within the vision this therefore allows everyone
within the university to know the new strategic direction and feel they are part of it, however
Roberto and Levesque (2005) suggest the risk through co-creation such as employee
sabotage or implying unfeasible recommendations when concurring ideas that hinder the
change process which cannot happen when the other models are undertaken, nonetheless
where Lewin and Kotter fail to adhere to is the adjustment of new policies after
implementation which Beer states as an imperative factor as Beer (1990) model enforces a
gradualist paradigm where processes can change when not working or if employees may
feel uncomfortable adopting or feel restricted thus allowing the change process to feel
natural as oppose to the other models.

Subsequently several contemporary models have adopted on Beers (1990) model and used
it as the foundations of theirs whilst also dismissing the works of Kotter’s and Lewin’s due to
their heavy reliance on a bureaucratic stance, thus models such as Kirsch et al 2011), Burke
and Litwin (1992), enforce the use of co-operation and involvement from the bottom,
mentioning through this mistakes are minimised and the process of change is more quicker
through involvement,

Moreover Beer (1990) and models such as McKinsey (1980) Kirsch et al (2011) and Burke
and Litwin (1992) identify the importance of co-creation in terms of implementing visions and
policies for the future strategic direction of the company, as well as making adjustments if
deemed necessary as state that it is essential to do this within the world we currently live in a
things are changing constantly.

Managing Resistance

Yet change isn’t a simple process as when change occurs resistance comes with it, in terms
of employees, groups, management and departments (Ford et al 2010), though Strebel
(1996) identifies resistance as a behaviour that aims at protecting an individual due to the
impact of the real or potential change. Subsequently Zaltman and Duncan (1977) builds on
this suggesting it as a conduct that aims at maintaining the existing status quo due to the
potential pressures that come with it, however Folger and Skarlicki (1999) propose an
opposing definition where previous authors suggest resistance is due to impeding pressures
and the fear of the unknown, they identify it as a behaviour by employees that intends to
disrupt, challenge or question assumptions, power relations and discourses, with Buchanan
and Huczynski (2010) further emphasising as an employee’s unwillingness to discuss or
accept change that may threaten them.

Lewin (1999) adopts a force field analysis framework, identifying when change occurs
resistance is the norm, thus identifying forces for and against a merger, however Hultman
(1995) delves within the model and distinguishes two forms of resistance from employee’s,

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active-resistance (covert) and passive-resistance (overt), where the former enlists where
employees ridicule, manipulate, find faults and place fear in others, e.g. Nurses ridiculing
other employees for embracing change, the use of Chinese whispers, and threatening
employees for not going on strike all occurred when change happened within the NHS
regarding working longer hours and days. Whereas Lipton (1996) suggests the later refers to
employees verbally agreeing to change however failing to follow through by concealing
information as well as feigning ignorance. Moreover Levine (1997) suggests employees
often show their resistance through the sudden increase in absentees, sickness, strikes and
groups/factions forming during the initial stages of mergers e.g. Rail network had an
increase in strikes and sickness when change occurred.

Thus resistance will not only occur from staff, but also managers within the Dutch university,
as three departments are forming as one, managers may lose their position, one manager
may have more power over the others or all managers may risk losing their managerial
status to an external individual thus affecting everyone as employees may want their
manager to lead and facilitate them, thus managers will often show resistance due to the
loss of power, not identifying with the new direction of the university or being unable to
manage the new structure due to limited resources and processes. (Maurer 1997)

However O’Connor (1993) goes against previous authors and states resistance occurs
within change due to employees feeling vulnerable, not knowing the reason for change, the
loss of power, fear of stability and job security whereas Levine (1997) not only agrees but
states employees fear of giving away their talents, expertise or diminishing their identity
within the business, therefore counter this by showing resistance. Moreover Ford et al (2008)
fails to agree and suggests resistance occurs in change due to fear of breaking habits as
well as security of the past as Hon et al (2014) mentions employees fear of losing their
freedom and need to be convinced. Subsequently Turgot et al (2016) looks into it further by
mentioning resistance occurs due to the differences in mind set between departments calling
it a power struggle where one group wants to possess a dominant nature over the other, or a
sudden change in culture has a negative effect on motivation and willingness to perform at
optimal level.

On the other hand de Jager (2001) suggests employees resistance can in fact play a pivotal
role in change and thus speed up its momentum, Hon et al (2014) suggest through well-
intended debates, disagreements and criticisms to change it does not necessarily lead to
negative resistance, however allows both parties (managers and employees) to form a better
understanding and comprise better solutions and options.

Conjointly Piderit (2000) makes clear that managers tend to perceive resistance as
discourteous and unprofessional however mentions resistance to change may have a
motivating factor such as protecting a culture, principles or identity and thus resistance
occurs to protect the interest of the company, thus allowing management to re-evaluate and
re-think their proposed change initiative.

Moreover Folger and Skarlicki (1999) agree with the previous authors and point out that
resistance to change often is the last cry for help, with employees feeling the company may
be inadvertently changing or doing the wrong thing, and through this resistance allows
management to find the most appropriate solution to the situation thus de Jager (2001)
identifying it as an effective, powerful and useful mechanism.

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Resistance can be controlled and manipulated to an extent as Bovey and Hede (2001)
identifies resistance within a psychological state affirming the sense of emotions that
employees go through during change, thus Levine (1997) mentions to deal with resistance
the initial step is to empower employees through education with Dent and Goldberg (1999)
mentioning managers need to advise on the benefits of merging such as profitability, ease of
work, knowledge transfers, stronger relationships and acquiring new skills thus relieving the
pressures of employees and giving them a feeling that change is good and beneficial within
the University this can be done through online courses and training.

Hultman (1995) builds on the point and suggests to minimise resistance communication is
important where resistance should not be frowned upon or punished but embraced and
accepted allowing individuals and groups to share their worries. Cameron and Green (2015)
emphasise suggesting employee involvement, allowing two-way dialogue and less hierarchal
levels enable employees to voice their opinion, subsequently employees views should be
heard and not brushed aside thus lowering the resistance to change (Maurer 1997)

In addition O’Connor (1993) builds on the proposals put forth by previous academics and
mentions employees feel factors such as anger and depression when change occurs or is
occurring therefore managers need to be sympathetic and let individuals be heard,
furthermore Turgot et al (2016) provides a lighter note by stating the offering of rewards and
incentives as well as celebrating short term wins leads to acceptance of change and
minimalizes resistance drastically however organisations need to be careful to not portray a
nature of bribing or bargaining.

Manchester City FC are an example of how to manage resistance, where there initial aim
was to avoid relegation, however overnight due to a takeover by a billionaire consortium their
aim was to now win the league, resistance therefore was the natural defence mechanism,
however managers stressed the benefits of the new direction, offered wage increases,
introduced new processes (e.g. training facilities) and new talent to motivate and relinquish
employee resistance, subsequently Manchester city FC won the premier league and became
a dominant force in the Premier league.

Organisational culture

Organisational culture is regarded as the glue that sticks individuals together, often having
more importance than rules and protocols placed within an organisation, often identified as
the blueprint (software of the mind) allowing individuals to form as one and strive for an
overall objective (Jones 2010). Whereas Ravasi and Schultz (2006) provides a more
conclusive definition stating it as a set of values and behaviours that form a psychological
and unique environment within an organisation with Needle (2004) adopting the thought that
it represents beliefs, values and principles of members within an organisation.

Kotter (1995), Deal and Kennedy (2000) and Schein (2006), however mention that although
a culture exists within an organisation, very often sub-cultures exist within its mist, where
teams, departments or groups have their very own set of principles and expectations in
which they abide by, thus often linked by various management teams, In the terms of the
university it’s the various departments. Schein (2004) transgresses and identifies three

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levels of culture thus artefacts, values and underlying assumptions which are deep ingrained
values within the departments e.g. Economics having a ‘happy hour’ every day.

Furthermore in changing organisational culture challenges occur, thus three schools of


thoughts are identified Symbolic, Functionalist and a Realist perspective, where the three
differentiate as symbolic suggest that culture is entwined within the business as something it
is and cannot be seen thus making it difficult to change as it has been the norm for years,
with Schein (2004) going further and identifying culture as being the personality of the
organisation thus the systems and procedures are embedded within the culture and the
deep underlying roots of the culture can’t be seen as they are ingrained, however the
functionalist suggest organisational culture as a separate entity through the organisation and
can be visualised through the artefacts therefore if change were to occur replacing artefacts
and symbols will cause tension, friction and an increase of resistance however can be
manipulated over time through small changes e.g. changing one room at a time, however
both perspectives believe organisational change can be managed through manipulation and
management. However the realist perspective symbolises the Dutch university stating
employee’s beliefs and values cannot be changed as they are deep rooted, and thus
managers need to embrace this, which the symbolic and functionalist fail to mention
however state employee’s behaviours can be influenced through effective leadership.

Hence for cultural change to take place within the University, management will need to adopt
a leadership strategy as Hughes (2006) mentions managerial work within the time of change
is predominantly a leadership job. Thus to manage organisational culture within the
university leaders will need to advise the various sub-cultures of the benefits of change
(sense-making) thus identifying the goal of better ranking and the fruits that come with it and
the drawbacks of not embracing change, in addition creating a vision with your subordinates
but making sure it attainable, feasible and realistic (Todnem 2005).

However for change to be correctly implemented the use of alignment is important , such as
creating project teams where it enables them to understand the direction the company is
heading and celebrate small wins e.g. positive appraisals, thus leaders also need to put
systems and processes in practise such as shared canteens and online communities to
remove stumbling blocks and allow cultures to integrate, fundamentally managers will need
to lead by example to boost morale and motivate, this can be done through motivating
posters, team meetings , pep talks or bringing together various groups for tasks thus making
the change process feel real.

Though for effective leadership to be implemented and entwined within changing


predispositions employees have regarding their existing culture and to embrace a new
coherent one, power plays a signifying role, where Dhal (1957) identifies it as the power and
manipulation to get an individual to do something in which they would not previously do, in
the terms of the University power can come in the form of employees, students, external
stakeholders or top-management, thus when change occurs disruptions follow suit therefore
individuals would exert their power to defend status quo, to enforce their discouragement, or
a form of resistance e.g. students protesting as they feel change will disrupt their learning.

Subsequently leaders (change managers) will need to manage and be alert of stakeholders
who may disrupt the process and facilitation of a change and thus take necessary
precautions and steps such as leading by example thus allowing stakeholders to get on

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board and feel that the new direction is right, hold meetings to reduce tension and clear any
misunderstandings thus building collaborative relationships and negotiating, identifying that
through this change specific outcomes will occur such as increased students, more
knowledge staff, increase income to the community and more opportunities thus resulting in
less power in resistance from stakeholders and a coalition of parties striving for the same
goal.

Conclusion

To conclude we realize that change and change management are essential to the overall
wellbeing of an organization. In fact, for organizational development to thrive the factor of
change is an important aspect. Understanding and utilizing the appropriate techniques of
change management can assist organizations avoid instances of failed change.

Evidently, Dutch university stands a better chance of attaining its desired change and overall
improve on the rankings. According to the discussions above, change management process
is a long and tedious process that demands ultimate dedication and cooperation among the
stakeholders. Ensuring all the stakeholders are on board will reduce the resistance. In
addition, communicating why the change is important is another important element that will
reduce the resistance. The indifference of the sub-cultures of the three departments can be
neutralized through compromises and development of a new cohesive culture. Beer’s model
of change would be the perfect model for the university to use to implement the changes.
This is because, it will allow the university to accommodate its diverse nature and create a
structured approach of making the changes, bringing forth co-creation and aligning all
departments together along the process, whilst also restructuring if problems occur.
Moreover the implementation of a leader to forgo the process is essential thus helping to
reduce power and politics along the way and bring together the various sub-cultures or
merge as one. Overall, the university have to be keen and closely monitor the
implementation process and make appropriate adjustments.

Recommendations

The following procedures are the recommendations that should be deployed in order to
implement the change, in the case of the Dutch University’s decision to merge the academic
departments:

Staff Training & Education

Training and educating the staff will enable the members of different departments to align
themselves with the expected change understanding the benefits of doing so, which should
be implemented by leaders. This training should cover areas such as newly defined roles
and interactions in the business school and how the actual process will be implemented.
Workshops will also be held to collect variant views, criticisms and update them on progress
made and thus reward (short term wins), or restructure if problems or obstacles occur.

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Communication

This is an essential part of the implementation of the strategy. Owing to the variant
subcultures, it is essential that the new business school draws from the strengths of each
subculture. Forums shall be held to ascertain that the staffs participate in the evaluation of
the proposed structure and culture of the organization such as Moodle or discussion forums
allowing various sub-culture groups to talk to one another.

Consequently to enable communication from employees and for them to accept and get on
board with the change process the hierarchal structure will need to change where
communication will not be top-down but bottom up, and thus implement department reps
allowing employees to feel safe and secure that their identity isn’t immediately forgotten but
feel that they have gained a small win and thus want to embrace the new direction.

Quality culture development

As highlighted above culture is a crucial element in driving change in an organization. This


said it is essential that a paradigm shift in both culture and behaviour is initiated from the top
management of the university with the assistance of the various sub-departments. This will
involve setting the norms, implicit beliefs, values etc. (e.g. reaching compromises by instilling
motivational posters as the Economics department need this to function). The participation of
the executive management will be critical to developing an organizational culture informed
by the strengths of the various groups.

Actual implementation using Beer’s (1990) Model

The implementation will take up Beer’s six step model. Where the first step will be will be
undertaking a survey/questionnaire of what all sub-cultures currently like and dislike thus
creating a joint diagnostic of the current problems, subsequently a shared vision will be
created by all departments and thus all feel part of a team and as one all striving for the
same aim leading to minimal resistance, thus rewards, processes in the forms of appraisals
and meeting will be established to make sure everyone is striving in the same direction and
thus formalise the policies through codified means e.g. email to every employee, new vision
statement or in employee handbooks, thus factors of value addition will be regularly
monitored and evaluated to gauge the impact on performance of the entire university and not
be afraid to re-implement new policies e.g. Happy hour to raise morale

Teambuilding

The use of cross disciplinary team working is envisioned as a beneficial influence in building
trust, relationships, and encouraging others to embrace another such as setting small project
teams within the one department to achieve mini targets., the use of integration between
different members within sub groups will build friendships and trust and thus minimise
resistance therefore individuals who may be overt will take on board through positive
recommendations.

Additionally away days will break down the walls between different sub-cultures and thus
allow individuals to work coherently and trust one another, the introduction of processes
such as discussion forums will allow separate sub-cultures to have a meeting point where
they can share their concerns, learn from one another and thus embrace one another.

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The redevelopment of the infrastructure plays a pivotal role, where sub-cultures should not
be put in segregation but allow entwining with one another, the bringing forth of a shared
canteen, allows departments to merge subconsciously and thus rely on one another and
thus look forward to the new direction.

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