Change: Applying Kotter's 8 Steps to a Real Organization Research Paper

Pages: 17 (5026 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management Theory  ·  Written: March 30, 2019

The result is that there are few people at the senior levels with any reason to resist the change efforts, This makes the entire change effort flow much more easily. It certainly puts pressure on the senior leadership teams, because there is a lot more communication and travel involved, along with the expectation of continuing with their ongoing duties, but ultimately they probably have a financial stake in the success of the vision. An IPO can be quite the carrot at leadership levels – and at other levels it also matters but those individuals might not be being asked to do the heavy lifting of the change effort.

All told, I feel that even if step 1 is a bit weak for our transformation effort, step 2 is being executed very well, and the engagement level of the different leadership teams appears to be very high. As professionals who can easily move elsewhere, it does seem that anybody who isn’t on board would have exited within six months of the acquisition if not sooner, so all told step 2 is being done well, and that bodes well for the transformation effort as a whole.

Step #3 – Creating a Vision

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Kotter places vision as the third step, though arguably it could come earlier in a given organization. In our situation, it certainly did, because the parent company had its vision set in place long before we were acquired. Our acquisition, and the others, were all the result of the vision that the parent company has. The role that vision plays is as something definable around which all stakeholders can rally. A vision goes beyond leadership, but even beyond the employees. Suppliers, customers and business partners all can buy into the vision, and in fact it is often valuable for them to do so – people like to work with winners. The vision is important in Kotter’s model because even the most committed leaders might have infrequent, minimal or occasional communication with their employees. The vision, therefore, can serve as an anchor even when leadership is not around to reinforce the messaging.

Research Paper on Change: Applying Kotter's 8 Steps to a Real Organization Assignment

What is good about our present transformation effort is that the vision was actually established several years ago now, and has been fully baked into the parent organization’s culture. This is different from the sort of change effort Kotter imagined, where a company defines new vision for itself and has to change the perception of the company’s vision among all stakeholders. For us, it is really only the acquired companies that have to be introduced to the vision and enculturated into it. Everybody else is already there. So in terms of creating a vision, that is really not a big issue in the sense that we have a strong vision for what we are trying to accomplish.

Further to this, each of the acquired companies fits in with that vision. This is not a situation where the parent company looks for value acquisitions that are struggling – they specifically were willing to pay a high premium to acquire growing, profitable businesses. To do that, the parent company had to be certain that the acquisition target fit within its vision. Thus, there is a clear sense among the senior leadership team of how each subsidiary fits into the broader vision.

Bolman and Deal (2008) elaborate further on what constitutes a vision in the Kotter model – it includes an implementation plan, mapping political terrain, developing an agenda and a hopeful vision for the future. There is little doubt that a hopeful vision exists, and the vision that has been communicated includes an agenda in terms of time frames, in that the organization wants to continue to grow via acquisition, and it wants to do have the current subsidiaries integrated successfully in time to take the company public in a year or two. The political terrain is something that is a work in progress, just because there are really only a handful of senior leaders who are responsible for the integration of the new business units. When I mentioned earlier that leadership teams in the acquired companies need to be on board with the vision or will be exited, part of that is the corporate leadership team meeting with each, and being able to quickly ascertain if they are a fit or not with this new vision. Any failures in that regard might mean that a good person is exited, or a potential resistor or toxic person maintains their role, and ends up undermining the change process. I am not necessarily in a position to judge the effectiveness of senior leadership at this particular part of the vision step.

All told, there is a clarity of vision that is driving this change process. When a company is acquired, ostensibly to contribute technology to this product-driven vision, there is a vetting process that must be undertaken for the acquired company’s leadership to ensure that they will buy into the new vision under which they are being asked to operate, and to ensure that the remaining leaders in the business units are able to perform the next step in Kotter’s model, which is to communicate the vision throughout their organizations.

Step #4 – Communicating the Vision

One of the more interesting aspects of Kotter’s model is that halfway through the model, nothing on the implementation side has been done. The fourth stage is to communicate the vision to the stakeholders, especially the internal ones. Bolman and Deal (2008) explain this step as creating the structure to support the change process, holding meetings to communicate the direction and get feedback, and then to build alliances and defuse opposition. Leadership visibility, Kotter notes, is critical at this stage, because of step 2 – leadership buy-in is not just critical at that level,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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