Change Process Theories

3220 Words May 6th, 2010 13 Pages
Change Process Theories: A Review

Four types of Organizational Change Theories: Van de Ven and Poole • Dialectical: Kurt Lewin • Evolution: o Lippitt, Watson, and Wesley o Bartlett and Kayser • Teleology: o Edgar Schein o Prochaska and DiClemente • Life Cycle: Ichak Adizes
Introduction An enduring quest of management scholars is to explain how and why organizations change. The processes of change or sequences of events have been difficult to define, let alone manage. Researchers have borrowed many concepts from many fields of study, including sociology, biology, and physics. Van de Ven and Poole (1995) proposed four categories of organizational change:
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p 134). Phases three, four, and five are an elaboration on Lewin’s moving stage, and can be grouped together under the heading: moving toward change. These straightforward phases are (3) Clarification or Diagnosis of the client’s problem (4) Examination of the Alternative Routes and Goals and Establishing Goals and Intentions of Action, and (5) Transformation of Intentions into Actual Change Efforts. Lippitt et al. return to Lewin’s Refreezing stage with phase six: The generalization and stabilization of change. A critical factor in the stabilization of change is the spread of change to neighboring systems. A change is much more likely to be retained if reinforced by colleagues’ usage. The final phase, achieving a terminal relationship, focuses on preventing a dependency on the change agent for support and developing a form of client self-reliance for future problem-solving. Lippitt et al. issue a final caution, noting that the seven phases present are not always sequential, and the phases can overlap or repeat themselves throughout the change process. Bartlett and Kayser (1973) propose that successful change depends on a reactive redistribution of power within the structure of an organization. This power redistribution optimally occurs through a six phase series of stimuli and reactions. Stimulus 1: Pressure on top management takes the form of both internal
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