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2Organization Change and Management


Question 3: Dawson’s Theoretical Basis to Change

Dawsons’s processual model of change in the organization stresses the significance of the contextual and temporality (culture and history of businesses), political procedures, decisions-making, and power plays. These collectively bring together people and individuals in negotiations and interactions, which might be misinterpreted in various ways, which cause more confusion, opacities, and doubts. The context of change considers the changes that happen to organizations concerning now, the future and the past. The contextual changes could comprise external conditions such as political events, policies, the market, etc. The internal environment comprise human resources (e.g. teamwork, job relations etc.), administrative designs, (e.g. job structures), technology, service or product, (e.g., major business doings), history and culture (e.g., evolution context of shared views and assumptions) (Dawson 2012, pg. 120).

Political activities, which occur within and outside the organizations, affect change processes. These comprise conflicts and collaboration between persons and groups, competitor and stakeholder deliberations, and external events comprising politicians lobbying and strategic alliances. On the other hand, internal political activities comprise conflicts, consultation, resistance to change, and negotiation. These issues often happen between and amongst people and groups while they try managing change.

According to Dawson, the third aspect of looking at how change happens in organizations is the substance of change. This comprises the scope and scale of change i.e. the change could be discrete, large, or dynamic initiatives of change, defining attributes and timeframe. The defining attributes that affect processes of change may comprise two change projects having similar labels, which may be very diverse (Dawson 2012, pg. 121). The timeframe considers the beginning and finish of change processes from conception to regular operation. Lastly, the substance of change aspect of looking at organizational change concerns the perceived centrality, which is the range to which changes influence the survival of a company.

According to Dawson, the aspects of change substance, context, and politics of change intersect and interweave with time as groups and people create and provide sense to organizational change processes. The theoretical basis of organizational change seeks to assess change processes as they come up and overlap over time with the aim of recognizing interlocking trends of activities to gain a partial comprehension. This comprises sensitivity to the manner people establish sense and justify their opinions to their perspectives of change, to the manner in which these are influenced by the context of the change and the way narratives of change describe and model the processes they pursue to describe. Whenever negotiations are misinterpreted or in situations of multiple interpretations, solutions may be increasingly resolved through mutual processes of sense-making (Dawson 2012, pg. 125). At the same time, the negotiations may also sustain conflicting interpretations between the groups. These may be further reinforced through change processes.

Question 4: Resistance to Change When Implementing Organizational Changes

In the current business environment, the complexity levels and the increased degree of changes cause many issues for many organizations. Motivating workers to change direction, establish new strategies and the changing models of business that can facilitate the adoption of new approaches for collaboration can often result in resistance by some categories of workers. Sometimes, the change in the communication method e.g. top-down communication, which poses different benefits to the employees such as minimizing uncertainty and clarifying the direction of support and change and an improved perception of fair information diffusion might generate more disengagement and resistance from employees when effecting change (Paton, McCalman 2008, pg. 49). Moreover, some methods of communication can lead to distorted perceptions of the need for change, which can occur due to vague strategy or barriers in communication. The process change in organizations usually comes from different sources such as organizational politics, incorrect use of power. In such a case, the employees may refuse to act in line with the changes effected through wrong means by leaders. In addition, employees may resist change because of a lack of understanding of the reasons for the changes effected. In other instances, workers may resist change when the instructions for change are given at the wrong time making it hard for the workers to adjust to the changes. Sometimes, employees may resist change especially where incentives are not given to facilitate the change. The resistance may be further aggravated when there is an insufficient creative reaction caused by political and cultural deadlocks. The models of resistance of change can be divided into psychological, systems and institutional models.

The psychological model of resistance considers that people are naturally averse to changes and this can be brought by intolerance, uncertainty, and differing opinion over the necessity for change. Some people’s ego may come into play culminating in resistance. Moreover, people may resist change, which results in great fear and anxiety. Sometimes, people may link change with trauma making it a challenge to implement change.

The systems model of assessing resistance to change in organizations considers that people do not resist change; rather, they resist the loss of benefits, which the present system provides including comfort, status, or money. Under the model, people may also be compelled to select between the introduced change (vision) and their individual interests. Moreover, in the systems concept of resistance, people may resist changes, which compel them to select between their personal good and the .superior’ good. The institutionalized model of resistance is that in which resistance is integrated into the structure of the organization’s resource allocation and decision-making processes. In such an organizations, people resist change because it interferes with the manner in which they have been carrying out things (Paton, McCalman 2008, pg. 51).

Undoubtedly, changes challenge the beliefs, expectations and beliefs of members of an organization. Employees often harbor various concerns regarding change especially when it challenges old concepts, confronts apathy, and establishes emerging technological challenges.

Question 6: Politics of Change

Political behavior is regarded as activities, which are not needed as part of an individual’s official formal objective in the organization, but the influence affects the distribution of gains and demerits within the organization. According to Buchanan’s theory, conventional wisdom demands that change leaders ought not to ‘play politics’ but are supposed to be ‘clean’, and avoid time-wasting and needless games. He proposes that playing politics is nonsense. In the politics of change, organizations are considered as political systems whereas change is a political process. The agent of change who is unwilling to bring politics will fail immediately or later. Given the risk of failure of the change agent (who is not politically inclined), it is mandatory that he participates in the politics of change encompassed in the organization. This will enable him push certain agendas that will impact options and policy makers to address and potentially silence criticism while at the same time challenge, and cope with resistance (Brass & Krackhardt 2012, pg. 335).

The change agency possesses some attributes of political nature. Change agents are often motivated by the need to exercise power in their political involvement and interpersonal influence. In a change agency, power and politics is an acknowledged and universal dimension of the role of change agents. In this case, political behaviors can be designated as individual serving or altruistic or as legitimate or illegitimate.

Political behaviour during organizational change is exhibited in two faces. According to Brass and Krackhardt (2012, pg. 335), there is a necessity to examine the extreme sides of politics i.e. the good and bad phases of political demeanor. As far as political behavior is concerned on the issue of change in organizations, certain behaviors can be regarded objectionable. For instance, the deceit associated with the origin of consulting, manipulation, and recommendations. In a different context, organization politics can be compared to ethics. Undoubtedly, there exists no defined ways of differentiating what is considered as ethical from immoral behavior. The differentiation depends greatly on context such as nature of organizational culture and matter at stake. The ethical-political activities ought to consider rights and concerns of other parties for instance confidentiality and privacy. Moreover, ethical-political activities must conform to justice and equity standards. Usually, politically oriented individuals can make practices that are unethical to seem rights by describing selfish behaviors in relation to the interests of the organization.

As far as politics of change are considered in change processes of organizations, common sanctioned political strategies include establishing networks, assertiveness, bargaining, c, knowledge use, and image building. On the other end, non-sanctioned political strategies include lying, attacking others, collusion, manipulation, information control, intimidation cooptation, and innuendoes.


Brass, D J & Krackhardt, D M 2012, ‘Power, politics, and social networks in organizations.’ Politics in organizations: Theory and research considerations, pp. 355.

Dawson, P 2012, ‘The contribution of the processual approach to the theory and practice of organizational change.’ The Routledge Companion to Organizational Change. New York: Routledge, pp. 119-32.

Paton, A. McCalman, M 2008. Change Management. Sage.