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For the organisation or against it? How
change agents within organisations make
sense of their role and develop the skills
they need to manage change
PG Webinar Series
Tuesday 12th March 2024
Dr Danielle Tucker
Slide
Today’s session
Today’s Session
1. What is organisational change and why do we do
it?
2. What are the experiences of change leaders who
enact change?
3. A change agency approach to change
4. Resolving identity ambiguity
Slide
Organisational change occurs when business strategies or
major sections of the business are altered
Common terminology:
• Transformation
• Transition
• Reorganisation
• Restructuring
• Strategic change
Organisational level
What is Organisational Change?
Slide
What examples of organisational change have
you encountered?
Exercise
Answer in the chat
Slide
Internal Drivers External drivers
• Improving performance • Compliance
• New technology • Technology
• Globalisation
• Changing attitudes of
employees
• Changing attitudes of
customers
• Changes in business
processes
• Mergers and acquisitions
• Legislation
(Mullins, 2010)
Why do organisations change?
Slide
A daunting task?
A thought experiment…
 Imagine you work for an NHS Hospital Trust. Your organization
is building a new hospital, it will have state of the art equipment
and facilities but the way care is provided will be fundamentally
different. All your colleagues are nervous about the changes –
how will they care for patients and find their way in this new
building? There is so much to learn and so much at stake!
 You are a great people-person and your employer asks you to
become a ‘change champion’ – your job is to convince
colleagues to embrace the changes and help them through the
process. They are looking to you for support.
 How do you feel?
6
Answer in the chat
Slide
Experience of change leaders in health and
social care
Slide
 We studied the experiences of change agents – defined as any
employees who are tasked with leading the implementation of
organisational change.
 Many different types of change agents exist in organisations,
many supporting change in conjunction with other full time
roles.
 We studied individuals where leading change was a formalised
part of their role
- Posts were short term secondment (part time or full time) to work on a particular project or an
acknowledged part of a permanent role.
- Our subjects came from a variety of roles and backgrounds (clinical or administrative).
- For most it was their first experience of leadership.
Change Agents Leading Change
Examples of role titles:
• Divisional Project Manager
• Programme Manager
• Project Officer
• Director of Integrated
Solutions
• Project Analyst
• Change Co-Ordinator
• Subject Matter Expert
• Operational lead
• Project Manager
Slide
Lived Experience of Change Leadership
Experiences of Change Leaders
• High level of task complexity, with lots of unanticipated work
• Wide variety of (unrealistic) role expectations from within the
organisation
• Poorly defined roles and/or lack of job description. Often a new role with
no handover or precedent.
• Leadership without defined reporting structures or lines of accountability
• Burden of work intensification as change evolves or escalates during
implementation
• A context where priorities and resources for change were ever-
changing.
• Organisational misconception and oversimplification of the use of
change agents
9
Slide
Implications of poor change leadership support
Implications
For Organisations
• Change project is more likely to fail or
not realise its potential
• Change leader enacts change which is
not aligned with organisational strategy
or values
• Lost opportunity for change and
innovation skills to be cultivated
internally – upskilling the workforce to
support future change and innovation
• Loss of trained and talented individuals
from the organisation
For Change Leaders
• Stress, poor motivation
• Decreased sense of worth
• Disconnection from work
• Loss of relationships
• Feeling undervalued
• Career paralysis
Slide
A Change Agency Approach
Slide
A Change Agency Approach
A change agency approach places an emphasis on
understanding the experience of change agents and
identifying what training and other requirements are
needed for the role to be effective
 Change Agent/ Change Maker – someone who becomes
the architect and builder of change in organizations
 To make change is to construct, create or concoct
something new from the resources available.
My new book provides an education syllabus based
on a change agency approach
12
Slide
A Change Agency Approach
More strategic development of change management roles in organization
Training and support for change managers focused on personal reflection
and coping strategies
Peer support and/or coaching to support change managers throughout
their journey
Personal effectiveness and career development support for change
managers
Slide
Individual outcomes
Organisational outcomes
Change manager wellbeing
- Less stress and burnout
Organisational capability for
future change
Better
understanding of
change manager
role (by senior
leaders)
Less change agent
role ambiguity
Change managers
proactively engage
with their role (job
crafting)
Better able to recruit
the right people to be
change managers
Change manager feels they have
more alignment between career
goals and current role
A Change
Agency
Approach to
Change
Provide more effective training
for change managers that is
more specific to their needs
More effective group leadership
of change managers – providing
appropriate level of ongoing
support
Change manager develops
unique skills, expertise that
can support future change
projects
Current change project runs
smoothly
Change manager develops
unique skills, expertise that
can support their
employability
Slide
Role ambiguity and identity challenges
Slide
Identity ambiguity
How identity ambiguity affects change managers
• Too much space to define their role – especially where the role is unclear, undecided, or unrealistic
• Confusion on how to situate oneself within the organisation (especially where change activities sit outside
normal reporting structures)
• Representing different stakeholders where this creates conflict. Discovering hidden and/or shifting
expectations of others. Managing political agendas.
• Need to compartmentalise or integrate different identities (who am I at work?)
• Influence of relationships brought from a previous role (relationships dismantled or disrupted)
• Struggle to understand their contribution (e.g. public speaking, strategy development) and the associated
questioning of self-efficacy
• Difficulty in articulating accomplishments or success criteria
• Much of the work that change managers do is hidden from other organisational actors who only see the
end product.
Slide
Job Crafting
We examined how change managers crafted
their job to manage the identity tensions that
they experienced
• Job crafting – a self-initiated process of work design to
create alignment between personal needs, goals, skills
and the characteristics of one’s job
• A proactive behavioural strategy, resulting from reflection,
to manage the demands and resources an individual has
at work (Bakker et al, 2012; Dabak and Mulla, 2022)
17
Slide
Job Crafting
Job crafting strategies for identity work
• We have identified six different job crafting tactics that change agents often use to self-define
their role, regain confidence and control over their work, establish boundaries and establish
realistic performance expectations for themselves and the change project.
• These tactics can be consolidated into three strategies used to stabilise change leader’s
identity and role conflict in a way that is agile, self-affirming and compassionate.
Strategy (i): Seeking alternative ways
of thinking and behaving
• Tactic 1. Distinguishing self from the
organisation
• Tactic 2. Striving for the greater
good
Strategy (ii): Seeking to align self with
job role
• Tactic 3. Expanding self to
accommodate role ambiguity
• Tactic 4. (Re-)establishing social
referents for identity (choosing
subjects for comparison with others)
Strategy (iii): Reframing self as
competent and consolidating self-
esteem
• Tactic 5. Integrating organisational
and own values, success criteria
and goals
• Tactic 6. Understanding new values
Slide
Recommendations for leadership development
programmes
Slide
Recommendations for leadership development
Recommendations for leadership development programmes
1. There is a need for increased focus on the personal and career
development of health and care employees promoted or seconded into
change leadership roles.
2. Most leadership training focuses on organisational development and
change management. However, change leaders would also benefit from
opportunities for reflection on their own role in a change process and their
own personal coping mechanisms.
20
Any
questions?
essex.ac.uk
If you enjoyed the subject matter of this
lecture and are considering postgraduate
study, you might like:
MSc Organisational Change Management
MSc Human Resource Management

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PG webinar series 2024_For the organisation or against it? How change agents within organisations make sense of their role and develop the skills they need to manage change.pptx

  • 1. For the organisation or against it? How change agents within organisations make sense of their role and develop the skills they need to manage change PG Webinar Series Tuesday 12th March 2024 Dr Danielle Tucker
  • 2. Slide Today’s session Today’s Session 1. What is organisational change and why do we do it? 2. What are the experiences of change leaders who enact change? 3. A change agency approach to change 4. Resolving identity ambiguity
  • 3. Slide Organisational change occurs when business strategies or major sections of the business are altered Common terminology: • Transformation • Transition • Reorganisation • Restructuring • Strategic change Organisational level What is Organisational Change?
  • 4. Slide What examples of organisational change have you encountered? Exercise Answer in the chat
  • 5. Slide Internal Drivers External drivers • Improving performance • Compliance • New technology • Technology • Globalisation • Changing attitudes of employees • Changing attitudes of customers • Changes in business processes • Mergers and acquisitions • Legislation (Mullins, 2010) Why do organisations change?
  • 6. Slide A daunting task? A thought experiment…  Imagine you work for an NHS Hospital Trust. Your organization is building a new hospital, it will have state of the art equipment and facilities but the way care is provided will be fundamentally different. All your colleagues are nervous about the changes – how will they care for patients and find their way in this new building? There is so much to learn and so much at stake!  You are a great people-person and your employer asks you to become a ‘change champion’ – your job is to convince colleagues to embrace the changes and help them through the process. They are looking to you for support.  How do you feel? 6 Answer in the chat
  • 7. Slide Experience of change leaders in health and social care
  • 8. Slide  We studied the experiences of change agents – defined as any employees who are tasked with leading the implementation of organisational change.  Many different types of change agents exist in organisations, many supporting change in conjunction with other full time roles.  We studied individuals where leading change was a formalised part of their role - Posts were short term secondment (part time or full time) to work on a particular project or an acknowledged part of a permanent role. - Our subjects came from a variety of roles and backgrounds (clinical or administrative). - For most it was their first experience of leadership. Change Agents Leading Change Examples of role titles: • Divisional Project Manager • Programme Manager • Project Officer • Director of Integrated Solutions • Project Analyst • Change Co-Ordinator • Subject Matter Expert • Operational lead • Project Manager
  • 9. Slide Lived Experience of Change Leadership Experiences of Change Leaders • High level of task complexity, with lots of unanticipated work • Wide variety of (unrealistic) role expectations from within the organisation • Poorly defined roles and/or lack of job description. Often a new role with no handover or precedent. • Leadership without defined reporting structures or lines of accountability • Burden of work intensification as change evolves or escalates during implementation • A context where priorities and resources for change were ever- changing. • Organisational misconception and oversimplification of the use of change agents 9
  • 10. Slide Implications of poor change leadership support Implications For Organisations • Change project is more likely to fail or not realise its potential • Change leader enacts change which is not aligned with organisational strategy or values • Lost opportunity for change and innovation skills to be cultivated internally – upskilling the workforce to support future change and innovation • Loss of trained and talented individuals from the organisation For Change Leaders • Stress, poor motivation • Decreased sense of worth • Disconnection from work • Loss of relationships • Feeling undervalued • Career paralysis
  • 12. Slide A Change Agency Approach A change agency approach places an emphasis on understanding the experience of change agents and identifying what training and other requirements are needed for the role to be effective  Change Agent/ Change Maker – someone who becomes the architect and builder of change in organizations  To make change is to construct, create or concoct something new from the resources available. My new book provides an education syllabus based on a change agency approach 12
  • 13. Slide A Change Agency Approach More strategic development of change management roles in organization Training and support for change managers focused on personal reflection and coping strategies Peer support and/or coaching to support change managers throughout their journey Personal effectiveness and career development support for change managers
  • 14. Slide Individual outcomes Organisational outcomes Change manager wellbeing - Less stress and burnout Organisational capability for future change Better understanding of change manager role (by senior leaders) Less change agent role ambiguity Change managers proactively engage with their role (job crafting) Better able to recruit the right people to be change managers Change manager feels they have more alignment between career goals and current role A Change Agency Approach to Change Provide more effective training for change managers that is more specific to their needs More effective group leadership of change managers – providing appropriate level of ongoing support Change manager develops unique skills, expertise that can support future change projects Current change project runs smoothly Change manager develops unique skills, expertise that can support their employability
  • 15. Slide Role ambiguity and identity challenges
  • 16. Slide Identity ambiguity How identity ambiguity affects change managers • Too much space to define their role – especially where the role is unclear, undecided, or unrealistic • Confusion on how to situate oneself within the organisation (especially where change activities sit outside normal reporting structures) • Representing different stakeholders where this creates conflict. Discovering hidden and/or shifting expectations of others. Managing political agendas. • Need to compartmentalise or integrate different identities (who am I at work?) • Influence of relationships brought from a previous role (relationships dismantled or disrupted) • Struggle to understand their contribution (e.g. public speaking, strategy development) and the associated questioning of self-efficacy • Difficulty in articulating accomplishments or success criteria • Much of the work that change managers do is hidden from other organisational actors who only see the end product.
  • 17. Slide Job Crafting We examined how change managers crafted their job to manage the identity tensions that they experienced • Job crafting – a self-initiated process of work design to create alignment between personal needs, goals, skills and the characteristics of one’s job • A proactive behavioural strategy, resulting from reflection, to manage the demands and resources an individual has at work (Bakker et al, 2012; Dabak and Mulla, 2022) 17
  • 18. Slide Job Crafting Job crafting strategies for identity work • We have identified six different job crafting tactics that change agents often use to self-define their role, regain confidence and control over their work, establish boundaries and establish realistic performance expectations for themselves and the change project. • These tactics can be consolidated into three strategies used to stabilise change leader’s identity and role conflict in a way that is agile, self-affirming and compassionate. Strategy (i): Seeking alternative ways of thinking and behaving • Tactic 1. Distinguishing self from the organisation • Tactic 2. Striving for the greater good Strategy (ii): Seeking to align self with job role • Tactic 3. Expanding self to accommodate role ambiguity • Tactic 4. (Re-)establishing social referents for identity (choosing subjects for comparison with others) Strategy (iii): Reframing self as competent and consolidating self- esteem • Tactic 5. Integrating organisational and own values, success criteria and goals • Tactic 6. Understanding new values
  • 19. Slide Recommendations for leadership development programmes
  • 20. Slide Recommendations for leadership development Recommendations for leadership development programmes 1. There is a need for increased focus on the personal and career development of health and care employees promoted or seconded into change leadership roles. 2. Most leadership training focuses on organisational development and change management. However, change leaders would also benefit from opportunities for reflection on their own role in a change process and their own personal coping mechanisms. 20
  • 21. Any questions? essex.ac.uk If you enjoyed the subject matter of this lecture and are considering postgraduate study, you might like: MSc Organisational Change Management MSc Human Resource Management