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Michelle LiButti

MOL 628

Course Analysis

This class has taught me so much about change management. Beginning in the very first
week, I learned about Sigmoid Curves, which show us that the ideal time for change is to do so
when things are going well and when the first curve can still support the second. The problem is
that most organizations arent deciding on change or action until they see something wrong.
Change efforts come too late and the curve cannot be supported in a state of decline. It can be
confusing and conflicting to think of changing when we are seemingly doing so well and are
successful. But, even when in theory we seem to be doing well, it is crucial that we dont accept
the status quo and that we actually question and challenge the status quo in order to continue to
be successful. I learned that change is often difficult because organizations have a tendency to
follow established patterns of behavior even in response to dramatic environmental shifts. This is
something that Sull referred to as active inertia. I learned that there are four hallmarks of active
inertia: Strategic frames become blinders, Processes harden into routines, Relationships become
shackles and Values harden into dogmas. These all effect an organizations willingness and ability
to change. I also learned that there are three conditions to being change ready. The first
condition is having respected and effective leaders. The second is that people feel personally
motivated to change. The third is that the organization is non-hierarchal and people work
collaboratively.
After reading the ideas presented by Jensen and Senge I felt that they could be seen as
mutually compatible, rather than mutually exclusive. According to Bower, Jensen is interested in
purpose being linked directly to a firms long-term value. Bower states that Senges purpose is a
reason for being, not a formula for measuring economic value. I learned in this class that putting
these concepts together make the most successful organization. Purposive behavior in an

organization has cognitive, economic, organizational, and emotional components that interact in
important ways. Outcomes develop over time and are going to be influenced by the economy as
well as the environment. If an organization were to operate solely from either purpose above it
would not be complete in my opinion. An organization has to look at things from a holistic
standpoint and take interest in both economic long term value as well as learning to do new
things to keep up with the changes in the world around them. Taking both of these into account
and finding ways to incorporate them simultaneously, will help the organization to be successful
and to remain successful long term.
I was re-introduced to Theory E and Theory O. I was able to see the negative effects of
solely using one theory to try to initiate a successful change effort. This was clear to me through
completion of the assignment on Al Dunlap. Dunlap operated from a Theory E standpoint,
meaning that he managed change from the top down. In the end, the companies that he worked
for were only financially successful short term. Jack Welch on the other hand, incorporated the
two Theories to create an organization that sustained success long term. His keys to success
included: Build your team and love your team. Care about your employees as people and want
to see them promoted. Reward employees. Let employees know where they stand. Give honest
feedback. Take responsibility as a manager for the success of your employees. Make sure that
your employees are happy and satisfied. Create an atmosphere of success and excitement. Grow
as a leader by helping others to grow. Understand the importance of evolving, both as a person
and as an organization and get rid of those who are underperforming. Welch was a great example
of taking both theories and putting them together to make the most successful organization.
I was able to study the top-down approach to management and learned of both the
positive and negative aspects of same. I learned that top-down leadership works when the

problems are relatively simple. Relatively simple problems are those that are technical
problems. Top-down leadership is efficient when the problems to be solved are clear cut. When
there are adaptive problems, a top-down leadership approach will not work. Adaptive problems
are those that are more complex in nature. These problems must be solved by many stakeholders
and require complex and diverse alliances. This type of situation would support the participatory
model of change where many people work together to solve the problem. I remember the
analogy of the battlefield to try to show the advantage that top management has over those
who are fighting the battle. The picture of the battlefield is that the top leaders are able to see
the whole battlefield, comparable to seeing the whole organization. They are focused on the
overall picture of what is going on. Conger argued that they are able to make better decisions for
the organization as a whole because they are not clouded by being in the midst of the battle.
Bennis believes that top-down leadership is not only wrong, unrealistic and maladaptive, but also
given the report of history, dangerous. Bennis argued that no change can occur without willing
and committed followers and states that exemplary leadership and organizational change are
impossible without the full inclusion, initiative and cooperation of followers. My thought is that
there are certain situations where either view may seem more appropriate to follow, but that even
in those situations there has to be collaboration form all people involved. I most agree with
Dunphy who states that in knowledge based organizations change must be formed by the in
depth insight of skilled professionals who make up the organization, as well as by the strategic
overview of the top team. I agree with Dunphy that in order for these two ideas to work together
employees must be knowledgeable and capable and have the skills they need to make a genuine
contribution and the top team needs to invest over time in a range of key personal, professional
and corporate capabilities that support meaningful participation.

I was also re-introduced to Henry Mintzberg. I learned from Mintzberg some important
characteristics of 21st century leadership; mainly that leaders should work in harmony with the
rest of the organization. I also learned from Mintzberg how to create meaning for members of the
organization. First, we need to stop treating people as resources and make them feel like they
belong. We also need to shed individualist behavior and short term measures in favor of practices
that promote trust, engagement, and spontaneous collaboration aimed at sustainability. I learned
that in order to create a culture that sees change as everyones responsibility, we need to promote
communityship.
I learned that rearranging the structure of an organization is not going to produce any
long term results, because the cause of the problem and the reason for the need for change is not
being properly addressed. Trying to produce change in this way is ineffective for sustainability.
I believe that the change has to occur from within the organization through its culture and its
people. Changing the way that people think and operate and changing how things are done is a
much more effective way to produce long term results. Changing people around into different
positions provides nothing more than change for the sake of change rather than change to
produce success.
I think that relationships are extremely important to help create moral meaning in an
organization. As humans, I feel that we all need to feel that we are part of something. The
employees within an organization need to feel connected to one another in order to truly be
working toward the same goal. They need to feel like they can trust one another, as well as trust
leadership. People need to feel valued and want to know that they make a difference. If people
dont feel these connections through their relationships in the organization, they lose moral,
loyalty, and passion for what they are doing and the organization suffers. In order to build a

strong culture, one that can adapt to change when it occurs, you have to have good relationships
and connection with those within the organization. Employees will feel a greater sense of
community and will be more willing proceed with change for the greater good of the
organization.
I learned about Margaret Wheatley who proposed an organic, natural, and peopleoriented model of an organization rather than the mechanical model. Wheatley believes that
relationships are the foundation of any organization. She believes that organizations have to
include people in change efforts and states that life is about the creation of new systems through
relationships and through inclusion. She says that we have to de-engineer our thinking. She
believes that once we stop treating organizations and people as machines, and stop trying to reengineer them, once we move into a paradigm of living systems, organizational change is not a
problem. Wheatley discusses the importance of embracing diversity. She believes that where
there is true diversity in an organization, innovative solutions are being created all the time,
simply because different people do things differently.
Peter Senge sees learning as the real purpose of an organization. This relates well to the
quote by C.I. Lewis that the definition of philosophy is the minds own study of itself in action.
I feel this quote shows how humans continue to grow and change by constantly evaluating
themselves and how they will respond to the world around them. They learn from past
experience and find ways to incorporate new information they are learning. A learning
organization can be quite similar. A learning organization is one that will study itself in order to
learn and grow. Through this constant study, the organization is able to re-create themselves.
They are able to use past experience to help shape their future. They encourage innovation and
creativity and rely on many different parts within to help foster change and growth. Just like

humans, they too need to make changes in response to the world around them. Humans and
organizations can benefit from being flexible in order to be able to respond accordingly where
change is concerned. Organizations need to be able to study themselves in order to learn, change
and adapt to situations accordingly in order to help them to be successful.
Organizations must possess several capabilities in order to respond appropriately to
planned and emergent change. An organization will need to be flexible in order to be able to
avoid the either, or thinking. They must learn the importance of planned and emergent
changes, as well as some of the difficulties that each can bring on their own. Due to these
difficulties, it is important that the organization learn to incorporate the two. In order to
successfully combine the two, all levels of the organization must be willing to change their
thinking and be ready to let go of their traditional way of doing things. The organization must
develop a culture that is participative and where trust is present. Leaders need to give up the idea
that they are the sole initiators and decision makers of change. Leaders need to be willing and
able to learn from others and encourage learning and experimentation at all levels within the
organization. People must be working toward a shared vision. The ability to effectively
communicate with one another is key to change efforts. The organization needs to be adaptable
to be ready to incorporate both of these methods of change as the world is constantly changing
around them. The most effective way to utilize these types of change is to incorporate them
simultaneously. The planned approach is useful because it sets clear direction, weighs resources,
budgets against set objectives and sets direction with clear goals and objectives. It does serve
some essential functions such as forcing managers to communicate organizational goals and
strategic issues. The planned approach does have some limitations. The planned strategy limits
the organizations ability to reconsider or change its course of action once the strategy is

implemented. It also inhibits the organizations ability to respond promptly to sudden changes in
the environment. Therefore if the planned strategy is used alone, it could cause failure within the
organization to achieve its set goals. It is for this reason that the emergent approach should be
used simultaneously because it provides the ability to effectively combat rapid and unexpected
change. There are many variables present when planning change, and emergent change
strategies can be useful to address these appropriately. Emergent change strategy is effective
because everyone is involved. Participation from all employees is encouraged which provides
more diverse, creative, flexible and balanced responses to change. The emergent approach allows
for change to be a continuous process of learning and experimentation in order to adapt to a
turbulent environment. Using the two types of change simultaneously provides the balance
needed to remain successful.
I learned that financial incentives should both lead and lag in change initiatives. My
opinion comes from the writing of Lawler in our text. The answer that he provided made the
most sense to me and made it clear that both arguments could be incorporated into a strategic
plan. Lawler presents that there are different periods of a change process and states that there are
reward actions that can support each stage of the process. The first stage, unfreezing, calls for
pay-for-performance approaches that encourage individuals in the organization to think about
improvement and increased organizational effectiveness. In the next phase, implementation, it
makes sense to put in place transition pay-for-performance plans that reward implementation of
the change effort and rewards individuals for developing the skills needed to operate within the
new system. Refreezing, the last stage, seems to be the most difficult when trying to specify how
reward system change should be designed to support ongoing operations. I suppose the best
answer here for this stage of change, is that it all depends on the nature of the organizational

change and how and when new reward system practices can be developed. What we do know
however, is that once developed, these need to then become part of the ongoing operation of the
organization.
I also learned about financial incentives and whether or not they drive company
performance. There are many factors to consider and the outcome is really based on certain
conditions and situations. Because the subject is so complex, the authors in the article have
provided guidelines for using incentives. First, they recognize that organizations should not try to
solve every problem with financial incentives. A better idea is to try talking to the employees
about the company, its strategies, and its priorities. The next piece of advice is that sometimes
less is more effective. I agree that grandiose reward can cause all kinds of negative and
competitive behaviors among co-workers. Its better that the reward is just enough, meaning
that it gets people excited, but doesnt cause them to act in negative ways or become the focus of
the work. The next guideline is to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.
Consider incentive programs as a work in progress, therefore they can always be changed and
altered as you learn more about them and how they work or dont work. Experimentation is
helpful because no one can see all of the outcomes that could result from the incentive program
they have implemented. Encourage people to be part of this implementation and reward them for
same. The last guideline is to worry about comparisons and distributions, not only individuals or
levels. As I stated earlier, social relationships in the workplace are important. People compare
themselves to others and derive feelings of worth and status from that comparison.
Organizations that send a signal that performance is a collective, not just individual, endeavor,
are more likely to induce thought, creativity, and effort on the part of their people.

After reading the provided material, I feel that, as currently used, performance appraisals
arent really effective at assessing an individuals performance. If appraisals were used
differently they may be more effective as useful tools to help individuals improve their
performance or reach their goals (personal work goals and overall organizational goals). A
universal approach does not provide for much individuality. Even though financial incentives
are necessary, people are intrinsically motivated to perform well when the work is meaningful to
them. Organizations need to let people know how they fit into the overall strategic plan of the
organization, including change efforts, and provide them with ongoing, more frequent feedback
about their progress and the value they bring to the organization. Organizations also need to
recognize that there are many variables which affect individual performance that are outside of
the individuals control, therefore performance cannot be accurately assessed if these variables
are not being considered.
Overall I truly enjoyed this class. The material was excellent and I feel that I have really
learned very useful and valuable information. Taking the class put things into perspective for me
about the recent merger that my organization has been through. I feel confident that I have the
knowledge that I need to be able to lead effective change efforts and I now realize the importance
of being in a constant state of change and always thinking about ways to improve in order to
remain successful.