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Introduction to Organizational Management Change

Organizational changes are implemented for improving the operational and managerial aspects of a business firm. The structure of an organization has crucial role in the management of different roles and responsibilities of all the business functions. Some major aspects like leadership motivation and strategic decision are creating influence on organizational change management (Senior and Swailes, 2010). In this report, the behavior of middle managers is discussed for the acceptance and rejection towards the organizational changes. Along with this, different models of strategic changes are evaluated for their impact on cultural changes in a business firm. 

The support and resistance of middle managers in strategic change of an organization

The business organizations are having three layers of management employees or there are three stages of organizational structure. It is considered that top management takes the strategic decisions for change management. While middle managers are responsible for taking care of all the operational functions and roles throughout the improvement process. The lower level managers are responsible for tactical decision making in manufacturing or service functions. Middle level managers are guiding and managing the lower level employees for getting the desired work done as per standards of business organization (Conway and Monks, 2011). It is discussed here that how and why the middle managers will affect organizational changes. It is considered that middle managers are whole and sole for managing operational employees and mechanizing production and service management. Organizational changes are required for the betterment of existing process and conditions of business practices. If there are multiple operations in contradictory then middle managers will be destructed to execute the assigned jobs. First, the discussion is done how the middle managers affect the management of organizational changes.

Middle level managers are the employees who strive for the strategic decisions that are taken by the senior or top management. The top management identifies the issues and problems in the business operations and defines some strategic change requirements which are executed by the managers (Cameron and Green, 2009). In an organization, the top management affect the decision making and methodology of working towards business objectives and goals. The middle managers are responsible to manage different functional teams with special tasks and roles. For example, if a business firm is planning to change its organizational structure then it will require taking concern from its top and middle management for adequate implementation and change monitoring as well as control. Middle managers take operational decisions which are focusing to handle the job roles and responsibilities of team members and act upon the strategic decisions of senior management (McCann, Morris, and Hassard, 2008). All the business practices and functions are monitored and controlled by management team in an organization. Middle managers are responsible for taking work from the lower level employees who actually executes work for customer's value proposition. When changes are implemented in an organization then middle managers are required to change their working style, management approaches as well change management practices so the labors and supervisors can be diverted towards the improvements (Friday and Friday, 2003).
Middle managers have rights for getting the work done from lower level of employees in their own ways. Due to the improvements and changes, they are required to practice according to the new business practices and methods. The better response from middle managers always leads to desired outcomes in the change management. It depends upon the behavior, nature, ability, skills, competency level of a middle manager about the way in which he or she responds towards the change implementation in organization (Paton and McCalman, 2008). The changes in existing organizational system are processed through effective planning, directing, implementing, and monitoring and control functions. There are different functional teams under operational departments in a firm which takes care of all the improvements.

Secondly, the discussion is done for the reason because of which middle managers are supporting or restricting the organizational changes. It is observed that each and every individual have different perspective to work for an organization. They have different behavior and perception for accepting or rejecting the change implementation in existing systems. It is observed that middle managers may support the improvement tactics or restrict the changes in their job roles and responsibilities. If the changes are complex and having drastic nature then it will affect the acceptance by middle managers (Diefenbach, 2007). It is understood that middle managers are responsible for supporting to the top management decisions for reacting on change management. People react on the basis of personal and professional experience. The competency level of employees affects them to support in management decisions. Sometimes it may be possible that middle manager will not support in the changes commanded by the senior management due to complexity or nature of managers. The other obstacles are behavior of subordinates, team member’s behavior, issues in training and learning the changes etc. It is seen that middle managers may restrict the organizational changes because of the personal welfare. If some changes are practiced in job roles, compensations, responsibilities and management practices. Middle managers are affected by the human resource policies of the organization which affect the performance in implementation of changes. According to X and Y theory, it is understood that some of the middle manager will accept the changes and few managers may restrict the changes in business practices (Middle Management: Definition, Roles & Responsibilities, 2015). It will create a positive environment in business if middle level management is supporting with the organizational changes and implementation of new operational strategy. Middle managers have to lead and guide their subordinates which will affect the acceptance and rejection of new business plan. Some of the middle manager may accept few changes and rest of them restrict the change implementation on whole. Generally, the changes in organization structure, business methodology, involvement of advanced tools and techniques affect the middle managers behavior towards industrial improvements. The changes business operations are either accepted or rejected as per reactions of middle management. According to Vroom’s expectancy theory, employees like to do only those jobs which are easy and understandable to them. The changes can affect their personal goals and objectives which will not be entertained by them (Vitez, O., 2015). If the management changes are implemented as per the set objectives, there will be less chances of rejection. The involvement of middle management in change management decision planning reduces the rejection of changes. On whole, different conditions and situations has impact on management decisions making through acceptance and rejections of changes by the middle managers. The internal and external factors of a business organization have positive and negative impact on decision making of middle managers in organization’s management of changes.

Why do models of planned change not bring about cultural change

Organizations may introduce planned or unplanned change depending upon the satiation within the industry. It is evident that organizational culture changes with the organizational change. Organizational culture can be defined as the behavior of humans/employees in an enterprise. Unplanned change often occurs because of change in the significant change in the external environment that causes the organizations and its members to respond in a highly disorganized fashion. On the other hand, planned change occurs when managers/leaders in the company realize the need of significant change for proactively organizing the plan to drive change (Resistance to Change in an Organization's Structure & Culture. 2011). Thus, it refers to different approaches to deliberate change and managing the same. Generally, planned change occurs in an organization when entity witnesses successful execution of a strategic plan or strategy for reorganization. It is important to note here that although planned change is based on well organized strategic plan but leaders often fail to manage change in a company in an organized manner. Rather, planned changes in contemporary organizations tend to occur in more disruptive fashion. There are various planned change management models which are described in brief for creating insightful information for the same.

Kurt Lewin’s change management model

It is also known as three step change management model comprising three steps including unfreezing, transforming and refreezing. This model was developed by Kurt Lewin which represents practical implication of change management in the organizations. This model has contributed in the development of various modern models (Senior and Swailes, 2010).

Kotter’s eight step model

This model was developed by renowned change expert, John Kotter, who introduced the model in his book “Leading Change”. The eight steps of this model are described below which can be used by organizations to lead the change.

  • Creating urgency for change in the company
  • Forming a powerful coalition
  • Creating a vision for change
  • Communicating the vision
  • Removing obstacles to change management
  • Creating short term wins
  • Building on change
  • Anchoring the changes in corporate culture (Koster  and Sanders, 2006).

McKinsey 7s Model

A holistic and practical approach to organization was presented by the McKinsey 7s Model in 1978. The model considers the seven factors which operate as collective agent of change in the modern organizations. These seven factors include shared values, strategy, structure, systems, style, staff and skills.

In addition to above specified planned change management model, there are some other models which are often used. However, it is argued that these models have certain limitations due to which these models fail to bring about cultural change. (Burnes, 2004) in their study provided that in this dynamic world, organizational change phenomenon is a doubtful decision because many organizations have witnessed issues in the same (Vitez, 2015). It is interesting fact to know that 60% of the change plans fail which has provided a vigorous topic for debate as which approach or planned model to select and implement in the organization. He further investigated the case of XYZ Construction Company in 1999 and 2000 for both planned and unplanned change approaches. The results of his study revealed that there are certain challenges of planned barriers like lack of integration, lack of employee engagement and workforce resistance (Hosie and Smith, 2009).

However, well structured plan with effective communication can be implemented effectively. From the above discussion, it can be stated that organizations need to have proactive approach of overcoming barriers to change so that it can be implemented effectively. In this context, companies are suggested to avoid seeking a single best way of change management. Additionally, business enterprises can select the best suited approach for both planned and unplanned change in organizational context (Sheard and Kakabadse, 2004).

 In the similar fashion, Harris and Ogbonna, (2002) also represented the views and provided that implementation of planned changes within the organization result in unintended consequences of cultural interventions because management may not be successful to bring change about the culture. Furthermore, the study carried out by them presented overview of contemporary research into the nature of culture. The findings of this study clearly shows that management programs for driving the change result in serious consequences due to cultural interventions (Harris and Ogbonna, 2002). Thus, organizational culture is set of values and practices followed by an organization which is developed over a period of time and therefore, planned models of change management often fail to cope up with the organizational culture. It is evident that change in the organizational process triggers the emotions of staff members’ experiences and transformation of the business. Effective organizational culture assists in shaping the emotions which are expressed by the employees during the change process and other aspects of organizational life cycle (Smollan and Sayers, 2009). However, it is important to address here that change in the culture provokes employee emotions which results in failure of change management process. Nonetheless, if such expressed emotions of employees shaping organization culture are treated with respect by leaders, employee engagement in change management process can be secured. This is because; attitude of present culture of the business enterprise produces emotional response to aspects of change. 

 Cameron and Green, (2009) also documented negative reaction of employees when change models and theories are employed in the organizations. Results of this study reveal that employees perceive that the cultural change is initiated because for organization, shareholders are more important than employees but it may not be the actual case (Cameron and Green, 2009). From the above discussion, it can be stated that planned change which is emergent approach and beneficial for contemporary managers to change organizational culture gradually and incrementally before change in the process (Burnes, 2004). Nonetheless, planned models do not incorporate provisions to initiate change in the organizational culture therefore, often planned change models do not bring about cultural change. However, managers can consider such unintentional consequences to bring about the change in culture (How to Change Your Organization’s Culture. 2015).

The impact of leadership behaviors upon employee commitment to organizational change

Leadership is a process of influencing stakeholders of a business for the achievement of business objectives and goals. A leader is responsible for the strategic changes and implementing business operations according to the requirements of an organization (Thomas and Hardy, 2011). Leadership influences various teams and departments in a firm which are responsible for business operations. Leadership is a process to influence people for the betterment of all the clauses of an organization along with practically managing employees, and groups of different functional groups. It is the responsibility of a leader to convince all stakeholders for accepting  change proposed to improve existing system. Leadership is implemented in different styles and approaches which has positive and negative impact of employee’s commitments. There are basically four leadership styles as autocratic, democratic, participative and liassize-faire which are used in business organizations for change management. The autocratic leadership style is practiced in a firm which is either manufacturing or focused to personal objectives of a leader or founder. Apart from this, in democratic leadership style, employees are treated with bilateral communication for decision making (Friday and Friday, 2003). To make a positive impact of leading a business organization includes development of business along with motivation, coordination, practical training, communications etc. for making them understood to all the changes and their respective impacts.

Along with these leadership behaviors of leaders or managers, the participative style emphasis on focusing involvement of all the team members while implementing a strategic decisions or changes in an organization. The final decision is taking by the leader with concern of all the employees in organization through participative leadership. One another leadership style is liesize-faire in which employee are assigned responsibility to take own decisions for executing assigned jobs. It includes the responses from leaders or manager if asked by the subordinates while executing job. The behavior of a leader can affect employees in either positive or negative way. So the leaders approach and style has significant role in fulfillment of employee’s commitments to accept the changes.

In autocratic leadership, employees are not involved in decision making process. The There are multiple departments like HR, marketing, finance, operations, productions etc. which are lead by a manager or leader (Lundy and Morin, 2013). All the employees in a organization are committed for the betterment of operations and effective outcomes. There are various roles and responsibilities of employees which affects their decisions for working as a team. It includes the personal and professional aims of employees for which they can emphasis their performance in given role. While agreed to do assigned job, some obstacles and challenges are faced by an employees. It defines the leadership, motivational and team working which affects individual performances in a business firm. When the top management of business firm takes a decision to implement changes in the existing system then there may be some conflicts and disputes among the team members and leader or manager (Gill, 2003). Although all the employees are ready to accept the change implementation but there might be some issues while implementing different changes in operations. There are some pros and cons of leadership behavior in implementing business decisions for changes.  Here, the discussion is done to understand the positive and negative impact of leadership behavior upon the employee’s commitment in organizations. First the positive impact of leadership is listed as followings.

Leadership has positive influences on the employees through which an organization achieves its decided targets in change management. Different leadership style has different impact on employee’s commitments. The democratic and participative leadership style has positive impact on the employees while implementing the changes in management operations. The business practices are governed by the leader or manager which is to be performed by employees of organization. The motivational, cooperative and effective leadership of managers affect the team members to perform their best for accepting and implementing changes in business organizations.

If the team building and working style is setup for the welfare of all the stakeholders then all the employees will be active in change management implementation and control (Vitez, 2015). The planning of business operations is managed by top and middle management which can be more stringent through involvement of all the employees of firm.

The profitability and market share will be increased with the effective change management practices which are lead by a effective manager or leader (Senior and Swailes, 2010). If employees will work according to their potential then organization will meet its change management objectives in a improved business system.

The improved system can be well accessed by the commitments and acceptance of employees which makes better future for the organization. It will have desired outcomes through satisfaction of all the stakeholders and effects of changes. Leadership will enhance the attainment of effective planning, implementation, monitoring and control by involvement of whole organization.

Different leaders have different behavior of which influences subordinates to achieve individual as well as organizational goals. Each employee feels confidant through effective team work and leadership practices which can decide the growth of organization.

Apart from these positive outcomes there is some negative impact of leadership behavior during organizational changes. These negative impacts are listed as followings.

The change management implementation may get failed through lacking leadership behavior of leader. Organizational changes may not be understood by employees which can result in change failure.

In an organization, employees may break their commitments if changes are guided or govern in autocratic leadership style. It can affect the project planning of change management (Sharyn and et.al., 2006).

If all the employees are unable to make their commitments in change management practices then the leadership would be responsible because manager or leader is responsible for improvements in change management practices. It will create negative image of the business organization in the global market.


Present study seeks to defined organizational change management process along with various aspects of the same. It also outlines various factors affecting the process of cultural change. The research reveals that middle managers often resist change which is a concern for an organization. Furthermore, it outlines various planned change management models used by companies to bring change about organization’s culture. In addition to this, it also addresses a question that how leadership behavior affects organizational change in positive and negative sense.


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  • Friday, E., and Friday, S., 2003. Managing diversity using a strategic planned change approach. Journal of Management Development.  22 (10). pp.863 – 880.
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