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Managing change

Developing a list of questions that would help framing and diagnosing organisational change issues

MSc Business Management

Alexander College

Module Title: Managing Change

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Module Code: UMOCB3-15-M S2N

Student Number: 18001727

Component B

Ousainou charreh


Change is the only constant in life (Heraclitus C.535 BC-475 BC). But what does change really mean? Is it to adopt? Innovate? Adjust? Modify? Advance? Or Develop? Its part of reality that manager have to deal with change in all the times. However, there’s another reality that’s people don’t always want to change. The received wisdom in much of the business world for the last 30 years has been that change has to be fast, large-scale and transformational if organisations are to survive (Hammer and Champy, 1993; Jorgensen et al, 2014; Kotter, 1996; Levy and Merry, 1986; McKinsey & Company, 2008; Parker et al, 2016; Peters, 2006; Peters and Waterman, 1982). Globalization and the constant innovation of technology result in a constantly evolving business environment. Accordingly, Moran and Bring (2001″,P 111) who describe change management as ”the process of continually renewing an organization direction, structure and capabilities to serve the ever changing needs of external and internal customer” However, (Clarke 1999), Rickards (1999), Turner (1999) and Lowendahl and Revange (1998) maintained that organizational strategists must go beyond examining how their external and internal organizational contexts interact; they must examine the fundamental assumptions and systematic truths that are dictating organizational strategies. Does change meant to improve and make a difference? Earn higher revenue? Cost reduction? Operational excellence or efficiency, for each manager to maintain a competitive edge in an era of hyper competition he/her organization must deal with change. Let’s not forget about customer’s insight which is essential to make the right choices. Customer intimacy, customer touch point and net promotions with the internet and social media they have a lot of POWER to either make or break you. We cannot enquire into power without an enquiry into its organization. Equally, we cannot make serious enquiry into organizations without an enquiry into power. The term ‘organizational politics’ is not a part of the lexicon of everyday speech without good reason Usually it has negative connotations, as if there were an organizational life without politics which was somehow more technically rational.


The central focus of this assignment is to take stock of what I have learned in the Managing Change Module to develop a list of questions that would help framing and diagnosing organisational change issues. I will also explain and justify why these questions are meaningful and useful. However, this list of questions can also be seen as a tool or a checklist to insure that when confronted to a complex organisational situation, you are able to consider different possible ways of framing problems, as a first step to developing meaningful and relevant solutions. Relevant academic theories such as politics, Power, and resistance theories as evolved during the second part of Managing Change Module will be apply.

Literature review


What is Political Theory’ is a very complex task . MORE

In some fashion or another political scientist spend much of their time trying to understand organization. Public bureaucracies they have studied, legislature and executive leadership, they have had also studied parties and interest of groups and this is simply because theory is an essential path in understanding, a central part of their task to develop new theories of organization. Organizations are relevant, crucial to the traditional concerns of sociologist, psychologist and economist and they have been strongly willed to study theories of organization too. According to (Perrow, 1986) there is sociology of organization, a psychology of organization, a fast-developing economics of organization which we commonly refer to as organization theory.

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Whilst the political perspective looks at the mechanics of politics which defer from the critical perspective as it looks mostly at how power relations and inequalities are reproduced. Therefore change management can be seen as an ideology aimed at preserving existing structures of power and inequalities in which the critical approach starts with the idea that existing power arrangements need to be challenged with the primary goal to create societies and workplaces that are free from domination’ (Alvesson and Deetz, 1996) so change should be a process of emancipation – reform toward autonomy (Willmott, 2003).

The central problem of politic as now is, it’s almost impossible to be a good politician and a good person in the traditional sense. The overwhelming responsibility of a good manager is to defend the organization external and internal threats and most importantly must know how to manage those around him. Managers should be seen as unapproachably strict but reasonable. Should a manager be loved and feared? Rhetorically, it would be wonderful for a manager to be both loved and obeyed

I would suggest that managers should be tolerant, generous and peaceful to make meaningful impact on those they manage. Should manager’s be people with virtue of wisdom? Strategy? Strength? Bravery? Ruthlessness? and a wonderful answer would be a big yes! Although, managers cannot be good at all things not only because of our limited ability and resources but also because of the conflict within organization which is a difficult decision or ethical trade- off. A manager must be able to ignore the certain feelings of employee to keep the business going and that’s the price of dealing with the world as it’s and not the feeling it should be.


What is power? Something one has? Or something one has the capacity to exercise? According to Frost and Egri (1991): “the potential to get others to do things they might not otherwise want to do and or to resist others’ efforts to get one to do what they want one to do”. Pfeffer and Salencick (1978) define power as the capacity to control access to critical resources. Bourdieu (1992): discuss power as the capacity to define categories of perception and appreciation, and social hierarchies inherent to those categories. Modern thinking of power begins in the writing of Nicollo Machiavelli (The prince, early 16th Century) and Thomas Hobbes (leviathan, Mid-17th Century). Their books are considered classes of political writing and the contrast between them represents the two main routes along which thought about power has continued to this day (Clegg, 1989). Given that words such as manipulation, violence, and domination are so often associated with power, it is not surprising that power is often seen as something bad something ignoble. Although, Power is not necessarily constraining, negative or antagonistic, power can be creative, empowering and positive. Example Defeating of tyranny, Creation of democracy and Poverty-related philanthropy/activism etc

Most social scientists have an intuitive notion of what ‘power’ means. Yet, social scientists have been unable to formulate a statement of the concept that is rigorous enough to be used in a systematic study of this important social phenomenon. The more social scientists attempt to define Power, the more complex it is found to be. To say that certain individuals have more or less “power” than others is one of the palpable facts of human existence. Parent-child, chief-patrolman, professor-graduate student, professional-amateur are all relationships which imply the notion of power (Peabody”,1964). The concept of power is as ancient as any that social theory can boast. To document this assertion, one could cite a series of social philosophers from Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle through Machiavelli and Hobbes to Pareto, Mosca, Weber and Durkheim to demonstrate that a large number of seminal theorists have devoted a great amount of their thought to the concept of power and the implications associated with it (Dahl”,1957). Because so many social scientists, at varying times in history have felt the need to attach the label ‘power’ to some Thing they believed they had observed, one is tempted to think that the Thing must exist. Beyond existing, the Thing must be of a form capable of being studied in an empirical manner. Many social scientists have thought of power as existing even in a “potential” state. The notion of “potentiality” has persuaded social scientists to use indirect measures of power and often it has prompted them to ask rhetorical questions about the relationship between desirable social facts (e.g., class stratification) and power.

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Diagnosing Organisational Change Issues

When introducing change in an Organization there are questions to answer to reduce resistance before taking about change. Firstly, what’s going to change? As a manager you should be able to define what exactly going to change. Secondly, why we have to Change? Staff would like to know the motivation why you would like to do the change. Followed by why now? When it’s going to happen? Why can’t it happen few months from now? And the biggest part is how it’s going to impact them? Each staff is eco-centric they sometime care too much about how it going to impact them? Last but not the least is what’s the blue print? How would it be implemented? Managers should have answers to these question with confident before talking about change.


Resistance as creative source of innovation – leads to successful organisational change Resistance is never of a piece; it only looks that way from the perspective of those authorities who find resistance to their rationalities simply irrational. In fact, as Ford et al. (2002) have argued, the quality of resistance varies greatly with the contexts in which it occurs. The rational questions one may ask are is it intended as resistance by the actor? Is the act recognized as resistance by the target? Or Is the act recognized as resistance by an observer? This kind of situation is a tough call for any manager. Because it is obvious that organizational change would deprive certain individuals and units of power and redistribute it to other. What is pertinent here is for the organization to clearly set out the goals of the planned changes in advance and to communicate this clearly to all stakeholders. If such communication is done properly it reduces the incidence of prejudice from the beginning. Such communication should also spell out the intended benefits of the organizational change to both individuals, units and the corporate body as a whole especially in relation to the overall vision and mission of the organization. Another strategy would be to ensure a system of check and balance is in place to avert abuse of the process of organizational change towards unduly favoring elite interest. In this vain an oversight body either at the level of the board of directors or an independent team could monitor implementation of changes to ensure that they are geared towards the expressly stated objectives of organizational change

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In my view, the question, how can resistance produce change that significantly challenges top management decisions? is critical. The potential positive effects of productive resistance are not enough to guarantee its accommodation by top management, even by “self-serving” managers (Ford et al. 2008, p. 362) whose organization could benefit from productive resistance. The productive dimension of resistance in the workplace has been noted in three main streams of research: the sociology of work, the study of creative resistance, and the study of resistance to change. Yet none of those streams has seen acts of resistance as bearing significant challenges to top management’s decision-making powers. The perspective i suggest has significant implications for the way in which resistance in the workplace is conceptualized. First, it adds to recent literature on creative resistance that mainly explores how identities contrary to those propounded by management might emerge (Thomas 2009, Deetz 2008, Zoller and Fairhust 2007). Conceiving of resistance as an authentic expression seeking positive solutions for the organization, rather than as underlings’ reactive response to managerial power, leads to a concentration on the processes through which concrete organizational effects of resistance are produced. Second, the study of productive resistance offers an opportunity to overcome the tendency to a “self-defeated vision of resistance” (Thomas 2009, p. 175), a view that characterizes literature that barely challenges the postulate of all-powerful managerial control (King 2008).


Realizing various dimensions of the power variable, a question that comes to mind is: What effects does a particular culture have on power relationships? Obviously some; those are referred to in terms of various mechanisms of integration. Much of the literature dealing with the concept of power makes little use of the notion as it applied to entities larger than a group consisting of two people.

On matters of resistance, this paper contradicts the managerialist perspective of the resistance to change literature; it does so by demonstrating that resistance is likely to be productive when it is couched as a challenge to normal relations of power and founded in established, specific and legitimate power/knowledge relations. Our analysis confirms recent research suggesting that contenders can disagree and still find common interests”

Under politic, it is recommended that environment where people can interact and share ideas, organizational growth and health are present.

Power, politics, and resistance are considered as negative by authors of a managerialist view or by the status quo Managerialist = looking at organizational behavior and theory exclusively exclusively from the view point of managers


Blanchard K. (2010) Leading at a higher level. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Bernard Burnes (1996) managing change, 2nd edition, 128 long acre london, WC2E 9AN, Clays ltd”,

Aiken”,Michael and Paul E. Hott, eds. 1968 the Structure of Community Power. New York: Random House.

Accessed online March 31, 2019

Ford, J. D., Ford, L.W., & McNamara, R. T. (2002). Resistance and the background conversations of change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 5(2), 105–121.

David Courpasson, Françoise Dany, Stewart Clegg, (2012) Resisters at Work: Generating Productive Resistance in the Workplace. Organization Science 23(3):801-819.

Kaufman, Herbert. “Organization Theory and Political Theory.” The American Political Science Review, vol. 58, no. 1, 1964, pp. 5–14. JSTOR,

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