Change Management as a management task. The role of managers in operational change processes

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2017

19 Pages, Grade: 1.0







2.1. Definition of "change management" and "leadership"
2.2 Change management process
2.3 Requirements for managers
2.4 Employee acceptance as an important challenge in a changing environment

3.1 Initial situation and problem description
3.2 Practical relevance
3.3 Procedure model and representation of the process phases
3.4 Instruments for guiding through individual phases
3.5 Implementation





Figure 1: Spiral model with change management approaches


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


Table 1. Phases of ERP implementation with techniques


This thesis deals with the task of introducing an ERP system in an international medium-sized company on the basis of a constructed case study, taking into account the change management approaches. Due to rapid development of new technologies, the market situation changes rapidly. The constant change of the company thus becomes a matter of course for dealing with the dynamics and complexity of the environment. As a consequence of global networking, internationally staffed teams are formed, which demand special responsibility and control skills of the executives in view of personnel, cultural aspects and decentralized management. In addition to business reasons that can cause change processes to fail, communication, leadership and corporate culture-related factors must also be taken into account. Thus, middle­level managers in particular have many subtasks to deal with and must balance communication between top management and employees. Even though there are already initial approaches by Chies for the introduction of new IT technology based on a chain model and by Lindinger for the implementation of the phase-related change concept, there is still no uniform elaboration that presents the entire process from both aspects as a dynamic model. Following the introduction in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 provides the basics of the technical terms "change management" and "manager" and explains the requirements for managers. Chapter 3 shows how the entire concept could look like and which tasks a manager has to deal with during the change process. The conclusion of the work in chapter 4 summarizes the results and provides suggestions for further research.


2.1. Definition of "change management" and "leadership"

The successful implementation of a change process depends on a number of factors, which can be used to control future events. In Wagner1 's definition, change management is a change process whose focus is based on a long and comprehensive change and which is to be organized in the sense of a program through individual projects that are well coordinated in terms of time and content. Lindinger2 considers it to be the sum of all conscious concepts and methods for controlling and accompanying change processes in organizations. Thus it can be stated that change management does not only pursue the achievement of a concrete goal, but also represents the implementation of a specific type of implementation that reflects the main task of the company. In this context, the classic management tasks should not be disregarded at all, which on the one hand are directed towards managing employees in change and on the other hand adapt own activities to the change process. Leadership is to be under­stood as the exertion of influence (control) in multi-personal problem solving3. The central control function resulting from the term can be divided into the following ele­ments of leadership: the elements planning and decision primarily serve the formation of will, the elements task assignment and control of will implementation4. In Schust5 's view, leadership is a combination of model roles - process steps - competencies. In summary, Grannemann6 provides a short definition that ascribes to leadership the task of making employees successful.

2.2 Change management process

From the definition of the term, the structure of change management can be derived as a cyclical process with several phases and associated activities. The comprehensive organization of the processes and the instructions for action is decisive for the success of the change target. The process can be viewed from a general point of view or in relation to a longer-term project as part of operational management. In the literature, however, there is no uniform structural specification with regard to individual steps of both types of consideration. In general, Lindinger divides7 change management into 4 steps: Information, Dialogue, Training, Participation. For a project-related model 5 phases are defined: Idea phase, concept phase, implementation phase, operation or evaluation phase, sustainability phase8. These two subdivisions are decisive for this work; they are discussed in more detail in the case study. Worth mentioning is also Kotter's9 8-phase concept, in which the phases mainly refer to the employees and can serve as an instruction manual. The concept management style for the successful im­plementation of the planned change process. In the example case, these phases will be indirectly reflected as recommended actions to the managers.

2.3 Requirements for managers

The successful transformation process can only succeed with accompanying support and guidance under the high level of attention of the managers. In addition to the core task of management, which is to take responsibility and guide employees in the right direction, there are also subtasks that need to be defined: Equipping employees with the ability to change, making change understandable, making everyday changes tangible and plannable for every employee and accompanying them on this path.10 These tasks require personal commitment, they cannot be delegated further. In order to survive the change, the motivational of a manager is required to be able to lead employees in a goal-oriented way. The competence profile of the executive as a change manager includes above all: professional competence (strategic corporate development, organizational development, strategic personnel management, internal communication, information technology), social competence (task distribution, communication and discussion leading, coordination ability, cross-departmental and cross-functional networking), methodological competence (moderation, presentation and rhetoric, training competence, conflict management, creativity techniques, project management), personal competence (value orientation, self-awareness, entrepreneurship, time management and self-organization, learning ability).11 Especially the methodical competences are to be regarded12 as an essential component for an "agile project management" of changes. Based on this, essential elements for change projects, such as clear definition according to the SMART rule, drawing boundaries, effect only through the project, flexibility in the course of the project, orientation on results, are to be named.13 In addition to the above mentioned competencies, the change competence is to be mentioned. Intercultural competence is important for the management of the international team. Today's tendency towards team-oriented structures demands a cooperative management style with the indispensable tool "coaching", which helps employees to make decisions on their own responsibility. The change in values in today's society favors flat corporate hierarchies with intensified communication channels. With regard to these aspects, the manager must act as a communicator and as a shaper of the exchange of information. In a permanently changing organization, the role of the executive as change manager is above all coordinator and initiator, focuser and brakeman. The14 role of the manager is to build a "learning organization" characterized by a clear vision, team spirit, cooperative leadership, flexible processes and transparent communication.15 16 Middle management forms the interface between strategy and operationalization. Their duty is to manage the operational level in such a way that the strategic goals are achieved. 3Therefore, the executive is required to take on the role of initiator and facilitator, the designer of the change process. Middle managers often see themselves in the victim role, which essentially results from the classic position between top management and employees. It must also be taken into account that software is taking over more and more of the organizational work. This makes it easier for top managers to take over decisions for middle management, but employees can also organize themselves independently in a team. The range of tasks for middle-level managers is therefore more likely to be reduced to motivation and emotional leadership and demands self­development. Stubborn attitudes and behavioral patterns of managers have a negative influence on change projects. It is therefore of great importance that the manager takes on a new role in the change process, ensures a climate of change within the company and provides sufficient orientation during the change process. For companies with a transactional leadership culture, it is important to develop towards more transformational leadership.

2.4 Employee acceptance as an important challenge in a changing environment

The change of organizations is closely linked to the transformation of corporate culture. This represents a primary subtask of the management, since every change process requires an effective handling of resistance. Resistance should not be viewed negatively, because it provides evidence that the change has already begun and has arrived in the minds of the employees as an idea.17 In internationally staffed project teams, however, the reactions to change can vary. However, the heterogeneous workforce has one common point of view: all management methods fail because of unaccepted individuality.18 A failed change project is therefore not to be attributed to the chosen methods and tools, but to the people responsible for it. The opportunities for co-designing the new processes and system solutions are acceptance-promoting and resistance-reducing.19 According to Groß20, IT implementations often involve ver­bal statements and passive behavior, which manifest themselves in silence, trivializa- tion, debating around and stubborn formalism. Any resistance shows the preoccupa­tion with change, therefore it should be accepted and guided by an honest assessment of the changes with the change process so far: evaluation of experiences reinforce- ment21. Methods such as applying pressure or ignoring resistance have proven to be counterproductive. Communication is thus an important, success-decisive aspect of change. The leadership of virtual teams requires additional visually organized project work using IaC technologies, which represents an additional challenge for managers.


3.1 Initial situation and problem description

The following data are used for this work: In a medium-sized international company, internal and external analyses of trends, strengths, weaknesses and competitive situation were carried out and evaluated. This resulted in challenges that required a radical change of the existing structure and corporate culture, among others the increasing trend towards advanced IT technologies that provide a clear competitive advantage in efficient and customer-oriented process handling. A change to a horizontal organization is to be implemented to increase flexibility. The company should become more dynamic, imaginative and powerful through learning processes and team-oriented structures. As a central task, which is dealt with in more detail in this thesis, a uniform ERP system is to be introduced. A new strategy process for changing the process flow within the company was developed, the budget was released and the implementation time was set at 2 years. Since the whole change process is an extensive multi-stage process consisting of many projects, this work only takes a time­limited view of the ERP system introduction. The following goal is derived from the described situation: On the basis of an exemplary case, a modelfor the introduction of the ERP system with change management approaches will be shown as an aid for the managers.

3.2 Practical relevance

Due to the high financial and personnel expenditure, the implementation of ERP sys­tems in medium-sized businesses leads to extreme stress tests. On the one hand, it is due to the size of the company and its structure. In most cases, the time, financial and personnel resources are limited and the tools are lacking to enable companies to effi­ciently implement their own change processes under the pressure for change emanat­ing from society or the economy. On the other hand, it is due to the nature of the change itself. Inwardly directed changes lead to greater unrest, as they have a direct or indirect impact on the daily working day.22 When changing the organizational structure and starting a business reengineering measure, the counteracting forces should be in­tensively considered. They prevent the structural change from bringing about the nec­essary changes in behaviour and, through passive resistance, transform the quality pro­grammes into sources of strong bureaucracy23. Especially in medium-sized companies with limited resources and a high degree of internationalization, which often leads to potential communication problems, neglecting change management approaches can have a negative impact on the entire company. Since in most cases no change manager is foreseen as a position in these companies, the results of this work are important in order to make relevant action decisions in time, to rethink the corporate strategy or to carry out further change tasks more effectively.

3.3 Procedure model and representation of the process phases

With the goal that the managers have control and minimization of the risks change management process while passing through different phases, a visualization of the pro­cess steps is necessary. In the literature, a process chain representation or a table form of the necessary phases and steps for change management is usually used. The disad­vantage is the inadequate representation of the stage of progress of the process devel­opment. For this reason, a spiral model for software development by Boehm24 is used to illustrate the phases for the introduction of the ERP system, accompanied by the phases of change management. This model (see Image1) is modified by the phases of an ERP implementation by Chies25 and additionally extended by the phases of change management developed by Lindinger26. The developed model enables a uniform frame­work for the change process and allows a continuous testability of the system. Thus, obstacles are recognized early on and managers can react accordingly. A further ad­vantage is the learning effect for further change processes.

Figure 1: Spiral model with change management approaches

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


1 Cf. Wagner et al. (2015), p.342

2 Cf. Lindinger et al. (2004), p.27

3 Cf. Thommen at al. (2009), p.942

4 Cf. Thommen at al. (2009), p.942

5 Cf. Schust (2000), p.9

6 Cf. Grannemann et al. (2016), p. 106

7 Cf. Lindinger (2004), p.44

8 Cf. Lindinger et al. (2004), p.46

9 Kotter (2012), p.18

10 Cf. Grannemann et al. (2016), p.51

11 Cf. Groß (2014), p.19

12 Cf. Groß (2014), p.156

13 Cf. Groß (2014), p.156 ff.

14 Cf. Groß (2014), p.291

15 Cf. Groß (2014), p.292 ff.

16 Cf. Weber (2016), p.13

17 Cf. Grannemann et al. (2016), p.216

18 Cf. Sprenger (2005), p.17

19 Cf. Chies (2016), p.35

20 Cf. Groß (2014), p.281

21 Cf. Groß (2014), p.281

22 Cf. Lindinger (2004), p.34

23 Cf. Kotter (2012), p.5

24 Cf. Boehm (1988), p.61-72

25 Cf. Chies (2016), p.3

26 Cf. Lindinger et al. (2004), p.46

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Change Management as a management task. The role of managers in operational change processes
AKAD University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart
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ISBN (eBook)
change management, ERP system, management
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Larissa Petersen (Author), 2017, Change Management as a management task. The role of managers in operational change processes, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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