Kotter’s Leading Change Concepts/
Organizational Behavior & Management Concepts
Dr. Victoria Bohrer
May 11, 2011
This paper compares and contrasts the concepts found on John P. Kotter’s, Leading Change (1996), book and the concepts presented by John M. Ivancevich, Robert Konopske and Michael T. Mattenson’s Organizational Behavior and Management text book. Kotter emphasizes in each step the importance of dealing with human emotions and how to better manage them when dealing with organizational change. The biggest asset to an organization is their human resources. To an organization this simply means that many emotions need to be addressed before a door can be opened towards successful change. In Kotter’s different steps he presents a structural approach to gradually manage change and build upon a person’s emotional feelings towards change. By comparing Ivancevich et al.’s text book concepts and Kotter’s steps to leading a successful change, it can be concluded that they complement one another. “Stage 1, Establishing a Sense of Urgency”
The concept of establishing a sense of urgency as the first step to change process has a very solid theory behind it and it’s further supported by Ivancevich et al. (2007). As Kotter explains, employee complacency in an organization can be very high and therefore make it difficult for change to occur. Complacency can be due to perceptions that employees have about how successful the organization is (1996). Ivancevich et al. explains perceptions as “the process by which an individual gives meaning to the environment. This involves organizing and interpreting various stimuli into a psychological experience” (P. 87). It is easy to form a contrast between raising the sense of urgency and perception. Employees will not feel the sense of urgency if their organization has not gone through any difficult economic times. They might perceive change as somewhat of an intrusion, “why change something that is not broken” mentality. Kotter has taken the perception concept into consideration and shown how this cannot be forced to change, but rather the environment has to change to stimulate a different interpretation with regards to the need for change. He explains different ways in which the sense of urgency and perception can be changed. One of those ways is to “Create a crisis by allowing a financial loss, exposing managers to major weaknesses vis-à-vis competitors, or allowing errors to blow up instead of being corrected at the last minute” (P. 44). By analyzing this example we can easily see how urgency will be raised and perceptions change between employees. Employees start worrying about their job security when a financial crisis is present. They will then want to learn about what is necessary to bring the financial stability back into the organization. If the issue addressed and applied, it will bring job security in return. By allowing managers to be exposed to the major organizational weaknesses their state of urgency will increase and the perception of the organization will change. This illustration alters employee’s perception of security and industry leadership, and the sense of urgency is raised. In general, most people are reluctant to change or conform to their environment whether it be a work environment or otherwise. There is always some degree of uncertainty when presented with change. A sense of urgency allows employees to see the need and the importance of change. Urgency has to be created and perceptions have to be altered within every department of an organization in order for a successful start to organizational change.
“Stage 2, Creating a Guiding Coalition”
Kotter’s second step in creating change in an organization is to create a guiding coalition. The criteria for creating a strong guiding coalition would entail finding people who possess the experience, integrity and leadership skills within...
References: Ivancevich, J.M., Konopaske, R., & Matteson, M.T. (2007).Organizational Behavior and
Kotter, J.P. (1996). Leading Change.
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