To complete the online simulation of managing organizational change, I used the ExperienceChange Model. The model is based on models developed by Kurt Lewin, John Kotter, Edgar Schein and David Nadler (Chisholm & Warman, 2007). First, I wanted to apply Kotter’s model. The method involves the establishment of the sense of urgency, creation of the guiding coalition, creation and communication of the vision, creation of the team, removal of barriers, generation of short-term wins, consolidation and institutionalisation of the change. However, I found the Kotter model ineffective when doing the simulation. I admit that I could fail to use the right tactics during the eight stages of the model.
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The method seemed overcomplicated, and I decided to utilise the 7-stage frame. Clearly, I also had in mind the paradigm of unfreezing, changing and freezing. However, it is very broad and sets a direction rather than provides particular tips on implementation of the change. The 7-stage ExperienceChange model is the most relevant strategy to be used to complete the simulation. It is very detailed, and it can be applied in many settings. I have acknowledged the practical value of this method.
Completion of the Simulation
I made five attempts to complete the simulation or rather achieve the necessary 60% buy-in and the necessary score. I would like to add that the first two attempts were technical as I had difficulties with using the tools. One of the challenges for me was to make decisions without the ability to rearrange tactics used. I also chose not to redo anything as I wanted to be able to assess the mistakes I made as well as my progress.
As has been mentioned above, I decided to use the Kotter model as wanted to check its applicability. I thought it was detailed, and it was suitable for the case. However, I completely failed to identify tactics appropriate for each stage. First attempts were quite a chaotic experience for me. Identifying priorities was a challenging task form. It was especially vivid when it came to the development of teams. It was quite difficult to understand which team to create first. It was clear that cross-sectional teams are necessary. I also believed it was vital to improve communication channels within the organisation. I think there were not enough tactics to achieve this goal.
As for the strategy I used, I started with interviewing stakeholders. In hindsight, I used the ExperienceChange Model. Thus, I started with collecting as much information as I could. I read the case several times. I also interviewed all the stakeholders. Their comments provided valuable insights. I managed to identify major issues that prevented the company from achieving the goals. Then I started trying the tactics. Since this was a simulation (not the real world experience), I wanted to understand outcomes of different procedures. Thus, I did not pay much attention to the correct order. I believe this was still a stage of collecting information for me.
After that, I decided to use Kotter’s Model. This could be regarded as the stage of creating the vision. I reviewed the stages. Obviously, I did not have to look for stakeholders, as I was to work on the change on myself. Then, I started to act. Attempt 2 and 3 were based on the use of Kotter Model. This was the time I stuck, and the process of change was interrupted. I had difficulties with applying Kotter Model since I made many mistakes concerning stages of the process. I reflected on my experience. I analysed the effectiveness of tactics used. The debrief was very helpful in this process. I also understood that I was actually using ExperienceChange Model when working on the task. Therefore, I decided to apply this method to complete the simulation. I would like to note that the tactics perfectly fit the model.
The Use of Tactics
One of the lessons I learned from using the tactics was that each of them should be used timely. It was vivid that even if the tactic is very useful and efficient, it will cause more troubles if it is used at the wrong time. I also acknowledged the importance of planning. Moreover, I was a bit frustrated to get negative remarks concerning my decisions. Some employees were sceptic even though the tactic proved to be successful. This was confusing during my second and third attempt. Importantly, I learned about different ways to collect the information and motivate stakeholders. I believe these tactics can be utilised in other settings as well.
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I also understood that it was vital to use several tactics to achieve the necessary goals at every stage. I used to think that one solid tactic and a supplementary one could help in achieving aims. However, it is clear that only a set of well-thought tactics can contribute to the implementation of change. Clearly, they have to be well-thought and compatible with the vision and the organization’s culture.
Apart from that, I learnt about negative aspects of motivation. It can increase competitiveness and create an unhealthy atmosphere in the workplace. I used this tactic several times. However, I understood that it was too early to employ it. First, the relationships between employees are not very productive. There is certain mistrust. Of course, rewarding some employees would worsen the situation. Therefore, I will be careful when using monetary rewards in the future.
I was also surprised that the tactic concerning celebration was so effective. I believe I am too focused on outcomes as well as working hard. Nonetheless, I should remember that people need to relax and celebrate their success. This will motivate them. This will also improve the atmosphere in the workplace.
Finally, I was very careful with ideas associated with getting rid of those who resist. I still think that this is one of the riskiest strategies as it may lead to the loss of a competent employee, which can lead to significant losses in the long run.
The Nature of Managing Organisational Change
I have always known that a significant amount of time, as well as significant budget, may be required to implement the organisational change. Nonetheless, I thought that some steps that have to be undertaken may be implemented without additional financial input. For instance, such tactics as addressing employees also cost some amount of money. I understand now that a variety of aspects should be considered when estimating the costs. Thus, the meeting will be held during working hours, which means that employees will not work at that time, which is associated with some costs.
It also occurred to me that some strategies required a considerable amount of investment, which may be seen as unacceptable by management. I understood that it was the manager’s responsibility to explain the benefits of the costly strategy. Of course, it was also important to choose every tactic wisely as the budget available is often limited.
I have also understood that any change should be holistic, and it can address many aspects. However, now, I see that the change should also have the necessary focus. Thus, I thought that the employees needed some training as well as discussions of the quality. I knew that the quality of the products was high, and customers were satisfied with it. However, I thought this aspect had to be in the spotlight all the time. At that, I thought that excessive focus on something that is good can lead to the increase in resistance. In other words, it can result in the opposite effect.
I would give the simulation the highest score. First, the learner can get certain experience, which will be applied in his/her career. It is possible to note that learning through experiencing is very effective. Thus, I managed to use the 7-stage model. This was a useful experience as I learnt about the choice of stakeholders. I also learnt to identify various types of stakeholders involved (change agent, resistant, helpers and bystanders). There was no need to outline tactics, which is very important. At that stage, students are still quite unconfident, and they would feel lost. However, there is a list of tactics to choose from. At that, they are quite universal and can be used as a template for a novice manager.
The format of the simulation is also very effective. For instance, the videos create the necessary atmosphere. Thus, the learner does not simply read the analysis of stakeholders’ position, but he/she should listen to actual people’s accounts and come to some conclusions. Clearly, I will have to deal with people in the future. Therefore, it was a very useful experience. Besides, additional materials provided were also helpful during analysis. Debrief was particularly useful as it helped identify mistakes made during first attempts. There were also valuable tips and used them during my further attempts.
When choosing the tactics, there was a feedback from one of the stakeholders. It was very interesting to see reactions of different people. As has been mentioned above, I was confused when a negative feedback accompanied a tactic that proved to be successful. However, it was a valuable experience. I should be ready for criticism. Clearly, there will always be people resistant to changes. More so, some people may fail to understand the short- and long-term wins of this or that strategy. The manager should be ready to discuss this if necessary.
As has been mentioned above, the simulation is a very useful tool, but it can still be enhanced. For example, it could be a good idea to add the particular outcomes. For instance, at the end of the simulation, there can be an account of the performance certain time after the start of the process (6 months or a year). This can help the learner to see the effectiveness of the change. It can also be effective to provide more visuals. For instance, the learner could develop a chart where he/she could see the time span and the particular order of tactics to be implemented. This could enhance the learning experience. I had to draw the chart for myself, and it helped me a lot.
Chisholm, J., & Warman, G. (2007). Experiential learning in change management. In M.L. Silberman (Ed.), The handbook of experiential learning (pp. 321-344). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.