Models of Transformational Change

An extensive review of the literature details would reveal that both practitioners and academics have explained transformational models with varied perspectives and focus on different points of views.

Practitioner Models

The Practitioner Models focus on senior management in an organization (Kanter, 1983 and Kotter, 1995). These models rely on opinions and also on illustrative anecdotes and offer recommendations or concrete solutions to the managers. The practitioner models often provide a suggestive model or a comprehensive plan of action for initiating change in an organization successfully.

According to Kotter (1996), Carroll and Hatakenaka (2001), for describing these models effectively, only two aspects are considered and that is success or failure. However, the Practitioner Models have been crticized for being too simplistic in its approach and pay a lot of attention to only the implementation process, but ignore various other crucial factors and their influence like political factors, organizational and environmental factors.

According to Miller, Greenwood and Hinings (1997), these models have been further criticized for the following reasons:

  • These models ignore the roles played by both the internal and external environments in the successful change implementation process.

  • These models need not be successfully replicated in other organizations with a similar background and areas of operations.

  • In certain circumstances, the practitioner models on being adopted and implemented can prove to be quite dangerous in organizations.

Theoretical Models

The Theoretical Models are developed on the basis of an extensive review of the research literature which analyze the key areas of transformational change. According to the proponents of the Theoretical Models, these models are more generic and comprehensive in nature than the Practitioner Models.

The Theoretical Models attempt to define the various types of change and equally describe the change characteristics. Burke and Litwin (1992) as well as Porras and Robertson (1992), proposed two different models of organizational change which focus on empirical research and practise. Burke and Litwin’s Transformational model of change emphasize on the leadership behaviour and how leaders influence the behaviour of others by acting as role models in the organization. Apart from this, the model equally explains the interrelationship between various factors in an organization such as strategy and mission, the external environment, overall organizational performance and the employees, leadership and organizational culture.

Similarly, Porras and Robertson focused more on the organizational work settings in their model. According to them, four major factors play a crucial role in the entire process of organizational change, and these factors are physical settings, social factors, organizational arrangements and technology. The outcomes of change are reflected in the form of changes in the individual and organizational behaviour.

In a nutshell, it would be more appropriate to describe that both the Theoretical and Practitioner models of change, analyze the internal and external environment which influence an organizational performance, highlight the outcomes or impact of change on key aspects, illustrate the expectations of change, the strategic issues involved in the entire process of change management and also the relevance of the process of communication across all levels in the entire change process.

Common Stages in Both Practitioner and Theoretical Models of Organizational Change:

  1. Clear Statement of Goals: This stage involves a clear definition of what the organization’s present status is and where does it want to move to in the future. It icludes a statement of the change objectives, futuristic goals which it wants to attain and visualizing a bigger picture by analyzing the total picture.

  2. Respect and Collaboration: The Head of the organization envisions a future of the organization and accordingly defines the long term and short term goals for realizing the ultimate vision. For implementing transformational change successfully across the organization, the organizational head requires a collaborative participation and involvement from the key stakeholders or from the cross functional teams. Without mutual respect (Duck, 1993 and Kotter, 1995) and collaboration, it is difficult to realize the objectives of organizational change.

  3. Formulating and executing a Plan for Implementing the Change: The Implementation Plan for Organizational Change must extensively cover all the aspects related to the change. The implementation Plan should be shared by all the stakeholders across the organization. According to Kotter (1995), for motivating the employees and involving them in the overall process of change, the implementation plan should essentially involve short time wins through projects.

  4. Predominant Role of Communication in the entire Change Process: For any change process, communication plays an integral role in the success of the overall process, which can be manifested in the form of observed behaviours, written and verbal communication. Apart from this, through one on one discussions, newsletters, presentations and pep talks change in any organization can be reinforced if communicated effectively through these media. According to Richardson and Richardson (1994) and Kitchen and Daly (2002), communication acts as a major stimulator of change and for achieving effective outcomes, the communication should be consistent from all the leaders, must be frequent and good.

  5. Reinforcement and Institutionalization of the Change: A successful change management process essentially requires reinforcement of the desired change and also it’s institutionalization by introducing changes in the organizational policies and structures. Apart from this change can be reinforced by continuously articulating the new behaviours and how they support towards the realization of the organizational vision.


❮   Previous  Article Next  Article   ❯


Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)

MSG team comprises experienced faculty and professionals who develop the content for the portal. We collectively refer to our team as - “MSG Experts”. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.

Change Management