A review of chapters One and Two
from the book by Michael A. Beitler
called ‛Strategic Organizational Change“.
Very many things have been said about Change and its impact on organization. Some scientists believe that it’s impossible to manage Change, other try to find ways how to control it. Michael A. Beitler probably belongs to the last group.
The first chapter of this book is designed as an entering part. Here the author speaks about purpose of this book which can be valuable not only for parishioner’s who need some practical advice but also partially for researches who deal with the problem of Organizational Change. That is why the author writes about importance of theoretical foundation. Further he speaks about the structure of the book and gives the reader some kind of preview of the following chapters. By giving these short outlooks the author does not simply name chapters and their contents but also tells about the Six-Step Research Model components of which are described in the chapters that follow.
However Organizational Change (OC) couldn’t appear as a completely separated and isolated theory. The author mentions three roots of OC. They are Management Advisory Services (MAS), consultants of which help their clients to develop strategy, Organizational Learning (OL), parishioners of which try to create ‛atmosphere of dissemination of knowledge thought the organization“ and finally, Organization Development (OD), specialists in which focus on ‛diagnosing and changing human interactions between individuals and within groups“.
I completely agree with the author that all the components of Organizational Change are important and connected with each other. Moreover, I believe, that all the OC’s constitutes should work together in harmony and be aimed to achieve one and the same goal (improving performance).
Second chapter is devoted entirely to the ten concepts in a practice model.
From my point of view the word ‛concept“ is mainly used in theoretical reference but these so called concepts mentioned above may be easily turned into highly effective practical tools.
The first tool is Forcefields Analysis developed by Kurt Lewin. This concept reminds me of Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion which says: ‛For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.“ That means that to make organization evolve its leader in collaboration with managers should either strengthen driving power or weaken resisting forces otherwise an organization will reach the state stagnation which will mean no progress and no change. However a real organization is not a locked system it is also influenced by many other outer variables which are outside the company. From this point of view how can the state of stagnation be achieved after all? Another words, how is it possible to maintain status quo? The answer is ‛status quo“ as Kurt Lewin calls stagnation a purely theoretical thing it cannot happen in real organization because change is inevitable and it happens regardless whether people in the organization are trying to do something or not. My idea is change can be either progress or regress and so called ‛status quo“ is nothing but regress itself.
As a second concept the author describes Three Stages of Change. These are unfreezing, process and freezing again. This idea seems to be quite logical and accomplished. However, nowadays due to some technical adherents and other factors Changes happen more frequently that they used to in the past. From this point of view wouldn’t it be better to substitute the last phase ‛freezing again“ for the phase called ‛flexibility“. The answer is yes. The formula ‛unfreezing-process-flexibility“ is more coherent now because Changes happen so rapidly and there would be no need to start the process of unfreezing over and over again if the organization stayed flexible to change all the time. Unfortunately again it’s just a theoretical assumption because people are used to operate the same rules of logic all the time. Human mind requires the stage of freezing. It is impossible for company to stay flexible and to adjust its functions to every change without unlearning what they used to know before.
The third tool is System Thinking helps to define any organization as a system with all its components interrelating. That also means that it is impossible to change one of organization’s components without affecting another one.
The forth concept is an Open System Theory which defines an organization as a part of a larger system. Example can be found easily. If we take our Universe which is built of molecules which are systems of atoms, an atom consists of protons and neutrons and a number of electrons spinning around it and etc. All the systems are connected to each other with all their elements interrelated.
The fifth concept deals with First and Second-Order Changes. The author believes that the first-order change happens more frequently than the second-order one. Moreover second-order change is more rapid and more ‛dramatic“ in comparison to the first-order change which is more like steady development.
The sixth tool is all about importance of communication among managers on every level and especially between managers and employees. Communication to my mind is a very powerful tool which can even define the strategy.
The seventh concept is sounds alike the sixth one to me. Teams and Diversity tool is also about communication within the organization. Each member can contribute to organization’s success but team work is also highly important. Thus decisions can be made separately and in teams. The same idea can be found in the definition of the eighth tool called Conflict Management.
The ninth tool from my point of view is essential for each organization it is Appropriate Leadership. The role of leader is great in Organizational Change. It is leader who should have clearer and broader view on Organizational change and the role of managers to execute and to brig big ideas into life. Finally, it is leader who in collaboration with managers works out suitable strategy for the organization.
The last tenth tool mentioned by the author is called Action Research. It is a tool that helps to analyze data within the enterprise. Though the author of this concept, Kurt Lewin, divides this process into six steps, I believe that it is possible to define four main steps; they are: gathering data, analysis, synthesis and conclusion.
In these first two chapters of his book Michael A. Beitler speaks mainly about structure of his book and ten useful concepts-tools which he finds very powerful in managing Organizational Change.
Denis O. Svyatun
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