Images of Managing Change
Assumptions on the nature of management and change outcomes are linked to diverse images of managing change. Each image can be identified through reinforcement theories. Different types of management can bring intended or unintended change, as management involves controlling and shaping people’s behavior (Palmer and Dunford, 2008). As employees are allocated roles, organizational units are awarded resources to produce desired outcomes. Thus, organizations utilize the images of change to highlight a series of perspectives to the change managers. This study will focus on three images of change management; namely, director, interpreter, and nurturer.
This image requires the change manager to initiate the change process by directing employees to comply with the process to enhance change. This image is supported by the contingency theory, which argues that there exists no appropriate method of management, as management depend on internal and external conditions. A contingent manager operates in his/her own style depending on the circumstances.
Marks and Spencer plc is an excellent example of a company that utilizes director image of change. According to Thompson and martin (2010), Marks and Spencer experienced an early growth by popularizing its clothing and underwear brands. The firm built its second reputation from foods, as it gradually moved to cosmetics, home wear, and furniture. The firm continued to adapt change as the environment became dynamic. The firm’s core strategy was to diversify its product range, but still specialize on “St. Michael label” to maintain its culture.
The change manager in this image is concerned with creating meaning for other members in the organization. In addition, an interpreter manager assists employees to make sense out of numerous organizational actions. Thus, the sense-making theory is critical for an interpreter manager in making organizational change. Example of interpreter image includes Microsoft Company.
Microsoft Company, under the leadership of Bill Gates, its founder, developed a unique management style, which enabled the firm to kick other companies out of business. Gates was capable of interpreting the firm’s strategy to his junior managers in order to expand the firm’s productivity. The company’s management believes that change is necessary for a mature company transition to a new business. Microsoft worked as a single data point under the leadership of Bill Gates and Paul Allen, but the leadership of Steve Ballmer as a generalist manager seemed to have lost its initial strategy of interpreter (“Management the Microsoft Way,” 2012).
For a nurturer, even small changes create significant impact on organizations while mangers have no capacity to regulate the outcomes of such changes. A nurturer facilitates change process, in addition to ensuring that every employee understands change. A nurturing manager is guided by chaos theory, which asserts that the manager should foster the capacity for self-organization, although he/she may not be able to influence spontaneous orders that may emerge in the process of change. This practice has been illustrated in Apple Company, where the Steve Jobs, its co-founder, managed successfully to nurture the company’s strategy, but what emerged was beyond his control.
Apple is an equal employment employer, and creating diversity is its main objective. As Apple embraced the culture of “work hard, play hard”, its CEO worked on nurturing its work culture, which focused on developing creative people through the company’s value (Bhattacharyya, 2010). Currently, Apple has the best smart phones and computers, despite stiff competition in the technology market. Nurturing change has enhanced flexibility and innovation while employees feel appreciated when the management accepts their contributions.
Managing Change in the Workplace
In my place of work, the manager utilizes nurturing image to make change in the management. This approach has worked for the company because junior managers are not restricted to specific methods in their management. Employees are comfortable with this approach, as they are allowed to contribute towards change, rather than being coerced to conform to certain trends. A competent manager can control and shape the company simultaneously if he/she has the right approach to organizational strategy. Nurturing the organizational culture enables managers to attract the best expertise who assist in attaining the organizational goals. A structuralist approach assists managers in understanding human nature and aligning their preference with the organizational structure.
Bhattacharyya, D. K. (2010). Cross-cultural management: Texts and cases. New Delhi: PHI Learning Ldt.
Management the Microsoft Way (2012, Aug 21). The Economist. Retrieved on 13 May 2015 from http://www.economist.com/whichmba/management-microsoft-way
Palmer, I., & Dunford, R. (2008). Organizational Change and the Importance of Embedded Assumptions. British Journal of Management, 19, S20–S32. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8551.2008.00568.x
Thompson, J. L., & Martin, F. (2010). Strategic management. Andover: Cengage Learning.