Employees’ Reactions to Organizational Changes
This essay explores employees’ reaction to organizational changes and importance of right choice of organizational change model for organization’s success and effectiveness.
The study conducted by Walton (2020) provides valuable description of employees’ reactions to major change within an organization. In his article, Walton (2020) focuses on the case of Global Commodities Inc. (GCI), a large food manufacturing company, which identified the need to change due to threats from competitor activity. The management consultancy discovered a misunderstanding between the highly committed managing director, who recognized the destabilization of GCI’s global market, and his Management Committee team, which the author described as apathetic, and frustrated. The proposed changes majorly influenced the organizational culture and communication within the organization.
A variety of different factors could influence employees’ reactions to organizational changes. According to Marchalina, Ahmad, and Gelaidan (2018), different personality traits possessed by employees partially influence their response to organizational changes. However, in their work, Castillo, Fernandez, and Sallan (2018) identified that in the process of organizational change, all employees go through six emotional stages, similar to the Kübler-Ross model of five stages of grief. The six stages that employees usually go through include “denial and anger, bargaining, depression, revising, deserting and acceptance” (Castillo, Fernandez, and Sallan, 2018, p. 2). The authors emphasized that employees may start the reaction process from any of the emotional stages presented in the model, but the reaction always ends with the stage of deserting or the stage of acceptance.
The list of reactions from GCI employees specified some cautions that the employees expressed about the lack of resources. The list also included some observations about the company being an excellent and prestigious place to work. Applying the theory of six emotional stages of organizational change to the case determines that most employees experienced the bargaining stage that identifies by accepting the blame and making promises to achieve goals. As the stage represents a recovery from past failures on the way to acceptance of changes, it tells that employees’ reactions mainly focused on evaluating their past efforts and accepting the need for changes.
The 8 Step Change Model presents an expanded approach of Lewin’s Change theory and, according to Galli (2018), provides more directions on implementing the change. Although the model includes the opportunity for the employees to share their opinions or provide input, it lags behind the stage of creating a strategic vision. On the other hand, the ADKAR model employs the same approach to the people’s side of change but focuses more on the employees and their acceptance of the change. The employees can participate in the change process two times throughout the ADKAR model, at the beginning of the process and in the end. However, the prevalence of people’s side of change in the model’s approach makes the utilization of the model limited to team-oriented projects and unfitting to the large-scale organizations (Galli, 2019). The 8 Step Model implements a gradual process, which means that any errors from previous steps would significantly affect the overall process of change. However, the ADKAR model is too simple compared to Kotter’s Model, as it lacks in-depth instructions and analysis provided in each step of Kotter’s Model.
Kotter’s 8 Step Change framework could be used as a guide for the management of response in a case of emergency. In the case described by Mayo (2021), the author draws an example of an organization called Baptist Health System and the hospitals that the system includes. The organization used the model to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic and address the emergency. The study implied that Kotter’s Model helps organize and encourage change in environments where people tend to resist the change. In fact, among the two models, Kotter’s 8 Step System is the one that addresses the removal of boundaries and resistance. Therefore, if I had to select one model, I would choose Kotter’s 8 Step system, as it is more fitting to most cases and could be applied as a framework in different situations.
Castillo, C., Fernandez, V. and Sallan, J.M. (2018), ‘The six emotional stages of organizational change’, Journal of Organizational Change Management, 31(3), pp. 468-493.
Galli, B. (2019) ‘Comparison of change management models: similarities, differences, and which is most effective?’, in Daim, T. et al. (eds) R&D Management in the Knowledge Era. Springer, Cham, pp. 605-624.
Galli, B. (2018) ‘Change management models: a comparative analysis and concerns’, IEEE Engineering Management Review, 46(3), pp. 124-132.
Marchalina, L., Ahmad, H. and Gelaidan, H. (2018) ‘Employees’ commitment to change: personality traits and organizational culture’, International Journal of Economics & Management Sciences, 7(3), pp. 1- 8.
Mayo, M. (2021) Pandemic preparation & response: a case study applying Kotter’s 8 Step Change management theory to improve pandemic response in an acute care setting. DHA Dissertation. Medical University of South Carolina. Web.
Walton, M. (2020) ‘Kings in their kingdoms: change within a global marketing organization’, Effective Executive, 23(3), pp. 65-79.