Topic 4: Leadership & Change

< Let’s think about it before the main point>

“Change is a continuous and unpredictable process of aligning and realigning an organization to its changing environment” (Burnes, 2010)

 * We have an opportunity to hear expert’s lecture related to this topic through YouTube. Marty Linsky (2011), ‘TED: Adaptive Leadership-Leading Change’

1. Introduction : the era of change

With the help of technology advancement, everything around us is changing more rapid than ever before. Especially, IT advance like internet and SNS make the world to connect more direct and fast, as a result of this, nobody can deny we live in global village with rapid change.

2. Change and Organization

Organization itself is a living organism. Therefore, it exchanges its recourses including information with the environment for survival. It is most important business as well as the most strategic choice of organization to adapt to or be harmony with the environment.

1) Factors and Objects of change

Even though much of change is part of a natural process of organization like aging and some of this change can be managed through careful planning, the main pressure of change is usually from external forces (Mullins, 2013). There are multiple external factors such as financial pressures, new technologies and legislation which affect on business. In most case, the underlying object of change by external factors is to modify the behavioral patterns of members of organization, and moreover, improve the ability of the organization. (Mullins, 2013)

2) Process


According to Lewin, people who run into external factors for change modify their behaviors as a three-phase process (Lewin, 1951). Firstly, they endeavor to dismantle present form after recognition if it is the need for change, and secondly, develop new attitude or behavior for change, lastly, stabilize change at the new level (unfreezing-moving-refreezing).

3) Behavior to Change

As change in most cases needs additional tension and pain, employee intrinsically dislike the change and prefer the status quo. However, in case of being judged that change needs for survival, people follow above a three-phase process. In addition, according to Lockhead, he maintains that most successful organizations develop a culture that welcomes change and the opportunities it brings (Lockhead, 2008). However, apart from the theory, people refuse to accept the necessity of change in reality although it is needed situation to some extent. In other words, Instead of being proactive, change is often reactive, the last resort. The question is that intrinsic dislike or discomfort result in resistance to change.

3. Resistance to change and Leadership

Generally speaking, resistance happens when cost for change is bigger than benefit. For example, there are excessive costs such as workload, lack of autonomy and authority, insufficient reward and disparity between personal and organizational values (Mullins, 2013). In detail, in aspect of individual, employees resist to change owing to fear of the unknown, security, inconvenience, and so on. On the contrary, in terms of organization, there are organization cultures, maintaining stability, threat to the power or influence. Therefore, it is basic and important role for leaders to manage this organizational change well. Some experts suggest for leaders to do eight steps for successful change as follows (Kotter&Cohen, 2002): However, as Newton points out well, there is no perfect methodology that can be applied in every situation, but only a framework tailored to individual circumstances (Newton, 2007). Of it, the common functions of leaders in changing time include things such as creating an environment of trust and shared commitment, activating full and genuine participation, and motivating people and giving incentives (Mullins, 2013). The most important thing which leaders should know to overcome resistance to change is a clear understanding of human behavior. Change is a complex and powerful psychological experience with fear and frustration. So, leaders should understand resistance to change at first. Moreover, According to Atkinson, resistance is evidence that the organization is healthy and should not be considered only as a negative thing to change (Atkinson, 2005). It can be an opportunity to openly debate possibilities and so should be treated as a powerful ally in facilitating the change process. In case of club Med in hospitality industry, its employee experienced several dramatic strategy changes for survival. After golden age between 50th and 80th through isolated village with GO (grace organizer) and GM (grace member), there came crisis because of environmental change, new strategy (change) was tried to survive. New CEO, Philippe Bourguignon, in 1997, implemented strongly both expansion and cost-cutting strategy regardless of employees’ resistance. At last, he failed and had no choice but to resign. On the contrary, Giscard d’Estaing (new CEO), has implemented an upscale repositioning strategy step by step without big resistance (Johnson, 2011). Whether success or not, we can know that it depended not on contents of change, but overcoming resistance.

4. Conclusion: To be Change leaders

Nobody deny it anymore and can manage it in a period of rapid structural change. There is only a way of being ahead of it, i.e. become change leaders. A change leader sees change as opportunity and looks for change. Above all, he endeavors to balance change and continuity (Drucker, 1999)


Laurie J. Mullins (2013), ‘Management & Organizational Behavior’, 10th Edition, PEARSON

Johnson etc (2011), ‘EXPLORING STRATEGY’, Pearson

Lewin, K (1951), ‘Field Theory in Social Science’, Harper and Row

Lockhead, M (2008), ‘In My Opinion’, Management Today

Kotter, J.p. and Cohen, D.S. (2002), ‘The Heart of Change’, Harvard Business School Press

Newton, R. (2007), ‘Manageing Change; Step by Step’, Pearson Prentice Hall

Atkinson, P (2005), ‘Managing Resistance to Change’, Management Service

Drucker, P.E. (1999), ‘Management Challenges for the 21st Century’, Butterworth Heinemann

Marty Linsky (2011), ‘TED : Adaptive Leadership-Leading Change’ [Online] Available from


14 thoughts on “Topic 4: Leadership & Change

  1. Absolutely. Leadership is for the change in behaviors of people, and consequently in the organization. Chnage- Behavior -leadership are all one package.


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