Leadership & Organisational Change – A Theoretical Review Essay Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Development, Leadership, Organization, Organisation, Firm, Company, Management, Emergent

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2020/12/06


The purpose of this paper is to look at the elements of change in the context of organisational development. This is to be done through the critical evaluation of the approaches to change in organisations and the important theories that accompany these changes. The paper will examine three main approaches to change and its related elements of change management including planned change, organisational development and emergent change. Their absolute and relativist components will be examined and how they work together to promote effective organisational behaviour will also be examined.

Orientation of Change and Organisational Behavior

An organisation can be seen as an entity that is put together to mobilise resources from the external environment, process it and make it available to people outside it. The traditional view of Economics indicates that an organisation mobilises factors of production including land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship in order to produce goods and services for a given market. This combination leads to the formation of relatively stable arrangements and processes that are used to provide effective and efficient processing of resources for consumption. These stable processes are subject to elements of the external environment and this prompts change within the organisation.
Change is intertwined with entrepreneurship or management because they have to authorise the elements of the external environment by making changes to the internal environment. Therefore, change development is seen by some writers as the conscious and/or unconscious modifications that occurs in an organisation.
Leadership and change are two vital and inevitable elements of organizations. Leadership is an essential part of production because in order to put factors of production together, there must be an organiser or entrepreneur who will take rational decisions for the organisation and its stakeholders. A leader moves the organisation and its people from one point to another. Leadership is about the rational combination of the resources of the firm with an emphasis on the people of the firm. Leadership also has to do with the management and steering of an organisation through times of change because society is dynamic and the important elements of organisational decision making also changes from time to time.

The nature of change implies that there are three facades or approaches to change and its management:

Planned Change
Organisational Development (OD) &
Emergent Change
Planned change is a conscious transformation of a firm from one point to another. The nature of planned change is that the organisational features that are to be changed are known in advance and the outcomes are also defined by the leadership of the organisation. This means the leaders implement these change and they supervise the entire process in a relatively stable context.
Organisational Development (OD), is a form of strategic change that is planned and carried out throughout the entire organisation. OD is managed from the top of the organisation and it includes the directors and managers of the organisation in its implementation and monitoring. It affects the organisation’s processes and there is the need for it to be monitored as it changes the entire operation of the organisation. Therefore, the top leadership of the firm will have to conduct planned interventions throughout the entire organisation in order to manage OD.
Planned change and OD are strongly interrelated and the most popular model used for planned change in the organisational development setting is the Lewin model. The model has three elements:


Unfreezing refers to a situation where the previous structures of the organisation are discouraged and former methods are systematically dismantled. This is followed by a period of introducing new ideas and new systems in the organisation. Finally, the positive elements of the new system are consolidated whilst the negative aspects are eliminated from the ranks of the organisation. This is known as refreezing and the creation of a new organisational system and structure.
Emergent change on the other hand, is based on the assumption that change is a continuous dynamic and contested process. Therefore, a rational approach and method will have to be used in all situations in order to ensure that change is assessed and evaluated in order to be accepted and instituted in an organisational setting. Emergent change is based on a proactive method to monitor and identify change in order to institute it. Methods like the Action Research Model and Positive Model are used in emergent change. All these include identifying matters and issues, deducing the best solutions and coming up with the best practices that can be used to give the best results in the organisation in the relevant context.

Comparative Analysis of the Models of Change in OD

Change is an inevitable part of the business process. It involves the dynamics of the society and how this affects the way and manner in which the markets operate and the way stakeholders relate to a given firm.
Inherently, change is not meant to be a bad thing. It is meant to present new opportunities and risks in most situations. This is because change modifies the main assumptions on which things are done and it requires adjustments in various ways and manner. Therefore, how a firm manages its change will either make it a good thing or a bad thing. That is why the different approaches to change in the organisational setting are important and vital to organisational sciences.
Planned change is a definite reaction to a set of known variables that have changed. This is done through the decision and choices of the management of an organisation on how to make these adjustments. Therefore, it is an inherent part of their duty of management and business leaders to play a proactive role to identify obvious matters based on their skills and professional judgements. They should therefore come up with new ideas and new methods that will put the firm in the best pointers and the most important aspects of achieving results. Therefore, planned change is the main duty and the fundamental obligation of leadership in organisations. Hence, it comes at no extra costs as the managers do what they are paid to do. However, it could lead to rigidity that could cause the firm to lose a lot of opportunities.
The main variable that makes OD different and significant is that it is also an inherent part of organisations. This is because from time to time, firms make major decisions and choices that affect the long-term and organisationwide features of the firm. Practical examples of this include the decision to close down a fundamental production line or the need to implement a new government directive or instruction. Such activities are far-reaching and they affect the entire organisation. It is therefore imperative for organisation development principles of unfreezing and refreezing to be implemented. This is different from planned change in scope and in features. Therefore, the management will have to implement major changes and use this approach to deal with matters and situations. It is hence, a specialised approach for dealing with issues and matters relating to large-scale changes. However, it requires a lot of care and tact in order to gain the best results. If OD is done wrongly, it could have far-reaching consequences on the firm.
Finally, emergent change is also of its own unique significance. This is because changes from the external environment occur regularly. Therefore, there is the need for the management of organisations to have a system of observing these changes and taking leadership decisions and making choices that would position the firm in the best position to take advantage of changes that are being enforced and integrated by the external environment.
It must therefore be reiterated that the different approaches to detecting and implementing change have their own merit and justifications. It is therefore important for the management of an organisation to make choices on the basis of the relevant factors and circumstances.

Leadership Styles and the Implementation of Change

The implementation of change comes with some technical requirements and expectations. The first phase of the implementation of change is to draw a plan on blueprint on which ends ought to be achieved, how they will be achieved and how they are going to be measured. This is particularly essential and vital for planned change and for OD. However, in most cases, this first phase is adapted for emergent change through the creation of a system to proactively monitor relevant variables to identify the things that ought to be changed in order to make such changes in a timely manner. In other cases, the objectives and vision of the organisation forms the blueprint for change in cases of emergent change.
The next stage for the implementation of a change in an organisation is to assign tasks and obligations and transpose the targets of the plans to these responsible individuals. Therefore, obligations will be given to specific individuals in a planned or OD situation whilst in the case of emergent change, there will be a contingent approach to identify who has to take up which roles to resolve the situation.
Action follows the planning and task assignment phases. This includes the carrying out of various processes and activities. This is known in the Lewin model as unfreezing and movement. There will be changes and the responsible persons will be in charge of leading and moving people from the current position to the post-change period and this includes doing what is required to achieve the shift.
Then, there will be the refreezing phase which involves monitoring and the careful consolidation of positive gains as well as the rejection of problematic situations and matters. This will cause a new system to be instituted and the close monitoring will lay the impetus for the establishment of best practices.
There are two main categories of leaders. This categorisation intersects with change management and this includes transformational and transactional leadership. Transactional leadership is about a system whereby a leader sees people as a means to an end, not really the fundamental end itself. Hence, transactional leadership is about viewing people as a means through which a firm can achieve its results. Therefore, transactional leadership is about paying a worker off for what is completed. This is commonly used in planned change and in OD.
Transformational leadership in the other hand, is distinguished by the fact that a firm’s leaders treat their workers’ concerns and other needs as part of the firm’s goal. This is because, the firm is more likely o create structures in its activities, internalize changes in the external environment and refreeze its systems and structures where appropriate. Transformational leadership is used in used more in emergent change situations and could be used in OD as well.
It has been identified by many writers that transformation leadership is a better form of leadership than transactional leadership. It is also argued that emergent change is better than planned change. However, in reality though, the different approaches to leadership and managing change have its relative importance and strength in the organisational setting. Transactional leadership is a more important and a more appropriate form of leadership when there are serious financial difficulties and strict measures and targets ought to be achieved. In cases where there is a lot of chaos and instability in the external environment, the management will have to set up some rigid measures and implement them as and when necessary. Therefore, the extreme elements and forms of change management and leadership ought to be reviewed carefully and choices must be made to fit the situation best. The emotional intelligence of business leaders must be employed where necessary to make the best judgements.


The study identifies that leadership is important and vital in combining factors of production in organisations. In this process, the firm uses the resources available to them and provides the best of services and products to the markets. Since society is dynamic, change occurs from time to time. Hence, there are three main approaches to change management. The first is planned change which is about the implementation of decisions and choices made by the leadership of the firm. The second, which is opposite to planned change is emergent change. This is a form of change that a firm implement as a means of reacting to the elements and aspects of the business environment a firm operates within. A third element of change in the organisational setting is the organisational development. This differs from the other two in terms of scale and scope because it is larger and covers the whole organisation. Organizational development is done through the unfreezing of the relevant part of the organization, moving the organisation and refreezing the organization.


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