Literature Review: Leading Change in Organizations Paper Example

Paper Type:  Literature review
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1541 Words
Date:  2022-10-06

Leading change in organizations may be defined as the process that involves the continuous renewal of the organization's structure, direction, and capabilities which are essential in seeing the ever-changing needs of external and internal customers. People live in a world that is constantly changing, and the change normally has an implication on the people and the entire organization. In this context, many organizations usually look into the future with the aim of finding new advantages. New products, new technologies, new regulations, new competitors and unique individuals with new experiences is the order for the organizations that strive to lead change. Nevertheless, approaches and theories that result to driving change in organizations are frequently conflicting, lacking empirical evidence and they may be based on the unchallenged assumptions concerning the nature of the modern strategy of leading change in an organization. This paper will provide a literature review regarding leading change in organizations by looking at several major approaches that contribute to driving change in organizations.

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In many organizations, there is a continuous pressure towards adopting new technologies, becoming competitive and revising of the organizational strategy of survival. The cases in which the conventional approaches may be lucratively getting applied in organizations are very rare. Organizations should persistently align themselves with their environments through reacting to the external events or through proactively shaping their business. With economies, technologies, governments, demographics, competition, and consumer preferences all changing fast, it should not be a question of if the organizations must change but the way and the direction in which the organizations must embrace to lead change. The role of the leading change expert in organizations is to assist the business in preparing for periodic changes and instances which are complicated.

There is a large literature body from many disciplines that are about leading change in organizations and what makes the process successful. It is a topic that is complex having several contradictions. One of the major perspectives that is within the planned approaches contributing to leading change is the approach of Lewin (1951), which offer an argument indicating that leading change consists of three main stage processes; unfreezing of the current behavior, moving to the new practice, and refreezing of the new practice. This three stages approach was for several years considered as a dominant framework. Ever since the approach was formulated, the strategy has been adapted and reviewed, with the steps being divided into the making of more precise stages. For instance, Bullock & Batten (1985) came up with a four-stage approach; exploration, action, planning, and integration.

Adding to the work of the early theorists, leading change has for many times become consistently conceptualized in two major ways (Flood & Fennel 1995). The first-way views leading change as being a strategic and rational process whereby the organization chooses a new action course and adapts to the newly implemented change. The second way sees leading change as being an evolutionary selection whereby the organizations usually resist the changes that are occurring around them.

Wiggins (2008) provide a citation of flawed maps of leading change, complex issues, partial solutions, misunderstanding of resistance, and misuse of knowledge concerning the process of change management as the primary challenges in the process of leading change in an organization. Driving change in organizations is a critical skill for managers and leaders. It requires being a structured process in a manner that it involves managing people, technology and procedures in response to the changing environment such that an organization ends up aligning to the business strategies with the external changes and remain competitive. The leaders in an organization require becoming role models by demonstrating what is expected from the workers in connection to change. When this is attained, it becomes consistent with the theory of social learning and the concept through which individuals learn through observing one another within the organization.

The transition from resistance to acceptance usually occurs through stages, and there must be the ongoing support which reflects those steps. The first step involves general disbelief and having a strong need for obtaining accurate information. Later individuals go through several emotions, and they require a different type of support. When individuals reach the acceptance stage, they require finding their way of making the necessary changes, and they can need support while they are doing this.

In all the stages, there must be clear communication of the main vision, desired changes and the benefits that the change is expected to bring. The leading change process means to initiate, plan, realize, stabilize, and control the operations leading to change on both personal and corporate levels. The task of leading change includes its effect on individuals, and several managers usually find this challenging. Change can cover such diverse challenges as the strategic direction of the personal development programs meant for the staffs. Structural, technological, and strategic changes together with changes in behaviors and attitude are normally aimed at viability and competitiveness.

Another major element is having an updated and suitable technology, from the beginning of implementation, via monitoring at the time of the change process and during final evaluation. Senge et al., (1999), argue that this is very costly hence the need for financial strength. However, technology may also result to reduction f cost. Training in professional and skill development of the information technology workforce is essential, and it is a vital driver of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Technological change can be either a breakthrough or an incremental that applies the new knowledge to the existing problems.

The willingness to change normally means flexibility although there are unforeseen events at any given point in the organization which makes it challenging (Kotter, 1995). Having good management of the business information usually results in reduction but not the elimination of the unforeseen events. An observation made by Kotter is that there are certain initiatives like management of total quality, restructuring, and cultural changes which may contribute to the process of leading change in an organization.

Kotter & Schlesinger,(1989), came up with an 8-step approach: Establishing of a sense of urgency, creating of a guiding coalition, developing a strategy and a vision, communicating the change vision, empowering workers for broad-based action, generating of short-term wins, consolidating gains as well as producing further changes, and anchoring of new strategies in the culture. Kanter, Stein, & Jick, (1992) argue that the initial stage in implementing of leading change in an organization involves the creation of stakeholders' coalitions, including sponsors and workers. An organization leader requires being able to impact others, creating a vision, and communicating with people, empowering people and building teams to attain the set vision of the organization.

Aladwani (2001) argues that the tools used for leading change in an organization are communication, leadership, planning, training, and the incentive systems, that may all act as the levers and ay move to great obstacles given that there is the correct application of the minimum effort. Organization change may happen at various levels that need different change approaches and techniques. Further, Lashunda (2010), provides three levels of leading change in organizations; changing the people who work in the organization, changing of the systems and structures of organization, and changing of the organizational climate directly. Meyer & Rowan (1977) pointed out the need for sustaining the parts of the organization which are performing well at the time of making a change. The essential daily tasks should be maintained during the addressing of fundamental change. The changes that are within an organization are a reflection of the changes observed in the wider economic, social, technological, and political environment hence there is a need of having organizations responding to those given changes.


In conclusion, leading change is a strategy which every organization requires to complete and sustain while changing the environment, and becoming flexible in several aspects. The organization and individuals in the business should be committed to the leading change process and take the positive steps towards the new heights, profit, and sustainability. Several studies done in the past illustrate that both the external and internal drivers usually force the leading change process in organizations in producing of new services, products, or the business strategies to attain and satisfy the varying needs of the consumers.


Aladwani, A, (2001) Change Management Strategies for Successful ERP Implementation", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 7 (3), pp. 266-275.

Bullock, R. J., & Batten, D. (1985). It's just a phase we're going through: a review and synthesis of OD phase analysis. Group & Organization Studies, 10(4), 383-412.

Kanter, R M, Stein, B. A. & Jick, T D, (1992) The Challenge of Organisational Change (New York: The Free Press)

Kotter, J. P. (1995). Leading change: Why transformation efforts fail.

Kotter, J. P., & Schlesinger, L. A. (1989). Choosing strategies for change. In Readings in Strategic Management (pp. 294-306). Palgrave, London.

Lashunda, M, (2010), Impact of Change Management Consideration in the Implementation of ERP System, UNDB

Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social science: selected theoretical papers (Edited by Dorwin Cartwright.).

Meyer, J W, & Rowan, B, Institutionalised Organisations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony. American Journal of Sociology, 1977, 63, 340-363.

Senge, P., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Roth, G., Smith, B., & Guman, E. C. (1999). The dance of change: The challenges to sustaining momentum in learning organizations. Performance Improvement, 38(5), 55-58.

Wiggins, L. (2008). Managing the ups and downs of change communication. Strategic Communication Management, 13(1), 20.

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Literature Review: Leading Change in Organizations Paper Example. (2022, Oct 06). Retrieved from

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