Change Management

Term Paper, 2003

16 Pages, Grade: 1,0 (A)


Table of Contents:

Chapter One: Introduction
1. Approach
1.1 Scientific Approach
1.2 Structural Approach
2. Definition and Description of Key Concepts
2.1 Strategic Change
2.2 Organizational Change
2.3 Business Process Reengineering

Chapter Two: Theoretical Framework
1. Phase Models of Organizational Change
1.1 “Linear” Models
1.2 “Circular” Models
2. Overview of the Three “Forces” for Change
2.1 Top-Down Direction Setting
2.2 Bottom-Up Performance Improvement
2.3 Horizontal Process Redesign
3. The Three Basic Phases of the Change Process
3.1. Phase One: Initiating Change
3.2. Phase Two: Managing the Transition
3.3. Phase Three: Sustaining Momentum

Chapter Three: Conclusion


Chapter One: Introduction

1. Approach

This section discusses the scientific and structural approach on which this case study is based.

1.1 Scientific Approach

Several researchers have noted that all social scientists approach their subject via explicit or implicit assumptions about the nature of the social world and the way in which it may be investigated. For example, Burrell et al. (1979: 1) argued that “all theories of organization are based upon a philosophy of science and a theory of society”.

Burrel et al. (1979) developed a useful framework that can help to clarify these fundamental assumptions. The authors identified two extreme positions that they termed “German idealism” and “sociological positivism”. The framework explains the two extremes along four dimensions (see Table 1).

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Table 1: A scheme for analysing assumptions about the nature of social sciences

(Source: Burrel et al. 1979: 3)

The ontological assumptions concern the essence of the phenomena under investigation. The nominalist position revolves around the assumption that the social world is made up of names and labels that are used to structure reality. On the other hand, realism postulates that the social world is made up of hard, tangible structures (Burrel et al. 1979: 1-4).

The epistemological assumptions concern the grounds of knowledge. The anti-positivist views the social world as essentially relativistic. On the other hand, the positivist position seeks to explain what happens in the social world by searching for regularities and causal relationships between its constituent elements (Burrel et al. 1979: 1-5).

A third set of assumptions concern human nature. The voluntarism position maintains that man is completely autonomous and free-willed. At the other extreme, the determinist position views man as being completely determined by the environment (Burrel et al. 1979: 2-6).

Finally, the three sets of assumptions have direct implications for the choice of research methodology. The ideographic approach is based on the view that one can only understand the social world by obtaining first hand knowledge. The nomothetic approach is preoccupied with the construction of scientific tests and the use of quantitative techniques for the analysis of data (Burrel et al. 1979: 2-6).

1.2 Structural Approach

The basic structure and sequence of this case study is as follows (see Figure 1):

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Overview of the case study (source: author)

Chapter One has thus far discussed the basic assumptions on which this case study is based. The rest of this chapter provides definitions and short descriptions of three key concepts that underlie the theoretical framework.

Chapter Two presents the theoretical framework in connection with the “RM” Division. First, an overview of two models of change is provided. Then, three “forces for change” are described which can contribute to bring about fundamental change in organizations. Finally, research on the basic phases of the change process is presented.

Chapter Three presents the conclusion of the case study.

2. Definition and Description of Key Concepts

The following section presents definitions and descriptions of three key concepts that underlie the theoretical framework. They are strategic change, organizational change and business process reengineering.

2.1 Strategic Change

Mintzberg (1978) saw strategic change as streams of activity, which occurred mainly as a consequence of environmental change, leading to alterations in the product, market focus, structure, technology and culture of organization. On the other hand, Tichy (1983) saw strategic change primarily in terms of major intervention by top management to overcome organizational inertia and accomplish discontinuous change, which altered the overall orientation of the organization. This involved aligning the organization’s technical, political and cultural systems.

A useful perspective on strategic change is provided by the punctuated equilibrium model, as demonstrated by Gersick (1991). It conceptualises change as an alteration between long periods when stable infrastructures permit only incremental adaptations (incremental change) and brief periods of revolutionary upheaval (strategic change).

2.2 Organizational Change

The organization can be understood as a collection of individuals and groups set up to achieve some shared purposes through differentiation of functions and positions, coordination of activities and continuity through time of the activities and relationships. Organizational change normally involves making changes in the design elements of the organization including people, task, structure, information and decision processes as well as reward systems (Galbraith 1977:3-4).


Excerpt out of 16 pages


Change Management
Grenoble Ecole de Management  (Economics and International Management)
Change Management
1,0 (A)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
424 KB
change management, organisation, veränderungsmanagement, Internationales management, Verwaltung, organisation, umstrukturierung, veränderungsmassnahmen
Quote paper
Antje Droese (Author), 2003, Change Management, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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