Kenneth Benne, Robert Chin and Change Management Strategy

“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have—and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”

— James Belasco and Ralph Stayer, Authors of Flight of Buffalos

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Organisational Development Specialists Kenneth Benne and Robert Chin came up with four strategies to bring about change in organisation. Which strategy to use depends on organisational culture, employees, level of urgency etc. One thing you cannot ignore is resistance to change; a section of employees will always resist change.

'I thought people were quite receptive to the change seminar.'

Four strategies recommended by Benne and Chin are…

Empirical-Rational Strategy – Here assumption is employee are rational i.e. they always keep their self-interest in mind, and will support change once they understand how change will benefit them. Change is based on the how the information related to change is communicated to them and what incentives are offered.

change communication

Normative-Reeducative Strategy – Here assumption is employees are social beings and will adhere to cultural norms and values. Anyone going against norms and values may face boycott. Change is based on redefining and reinterpreting existing norms and values, and developing commitments to new ones.

'Implementing these changes won't be easy. We're pretty set in doing things the wrong way.'

Power-Coercive Strategy – Here assumption is employees are basically compliant and will generally do what they are told or can be made to do. Change is based on the exercise of authority and the imposition of sanctions.

Environmental-Adaptive Strategy – Here assumption is employees will oppose any loss and disruption due to change, but they are also adaptive i.e. will adapt to new situation since they don’t have any other option. Change is based on building a new organization and gradually transferring people from the old one to the new one.

“Unless you are prepared to give up something valuable you will never be able to truly change at all, because you’ll be forever in the control of things you can’t give up.”

— Andy Law

change mg

Each strategy has its own advantages and disadvantages ex. Power Coercive Strategy will give quick results and is useful when level of urgency is high, but changes don’t last for long, on the other hand Normative Reeducative Strategy takes long time, since changing culture of organisation and making people accept new culture takes lot of time and efforts, but once implemented the change is permanent. In change management Normative Reeducative Strategy is used by most of organisational development specialists.

Secondly, selection of strategy may also depend on culture of nation ex. In Asian countries Power Coercive strategy works well while in case of North America and Western Europe Empirical Rational/Normative Reeducative works well.

china canada

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