Organizational changes need a catalyst. People who act as catalysts and assume the responsibility for managing the change process are called change agents.
Any manager can be a change agent. When we talk about organizational change, we assume that it’s initiated and carried out by a manager within the organization. However, the change agent could be a non-manager—for example, an internal staff specialist or an outside consultant whose expertise is in change implementation. For major system wide changes, an organization will often hire outside consultants for advice and assistance.
Because these consultants come from the outside, they offer an objective perspective that insiders usually lack. However, the problem is that outside consultants may not understand the organization’s history, culture, operating procedures, and personnel. They’re also prone to initiating more drastic changes than insiders—which can be either a benefit or a disadvantage—because they don’t have to live with the repercussions after the change is implemented. In contrast, internal managers who act as change agents may be more thoughtful (and possibly more cautious) because they must live with the consequences of their actions.
How Does Organizational Change Happen?
We often use two metaphors to clarify the change process. The“calm waters” metaphor envisions the organization as a large ship crossing a calm sea. The ship’s captain and crew know exactly where they’re going because they’ve made the trip many times before. Change appears as the occasional storm, a brief distraction in an otherwise calm and predictable trip.
In the “white-water rapids” metaphor, the organization is seen as a small raft navigating a raging river with uninterrupted white-water rapids. Aboard the raft are half a dozen people who have never worked together before, who are totally unfamiliar with the river, who are unsure of their eventual destination, and who, as if things weren’t bad enough, are traveling at night. In the white-water rapids metaphor, change is the status quo and managing change is a continual process. To learn more about management and organizational change, one can join any of the relevant courses offered by London School of Business and Finance.
Author: External Author