Change Management. The Role of the Manager in Change Processes

Bachelor Thesis, 2010

36 Pages, Grade: 1,7


Table of contents

1. Introduction
1.1 Problem definition and objective of the work
1.2 Demarcation of the topic
1.3 Course of the investigation

2. Conceptual background
2.1 Definition of change management
2.2 Demarcation of reactive crises management and active change management
2.3 History
2.4 Leadership and participants in change management

3. Triggers for Change - Management Processes

4. Ways of failure/ cardinal error

5. Key factors of the effective procedure

6. Phase models
6.1 The Eight-Step Change Process according to John P. Kotter
6.2 The phases of change management according to Lindinger and Goller
6.2.1 Idea phase
6.2.2 Conception phase
6.2.3 Implementation

7. The four task pillars of the effective change manager
7.1 Designing a change concept
7.2 Providing orientation and motivation
7.3 Controlling and stabilizing implementation
7.4 Changing oneself

8. Dealing with resistance

9. Leadership style
9.1 The authoritarian leadership style
9.2 The cooperative leadership style
9.3 The situational leadership style according to Hersey and Blanchard
9.4 The laissez-faire leadership style

10. Conclusion

List of figures


Internet Directory

1. Introduction

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent.

It is the one most adaptable to change."

Charles Darwin (*1809 – ꝉ 1882)

As Charles Darwin recognized early on, everything and everyone is subject to change. His theories about the evolutionary development of all organisms and their division into different species, brought his time the decisive turning point in the history of modern biology. However, what is happening in this day and age has certainly not yet happened in this complexity:

Technological innovations, economic developments, learning and adaptation pose ever new challenges for organizations under the aspect of globalization and determine everyday business life.

More and more companies are failing because of the demands that the current economic situation places on them. This is also indicated by the number of corporate insolvencies, which rose by 11.6% in 2009 compared to the previous year.1

General and entrepreneurial change is increasing more and more speed and thus requires ever faster reactions and adaptation measures.

1.1 Problem definition and objective of the work

Against the above-mentioned background, it becomes clear that today's everyday business life can hardly be mastered without a constructive management system, which is also the reason for the choice of topics for the work. The reason for this was caused by the errors that occur again and again in practice when introducing and implementing changes. These often led to the failure of some projects.

The aim of the work is to give an overview of the topic of change management, to clarify misunderstandings and cardinal errors and to disclose them. In the work, the process of a successful adaptation to changes is described, fundamental errors and sources of error are described and the key factors are considered. Particular attention is paid to the manager and his behavior in the phases of the change process and in situations of resistance.

1.2 Demarcation of the topic

Of course, in this work can only be discussed a few possibilities of carrying out the change management. Therefore, in order not to go beyond the scope of the work, only two of the possible models of change management are explained in more detail.

The focus of this study is not the description of a "perfect" manager. In the context of change management, the tasks and behavior of managers in change processes should be characterized in order to be able to contribute in this way to the effective and efficient and thus competitive design of change.

1.3 Course of the investigation

First, the basics of change management are explained. In the introduction, the conceptual background is presented and the character of change management is defined. On this basis, the historical development is then shown in order to describe the participants in change management in more detail. In chapter 2.4, the concept of leadership and leadership is at the forefront of the consideration.

Building on these findings, the following section describes the causes of the necessity of change management, which, following Kotter (1996), are particularly oriented towards globalization.

In chapters four and five, the cardinal errors as well as key factors are discussed and presented. Since these should also be known in practice before a change is carried out, they are placed before the phase models explored in the following chapter.

Chapter six forms the bulk of the work and presents two different phase models of change. These models are taken from different authors and perspectives and also differ in the number of stages or phases associated with them. Chapter 6.2 gives a particularly detailed overview of the measures to be taken and, in this context, also repeatedly discusses the required abilities of managers.

Finally, the findings from the previous sections are linked together and, in chapters seven to nine, focus on the role of the manager. In addition to dealing with resistance, the tasks that managers have to perform as promoters of change before the various management styles complete the field of activity of a manager are described.

With the conclusion, chapter ten formulates a final consideration for this work.

2. Conceptual background

Changes in organizations are the order of the day!2 However, in order to be able to make the change process as successful as possible, an actively operated change management is an integral part of everyday business life.

The English words "change" and "management" are concise and widely used, but they allow for many interpretations. In order to be able to explain the term "change management", the terms should first be defined in detail:

"Change" stands for change, change, upheaval or conversion. These terms can trigger a wide variety of feelings in people, including fear and enthusiasm, but also hope and apprehension about the future. Decisive for whether either one or the other is in the foreground are the different experiences and backgrounds of each person.

These irregularities should be particularly taken into account in change management, as the respective characteristics of the employees are often in connection with the emergence of resistance and can decide on the success or failure of the desired change.3 On the one hand, the term "management" can describe a leading function in a company, on the other hand, management also stands for the group of persons who carry out a prominent activity. The word is derived from the English verb manage, this from the Italian maneggiare"to lead by the hand", which in turn has its origin in Latin Manus"Hand" has.4

Peter F. Drucker, who is considered the founder of modern management theory, defined the function of management as follows: "[...]to enable people through common values, goals and structures, through education and training, to achieve a common performance and to react to changes."5

2.1 Definition of change management

In the literature, various names for the term change management appear. Thus, it is often referred to as "change management" or "transformation management".

Change management includes the goal-oriented management and control of change processes in companies with regard to organizational and employee-specific adjustments. These measures are systematically designed and are intended to help the company adapt to important changes or actively bring them about.6

In short, the change management therefore includes "[...]the sum of all conscious concepts and methods for controlling and accompanying change processes in organizations."7.

2.2 Demarcation of reactive crises management and active change management

In view of the current economic crisis situation, a possible reason could be given with regard to the connection between change management and the reaction to crises.

This is where the difference to crisis management can be seen. Although in principle the management of a crisis can also be seen as dealing with changes, the term crisis management is understood as the systematic solution of crisis situations. This includes analysing and identifying the crisis, setting up strategies to deal with it and initiating appropriate countermeasures."8

Change management, on the other hand, is based on a continuous design of change processes and promises the best prospect of being able to successfully master the challenges of tomorrow, especially in this form of implementation.

2.3 History

Change management has its origins in the 50s of the 20th century. Until the 60s, the entrepreneurial organization usually had a strongly hierarchical structure. Employees had clearly defined tasks, some of which were distributed by their superiors with strict specifications. There was therefore hardly any room for independent work. However, this rigid form of organization found a general acceptance among the participants.

In the 70s, stimulated by the '68 movement, the need for more personal responsibility found its way into the entrepreneurial world. Employees demanded decentralization and the expansion of teamwork. The employee-oriented characteristics were further expanded over time and in the 80s also referred to as "organizational development".

Until the 90s, there was a separation of "structural or strategy-led changes and employee-centered approaches"9 prevalent.

It was not until the mid-90s that today's global approach to change management for controlling change processes became apparent.10

2.4 Leadership and participants in change management

The driving force behind achieving the goal of change lies with the managers.

In the literature, however, there is hardly a concrete definition of the concept of leadership. A large number of views are offered, which basically start from a control function or hierarchy.

In general, the following characteristics are suitable for describing the management function:

- Leadership Function- This task is one of the primary functions, however, not every one of the people performs is also necessarily a leader.
- Decision-making competence - A manager makes essential business and personnel decisions.
- Control function- The implementation of decisions is monitored in order to be able to derive the necessary measures from the results.

The designation of the manager often also has a hierarchical background. Accordingly, especially in practice, executives are named according to their position in the company.

Derived from this, managers are people in an organization who lead employees, make decisions and control and control the realization of the specifications.11

Change processes in the company can occur relatively suddenly and unexpectedly, which always results in new tasks for the management. These tasks usually require completely new knowledge and skills and increasingly present the manager with new challenges. Managers today need to be versatile. They must be able to carry out organisational changes, create a well-functioning social working environment and break down hierarchical barriers.

One of the general tasks of managers is to generate performance through synergy and to strive for a more flexible way of working forms and times. They are also expected to organize the learning and development of employees, to be able to cope with crisis situations and conflicts, to develop and set goals with the led, to hire or dismiss employees, to delegate tasks and to serve as a multiplier for the communication of the company's tasks. In addition to her characteristic tasks, a manager is also attributed to role model functions and personality.

However, changes do not only concern the management, but above all also affect the employees. This is supported by the aforementioned tendency towards decentralized self-control of employees. One of the reasons for the trend towards more line responsibilities is that people are better qualified professionally than in the past and are able to take on dispositive tasks. At the same time, however, the changed working attitude of the growing generations also contributes to the restructuring of the internal company hierarchies. The contribution of one's own ideas, as well as freedom of action and personal responsibility have become an important part of the promotion of motivation and job attractiveness.12

3. Triggers for Change - Management Processes

Until the late 20th century, change management processes were a rarity. If managers of the 1960s were to be reported that change processes in the 21st century, which are designed over a period of only one to three years, can achieve an increase in productivity of up to 50 percent, they would certainly laugh in disbelief. Such changes, which are carried out in such a short time, would certainly reach the limits of what was credible for the imagination of the time. For this reason, companies often failed due to the lack of individual or collective experience, which prevented them from keeping up with the necessary adaptation measures. This illustrates once again how great the necessary persuasion and thus communication performance must be in the course of a change process.

According to Kotter (1996), today's world faces far greater challenges in the wake of globalization, which offers new opportunities in addition to risks. The progress of globalization is driven by many forces, which are mainly related to technological change, international and economic integration, the high degree of maturity of the markets in developed countries, as well as the downfall of global communism.13

Based on Koller, the presentation on the following page shows various opportunities and risks of globalization that make strategic and cultural change necessary.

In addition to the aspect of globalisation, however, there are a number of other reasons. The following list lists some other reasons that can be fundamentally responsible for the occurrence of change processes and justify the necessity of change management:

- financial bottlenecks
- change in market conditions
- new management
- mergers (fusions)
- outsourcing of corporate services to external companies
- legal changes
- changes in the entrepreneurial process flow14

In the above-mentioned cases, change management serves to promote and support the change process in companies and to create an objective basis for dealing with change processes.

Change - Management improves the probability of implementation of change measures and thus makes it easier to make them sustainable.15

Figure 1: Forces of change

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Based on Kotter, Leading Change, 1996, p. 19

4. Ways of failure/ cardinal error

There are various approaches in the everyday life of change management in which the failure of the measures can be predicted.

Many companies are only managed by management without discussing the change plans with the affected employees. In crisis situations, this narrow circle of people reserves the right to process and solve it themselves and surrounds themselves with secrets. Those actually affected by the change will be deprived of the solution until the final path has been determined. The fixed plans are then announced in a mostly large-scale assembly. The management retains the floor in this event, but the employees only serve as an executive body, which is presented with a fait accompli.

Such an approach has an impact on the self-esteem of employees. The basic need for participation as well as one's own experiences and ideas prevent the executing side from accepting a product that has not been developed by itself. The necessity of the measures is also often unclear. The employees concerned work through the prefabricated solution in their own way and may even prove that what is specified is not feasible in this way.

For fear of loss of acceptance on the part of the management, it often comes to the mistake that problems are not openly discussed. Due to a lack of sufficient experience, it also happens that the management does not dare to carry out the implementation of the change as a whole, as it seems easier for them to go the way of less resistance and to divide the change process into several sub-processes. In this way, the changes are carried out in the background and the guided ones are less worried.

Another strategy is that of deliberate fear. In this form of management, employees are exposed to the fear of losing their jobs. From the point of view of those affected, only an improvement in the work situation can occur and thus the last energies can be released, so it is believed. In the worst case, however, this strategy leads to a solidification of the overall system in which the system members fall into a kind of hibernation. In the hope of not attracting attention unnecessarily, creativity and this self-employed search for a solution to the problem is inhibited.

These procedures represent cardinal errors of change management and should be avoided by the management as far as possible and instead some important key factors are considered, which are presented in more detail below.16


1 cf. URL: 10 085 52411,templateId=renderPrint.psml, retrieved February 11, 2010

2 cf. Doppler/ Lauterburg, Change Management, 2005, p. 83

3 cf. URL: http://www.puls, retrieved 19 February 2010.

4 cf. URL:, February 19, 2010.

5 URL:, retrieved 25 February 2010.

6 cf. Kostka/ Mönch, Change Management, 2006, p. 9

7 Lindinger/ Goller , Change Management leicht gemacht, 2004, p. 27

8 cf. URL: =krisen+based+auf+ver%C3%A4nderungen&ie=utf-8&oe=utf 8&aq=t&client=firefox-a&rlz=1R1GGGL_de DE344, retrieved 26. February 2010.

9 Kraus/ Becker-Kolle/ Fischer, Handbuch Change - Management, 2006, p. 15

10 cf. Kraus/ Becker-Kolle/ Fischer, Handbuch Change - Management, 2006, p. 14f

11 cf. URL:, retrieved 01 March 2010.

12 Based on Kraus/ Becker-Kolle/ Fischer, Handbuch Change-Management, 2006, p. 39

13 Kotter, Leading Change, 1996, p. 18

14 cf. Kraus/ Becker-Kolle/ Fischer, Handbuch Change - Management, 2006, p. 16

15 cf. Lindinger/ Goller , Change Management leicht gemacht, 2004, p. 30

16 cf. Simon, Das große Handbuch der Strategiekonzepte, 2000, p. 185ff.

Excerpt out of 36 pages


Change Management. The Role of the Manager in Change Processes
University of Cooperative Education Bremen
Catalog Number
change, management, role, manager, processes
Quote paper
Valeria Heins (Author), 2010, Change Management. The Role of the Manager in Change Processes, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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