John P. Cotter has developed an 8-step methodology aimed at helping leaders to gradually and effectively implement their change management policy in the company. It is assumed that the postulates proposed by the author can be easily incorporated into all organizational practices. Appelbaum, Habashy, Malo, and Shafiq analyzed this model, as well as the evidence in regards to its effectiveness, and presented the results in their review article. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the ideas discussed in this article.
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Ideas and Justifications
The authors argue that the proposed model has a linear character, and the main goal (organizational change) can be achieved when all the actions are performed in the correct sequence. Interestingly, the authors emphasize the inevitability of errors when implementing this approach and the impossibility of using this methodology when introducing changes at the divisional level. This idea is important since it is not possible to apply Kotter’s recommendations to change management affecting one or several units. In this case, the resistance to change is frequently associated with corporate culture and values.
Another fundamental idea expressed by the research group is related to the fact that Kotter’s strategy does not take into account the emotional component and human experiences. The methodology implies creating the atmosphere of urgency and constantly declaring that every employee should be involved in the change process. Kotter’s theory suggests that after every victory, leadership needs to mobilize employees with an even greater issue to overcome, which means that this technique has a forceful character. Nevertheless, it is difficult to maintain constant enthusiasm among the staff without encouraging and rewarding them for intermediate victories.
The next particularly interesting idea is related to the lack of evidence to validate the efficiency of Kotter’s methodology. According to the article, the author of the model did not provide any references to support his statements, and there was limited evidence to prove that the claims made were indeed trustworthy. It is curious that the main source of evidence is Kotter’s book The Heart of Change, which means that the author has confirmed his own statements. This controversial aspect brings the discussion to a new level and allows questioning the credibility of the source since any expert advice should always rely on evidence.
It is significant that the research team has stressed the usefulness of Kotter’s approach to change management despite the limitations found. They justified why the model could not be applied to small organizations and was unsuitable for certain contexts. The team proved that the methodology was not explained explicitly and was too general, which meant that it was not applicable to all scenarios. Nevertheless, the research group suggested that the model could serve as an excellent guide when planning a project and managing it. The methodology shows errors to avoid and offers possible solutions to different problems. Therefore, each company can adopt Kotter’s model and employ its provisions depending on the organization’s individual needs.
It can be concluded that the research article provides readers with various insightful ideas. On the one hand, it criticizes Kotter’s approach for rigidity and generalization as well as for the lack of supporting evidence. On the other hand, the research team provides advice on how to employ Kotter’s strategy so that it addresses the particular needs of each company and serves as one of the resources to achieve successful change management.