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S.no Title of the Article Author Page Nos

Editorial Comments 4
The Concept and Process of Organizational Change
1 Organizational Change Indira J Parikh 5
2 Organizational Change Management: Why? What ? How? Simon Wallace 10
3 Leading Wholesome Change in Integral Way Ashish Pandey 18
4 Change Management: Some Practical Considerations Bhawana Mishra 24
5 Fundamental Change in Education Quality Dileep Ranjeker 28
6 How HR Can Ignite ‘Hot Spots’ Yogi Sriram 33
Change Leaders and Change Agents
7 Bringing Change to the Change Agents: Mustafa Moochhala
A Look at Indian NGOs and Tejinder Singh Bhogal 37
8 Defining Change Agents Sandeep K Krishnan 43
9 In Praise of India’s Most Seasoned Change Managers Ganesh Chella 48
10 The Enduring Skills of Change Leaders Rosabeth Moss Kanter 53
11 Core Tasks for Successful Change Management S.Ramnarayan 60
Critical Factors in Organizational Change
12 Driving Organizational Change Leena Nair & Ankush Punj 65
13 Measuring Organizational Culture and Change Rajeev Kumar 70
14 Management of Change: Critical Factors Tarun Sheth 74
15 Organizational Change: The Formidable XI Rajeev Dubey 78
16 Communication Effectiveness, Justice Perceptions and
Employee Commitment during Organizational Change Ranjeet Nambudiri 81
17 Managing People in Mergers and Acquisitions D Prasanth Nair 86
18 HR: An Evolving Function D Harish 92
19 One Reason for Failure of Change Interventions PVR Murthy 95
- Abilene Paradox
20 IPO: A Powerful Intervention in Organizational Change Ravi Virmani 97
Case Studies of Organizational Change
21 From a Sapling to a Forest Udai Pareek and TV Rao 100
22 Challenge of Managing Organizational
Preparedness - ICICI K Ram Kumar 107
23 Bringing about Organizational Change - Philips India Vineet Kaul 112
24 Organizational Change - Maruti Suzuki S Y Siddique 117
25 It Will Be Done, I Have to Do It: A Story of PCBL Ashok Goyal 122
Book Reviews
Management of Organisational Change: Leveraging
Transformation By K.Harigopal B.V.L.Narayana 128
Competing Through Knowledge: Building a Learning
Organization Madhukar Shukla Ramendra Singh
It is an exciting experience to witness the changes that are happening around
us. Our country is experiencing new challenges and with it comes enormous
changes that are linked to growth. We have the opportunity to witness the
beauty of fast organizational changes. Various themes are related to these
changes which include growth, turnaround, mergers and acquisitions,
global market exposures, labour market turbulence, and institution building.
Arvind Agrawal It was an enriching experience for us to anchor this issue of NHRD journal
(Guest Editor) that addresses the theme of organizational change. It is the biggest
An IIT Kharagpur
and IIM (A) management challenge to enact and establish a change process. This issue
alumnus. Held brings out insights that are well thought out by professionals who are experts
Senior Positions in the field of human resource management and organizational
with Escorts, Xerox
development. We thank this fraternity who obliged to our request for writing
and is currently
President – on their experience and knowledge despite their busy schedule.
Development and We structured the articles in four major sections. The first section looks at
Group HR in RPG the concepts and processes of organizational change. Here the authors
Group. drive upon the factors and processes from both theoretical and practical
angles. A carefully planned change would involve efforts from change
agents drawing up understanding the context of change, gathering support
from various corners, linking up to the need of the time, using the best of
methods and techniques, and ensuring buy-in and commitment in the end.
Second section explores the role, and characteristics of change agents. In
the third section we draw upon the factors that contribute to successful
change and its management. In the last section, we have interesting case
studies that give real life experience sharing of organizational change. As
you traverse through this edition we hope you will be able to experience a
holistic view of organizational change drawing from conceptual
understanding of factors and processes to real life sharing of experience.
Change can be defined and understood from a very technical point of view
but bringing out one is a story of courage, emotions, understanding, and
sheer perseverance. As Abraham Lincoln puts it, "I shall do less whenever I
shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause and I shall do more whenever
I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when
shown to be errors and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to
be true views." We should be open to the change and should have the ability
to adopt and adapt to it. Those organizations and individuals who could
make a successful change make a mark in their life and of many others.

Arvind Agrawal (Guest Editor) PVR Murthy

Aquil Busrai PallabBandyopadyaya

4 November 2007 NHRD Journal


This paper is based on the author's experience of working as a consultant in diverse
organizations. This paper reflects the comprehensive diagnostic studies of numerous
organizations. The global business scenario, the country's business and economic environment
and the organizational internal environment of today is highly nebulous. Significant changes in
technology, economic models of growth, emergence of new sectors of business and a new
collectivity of young entrants to the working stream have dramatically changed the national and
global scenario. Given these changes, the directions and choices of the organization, its unique
configuration and unfolding may contribute to a healthy transformation of the organization or
contribute to the scatter, disarray and disintegration of the organization.

The External Environment togetherness. Memories of what

The external environment of the once haunt the employees and
organization with its globalization puzzlement of what now is, creates
and increasingly border less but drift in the direction of the
complex and competitive world are organizations. However there are
creating unsettling conditions for also some organizations,
the Indian organizations. The individuals and collectivities that
Prof. Indira J Parikh is impact of the external business thrive in these uncertain and
President of environment confronts the turbulent conditions. They respond
Foundation for Liberal
organization to go beyond the many to the pressure of here and now and
And Management
assumptions they have made of achieve, succeed and grow. In this
Education, Pune,
India. Prof. J Parikh business and governing the emerging work culture of today
was faculty member business. As such, organizations there is no time or space to pause,
at IIMA for over 30 reflect and watch the grass grow.
years and Dean from confront many opportunities as
2002 to 2005. She has well as challenges to manage both There is also no time and space to
also taught at the internal as well as external visualize beyond the horizon to
INSEAD, explore, experience and discover.
Fontainebleau (France) environment of the organizations.
and Texas A&M
There is largely a frenzy of over
The Internal Environment engagement and to keep making
University. She
received the Lifetime The internal environment of the choices under tremendous pressure.
Achievement Award organization gets impacted by the
for Best Teacher in Organization Growth
Management in the external environment and creates
World HRD Congress. turbulence within the organization. At the entrepreneurial or project
Years of work culture seeped in the phase of organizations there is a
ethos of slow and steady drive, fuelled by dreams, aspirations
incremental growth overnight is and ambitions, of one individual or
experienced as obsolete and a group of individuals. At the
ancient, relationships become consolidation phase of the
professional interfaces across roles, organization, often times there are
functions and levels and take away formalization, strategic choices for
the sense of belonging and shared businesses restructuring and

November 2007 NHRD Journal 5

redesigning of the organization. When this play with each other create its own dynamics.
starts to happen the existing employees feel In the designed structure of the organization
bereft of personal contact with the roles in the and its operationalization, some tasks and
higher authority and ownership. As there is an functions get centralised, acquire significance
increasing sense of urgency in the and visibility and are perceived as having more
organizations, collectives and individuals to favoured and strategic status with the top or
reach the mileposts and destinations of growth the senior management. While some other tasks
the human values to govern the organization and functions are marginalised and feel a "taken
are often marginalized. In such a process of for granted" status. How this dynamics is
dramatic change organizations require a pause translated into managerial behaviour
to explore and ask many a difficult question as determines the quality of energy available to the
to the nature of change, directionality of change organization through using the spaces to
and shaping of change. interlink and take functional and
Organization Identity organizational responsibility and decisions.
Simultaneously, the leader needs to foster
Many organizations at such a point of time like membership and belonging of the employees.
to ask themselves the questions as to what is The institutional a sense of culture may or may
their identity. Organizational identity consists not receive energy from an organization
of the history of growth, the evolution of structure depending upon the role played by
underlying philosophy, the individuals in the leadership and the internal dynamics of the
leadership roles, the values of governance, the organization. Similarly, the organization
existing and new employees and the overall structure gets operationalized through direction
work culture of the organization. Over time this from the leader or multiple pulls and pushes
work culture gets stabilized and then becomes from the various groups in the organization.
frozen. A comfort zone gets created where The non emergence and operationalization of a
organizations tend to hold on its created formal organization structure generates stress
meanings and work roles. It is at this point of and power and politics in the organization
time the organization's identity with its deeply leading to dissipation of energy across all levels
embedded meanings finds it difficult to respond of management and employees. In such a
to change by adding new dimensions and new situation the role of the leader is to initiate those
ways of working. Organizations get caught with processes which will mobilise the
the anxiety of losing the techniques of success organizational structural energy for the
and fail to find freedom to discover their internal organization and its employees. This change is
strengths to ever renew it. brought about through inclusive processes
Organization Structure where employees experience openness and
Structure designs and determines the accessibility and fair and just systems.
directionality, degree of autonomy of each task, Organization Culture
role and function, boundary and the inter- The organization culture evolves over a period
linkage space in the organization; so that an of time and is connected with the history of
order, clarity and a policy frame for results get growth of the organization and the interplay of
created. The structure also allocates various internal and external dynamics of
responsibilities, authority and accountability at interfaces across the organization. The roles, the
all levels of the organization. Individuals, membership and leaders and their inter-play
groups, organization structure and their inter-

6 November 2007 NHRD Journal

give subtle shape to the organization culture. • Appraise the strengths and limitations of
The change required is from lack of energy, the organization.
apathy and sources of de-motivation of the past • Differentiate the performers and non
and present to the future of the organization performers and identify star performers.
which is kaleidoscopic and requiring alertness
to ever shifting realities. • Assess the star performers and the mediocre.
Support the star performers and invest in
The culture of the organization is either task- those who are mediocre for their growth and
focused anchored in a work culture or subsequent contribution.
personality and people-focused, anchored in
the socio-cultural context of the country. If the • Realistic assessment of human potential so
organization needs to be changed and that creativity and innovativeness may
energized in the work culture, the tasks need to flourish.
anchor themselves in setting the standards of • Design organization structures of small sub
productivity and excellence. The functions need systems which may flourish and grow
to come alive with shared understanding and simultaneously in the larger context of the
clarity of goals, targets and objectives of the organization.
organization. The organization comes alive • Give emphasis on quality of life space of
through participation in policy and strategy and each employee so that he/she may live and
shared understanding of organization mission. work with dignity and respect of self, others
Similarly, the organization culture of tomorrow and the system.
needs to foster a work ethos anchored in vision,
values and philosophy of life space to generate • Provide space so that employees may
enthusiasm and energy for the organization and wholesomely integrate family and work
the institution of corporate social responsibility. systems where they find freedom to play
The energy of the organization is dynamic when multiple roles in multiple systems.
the integration of culture and the institution • An individual and an organization can own
takes place with the organization's concern for up its own uniqueness of existence and
the life space of employees and their well being. identity and give meanings to the process of
Encountering Critical Issues of Organization living and enlivening of the self, others and
the system.
The forces of tomorrow's external environment
are going to overwhelm Indian organizations. • When this internal energy of the
The energy of the cross currents and pulls and organization begins to flow at the
pushes of contradictory forces are going to individual, collective organizational and
attempt to push the frontiers of Indian institutional level then a momentous energy
organization never visualised before. However, will be released which can then be
the resilience of the Indian spirit can be fostered channelized to create a space to grow, a
through a critical but hard reality appraisal of rhythm of relatedness for goals and
the internal dynamics of the organization vested objectives and create wisdom for
in the human resources and potentials. The HR organizations to flourish as well as compete
role of organizations and the CEO s would have in a complex and competitive global
to squarely identify the critical issues of managers business environment.
and organizations and design processes to deal
with them. These processes are:

November 2007 NHRD Journal 7

Organizational Spaces for Tomorrow space to explore and review the philosophy,
The frenzied life space, the milling crowds, the values, work culture and relationships across
restlessness of the environment and the the organization. In any organization there are
aspirations and ambitions of people require always spaces for sharing secrets, creating
organizations to create multiple spaces where groups and cliques and public spaces for
an employee can go into that space for renewal gossips, where myths are generated about
and rejuvenation. people and the organization. Then there are
spaces of the organization which are formal
Spaces for solitude These are spaces for spaces created for dialogues. Both spaces put
reflection and spaces for silent expression of together create a unique quality as it fosters a
themselves. These spaces would then provide
co-holding of the organization and co creating
a rhythm of stability as well as preparedness
a work environment. In this space a small or a
for connectivity with the work and positive
large space is owned by every employee and
relatedness with the organization. These are
stakeholder of the organization. This ownership
essentially spaces for spiritual communion with
and co-holding creates a shared meaning, a
oneself so that an individual employee
shared significance of belonging and shared
experiences tranquility and peace. The
valuing of each other and the organization.
employee then can emerge with accepting the
complex realities of life and be able to deal with Spaces for the creation and brightening of a
day to day stresses and give shape to his life. working environment Any organization has
walls, corners and cubicles which are blank, often
Spaces for related interactions These are task
dreary and empty. An organization can transform
and functional related spaces. Today's
these for putting display of each individual's
organizations are meeting-based cultures.
personal, emotional memory. Most
Organizations are designed for sunrise
organizations do not have public display of
meetings, sunset meetings, standing meetings,
individual employees contribution of expression
cross functional meetings, intra and inter
of creativity. Almost no organization displays
departmental, functional and divisional
employee's arts and crafts which are the
meetings. However these meetings start out
employee's personal creation. Organization has
with good intentions but finally turn into non
immense wall spaces which can be adorned with
productive and non decisive conclusions. Most
employees, expression of arts, paintings, crafts
managers believe these meetings are waste of
or similar such creative expressions.
time. Organizations can create spaces which
Organization needs to create spaces wherein
are task related and facilitate a mindset to get
employee's larger meanings and life can be
work done and decisions taken. This
brought to the organization. Organizations can
contributes to action initiatives which are linked
have a painting day, art day, crafts day a
to responsibility and accountability. These are
linked to achievement, success and excellence collective collage, photographs put on display
which are then linked to affirmation, valuing on the walls of the plant or the organization and
and anchoring in the organizations. These ambience thus created is bright and cheerful.
spaces are also socially engaging wherein there Spaces for celebration Most organizations have
is an element of fun and celebration of success. a very serious and somber face to the world inside
Spaces for dialogues These spaces are designed and the world outside. The meaning given to
for dialogue across levels of organization about this serious face is professionalism. However,
the concerns of the organization. This is a retreat professionalism has good and desirable needs

8 November 2007 NHRD Journal

to be tempered by a sense of humor, a sense of joy In growing of an organization, each individual
and celebration. These spaces then release the brings his/her own story, each group bring their
cumulative negative energy and give birth to stories and each organization has its own story
positive energy which leads to celebration. This with individuals and collectivity enacting their
celebration and togetherness creates goodwill roles. Each will enact their roles, each will
and generosity with oneself in bringing connect or part and each will add to the
commitment and mobilization of oneself to give emerging new collage of growth and success.
more to the work culture. This work culture The role of HRM in this unfolding scenario of
facilitates co construction and creation of a work organizations is emerging as strategic.
dynamic work environment. However, the role of HRM is to emerge as
These are some of the landscape of change shaping organization identity, its myth and
which organizations need to design and shape. folklore which can be sung by the bards of the
The role of HRM in this new landscape of the organizations creating its landmarks and
organization employees and the environment leaving its footprints in the sands of industrial,
is to focus on the growth of the employee, growth technological and national unfolding in the
of collectivities of employees and growth of the context of a larger globalization of the universe.
organization. References
A word of caution. In the process of such a Parikh Indira J. 1997. A Diagnostic Study of
change the HRM needs to be sensitive that all Mahindra and Mahindra Tractor Division.
cannot make the transition. That needs to be Unpublished.
accepted with grace and dignity. There has to
be space for some to do work at their pace. Here • 1998. Paradigms of Organizational
the focus is on the present emergent identity of Leadership. Self Organized Criticality: The
the working employee in the organization. To Avalanche Effect. Working Paper, IIMA.
some the work space, the work meaning and • 1999. Challenges of Indian Organization in
work status is extremely significant and the Twenty First Century. Working Paper,
important. To some a slow steady pace is IIMA.
acceptable. To some young employees, they are
• 2001. Transforming of Organizations
in a hurry and want to run. The HRM needs to
through Enhancing Free Energy of
create and design a work environment which
Individuals, Collectivity and the
provides spaces to all and yet keeps the
Organization. Working Paper, IIMA.
momentum and vibrancy of the organization-
human interface scenario surfacing with • 2001. A Diagnostic Study of Bajaj Tempo
breathtaking results. Limited. Unpublished.
Acknowledgement from Editors
• Our thanks are to all the contributors of articles for sharing their thoughts and experiences.
• We appreciate the spontaneous gesture by Rosabeth Moss Kanter and Simon Wallace in permitting us to reprint their articles.
• It was a great pleasure and learning opportunity to work with Arvind Agrawal, guest editor for this issue in designing theissue,
identifying potential contributors, inviting them to share their thoughts and in finally editing the issue. Thank you Arvind.
• We are grateful to Dr. Udai Pareek for the guidance.
• We are also thankful to Nokia and BGEPIL for their support in bringing this issue.
• Our thanks are to Dr. Sandeep Krishnan for playing a critical role like a sub editor.
• Finally our profound thanks to Prof. SS Rao, former Editor of Vikalpa and a Prof. IIM Ahmedabad for his expert suggestions
and guidance.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 9


Almost all people are nervous about There are two related aspects of
change. Many will resist it -- organizational change that are
consciously or subconsciously. often confused. In organizational
Sometimes those fears are well Change Management we are
founded -- the change really will concerned with winning the hearts
have a negative impact for them. In and minds of the participants and
many cases, however, the target the target population to bring about
population for the change will come changed behaviour and culture.
Simon Wallace has 29
years experience of to realize that the change was for The key skills required are founded
project management and the better. in business psychology and require
solutions delivery. He "people" people.
has managed or advised
in the management of Contrast this to organizational
around 50 business Design where the roles, skills, job
solution and IT projects.
The largest programme descriptions and structure of the
had a budget of around workforce may be re-designed.
UK£500 Million. Typically that is a more analytical
In 21 years as a The pace of change is ever and directive activity, suited to
management consultant,
increasing - particularly with the tough-skinned HR professionals. It
Simon has achieved
senior status as Head of advent of the Internet and the rapid is not a topic for the ePMbook.
Management deployment of new technologies, organizational Design may be a
Consultancy for a UK new ways of doing business and
firm, a Director and specific objective of the project, for
Council Member of the new ways of conducting one's life. example where there is to be a
Management organizational Change reduction in the workforce, or it
Consultancies Management seeks to understand
Association, and a may just be a consequence of the
member of the global
the sentiments of the target changed business processes and
management team for a population and work with them to technology.
world-wide consulting promote efficient delivery of the
change and enthusiastic support organizational Change
Simon had global for its results. Management issues are often under-
responsibility for best- estimated or ignored entirely. In fact,
practice approaches to
people issues collectively account
business change, for the majority of project failures.
including methods,
techniques and tools.
This survey looked at disastrous
projects. One of the questions asked
for the prime cause of the failure.

10 November 2007 NHRD Journal

Although the result did not spell out "people" it is common to find that the human component
as the cause, it is interesting to note that many of the project is not recognised as a separate
of the causes were to do with the behaviour element of the work. The project management
and skills of the participants. Arguably all but team frequently have to do their best to ensure
the "technical issues" were related to the that a technological change is successfully
capabilities, attitudes and behaviour of people. implanted into the business. In the worst-case
scenario, the project leadership do not see this
What Caused The Project To Fail?
as part of their responsibility either and blame
Lack of
Inexperience in Communication the organization's line management when their
Scope and 20%
Complexity superb new technical solution is not fully
Failure to
successful when put to use.
objectives Organizational Change Management at
issues Project Start-up
Many organizational Change Management
Management issues need to be clear at the start of the project
32% Source: KPMG so that appropriate activities can be included
A different study examined whether package in the plans, and so that appropriate roles and
implementation projects' benefits had been responsibilities can be established. Here are
achieved. Where they had not been delivered, some of the key issues:
the question "why?" was asked. Top of the list • Is there a compelling "Case for Change" that
was "organizational resistance to change". all participants will buy in to?

Organization resistance to change

• Who are the owners and sponsors of this
Unstable requirements change? Will they actively promote the
Lack of business owner ship change and apply pressure as needed?
• What are the populations involved, eg the
Significant Cost Over-runs

Significant schedule Over-runs

Package did not meet expections overall leadership of the organization,

Technical problems project participants, sub-contractors, end-
Poor project management users, other departmental managers, other
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Source: KPMG
members of the workforce, suppliers,
Again, several other causes were related to customers etc? For each population (or
people, their skills and their behaviour. "Lack subset by role, function, etc) what will their
of business ownership" is a major attitude be? Will they resist the change?
responsibility of the organizational Change How can we encourage them to act in a way
Management work. Such things as "unstable which will support the project's objectives?
requirements", "not meeting expectations", and • What style of participation will work best?
"poor project management" would also be Should we involve a broad section of the
partly due to behaviours and skills. target population or keep everything secret
Organizational Change Management is a vital until the change is forced upon them?
aspect of almost any project. It should be seen • How can we communicate these messages
as a discrete and specialised work stream. Why to the target population?
then, you might ask, do we discuss it as part of
the Project Management work. Unfortunately,

November 2007 NHRD Journal 11

The Case for Change Make a Sponsorship Map - initially to show
• As part of the project definition, there should who is involved and what support they are
be a compelling "Case for Change" which offering. Use this to identify who else needs to
can convince all participants and, in due participate and what they need to do.
course, the target population. If everyone In major change programs many parts of the
agrees that the project has good and organization will be involved, for example:
necessary objectives, they should be far • The line business unit that houses the
more supportive of the changes. changed process,
This is not the same as the project's main • Other departments involved in the process
business benefit case. The business case is chain,
likely to be founded on business strategy and
financial results - often not a compelling • Senior management and general
argument for the individuals in the workforce. management of the organization who will
be critical judges of this initiative's success,
In a "Case for Change", it should be clear that
there are better ways of doing things - better for • The IT department who build and operate
the organization, better for the workforce, better the technology
for customers and (maybe) better for suppliers. • The finance department where the financial
Sponsorship implications will be seen,

The Project Sponsor is usually the person who • Customer-facing staff who will reflect the
saw a need for change and had the authority to changes when dealing with the clients.
make something happen. There may be several A significant project will require a cascade of
sponsors who collectively have this role. sponsorship, such that all affected parts of the
The precise ownership of the project is more a organization hear strong support from their
matter for the Project Definition work. What leadership. If the message is delivered from the
counts from an organizational Change top and reinforced by the immediate
Management perspective is not the actual management, staff are far more likely to believe
ownership and rationale for the project so in the case for change and to act in support of
much as the perceived sponsorship and the changes.
purpose. For example, the project might exist
because the Finance Director wants to cut costs,
but it could be a better message that the Chief
Executive wants to build a slick organization
that can beat the competition.
The original Project Sponsor will often have
the power and status to create and deliver the
project and may be able to deliver the change
messages to the areas of the organization
directly involved. In many cases, however, the
change is broader than the immediate influence
of the Project Sponsor. Other supporting
sponsors may be required to promote the project For critical business change programmes the
in other areas of the organization. message should come from the very top. Get

12 November 2007 NHRD Journal

the Project Sponsor to engage the Chief consciously. Understanding their position
Executive as the prime source of sponsorship requires more than listening to what they say.
messages. (You may find yourself writing the organizational Change Management
words for the Project Sponsor to give to the Chief specialists use an array of diagnostic tools to
Executive - but the key thing is that it is then uncover the true characteristics and attitudes
seen as the Chief Executive's personal message.) of the target populations.
Not everyone listens attentively to their Chief The most common response to impending
Executive, so it is important that these messages change is a negative response where, initially
are cascaded down to all parts of the at least, the target population sees the change
organization, with local management echoing as a bad or threatening thing. Psychologists
and supporting the party line. have researched these "bad news" responses
Case Study and found that there is a common emotional
response. This chart shows how the
A large, multi-divisional professional services individuals oscillate between inactivity and
firm was changing its time sheet system - high emotion. Assuming the final outcome can
affecting every member of the organization. represent a good thing from their perspective,
They recognised the need for acceptance and the goal is to leave them in favour of the change
compliance from everyone so they built an all- and highly motivated to make it work.
encompassing sponsorship cascade.
Here are some thoughts that might be expressed
When the team was finalised it was apparent by someone passing through the "bad news"
that the sponsorship team was considerably curve:
larger than the project team building the new
Resistance to Change
By definition, people are affected by change. A
few will comfortably accommodate any degree
of change, but most people have a change
journey to undertake.
Part of the art of organizational Change
Management is to: Oh no!

understand what journey you want which It can't be true!

populations to take (it may not be the same You cannot be serious!!!
for everyone), Can we sort this out some other way?
assess what their attitude is likely to be, and That's it - after 20 years of service they want me
use that knowledge to guide them in the to...
right direction. Am I going to be part of this?
Many people will hide their negative feelings. Yes, I can live with this - it's not bad really.
It is not wise to be openly critical of your bosses
and their new ideas. Some people will not even The "Good News" Curve
be aware of their own resistance which, A different emotional curve may occur where
nevertheless, affects their behaviour sub- individuals are initially in favour of the change.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 13

In the "good news" curve, the risk is that they attitude. That may be taking the principle too
will be disappointed by the reality of the change far - but, if there is going to be resistance, try to
or the effort it will take to achieve it. deal with it early.
Using the Right Change Style
The design of the project's approach should
take into account the optimum style of
addressing organizational change issues. In
general, the target population will be more
supportive of the changes if they have been part
of the change process. The cynical view is that
you should make them feel part of the process
even if you prefer to ignore what they have to
say. In fact, their active participation is likely
to add to the quality of the solution - it should
be taken seriously. Conversely, if they feel their
In these cases, you should recognise the views were sought then ignored they are likely
likelihood of disappointment during the to become more resistant.
change process. Be ready to lift them out of the
trough in time to benefit from their enthusiasm. Working with a broad selection of the target
population adds time and cost to the project.
Resistance to change is normal. The Project The degree to which you involve them will
Manager should expect to encounter it and deal depend on the magnitude of the change. A
with it. The worst time to encounter resistance straightforward non-controversial change may
is during the cut over to the new solution. require no previous contact. If, for example, you
Transition is usually a busy, critical, high-risk are simply introducing a new set of expense
period when the last thing you need is a lack of codes you can publish the message "with effect
co-operation from the target population. from 1st April, new codes must be used as per
the attached book". Conversely, if you are
making huge changes to the job and lifestyle of
the target population you will need to work
with them to gain their co-operation, for
example, if you wish them to re-locate
voluntarily and re-train for substantially altered
Here are some change styles that may be
Try to surface issues and resistance earlier in
the project so that there is time to get the target • Collaborative - The target population are
population engaged before any damage is engaged in the change process, typically
caused. Some organizational Change through cascading workshops or meetings.
Management experts suggest that you should They will be kept up to date on the issues.
deliberately upset the target population early Their views will be actively sought and
in the project so that you can guide them acted upon. Feedback will demonstrate how
through the emotional curve and change their their input has been acted upon.

14 November 2007 NHRD Journal

• Consultative - The target population is Communication
informed about the changes and their views One of the main tools for promoting change is
are sought. communication. Early in the project an initial
• Directive - The workforce is informed about approach to communication will be formulated.
the changes and why those changes are It has two main purposes:
important. • to convey important information that the
• Coercive - The workforce is told that they audience needs to know, and
must obey the new instructions. • to promote organizational change.
Messages supporting the project's change
objectives should be carefully constructed. The
best media should be identified to convey the
right messages to the right people at the right
time. During the project, these messages and
methods will be refined based upon
achievements, feedback and the changing
circumstances of the project.
Organizational Change Management at
Case Study Phase Start

A computer hardware and services supplier For each phase the change management plan
needed to restructure the workforce to achieve will be prepared in detail. Input and feedback
dramatic cost savings. They decided upon a from previous phases will inevitably lead to
fully collaborative approach where all modifications to the overall approach.
employees were invited to a series of Update the Sponsorship Map to show who is
workshops to examine the case for change, involved at this stage and what is required of
analyse the problems and define solutions. them. As part of the launch activities for the
By the end of the process, not only were the new phase, sponsors should be informed,
employees fully backing the restructuring, but briefed and reanimated. Their continuing
individuals were even recognising that they support should be ensured.
themselves would be redundant and Often a new phase means new team members
volunteering to leave. and new participants from the business. Make
Case Study sure there is a good process to capture their
support and enthusiasm.
An organizational Change Management expert
was addressing an audience at a conference. Organizational Change Management During
After some time, a senior member of the armed the Project
forces was feeling highly frustrated. He stood Organizational Change Management
up and asked for an explanation. "I don't see techniques fall into two main types:
the point of all this", he said. "I give an order • input - analysing the problem, and
and my people carry it out."
• output - inducing organizational change.
Who was right? Why should the workforce
not just do as they are told? It may also be appropriate to couple these
organizational issues and needs with the

November 2007 NHRD Journal 15

mainstream design work of the project, so that Case Study
certain issues could be solved by the way the A Project Management expert was hired to
solution is designed. It may be easier to make coach the IT project managers of
the solution fit the people rather than the telecommunications service provider. In a
people fit the solution. "collaborative" style, he led a conversation
The input activities are essentially forms of fact- about the relationship with the business,
finding and analysis. Organizational Change trying to draw out a consensus that the
Management experts have many specialised business and its end users were essential
tools to: players in building a successful IT solution.
• identify a population, But the project managers were unanimous.
• assess that population's capabilities, One summed it up - "what we need is a big
attitude, behavior, culture, brick wall to keep the users away from us".

• define the change goals, and That is a problem with a collaborative

approach - what do you do when the
• determine what is required to bring about population turns in the wrong direction?
that change.
Organizational Change Management at
In the absence of an expert you would fall back Phase End
on basic fact finding and analysis, coupled
with common sense and experience. The end of a phase is always a good time to
review progress. Many organizational change
Output activities tend to be various forms of activities are imprecise in their effect. It can be
communication, for example: hard to measure whether the target population
• communicating messages has now become sufficiently supportive for the
• coaching project to succeed.

• setting up sponsorship cascades Take a fresh look at the organizational issues:

• collaborative workshops. • did we really understand the barriers?

Although the change management analysis, • how effective were the actions taken?
design and planning may be specialist tasks, • what more do we need to achieve?
much of the change output can be applied by The conclusions will be fed into the planning
other project team members. All team members for the next phase of work.
will have opportunities to spread the right
message. In many cases, the way they Organizational Change Management at
approach a given activity might have a Project End
significant affect on the target population - The test of change management is whether the
increasing or decreasing resistance. new business solution can be launched
Non-specialist team members should be given successfully in as efficient and pain-free a
the basic skills and understanding to promote manner as possible. The lead up to the
organizational change. They should also be transition is often the most intense period. In
guided by the specialists (if any) and by the many cases it is the first time the affected
project's change management approach and populations really become aware of the
planning. changes (although, as you saw above, it is not
wise to tackle change issues late in the project).

16 November 2007 NHRD Journal

Now they are confronted with changed jobs, colleagues. They may even go through a
new procedures, new skill requirements, period of uncertainty when they do not
training courses, and maybe even physical re- know whether or not they themselves will
location. be retained. What needs to be done to
In some projects not all the current workforce maintain their support and enthusiasm?
will be required for the new solution. Dealing Bear in mind that the same issues could
with the painful process of redundancy is confront project team members as well as
normally left to the HR and line management the target population.
functions. By this stage in a major change, there needs to
There are, however, two big issues for the Project be a substantial support mechanism for the
Manager: target population. As the key messages are
communicated, the project team needs to be
• The redundant staff will be required to ready to help and prepared for the inevitable
operate the current systems and processes issues. By this time, the sponsorship cascade
until the new solution is ready - and maybe should be complete and solid - often extending
for some period of parallel running. Since it down to local champions carefully placed in
is a legal or contractual requirement in most the users' teams. Support mechanisms will ease
countries to announce potential the users' troubles, for example with
redundancies well in advance and to give appropriate training at the right time, desk-side
individuals notice before their departure coaching, good help desk/call center support.
date, the question is how to ensure they give
good service and do no damage to the Organizational Change Management should
organization or the new systems. not stop with the end of the project. During the
Benefit Realisation stage of the life cycle,
• There may also be implications for the continuing emphasis will be needed to
survivors - those people who you are relying encourage the community to adapt to the new
upon to deliver the new solution. They may ways of working and get the most from the
be affected by the bad news concerning their change.

Reprinted with permission from the author.

• http://www.epmbook.com/orgchange.htm

November 2007 NHRD Journal 17


The article proposes an integral view of organization and leading change based on literature and
real life examples. Integral view is based on four quadrants of reality given by Ken Wilber and
effectively integrates the diverse perspectives about organizations and organizational change.

Introduction Looking at the change management

Change is the reality. In Sanskrit literature we come across two
language 'world' is translated as predominant types of the models.
'vishwa'. Etymologically it comes On the basis of the basic
from the root word 'vish' meaning assumption being followed change
spreading, that which is never same models can be put on a continuum.
at two different points of time. One end of the continuum
Change is not an occurrence but the represents deterministic models in
Ashish Pandey is a
consultant and leading way of existence. But 'leading and which change is considered as
the Research and managing change' has become a predictable phenomenon.
Development function at
matter of systematic enquiry in last Ontologically organizational
Pragati Leadership change is considered to be step by
Institute, Pune, India. He
two-three decades. Particularly last
two decades have seen dramatic step process which can be designed
has been FPM Scholar at
Management changes in the corporate world and consciously implemented by
Development Institute, characterized by richness in the leaders. Lewins three steps
Gurgaon, and has knowledge, unprecedented levels of model and John Kotter's model are
received best paper
business operations: monetarily the most widely referred models in
awards from different this category.
national and and geographically, unprecedented
international forums - at level of diversity, and turbulence. Another end of the continuum
I.I.Sc., Banglore, I.I.M. These are the major triggers of represents the change models and
Indore and Infosys organizational change. The way HR approaches in which change is
Leadership Institute,
professionals along with business considered to a complex
Mysore. His research
works are included in leaders deal with these issues is phenomenon. Most of the models
journals like Journal of going to drive the practice as well in this category draw hugely from
Business Ethics, Journal as the theoretical development in the the systems approach. Some of the
of European Industrial discipline of leading change. basic tenets of these notions are that
Training, Global Business
Models and Approaches of organizations are living systems.
Review, Psychological
Studies, and Indian Change Management Like any other living system
Journal of Training and organizations also shows the
Development. Various models and theories are characteristics of emergence, delay
proposed by consultants and and feed back and cannot be
academics for effectively managing change deterministically. Notions
and leading change. Higgs and of Whetley (1992), Senge et al. (1999)
Rowland (2005) gave a useful etc. are some of the predominant
typology of the change models. voices in this category.

18 November 2007 NHRD Journal

A living system can never be directed, only collective world. The interaction of these
disturbed (Kellner-Roger, 1998). Therefore dimensions produces the fundamental
leaders should not believe that the careful domains or quadrants of reality.
crafting of an organizational message will be The domain of individual-subjective, i.e. 'I'
understood uniformly across organizational quadrant represents the personal experience and
layers or that memorized value statements meaning. Domain of individual exteriors is the
create shared meaning. The interpretation of behavioral quadrant. Domain of collective
message and reactions to it will be dependent interiors is the cultural quadrant and the domain
on selective perception and interpretation of of collective exteriors quadrant represents the
individuals who receive it. That's why it is tangible social system and processes.
important to explore the diversity in the
organization (instead of adopting uniform As shown in figure 1 organization can also be
approach of change as assumed in understood in this frame. 'I' quadrant of the
deterministic models) to develop a more organization represents the personal meaning
coherent understanding, a shared sense of and values of the people working in the
what is significant. organization. While working in the
organizations, people also subscribe to their
Deterministic and systemic views represent the personal aspirations, goals and sense making.
two equally powerful ways of thinking situated Organizations are the places where individual
at two ends of the continuum in their purest meaning of the members is created and shaped
form. We perhaps cannot getaway with either (Fineman, 1993). Upper right (IT) quadrant
of the approaches. My submission in this article represents the observable behavior of the people
is that integral view of the organization and working in the organization. Code of conduct,
wholesome way of change can bring new dress codes, and other behavioral norms are
insights to integrate both the views for leading represented by this quadrant.
the change process effectively. Integral view of
change is based on Wilber's (2002) four Both the lower quadrants represent the
quadrant approach of reality. This approach collective system of the organization. Left lower
facilitates the social event to be analyzed in (ITS) quadrants represent tangible processes,
terms of its multilevel nature, i.e. its micro, meso structures and observable aspects of social
and macro forms thus can be used in the field system of the organization. Formal
of organization development, leadership, organizational design, production process,
change management etc. information technology related processes are
some of the representative components of ITS
Integral View of Organization quadrant. Right-lower (WE) quadrant
Integral approach proposes that any
phenomenon has two fundamental dimensions
of existence. These are the interior-exterior
dimension and the individual-collective
dimension. The interior-exterior dimension
refers to the relationship between the intangible
world of subjective experience and the tangible
world of observable behaviors. The individual-
collective dimension refers to the relationship
Figure 1: Four Quadrants of Organizational Reality
between the individual experience and (adapted from Wilber, 2002)

November 2007 NHRD Journal 19

represents the culture of the organization. transition and improvement related change
Organization culture is resultant of shared efforts are more focused on right quadrants
meaning, values and beliefs of the organization. representing observable individual behavior
An organization is combination of all these and organizational systems, processes and
quadrants. Organization is so much of design aspects. Whereas Organizational
individual experience and behavior as much it Transformation is more a holistic pursuit
is systems, processes and culture. Integral focused on deeper involvement of individuals
approach suggests that all the four quadrants and cultural transformation. Case studies of
are equally important. Wholesome change and major organizational transformations which
development of the organization is the result had also been sustained over a period time (e.g.
of sustained efforts and appropriate inputs on Tata Steel, GE, Toyoto etc.) suggest the
all the quadrants. Over or under emphasis on importance of focusing on upper and lower left
one or two quadrants at the cost of others is quadrant. Figure 2 summarizes this point.
reflected in the poor organizational Different Foci of Change Interventions
performance in the long run. If we go deeper and examine the different
Types of Change: An Integral View interventions to bring change in the
Literature on organizational change organizations, we can observe that most of these
distinguishes between two general types of interventions focus on some specific quadrants
change: organizational transition or of organizational reality as depicted in figure 3.
improvement and organizational For example T-group training focuses on 'I'
transformation. As the more traditional quadrant and most of the behavioral training
approach, organizational transition or are largely focused on 'IT' quadrant. ERP
improvement is relatively well defined and (Enterprise Resource Planning) or re engineering
circumscribed in terms of its process and are the interventions largely focus on 'ITS'
technologies. Generally speaking quadrant. Whereas interventions related to team
organizational transition focuses on the change building and cultural integration etc focus on
process as a bottom-up and more of process 'WE' quadrant of the organization.
based phenomenon. More importantly for this Submission here is that key to successfully
discussion, it represents the more traditional leading the change is not trying one intervention
deterministic management perspective. Looking after another but in right balance of appropriate
from the integral perspective organizational and well aligned interventions in different
quadrants. I have studied a research and
development organization where state of art
Knowledge Management (KM) system was
installed (ITS quadrant) but its impact on 'WE'
quadrant is not consciously traced and
designed. No one was sure that whether the KM
system have any incremental value on real time
collaboration amongst the scientists for
knowledge creation and dissemination.
Similarly I have also observed an organization
where culture of open communication and great
Figure 2: Foci of Different Kinds of Organizational Change deal of authenticity (I and WE quadrants) exist

20 November 2007 NHRD Journal

but in absence of formal process of knowledge designed and implemented in other quadrants
sharing and documentation the positive culture of organizational reality for sustainable result.
does not result in overall knowledge creation In the form of scientific management, TQM,
and organizational learning and eventually Knowledge Management, re engineering or core
plausible business benefits. competence the field of management has been
over enthusiastic about one or other
management technique or approach. Over-
reliance on any approach confines the
organization efforts in one or two quadrants and
do not make change wholesome, sustainable
and joyful. This notion is further substantiated
if we closely examine the most successful and
profound changes being led or managed in
modern time. Two examples of such kinds of
changes are briefly described to further explain
Figure 3: Different Foci of Varied Change Interventions the integral approach of wholesome change.
Utility of Integrative View in Leading Change Two Examples of Integrative and Wholesome
More than 70 percent change initiatives does Change
not achieve the intended results. Even ruthless First example is of organizational
cost cutting and downsizing (rightsizing as it is transformation of General Electrical (GE). 25
mentioned) doesn't guarantee business impact lessons by Jack Welch summarize his approach
in the long run (Bleakley, 1993, Henkoff, 1994). of organizational transformation being applied
On the other hand building organizational in GE during 18 years of his leadership. Closer
capabilities by focusing on personal and shared examinations of these lessons suggest that they
meaning ('I' and 'WE' quadrants) may not result implicitly cover the four quadrants of
in creating market value of the firm (Nohria and organizational reality. His statement that
Beer, 2000). Many times whole organizations are leaders are wanted in the organization that can
sent to change programs in diversity, creativity, energize, excite and inspire rather than enervate,
time management, personal effectiveness etc. depress, and control indicates the importance
Many individuals profoundly changed by these of 'I' quadrant. Along with the global presence,
programs but many a time their personal change he emphasized to behave like a small company
doesn't translate into organizational change. in term of open communication, informality and
Research shows similar findings about specific maximum involvement of the people. This
interventions like ERP, KM, Behavioral training notion covers the 'IT' quadrant of organization.
etc. The business value of ERP implementations Six Sigma had been institutionalized as
has been extensively debated in trade signature process in GE. This reflects the
periodicals and research is throwing diverse streamlining and appropriate emphasis on 'ITS'
conclusions (Hitt, Wu and Xiaoge, 2002). HR quadrant of the organization. His statement that
professionals and trainers are struggling to numbers aren't the vision; numbers are the
measure the return on investment in attitudinal products. Focus more on the softer values of
and behavioral training. building a team, sharing ideas, exciting others
My submission is that intervention in one and emphasize and organizational
quadrant also needs helpful mechanisms being transformation agenda.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 21

Second example of the change in integral and social harmony and secularism to great extent.
wholesome way is of Indian freedom struggle. Eventually these values continued to be ideals
In terms of scale, impact and most importantly for the independent India.
'purity of means' this is one of the rarest of rare Two examples briefly described above indicate
examples of 'change'. Objective here is to see the utility of integral view for leading change
the change initiatives introduced by Mahatma wholesome change in organization. It doesn't
Gandhi and how they were so effectively mean that management had been totally
covering all four quadrants of reality. The most oblivion to different aspects of organizational
important contribution of Mahatma Gandhi in life. Nocols (1994) talked about increasing
the Indian freedom struggle was to generate a importance of creating meaning at work.
mass movement for independence. He was able Wakhlu (2000) talked about engagement at the
to create personal meaning for Indian freedom level of heart and spirit for wholesome life of
amongst common man in India across different the organization. Utility of this framework is
strata of society. This was the success in 'I' in its simplicity and power of
quadrant. 'I' quadrant success was largely comprehensiveness to juxtapose the seemingly
based on movement for Swadeshi, spinning the diverse nature of organizational reality.
wheel etc. Using swadeshi (indigenous) goods,
burning the videshi cloth, Namak Satyagrah, A natural outcome of this discourse and
and spinning wheel etc. represents the 'IT' examples quoted here is the importance of
quadrant. Though these were seemingly small wholesome leadership for implementing
activities but of great value in spreading of wholesome change. Ability of a leader to apply
awareness. These seemingly small activities the integral or wholesome approach of change
were able to create personal meaning amongst in the organization is inevitably linked to his
the fellow citizens. In the 'ITS' quadrant based or her own personal view of reality. Leaders
on his own moral authority, clear thinking and with integral view are the prerequisites of
guidance many social catalysts were prepared integral or wholesome change process. Perhaps
who became nodal centers for freedom teaching of Lao-tzu is valuable in this regards
movement and other social activities. In 'WE' when he says "the way to do is to be". The
quadrant he could create shared vision of message is not different from what Mahatma
independence and shared values of democracy, Gandhi said "One must be the change which he
wants to see in the world".

Bleakley, F.R., (1993), ‘Many companies try management fads, only to see them flop’, Wall Street Journal, 6 July 1993, pp. A1, A8.
Fineman, S. (1993), in S. Fineman (edi), Emotion in organizations, Sage, Newbury Park, CA.
Henkoff, R. (1994), Getting beyond downsizing”, Fortune, 10 January, pp. 58-64.

22 November 2007 NHRD Journal

Higgs, M. and Rowland, D. (2005), ‘All changes great and small: Exploring approaches to change and its leadership’, Journal of Change
Management, vol. 5, iss. 2, pp. 121-151.
Hitt, Lorin M., Wu, D. J. and Xiaoge Zhou (2002), ‘Investment in enterprise resource planning: Business impact and productivity
measure’, Journal of Management Information Systems, vol. 19, iss. 1, pp. 71-98.
Kellner Roger, M. (1998). ‘Changing the way we change’, Perspectives.
Kotter, J. (1996), Leading Change, HBS Press, Boston.
Nichols, M. (1994). ‘Does new age business have a message for managers?’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 72, iss. 2, pp. 52-60.
Nohria, N. and Beer, M. (2000), ‘Cracking the code of change’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 78, iss. 3, 133-141.
Senge, P.M. (1997), ‘Communities of leaders and learners’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 75, iss. 5, pp. 30-2.
Wilber, K. (2002), Spectrum of consciousness, Pub. Motilal Bavarsidas, New Delhi.
Wheatley, M. J. (1992), Leadership and the new science, Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco.

Endnotes 1
Earlier draft of the paper was presented in Global OD Summit, 2006 at Mysore and was adjudged the Best Paper in Future Focus
Stream. Valuable inputs of Prof. Rajen Gupta of M.D.I., Gurgaon, and Arun Wakhlu, Pragati Leadership Institute, Pune, are
gratefully acknowledged.
i Lewin's model change is the most widely referred by practitioners and in the academics alike. It talks about three phases of change
process. First phase of the change is dissatisfaction with the status quo. Second stage is about identifying and mobilizing the
resources required effecting the change. Third stage is embedding the new ways of working in the fabric of the organization.
Kotter's model gives eight steps of change starting from creating urgency to institutionalization of change.
ii Like any living systems organizations also display capacity for sophisticated, coordinated behaviors. Yet these behaviors are never
the result of directive leadership, strategic plans, or engineered solutions. They arise as if by magic, surprising even the members of
the system, through a process called emergence. Emergence is the capacity of the system that resides only in the system not in the
individuals. Surprise of emergent capacity confronts most of our trusted beliefs about how to create change in any organization.
iii Interestingly Prof. J.K. Jain of Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, teaches management lessons based on Gandhian
way in a reputed institute in France. Author is not aware about the systematic teaching explicitly based on Gandhian principles being
imparted in any business school in India.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 23


This article takes a practical view on change management in the every day lives of HR and
business managers. Implementable ideas have been presented for dealing with obstacles to
change before it occurs, managing change during the process and coping with poorly planned
change. In order to keep the emphasis on practical considerations, there is a deliberate absence of
reference to the vast body of academic work and research in the area of change management.

Introduction to address those concerns and offer

As I started to structure my thoughts some practical and implementable
on this article, I decided to run a ideas to deal with change.
Google search on change Accordingly, I have structured this
management, to understand the article in three parts:
current thinking on the subject. At • Preparing for change:
the least, the results were Understanding the five most
Bhawana is the Business astounding. Google returned 574 commonly faced obstacles in
Director of SHL India. million links in 0.05 seconds for a implementing effective and
An Applied Psychologist generic search on 'change lasting change;
by training, she worked
with leading consulting
management'. So I got specific in my • Managing change: A synthesis
firms search: 'change management of best practices that successful
PricewaterhouseCoopers definition' resulted in 41.2 million change programs have
and Arthur Andersen, links, 'change management models'
prior to joining SHL six followed; and
years back. in 49.8 million links and 'change
management process' led to 168 • Coping with poorly planned
million links! change: Ideas for damage
control if a change initiative is
The message to me was very clear on the verge of failure.
and only confirmed my thinking
that enough has been said and Preparing for Change:
written on this subject. So my Understanding Obstacles
question on what I could say that Even before we start to introduce a
was new and relevant, still change, however big or small that
remained. Then I started to think of may be, we should be conscious of
the concerns and experiences my existing practices, processes and
clients have shared with me over cultures that may become
the years when implementing hindrances in success. The
various initiatives -- a performance obstacles are often unique for
management system, a career companies and not planning for
planning initiative, processes such them in advance leads to interim
as Development Centres, 360 and incomplete solutions that are
feedback and so on. So I felt that deployed to deal with them at the
this was a good opportunity for me last minute.

24 November 2007 NHRD Journal

• Organization Structure what is communicated is often not true or only
Rigid hierarchical structures may be restrictive the partial truth. There are innumerable
in implementing new initiatives. For example, companies that have communicated to
if the aim is to introduce an ERP system for employees that a certain assessment
Purchase, the individual level accountability programme is for identifying development
that it promotes will not succeed if people are needs, and then gone ahead and used it for
used to having everything signed by the career progressions. People understand such
functional head. things and an experience like this undermines
the credibility of the senior management and
• Cultural Norms HR for a long time to come.
The most common HR example of this is if line Managing Change
managers have been used to being responsible
for staff progressions and methods such as Several models have been developed over the
Assessment Centres are suddenly introduced. years to help manage change and deal with it
There is bound to be resistance in the form of most effectively. However, as is often true of
"we have always done it this way" if this is not academic and research work, a lot of them are
addressed prior to the change being initiated. not easy to remember or implement in a real
organizational context. Based on the review of
• Performance Metrics some of the available literature, and my own
Early thought has to be given to whether the experiences in working with clients, I have
current performance management system may developed the 'Iceberg Approach to Managing
hinder implementation of the new initiative. Change', which I hope will serve as a ready
For example, introducing a new CRM system reckoner for dealing with change projects. At
will remain another 'initiative' if performance the top of the Iceberg are surface issues such as
assessment of sales staff only assesses revenues understanding the pain area that requires
generated and not customer satisfaction or change to be brought about and building
related metrics. acceptance amongst people about the need for
• Senior Management's Behaviours change. As we go deeper, the issues are also
more evolved, but if dealt with successfully, will
A company was trying to bring about greater lead to a lasting and effective change
customer orientation in its people. But survey programme.
after survey revealed that this was not
successful. Consolidation of 360 feedback data The Iceberg approach to managing change
on the senior management revealed that they I dentify the need
were consistently driving systems and process C ommunicate objectives and processes
orientation and not speaking the customer
E ngage People
language. Naturally, employees knew what the
bosses were looking for. B uild change communities
• Communication
E valuate and measure success
R einforce positive change behaviours
Communication begins well before the
initiative itself. An announcement that a new G row and develop during change
initiative in a couple of weeks will impact how To elaborate :
people are paid or promoted is bound to cause • Identify the need
resentment, however fair it might be. Likewise,
It is critical to determine whether the need is a

November 2007 NHRD Journal 25

true requirement of the company or a good-to- received. Pilot projects for large initiatives are
do thing because it appears to be 'best practice'. often very useful for collecting early feedback
Also, what is the impact that it is expected to on what are likely to be the key issues.
make. A diagnosis of the current state is critical • Reinforce positive change behaviours
to understand the extent and nature of change
that can be introduced. For example, 360 It's a simple Pavlovian principle. No change
feedback cannot be introduced in a company will last if there is no incentive to make it long
that has never done assessments seriously. lasting. So reward and recognition mechanisms
Incremental steps are always long lasting than that reinforce the changed behaviours are
wide-scale change introduced in a hurry. critical to any change programme. For example,
a line manager may enjoy giving employee
• Communicate objectives and change feedback once in a while, but s/he will make
process employee development planning a regimen if
Communication is not only about informing it also impacts his or her success.
people about the initiatives, but targeting the • Grow and develop during change
communication to the audience, thinking
through channels of communication and Finally, most often, change involves acquiring
building feedback mechanisms to ensure that some new skill sets or using new processes or
the messages have been understood. methods. People should get the desired
Communication is most credible when there is training, coaching and technology support to
active participation of the project sponsors, in adopt change faster and effectively. Training
particular, the top management. also gives employees the confidence of having
acquired newer skill sets, thereby building a
• Engage people positive attitude to the change initiative.
If people feel that it is an organization-wide • Coping with Poorly Planned Change
initiative and everyone has a role to play, their
participation and ownership is that much more Having said all of this, we don't always have the
real and involved. luxury to plan things or be in control of the
circumstances. Typically, this happens when a
• Build change communities mangers joins an organization while some
All organizations have people forming informal programme has been or is being implemented.
cohorts and support groups. These are Several HR managers will recount the nightmares
particularly useful in a change program, as they they experienced when they joined and had to
can be used to spread formal and informal grapple with the impact of an ERP solution
messages and also build acceptance. introduced in a hurry or a 360 programme
organizations can also orchestrate these by launched without a plan for follow up action.
creating self-help teams that work on making Often, they would also have been blamed for
the new initiative work and seeing people everything that went wrong! However painful it
through it. may be, we cannot avoid dealing with this form
• Evaluate and measure success of change as well; one that we were not
instrumental in introducing, but nevertheless
Often companies assess achievement of change have to deal with. So where do we begin?
objectives after they are completed. This aspect
actually needs to be considered before the • Seek Feedback
change programme is introduced. The first way of building credibility is to seek
Measurement should take place through the feedback on what has worked and what has not.
programme to ensure it is working and course This instils confidence in people that you would
correction should be made based on feedback like to do something about it. Depending on the

26 November 2007 NHRD Journal

magnitude of the programme, you can use to the organization's success, re-visit the
formal surveys or informal grapevine and other reward and recognition mechanisms that have
sources of information to seek this feedback. A been put in place. Ensure that there is a direct
word of caution: do not do this if you have the linkage between change behavior and reward.
slightest doubt on whether you will be able to As importantly, ensure that this is
action some of the issues that come up. communicated and understood by people.
• Recognise and Accept Individual Coach and Develop
Resistance usually stems from a fear of the
It is important to understand that people react unknown. This can be dealt with information
differently to the same circumstances. Spread the and equipping people to deal with it. Everyone
message across that it is alright to do so. The is more comfortable when they know what to
ADKAR® model (Hiatt, 2006) can help you plan expect and are prepared to deal with it. An
effectively for a new change or diagnose why a absence of either can cause disruption. So it is
current change is failing. In some cases, corrective never too late to provide the relevant coaching
action can be taken and the change successfully and training to help people cope with change.
implemented. The five elements of ADKAR are:
Identify Agents
• Awareness of the need for change.
Because some of the change has already
• Desire to make the change happen. occurred, there must be some people who have
• Knowledge about how to change. benefited from it or feel that it is for the good of
• Ability to implement new skills and the organization. Identify and use such people
behaviours. to spread the message to the rest of the
• Reinforcement to retain the change once organization. However, ensure that these
it has been made. people are seen to be unbiased and not blind
supporters of the management.
• Rebuild Sponsorship
Identify Add-on Benefits of Change
Often you will find that if an initiative has
prolonged for a length of time, the commitment Chances are there has already been much
of the project sponsors also vanes. Ensure communication on what are the benefits an
renewed commitment from the project sponsors, initiative will bring about. If this is the case, try
in particularly the top management, for their two to identify add-on benefits that were not
key roles in the change process - visible already communicated. They can bring about
participation and communication. Employees renewed vigour if they can be demonstrated to
do what reflects them in a positive light - setting be relevant to specific groups of people.
this expectation from the management reinforces The issues and ideas discussed here are by no
organizational commitment. means exhaustive. However, I hope that I have
Strengthen Reinforcements provided a few reference points that HR and line
managers alike will find of use in implementing
If the initiative has been identified to be critical any change initiative in their organizations.
Hiatt, Jeffrey M. (2006). ADKAR: a model for change in business, government and our community. Prosci Research, Loveland, USA
Kotter, J P. (1996). Leading Change. Harvard Business School Press. Boston, Massachusetts.
Kotter, J P and Cohen, D S. (2002). The Heart of Change. Harvard Business School Press. Boston, Massachusetts.
Mark Large, DLTP Delivery Support Manager. (2006). Change: How to do it and Make it Work, Tools and Techniques for Managing
Change. Retrieved on 29th Oct 2007 at www.ams.mod.uk/content/docs/change_mgt/handbook.pdf
Partridge, L. (1999). Managing People, Book One. Financial Times Management. London.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 27


Experts often dish out the cliché - National Education Policy that
"the only thing constant in life is articulated the goals of education,
change". We find more people the thrust areas and a way to
around us telling others to change achieve the goals way back in 1986.
and explaining the importance of Every state in India has a fair
change in something or the other. amount of clarity on what should
Before my marriage I knew there happen in their schools. They are
were significant differences in the clear that all children must be in
Dileep Ranjekar, the
Chief Executive Officer
views and culture of my wife and I. the school, attending regularly and
of Azim Premji However, I was confident that I most importantly learning as per
Foundation, is a science would be able to change her - and the expected goals of the
Graduate and has a Post am still struggling to change her curriculum or of the National
Graduate Diploma of
Business Management as after 27 years. Leaders tell their Education Policy.
well as Master's degree in team members to change their Nature and Size of the Problem
Personnel Management methods or attitudes. Parents tell
and Industrial Relations
their children to change their habits However, after 60 years of
from Tata Institute of independence, here is the
Social Sciences, Mumbai. and attitudes. And the children in
He joined Wipro from turn tell their parents to understand performance of India in key aspects
campus and became the the change that is happening in of quality of elementary education:
Corporate Executive Vice
President Human society and adapt to the same. And • India accounts for 16% of the
Resources. As CEO of yet, one constant is that most people global population but
Azim Premji find it difficult to change. contributes to just about 1.16%
Foundation,he is leading
over 250 professionals Scale of Change of world's GDP
and several hundred • Close to 20 million children are
volunteers working When you discuss "management of
towards realizing change" at "national level", the still outside the school.
foundation's vision dynamics of change becomes even • Attendance of the children and
through the Foundation's
current engagement with
more complex. The imponderables completion of education cycle is
over 16,000 schools that and non-controllable s increase a major challenge. For instance,
have 50,000 teachers and geometrically. if 100 children get enrolled in
2.7 Million children with the First standard, only about 52
a missionary zeal. At Azim Premji Foundation since
we are essentially seeking to complete education cycle up to
contribute to a systemic change in Eighth standard and only about
the quality of education in India we 31%.
often debate and explore what • Over 33% of the children are
would have the highest potential unable to read or write in class
to create a possibility of such V.
change. I discuss with other • Our literacy level is 65% vs.
organizations with similar goals world average literacy level of
just one question - what would 80%.
create the required change?
Especially so, since we have a • Only about 8% children pursue
higher education.

28 November 2007 NHRD Journal

• In only about 10% of the school - over 60% 10 years, some of the basic access issues have
children achieve the expected learning been by and large resolved. For over 95% of the
competencies. habitations in the country there is a primary
Needless to say, India has not succeeded in school within 1 km and a higher primary school
bringing about the change at national level. And within 3 kms. There are several other changes
this is not only true for education but also in that have happened. The teacher pupil ratio
other development areas such as health, has improved to 1:42 (though still not sufficient
nutrition and poverty. In elementary education, and we still have over 75% schools engaged in
we are referring to a system that consists of 200 an unplanned multigrade teaching where one
mln children in the age group of 6-14 years in teacher reaches several grades together). Mid-
1.3 million schools. day meal program has been introduced in
majority of the schools (though the quality
What Induces a Large Scale Change? needs improvement), classrooms have
There is very little understanding on this issue. If increased, budgets for teacher training are
you analyse the circumstance in which major available etc.
changes have happened across the world, you Quality of learning - the biggest issue: The
will realize that it has been either a major attack single most important aspect that we have not
from outside or a major external challenge that been able to change in the schools is the quality
jeopardized the national pride or national of education. The biggest problem being
security. So the science teaching campaign in the education is equated to ability to "rote
US was a result of the challenge that was created memorize". The education system has forgotten
by the USSR by successfully launching the space the education goals that are articulated by the
program before the US did. Or the maths teaching National Education Policy. The entire system
revolution in Japan was a result of major has become a drill to remember the text books
challenge from China. In our own country, the than understand, comprehend, apply, analyse,
war of China and Pakistan in the 1960s had a innovate that are so critical to building a
major uniting effect on the country and a lot of knowledge society.
territorial and religious barriers broke down when
the national security was under attack. Need to break myths:

The interesting thing about education is that There have been several aspects that need
the purpose of education itself is to create or change and several myths need to be broken.
contribute to "social change". However, more The key among them are:
often than not, education is being used to • Mindset # 1: Children when they enter the
simply maintain status quo and to create a schools are deficient and need to fixed.
replica of existing society. Reality: Even before the children arrive in
Our Analysis of Issues in Education the schools, they have huge potential and
After over 6 years of grass root work, we at Azim that needs to be realized.
Premji Foundation have had a some critical • Mindset # 2: Learning takes place in the
insights in the domain of education. head and not in the body as a whole.
Significant improvement in access: Since over Reality: Learning and abilities reside in
85% of the elementary education happens in various parts of the body and mind.
the Government schools, the state holds the key • Mindset # 3: Everyone learns or should
on the supply or access side. During the past learn in the same way.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 29

Reality: Various individuals learn at harping on--the crucible of learning in a formal
different pace at different times and structured education system is the
• Mindset # 4: Learning takes place in the classroom. And this is where the teacher has
classroom and not outside the classroom. the most pivotal role in influencing the learners.

Reality: Every life experience contributes to The teacher exists in a total system of education
learning anywhere. delivery that is needed to be supported by the
education administrators - who among other
• Mindset # 5: There are smart kids and dumb things are also responsible for appointing,
kids. inducting, training, preparing and
Reality: Each child is uniquely gifted and academically supporting the teachers.
possesses talents in multiple areas. It is the parents that are most affected by the
It is absolutely mind boggling to observe how poor quality of education since it deprives their
the entire elementary education system, that children from becoming responsible and
consists of 5.5 Mln teachers, 1 Mln education effective citizens and bread-winners for the
functionaries and spends over Rs. 1,40,000 family.
crore engages most of the time on issues that The current driver for change - the
are not related to achieving the quality of Examinations: The process that drives the
education in the classroom. There is a lot of behavior of almost the entire education system
talk on appointing teachers, transferring currently is the "Examination System".
teachers, building classrooms, getting reports Examinations serve similar purpose as of the
from the schools, enrolment, attendance so on performance management system in the
and so forth…. but very little discussion on corporate organizations. In absolute terms
quality of what happens in the classroom. there is nothing wrong - except that the current
Some Enablers of Change examination system is almost entirely focussed
The National Curriculum Framework has on testing the "rote memorization" of the
attempted to define the process that could achieve students. Thus at the primary education level,
the goals of education. However, in addition to in a story of "Hare and Tortoise" the questions
the difficulties and lack of guidance on converting that are asked are what did the hare say to
the curriculum into classroom processes, tortoise or something similar - wherein the
probably the biggest challenge is its awareness student has to remember who said what.
among the teacher educators and the teachers. Instead, the question should be "why did the
tortoise win the race"? Unless the student has
In our analysis, the most important change understood the story, there is no way the student
agents that could bring about the required would be able to answer the question. Similarly,
change in the quality of education are: in history subject, the focus tends to be on
• Teachers chronology of events and the years in which
certain historical events happened. Instead the
• Education Administrators
focus should be on the characters, their
• Parents and community that can exert patriotism, their diplomacy, the failures of the
pressure on the schools society to recognize certain events, bravery,
• Examination reforms valor etc.
Irrespective of what happens in the rest of the It is important to understand that because the
education system and what people keep examinations focus excessively on rote

30 November 2007 NHRD Journal

memorization, the focus of the teaching • What kind of people become teachers?
learning tends to be preparing the child for the • Is the profession viewed respectable and
narrow list of questions at the end of the lessons rewarding enough to attract the best?
and not on the broader issues of education
goals to be achieved through the subject. • Is the teacher education curriculum relevant,
experiential, teacher centric?
The basic beliefs in the National Curriculum
• How is the process of appointment of
Framework are:
teachers conducted?
• Learning as a process is unique to each
• Are we from time to time defining and re-
defining the teacher competencies to meet
• Teaching with a 'prepared logical the challenges of the 21st century?
sequence' decided by teacher or others
• How is the in-service training of teachers
may result in little learning, that too, rote
carried out?
• Who educates and ensures the quality of
• Pedagogy is but a process for mediation
teacher educators?
of resources in the form of meaningful
experiences catering to varied learning • How do we reach every rupee of the
needs of learners education budget to improve the quality of
The essential focus of the curriculum is:
• Are the examinations driving a classroom
• Learner centric, not teacher centric culture and process that is consistent with
• The focus is learning - not teaching the National Curriculum Framework?
• Processes that • How are we enabling the teachers to use
• recognize the diversity, flexibility and their freedom in the classroom - more
varied learning needs of the learners meaningfully?

• Is culture and context sensitive • How do we address the issue of teacher

• Forward looking
• How do we create much higher
• Life related performance consciousness among
The above reforms require radical change among teachers?
the teachers, the process and the paradigm of • How do we make parents aware of their
all involved in the delivery of education. The responsibility in their children's education?
fundamental difference in an assembly line
• How do we educate the parents on what to
approach to education and the child centric
expect as a result of education?
approach is that here the learner is capable of
contributing to herself/himself. That the learner Political Will to Change - Critical in a
is able to learn through the exposure to Democratic Set up
experiences. That the learner is able to construct Many of the above changes need enormous
her/his own knowledge based on experience. "Political Will" among the policy makers.
This would force the education system to re- The political masters must get themselves
look at several issues radically differently. Some educated on relevant issues for quality
of these would be: education. The most critical issues are:

November 2007 NHRD Journal 31

• Accord Highest Priority: Place the issue of mere appointing of good teachers would not
education at par with the other three help. You need to revamp the academic
priorities - electricity (Bijilee), Roads (Sadak), support and training system, address
and Water (Paani). Accept that education competence issues as well as motivation
quality is fundamental to India's status as a issues. And that requires fundamental
developed nation. We ought to be policy changes in the risk reward system -
knowledge creators and not mere which is currently completely absent.
knowledge receivers. One of the ministers with whom I was
• Allocation of Required Resources: discussing the education quality issue told me
Including financial budgets. For too long we that you need to make an all round and
have been speaking of allocating budgets multidimensional effort if quality of education
that are equal to 6% of the GDP vs current has to be impacted. You need to 'for instance'
allocation of about 3%. educate and influence the policy makers as well
• Accountability for Quality Education: We as law interpreters.
need an attitude of catching the bull by the Though the principles of "managing change"
horn when it comes to performance of the might be common, the way it works at the
delivery system. Illustratively, if almost 50% national level change is significantly different.
students fail in the board examinations, who Especially in a system where the subject is both
is made accountable? Is it the education a central as well as a state subject. Since the
minister? The education secretary? The change implementers are fragmented, you need
district or block education officer? The a greater advocacy thrust at a broader level and
teacher? Or the hapless student or even more an equally powerful demonstration of change
hapless parents? We have to fix the at the grass root level. And for this you need
accountability suitably. education activists at the grass root level who
• Measurement and Review: Review the have the broader perspective of education.
status of quality of education at the highest Thus, a strategy of achieving macro level
level of political system: what gets reviewed change through series of "micro level"
and measured also gets prioritized by the demonstrations of change as "proof of concept"
system. is likely to work to raise the quality of education
• Enabling Policy Changes: quality at a national level.
improvement systems are often interlinked
and need a holistic approach. Illustratively,

32 November 2007 NHRD Journal


The 6th National HRM Summit, organized under the auspices of All India Management
Association(AIMA) was held on 19th & 20th October 2007. It brought together the author of HOT
SPOTS - Lynda Gratton (LBS) and other eminent speakers from the Corporate World who spoke
on four themes to discover how HR can ignite HOT SPOTS. In compiling the various ideas from
speakers, the article tries to bring out how change can be brought through HR and leadership to
create and sustain hot spots. The article thus heavily drives on the ideas of the book and the
content of the summit.

Context innovative and winning

The biggest challenge facing the organizations where people are
HR function today is to create and self-propelled and feel like giving
sustain an innovative work culture. their best, and sometimes even
With the Indian economy surging beyond.
ahead and the Sensex surprising us Prof. Lynda Gratton from London
each day with unexpected highs, Business School , has explained in
Yogi Sriram is currently the expectations from HR has her book the people implications
at Larsen & Toubro increased many fold. The shortage on strategy. Her book "Hot Spots:
Limited as Executive
Vice President (Human of talent is being seen as the only Why Some Teams, Workplaces, and
Resources & big challenge in surfing this big Organizations Buzz with Energy - and
Administrative Services)
for the E&C division. He
wave of growth. HR has an Others Don't", is an international
had earlier rich opportunity, like never before, to bestseller
experience with, Taj attract, develop and retain this
Group (Hotel arm of the Inspired by her work, the Summit
TATA's) , Asea Brown scarce and precious talent. But the focused on "How HR can ignite 'Hot
Boveri , Dabur India, new Gen Y that is represented by Spots'" with sharing of experiences
British Petroleum as the young faces at the work place,
H.R. Director (Africa, and HR best practices and through
Middle East, Turkey & are the real opportunity for dialogue at the Summit, that lead to
South Asia) covering 3 unleashing potential and triggering new ideas on how to create
continents and 41
countries.He has a quantum growth. We need excited excitement in the Work place.
Honours degree in people with passion for
Economics from Shriram collaborating and innovating. HR This Summit was designed to focus
College of Commerce, the attention of business leaders on
Masters in Personnel has an opportunity to find ways to
Management & IR from trigger this passion and creating Hot Spots that are the key
the Tata Institute of
commitment for innovation and to the success of human endeavour
Social Sciences, LL.B.
from the University of excellence. Within organizations, within an organization, group and
Delhi and M.B.A. in there are periods when innovation team. There were also deliberations
Organization Behaviour on competencies that HR
from the Faculty of and creativity flows unhindered
Management Studies and the resulting activity and professionals should develop to
(FMS), University of
positive energy create unexpected ignite these Hot Spots.
Delhi. He has been
admitted as Fellow of results. These condensed periods The Take way of the Summit
the All India are called "Hot Spots". These can
Management The Summit triggered plenty of
Association. be ignited and sustained to create ideas to ignite Hot Spots that

November 2007 NHRD Journal 33

should create a collaborative and innovative leveraging HR to create HOT SPOTS. She
work culture, since this culture is the key to shared that GE was focusing on energizing
attracting and retaining talent for building partners and employees, attraction and
business in organizations. retention of talent. She said that HR can reach
The Content new levels of excellence by earning the trust of
the leadership team, through disciplined HR
Presentations and dialogue at the Summit processes.
covered examples of the HR function creating
Hot Spots in organizations in various Sectors Rajiv Narang, focused on orbit shifting
of business. The programme covered initiatives innovation through generating escape velocity.
implemented, outlining the stories of success, For organizations to see Hot Spots, leaders
challenges and failures in igniting Hot Spots should be aware of the organization's potential
The deliberations covered the skills that are Hot Spots.
required to execute such HR initiatives and A cooperative mindset is a mix of 3 elements,
how HR communities propose to build these namely, intellectual mindset, social mindset,
skills quickly while organizations are restless emotional mindset and a 4th addition by
for rapid talent build up. The Summit provided Akhouri was a financial mind set. According
opportunities for learning through sharing of Akhouri of Hero Honda there are certain pre
experiences of delegates who have championed requisites for hot spots. These are created by
HR innovations to achieve and sustain growth the action of a leader and they are created by a
through Hot Spots. The Summit made the sense of urgency.
Coffee and Refreshment Breaks equally Yasho Verma of LG Electronics said his
stimulating with opportunities to learn. Company focused on 3 types of quality -
Some Glimpses from the Summit Speeches Environmental Quality, Transactional Quality,
Yogi Sriram - Executive Vice President (HR & Process Quality.
Administrative Services) E&C L&T Ltd., who Ishan Raina- of OOH believed that Boundary
was also the summit director, shared some Spanning meant redefining a category.
statistics about the Indian economy. According to him HR plays a very important
Household income will triple in the coming 20 role in combining ideas. These days' boundaries
yrs and India will be the largest consumer are getting demolished by various
economy by 2025. In terms of private spending communication break thorough innovations
India would be the same as the US by 2025. like internet. Companies are shifting the focus
The Labor Force in India will dramatically from product to production. He talked about
increase as compared to countries like France, how companies can become talent magnets by
Australia etc. investing time and money, identifying
K Venkataraman, Member of the Board & promising leaders, by encouraging feedback
President L&T Ltd. shared that old economy and support, developing teams and not
companies have the largest growth potential of individuals.
market capitalization. They are the leading value Puneet Jetli- General Manager Mindtree
creators in the market. These are the Engineering, Consulting said HR has to play 3 roles in
Construction & Manufacturing sectors. boundary spanning - Individual, Team &
Ira Bindra- Director HR- GE shared insights Organization.
on how GE, a 116 billion dollar company is P Dwarkanath- Director MAX India Ltd high

34 November 2007 NHRD Journal

pointed the prerequisites of change which were even seems to stand still. We enjoy being part
a winning attitude, strategic communication, of a Hot Spot, and we are healthier, happier
and aligning behaviour with strategy. people as a result.
Arvind Agrawal- President RPG Enterprises When Hot Spots arise in and between
discussed the best practices and signature companies, they provide energy for exploiting
practices of RPG and he told the audience and applying knowledge that is already known
about the differences between them. Best and genuinely exploring what was previously
practices are like cut and paste practices but unknown. As a consequence, Hot Spots are
signature practices evolve from a company. marvelous creators of value for organizations
Signature practices in long run become best and wonderful, life-enhancing phenomena for
practices. each of us.
Shantanu Banerjee from XANSA emphasised Yet life is not always about being in a Hot Spot,
the importance of creating a climate of excellence and organizations are not always about
and that there should be a linkage between generating Hot Spots. How often have you
human performance and financial outcome. faced a situation when you knew in your heart
The summit highlight was the session by Lynda you could have achieved more? These are times
Gratton. The focus of her session was to draw when your energy has drained, when the Big
attention of the business leaders on creating Freeze takes over. There are many times, in
Hot Spots that are the key to the success of many companies, when Hot Spots fail to emerge.
human endeavor within the organization. Over 80 percent of the anticipated value from
Elements for Creating Hot Spots….some mergers and acquisitions typically fails to
extracts from Lynda's presentation and book materialize. Three out of four joint ventures fall
apart after the honeymoon period. Many
You always know when you are in a Hot Spot. executives report that they struggle to deliver
You feel energized and vibrantly alive. Your products to increasing discerning consumers.
brain is buzzing with ideas, and the people Hoped-for innovation never materializes as the
around you share your joy and excitement. The marketing function fights with the sales
energy is palpable, bright, shining. These are function about internal costing issues.3 The Big
times when what you and others have always Freeze also has a human toll. An overly
known becomes clearer, when adding value competitive working environment where
becomes more possible. Times when the ideas friendships fail to develop is one of the major
and insights from others miraculously combine sources of stress at work and one of the key
with your own in a process of synthesis from reasons why talented employees leave
which spring novelty, new ideas, and company.
innovation. Times when you explore together
what previously seemed opaque and distant. These are very different problems with very
We can all remember being in Hot Spots, when similar underlying reasons. As you will see, at
working with other people was never more the heart of successful managers and
exciting and exhilarating and when you knew acquisitions, of well-functioning joint ventures,
deep in your heart that what you were jointly of the launch of global products and the
achieving was important and purposeful. On creation of new products are Hot Spots. These
such occasions, time seems to rush by as you are the occasions when we are willing and able
and those around you are "in the flow."1 Time to work skillfully and cooperatively within and
across the boundaries of the company, when

November 2007 NHRD Journal 35

our energy and excitement are inflamed leaders of their company play? Why do some
through an igniting question or a vision of the Hot Spots flourish while others fail?
future, times when positive relationships with The answer can be found in the formula for
work colleagues are a real source of deep Hot Spots:
satisfaction and a key reason why we decide to
stay with a company. Hot Spots = (Cooperative Mindset × Boundary
Spanning ×
Why and when do Hot Spots emerge? What is
it about some people that supported the Igniting Purpose) Productive Capacity
emergence of Hot Spots, and what role did the

Lynda Gratton, Hot Spots: Why Some Companies Buzz with Energy and Innovation - and Others Don’t.
Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2000.

36 November 2007 NHRD Journal


Introducing Indian NGOs communities and local

According to various estimates technologies. They have been
there are anywhere between 1-2 creative and courageous; and have
million Non Governmental built trust in the communities they
Organizations (NGOs) in India. serve. As a result they have built
About 20 million people work in credibility for themselves and the sector
these NGOs, perhaps 85% as as a whole which has led to their being
volunteers - the other being paid accepted as a legitimate and important
Mustafa Moochhala
finished from XLRI and employees. part of civil society.
worked initially with
Modi Xerox. He moved The World Bank defines NGOs as A large number of government
to work in Pradan, an
"private organizations that pursue programs are now mandated to be
NGO, and was based in
Madhya Pradesh and activities to relieve suffering, run by NGOs. Multilateral
then in Chennai. He promote the interests of the poor, agencies such as the World Bank
focuses on HR want the Government to use NGOs;
Consulting, Organization protect the environment, provide
Development and basic social services, or undertake so does the Planning Commission
Training. He presently
community development". If we of the Government of India.
divides his time between Consequently, NGOs that have
Consulting as part of Ma were to draw a simple picture of the
Foi and with NGOs. usual NGO we would say that it is performed find that they are able to
an informal organization, of, say, attract funding for more work: they
20 people, working to improve the work in larger areas, and are
lives of the community the NGO is expected to employ a larger number
situated in. This organization of people than before.
would work for altruistic (i.e. non- The Nature of NGOs Work
commercial as well as non- The work of NGOs is distinct.
political) reasons, working for the NGOs provide a range of services
simple reason that its members or (both directly and indirectly) to
Tejinder S. Bhogal has employees want to improve the various communities. Unlike
over 22 years experience quality of living of their community. customers of business
after graduating from
IRMA. His initial thirteen
This article focuses on these organizations, these communities,
years were of working in organizations. however, do not pay for these
NGOs. He has
implemented rural How NGOs Have Become services. These services, instead,
development projects in Increasingly Important are paid for either by the
the villages of Gujarat
and Chattisgarh. For the In the past decade NGOs have Government, or by independent
last nine years he has become increasingly important. donor agencies (both Indian and
worked as a Consultant foreign).
and Trainer on OD and Many of these organizations have
HR issues with a range done tremendous work in creating Though NGOs do a range of work,
of NGOs in the country.
He is based in Delhi. new ways of working with a common factor for a large number

November 2007 NHRD Journal 37

of these NGOs is the fact that they work directly • Energy spent on arranging for Funds - While
with the community. They talk to communities, funding for NGOs has increased overall, it
understand their needs, and help develop and has hardly kept pace with the need and the
implement programs that benefit these expansion in the sector. Almost all NGOs
communities. seek funds project to project. This has meant
A couple of decades back a large number of that the people in Leadership positions have
NGOs worked on programs that did not require to spend much of their time in this activity -
complex technical or managerial competencies. meeting funders, orienting their programs
This, however, is no longer the case. A very towards their funding partner needs,
large number of the programs being networking for fund flows etc. This takes
implemented by NGOs now require a away from investing adequate time in their
reasonable level of technical and managerial organization capability building, grooming
competence. individuals, building sustainable networks
(which do not give them funding) etc.
Though a large number of NGOs are growing
in size, they are still small: most employ about • Internal
10-25 people working for them. A typical small • Skill development of field workers - With
NGO with, say 20 people, would have three leaders spending less time in the field,
kinds of personnel: leaders, field workers and they spend less time guiding and
support staff. us, there might be 1-2 people in a coaching their field workers. This leads
leadership position, 1-2 persons as the support to relatively untrained people interacting
staff (handling accounts and office jobs) and with the community. As a result, the
the balance 16-18 would be field workers. quality of work of the NGO starts to suffer.
The Challenges Faced by NGOs • Load on the support staff - The support staff
While there are many challenges that NGOs consisting of people working on accounts,
typically face (Funding uncertainty, administration etc feel the increasing load
governance, relations with the communities, and pressure without having the requisite
accountability and effectiveness, etc), we focus skills to cope.
here on those which are organizational and • Need for technical plus managerial abilities
people related. - With the increase in the complexity of the
These are: programs (see previous section) it is
important to have technically trained
• External manpower. However, just acquiring such
• Scale up - There is a strong pressure on manpower (say Irrigation Engineers) is not
performing NGOs to scale up. This is felt good enough as such personnel need to be
in discussions with their funding oriented and trained extensively to deal with
partners, the Government and other community related issues. This requires
partners. There is a push to grow more, investment of time and resources to help
do more. Funding houses and NGOs them adapt and learn.
themselves seem to be dissatisfied with • Mindset of frugality - In many NGOs history
the current rate of growth and progress. also prevents them from paying new recruits
Organic growth is typically slow, so adequately. Most of these NGOs were set up
scaling up requires an enormous amount when NGOs heavily valued frugality. Costs
of energy and focus.

38 November 2007 NHRD Journal

were low, people lived simply and salaries are actually doing the work. In the context
reflected this. Though salaries have of Indian NGOs, these would be the persons
increased over time, the fact is that NGO working directly with the Community: the
salaries - as well as those of its leadership so called Field Workers.
are a fraction of what one gets offered in • At the hierarchical top of the organization
other sectors - Government and the is the Strategic Apex - the managers who
Corporate sector. have the overall responsibility for the
• Attrition - There is large attrition in many organization; the ones who take strategic
NGOs. This attrition is particularly true for decisions and provide direction to the
those who join in the Middle Line. For one, organization. In the context of Indian NGOs
there are far many more NGOs present now these usually consist of people who have
than they were ten years back. Thus, when started the organization: the original
people are dis-satisfied with the NGO they Leaders of the organization.
are working in, they attempt to find another. • The Middle Line is a chain of managers that
Secondly, they are attracted to the donor implement the decision by supervising
agencies - many of them international. These subordinates (the Operating Core), and
donors typically offer much larger pay and reporting to their supervisors (the Strategic
greater visibility. These donors act as magnets Apex). These are people who make tactical
for a large number of people who join the decisions and lead programs. Interestingly
middle management. Donors on their part too - and we will find out why this happens -
are looking for people who have some 'field most Indian NGOs have little or nothing in
experience' - i.e., those who have worked with the form of this middle line.
the community. Consequently, many NGOs
who have succeeded in acquiring and training
such people end up by losing them to donors.
Thirdly, the expanding Corporate sector
attracts many in the NGO sector, especially
those who interact with community on retail
services or financial products.
Mintzberg and the Structure of Organizations:
A Theoretical Interlude
Henry Mintzberg is a Canadian management
thinker who is known as someone apart from
the mainstream (of management thinking) able
to analyze basic assumptions about managerial
behavior. In his seminal work, The Structuring Figure 1 – Visual depiction of Mintzberg’s
of Organizations, this is what he has to say about structure components

organizational structure. • The fourth part of the organization is the

• Organizations can be seen divided into five Techno-Structure. This part serves to
parts. analyze and organize the work. In the
context of NGOs these can refer to people
• At the base of the organization is the who have a technical background in the
Operating Core. These are the people who specific work area (irrigation, health,

November 2007 NHRD Journal 39

education). In reality, most NGOs do not for small organizations, but as they grow
have people who can belong to this part. there is substantive pressure to grow both.
• The fifth and last part is the Support Staff: The shortage of enough number of Support
all those who provide indirect support of Staff means that the NGO is usually delayed
work. In the context of NGOs this can include in completing its audit, and sending its
Accountants, Drivers, and Office reports to donors. This in turn delays (and
Administrators. over time, reduces) the availability of funds
Mintzberg's Structure and Indian NGOs to these NGOs.
As indicated above, most Indian NGOs operate The Path Ahead
with just three parts of the organization: the In a growing India, NGOs need to meet the key
Strategic Apex, the Operating Core and the challenges. We would like to suggest 2 sets of
Support Staff. Mintzberg terms this as the key interventions needed for this:
'Simple structure' where work is done through
direct supervision, without a prominent middle • Build and strengthen the 'Middle Line' - This
line. The major implications of having just three is a key area that needs to be constructed
parts to NGOs are as follows: right. It can be done in the following way:

The Strategic Apex is forced to play the role • Strengthen institutions and
of the Middle Line too. In other words, the organizations that educate, train and
Leaders of the organization spend time groom caders that become the Middle
directly working with the Field Workers: Line - Premier institutions like IRMA that
guiding, controlling and training them. In were supposed to focus on NGOs and
addition they perform roles of fund raiser, Cooperatives have not lived up to their
net worker, strategist and overall monitor. promise. Students from there tend to opt
for corporate sector jobs. There is a need
The lack of Techno-Structure means that the
NGO is limited in the kinds of projects it is to encourage many institutions to have
able to handle; or there is a lot of trial and programs in NGO management, so that
experimentation. Interestingly, many NGOs there is a broadening of the channels to
try to solve the problem of a missing Techno get talented people into this sector.
Structure and a Middle Line by hiring Ex: IFMR, Chennai and Banyan
individuals who are both technical, and can Academy of Leadership in Mental Health
play the middle management role. This works have tied up for offering an MBA
specialization in this. Bringing in a larger
number of fresh recruits in the sector will
also challenge traditional beliefs held by
+ the sector. This can lead to fresh thinking.
• NGOs have a focused program to train
young graduates/post graduates - Pradan,
a Delhi based NGO working at the village
level have had a successful Associateship
program, similar to the 'management
Trainee ship' running for two decades now.
Figure 2 - Structure of a typical Indian NGO Dhan, a Madurai based NGO, has set up a

40 November 2007 NHRD Journal

'People Academy' that seeks to foster cost for the latter and ensure access to
knowledge and understanding through professional services. ICICI
Diplomas and shorter training programs. Foundation along with Murray
Funders and even Indian Corporates need Culshaw Consulting is doing some
to partner with the larger NGOs to run these work towards this. There needs to a
programs to build strong cadres for the network of organizations that offer
future. different support services to NGOs
• Exchange programs with Corporates - There leaving them free to focus on their key
is a need to create a program which strengths, ie. Working with the
establishes an exchange between communities.
Corporates, NGOs (and the Government • Collaboration on technical services - India
later). This would allow, middle managers is rich in its technical services. Some NGOs
from both sectors to work on the other side have tied up with these institutions to
and build a deeper understanding and collaborate in specific areas (ex: Rural
skills required to work in this ever Innovations Network collaborates with IIT,
expanding world. Many corporate Chennai in a program - L-ramp to make
organizations seek to know how to work innovations made in rural India robust
with communities; many NGOs seek to technically). These have been sporadic and
understand how to focus on 'execution' and short term. There is a need to grow this and
efficiency. This program would go a establish strong linkages which would
considerable way in doing that. This should allow the key parts of the techno-structure
be a program of mutuality, rather than a one- to be outsourced to these institutions.
way exchange. Over a period of time, we Putting in some of these interventions is likely
should have enough leaders in Corporates to strengthen the Middle Line, who would take
and NGOs who have had experience in on tasks of guiding, monitoring, coaching the
working in the 'other' sector, so that Operating Core. This group of leaders/
collaboration is seen as natural rather than managers would head units, build tactics for
as a special activity presently put down their immediate community actions,
under 'Corporate Social Responsibility'. experiment at the field level; thus freeing
• Build different models for collaboration in Leadership time at the Strategic Apex to focus
setting up stronger Support and Technical on networking, raising of Funds, Strategy
services - This can be done in the following formation and building of this Middle cader.
way: As seen in examples, some forward looking
• Shared services houses - Build NGOs have worked very thoughtfully and in a
organizations which offer services to deliberate manner over time to create suitable
many NGOs. This would be in the solutions to some of the issues faced by them.
nature of shared services, and perhaps These need to be picked up by other NGOs,
even outsourced services. Accounting adapted and expanded for their own use, if
firms, HR firms, Recruitment agencies growth and scale are important to them.
and Administration firms need to be
encouraged to enter this space and offer
services to NGOs. This would lower

November 2007 NHRD Journal 41

In Conclusion need to consciously devise strategies to support
It is time that the sector as a whole (and not just this movement, which is likely to make the NGO
individual NGOs) looked at issues of sector vibrant and sustainable.
organization and people. The Civil Society,
Corporate organizations and the Government

1. Quoted in Indianngos.com in http://www.indianngos.com/ngosection/newcomers/whatisanngo.htm downloaded on October 23,
2. PRIA, Invisible but Widespread: The Non-Profit Sector in India.
3. NGOs can be more complex; they can also be situated far from the community. But this picture given here represents a large
majority of the present day ‘secular’ NGOs.
4. It is important to point out that many NGOs do not work directly with communities: the nature of their work is thus subtly different
from those who have been described as a typical modern day Indian NGO. A separate article is required to deal with the change
issues of such NGOs.
5. Programs include that of Education, Health, Legal Aid, Awareness of Rights, and programs that help to improve the income of poor
6. In particular the Gandhian ones.
7. This has come about as NGOs are beginning to implement technically complex programs such as on Health Prevention, Providing
Quality Education, designing and constructing watershed and irrigation programs etc.
8. http:// www2.winchester.ac.uk/bm/courses/bs3933/Mintzberg.doc. Also look up http://www.henrymintzberg.org/. Read Mintzberg,
9. Pearson, 2007.
10. http://pradan.net/
11. http://www.dhan.org/
12. http://news.moneycontrol.com/mccode/news/article/news_article.php?autono=310198. See also http://www.icicicommunities.org/
13. http://www.indianngos.com/governence/murrayculshaw/fullinterview.htm
14. http://www.rinovations.org/Services

42 November 2007 NHRD Journal


This article tries to define a change agent. Drawing extensively from the literature the paper
tries to examine who a change agent is, what a change agent does, what makes a change
agent, and how we can groom change agents. The interesting aspect here would be the link
up of the change process models with the change agent and finally how an organization can
enable change agents.

Introduction way in which things are done,

Organizations are facing define how the change should be,
tremendous internal and external understands the reality of the
pressures to change. With this change, is able to take up the
being the trend, being a change resources for the change, and stick
agent has become a universal on to the agreed change process
competency for most of and face challenge on course. This
professionals. This, on one side, description of what a change agent
Sandeep K. Krishnan is a
Fellow of the Indian opens up tremendous needs multiple skills. Linking up
Institute of Management, Cohen's definition of change agent
Ahmedabad. He opportunities for individuals to
currently works with the apply their knowledge and skills and Kurt Lewin's model of change,
RPG - Group Human
for the betterment of the we can see that a change agent is a
Resources. He has person who unfreezes the current
presented papers on organizations but also exposes the
employee intention to individual to be either becoming situations, who introduces the
quit in forums like the
open to change or becoming the change in terms of new practices,
Academy of
Management, USA. He change agent. However, the change and finally ensures that new world
has published several agent has a challenging role with is established and runs efficiently.
papers and is passionate
about his work in the respect to not just being an active What a Change Agent Does
area of talent partner adapting to change but In each of the stages i.e unfreezing,
initiating, driving, and moving, and refreezing a change
institutionalizing change. This is in agent should be specific activities
line with the Kurt Lewin's three that enable the change. In the
stage process of change where unfreezing stage, the action is to
there is unfreezing of the current develop a need for change and
state, implementing change, and point out why things should
institutionalizing new systems change from the way in which
(refreezing) (French and Bell, 2003). things are done around. Here we
Who is a Change Agent? are also assuming that we are
Cohen (2006), drawing up the high speaking of internal change agents
linkage of the change process and rather than external OD
the change agent states four consultants or management
important aspects of being a change consultants and hence the
agent. This includes initiating/ complexity is more pronounced
leading a project that changes the and interesting. Based on Caldwell

November 2007 NHRD Journal 43

(2003) model of managers as change agents, A Change Agent Model
one of the major reasons that a change might
be initiated would be a change in the strategic
vision provided by leadership that drives
managers for implementing the same. Other
such reasons could be the changes that a
manager himself initiates through his
empowerment for decision making with the The model given above is simplistic in terms of
need for efficiency, changing market demands, the role of a change agent. Fullan, Cuttress, and
internal issues, etc. In the case of a planned Kilcher (2005) give an interesting description
change the objectives are very strongly defined that helps us to connect to the various processes
and driven. For example quoting the case of behind it. Author points out eight steps/roles
Siemens Nixdorf as in Dover (2002) the culture that can be connected to the model. The
change was driven for enhancing performance initiating change involves engaging moral
through better customer care and operational purpose, and building capacity. This clearly
efficiency. Similar example in case of RPG, one involves the crux of beginning of selling the
of the India's largest conglomerates, would be change to various stakeholders. The second
the case of KEC. KEC underwent a major step would ensure that you have the processes,
change in terms of culture to meet project people, and resources that will help in making
management and client needs. The change change happen. The third step would
agents here were primarily the top management understand the change process. This is a critical
team and driven from the vision of the leader. part in making things happen. The clarity on
Caldwell (2003), quoting Beckhard (1969) notes how change should be and creating ownership
that the typical role of a change agent in a of different parts of it is what makes the change
planned effort is to provide consultative, a reality. Fourth would be creating a learning
technical or specialist advice in the culture. Change creates new situations and
management of change. Thus it is taken as critical part here would be to ensure that
granted that a change agent in most of the cases learning and institutionalizing them are part
is driving the already agreed path of change. of life. Fifth is to put evaluation of the change
However, when change process when linked process in place. Unless clarity is there on where
with leadership creates a whole new dimension we stand on different aspects of the change, it
to what a change agent does. It is this change is unlikely that we will get the needed results.
agent leader who creates an inspiring vision, Sixth is the factor that cuts across all the process
motivates people to walk with him, inspire - leadership. What makes a change agent is
confidence and then creates systems and critical here. This enables whatever other steps
processes for change. are brought forward in the change process.
A broader role of a change agent can thus be Seventh would be making the change an
defined as someone who identifies a need for integral part of the entire system. An interesting
change, envisages a better future based on the example from the RPG Group would be the
change, inspires people to walk with the implementation of Balanced Scorecard a few
change, and finally makes change a way of life. years back. Balanced business scorecard now
links up the entire process of strategy
formulation, strategy to performance measures,
performance evaluation, and associated

44 November 2007 NHRD Journal

human resource process like leadership participate in the change process. Interestingly
development, employee feedback and study by Grimm and Smith (2001) have found
development. Any change that is implemented that young managers who have less experience
without this aspect in place may have a high are more participative and take initiative in the
chance of dying out in the due process. change process. This study was also of
Challenge of the change agent(s) here would considerable interest because it could link a
be create collaboration, involvement, and buy- positive impact of people with MBA degree to
in from as many critical stakeholders as possible organizational change. It was postulated that
in enabling success. The final step that would younger managers were more likely to have an
be crux of institutionalizing change would be MBA degree and they were more ready and
to understand the transformational outcomes inclined towards change that are strategic in
of change. nature.
What Makes a Change Agent? As Cohen (2006) puts it together, some of the
It is widely quoted in literature that certain basic characteristics of change agents are
skills and personality traits make a person a courage to make the change, flexibility to adapt
change agent. Driving change is a difficult as the change, ability to welcome resistance,
socio political process than a pure rational one. respectful treatment of staff, willingness to
Some of the basic characteristics that are learn, humor as you go through change,
mentioned in the literature are the courage, humility to accept when things are not going
patience, ability to motivate, adapting to well, and critical thinking to recognize when
change, ability to neutralize resistance, and things are not working. Rosabeth Moss Kanter,
ability to come back from setbacks. Furnhan a well-known change expert puts an interest
(2002) states that to be part of the change perspective to one of the most relevant action of
process the manager should have the courage a leader as a change agent. It is always easy to
to fail. They should also use this to deliver bad ride on a success and when everything is
news and confronting people who are poor positive. However, the striking challenge is
performers. Also in case of a change there are when it is a losing streak. The critical job of a
chances of chaos and the author puts it rightly change agent here would be to restore
that the managers should have the moral accountability in the process of change, and
courage to confront ethical dilemmas. The bring in teamwork and collaboration to the new
critical element here would be the ability and initiatives (Moss Kanter, 2005). Interestingly
the skill to take people along. That is to what makes a change agent can be quoted from
encourage people who support change and Furnham (2002) as "the courage to fail is the
ensure that others are given the right inputs to courage to be first, to try something new, to be
be motivated to be part of change. ahead of your time, to trust your instincts, to be
creative - knowing it could all go very wrong
Santos and Garcia (2006) have found another with very significant consequences for the
interesting aspect on how managers become manager and who they manage."
part of organizational change. They found that
mental models with which managers operate How Can We Groom Change Agents?
can determine how they pursue organizational As discussed in earlier sections, a change agent
change. An understanding of the real time should basically have the understanding of the
events and whether they can create context, ability to motivate and lead, have the
organizational change make the manager competence to adapt and respond to change

November 2007 NHRD Journal 45

and cope up with pressure and setback. Hence, as Argyris (1997) is based on two critical factors
some of them come up with experience of - first is to make previously un discussable
"knowing the organization" and some comes problems discussable. This enables unearthing
from "knowing what is best" and rest comes of critical issues and making change possible.
from the ability to know both and use it to bring A change agent should ensure that people are
the best in terms of the change. put at non-threatening stance to make this
The various characteristics of change agents come happen. Second critical factor would be
from different dispositions. Some are personality enabling learning and information sharing in
characteristics. While equating change agents the best possible way.
with leaders, we look at some of the basic In the context of every day working in the
personality characteristics like charisma. organization, change agents can be nurtured
Research as a whole, has defied most of these only if we have tolerance to failure and
aspects that we attribute to leaders and as such experimentation is allowed. This requires a
to change agents. Colin (2001) for example has culture of allowing taking risks and
found that exceptional leaders are the ones who empowerment. Quite certainly this boils down
are high on humility and put themselves as the to how managers empower their employees
background runners to make long-term impact. and support mechanisms are provided for
As one of the critical aspect of change agent is to making the change.
have the courage of failure it is ironical that we Conclusion
expect people who have narcissist tendencies or
want to rely on their charisma more than anything This paper attempted to bring across what is
else can bring out transformations. It thus the role of a change agent, what makes a change
depends on the organizations to build on agent, and how we can groom a change agent.
evidences of change to give responsibilities to A change agent model is an inspirational one.
groom future leaders and change agents rather However, one can be a change agent only if
than going by perceptions. he/she has the necessary competencies that are
essentially strategic to complement traits like
Training interventions that are carefully chosen courage and confidence. As John Kotter states
to develop competencies that are identified to be "Leaders establish the vision for the future and
critical for change management can be effectively set the strategy for getting there; they cause
done. Outbound training that focuses on change1. They motivate and inspire others to
altering mental blocks on change can be used go in the right direction and they, along with
effectively for creating an atmosphere for change. everyone else, sacrifice to get there." This is no
However, it has been reported by experts that different for a change agent who takes the
outbound as a mechanism can do very less on leadership of the situation on him/herself and
the organizational context but it can be effectively rides towards the goal. It is the ability of the
used to make the individual a better person. The organization to set up a culture that supports/
second aspect would be coaching. Coaching on tolerates change that is the biggest enabler of a
specific characteristics based on role model change agent.
change agents can be effective. Hand holding
and creating confidence and courage can go a
long way in making a mindset of change.
However, a critical organizational context that
can aid any change agent and change process

46 November 2007 NHRD Journal

Chris Argyris, Initiating change that perseveres”, The American behavioral scientist, 40 (1997)
Shelly Cohen, “Change agents bolster new practices in the workplace”, Nursing Management, 16 (June 2006)
Raymond Caldwell, “Models of change agency: a fourfold classification”, British Journal of Management, 14 (2003)
Philip A Dover, “Change agents at work: Lesson from Siemens Nixdorf”, Journal of Change Management, 3 (2003)
Adrian Furnham, “Managers as change agents”, Journal of Change Management, 3 (2002)
Michael Fullan, Claudia Cuttress, and Ann Kilcher, “8 Forces for leaders of change”, Journal of Staff Development, 26 (Fall 2005)
MA Valle Santos, and MA Teresa Garcia, “Organizational Change: Role of Managers’ Mental Models”, Journal of Change Management,
6 (2006).
Curtis M. Grimm, and Ken G. Smith, “Management and organizational change: A note on the rail road industry”, Strategic Management
Journal, 12 (Oct 1991)
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, “How Leaders Gain and Lose Confidence”, Leader to Leader, 35 (2005)
Wendell L. French, and Cecil H. Bell Jr, Organization Development, Prentice Hall of India (2003)

November 2007 NHRD Journal 47


Arul has just closed the call. He looks consultants with business and
at his watch and realizes that it is behavioral credentials and the
9.30 pm and there is a lot more in ability to deploy multiple tools,
store for him in the evening. He has technologies and techniques you
to send out a couple of mails, de- are quite off the mark. The most
brief his manager about this call and seasoned change managers are
also find time for small things like actually the hundreds of project
and asking his little daughter how managers who work round the
Ganesh Chella is a
product of XLRI and has she fared in her first quarterly clock to deliver value and keep the
over 16 years of industry exams in the new school. These are engines of growth alive.
experience in leading
Indian and multinational 'however' not the things that are This article is meant to recognize
companies including going to keep him awake that night. their efforts in making change
Cadburys, TVS, Citibank Not his daughter's disappointment,
and RPG and over seven management an integral part of the
years of consulting not the significant changes in the way they live their lives. This
experience. Deeply client's specifications. He was to special issue on Change
committed to the
development of the
have convinced the client to release Management would in many ways
Human Resources two of his more senior resources be incomplete if we did not
profession, Ganesh from the project to help staff other
teaches, writes and recognize and honor their efforts on
engages in research. His needs and more importantly to the ground. Obviously, it is not that
current consulting conform to the new staffing mix they know it all and do it the best
practice provides him
with immense
norms established by the way but they certainly "DO IT!"
opportunity to make organization in the interest of project
significant contribution profitability. This did not happen In writing this article I have relied
to the profession and to on my insights gained from
his client organizations. since the client turned down the
It also provides him with request. He will now need to try interactions and discussions with
the opportunity to learn, again. Being a seasoned Project hundreds of project managers and
experiment and grow as other leaders in the IT services
a professional. manager in this large software
services company, Arul has seen it Organizations I have had to
He is the founder & CEO
of totus consulting and all. He has now evolved a very opportunity to work with across
the co-founder of the
effective coping strategy - he just several OD and HR consulting
Executive & Business
Coaching foundation does not think about the big picture engagements.
India Limited. Totus is a and worry himself about all the IT is all about change
strategic HR consulting
firm that partners with future changes and accompanying Every mature profession in the
organizations across challenges. He takes one ball at a world helps its aspiring members
industries to design and
implement Human
time and manages to field it well. to imbibe and demonstrate the key
Resource and Welcome to the everyday life of a behavioral requirements of the
Development solutions project manager in a software profession even before they
that meet their unique company. If you thought the best commence work. Some call this pre-
business needs.
change managers in India are OD socialization. For example, no one

48 November 2007 NHRD Journal

needs to tell a trained nurse about the and some of strategic objectives of this model
importance of good bed side manners. No one include workforce development, reduction of
ever needs to tell a trained hospitality individual dependencies, people motivation
professional about the need for demonstrating and retention.
courtesy with guests. No one needs to tell a In reality however, despite the best of processes,
counselor about the importance of empathy. All much seems to depend on the abilities of the
of them have been pre-socialized to the key project manager who seems to play a pivotal
behavioral demands of their roles. role in managing all this change.
No one needs to tell a project manager that So, what really are the dimensions of change
change is a part of his job. He understood this in a project manager's life? What does he do
even before he starts his career in the industry. well and what is he struggling with? What are
the competencies he could get better at? These
are some of the questions we will address in
this article.
The Seven Dimensions of Change
In my assessment, an average project manager
has to contend with seven critical dimensions
of change in his every day work. These
dimensions are obviously of varying levels of
complexity and ease of management as
depicted in the diagram. I have therefore
Diagram 1: Drawn by Varsha. classified these dimensions into three levels of
He knows that the IT industry is synonymous complexity.
with change. He learns that everything about
the industry, its business model, its technology,
its processes, its products and its people keeps
changing and evolving constantly.
In fact the Software Engineering Institutes now
universally acclaimed CMM model specifies
five levels of maturity of the processes of a
software organization. CMM offers a
framework for evolutionary process
improvement. Originally applied to software
development (SE-CMM), it has been expanded
to cover other areas including Human
Resources (P-CMM) and Software Acquisition.
Level 5 of this model is all about Optimising - Diagram 2: Ganesh Chella model of Seven
Dimensions of Change
Continuous Improvement - Process Change
Management, Technology Change Level One Change Management Challenges
Management and Defect Prevention. • Client Requirements
In fact the evolution of P- CMM a is recognition Most project managers seem extremely
of the critical role of people in securing quality proficient in accepting this element of change.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 49

They realize that clients may not be clear about on their particular project.
what they want or may not articulate it clearly • Team
and that they may also change their minds at
any time. One of the biggest challenges for a project
manager is the transience in his team
This seems to be a non issue today. membership and relationship. I call it transience
• Technology because it is now beyond change. It is a
Project managers of today have seen several continuous onslaught of a series of everyday
technological transitions. They have been part changes in his team, many of which he is unable
of transitioning their clients from one platform to understand, appreciate and even manage.
to another. They have also understood the This constant state of transience is a great source
impact of technological changes on team of stress for any project manager.
preferences, employee costs and availability. First, there is a fair amount of attrition that
This too seems a non issue. changes his team composition and terminates
I am therefore not dwelling much on these level the team life ever so often. Second, is the
one dimensions. pressure to release trained people and induct
fresh people to keep the costs low, calling for
Level Two Change Management Challenges constant efforts in training, socialization and
• Client Environment team building efforts.
Many clients keep undergoing radical changes I am still placing this in the second level because
in many ways - the sponsors of the engagement managers seem to be learning quickly to manage
might change, there could be structural this dimension and many will no longer
realignments, there could be an M&A or even complain about this being an impossible task.
worse, the company could lose the client on The great managers tend to be better at building
account of a variety of problems. While these trust and relationships ever so quickly within the
aspects are typically handled at a level higher team. They also build informal networks within
than the project manager, the PM is ultimately the organization and are less reliant on HR and
responsible for managing its impact on the team more reliant on these networks to find the people
in terms of communication and morale. they want and staff their teams quickly.
It is in this area that the good project managers Most importantly, they are able to use their
begin to get separated from the great ones. relationships to get some heads up about what
The great ones are able to predict and sense is on their team members' mind, when they plan
these developments and assess their potential to ask for a change or leave and when they need
impact on the project and even the relationship. to start taking actions.
They are also able to share these insights within The average ones end up feeling helpless and
the organization at appropriate levels. They are constrained and blame the system and the
also able to come up with contingency plans. younger generation for all the chaos they have
They may even alert their team members and to deal with.
do what they can to mitigate risks.
Level Three Change Management Challenges
The average ones may not do enough connect
across multiple levels in the client organization • Organization Changes
and may therefore not be able to acquire these The organization constantly keeps making
insights despite doing a good job of delivering changes to its policies and processes in

50 November 2007 NHRD Journal

response to changes in the external The September 11 attack, the rupee
environment as well as client needs and appreciation, the visa restrictions, the anti-
internal pressures. These include changes in outsourcing protests, the spirally wage costs
hiring policies, the structure of the hiring and so on can all impact the industry. These
function, the resource allocation system, pay and other environmental changes almost
policies, campus hiring policies, release always have implications on costs and margins,
policies, staffing mix policies, career risks, business continuity and so on. The final
development policies, reward policies, on-site hard actions always rest with the project
assignment policies, training policies, and a manager for implementation.
whole host of other workforce management While most project managers are generally well
policies right down to things like dress code! informed about these developments thanks to
At another level, organizations themselves go an over-active media, few are able to appreciate
through structural changes, ownership its direct impact on their work or what they
changes and strategic changes. need to do to manage it.
While it is all fine to make out a policy • Competency Expectations
communication or announcement, the onus for The competencies expected of project managers
explaining it, selling it and making it work rests have gone up significantly over the years. His
with the project manager. Depending on the job is today much more complex than it was in
depth of the HR function and the the early days. From being back-end
organization's culture this is either shared by coordinators they are now expected to
HR or is often placed solely on the shoulders understand the client's business and add value
of the project managers. at a much higher and deeper level. They have
Given their own inability to understand the big to contend with much larger spans of control,
picture and the lack of training and preparation, far larger number of inexperienced team
many do a bad job of managing this. Some members and take a far greater responsibility
rationalize by taking the view that their life ends for the profitability of their projects and for
with the project and anything beyond that is retaining and growing the account.
not their problem. Some others believe that it is Are project managers aware of these changing
"management's" job to handle the change. Most expectations and are they doing enough to
seem themselves as victims of the system. equip themselves to respond to these changes?
This is where the maturity of organizational Well, I must say the situation is far from
processes makes a huge difference. Where satisfactory. While many Organizations are
organizations are sensitive to the implications of constantly investing in the retooling and
the change, they limit the burden on the project development of project managers, the problem
manager and lead the change from the front. is with the project managers' ability to wake
Weak Organizations just dump it on the PM. up and smell the coffee. Many do not wake up
• External Environment to the need for re-skilling themselves early
Given the truly global character of the IT enough till they realize that they are not meeting
industry anything that happens anywhere in the demands of the new order.
the world can have a huge impact on the The Competencies to Manage Change
business. This is the vulnerability with which What then are the competencies of a project
firms operate. manager who is capable of managing change

November 2007 NHRD Journal 51

well? In other words, what separates the great able to create excitement and comfort around
project managers who are adept at managing the change with the team.
change from the rest? • Positive Image of the Future
• Dual Focus (bird's eye and worm's eye view at Managers with a positive image of the future
the same time) and a high sense of optimism seem to be better
Project managers seem to be very good at seeing at embracing change compared to those who
what is front of them but quite often poor at are always skeptical and are easy to point out
seeing what is ahead. While their worm's eye all the potential problems with the future.
view is great, their bird's eye view is not. While To a large extent this positive image of the future
many believe that it is this blinkered vision that also emanates from a positive image one has of
keeps them focused and helps them deliver oneself, one's abilities and potential.
every day, this blinkered vision also inhibits
their ability to predict, develop insights, In closing
synthesize and see the big picture. Despite all the focus on process, it is the Aruls
• Learning Propensity of the IT world who finally make the difference.
They are the new generation of seasoned
A lot of resistance to change emanates from change managers with a basic level of comfort
fears about its consequences and about one's around change and that is good news.
belief that one will not be comfortable with the
changed situation. Those with a greater The Aruls can become great if the organization
propensity to learn tend to have greater comfort does its bit in terms of development,
around change. Don't your kids know more communication and support. In the days to
about your mobile phone than you do? come project managers are likely to be subjected
to increasing pressures and changes.
• Rallying the Troops Organizations that nurture these managers will
The buck stops with the Project manager. He or not only succeed but also help the likes of Arul
she is responsible for converting the visions get a good night's sleep and that is extremely
and strategies into tangible actions and important!
instructions for the troops. He also needs to be

52 November 2007 NHRD Journal


prizewinning book, Men & Women of the

Corporation (C. Wright Mills award winner for the
year's best book on social issues) offered insight to
countless individuals and organizations about
corporate careers and the individual and
organizational factors that promote success; a spin-off
video, A Tale of 'Of On Being Different, is among the
world's most widely-used diversity tools; and a
related book, Work & Family in the United States, set
a policy agenda (in 2001, a coalition of university
centers created the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award in
Rosabeth Moss Kanter holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle
her honor for the best research on work/family issues).
Professorship at Harvard Business School, where she
Another award-winning book, When Giants Learn to
specializes in strategy, innovation, and leadership for
Dance, showed how to master the new terms of
change. Her strategic and practical insights have
competition at the dawn of the global information age.
guided leaders of large and small organizations
World Class: Thriving Locally in the Global Economy
worldwide for over 25 years, through teaching,
identified the rise of new business networks and
writing, and direct consultation to major corporations
analyzed the benefits and tensions of globalization.
and governments. The former Editor of Harvard
Business Review (1989-1992), Professor Kanter has She has received 22 honorary doctoral degrees, as
been named to lists of the "50 most powerful women well as numerous leadership awards and prizes for
in the world" (Times of London), and the "50 most her books and articles; for example, her book The
influential business thinkers in the world" (Accenture Change Masters was named one of the most
and Thinkers 50 research). In 2001, she received the influential business books of the 20th century
Academy of Management's Distinguished Career (Financial Times). Through Good measure Inc., the
Award for her scholarly contributions to management consulting group she co-founded, she has partnered
knowledge, and in 2002 was named "Intelligent with IBM to bring her leadership tools, originally
Community Visionary of the Year" by the World developed for businesses, to public education as part
Teleport Association. of IBM's award-winning Reinventing Education
initiative and she is a Senior Advisor for IBM's Global
Professor Kanter is the author or co-author of 17
Citizenship portfolio.. She advises CEO s of large and
books, which have been translated into 17 languages.
small companies, has served on numerous business
Her latest book, America the Principled: 6
and non-profit boards and national or regional
Opportunities for Becoming a Can-Do Nation Once
commissions, and speaks widely, often sharing the
Again (published on October 23, 2007), offers a
platform with Presidents, Prime Ministers, and CEO s
positive agenda for the nation, focused on innovation
at national and international events, such as the World
and education, a new workplace social contract,
Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Before
values-based corporate conduct, competent
joining the Harvard Business School faculty, she held
government, positive international relations through
tenured professorships at Yale University and
citizen diplomacy and business networks, and
Brandeis University and was a Fellow at Harvard Law
national and community service.
School, simultaneously holding a Guggenheim
Her previous book, Confidence: How Winning Streaks Fellowship.
& Losing Streaks Begin & End (a New York Times
She chairs a Harvard University group creating an
business and #1 Business Week bestseller), describes
innovative initiative on advanced leadership, to help
the culture and dynamics of high-performance
successful leaders at the top of their professions apply
organizations as compared with those in decline, and
their skills not only to managing their own enterprises
shows how to lead turnarounds, whether in
but also to addressing challenging national and global
businesses, hospitals, schools, sports teams,
community organizations, or countries. Her classic

November 2007 NHRD Journal 53

Hundreds of books and millions of dollars in consolidation. In today's world, all
consulting fees have been devoted to leadership organizations, from the Fortune 500 to the local
and organizational change. No issue of the nonprofit agency, need greater reach. They need
past 15 years has concerned more managers or to be in more places, to be more aware of
a wider spectrum of organizations. Yet, for all regional and cultural differences, and to
the attention the subject merits, we see every integrate into coherent strategies the work
day that certain kinds of change are simple. If occurring in different markets and
you're a senior executive, you can order budget communities.
reductions, buy or sell a division, form a The first two forces for change -- globalization
strategic alliance or arrange a merger. and technology -- will inevitably grow. But it's
Such bold strokes do produce fast change, but not enough for organizations to simply "go
they do not necessarily build the long-term international" or "get networked." In a global,
capabilities of the organization. Indeed, these high-tech world, organizations need to be more
leadership actions often are defensive, the result fluid, inclusive, and responsive. They need to
of a flawed strategy or a failure to adapt to manage complex information flows, grasp new
changing market conditions. They sometimes ideas quickly, and spread those ideas
mask the need for a deeper change in strategy, throughout the enterprise. What counts is not
structure, or operations, and they contribute to whether everybody uses e-mail but whether
the anxiety that accompanies sudden change. people quickly absorb the impact of
Years of study and experience show that the information and respond to opportunity.
things that sustain change are not bold strokes Industry consolidation, the business story of
but long marches -- the independent, 1998-99, has a less certain future. But even if
discretionary, and ongoing efforts of people that trend abates, the impact of mergers,
throughout the organization. Real change acquisitions, and strategic alliances will be felt
requires people to adjust their behavior, and for years. Mergers and acquisitions bring both
that behavior is often beyond the control of top dangers and benefits to organizations (see
management. Yes, as a senior executive, you "Innovating in the Age of Mega mergers").
can allocate resources for new product Partnerships, joint ventures, and strategic
development or reorganize a unit, but you alliances can be a less dramatic but more
cannot order people to use their imaginations highly evolved vehicle for innovation.
or to work collaboratively. That's why, in However, you must not starve an alliance or a
difficult situations, leaders who have neglected partnership. You have to invest the time and
the long march often fall back on the bold stroke. resources to work out differences in culture,
It feels good (at least to the boss) to shake things strategy, processes, or policies.
up, but it exacts a toll on the organization. You also have to bring together people at many
Forces for Change levels to talk about shared goals and the future
Organizational change has become a way of of the alliance in general, not just their small
life as a result of three forces: globalization, functional tasks. Many alliances unravel
information technology, and industry because, while there is support at the top of the
organization, departments at lower levels are

c) 2007 by Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts,
USA. Used by permission of the author; not to be reprinted without express permission.

54 November 2007 NHRD Journal

left to resolve tensions, answer questions, or naturally to successful organizations, just as
fill gaps on their own. The conflicts and wasted they do to successful individuals. They reflect
efforts that result can end up destroying value habits, not programs -- personal skills,
instead of creating it. You have to make sure behavior, and relationships. When they are
that the goals of people at many levels of the deeply engrained in an organization, change
organizations are aligned, and that people get is so natural that resistance is usually low. But
to know each other, before you can expect them lacking these organizational assets, leaders
to build trust. tend to react to change defensively and
Keys to Mastering Change ineffectively. Change compelled by crisis is
usually seen as a threat, not an opportunity.
Change is created constantly and at many
levels in an organization. There is the Mastering deep change -- being first with the
occasional earthshaking event, often induced best service, anticipating and then meeting new
by outside forces; there are also the everyday customer requirements, applying new
actions of people engaged in their work. In technology -- requires organizations to do more
change-adept organizations, people simply than adapt to changes already in progress. It
respond to customers and move on to the next requires them to be fast, agile, intuitive, and
project or opportunity. They do not necessarily innovative. Strengthening relationships with
change their assumptions about how the customers in the midst of market upheaval can
organization operates, but they continuously help organizations avoid cataclysmic change --
learn and adapt, spread knowledge, share the kind that costs jobs and jolts communities.
ideas. By making change a way of life people To do that, effective leaders re conceive their role
are, in the best sense, "just doing their jobs." -- from monitors of the organization to monitors
of external reality. They become idea scouts,
Change -- adept organizations share three key attentive to early signs of discontinuity,
attributes, each associated with a particular disruption, threat, or opportunity in the
role for leaders. marketplace and the community. And they create
• The imagination to innovate. To encourage channels for senior managers, salespeople,
innovation, effective leaders help develop service reps, or receptionists to share what
new concepts -- the ideas, models, and customers are saying about products.
applications of technology that set an Classic Skills for Leaders
organization apart.
The most important things a leader can bring
• The professionalism to perform. Leaders to a changing organization are passion,
provide personal and organizational conviction, and confidence in others. Too often
competence, supported by workforce executives announce a plan, launch a task force,
training and development, to execute and then simply hope that people find the
flawlessly and deliver value to ever more answers -- instead of offering a dream, stretching
demanding customers. their horizons, and encouraging people to do
• The openness to collaborate. Leaders make the same. That is why we say, "leaders go first."
connections with partners who can extend However, given that passion, conviction, and
the organization's reach, enhance its confidence, leaders can use several techniques
offerings, or energize its practices. to take charge of change rather than simply
These intangible assets -- concepts, react to it. In nearly 20 years working with
competence, and connections -- accrue leaders I have found the following classic skills

November 2007 NHRD Journal 55

to be equally useful to CEO s, senior executives, for instance, a new way to deliver health
or middle managers who want to move an idea care.
forward. There are lots of ways to promote
1. Tuning in to the Environment. As a leader kaleidoscopic thinking. Send people
you can't possibly know enough, or be in outside the company -- not just on field trips,
enough places, to understand everything but "far afield trips." Go outside your
happening inside -- and more importantly industry and return with fresh ideas. Rotate
outside -- your organization. But you can job assignments and create
actively collect information that suggests interdisciplinary project teams to give
new approaches. You can create a network people fresh ideas and opportunities to test
of listening posts -- a satellite office, a joint their assumptions. For instance, one
venture, a community service. Rubber maid innovative department of a U.S. oil company
operates its own stores, for instance, even regularly invites people from many different
though it sells mostly to Wal-Mart and other departments to attend large brainstorming
big chains. These stores allow the company sessions. These allow interested outsiders
to listen to and learn from customers. to ask questions, make suggestions, and
Likewise, partnerships and alliances not trigger new ideas.
only help you accomplish particular tasks; 3. Communicating a Compelling
they also provide knowledge about things Aspiration. You cannot sell change, or
happening in the world that you wouldn't anything else, without genuine conviction,
see otherwise. because there are so many sources of
Look not just at how the pieces of your resistance to overcome: "We've never done
business model fit together but for what it before; we tried it before and it didn't
doesn't fit. For instance, pay special work." "Things are OK now, so why should
attention to customer complaints, which are we change?" Especially when you are
often your best source of information about pursuing a true innovation as opposed to
an operational weakness or unmet need. responding to a crisis, you've got to make a
Also search out broader signs of change -- a compelling case. Leaders talk about
competitor doing something differently or a communicating a vision as an instrument
customer using your product or service in of change, but I prefer the notion of
unexpected ways. communicating an aspiration. It's not just a
2. Challenging the Prevailing picture of what could be; it is an appeal to
Organizational Wisdom. Leaders need to our better selves, a call to become something
develop what I call kaleidoscope thinking - more. It reminds us that the future does not
- a way of constructing patterns from the just descend like a stage set; we construct
fragments of data available, and then the future from our own history, desires, and
manipulating them to form different decisions.
patterns. They must question their 4. Building Coalitions. Change leaders need
assumptions about how pieces of the the involvement of people who have the
organization, the marketplace, or the resources, the knowledge, and the political
community fit together. Change leaders clout to make things happen. You want the
remember that there are many solutions to a opinion shapers, the experts in the field, the
problem and that by looking through a values leaders. That sounds obvious, but
different lens somebody is going to invent, coalition building is probably the most

56 November 2007 NHRD Journal

neglected step in the change process. appropriately to the resources they need in
In the early stages of planning change, the organization (see "Why Teams Don't
leaders must identify key supporters and Work," Winter 1998). In addition, leaders
sell their dream with the same passion and can allow teams to forge their own identity,
deliberation as the entrepreneur. You may build a sense of membership, and enjoy the
have to reach deep into, across, and outside protection they need to implement changes.
the organization to find key influencers, but One of the temptations leaders must resist
you first must be willing to reveal an idea or is to simply pile responsibility on team
proposal before it's ready. Secrecy denies members. While it is fashionable to have
you the opportunity to get feedback, and people wear many hats, people must be
when things are sprung on people with no given the responsibility -- and the time -- to
warning, the easiest answer is always no. focus on the tasks of change.
Coalition building requires an 6. Learning to Persevere. My personal law
understanding of the politics of change, and of management, if not of life, is that
in any organization those politics are everything can look like a failure in the
formidable. middle. One of the mistakes leaders make in
When building coalitions, however, it's a change processes is to launch them and
mistake to try to recruit everybody at once. leave them. There are many ways a change
Think of innovation as a venture. You want initiative can get derailed (see "Sticky
the minimum number of investors necessary Moments in the Middle of Change"). But stop
to launch a new venture, and to champion it too soon and, by definition it will be a
it when you need help later. failure; stay with it through its initial
hurdles and good things may happen. Of
5. Transferring Ownership to a Working course, if a change process takes long
Team. Once a coalition is in place, you can enough you have to return to the beginning
enlist others in implementation. You must -- monitor the environment again, recheck
remain involved -- the leader's job is to your assumptions, reconsider whether the
support the team, provide coaching and proposed change is still the right one.
resources, and patrol the boundaries within Abdicating your role undermines the effort
which the team can freely operate. But you because, unlike bold strokes, long marches
cannot simply ask managers to execute a need ongoing leadership. Most people get
fully formed change agenda; you might excited about things in the beginning, and
instead develop a broad outline, informed everybody loves endings, especially happy
by your environmental scan and lots of good endings. It's the hard work in between that
questions, from which people can conduct demands the attention and effort of savvy
a series of small experiments. That approach leaders.
not only confers team ownership, but
allows people to explore new possibilities 7. Making Everyone a Hero. Remembering
in ways that don't bet the company or your to recognize, reward, and celebrate
budget. accomplishments is a critical leadership
skill. And it is probably the most
As psychologist Richard Hackman has underutilized motivational tool in
found, it is not just the personalities or the organizations. There is no limit to how much
team process that determine success; it's recognition you can provide, and it is often
whether or not the team is linked free. Recognition brings the change cycle to

November 2007 NHRD Journal 57

its logical conclusion, but it also motivates employees serve customers and seek
people to attempt change again. So many opportunities.
people get involved in and contribute to Increasingly, the assets that cannot be
changing the way an organization does controlled by rule are most critical to success.
things that it's important to share the credit. People's ideas or concepts, their commitment
Change is an ongoing issue, and you can't to high standards of competence, and their
afford to lose the talents, skills, or energies connections of trust with partners are what set
of those who can help make it happen. apart great organizations. All these
Today's organizations have come to expect bold requirements can be enhanced by leaders, but
strokes from their leaders. Sometimes these are none can be mandated. For all of the upheaval
appropriate and effective -- as when a project of the past 15 years, that may be the biggest
or product that no longer works is put to rest. change of all.
But bold strokes can also disrupt and distract Innovating in the Age of Mega Mergers
organizations. They often happen too quickly
to facilitate real learning, and they can impede Do mergers and acquisitions impair
the instructive long marches that ultimately innovation? It depends on the nature of the
carry an organization forward. That is why deal and the abilities of leaders. Some
imagination, professionalism, and openness consolidations, such as the effectively managed
are essential to leadership, not just to leading merger of Sandoz and Ciba Gigy to form
change. They give organizations the tools to Novartis, are growth-oriented. In that case, most
absorb and apply the lessons of the moment. of the pieces that were combined, and
eventually sold off, were in the chemical
Likewise, techniques that facilitate change business. What remained was a new,
within organizations -- creating listening posts, strategically coherent life sciences company. It
opening lines of communication, articulating can grow by building new knowledge and
a set of explicit, shared goals, building collecting in one place a set of diverse products
coalitions, acknowledging others -- are key to that previously had been scattered.
creating effective partnerships and sustaining
high performance, not just to managing change. The key for leaders in a growth-oriented merger
They build the trust and commitment necessary -- where the aim is to tackle new markets and
to succeed in good times or in bad. Even periods do things together that could not be done
of relative stability (unusual for most separately -- is to foster communication,
organizations) require such skills. encourage involvement, and share more
knowledge of overall strategy, special projects,
Change has become a major theme of leadership and how the pieces of the new entity fit
literature for a good reason. Leaders set the together.
direction, define the context, and help produce
coherence for their organizations. Leaders On the other hand, many mergers are aimed
manage the culture, or at least the vehicles primarily at reducing capacity and cutting
through which that culture is expressed. They costs. That is the case in most of the recent
set the boundaries for collaboration, autonomy, banking and financial services mergers, for
and the sharing of knowledge and ideas, and instance.
give meaning to events that otherwise appear These consolidations, and the efficiencies that
random and chaotic. And they inspire result, can make good economic sense. Yet
voluntary behavior -- the degree of effort, massive organizational change often drains so
innovation, and entrepreneurship with which much time and energy that the sustainable

58 November 2007 NHRD Journal

benefits of the long march are lost, and the • Roads Curve. Everyone knows that a new
temptations of the bold stroke are irresistible. path is unlikely to run straight and true, but
Often this leaves leaders with the task of putting when we actually encounter those twists
the best face on what, for many employees, is and turns we often panic. Especially when
not a promising future. attempting to make changes in a system,
Mergers that focus on cost cutting -- often diversions are likely, and unwelcome.
necessary to pay for the deal and to satisfy the It is a mistake to simply stop in your tracks.
demands of shareholders -- can threaten the Every change brings unanticipated
funding of promising experiments and disrupt consequences, and teams must be prepared
innovation. Massive mergers can also drive out to respond, to troubleshoot, to make
the knowledge that fuels innovation. Merged adjustments, and to make their case.
organizations often lose a degree of staff Scenario planning can help; the real
professionalism because people resent losing message is to expect the unexpected.
a voice in their destiny or having to do tasks • Momentum Slows. After the excitement and
that they're not prepared for. Training budgets anticipation of a project launch, reality sinks
and opportunities for collegial exchange also in. You do not have solutions to the
tend to shrink. Most consolidations fail to create problems you face; the multiple demands of
more integrated, value-adding enterprises and your job are piling up; the people you have
fall short of their promised benefits. That is what asked for information or assistance are not
makes them such a demanding test of returning your calls. The team is
leadership. discouraged and enmeshed in conflict. It is
Sticky Moments in the Middle of Change -- important to revisit the team's mission, to
and How to Get Unstuck recognize what's been accomplished and
Every idea, especially if it is new or different, what remains, and to remember that the
runs into trouble before it reaches fruition. differences in outlook, background, and
However, it's important for change leaders to perspective that now may divide you will
help teams overcome four predictable -- but ultimately provide solutions.
potentially fatal -- roadblocks to change. • Critics Emerge. Even if you have built a
• Forecasts Fall Short. You have to have a plan coalition and involved key stakeholders, the
-- but if you are doing something new and critics, skeptics, and cynics will challenge
different, you should not expect it to hold. you -- and they will be strongest not at the
Plans are based on experience and beginning but in the middle of your efforts.
assumptions. When attempting to innovate, It is only then that the possible impact of the
it is difficult to predict how long something change becomes clear, and those who feel
will take or how much it will cost (you can threatened can formulate their objections.
predict, however, that it will probably take This is when change leaders -- often with
longer and cost more than you think). the help of coalition members, outside
Change leaders must be prepared to accept partners, or acknowledged experts -- can
serious departures from plans. They must respond to criticism, remove obstacles, and
also understand that if they hope to push forward. Tangible progress will
encourage innovation it is foolish to produce more believers than doubters.
measure people's performance according to
strictly planned delivery.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 59


Organizational change can occur are four main challenges that are
in many forms. It can, for instance, crucial to the change leader's
include accelerating growth, success as a navigator through the
leading transformation or arresting rocky process of altering mindsets.
decline. All these three forms of We list these challenges below and
change need to be managed. In the also briefly refer to different roles
growing literature on change that change leaders would be
management, transformational expected to perform:
Ramnarayan is a
professor of OB at change has attracted a lot of (a) Appreciating Change: This
theIndian School attention. Referred to also as radical
ofBusiness. He has a requires tuning to people's mindsets
PhDfrom change, frame-breaking change or inside the organization and outside
WeatherheadSchool of reinvention, this type of change forces of change impacting the
Management,Case often involves simultaneous
Western organization. This task addresses
ReserveUniversity, and alterations in strategy, structure, the challenge of clear articulation of
aPGDIM from and culture of an organization. the destination and an appreciation
JamnalalBajaj Institute
ofManagement Transformational changes face a of what is required to reach that
Studies.He has a number high risk of failure with estimates destination. To perform this core
ofpublications to his
crediton change of successful transformations task effectively, the change leader
managementHe was ranging between 20 and 40 per has to be a cognitive tuner.
formerlyteaching at the
IndianInstitute of cent. Over several years, we have (b) Mobilizing Support: This
Management, closely observed these changes involves more than mere
Ahmedabad, Otto- unfold in a large number and wide
Friedrich University exhortation of people to do the right
ofBamberg, Germany, variety of organizations. We have things. It refers to strengthening
andCase Western noticed that effective change influence and communication
ReserveUniversity. He is
activelyguiding large
leaders get people to assume efforts to muster, assemble, and
scalechange ownership and engage with rally people together to bring about
initiatives.He is on the difficult problems facing the group
boards of anumber of meaningful change. This task
companies inIndia. or the organization. For doing this, requires change leader to be a
they tackle major challenges people catalyzer.
required to bring about changes in
people's values, beliefs, habits, (c) Executing Change: This entails
ways of working and ways of life. designing, building and sustaining
In short, they recognize that a social architecture that can
successful organizational change is establish new routines to replace
primarily about changing the way old routines. Just as the mould
in which people think and act. determines the shape that jelly
takes, right structures and
Our inquiry of the change processes create the architecture for
management journey in different desired cross-functional linkages
organizations has shown that there and innovation efforts to emerge.

60 November 2007 NHRD Journal

To address the challenge of executing change, and operate with minimal guidance and
the change leader should function as a systems specific role prescriptions to pursue larger
architect. organizational goals and priorities. This was
(d) Building Change Capability: This involves a sharp departure from the existing methods
creating positive context that enables people that were characterized by hierarchical
to have faith in their own capabilities, take risks approaches, strong functional loyalties and
and learn. By engendering a feeling of optimism turf concerns. For the change to succeed, people
and hope, change leader fosters a positive had to communicate requirements and
belief in people that they can face challenges of demands, if required to individuals, groups
change. This positive belief lies at the heart of and functions even if they were powerful.
capability building. Thus change leader should Juniors were expected to talk openly about
be an efficacy builder. difficulties and voice opinions freely at
meetings. They had to assume responsibility.
Change management failures occur because The seniors, on the other hand, were expected
one or more of the above challenges are not to actively seek opinions, encourage dissent
addressed effectively. In rest of the paper, we'll and support efforts to modify dysfunctional
briefly review what each one of the above four procedures. They had to feel comfortable with
roles entails. initiative being taken at lower levels and
feedback and expectations being expressed
frankly by their direct reports.
No thought was given to how such changes in
mindsets were expected to be brought about.
Not surprisingly, these mindset changes did
Leadership not occur and so the structural changes did
not take root. There was also no clarity on how
the inherent contradictions among different
sub-goals were expected to be resolved. For
instance, the sub-goal of new product
development was at odds with the sub-goal of
Appreciating Change maximizing production of existing products.
A traditional organization had sought to make Incentive systems, goal setting and
certain important structural interventions to be measurement procedures were not geared to
able to face greater competition. Accordingly, accept possible higher rejections, extra costs
teams were constituted and resources were and the dip in the top-line and bottom-line
allocated. The objective was to strengthen flowing from investments for the future.
interface management among the key functions A key change management challenge is to
for developing new products. For the success ensure that all such factors are visualized and
of the change effort, employees were required considered before the direction is frozen in terms
to behave in ways that would be qualitatively of specific sub-goals and tasks. When people
different from the manner in which they had are able to visualize both the larger picture and
been used to operating. their assigned tasks, they become hopeful,
For example, the organizational members were optimistic and committed to the transformation
required to work across functional boundaries process.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 61

We have referred to the leadership role for this DMRC appointed additional personnel at
key task as cognitive tuning because it is largely important signals to help traffic police in
a process of reflection, analysis and thinking. maintaining smooth flow of traffic. Though it was
Cognitive tuning occurs through the medium clearly not its responsibility, DMRC also
of dialogue and conversations. Change leaders undertook road widening and road repairs
must, therefore be skilled in initiating dialogue where necessary to ensure that no road was
to both understand prevailing mindsets and closed at any time and people were not
make people aware of their mindsets. They also inconvenienced in any way. In the same way,
need to pay attention to the evolving power, water supply, sewerage and other issues
environment. While cognitive tuning is all were also pro-actively addressed.
about paying attention to mental models both Right through the process, there were regular
inside and outside the organization, one cannot community interaction programs. People were
understand the mental models of others unless provided advance intimation and regular
one is aware of one's own mental model. updates by using several media. Help lines
Therefore, as cognitive tuners, change leaders were available to report difficulties. As a result,
need to be able to reflect on their own ways of the project consistently enjoyed a great image
thinking. This very act of cognitive tuning in the eyes of the Delhi residents and received
initiates change in an organization. their support whenever required.
Mobilizing Support When change leaders emphasize the content
When Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) of change at the expense of process, they may
undertook the massive project in the Nation's wrongly perceive the process from a limited
Capital, the leadership realized that among perspective of education and exhortation.
other challenges, it had to generate external Change involves a long and difficult journey,
support from Delhi's residents, politicians, and managers need to listen to diverse views,
bureaucrats, contractors and several other keep making changes in a variety of settings,
groups. The project owes its success to effectively and keep up the momentum of the change
managing the dependencies on a wide array of campaign. An important set of leadership
these external stakeholders. To illustrate the challenges pertain to: building supportive
leadership's approach, let us examine how the coalitions; evaluating the interests of people
public support was mobilized. whose support is needed; altering people's
The leadership saw the challenge not merely in incentives for change; framing and crafting the
terms of communication, but as winning people message in a way that evokes support;
over to the corporation's philosophy and instituting a process that is open, transparent
approaches. For example, a number of procedures and inclusive; consulting as widely as possible
were instituted at work sites to minimize before making a decision; attend to the timing
disturbances. The procedures even specified that issue; and sustaining the momentum as
the vehicles should not be allowed to leave the mobilizing is not a one-time activity. This
work sites without their tyres being cleaned. As requires a blend of logic, emotions and values.
the other public utilities were notorious for their That's the reason why we have termed the
inefficiency, the interface with those agencies was change leader's role as one of 'people catalyzer'.
handled by taking additional responsibilities to Executing Change
ensure that there was no public discontent. For In the celebrated case of Nissan's turnaround,
instance, when traffic diversions had to be made, the new leader found that the organization had

62 November 2007 NHRD Journal

very capable people; but the organization's standards organization, chief commissioner of
architecture in terms of its hierarchy, railway safety, audit and other agencies were
procedures, policies, and decision-making involved in examining different facets of the
processes had contributed to a culture of change. Important amendments were made in
learned helplessness. Compartmentalization of the engineering code, bridge code, mechanical
functions/ roles and rivalry between code, preferential traffic order, and traffic
departments/ divisions had reached such an schedule. The change agents were patient and
extent that there was a culture of blaming each meticulous in their efforts to prepare the ground
other for organizational problems. Employees for the launch of the change initiative. Their
had lost both focus and energy. Changing hard work contributed to effective execution
anything seemed to be a huge task beyond any and institutionalization of change.
individual's capacity. As we can see from these two experiences, a
To convert this learned helplessness into key change management challenge is to
learned optimism, the leadership altered both facilitate modification of mindsets by attending
the structure and the culture of the to four requirements: exposing people to
organization. Cross-functional teams (CFTs) alternative perspectives; enabling people from
were set up to address critical issues. CFTs were different functions to work together; identifying
supported by a number of thoughtful and removing roadblocks to modifying
interventions, and so they became instrumental existing routines; and creating new routines to
in creating a strong foundation for the focus the organization's attention on
remarkable turnaround of the company. continuous improvement. Change leadership
Another case that has attracted a great deal of establishes a context that facilitates these four
attention is the remarkable transformation of requirements. This is done by creating an
the Indian Railways. The increase in the axle appropriate architecture that is made up of
loading from 20.3 tons to 22.9 tons led to a roles, responsibilities, systems and procedures.
significant impact on the performance of the We refer to this important change leadership
mammoth organization driven by strong role as that of a systems architect.
systems and documentation and governed by As a systems architect, leaders create cross-
manuals and codes. The change agents functional linkages in the organization; align
recognized that resorting to directives or orders policies, procedures and remove structural
at any stage would appear superficially to impediments to performance and change; and
hasten the change process, but would create create new routines for continuous
problems at the execution stage; it would also improvement. Apart from the emphasis on
not allow change to develop roots and get structure, leaders also pay attention to creating
institutionalized. a climate of hope and optimism by clarifying
To make the change last, the change managers purpose, enhancing preparedness and
painstakingly involved different stakeholders providing psychological safety.
through detailed background work, sharing Building Change Capability
and discussing these in one on one meetings, For a company that is almost 100 years old,
committee deliberations, exposure visits, pilot Tata Steel has shown remarkable agility since
testing and so on. For example, the concerned the early 1990's. When the forces of
officials from technical directorate, traffic wing, liberalisation were set in motion, the leadership
finance department, research designs and put in place myriad processes to prepare the

November 2007 NHRD Journal 63

company for global competition. Over a leadership lies in building self-efficacy. Self-
hundred teams were mobilised to bring about efficacy refers to the confidence an individual
improvements in different areas. Cumulatively, has in his or her ability to achieve challenging
over 5000 people were entrusted the challenge goals. A high level of self-efficacy makes it easy
of carrying out various initiatives for for individuals to learn new things because
modernising mindsets of the company's 40,000 they experience less learning anxiety. As we
employees, enhancing quality, bringing about have noted, the subjective world and mindsets
radical performance improvements through of organizational members determine what
'Total Operational Performance' (TOP), creating they see and how they would think and act.
a market-oriented organization, de- This change leadership role of fostering a
bottlenecking facilities, phasing out positive belief in people that they can face the
technologically obsolete plants, adding new challenges of change and overcome them has
facilities for manufacturing value-added been termed as 'efficacy builder'.
products, capacity expansion and so on. The To build self-efficacy, leaders enhance the
entire workforce of 40,000 people was trained aspirations of people to face challenging tasks.
in certain improvement techniques to change They create positive role models for others to
patterns of thinking. A major change initiative emulate; design incentives that induce people
called ASPIRE (Aspirational Initiatives to to set high goals for themselves; ensure that
Retain Excellence) was launched to use teams there are support mechanisms to help people
as an instrument and source of innovation in achieve their stretch goals; and promote
the company. The idea was to get people to look learning as a desirable goal in the
at existing operations with new eyes, be organization. In short, they structure
innovative and translate the ideas into effective opportunities for people to set challenging
ground-level implementation. Not goals and achieve them.
surprisingly, the company has been rated
among the top five steel producers in the world Finally, it is important to note that a single
for the last four years by the World Steel leader need not necessarily address all the four
Dynamics. The purchase of Corus has also sets of challenges by himself/herself. An
propelled the company to a high world ranking effective change leader understands his or her
in terms of size. strengths and limitations and teams up with
other leaders having complementary strengths
Though the company changed all the so that the leadership team can perform all four
components of capability - its skills, systems, roles to be able to navigate through the complex
structure, strategy and culture, the heart of the challenge of altering mindsets.

64 November 2007 NHRD Journal


The only constant in the new World - Change is a major challenge
in large-sized organizations where the sheer size as well as the
comfort of past successes causes inertia and resistance to change.
Change management is the single most important leadership
accountability and driving change initiatives successfully is a
key HR deliverable. In scores of big and small Change initiatives
that we have driven across in HUL, it has been our experience
Leena is an Electronic Engineer
who discovered her passion for that Change can be successful and Resistance to Change can be
people and HR and switched overcome if a whole systems approach is followed and where
lanes. She went on to complete the complete organization along with its Structures, Systems and
her MBA in HR from XLRI,
Jamshedpur. People, processes, are viewed in totality studying the impact of
She has worked with Unilever one on the other in view of the Change that is being driven in the
for the last 15 years in a variety organization.
of roles like - Employee
Relations Manager, The paper focuses on certain tools at the disposal of the HR team
Management Development to drive change seamlessly and embed it in the DNA of the
Manager, Business Partner for
the Home & Personal Care
Business. She has championed 1. Leadership Engagement
many HR initiatives like
Diversity, Enterprise Culture, Change and Culture is driven from the top. Success is half achieved
and Coaching. With her recent
appointment as Executive if the leadership team is committed to and prepared to prescribe
Director-HR, Leena has become the Change
the first woman on the
Management Committee of 2. Rewards and Recognition
The most effective HR tool to drive alignment in behaviors
3. Communication and Buzz
Generate curiosity and excitement towards the Change initiatives
4. Capability building
Up-skill and de-skill employees to align organizational
capabilities with the New Organization.
The paper also touches upon Resistance for Change and
Ankush Punj is the Corp
Employee Relations Manager
measures to overcome the same.
of Hindustan Unilever In achieving the above we have generously borrowed from
Limited. XLRI batch of 2003,
Ankush joined HUL as a Change theories and personal experiences of driving Change in
Business Leadership Trainee HUL.
and in his first assignment
was the HR Manager of HUL
factory in Sumerpur (UP) for
two years before moving into
the Corporate ER role.Ankush
is an avid trekker, marathon
runner and passionate about
reading, writing, travelling
and music.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 65

Driving Organizational Change can be catastrophic. Rather change initiatives
Conducting business in a fast evolving that are often brought in under the guise of total
environment where the rate of change itself is quality management, re-engineering, or
accelerating every minute is a challenge which strategic planning often fail because the
most of us have not experienced in the past. underlying culture is not addressed or
Even to be relevant in this world of Change, fundamentally altered to align with the
organizations have to continually adapt and structure and processes.
evolve - call it the era of Survival of the Agile Edgar Schein postulated three levels of culture;
and Adaptable. starting form the outermost layer of physical
In large organizations like ours, the sheer size artifacts which include observable daily
and the inertia makes embarking on a change features of organizational life such as activities,
initiative itself a challenge, as it calls for rituals, jargon, office layouts, and so forth, the
acknowledging the fact that historical success middle layer of values and beliefs espoused by
does not guarantee future success. Real change the organization and the innermost core level
is not incremental but usually fundamental and of basic assumptions including our deepest and
accompanied with a lot of resistance and pain. most comprehensive explanation of reality - our
In our experience of driving change especially views of fundamental truths about people and
in large organizations, we have evolved certain the world
method to its madness which has proved rather While most organizations succeed in bringing
fruitful; this includes abundant borrowings about a change at the superficial artifacts level
from Change theories as also learning we have however to drill down and challenge the basic
acquired en route. As an HR team, we find assumptions and changing those is the most
ourselves in the middle of all sorts of change difficult process. These may often not even be
initiatives, viz, restructuring a department/ evident at the surface; as is the case of Values,
team, driving behavioral change, creating a which often may differ between what is espoused
growth mindset, promoting inclusion, and what is really existent! So while the
improving the effectiveness processes and teams organization structure, systems and the
towards delivering organizational objectives. Corporate Purpose read one thing, the way the
Driving behavior/culture change is the toughest organization is run is an altogether different story.
change process to deal with it, and this paper To initiate on the path of driving organizational
focuses a little more on those aspects. change, it is imperative to diagnose the existing
Making sense of the Change - the Basic organization culture; and its fit with the current
Ingredients and proposed business strategies and create a
It is imperative to begin with identifying the vision for the preferred future.
triggers in the external environment that are Driving Change - Role of HR
forcing an organization to undertake the Driving Change is one of the most important
change process, while simultaneously map the and difficult responsibilities in an
internal drivers for change and then review the organization; in fact it is the essence of
organization's People, Systems and Structures leadership as rest is more or less secondary.
to identify the facilitators and the inhibitors Human Resources as a function plays the
towards this Change process. pivotal role in every aspect of driving Change
Viewing any of the above elements in isolation in the organization; creating a shared need for

66 November 2007 NHRD Journal

change, preparing the leadership and the Aside from Leadership team visibly
organization at large for the inevitable Change demonstrating the desirable behavior ("Walk
and then seeing the process of Change through! the Talk"), the organization's reward and
In our experience the success of the Change recognition models too must align themselves
process is determined by a multitude of factors around the Change behaviors desired.
of which Top Leadership forms a single most Employees are quick to learn what it would
important element. take one to make it up the organization ladder;
Tools to Drive Change - Top Leadership • what the top leadership team displays,
Engagement • people who get recognized,
The single most critical role of the HR • behaviors and initiatives that they get
Champions in their organizations is to closely recognized for,
engage with the leadership team and induct
• individuals who are put on fast track
them into the Need for Change. The process of
programs etc
leading change is a shared leadership
accountability. They modify their way of working to align with
the rewarding behaviors to grow faster in the
Any major change initiative in an organization
has to be guided by the top management team.
The success of a change initiative lies in its Tools to Drive Change - Communication and
sustenance and being woven into the very fabric Buzz
of the organization. This is possible only if the It is vital to create a lot of buzz and excitement
top management team is as driving and living around any Change initiative. A sense of
the Change that they espouse. curiosity around what is going to Change and
Leadership conversations as well as what holds in the offing helps generate a positive
demonstration is important. Eg. If welcoming vibe for the Change initiative being
consciousness for personal safety is being driven. A simple measure of effectiveness of
embedded in a organization, then the leaders Communication is the number of positive
at every forum must talk about it, must engage messages and the number of negative messages
their teams on safe and unsafe behavior. They that are communicated in the organization's
must equally ensure that they personally 'live' formal and informal (grapevine) networks
safe behavior, viz, using a safety belt at all times around any Change initiative. If the net of the
in their cars, following simple safety norms. two is positive, the success of the Change
People ultimately practice what leaders practice initiative is far more assured than if the net is
and not what they preach! HR at all times must negative.
play the role of the conscience keeper to alert Now one can sit and wait for the cows to come
leaders to the gaps between what they 'say' and home or play the more proactive role of the
what they 'do'. "Change driver" (the HR team) and actively
Tools to Drive Change - Rewards and feed into the network as many positive
Recognition messages as possible. The trick here is to
What gets rewarded; gets driven! identify the most active nodes which literally
are far more wired in the organization than the
The most visible cue an organization offers to others and feed those with more positive
its employees' on desirable and undesirable messages to be drilled down across the
behaviors is through its rewards structure.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 67

organization. Important, it is, to realize that in they do not understand or find essential. This
any Change initiative it is the 10% of the can easily be tackled through the process of
resources who lying at either end of the positive Communication, Creating a compelling vision
(early adopters) and the negative ends (change of the future, Appreciative Enquiry processes
resisters) can sail through or capsize the entire etc. However more often than not, resistance to
initiative. Identification of the same is extremely Change does not owe to lack of understanding
critical, and while at one end those in the favor or knowledge but because of a more
of the Change should be encouraged and fundamental problem…Change challenges the
visibly recognized in the system, the alienation status quo. This is a bigger and a more deep-
or separation of those at the far end of the seated problem to resolve.
negative tunnel is also equally essential for the Big or small, every change challenges the status
success of the Change initiative. If the Noah's quo and may cause:
Ark has to take forward all that is good and
desirable in the new world; it has to begin by • Redundancy
identifying and segregating the unaligned and • Change in job content
incongruent! • Change in social grouping
Tools to Drive Change - Capability Building • Change in position, status, earnings or even
Lastly, some change initiatives may call for importance
acquisition of newer skills and competencies, Richard Beckhard and David Gleicher
adoption of newer ways of working and beautifully captured Resistance and how to
interpersonal dealings; this may necessitate the overcome the same in the following formula:
organization to undertake formal capability
building initiatives. However this would rarely D V F > R (e + p)
be an impediment and thus appears at the Where D = Dissatisfaction with the Current
bottom of the list because invariably our ways of working
capable and star resources once, they identify V = Vision created by the organization of
the behaviors and skills that get rewarded and "What is possible"
revered in the organization, invariably either
emulate the same or find ways of covering those F = Concrete steps that can be taken towards
capability gaps on their own in order to stay the Vision
ahead in the organization. R = Resistance(economic as well as
Resistance to Change psychological)

The toughest challenge with any Change The push and pull between these forces
initiative is that it is always accompanied with determines the success or the failure of a
Resistance and the more sweeping the Change, Change initiative.
the stronger the Resistance Resistance is also referred to as the cost of
Why is there a resistance to change? change; and in the above equation is segregated
into economic and psychological cost of
Resistance to Change is usually on account of change. Even if financially the cost of change
the following two broad reasons: Sometimes is low, the change will still not occur should
on account of lack of information or the psychological resistance of employees be
understanding of why the recommended at a high level.
change is so inevitable; so people resist what

68 November 2007 NHRD Journal

However the good news is that the above working etc all help drive change through and
factors are not static and in our experience of through the organization.
driving change initiatives the dynamic factors Was the Change Initiative successful?
on the left had side can be effectively loaded
with effective deployment of the four tools of At the end of any change initiative the question
Leadership: Engagement, Reward and that would always confront the leadership team
Recognition, Capability building and would be "Has the Change been successful?"
Communication and Buzz to ensure that the To answer this, it is imperative to get the Vision
balance tilts in favor of Change. that it had set out for the organization. Change
is affected only if the desired business goals as
The greatest challenge in D is that often people was visualized to begin with has been achieved
learn to live and "manage" in the existing ways in the end. As most Change initiatives involve
of working and the "dissatisfaction" often behavioral change, formal dipsticks from a cross
becomes a way of life not usually surfacing section of people impacted by the Change
quite openly in the organization. To drive a should be undertaken to measure the impact of
change initiative it is critical to heighten the the Change. The success of a change initiative
levels of dissatisfaction with the process/ has to be measured at different levels. At input
behavior that needs to be changed. This can level are the milestones being met, at the output
often be done through initiatives like level are the Business goals being met. The
"Appreciative Enquiry"! Other initiatives like change impact has to be measured or reviewed.
"co-creating" a shared vision, eg., what is the
organization you want to be a part of, evolving Closing Remarks
a theme, an anthem etc are some initiatives that Kurt Lewin had described Change as a simple
help to create buy in as well as creating a vision three step process such as Unfreezing,
of the Ideal/desired state and preparing the Changing and Refreezing. Moving too quickly
organization for Change. Inclusion of all through the stages can endanger the success of
stakeholders through different interventions. a change effort. People typically transit through
As the organization formally steps into the a series of emotional stages as they adjust to the
journey of affecting change, Communication need for a drastic change in the lives; and that
and Capability building play a critical role in is why the HR team is indispensable to the
further tilting the balance in favor of the Change process. As every change process is
Change. Concrete steps taken towards invariably a behavioral change process, the HR
achieving the Vision need to be visibly seen teams are usually placed in the "eye of the
and felt by the employees, periodic updates on storm" and owe the responsibility of sailing the
progress made, seeking feedback, informal organization through the stormy seas through
conversations, training people on new ways of innovative practices designed around Change
models and prescribed tools.

Beckhard, R. (1969). Organization Development: Strategies and Models. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA
Gladwell, Malcolm (2000). The Tipping Point – How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Little, Brown & Company
Schein, Edgar (1992). Organizational Culture and Leadership. Jossey-Bass Inc., California.
Silverman, Lori L. (1997). Organizational Architecture – A Framework for Successful Transformation. Partners for Progress

November 2007 NHRD Journal 69


Organizational change invariably entails some impact on organizational culture. However,
organizational culture must be qualitatively and/or quantitatively measured to comprehend
the changes. After briefly introducing the concepts of organizational culture and sub-culture,
various qualitative and quantitative techniques for interpreting the nuances of organizational
culture are reviewed in this paper. Practitioners can make more informed decisions about
occurrences of cultural change based on this review. As early as 1965, the concept of culture
was gaining prominence in business education and research (Wadia, 1965). Over the last four
decades, culture has become a buzzword in social sciences. Executives and researchers both
recognize its role in any organizational change effort. Since the germinal study of Pettigrew
(1979), a number of research studies have used organizational culture as a variable. Both
qualitative and quantitative techniques have been employed to measure organizational
culture. This paper presents a brief introduction to the concept of organizational culture and
sub-culture. An evaluative review of techniques used to interpret organizational culture is
presented subsequently.

Culture • Culture is inherent in explicit

The concept of culture was and tacit beliefs, customs,
originally used in anthropology values and morals.
(Wadia, 1965). Culture, as initially • Individuals acquire the
used in anthropology and later in constituent elements of a culture
sociology, referred to a way of life, as they live in a society.
shared norms and values. It was Sub-culture
Rajeev Kumar, a Fellow supposed to operate at
from IIM, Ahmedabad, subconscious levels, and yet in a In a society or a group, there may
and an MBA from IIFM powerful manner. Scholars offered be some characteristics that
Bhopal, is an Assistant
several definitions of culture, and distinguish one group from
Professor of HRM at the another. The term sub-culture is
Institute of Management Kroeber and Kluckhohn (1952, as
and Technology, quoted in Detert, Schroeder and often used to denote such
Ghaziabad .He has Mauriel, 2000) identified several categories. Sub-cultures develop to
previous work experience
common elements in the different address some common problems or
of more than 4 years
definitions of culture. Combining experiences of a group (Daft, 2008).
across Hewitt
Associates and an these commonalities with another The need to distinguish between
NGO-Society for the review provided by Wadia (1965) culture and sub-culture is
Promotion of
yields the following attributes of particularly important during the
Wastelands change efforts in a large and
Development . culture:
complex culture. A more directed
• Culture is historically created discussion on culture and sub-
• Culture guides the behaviors of culture is presented below while
individuals describing organizational culture.

70 November 2007 NHRD Journal

Organizational Culture and Sub-Culture context of organizational change efforts is quite
Organizations have been conceptualized as complex. A renowned expert in the domain of
socio-technical systems (Parikh and Garg, organizational change and culture, Edgar H.
1992). People who constitute an organization Schein, has aptly summarized these
(employees, managers, owners, etc.) come from complexities when advising consulting
a societal culture, or possibly sub-culture. The psychologists to avoid the trap of assuming
interplay between this "social" reality and "…that your client knows what culture is and
"technical" rationality of organizations is a does, and, worse, you assume that you know
defining feature of organizations. This view of what culture is and does" (Schein, 2003: 79).
organizations makes culture an integral part Nevertheless, it is useful to be aware of the
of any organizational change effort. techniques that can provide some grip over the
different nuances of culture in an organization.
The concept of culture in organizational Therefore, a review of such techniques is
research is more than two decades old now. presented here.
The credit for introducing culture in
organization theory generally goes to Pettigrew Overview of Techniques
(Detert et al., 2000). However, the concept has The methods to measure culture can be broadly
often been used vaguely (O'Reilly and put in two categories, qualitative and
Chatman, 1996). At the same time, the quantitative. It should be noted that some
realization of the importance of organizational scholars advocate the use of multiple methods
culture in the context of organizational change to measure organizational culture (Martin,
has also grown (Detert et al., 2000). 1992). Blalock and Blalock (1968) suggested
A wide variety of specifications of that firstly one should use qualitative
organizational culture prevail in literature. But techniques, to be supplemented by quantitative
over the years, some agreement has emerged assessment subsequently. In the following
around the following key features: sections, a review of various methods is
• Organizational culture contains some
combination of artifacts, values and beliefs Qualitative Techniques
and underlying assumptions that Qualitative methods do not attempt to ascribe
organizational members share about a number to various aspects of organizational
appropriate behavior. (Cook and Rousseau, culture. They allow researchers and
1988) practitioners the flexibility of digging deeper
• These shared conceptions act as a normative into various aspects of organizational culture.
guide for behavior (Daft, 2008). Some of the classic approaches used to study
organizational culture involve the following:
• Organization culture is holistic, historically
determined, socially constructed and exists • Case studies: A case study focuses on
at variety of levels (Hofstede, Neuijen, Ohavy understanding the nuances of a single setting
and Sanders, 1990). in depth. Case studies can be done at
multiple level of analysis, i.e., individual,
The many levels of organizational culture are group or organization. Typical techniques
depicted in the following picture (Schein, 1985): of data collection for case studies include
It should be noted here that the real interviews, archives, observations, etc (Yin,
interpretation of organizational culture in the 1994; Eisenhardt, 1989).

November 2007 NHRD Journal 71

• Ethnographic studies: This technique is • Profile scales - These describe the culture of
particularly important in social sciences, an organization.
though organizational sciences have Ashkanasy et al. (2000) reviewed 18 scales of
increasingly used it. It involves a long period organizational culture. Some of these scales
of systematic observation by a researcher. measure norms while some other measure
During the phase of observation, the values. Of these, complete reliability and
observer almost merges with the culture s/ validity assessment was reported for only two
he is studying. Extended time required for scales and partial reporting was available for
such studies, however, is a drawback. four other scales. It should be noted here that
• Action research - This method is being reliability and validity assessments help
increasingly employed in social determine the scientific soundness of an
development sector. However, its use in instrument, and hence one should avoid using
organizations is limited. scales with unknown reliability and validity.
In an important contribution, Trice and Beyer An important issue to consider here is the
(1984) proposed that organizational culture scientific equivalence of scales when
can be studied through rites and ceremonies translating scales for usages in local languages.
followed in an organization. Metaphors can One way of ensuring this is back-to-back
be useful in studying culture (Morgan, 1997). translation (Brislin, 1986). This is an accepted
Quantitative Techniques procedure for translating scales in some other
language. In this procedure, a bilingual
Organizational culture is an all-encompassing translator translates the original scale into a
concept that needs to be broken into local language. Then a second bilingual
manageable proportions for study (Meek, 1988). translator translates the local language version
The quantitative measurement of culture back into the original language of the scale
focuses more on what a culture has (Smircich, (mostly English). A third bilingual compares
1983). A general agreement seems to be that the original and back-translated version and
quantitative approaches are more capable of the discrepancies are sorted out.
measuring the general, shallow level of culture,
and qualitative studies are more capable of Concluding Remarks
penetrating the deeper levels of value system, It is important to realize the importance of
assumptions, etc (Ashkanasy, Broadfoot, and organizational culture in the efforts aiming at
Falkus, 2000). Quantitative methods try to organizational change. Though it would be
capture the manifestation of culture only, erroneous to assume that even an insider
which may occur as a behavior (a manifest would have complete grasp over organizational
action) or a thought or feeling. These methods culture (let alone an outside consultant), it is
do not have the capacity to penetrate and useful to adopt scientifically discussed and
directly touch the deeper layers of culture. tested techniques of interpreting organizational
Several instruments have been developed, but culture. This paper offers a brief review of such
unfortunately they vary widely in format, items, techniques which can be useful for
etc. These instruments can be clubbed in two practitioners dealing with issues of
broad categories (Ashkanasy et al., 2000): organizational culture and change.
• Typing scales - These classify organizations
into particular taxonomies.

72 November 2007 NHRD Journal

Ashkanasy, N. M., Broadfoot, L. E. and Falkus, S. 2000. Questionnaire measures of organizational culture. In N. M. Ashkanasy, C.
P. M. Wilderom and M. F. Peterson (Eds.). Organizational Culture and Climate. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks.
Blalock, H. M. and Blalock, A. B. 1968. Methodology in Social Research. McGraw Hill, New York.
Brislin, R. W. 1986. The wording and translation of research instruments. In W. J. Lonner and J. W. Berry (Eds.). Field Methods in
Cross Cultural Research. Sage, CA.
Cooke, R., & Rousseau, D. 1988. Behavioral norms and expectations: A quantitative approach to the assessment of organizational
culture. Group und Organizational Studies, 13: 245-273.
Daft, R. L. 2008. Understanding the Theory and Design of Organizations. Cengage Learning, New Delhi.
Detert, J. R., Shroeder, R. G. & Mauriel, J. J. 2000. A framework for linking culture and improvement initiatives in organizations.
Academy of Management Review, Vol. 25. p. 850-863.
Eisenhardt, K. M. 1989. Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Research. 14, p. 532-550.
Hofstede, G., Neuijen, B., Ohavy, D. D. & Sanders, G. 1990. Measuring organizational cultures: A qualitative and quantitative study
across twenty cases. Administrative Science Quarterly. 35, p. 286-316.
Martin, J. 1992. Cultures in Organization: Three Perspectives. Oxford University Press, NY.
Meek, V. L. 1988. Organizational Culture: Origins and Weaknesses. Organization Studies. 9, 453-473.
Morgan, G. 1997. Images of Organization. Sage, Thousand Oaks.
O’Reilly. C. A., III, & Chatman, J. A. 1996. Culture as social control: Corporations, cults, and commitment. In B. M. Staw & L. L.
Cummings (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior, vol. 18: 157-200. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Parikh, I. J. and Garg, P. K. 1992. Theory of socio-technical systems. In I. J. Parikh and P. K. Garg (Eds.) Organization Theories,
Issues and Applications. Indian Society for Individual and Social Development, Ahmedabad.
Pettigrew, A. M. 1979. On studying organizational cultures. Administrative Science Quarterly. 24, p. 570-581.
Schein, E. H. 1985. Organizational culture. In R. Kilmann, M. Saxton and R. Serpa (Eds.) Gaining Control of the Corporate
Culture. Jossey Bass, San Francisco.
Schein, E. H. 2003. Five traps for consulting psychologists or, how I learned to take culture seriously. Consulting Psychology
Journal: Practice and Research, 55, 75-83.
Smircich, L. 1983. Concept of culture and organizational analysis. Administrative Science Quarterly. 28, p. 339-358.
Trice, H. M. and Beyer, J., M. 1984. Studying Organizational Cultures Through Rites and Ceremonials. Academy of
Management Review. 9, 653 – 669.
Wadia, M. S. 1965. The concept of culture. Journal of Retailing. 41, 1, p. 21-30.
Yin, R. K. 1994. Case Study Research – Design and Methods. Sage Publications, CA.
1 Reliability estimates communicate to what extent the items of a scale measure a common attribute. Validity
assessments tell if the attribute getting measured is the one that we want to measure.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 73


Management of change is essentially the management of direction. In my opinion this is the core,
fundamental point. In a way, the direction can itself be a means to an end. However, the choice of
direction involves the choice of ends. Strategizing change, choice of the change agent, the cost of
change and implementation are all means to support the fundamental choice of direction.
The second part of management of change is execution. Execution includes planning for
change as well as executing its key elements, including handling communication and human
resource and cultural issues.
Both the above issues are part and parcel of a leadership initiative and hence leadership is
probably the most important part of management of change.
While there are many elements to management of change, we are going to touch on the above
key areas due to limitation son the length of the article.
In this article we shall make observations on business organizations. The term organization
can apply to governments, social communities, voluntary and informal bodies etc.

Direction are being addressed.

Management literature on change Organizational framework for
does include the issues of direction identifying change areas
but the vast majority of writings The following is an indicative list
focus on managing change and of areas that can aid in identifying
assume that the direction is a given. change in direction and then
At the organizational level, all the prioritizing and managing them:
elements or parts are interrelated
Tarun Sheth taught at I) Individual
the University of Baroda
and therefore managing change
and IIM, Ahmedabad. implies analyzing the • Role clarity
Worked with Hindustan interrelationships and then • Fitments in the role
Lever as head of managing the process. While it is
Organization important to know the • Competence/skills
Development for all
companies in India, i.e.,
interrelationships, the trick is in • Personality/Motivation
HLL, Lipton, Brooke knowing and choosing the
II) Group
Bond and Ponds. direction and then bringing in the
Currently consulting management of interrelationship in • Goals
with domestic and the change process.
international companies • Focus
for HR strategy, systems, In the overall organizational • Structure
structures compensation, situation the direction can be in any
recruitment, training and • Skills/ Competence
area. For the purpose of
convenience we present a list • Morale
through which you could identify III) Functional
or choose directions in various
areas depending on the issues that • Marketing/Sales

74 November 2007 NHRD Journal

• Finance and Accounts this choice can give different results.
• Technical/Production Take the telephony business. A large industrial
• Innovation/R & D group decided to go for the telephony business.
The new direction required defining the
• Information Processing/IT business, management of government and its
• Compliance/Legal legal provisions, creating a marketing
IV) Procedures organization, bringing in technology and
creating a structure that could provide focus,
• Entry/Exit direction, supervision and execution. The
• Procurement primary direction for change required creation
of a consumer-oriented business, recruiting
• Accounting/Finance/Control
people with experience in consumer marketing
• Development/Rewarding/Planning/ and building an organization that could focus
Review on market, technology and customer
V) Leadership relationships.
• Consistency with Objectives/Clarity of The company was successful in christening the
Goals new business attractively, going to a new
location and some specialist recruitment in
• Competence/Ability to carry people
sales and marketing. However, it brought
• Conservative/Change oriented leadership from the old business whose
• Achiever/risk taker experience was in commodities and controlling
costs; units were peopled with individuals with
VI) Culture
a marketing background but authority was
• Values/Beliefs diffused and there were issues of integration of
• Norms the old with the new. As a result of the above,
the first three years of its existence saw a lot of
• Employee Oriented/Control Oriented churn and failures. The choice of wrong
VII) Structure leadership may even mix otherwise seemingly
• Organization Structure good business initiatives.

• Hierarchy/Levels Hewlett Packard merged with Compaq and put

Carly Fionna to manage the change. She did
• Focus not live up to the challenges of the job and had
• Accountability to leave. The business went through difficult
• Supervision times and stabilized only with a change in
• Cost of the organization
The Tatas who have also ventured into
Leadership and change telephony failed to provide focused leadership
Organizations which are autocratic and do not and support for the change in the direction of a
allow free communication and freedom to new business. They could have done much
disagree can make the right decisions but the better but haven't.
lack of freedom does not give it any protection Bharti Airtel, which was relatively new, less
from wrong decisions unless it is too late. resourceful and lesser known in the market
Sometimes you choose the right direction but started slowly but through management of the
the quality of management of the process in direction and process of change has come out

November 2007 NHRD Journal 75

on top at least in numbers and growth. product development and customer
Although the above is a very brief account, it satisfaction. The impact of these changes and
shows that when an organization embarks on consistency in execution is there for all to see.
a new business it needs to define directions, Debate the choice
provide focused leadership, create processes
Choosing the right direction requires debate at
appropriate to the nature of the business and
the highest level by people who know the
clearly accept the deviation required from the
ground realities that include customers and the
past. The last one requires either new
government. Entrepreneurs are good at this but
leadership to be brought from outside or
picking up leaders from the existing some successful entrepreneurs fall in the trap
organization with the right mind set. The thing of autocratic decisions for change. Such
to avoid is to appoint successful individuals decisions may come out right as the top persons
from the existing business who not may be the judgement can be right. However, without the
right fit in the new business. benefit of differing views there is no protection
if it goes wrong. Bajaj Auto's continuance with
Choosing a Direction and Managing Change scooters, while Hero Honda ran away with
Successfully customers and profits is a case in point.
External Advice
IBM is a good example of a company managing
The decision to change direction can come from
direction. When its progress got plateaued it
many sources. One useful channel is external
felt the need for change of direction. It was not
consultants. As a director of a large national
easy with existing leadership as more often
bank I had been observing that all PSU banks
than not they would dish out more of the same
were playing within the same constraints,
and cling to the past. It is the change in
leadership that brought back its glory. They doing the same things and vying for organic
even took this logic further to sell their laptop growth. The new private sector and existing
division to the Chinese company Lenovo. multinational banks showed that retail
banking and investment banking required
Tata Tea different skills, ambience and mindsets. Even
One of the more successful examples of with retail banking you need to understand the
choosing the right direction and coming out customer and raise your service levels
on top is Tata Tea. It started as a company considerably. The bank hired a professional
which owned plantations in the north and the consulting group which brought research data
south and was more a commodity player while and market information to the table. The
other companies like Brooke Bond, Lipton and Chairman and Senior Executives supported the
Wagh Bakri prospered through branding the recommendation for changes in direction. The
commodity bought from Tata Tea. It made the bank has started the execution of the
decision of branding and marketing tea many recommendations and is benefiting from it.
years ago but the execution was poor and hence
One important point that comes out of this
the gains were not visible. Things have
changed with the acquisition of Tetley, experience is that while changes in direction
operational leadership given to executives who are made in a smaller unit or part of the
understand the tea business, induction of business, if successful, it should be carefully
marketing professionals, reducing stake in taken through the organization as appropriate.
plantations (a high cost and labour intensive Trying things on a smaller scale enables
proposition) and focusing on branding, experimentation, reduces cost and resources

76 November 2007 NHRD Journal

and gives the freedom to fail. debate. But they are also at the wrong end of
Change in Ongoing Businesses receiving the stick in India when the change of
direction initiated abroad does not jive with
It is important to ensure that once the direction realities in India. For instance, Unilever's
is chosen the new business is structured to decision to hive off the chemical business and
provide focus and accountability. ITC chose focus on ice creams may be consistent with the
to go into hotels as a business several years parents view of its 'core business' but may not
ago. They provided focus to the fledging be in sync with local realities.
business and accountability by creating a
distinct organization and leadership with When People Are Affected
focus and accountability. The business has One of the most difficult areas of implementing
now grown into a very profitable division. directional change is when it affects existing
Focus, leadership and accountability can help people with long service adversely. Recently, a
even existing business that require large engineering company invited consultants
rejuvenation and/or meet tough competition. to do a job evaluation of all managers. They
When Nirma was actively eroding Hindustan had several hundred managers whose jobs had
Lever's market share in the early eighties it to be evaluated and this evaluation would affect
chose to fight the battle in the field on the sales several thousand others. This company did not
front. The company put three of its best young have a good performance evaluation system
managers on the sales side. They turned the and managers were promoted on a time bound
tide and two of them went on to become basis to a higher level even if they continued in
chairman of the company later. Both ITC and the same job. The consultants warned the
HLL examples suggest the importance of management that a proper job evaluation will
leadership when changing direction in existing result in many jobs going down as their exalted
business or perking it up. status is only due to the fact that the incumbent
Choosing a Wrong Direction has got into a higher grade in spite of doing the
same job. The management in an aggressive
An Indian company that had been doing very mode agreed as they felt they needed a system.
well in manufacturing technology based By the time the project was getting over the top
commodities of good quality decided to change management received several messages from
its strategy and change to branding the same people who feared their jobs might go down.
and recruit FMCG managers to bring in the In the end the company backtracked and very
change. While it is true that Intel and Gujarat little of the consultants work was implemented.
Ambuja cement have been successful in I suspect in this case the company decided to
branding their commodity, there are more go ahead with the job evaluation project and
examples of people who have failed. In the case fantasized about its will to be tough.
of this company the market did not accept this
change. Its problem got compounded by the Conclusion
fact that the newly inducted expensive To conclude, management of change requires
managers could not adjust to the underlying the choice of direction and then the
technology of the products and from a profitable management of various processes to support
business it slid to a loss. It has now changed the directional change. Successful companies
direction and is on its way back to health. debate the direction, provide focus through
Multinational companies operating in India organizational arrangements and leadership
at times benefit from changes of direction and then manage the processes.
initiated abroad after a lot of research and

November 2007 NHRD Journal 77


Organizational Change: The WHO, HOW and by WHEN,

Formidable XI organizational change will
With so much written on remain a dream. This drill-down
organizational change, the only of the dream into deliverables for
meaningful thing I can attempt is to every individual in the
pen the learnings from my own organization, done with all the
experience in the corporate world in rigor and discipline of project
the past thirty two years. I will keep management, is an exercise
Rajeev Dubey, is an whose importance as a
Economics graduate it simple and stupid, largely
and MBA from the Yale because that is all I am capable of, necessary and critical success
School of Management. and partly because of my fond hope factor cannot be over-
He is Alumnus of that of the few people that actually emphasized.
INSEAD, France, and
the Harvard Business
read this article, some may resonate I am particularly impressed by the
School-TMTC Tata with and remember a thought or two. power of the Japanese Policy
Strategic Leadership
I I/we have a dream: Clearly this Deployment methodology and its
Course, Ashridge Strategic variants.
Management Centre,
has always been the source, and
UK, the National sustaining power, of any III The Virtuous and Potent
Institute of Advanced organizational change. The PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act)
Studies, Bangalore, and clearer this dream and the more Cycle: Needless to say, these
CII- Aspen Institute,
USA, Human Resource
forcefully it is shared, the larger deliverables need to be regularly
Executive Program at the number of apostles it creates and systematically reviewed,
Stanford University, USA. who then spread the WORD so lessons learnt from experience
that it enters the DNA of every and continuous improvements
Rajeev joined the Tata
Administrative Services person in the organization, the made. This needs to be done
(TAS), the central greater is its power. And for it to with the same rigour as the
managerial cadre of the be a potent force it must touch a conversion of the vision to
Tata Group, in 1975, and
deep inner chord in people, specific deliverables, or else
after a career spanning
29 years in the Tata activate some higher-order implementation/execution will
Group, of which 7 years purpose that makes ordinary remain as elusive as a will-o-the-
were as Managing people own the dream and do wisp in the mist and dark.
Director, first of Tata
truly extra ordinary things. The above conditions are about
Metaliks and then of
Rallis India, Joined This dream needs to be talked about strategy, process, system and
Mahindra & Mahindra again and again from every metrics and address the perennial
in 2004, he is currently
possible platform, and many three questions
President (HR & Corp.
Services) & Member of
people must do the talking. The • Who/where are we?
the Group Management power of the WORD and
Board. He is on the Boards INTENTION is awesome, and its • Where do we go from here?
of several Group full potential must be unleashed. • How/do we go there?
companies, including
the Chairman of Mahindra II From dream to action: If the These are necessary, but not
Insurance Brokers Limited. dream is not converted into sufficient, conditions for successful
S.M.A.R.Tly defined WHAT, organizational change. I must

78 November 2007 NHRD Journal

therefore shift gear and venture into softer (but the self-confident to be able to see it in this light.
actually much harder!) dimensions and critical How many of us can do so? And what price
aspects of behavior/attitude that will convert are we willing to pay for it?
the necessary into sufficient conditions for VI Listen : Most of us are Masters at telling
change. others what to do, but how many use the
IV Trust: If you think of it, business and power of listening to connect with and
commerce-in fact human civilization-is understand reality, to grasp opportunities,
based on trust : our belief that people will to see the sources of problems and their
do what they say (and hopefully say what solutions too. The voice of the customer, the
they mean). If this belief gets diluted or employee, the supplier, the competitor, the
compromised, no initiative can deliver its winds of change….
potential. Hence it is critical that leaders are In my experience, the leaders who listened
trusted and in turn trust those that "follow" empathetically-not those who pretended to
them. Trust ultimately depends on leaders listen-were truly able to create transformational
being authentic : thought, speech and action change. The others were great at writing articles
are aligned so that people believe that and giving lectures to spell-bound audiences!!
leaders will do what they say, that different
masks will not be worn for different Of course, the art and power of listening must
occasions, that they will Walk the Talk. percolate throughout the organization if its full
Mahatma Gandhi was perhaps the most power is to be harnessed.
outstanding in this regard, and hence widely VII May a thousand leaders bloom (with
regarded as one of the greatest leaders in apologies to Chairman Mao!): Any major
modern times. change requires leadership initiatives
V Inspire, Especially When There is Failure: (within certain boundaries of course)
Every movement goes through its ups and through the length and breadth of
downs, and it is precisely when the going is the organization.
tough that we need to stand by each other, But it is equally true that in most organizations
when leaders need to focus on strengths to these boundaries are much more tightly defined
overcome weaknesses, to remind their than they ought to be if the required energy
followers "You can do it, I am with you". In and momentum of the change process is to be
such situations one would do well to achieved. Clearly the command and control
remember Napoleon's statement "Morale is approach needs to be revisited, for the pace and
to all other factors as four is to one". Too complexity of change can no longer be managed
often have I seen blame-games and witch- by supermen CEO s who know more about
hunts bring organizational change to a everything than anyone else.
grinding halt, in fact push it back, when the
going is not good. Fortunately, many organizations have realized
this and I have seen more and more change
Tolerating, in fact celebrating, failure (again initiatives being driven by large numbers of
within limits) is in fact an important ingredient empowered leaders and teams of both blue and
in the samundra manthan of change which white-collar employees -and they inevitably
unleashes innovation in organizations, for surpass expectations. Giving up power ends
failure often (perhaps always) paves the way up creating much more power! This is going to
for success. But it requires the brave, strong and be the Golden Age of the Leader as Mentor, of

November 2007 NHRD Journal 79

the gardener who enables a thousand flowers the other hand, more often than not, those
to bloom. who dared to take the risk and challenge
VIIINo Gospel Truth : A corollary of distributed and moved ahead with initiatives /
leadership and empowered teams, is a solutions that were good though not perfect,
culture which encourages relentless and learnt along the way, created great
questioning of the unquestioned and the successes.
unquestionable, without penalizing/killing These were also organizations which kept it
the brave soul who tells the Emperor that he simple and stupid, and unleashed enormous
has no clothes on. This culture which potential from doing so.
encourages questioning & challenging the XI Satya, Prem and Seva : Finally, the
status quo, is a powerful complement to organizations which were successful at
listening as a major source of transformational change seemed to have
INNOVATION. been powered by the energy of their core
IX From the Tyranny of either/or, to the Power values. They firmly believed that success
of AND: Creating synergy out of seemingly would be an empty and meaningless reward
conflicting forces and objectives, and the if it were achieved by sacrificing the core
ability to create WIN - WIN situations, have values of the organization, and the human
been the hall-mark of the most successful beings who were its source. For me
change initiatives I have seen. This is a personally, I would prefer not to have
paradigm shift which will become success if doing so would entail sacrificing:
increasingly important as we move from SATYA: Do I speak the truth as I see it,
competition to co-operation, to a world regardless of the consequences?
where sustainability becomes a major
challenge, and where we face threats to PREM: Do I have compassion - can I put
things we have taken for granted and myself into the shoes of those that
ravaged over the course of civilization: air, I deal with?
earth, water and climate. SEVA: Can I be of service to
X The Triumph of Good Over the Perfect: someone who is in need,
Many change initiatives have floundered especially if he/she is less
because the search for the perfect way fortunate than me?
forward has led to sacrificing many things This is a tall order, a formidable XI. Can anyone
that were clearly good and desirable. This get it all right? Probably not, but it may be worth
led to slow-down and eventual death. On trying.

80 November 2007 NHRD Journal


This paper examines the relationship between justice perceptions and employee commitment in
the context of organizational change. Extant literature reveals that organizational justice
perceptions are correlated with employee commitment in a change context. However, the
underlying processes governing this relationship have not yet been completely understood and
hence a review seems necessary. This paper, which is conceptual in nature, proposes a model
linking justice perceptions with employee commitment moderated by organizational and
supervisory communication. It is proposed that perceptions of justice would have a positive
impact on employee commitment in an organization that is undergoing change intervention. It is
suggested that organizational and supervisory communication moderate perceptions of justice to
hasten the restoration process of employee commitment in a changing environment. Managerial
implications of the review are discussed.
Key Words: Communication, organizational justice, employee commitment, and organizational change

• Introduction The interventions could be

'Change' is an extremely significant fundamental in nature, thus aimed
phenomenon, discussed at effecting radical, long-term and
extensively in the context of long-lasting change or could be
organizational action. It is by now more peripheral aimed at solving
very well accepted that most, if not an immediate-term problem
all organizations undergo (Cummings and Worley, 1997:30).
deliberate transformation during Equally well accepted, are
Ranjeet Nambudiri is an propositions, which give evidence
Assistant Professor in their lifetime. Firms undergo
change in an effort to gain more pointing to both positive and
OB & HRM, a Fellow in
Management from IIM efficiency and competitiveness. negative outcomes of
(Ahmedabad). He has
These interventions are often organizational change. Change,
presented research though initiated with the purpose
papers in several undertaken as a response to
international conferences environmental volatility, desire for of bringing about positive outcomes
including the Asian enhanced organizational like improved organizational and
Academy of
performance, as a problem-solving individual performance, often
Management Conference unwittingly, brings with it negative
(Shanghai, 2004) and the measure or as strategic decisions.
3rd Workshop on Trust Organizations change to address outcomes like reduced
Within and Between new challenges, priorities and organizational commitment,
Teams organized by the
missions (Cobb et al., 1995). These turnover intent, stress, reduced
European Institute of motivation, dissent and actual
Advanced Studies in interventions could take shape
Management either as mergers, downsizing, employee turnover. Organizational
(Amsterdam, 2005). He restructuring, training, technology change interventions are posited to
has published research
transformations or implementation have several negative
papers in several consequences, including but not
national journals. of new work-place practices and
various other models of change. limited to personal loss, burnout,

November 2007 NHRD Journal 81

anxiety (Kets De Vries & Balazs, 1997), reduced of need focuses on individual need as a
commitment to the organization (Brockner, measure of allocating resources. Brockner and
Konovsky, Cooper Schneider, Folger, Martin & colleagues (Brockner, Greenberg, Brockner,
Bies, 1994) and reduced self-esteem of the Bortz, Davy & Carter, 1986) note that in
survivors (Wiesenfeld, Brockner & Thibault, business organizations, the primary objective
2000). It is inevitable that change interventions is economic productivity and hence equity
will cause stress on the targets of change, i.e. would be the dominant criterion rather than
the employees (e.g., Wooten & White, 1999) and equality or need.
concerns about the fairness of change processes Procedural Justice
will naturally be raised time and again.
Thibaut & Walker (1975; in Wooten & White,
• Conceptual Foundations 1999) have pioneered the research on
Theories of Justice procedural justice, by focusing on how
The three widely accepted concepts of justice distributive and other decisions are made.
are distributive justice, procedural justice and Procedural justice looks at the fairness of the
interactional justice. Organizational justice is 'procedures' used for decision making. Since
the term used to describe the role of fairness in change efforts or interventions often have the
the workplace (Greenberg, 1987). consequence of increased ambiguity and
uncertainty, it becomes natural for concerns
Distributive Justice about fairness of procedures to be addressed
Change in its basic nature involves a by organizational development research.
redistribution of resources and power (Cobb et Procedural justice emphasizes the issues of
al., 1995). These reallocations are often wide 'how the ground rules are constructed'
reaching and have the potential to impact a (reconstructing) (Folger, 1977), 'who is involved
great range of people in the organization. Quite in the rule construction process'
naturally, there are concerns regarding the (representation) (Leventhal, 1980; in Cobb et
fairness with which this resource re-allocation al., 1995) and the 'opportunity to voice or
is executed. The set of people who have been redress one's grievances, (recourse) (Sheppard,
divested of resources and power would resist 1984). These three issues are central to the
the change and are likely to perceive lack of application of procedural justice to OD
justice. At the same time, those people who have research. Brockner and his colleagues
benefited from the reallocation may have (Brockner, Konovsky, Cooper-Schneider,
experienced similar feelings prior to the Folger, Martin & Bies, 1994) have based their
reallocation. Hence, the decision-makers study examining the justice-commitment
always need to bring about the change relationship on the six dimensions of
considering the delicate trade-off involved. consistency, suppression of bias, accuracy,
Deutsch (1985; in Cobb et al., 1995) has outlined representation, ethical standards, recourse,
the three criteria of equity, equality and need and representation and proposed that advance
as means of ensuring distributive justice. The notice of the layoff to the victims forms an
equity criterion proposes that equitable norms integral part of procedural justice.
based on merit are crucial in creating the Interactional Justice
perception of distributive justice at the time of
allocating rewards or resources. Equality Interactional justice is a concept that had
emphasizes that rewards, which are equally emerged fairly recently as compared to the
distributed, contribute significantly towards distributive and procedural justice theories.
perceptions of distributive justice. The criteria Bies (1987), in one of the pioneering works on

82 November 2007 NHRD Journal

interactional justice focused on the 'social withdrawal, absenteeism and intent to leave.
accounts' given by the agents or leaders of the • Communication and Employee
organization while explaining distributive Commitment
decisions. Hence, this line of thought evaluates
the 'reasons' given by management to justify Communication processes are an integral part
the decision and contribute towards justice of organizational systems. Organizations,
perceptions. Greenberg (1987) furthered this when viewed as 'information processing
argument by stating that 'properly constructed systems' (Hall, 2001), need to receive, process,
and communicated accounts can help mitigate analyze, store and transmit information.
a wide range of negative attitudes produced by Organizational communication has been an
disappointing outcomes.' Interactional justice integral part of organizational theory, since the
can be separated into interpersonal and pioneering work of Barnard (1938). Barnard
informational components and the (1938) has been cited by Hall (2001) as stating,
interpersonal component is sometimes "Communication occupies a central place in
proposed to be similar to procedural justice (e.g., organizational theory because structure,
Viswesvaran & Ones, 2002). It is reasoned that extensiveness and scope of the organization
if management is perceived to treat the are almost entirely determined by
employees well, it is likely that the employees communication."
respond through greater commitment and Communication processes in organizations are
enhanced performance. Two factors either 'strongly individual or strongly
particularly relevant to the interpersonal aspect organizational' (Hall, 2001). This article refers
of interactional justice are, (1) whether the to communication as the organizational
subjects believe that the reasons for the decision process of interaction and information
were clearly and adequately explained (Bies et processing, including communication by the
al., 1988), and (2) whether the subjects were organization through formal and informal
treated with dignity (Bies et al., 1988). Thus, modes and also communication by the
issues of interactional justice seem specifically supervisor as an organizational agent. This
relevant in the change context. means that organizational communication or
Organizational Commitment communication as referred to here, indicates
all those processes, which enable an
Organizational commitment, was initially organization to convey meaning within the
proposed by Porter et al. (1974) who noted that organization and to the external environment.
organizational commitment was characterized
by the following, In the era of organizational change and
interventions like downsizing, corporations
• "strong belief and acceptance of the have increased dependence on effective
organizational goals and values", communication systems. The knowledge
• "willingness to exert considerable effort on organizations of today are relying enormously
behalf of the organization", and on effective internal and external
• "definite desire to maintain organizational communication processes for improved
membership." employee performance and commitment.

Mathieu & Zajac (1990) in their meta-analytic • Justice Perceptions and Employee
review of organizational commitment have Commitment
identified antecedents like personality traits, Issues of fairness have been addressed
job characteristics, group and leader behavior extensively by the various theories of justice
and consequences like job performance, like distributive justice (Deutsch, 1985; in

November 2007 NHRD Journal 83

Wooten & White, 1999), procedural justice organizational citizenship behavior (e.g., Cobb
(Thibaut & Walker, 1975; in Wooten and White, et al., 1995). Research evidence shows that
1999) and interactional justice (Greenberg, communications that "convey causal,
1987; Bies, 1987). Organizational development, ideological, referential and penitential accounts
or the study of organizational change has enhance employee perceptions of fairness" of
explicitly acknowledged the significance of the intervention and contribute to positive
justice in its literature. There is ample evidence work and attitude related outcomes (Cobb et
that change efforts are fairly successful owing al., 1995). This clearly points towards the
to perceptions of fairness in the intervention moderating role played by communication
(e.g., Cobb et al., 1995). Studies have also shown effectiveness on justice perceptions. There is
that different forms of justice are useful in however, some debate about whether the forms
analysis at different stages of the change effort of justice have an additive or interactive effect
(e.g., Novelli et al.; in Wooten & White, 1999). (Brockner & Wiesenfeld, 1996). To summarize,
Distributive, procedural and interactional it can be held that an individual's reaction to
justice are discussed concurrently with the organizational resource allocation during a
humanistic orientations that characterize OD change intervention is dependent on
practice (Wooten & White, 1999). It has been distributive justice, procedural justice and
fairly conclusively proposed that interactional justice which in turn gets affected
organizational fairness is a "psychological by the communication effectiveness.
mechanism that can mediate employee
resistance to change"(Folger & Skarlicki, 1999).
There have been various studies, which have
linked organizational justice with change -
related outcomes like stress, turnover intent,
employee turnover, dissent and reduced
motivation. Justice perceptions contribute to
concerns about the following issues among,
both victims and survivors of organizational
• Legitimacy of the change intervention Figure 1: Proposed Model of Relationship Between Communi-
(Brockner, Grover, Reed, DeWitt & O'Malley, cation Effectiveness, Justice Perceptions and Employee
• Implications for Managers
• Fair and just communication of the change
intervention (Bies, 1987) Employee commitment during organizational
change is one of major concerns for
• Decision rule and procedures used to arrive organizations, because it directly affects the
at a layoff decision (Folger & Greenberg, organizational performance. Declining
1985; in Brockner, Grover, Reed, DeWitt and commitment often results in turnover and
O'Malley, 1987) organizations also stand to lose some of their
• Fairness of compensation and severance best employees as a result of poorly managed
packages offered (Brockner, Grover, Reed, interventions. Given that organizations spend
DeWitt and O'Malley, 1987). enormous amount of resources in hiring,
Studies have shown that the three forms of training and motivating skilled employees, it
justice have a significant influence on employee becomes imperative to ensure that the
responses like organizational commitment and intervention is implemented with utmost care

84 November 2007 NHRD Journal

and in a manner that is perceived as fair, as an unavoidable event. The management
equitable and just. Communication processes should try and put in place occupational
that enhance perceptions of fairness go a long reinforcements that help the employees to
way in ensuring that benefits of the recover faster and leave them with a sense of
intervention outweigh its negative security. It is suggested that change agents
consequences. The major challenge is to ensure should try to ensure a fair interplay of all the
that the employees affected by change perceive forms of justice while implementing
fairness in its treatment, in the decision rule interventions because of the unchallenged
used to implement the change and in the impact that all forms of justice have on
rationale behind the exercise. It is evident that psychological outcomes like organizational
employee attitudes like involvement and commitment. This of course, is easier said than
commitment are the most difficult to recover done, but then the foundations of OD practice
fully following a change intervention. A logical rest on humanistic orientations like fairness,
focus would be the new psychological contract ethics and justice and hence the justice
under which the employees and management framework clearly has a significant role to play
would operate and ensuring that breach of the in any OD intervention.
previous psychological contract is perceived
Bies, R.J. (1987). The predicament of injustice: The management of moral outrage. In L.L.Cummings, & B.M. Staw. (Eds.) Research
in Organizational Behavior (Vol. 9, pp 289-319), Greenwich. CT : JAI Press.
Bies, R.J., Shapiro, D.L., & Cummings, L.L. (1988). Voice and justification: Their influence on procedural fairness judgments.
Academy of Management Journal, 31, 676-685.
Brockner, J., Greenberg, J., Brockner, A., Bortz, J., Davy, J., & Carter, C. (1986). Layoffs, equity theory, and work performance:
Further evidence of the impact of survivor guilt. Academy of Management Journal, 29(2), 373-384.
Brockner, J., Grover, S., Reed, T., DeWitt, R., O'Malley, M. (1987). Survivors' reactions to layoffs: We get by with a little help for
our friends. Administrative Science Quarterly, 32(4), 526-541.
Brockner, J., Konovsky, M., Cooper-Schneider, R., Folger, R., Martin, C., & Bies, R.J. (1994). Interactive effects of procedural
justice and outcome negativity on victims and survivors of job loss. Academy of Management Journal, 37(2), 397-409.
Brockner, J.,& Wiesenfeld, B. (1996). An integrative framework for explaining reactions to decisions: Interactive effects of
outcomes and procedures. Psychological Bulletin, 120, 189-208.
Cobb, A.T., Wooten, K.C., & Folger, R. (1995). Justice in the making: Toward understanding the theory and practice of justice in
organizational change and development, Research in Organizational Change and Development ,(Vol. 8, pp 243-295), Greenwich,
CT: JAI Press.
Cummings, T. & Worley, C. (1997). Organizational Development and Change, Singapore: Thomson South-Western.
Folger, R. (1977). Distributive and Procedural Justice: Combine impact of voice and improvement on experienced inequity. Journal
of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 108-119.
Folger, R. & Skarlicki, D. (1999). Unfairness and resistance to change: Hardship as mistreatment, Journal of Organizational Change
Management, 12(1), 35
Greenberg, J. (1987). A Taxonomy of organizational justice theories. Academy of Management Review, 12(1), 9-22.
Hall, R. (2001).Organizations: Structures, processes and outcomes. Indian edition: Pearson education Inc., 2001.
Kets De Vries, M.F.R., & Balazs, K. (1997). The downside of downsizing. Human Relations, 50, 11-50.
Mathieu, J.E., & Zajac, D.M. (1990). A review and a meta-analysis of the antecedents, correlates, and consequences of
organizational commitment. Psychological Bulletin, 108, 171-194.
Porter, L.W., Steers, R., Mowday, R., & Boulian, P.V. (1974). Organizational commitment, job satisfaction and turnover among
psychiatric technicians. Journal of Applied Psychology, 59, 603-609.
Sheppard, B.H. (1984). Third party conflict interventions: A procedural framework. In B.M. Staw, & L.L. Cummings, (Eds.),
Research in Organizational Behavior, (Vol. 6, pp 141-190), Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Viswervaran, C., & Ones, D.S. (2002). Examining the construct of organizational justice: A meta-analytic evaluation of relations
with work attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Business Ethics, 38, 193-203.
Wiesenfeld, B.M., Brockner, J., & Thibault, V. (2000). Procedural fairness, managers' self-esteem, and managerial behaviors
following a layoff. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 83(1), 1-32.
Wooten, K.C., & White. L.P. (1999). Linking OD's philosophy with justice theory : post-modern implications.
Journal of Organizational Change Management, 12(1), 7-20.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 85


Mergers and acquisitions, as a form of Corporate restructuring, are a common feature of the
global business scenario, especially since the 1990's, driven by the changing business
dynamics. One key factor in ensuring success in the context of merger is the ability to integrate
the organizations effectively.
The management mantra for mergers and acquisitions, more often than not, has been 'make
them like us'; an approach which research and practice, have indicated is not the best. Given
the fact that the critical managerial challenge is to manage the 'People and Organizational
issues' to deliver value in line with the strategic objectives for the merger, the paper seeks to
understand the different approaches to Integration, factoring in the strategic and
organizational variables. The paper also recommends proactive managerial actions to manage
the employee reactions and create an environment to facilitate integration. This paper seeks to
establish that the success, which is meeting the strategic and financial objectives set forth,
depends upon the ability of management to identify and foresee key issues and problems that
come up and evolve a plan, driven by the strategic objectives and factoring in the context,
realities and issues with respect to both, organization and people.

Context: • The Human Issues in a M&A

Mergers and acquisitions, as a form context
of Corporate Restructuring, are a • Managing 'Organization and
common feature of the global People' Issues in the Context of
business scenario, especially since M&A.
the 1990's, driven by the changing The Human Issues in an M&A
business dynamics. Mergers and Context
acquisitions (M&A) worldwide are
Prasanth Nair is a Fellow Given the fact that an important
of the Indian Institute of expected to set an all-time record of
Management, more than $3.57 trillion before this variable that contributes to success
Ahmedabad. His year ends and the Asian M&A in mergers have been identified as
dissertation was on The
market saw about 5200 deals worth the 'People and Organizational'
Organizational and issues, it will be important to
Human Issues in $200 billion by September 2007.
Mergers and Interestingly, while M&A is understand the dynamics
Acquisitions. dominated by strategic, financial underlying the variable. A merger
Prasanth started his and operational concerns and is more than just an act of bringing
career in the engineering perspectives, research conducted two different companies together
field with GEC Alsthom like pair of boxes and many a time,
India Limited. After his
across the globe aimed at analyzing
the true benefits has indicated that in the pre-merger periods,
Fellowship, he worked in
HR function at different 50% to 70% of M&A's are financial dominated by financial analysis,
levels in the RPG Group failures, and one of the main the myopic focus stays limited to
and Wockhardt. that. Notwithstanding the
Currently, he is President reasons for the failure are people
and Head-Human and organizational issues. Given importance of strategic, financial
Resources for Thomas the criticality of this dimension, and operational analysis, the fact
Cook India Limited. this paper will focus on: is that the essence of an
organization is its employees and

86 November 2007 NHRD Journal

the merger, in whichever form has an impact 3. Uncertainty associated with Process:
on them and thus, the 'People and Uncertainty, as a reaction, is caused when
Organizational Issues' need to be factored in there is lack of understanding about the
and addressed in the context of merger. causal relationships between the actions
The dynamics involved in the merger process and the potential outcomes of those
gives rise to different kinds of uncertainties in actions. Since the process of Merger and
the merger processes. Previous research has the changes it brings forth are
shown that employees react unfavorably to evolutionary and the final outcomes are
mergers and acquisitions. There are two not known during the pre-merger and
through merger period, it creates
conditions that generate deprivation:
uncertainty and ambiguity in
discrepancy between actual and desired
individuals, along personal, professional
outcomes and a discrepancy between actual
and organizational dimensions.
and deserved outcomes. An organization
Uncertainty, in context of merger leads
transformation process like merger could affect
to dysfunctional outcomes like stress,
the desired and deserved outcomes and impact
lowered job satisfaction, distrust and
the actual; thus increasing the perception of
decline in commitment, affecting job
discrepancy. This could result in a feeling of
deprivation, leading to adverse reactions
(Buono and Bowditch, 1989). It has been argued 4. Anxieties on account of the effect or
that the individual responses in a merger or perceived effect it has on career plans
acquisition process are part of a fairly through transfers, job loss, relocation,
predictable syndrome of merger related stress loss of individual influence and the
and tensions. Again, human responses arise uncertainties associated with these
from four factors: changes (Buono and Bowditch, 1989;
Larrson and Finkelstein,1999).
1. Culture clashes that arise when
dissimilar cultures come into contact with These factors, as mentioned earlier, give rise to
each other. The merger or acquisition negative reactions in individuals--often
requires members of one organization to manifesting itself in active opposition (e.g.
interact with members of the other voice, voluntary exits and sabotage) and
organizations with different cultures, passive opposition (e.g. absenteeism,
behaviors, ideas, manners and working disobedience), -- reducing their commitment to
styles. Cultural differences between successful integration of the organizations and
merging organizations influences the the extent to which they are willing to cooperate
extent of employees participation and the with the members of the other organization
creation of an atmosphere supporting (Weber et al, 1996). As such, the negative
capability transfer. human responses do have an adverse effect on
the individual performance and effectiveness;
2. Further, separate from cultural in the long term having an affect on the
differences, there exists an intense feeling organizational effectiveness.
of "we versus they" resulting in distrust,
tension and hostility towards the other. Managing 'Organization and People Issues'
It has been sufficiently documented that in the Context of M&A
there exists a strong 'We versus They' Given the fact that mergers and acquisitions
feeling even in cases where perceived would continue and there are bound to be
cultural differences were not very large. negative reactions from individuals in the
context of merger, the critical element is what

November 2007 NHRD Journal 87

can be done, to manage these, so as to effect a value accrual. For example, for value
smooth transition and deliver value in line with creation through Resource sharing and
the strategic objectives for the merger. The skills transfer, a high-to- moderate strategic
success, which is meeting the strategic and interdependence may be required, while for
financial objectives set forth, depends upon the value creation through combination
ability of management to identify and foresee benefits, the strategic interdependence
key issues and problems that come up and required may be low.
evolve a plan, driven by the objectives and • Need for Organizational Autonomy - This
factoring in the context, realities and issues relates to the extent to which it is necessary
with respect to both, organization and people. to maintain the autonomy of the company
This paper attempts to understand the process in order to preserve its distinctive skills. The
by which the People and Organizational issues extent of Organizational Autonomy would
can be managed in the context of Merger. This relate to both, the need from a business
is done through: strategy and need from an organizational
• Understanding the Variables which will point.
Determine the Integration Plan. Studying the Different Approaches of the
• Studying the different Approaches of the Integration Plan
Integration Plan. The consideration of these characteristics will
• Key Actions in the Integration Plan. enable the choice of an appropriate Integration
Understanding the Variables Which Will Plan. The integration plan, will determine the
Determine the Integration Plan: extent of changes in either one or both the
organizations, which in turn, will need to be
The management mantra for mergers and factored in, the roll out of Key actions. Even
acquisitions, more often than not, has been though both these variables exist on a
'make them like us', depending on the power continuum and plotting them would require
equations based on the nature of deal. Research data collection and analysis, for the purpose
and practice, have indicated that this is of having a better understanding of the
perhaps not the best approach to management process, both these variables have been shown
of a merger and point to the consideration of as 'high' and 'low'. Figure 1 illustrates the
additional criteria for deciding on the extent of context, taking into account the two variables
change required, depending on the mode of and suggests an approach in each context
value accrual. The value accrual in the context (Haspeslagh and Jemison, 1991).
of merger would be through either Resource
Need for
Sharing, Skill Transfer and Combination Organizational Low Holding Absorption
Benefits, or a combination of these. Given that Autonomy
fact, in a pioneering research, Haspeslagh and
Low High
Jemison (Haspeslagh and Jemison, 1991) have
stated that the integration plan to be adopted Need for Strategic
should be based on two additional criteria: Interdependence

• Need for Strategic Interdependence - This Acquisition Integration Approaches

relates to the degree of strategic (Haspeslagh and Jemison, 1991)

interdependence that needs to be

established between the two companies. • Symbiosis: A scenario, where the strategic
This is drawn from the strategic objective of interdependence required for value creation
the merger, which spells out the mode of

88 November 2007 NHRD Journal

is high, implying that there would need to In order to manage the employee reaction and
be changes done; but at the same time, the enable a smooth transition, towards meeting
need for autonomy, from an organizational the strategic objectives, it is necessary to have a
point, is also high. The approach is to focused Integration Plan. While the details of
balance the need for driving the extent of the plan would depend on the approach
changes, while preserving the need for adopted and the context of the merger, there
autonomy. This is a challenging scenario are certain necessary actions that need to be
and the process takes time. incorporated in the plan, which will be
• Preservation: In this scenario, the need for discussed in the next section.
strategic interdependence is low, implying Key Actions in the Integration Plan
that the changes are not really required for Given that, there will be negative reactions in
value creation. In fact, conferring a high the context of merger and it is necessary to
degree of autonomy to nurture and keep the manage them in order to meet the strategic
source of value creation intact, leads to value objectives, it is critical to have a focused plan
creation. A high degree of autonomy is for Integration. As mentioned above, while the
granted for enabling the same. details of the plan would depend on the
• Absorption: In this scenario, the need for approach adopted and the context of the
strategic interdependence is high, implying merger, there are certain key actions, as
that there need to be changes made for value identified by research and observed from
creation. At the same time, the need to practice, evolved into a 4C model, that are
preserve the boundary or identity of the recommended as part of the Integration plan
organization is low. The suggested for creating an environment to facilitate value
approach is to fully consolidate the accrual. The 4C's are:
organizations with the ultimate aim of • Contingency Analysis and Planning
dissolving all boundaries.
• Communication
• Holding: Here, the need for strategic
interdependence being low and need for • Co-Opt
preserving the autonomy is also low. But, as • Collaborate
the changes need not be made and value
• Contingency Analysis and Planning: In
creation is possible without that, the suggested
many a case, the integration proceeds with
approach is to have a holding structure.
focus on issues that come up and on a day-
The integration approach would influence the to-day time line. It is quite clearly a recipe
extent of change in Organizational identity, the for failure. An important step towards
Business model adopted, the Structure (which successful integration is to have a plan in
will include roles and reporting relationships), line with the Integration approach. The
the Work Processes and the Human Resources larger plan would then need to drill down
Policies. As discussed in the first section, each with a focus on micro issues. In a context,
of them, depending on the extent of change where a lot of variables are fluid, there might
would have an impact on the people. Based on be unexpected situations and hence there is
the Integration approach adopted, the a need for contingency planning for a worst
magnitude of impact would vary. The case scenario from both a business and
Integration approach would also determine organizational viewpoints.
whether people in both organizations would
• Communication: Mergers and acquisitions
get affected or whether the negative emotions
place new demands and pressures on the
are limited to one organization.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 89

communication process because of the transition that the organizations start
insecurity and uncertainties associated with working together and build a culture of
the combination process. There are two basic collaboration and trust. In the context of
types of communication that should be merger, there might arise, a natural reluctance
included - first, to keep the organization to work together. Hence, platforms and
members informed about the merger, its triggers need to be put in place to enable
implications, and its implementation and cooperation. Co-opt is a powerful mechanism
secondly, to facilitate the work getting done. to build trust and facilitate collaboration. In
In the context of merger, there can be no 'over addition to it, sending the 'Right Signals' help
communication' - people would welcome in this process. Right signals, which appeal
communication. Employees are more likely to to common values of fairness, respect, care
react positively when they are well informed - and reciprocity, serve to break down cultural
about the positive aspects as well as the barriers and lead to mutual development and
negative aspects than when they are forced to implementation of a common organizational
rely on hearsay and speculation. Also, it is purpose. Another step in this direction is the
not only important what is communicated, need to enhance reciprocal organizational
but also how it is communicated. For understanding. This will enable the
communication to be effective, it needs to be organizations to work on knowledge and
seen as credible. The information should be skill transfer, both of which will directly
released in an honest, open and timely manner impact the value creation process.
and there should not be attempts to distort the The intensity and magnitude associated with
truth and manipulate people. each of the Key Actions will depend and vary,
• Co-Opt: For a smooth transition to happen, based on the Integration Plan adopted and the
there should be an attempt to involve context of the Organization(s). The details - like
individuals from both the organizations at when, who, what and how - also need to be
various levels. Setting up of integration finalized after factoring in the context. It must be
teams, or teams focused on projects, cross- kept in mind that the 4C's are merely the starting
functional challenges can be used as steps in the Integration plan, which would need
mechanisms for driving this. Integration to address, along with the macro issues, the issues
teams have been found to be a very effective at the micro level. At the same time, the Key
mechanism to share information, sort out Actions (4C's) enable creation of an environment
operational issues and facilitate execution for successful execution of the Integration Plan.
of the Integration plan. Moreover, the teams Conclusions:
can serve as conduits of accurate
information and be identified as sources • Studies have shown the failure rates in
that employees can turn to. They help the mergers at 50 percent and one key reason is
members to know each other; which help the failure to manage people and
resolve much of the "we-they" attitude that organizational issues that arise, in the
inhibits the integration process. The greater context of merger.
the number of shared experiences that can • The dynamics involved in the merger
be produced early on in the process, the process lead to employees reacting
faster a set of symbols and shared meanings unfavorably to mergers. This could be due
will develop with which organizational to culture differences or uncertainty
members begin to identify, which will associated with the process or anxieties on
facilitate the integration process. account of the impact on role; or a
• Collaborate: It is important for a successful combination of these.

90 November 2007 NHRD Journal

• Successful integration approach needs to (Contingency Planning, Communication,
factor in the business objectives and the Co-opt and Collaboration) as the Key Actions
organizational context. The variables that in the Integration Plan. Based on the approach
need to be taken into account for towards Integration and the context of the
determination of the approach to Integration merger, the intensity and the modus operandi
are 'Need for Strategic Interdependence' and of each of the Key Action would vary.
'Need for Organizational Autonomy'. • It must be remembered that managing a
Further, drawing upon research studies merger process is sensitive and to be
which, based on the mutual relationship successful, it needs to factor in the human
between these variables, there are broadly, and emotional element. As leading
four approaches to Integration: Symbiosis, researchers in this area, Buono and
Preservation, Absorption and Holding. Bowditch puts in perspective, "If mergers
• In the context of merger, irrespective of the and acquisitions are to be successful over
Integration approach adopted, there arises the long term, the basic nature of such
unfavorable reaction from employees - the change as a human process...must be
difference being in the magnitude and acknowledged, understood, and integrated
whether it is across one or both the into the planning process."
organizations. The paper recommends 4Cs
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1 For the purpose of this paper, the terms “merger” and “acquisition” would not be differentiated. The term ‘merger’ would denote ‘Merger and Acquisition’. Research has
indicated that such combinations are homogeneous in nature and typically have same repercussions on the firms and their human resources (Buono and Bowditch, 1989).

November 2007 NHRD Journal 91


This article explores the changing role of HR as a function and HR practitioners as
professionals. With the changing business and organizational context, HR as a profession is
evolving and is strategic partner in many of the long term interventions. Action that is reactive
to the context is natural but a conscious professional evolution that can enable the function to
be prepared with capability to cope with changes of strategic nature is the key.

Introduction: management with respect to all

HR as a profession has evolved over labor related issues. He was
the years. It has in many ways expected to balance the pulls and
responded to the changing context pressures between management
and demands. It has come to be and labor. He was expected to
recognised as an integral part of ensure that the employees were
business. In some organizations it treated fairly and the management
has even gained a place of pride got the best out of its labor without
Harish is Vice-President - unduly exploiting them. It was
HR Services, Unilever and recognized as a function of
strategic value. clearly an imbalanced relationship
(Asia, Australia, Africa).
He is an alumnus of with far greater power vested in the
XLRI, Jamshedpur. He Currently, the business scenario is management hands and hence the
has 22 years of corporate fast changing and we are strong possibility of management
experience across India witnessing a number of new not being responsive to the genuine
and UK, mostly in horizon sectors coming into being.
Hindustan Unilever needs of the labour. It was to guard
where his last In these times of fast-paced change against such a scenario that the
assignment was Vice- and short-cycle reviews there is a government regulators envisaged
President - HR. mad rush to get into an action the need for the position of the
Harish was recognised mode. I recognise many HR labour welfare officer which is the
with "Exemplary Leader practitioners caught in that fast-
Award" for Excellence in earliest "avatar" of the HR
HR both at the regional
action syndrome. professional.
and national levels as In spite of fast changing business
part of Employer With the advent of the trade-union
Branding Awards 2007.
context I find many similarities in movement the role of safeguarding
the focus of HR response in the past the interests of labor was assumed
and in the present. The following by the communist ideology touting
is an exploration of the HR labour leaders. The HR
function's evolution to understand professional now had to "re-
the apparent paradox and balance" the equilibrium between
determine ways going forward. management and labor (with labor
Looking Back: taking quite an aggressive posture
Many years ago the HR with the support of trade union
organizations). From a
professional existed only in the
context of a factory environment. In predominantly labor welfare
this scenario he was expected to be orientation he had to assume the
role of an arbitrator between
the conscience keeper of the

92 November 2007 NHRD Journal

management and the labor leaders to ensure open offices, vision workshops, instant and
that the labour leaders do not start abusing their visible recognition schemes, objective
new found power. Quite often this also performance management process and
entailed the HR professional to wield the stick performance linked rewards.
to enforce discipline at the workplace. This often Many of the leading thinkers and writers in
resulted in his being viewed as biased towards the area of HR have exhorted the need to get
management. The fact that the HR person was more strategic in our approach and one of the
in the payroll of the company definitely added key levers of Strategic HR is leadership. The
to the dilution of the perception regarding the high impact of Leadership on talent
neutrality of his stance. management, organization culture, and
In an attempt to wean away the employees from eventual business performance has clearly
the clutches of the trade unions the shifted the focus on developing leadership
management charged the HR professional with capabilities within the organization as a key
the task of introducing newer and more enabler of success. A large number of HR
appealing activities/benefits to keep the professionals have begun to discuss leadership
employees motivated and focussed. Over a development and some have indeed started to
period of time the various HR activities that influence and contribute to development of
were initiated called for a large amount of leadership within their organizations.
administrative focus in managing them As the HR professional found the demands on
efficiently. This then started taking centre stage his contribution changing he sought to build
in the life of the HR professional. his own capability to meet the changing
With growing competition in the market place demands. Therefore from the stage of becoming
and easy access to technology and finance the familiar with the regulatory guidelines to be
business leaders started realising the able to provide all facilities that were expected
importance of the People edge to business at the place of work he moved to building his
success and started expecting the HR capability to negotiate successfully with the
professional to focus on attracting the right trade union leaders. He also had to develop
quality people and developing the appropriate his knowledge of the jurisprudence so that he
skills amongst the existing people. could enforce discipline within the bounds of
law. He then started becoming creative in the
The growing interest in training and design of benefits and provision of facilities
development, learning center, quality circles which made the employees happy and
are outcomes of this phase. motivated. The big step was in understanding
The realization that the workplace culture of human psychology so that she could predict
impacts almost all of the people issues has the effect of her initiatives and activities on
started to bring attention to both the tangibles people and their consequent behavior. (please
and intangibles, the hardware and the note that shift in the gender of the HR
software, the furniture and the philosophy, the professional at this stage of evolution! ). More
work and the values, the rewards and the recently the understanding of business and
recognition. Today there are many examples ability to contribute more directly to business
of Culture related work and thanks to performance has become key to being more
involvement of experienced OD practitioners/ strategic in their approach.
consultants these are no longer isolated Looking Ahead
initiatives but more comprehensive in their
approach, leveraging all aspects of HR. TPM, In many of the organizations belonging to the
new horizon segment the HR practice is being

November 2007 NHRD Journal 93

dictated by the "fires of the moment". The most A study of history often helps one to prepare
daunting challenge seems to be one regarding for the future, for there is no doubt that history
Talent retention. This seems to have therefore repeats itself. However, it is in your hands to
triggered a series of response around making write the history of tomorrow by doing things
employees happy in their current company. The ahead of its time and hence address some of
provision of pick up and drop, frequent social the needs before they become a Herculean
gatherings, birthday celebrations, gift vouchers challenge. For example, you can work on
and dinner coupons etc. are targeted at keeping leadership development and organization
the employee contended and not think of a culture even as you grapple with the talent
change. This is in many ways similar to the attraction / retention challenge and this will
efforts to keep them away from unions. help your business unit skip a few of the
Reflecting on the past we know that, however evolutionary (and painful) steps and catapult
creative one may be, these activities provide into the realm of outstanding business
only a short term solution to the challenge. performance.
Understanding this, a number of HR Of course in keeping with the times we need to
professionals have focussed on value adding update ourselves with the possibility of
training programs which has a slightly longer technology leverage for various HR
term benefit both to the employee and the deliverables. The novel initiatives of job fairs,
organization. A few of the enlightened HR campus presentations and employee referrals
leaders have adopted a comprehensive have started gaining wider currency. With
approach and their response reflects a deep global knowledge being accessible more easily
understanding of the HR functions evolution we need to adopt/adapt various experiences
in the traditional sectors. They are not just in the area of people performance. The
responding to the immediate demand but balanced score-card approach and the strategy
initiating efforts which are more broad-based into action model are accessible to all for
in nature and addressing longer-term needs. improved business alignment. The use of on-
Unlike other professions like accounting and line surveys and instruments has made our
medicine where the professional regulatory feedback information, people and team
bodies are keeping track of the learnings from assessment easier and more robust. These
recent developments and insisting that their should enable us to address the issues in a
professional members comply with emerging faster and better way.
standards, there is no mandatory adoption of Thankfully HR is an evolved function and we
new frameworks and practices in HR. It is must recognise that. We need to learn from the
usually left to the initiative of the practitioners experiences of the past and incorporate it into
to update themselves and follow what they our functional knowledge base so that we
deem appropriate. This is a pity, for many HR perform as an improved version of our
professionals are failing to see the opportunities functional forefathers. Failing to capitalise on
and lessons. that is purely our loss and we will be painfully
Beware of employee backlash if you do not driving our organizations to learn through first
listen to their intrinsic professional aspirations. hand struggle. In today's' highly competitive
The way in which they will assert themselves environment it is unforgivable fool-hardiness.
may not necessarily be through trade unions No doubt the future will bring with it newer
but maybe through heightened attrition and challenges and opportunities which will
blog campaigns. This could be more lethal than demand and provide for further evolution of
the historical "gherao" or strike. the HR professional.

94 November 2007 NHRD Journal


On a lot of occasions, change initiatives misfire, The drive is hot, dusty, and long. When they
ventures and projects go haywire due to a arrive at the cafeteria, the food is as bad. They
phenomenon called mismanaged agreement arrive back home four hours later, exhausted.
(also known as "the Abilene Paradox"). Many One of them dishonestly says, "It was a great
years ago Professor Jerry B. Harvey discovered trip, wasn't it." The mother-in-law says that,
that the fundamental problem of contemporary actually, she would rather have stayed home,
organizations is the inability to cope with but went along since the other three were so
agreement--not conflict. He finds that most enthusiastic. The husband says, "I wasn't
agreement in organizations is actually false delighted to be doing what we were doing. I
consensus. It occurs because many people feel only went to satisfy the rest of you." The wife
they might be isolated, censured or ridiculed if says, "I just went along to keep you happy. I
they voice objections. When members do not would have had to be crazy to want to go out
share their feelings and opinions in an authentic in the heat like that." The father-in-law then
manner, groups end up working towards says that he only suggested it because he
inappropriate goals leading to organizational thought the others might be bored.
The group sits back, perplexed that they
The Abilene Paradox is a paradox in which a together decided to take a trip which none of
group of people collectively decide on a course them wanted. They each would have preferred
of action that is counter to the preferences of to sit comfortably, but did not admit to it when
any of the individuals in the group. It involves they still had time to enjoy the afternoon."
a common breakdown of group communication
in which each member mistakenly believes that The phenomenon may be a form of group think.
their own preferences are counter to the group's It is easily explained by social psychology
and do not raise objections. Jerry B. Harvey theories of social conformity and social
coined this term. The name of the phenomenon cognition which suggest that human beings are
comes from an anecdote narrated by Harvey to often very averse to acting contrary to the trend
elucidate the paradox:. of the group. Likewise, it can be observed in
psychology that indirect cues and hidden
"On a hot afternoon visiting in Coleman, Texas, motives often lie behind peoples' statements and
the family is comfortably playing dominoes on acts, frequently because social disincentives
a porch, until the father-in-law suggests that discourage individuals from openly voicing
they take a trip to Abilene [53 miles north] for their feelings or pursuing their desires.
dinner. The wife says, "Sounds like a great idea."
The husband, despite having reservations This anecdote was also made into a short film
because the drive is long and hot, thinks that for management education. The theory is often
his preferences must be out-of-step with the used to help explain extremely poor business
group and says, "Sounds good to me. I just hope decisions, especially notions of the superiority
your mother wants to go." The mother-in-law of "rule by committee." A technique mentioned
then says, "Of course I want to go. I haven't been in the study and/or training of management,
to Abilene in a long time." as well as practical guidance by consultants,

November 2007 NHRD Journal 95

is that group members, when the time comes among many researchers in the Social sciences
for a group to make decisions, should ask each and tends to reinforce other theories of
other, "Are we going to Abilene?" to determine individual and group behaviour.
whether their decision is legitimately desired Researchers in this field have proposed various
by the group's members or merely a result of means by which groups can avoid such
this kind of group think. dysfunctional behaviour. None have proven
The "Abilene Paradox" is related to the concept more effective than the inclusion of people with
of group think in that both theories appear to diverse backgrounds in the decision-making
explain the observed behaviour of groups in process. Groups so comprised tend to be more
social contexts. The crux of the theory is that effective in avoiding the Abilene Paradox and
groups have just as many problems managing tend to be able to make much better decisions
their agreements as they do their overall.
disagreements. This observation rings true
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

• Harvey, Jerry B. (Summer 1974). “The Abilene Paradox and other Meditations on Management”. Organizational
Dynamics, 3 (1).
• Harvey, Jerry B. (1988). The Abilene Paradox and Other Meditations on Management. Lexington, Mass: Lexington
• Harvey, Jerry B. (1999). How Come Every Time Get Stabbed In The Back, My Fingerprints Are on The Knife?. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass. http://www.abilineparadox.com/

96 November 2007 NHRD Journal


Transformation from a privately owned company to a public company through IPO involves a
number of Changes while planning and executing IPO. Living up to the expectations and
demands of stakeholders itself forces organizations to bring in changes effectively.

"IPO, is a process not an end game. Beyond Financials

After the IPO, and organization A recent research, surveyed
must meet the operational portfolio managers to gain insights
requirements of a public company into the key financial and non-
while delivering the value it has financial metrics they use when
promised its stockholders." making a buy or sell decision. Not
The IPO has too often been seen surprisingly, the research shows
only in terms of an intense that superior financial performance
Ravi Virmani is a
management consultant
transaction that begins with the measured against comparable
with over 20 years of selection of investment bankers companies is paramount. More
consulting experience. He and the drafting of a prospectus, surprisingly, though, the research
is the co-founder of continues with road shows, and showed that non-financial
Noble & Hewitt in India. ends with the first day of trading. measures accounted for 40% of a
Currently based in
Singapore, he is the CEO
But it does not stop there. After the portfolio manager's decision
of Trust Associates Pte. IPO the organization must meet the making.
Ltd. operational requirements of a The key non financial metrics:
public company while delivering
the value it has promised its • Quality of management
stockholders. • Innovation
But it does not start there either. • Ability to attract and retain
Research shows that CEO's of the talented people
most successful companies (in • Management credibility and
terms of post IPO performance)
brand image.
began transforming their company
strategically, operationally and These findings underscore that
financially in a process that value is often found off the balance
sometimes began years before they sheet. Which is why Company
went public. Improvement Executives who wants to realize the
initiatives in the area of strategic greatest value at the IPO and in the
planning process, accounting and public markets must understand,
reporting systems, investor manage, and communicate the
relations, and employee incentive non-financial metrics for their
compensation, were identified as company.
contribution most to the most to Management Pressures
post-offering performance.
The main paradigm shift is that the
CEO and the team are no longer

November 2007 NHRD Journal 97

working only for the promoter or a promoter requirement would be for a Board of Directors
staffed board. The Board composition and its that is independent has high levels of financial
activist role poses a challenge to the expertise and one that follows and operates in
Management team - initial response is that of a Committee Structure.
'being out of the comfort zone' - denial - and The pressures felt at the leadership levels have
then acceptance of the fact that we too can be a widespread impact in terms of expectations
challenged, questioned and at times be refused from others within the organization. The impact
the permission 'to do so '. This transition is widespread and felt on aspects such as:
process in turn has implications on the
company culture, practices, and past historic • Investment decisions
beliefs in the organization. • Business planning
For the first time, perhaps, insiders face • Cost reviews
bringing new players into what has been, in • Hiring of senior talent
essence, a private party, diluting their • Succession planning
ownership interest and losing at least a
• Accountability
measure of control over the direction that the
corporation ultimately takes. • Outcome orientation
Public scrutiny resulting from disclosure of a • Incentive compensation
company's operations may be painful enough Managing Employee Expectations
to a formerly private corporation, but actually If not managed well, the employee perception
letting a large number of "outsiders" have a is that the Culture has changed for the worse,
voice in corporate governance is an entirely and motivational levels take a turn towards
different matter to a management team not south. Decisions are then 'interpreted' as harsh.
accustomed to shareholder oversight. Even though the decision is not a tough one,
In addition, as the officers of a newly-public and would have been taken in a similar manner
company quickly learn, the company's new 'earlier too' but now its perception changes
owners will expect a certain return on their dramatically.
investment, subjecting management to The level of review and challenge becomes
performance pressures it may have never before relatively more in-depth - that's for sure, how
experienced. Substantial time and effort, and much more in-depth will be relative in each
thus dollars, must be expended in dealing with instance.
the investing community in order to ensure that
investors and analysts remain satisfied with Organization's need to come to terms with a
the company's performance over the short term, period of intense change initially and then
while at all times keeping in mind, and working Change becomes a Constant! because the
towards, management's long term goals for the fundamental shift is that the investors expect
company. extraordinary returns . This over-arching
expectation ushers in a 'hardening' impact on
Finally, fiduciary obligations with respect to work culture. And the fun things begin to
minority ownership interests have been disappear in the wake of this Investor
expanded by the courts in recent years and cannot expectation. Missing forecasts, and missing
be taken lightly when planning to let others into budgets now have far reaching implications.
a previously closed circle of ownership. Earlier the promoter Board in its more
The other aspect that becomes critical post an 'acceptable response will' now behave very
organization going public, is the need for good differently in terms of missing forecast, falling
corporate governance practices. The share price, and business projections.

98 November 2007 NHRD Journal

In expectation of such a reaction, rightly or Often an IPO is planned and perceived, as
otherwise, management teams and their CEO merely a capital-raising exercise for definitive
begin to take very business focused, hard business needs. And apparently it is so, there
numbers and 'no nonsense' approach. This is no denying the fundamental purpose.
invariably, would work at max, as a short However the dilution of ownership, the
term remedy. expectation of institutional investors who in
Organizations undergoing the IPO journey turn have to serve their commitments! And it's
must, must accept two maxims - this cyclical commitment to capital, which
makes your own business relatively smaller
Maxim 1. Culture will Change than it is. Your business initially is reported
Maxim 2. Performance Enhancement 'big' in terms of market capitalization at IPO
The sooner these are internalized and accepted, time, and yet in the cycle of the capital flow
the less the transition period for the which the IPO has now aligned you, your
Organization and greater will be the focus on organization is now a part of that capital flow
creating shareholder value. No matter how and you have to play your piece in the
much Google founders claim that the fun orchestra.
culture will not change, Several recent IPO Organizational Readiness eventually happens,
organizations have proved that a dramatic and if it more by design in a pre-planned
change in culture does happen. manner then your influence over it is likely to
Acceptance of the above two maxims provides be greater than "as we go along agenda". The
an opportunity to pro-actively redefine the management team needs to regroup and
culture, retain the fun stuff, retain the heritage complete its process of acceptance and the
if feasible and prepare the organization and redefinition of the two maxims. Having then
employees for what's the new landscape, what planned a road map, the CEO can decide the
will be different, how dynamic will the pace and timing of communication and
performance expectation be, what additional execution of Change depending upon his
resources and infrastructure will be made assessment of the organization readiness.
available and how the concept of Caution has to be exercised so as not to create
accountability and incentive compensation panic of an oncoming tsunami ! Each CEO in
will look like. his style and assessment should be able to lay
the course, as how will your organizations
The erstwhile paradigm of success and career
graduate from one league to another. This
growth will now have a new meaning and a
obviously requires building the necessary road
combination of these changes emerges the new
map and the support systems.
'avtaar '.
In conclusion, the sustainability of success
A visionary CEO can use it to his advantage
desired by way of IPO is through the non-
and provide the leadership to steward the Ship
financial metrics and the credibility of the
through the 'perceived' turbulent waters to an
senior management team to execute on it. The
ocean where the dynamics are not the same as
IPO journey is a vehicle, which prepares you
cruising along the
to leap frog to higher business goals, and in
River Nile. this aspirational evolution, success may be
The dynamics of a result-oriented organization proportional to the level of preparation and
committed to creating shareholder value thus execution.
becomes a way of life rather than a maze of
ambiguity and "we shall cross that bridge
when it comes".

November 2007 NHRD Journal 99


This is a personal account of the change the authors

introduced in one organization through evolving,
experimenting and implementing HRD, spreading it
to other organizations and its diffusion and
institutionalization at the national level. While the
authors romanced with HRD as a part of change, they
developed commitment and became life partners of
Udai Pareek, a Distinguished HRD in India. Both singly, and together, they have been
Professor at the Institute of contributing to the development of HRD in India.
IHMR, is an internationally
acclaimed academician and a The Beginnings
living legend in HRD. He is on the
In 1973 after joining the Indian Institute of Management,
Management/Governing Boards
of the Academy of HRD, IIHMR, Ahmedabad as the Faculty, Udai worked with late
ISABS, JIM and several other Professor S. K. Bhatacharyya on the problems in Larsen
organizations. He has authored and Toubro subsequent to its reorganization by Professor
and edited several books and has
Bhatacharyya. The main problem was conflict between
contributed a large number of
research papers to national and two independent roles created in the organization (DGM
international journals. Planning and DGM Operations). While doing role
clarification and role negotiation exercises, Udai realized
the need of working on the larger issues of development
of people. With TV Ra, later joining the Faculty of IIM,
Ahmedabad, Udai shared this concern, and both TV and
Udai decided to work on designing a new way of
developing people in an organization.
They made a proposal to the Chairman. Shri N.M. Desai,
CEO of L & T, arranged the discussion with the top group,
Dr T V Rao is currently Chairman and accepted the proposal to try out the new system of
of T V Rao Learning Systems and developing people. The authors would like to pay tribute
Chairman of Academy of Human
Resources Development,
to the foresightedness of Shri N. M. Desai in agreeing to
Ahmedabad. He was Professor at experiment with a new system.
the Indian Institute of
L&T Experiment: Its Main Thrust
Management, Ahmedabad, for
over 20 years beginning 1973. He After extensive interviews and discussions (including
has also worked as L&T with A. M. Naik currently the Chairman of L&T who was
Professor of HRD at XLRI,
Jamshedpur, during 1983-85. Dr. a Manager at that time) the authors prepared a proposal
Rao is the Founder President of to introduce what they called human resource
the National HRD Network and development. This was in mid 70's. They had not come
was President of the Indian across any such term in the western literature, and
Society for Applied Behavioral
Science (ISABS). Dr. Rao has appropriately thought of re-orienting personnel system
several publications to his credit. from administration to development. A comprehensive

100 November 2007 NHRD Journal

system was designed, requiring managers to The following 11 systems were reassigned in
perform development role through coaching details:
and performance management. Two main A. Human Resource Administration
features of the proposed concept of HRD were
that HRD dealt with all the human units of the 1. Manpower planning
organization (from persons to the total 2. Recruitment and placement
organization), and It was value-based. 3. Performance and potential appraisal
Fortunately,L&T had a very competent
personal officer, Dr. Dennyson Pereira, who 4. Promotion salary administration
was excited with doing new experiments. The 5. Staff administration
authors have already published the detailed 6. Information and data processing
experience of developing HRD in L & T (Pareek
& Rao, 1998). The following 15 principles were B. Human Resource Development
shared with the organization as the guiding Training
principles for designing the HR function.
Organization Development and Research
• Focus on enabling capacity
Employee Feedback and counseling
• Integrating the development of people with
Career development and career planning
Organization Development
B. Industrial Relations
• Maximizing Individual Autonomy and
Growth through increased responsibility Worker Affairs
• Decentralization through Delegation and Attention was paid to structure of human
Shared Responsibility resource function. Detailed recommendations
were developed for implementation of the
• Participation Decision-making
system and functions. To help the organization
• Balancing adaptation to and changing take decision, detailed description of the HR
organizational culture functions was prepared, including critical
• Balancing differentiation and integration attributes for each function. These were also
done through interviews and discussions.
• Balancing Specialization and Diffusion of Since the details have been published
the Function elsewhere, we are focusing here only on the
• Ensuring Responsibility for the Function process of success of the system.
• Balancing Linkages within and with other The Factors of its Success
functions This was one of the most successful change
• Building Feedback and Reinforcing management, from successful implementation
Mechanisms of change to its diffusion and
• Balancing quantification and qualitative institutionalization at the national level.
decisions Several factors contributed to the success of
change. Some of these are briefly mentioned
• Balancing internal and external help below.
• Planning evaluation of the function 1. Committed top: When the proposal was
• Continuous review and self-renewal discussed with N.M.Desai, and Holk Larsen
both of them showed deep interest in re-

November 2007 NHRD Journal 101

designing the personnel system. L & T was 5. The Strong Internal Resource: No change
very successful company, and there was no can succeed unless there is strong and
apparent reason for it to think of new system. competent internal resource to implement and
But foresighted as the top management was, monitor the change. It was fortunate to have
they welcome the idea of giving a lead in a Dr. Dennison Pereira as the internal resource.
new area. Both the CEO and the top Dr. Pereira combined his insightful experience
management were interested and discussed the in the organization with his academic
proposal in detail. competence and child-like excitement to search
2. Appointment of High level implementation new ways of solving problems. There is no
Task Force: They promptly appointed a high doubt that the success of the system owes a
level Task force headed by a General Manager great deal to Dennison's role in the beginning
(G. A. Advani) along with some of the top of the new function.
management team as members. The task force 6. Involvement of all Levels of the
functioned for nearly three years in introducing Organization: The authors emphasized that
and monitoring the implementation of the the systems and processes being introduced
system. must be discussed in various forums of
3. Placement of the System at High Level in employees, helping them to raise questions for
the Organization: One of the conditions the any modification in the system as required.
authors stated for the success of the new Workshops and seminars were held on the
function was its strategic placement. Generally new systems and procedures. People raised
at that time the personnel function was given questions and seem to welcome the various
low priority and was generally placed at the changes being planned. This facilitated the
lower level in the organizations. We convinced success of the system.
the management that the function could not 7. Developing Internal Competence: The
succeed unless it was strategically placed at a Company needed several people to help in
higher level. It was agreed and the position of implementing the new system. It was necessary
Vice President, HRD was created in the that the system and process were adopted with
company. the help of key line managers. Therefore, an
4. The Competent Head of the Function: extensive training programme was organized
While selecting a person to head the new to develop relevant competencies for
function, it was strongly recommended that a implementing the systems. Over a hundred
very competent person should be given the internal managers were developed to
responsibility. Fortunately, the CEO agreed to communicate the system all through the
request S.R. Subramaniam (SRS), highly company. The term L&T University was used
respected competent Engineer, to head the informally by these members to represent the
function. Subramaniam ensured new education and learning they were
thoroughness and effective implementation of facilitating through the HRD system.
the various parts of the new system. It may be Spread to Other Strategic Organizations
mentioned here that later, after the retirement Udai had worked with late Professor
of N. M. Desai, Subramaniam became the Bhattacharyya on the second reorganization
CEO of the company. The success of the new of the State Bank of India. The new HRD system
function very much depended on the competent was also developed for SBI. Shri R K Talwar,
leadership provided in the organization. the Chairman of SBI took personal interest.

102 November 2007 NHRD Journal

Then the system was recommended for the other many organizations were not able to
state banks, and their CEO s were so excited by understand the right spirit of HRD, the
the new concept that they suggested to take the helplessness of HRD managers in convincing
responsibility of introducing the system some CEO s etc. A number of success stories
themselves! Later, TV volunteered to work with were also shared and there was new
Bharat Earth movers Ltd. To introduce and enthusiasm in all the members. Rajen Gupta
stabilize the new system. Capitalising on this shared his struggle in Jyoti Ltd and the support
experience both Udai and TV offered the first he was getting from the top. Subhash Durlabhji
workshop on HRD systems at the Indian institute shared how HRD was an integral part of the
of management at Ahmedabad in 1979. A draft Japanese philosophy. PVR shared HR practices
of their proposed book on designing and at Sundram Clayton member of the TVS Group.
Managing HR systems was circulate din this TV shared his concern for continuing the
workshop. Later a course and series executive process of learning from each others'
development programs were started by Udai and experiences. The response was very positive.
TV at IIMA to popularize and promote HRD. As expected, in response to a suggestion from
Crompton Greaves, State Bank of India and its TV who was leaving XLRI to return to IIMA,
associates and a few other organizations the members proposed continuation of the
followed this initiative and Udai and TV worked Initiative under a new banner. Several
as their consultants in introducing and suggestions were given. It was Rajen Gupta
implementing the HRD systems and starting new who suggested that we call this body network
HRD departments separate from personnel. The as the term network means connecting with
spread of change to these strategic organizations each other. The suggestion was readily accepted
has been well documented (Rao, 2004). to set up HRD Network. It was also agreed
Diffusion of Change: Networking Strategy that different cities should have such Networks.
At that time Udai went on a long consulting T P Raman and his colleague Mohan agreed to
assignment, as USAID OD Advisor to the give facilities and promote it in Mumbai. PVR
Health Department of the Government of and Chandrasekhar agreed to do this for
Indonesia, TV continued the work of diffusing Chennai. Prasanna and Kishore Rao agreed to
change in India. Larsen & Toubro created a do this for Bangalore. Rajan Gupta agreed to
Chair on HRD at XLRI Jamshedpur, which was do this for Baroda. TV volunteered to explore
taken up by TV in 1983. One of the conditions for Delhi. Coordinators were appointed,
of the L&T Chair required L&T professor to give briefing them about organizing such Networks.
an annual public seminar on his work. TV used Fr Abraham agreed to stay behind in Mumbai
this to get L&T host the four-day seminar at to visit L&T and get the material for the first
Mumbai, where more people could attend. The newsletter. The newsletter was supposed to
seminar focused on the recent experiences in disseminate the new knowledge about HRD. It
HRD. About 40 persons participated in the was agreed to have one intellectual article by
seminar. TV presented the integrated HRD an academician, one essay profiling in details
model developed at L&T. Dennyson spoke the practices of accompany, a few case lets of
about how it was being implemented. Susan problems and issues, which may be posed to
spoke about their attempts at Assessment the reader, some references and bibliography
Centers. The seminar explored what was and news items. Fr Abraham and TV thought
happening and not happening in HRD, how of getting every number sponsored by a
company committed to HRD and having done

November 2007 NHRD Journal 103

some good work worthy of sharing. It would Murthy, K.K. Verma, Anil Khandelwal,
meet cost of printing of 2000 copies of the KS Rao, H N Arora etc)
newsletter and also the mailing it free to all • Stability and Growth (MRR Nair, Udai
HRD chiefs and CEO s in the country. L&T was Pareek, Anil Sachdev, Arvind Agarwal,
the natural choice as every one was talking Shashi Khanna P K Sarangi, Rakesh
about L&T in relation to HRD. L&T readily Kumar, Keith D'Souza etc)
agreed. Abe stayed on in Mumbai to prepare
feature on L&T. TV wrote an article on HRD. • Turbulent Times Management (Rajesh
Rajen Gupta's dilemmas in Jyoti was converted Vidyasagar, VS Mahesh, Debashish Mitra,
into a case let the first newsletter was published. Arvind Pande, Baburaj Nair)
The seminar proceedings were also published • Turn Around (TV Rao, Satyanarayana, YRK
as a book "Recent Experiences in HRD". Then Reddy, Arvind Agarwal, Udai Pareek, Rupa
TV returned to IIM, Ahmedabad, and continued Padki, P V R Murthy, Bangalore team
to promote networking. and Delhi team)
In the fist newsletter the idea of forming the • Going places (Santrupt Mishra, Arvind
HRD Network was announced. TV worked Agarwal, G.P. Rao, P.D. Dwarkanath, Delhi
with: State Bank of Patiala, Indian Oil, Chapter, Pune Chapter and other members
Sundaram Clayton, Hindustan Petroleum, of current team)
MMTC etc. While Abe continued to coordinate • Going Global (in process)
from XLRI, TV helped in setting up National
HRD Network. Somanth Chattopadhyay Different individuals contributed to
drafted the constitution of NHRDN in a hotel development of NHRDN at different stages. Of
in Madras where they happened to work on a these, stage 3 of turbulent time took place by
joint assignment. S. Chandrasekhar facilitated accident. V.S. Mahesh and Rajesh Vidyasagar
this initiative to form the South Indian chapter left for UK and USA in the middle of their terms
of NHRDN at Madras with the help of the and Arvind Pande was busy providing
Madras Management Association which stability to SAIL. During this period, NHRDN
launched the first meeting of the chapter. slowed down but all core activities continued.
An interim committee had to be set up to
Institutionalization of Change: There is a long rejuvenate NHRDN and TV shouldered that
history of the evolution of the National HRD responsibility and got an Executive Director
Network. The main milestones of the appointed to pay full attention to NHRDN.
developments are given below. The names are During the turbulent times, when VS Mahesh
indicative of the kind of persons involved and left the country, TV took over again as Interim
the lists are not exhaustive. The lists are largely President and ensured that the next President
limited to those office bearers who played active was appointed and that no activity suffered.
roles. A large number of HR professionals like Thus, twice in this period TV had to play the
Balaji, Mali, Aquil, RR Nair, Rupa Padki, role of managing NHRDN's stability and
Nagaraj, Pallabh, Hari Iyer, Gopal etc. played continuance.
a very supportive role and kept the Bangalore
chapter provide leadership. G.P. Rao was all The credit of a big launch of the HRD network
over. should be given to Chandrasekhar of L&T,
assisted ably by Mukunadan and PVR Murthy
• Foundation and Culture Building: (TV Rao, at Chennai, Anil Khandelwal and KK Verma
Fr. E. Abraham, S. Chandrasekhar, PVR of Bank of Baroda and Fr Abraham. The

104 November 2007 NHRD Journal

Newsletters used to be published and mailed does its work professionally, we wanted to give
from Ahmedabad. This continued until Keith enough time between the first and the second
D'Souza joined XLRI and Fr Abraham returned conference.
to XLRI as its Director. While the preparations for the second
In the Initial years TV was self appointed conference began almost two years in advance
President of the NHRDN and Fr. E Abraham the preparations for the election for the next
was Secretary and Treasurer of the NHRDN. President also began. MRR Nair was requested
There were no paid members. In a short time to take charge as the next President so that there
NHRDN established itself and chapters were was also some synergy between the NHRDN
opened wherever there were interested people. proceeds and the conference at Delhi.
It was registered as a Society and membership The Delhi Conference two years alter was also
was made open. a great success. The programmme started on
The journey from then for the next five years time even when the Chief Guest Dr Abid
has been that of hard work and perseverance. Hussein did not arrive in time. He appreciated
No one knew NHRDN and many did not see our starting the conference without waiting for
the reason for NHRDN when ISTD was serving him. It was attended by over 600 delegates and
the same purpose. Only those who saw the a book was distributed. The Conference set
distinction between HRD and training benchmark in size of the Conference,
appreciated the need. The First national performance on time, themes and academic
Conference is a record of sorts. It had a full day content, and put now NHRDN fully on stream.
devoted to CEO presentations. Starting with Dr Some initiative in governance practices helped
Krishnamurthy who inaugurated the program NHRD to evolve as a vibrant democratic
many CEOs made presentations. They include: organization. During the tenure of the authors
Suresh Krishna, Venu Srinivasan, M V as President of NHRD , two provision of built
Subbaiah, Deenadayalu of MRL, in the constitution, one that each person would
Arunachalam, and KK Nohria of Crompton be a President only for one term and would not
Greaves etc. A printed version of the conference be re-elected. The other provision except was
papers was distributed. All sessions started on to avoid election, and search the next President
time and ended on time. There was a great by a team appointed by the Governing Board.
cultural program by a troupe of Krishnaswamy Elections introduce politics in the process, and
Associates. A special issue of economic times therefore, it was thought important to have
devoted to HRD was brought out (courtesy IIM some other modes for searching the President.
colleague and editor of ET Manu Shroff). This Arvind Agarwal, during the tenure as
was the turning point for the popularization of President, introduced another useful tradition
NHRDN and NHRDN never looked back since that the search committee, after identifying the
then. In this conference the next conference was potential President, would interviewed the
planned to be held in Delhi and the director CEO of the company to negotiate release of time
personnel of SAIL took a lot of interest and we and energy for the candidate to be appointed
promptly requested him to Chair the next as President. The provisions has made NHRD
conference to be held two years latter. To a really democratic body.
distinguish NHRDN from others and to
communicate that this is not yet another body Today NHRDN has over forty chapters, nearly
for fellowship annually but a serious body that twenty and odd publications to its credit,
collaborating with CII to develop HRD models

November 2007 NHRD Journal 105

and assess HR professionals and is their work. The relevance and need for such
collaborating with International bodies. By any an institution still exists today. Its doctoral
means it has done a great service to young HR programme could have become a flagship
professionals. It has given opportunities to programme and would have contributed a
many young managers to test out their great deal to HRD knowledge.
leadership potential and has helped a number In the last 20 years, NHRDN has grown vastly.
of young professionals to acquire HR The seeds for its growth were sown and
knowledge and set their careers in the right foundation was laid in the first three years. The
direction. agenda of learning from each other continues.
Strengthening the Academic Base: The The annual or biannual conferences and the
Academy of HRD The Academy of HRD is an chapter meetings for learning from each other
education and research centre set up by the and networking continued. The chapters have
National HRD Network. It is an autonomous grown in number. The culture of publishing
institution with its own members. It's founding papers to be distributed during conference
members consist of organizations like SAIL, continues.
Voltas, Tata Steel, Crompton Greaves, Gati, Dr. The Future
Reddy's Laboratories, Visakhapatnam Steel,
Satyam Computers, ILFS etc. corporations. It is Division kills and Integration builds. It is high
located in Ahmedabad and its campus time that all of us recognized the need and value
eventually planned to be in Hyderabad on a of integration: integration of "Personnel and
ten acre land donated by Dr. Reddy's HRD" or "OD and HRD" or "Business and HRD"
Laboratories. or "AHRD and NHRD" or "NIPM and NHRDN."
Integration and collaboration is the only answer
It has done remarkable work in its initial stages. for future success. Overemphasis on separate
Though its pace has slowed down in the recent identities and ownership, especially for
years, it has been contributing silently through professional bodies and institutions whose
its Doctoral and certificate programs. owners are all professionals and not any one or
AHRD contributed a great deal so far to Human few individuals, is dysfunctional. Divisive
Capital Formation among HRD Professionals thinking is detrimental.. The future of the HRD
in India. However, there was much more scope. movement is in realizing that we have not even
AHRD could have been a globally recognised touched the most important sectors like
institution and would have been considered education, health, infrastructure, government
the only place to go or main place to go for etc. where HR interventions are most needed.
scholars across the world. The great dream We need to pay attention to these strategic
still remains a dream - the great dream was to sectors. The spirit of HRD lies in learning from
have its own campus, data-bank, and library, each others: teachers, managers, doctors, nurses,
residential accommodation furnished for in fact all citizens involved in the pursuit of
scholars to visit, write, renew and disseminate change and development.

• Pareek, Udai & T.V. Rao (1998). Pioneering human resources development: The L & T System, Hyderabad: Academy
of Human Resource Development. 165p.
• Rao, T V (2004) Future of HRD, New Delhi: Macmillan

106 November 2007 NHRD Journal

In this article we look at the changes that are happening in terms of socio - economic,
educational, and demographic aspects of the society and organizational ecosystem and the
associated changes needed in the mind set of managing an organization. Drawing up on the
case of the financial services industry and specifically of ICICI, the changes required and
expectations from HR, employees, and top management are described. The various
interventions that are aligned to this change are also described here.

Introduction half a million engineers annually.

India finds itself in a unique phase India's pool of university graduates
in its existence viz being in the (<=7 years experience) is estimated
vanguard of not only the Asian to be 14 million - 1.5 times that of
economic growth but also the China's. Yet, less than 1/4th of this
Global economic hope. For the first pool are employable in organized
time, its demographics and industries, given poor linguistic
reservoir of human talent is turning and social skills. Equally, course
K Ramkumar is the
curriculum focused excessively on
Group-Chief Human out be a huge strength. A near-
Resources Officer at learning theory by rote creates
double-digit GDP growth is
ICICI Bank.He has 22 graduates with few skills
years of work experience
powered by the service sector and
applicable to industry of today.
in private and public the resurgent manufacturing
This creates gross shortfall in the
sector industries. He has sector. By 2020 Indian population
earlier worked in inventory of industry ready talent.
will have an average age of 28 years.
Hindustan Aeronautics, Poor quality vocational education
Hindustan Lever
Currently 60% of the population
Limited, and ICI India has more than 30 years of in the technical discipline and
Ltd. Apart from human productive work life. Rarely has absence of vocational education in
resources, Ramkumar any country had 500 million people the service sector. Estimates
has also had exposure in suggest that by year 2010, Banking
with so much productive work life.
manufacturing plants.
industry will add 1.1 million new
However the galloping economic
jobs, Retailing will add 1.5 million,
growth and the young demography
Telecom 4.6 million and
brings along with its challenges.
Hospitality 33 million jobs. A large
These challenges are linked to socio-
percentage of these jobs is likely to
economic, educational, and
be in front line sales and customer
demographic aspects of the society and
service. Yet, vocational education,
organizational ecosystem.
aimed at core skill building rather
Education than imparting theoretical
A broken education system which knowledge, is often looked down
does not have any relevance to the upon by academia as well as
new economy. India students. The consequence would
produces 3 million graduates and be significant under-capacitization
of vocational education sector.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 107

Socio - Economic may compromise brand proposition to local
Highly mobile and churning workforce customers. Adapt work culture of the host
resetting the norms of "what is acceptable country? This may compromise the work ethos
attrition". The scarcity of industry-ready talent that makes the organization competitive.
has resulted in too many employers targeting Demographic
the same limited talent pool. This has created Plummeting average work age leading to
high churn and wage inflation, with attrition middle management talent crisis and the
in high growth sectors at 20-35%. This challenge of young leading the young. Low
combined with exploding employee numbers, median age of the population translates into
means that at any point in time as much as an advantage at the entry level pool, yet poses
50% employees could be less than an year old a serious challenge at middle and senior level
in the organization. This creates an adverse managers. At these levels, experience and
"new" to the "accultured" ratio, challenging the maturity built over time are critical; yet current
DNA of organizations. The challenge is who phase of outstripping growth has meant that
holds and inculcates the organizational DNA talented yet inexperienced managers have been
and the institutional ethos to the thousands fast-tracked into middle management roles.
who join the organization every year. Relatively few middle level managers have
Confusion among the employees who want the significant age, experience and maturity gap
benefits of the capitalistic system but the when compared to their subordinates.
security and comfort of the socialistic system. The Change Challenge with ICICI
While individual choice and potential super-
normal rewards for extraordinary contribution Drawing from the overall challenges that are
are desired, the flip side of undesired explored, in the context of financial services
consequences for less than expected delivery is industry and specifically of ICICI we can link
deemed unacceptable. This creates an it up as below. The financial service Industry
unrealistic expectation that one should get the has been growing at 30% over the last 5 to 6
super-normal rewards and at the same time years. ICICI Bank has been growing at 35 to
there should be no down-side risk. This in turn 40% year on year during the same period.
will result in a young and anchor less Given the challenges listed in the context, the
leadership in organization wanting following mind set changes were required at
meritocracy without appreciation of the risks the leadership level with respect to talent
and the inequity & differentiation which acquisition and deployment:
characterizes it. From outsourcing investment on training to line
Rapidly globalizing organizations faced with managers taking ownership for training raw
the challenge of balancing exporting talent to talent.
other parts of the world and coming to terms Seeing the role of manager not simply as delivering
with differing work cultures of host countries. on tasks through one's team but also as builder of
E.g. notions of required work hours, work-life organization's talent pool. Not simply a net
balance, private space vary significantly across consumer of talent but a net creator of talent. From
geographies. In such situations, what kind of insistence on readymade talent to raw talent that
trade-offs does a globalizing organization is trainable. From seeing compensation as the
make? Ensure a homogeneous work culture by sole lever for attracting and retaining talent to
continuing to export talent? If overdone, this investing in learning for accelerating time to

108 November 2007 NHRD Journal

productive deployment of raw talent. Looking at • From hiring external trainers to trainers of
the ability to take raw talent and en-skilling and thousands of internal trainers. Creating a
deploying it as a competitive advantage, creating pool of internal trainers to deliver
a cost barrier for competition. leadership, behavioral and functional
From demanding bodies on job to letting new learning. Focusing on building institutional
employees go through thorough pre-training capability rather than buying skills.
for at least 4 weeks right from day one of joining. • From looking at HR function as provider of
Making a shift from "manning" of jobs to the services to "Business" to HR function
rigor of "license to operate". managing the "Business of People", with line
From endlessly complaining on attrition based responsibility for sourcing, en-skilling and
on the old paradigm to investing in a bench deploying talent.
and innovating systems and processes that The Challenges with Employees were as
counter the effects of attrition. follows:
From complaining about the education system The changes that are required need a different
to investing in creating appropriate content and orientation from employees. The changes are
curriculum for the universities and training the explored in the following lines.
teachers and professors for creating the external • To cultivate an orientation to year long
eco system. As industry leaders, making a shift learning, that will be tested for proficiency.
from perceiving self as beneficiaries or victims Looking at training as work, in certain cases,
of the current institutional eco-system, to being license-to-operate on work.
builders of that eco-system.
• To change from class room and instructor
The corresponding challenge for the HR led learning to blended learning of E-
function was as follows: learning and class room learning.
Linking up with the challenges and the needed • To be moved to domains they have not
changes, HR function needed to realign itself on the worked earlier, with a pre-condition of
following lines. learning functional content before being
• From being recruitment agencies to eco- deployed to the new domain.
system developers. This required Systemic Interventions
developing capability and stature to engage
with and intervene in the education system The major mindset change that was required
of the country. was to get the organization to see attrition more
as the consequence of the nation's high
• From being administrators of learning to economic growth and hence a structural
creators, structures and innovators in external supply issue rather than an internal
functional and behavioral content, culture or compensation issue. This led to the
methodology and medium of learning. initiatives of the organization and its leaders
Looking beyond the "best-practices" to to choose the approach of investing in easing
experimenting with mobile, gaming and supply through the following initiatives:
simulation technologies. Investing in and
gaining credibility as domain experts in • Partnering with NIIT to create the Institute
instruction design and valued partners for for Finance, Banking and insurance. This
creating learning content across domains. will deliver 5000, 6-months pre-trained
employees in the first year and by year 3 it

November 2007 NHRD Journal 109

will deliver 25,000 pre-trained professionals to accept the consequences thereof were poor.
to the Industry. Add to this the culture of stretch, which is not
• Investing in the Academy for Banking and negotiable. All this lead to a system where there
Insurance in alliance with Manipal is uncompromising differentiation in growth
University, which in year-1 will deliver 1000 and rewards. While this engendered a culture
Managers who have been pre-trained for one of achievement orientation, it also encouraged
year. By year-4 this will deliver 4000 competitiveness and high pressure all round the
Banking domain trained managers. year. We at ICICI believe that one cannot create
a culture of meritocracy without the top
• Creation of a slew of Academies for Branch management willing to be unrelenting and
Banking, Sales, Credit, Collections, unwavering in its clinical execution. We believe
Operations etc. which will deliver high quality that its success is more in its execution than in
accredited professionals year after year. the articulation of the philosophy. The top
• Moving away from an Urban and English management and the operating levels should
centric talent acquisition to a broad based be willing to live with the attendant noise in the
inclusive talent acquisition fro Semi-urban system and not mistake it for dissatisfaction and
and Rural India. Focusing on job success roll back the execution or water it down.
factors such as problem solving and We have found the following to be the essential
relationship skills, rather than linguistic necessities to change a work place to
abilities. Creating capability to en-skill raw meritocracy:
talent in language and social skills.
• Clarity that meritocracy is not going to be
• Looking outside of India to the International popular and tolerance for noise in the
Universities to service the Global requirement system.
of talent rather than export talent only from
within. Creating an employer brand in • Clarity to the middle management that they
campuses across the globe. will qualify to be senior management leaders
only if they own this and show ability to
The Meritocracy Challenge institutionalize this philosophy.
At ICICI meritocracy governs both performance • Willingness to be clinical, unrelenting and
and leadership talent assessment. The age-old unwavering in its execution.
confusion between performers and leadership
talent required to be cleared both among leaders • Transparent and inclusive process, were all
and employees. To add to this the much levels of management are involved in its
maligned forced ranking system in both execution.
performance and talent management required • Communicate, communicate and
to be put in context. Both these challenges were communicate year round the non-negotiable
tougher in the context of a highly mobile young nature of stretch and relative ranking system.
work force that was prepared to exit if not ranked • A system that is open to audit by any
in the top half. The middle level leaders were employee and reining in any senior leader
reluctant to own up to the system and very often from exercising favors.
took refuge in pointing upwards towards the
bosses. While both the leaders and the employees • Emphasizing that meritocracy is an
wanted a meritocracy, their comprehension of economic reward differentiating philosophy
the true character of the same or the willingness and not a fair or equity based philosophy.

110 November 2007 NHRD Journal

Conclusion The two-pronged approach of intervention
There is a broad agreement that growth within the organization on meritocracy and in
momentum of Indian economy is set to the outside system to create talent supply will
continue over foreseeable future. ICICI Bank need to continue. The analogy to explain this
has the ambition to be a significant global phenomenon is that of riding a bicycle. Bicycle
player in the financial services industry is inherently unstable and requires significant
(among top-25 banks in the world) by 2010. adjustments and gathering of forward
While evolution of the eco-system is underway, momentum to make it stable. We have now
as a process it occurs, not instantaneously, but gathered that forward momentum. Yet, exactly
over a period of time. This means that the like a rider on bicycle, we need to continuously
change intervention for organization make the micro-adjustments to keep the bicycle
preparedness is far from its logical conclusion. steady and moving in desired direction.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 111


Change is part of everyday life and Organization? Are we leading the

all of us experience it. There are change process? Or are we
changes which we see in the constantly repairing the impact of
family, society, the economic and change? Whilst we have many
political environment too. All of programs to address the subject in
us understand and also gratefully our Organizations - are we doing
acknowledge that change is indeed enough? Will we be able to sail
the essence of everyday. With all through the troubled times? Is there
Vineet Kaul currently
heads the Indian
this awareness, education and a clear strategy and approach
Subcontinent HR experiences - still each one of us available which can steer us
function for Philips and finds Change Management as a through? These are some questions
is also an Executive challenge in Organizations today. on the minds of leaders in
Director on the Board of
Philips Electronics India
CEO's would also put bringing Organizations.
Limited. His career as about change as one of their Why do organizations look to
HR professional spreads priorities today. My own Transform and Change?
over 31 years across a experience and most of you would
range of assignments Interestingly, very often success
and enriching
also agree is that whatever and could be a very important cause.
experiences. however much we deliver in this Sometimes it makes the
He is on the CII National area, there is still always a lot to be Organizations complacent and
Committee for HR and done. Look at our own country. arrogant. Accumulated costs,
IR and is also the During the past 20 years or so - structures and processes during
immediate Past
indeed a lot of change has occurred growth phases are difficult to reduce
President of the Mumbai
Chapter of the National and we are in a very different during tough times. Also, being
HRD Network. He is a situation than before. However, too focused on the interests of only
recipient of a number of despite the steps taken and results 1 or 2 stakeholders at the expense
prestigious awards as a
achieved - we still continue to have of others is a cause of the
HR professional.
a lot to do. The same principle Organization not doing well! In
applies to Organization Change. It addition to these "internal" reasons,
is a given - and as one colleague there are also "external" or
remarked - "It is like a Treadmill - environment related causes that
you are on it". Well, it is all up to require organization change.
you as how you wish to manage
self vis-à-vis the speed on the • Regulation: An excellent
Treadmill. example is the deregulation
process and opening up of the
Organizations I feel do not have Indian economy which has
many options today. The made the markets much more
immediate Agenda of many dynamic and provided
organizations is how do we cope consumers many more options.
with change? Do we anticipate and
proactively prepare the • Technology and its speed of

112 November 2007 NHRD Journal

change is indeed the engine which fires up • Revitalization Phase from 2001-2005: The
the organization. Bringing newer products Management Team was able to turn around
and also changing processes is forcing businesses. However, measures taken to
organizations to gear up in the real sense. improve performance took their toll on
• Globalization is another linked reason, morale and motivation. Therefore, the need
with trade barriers being pulled down and for re-vitalization in the Organization.
free market accessibility e.g. the full impact • Growth Phase from 2005 onwards: With
of the WTO is still to be felt. the business performance in place, the
• Last but not the least is the Customer. The Company embarks on a growth strategy.
shifts in customer preferences can be traced
to a few demographic changes - aging in the
West and younger generation in India,
changing role of women, etc. Companies
that fail to keep up with the changes their
customers are going through will gradually
lose them. Companies that survive in the
long run are those that are able to
dynamically adapt to their changing
circumstances. Interestingly, you will Depending on the issues at each phase, we
observe the above four causes are also under evolved appropriate HR interventions.
constant change. We do not have the comfort
of addressing "one" of them and then moving Some of the key initiatives taken are given
on to the "second one", because all of them below:
are exclusive and also inter related at the Restructuring Phase:
same time. This makes the subject very Improving Operational Efficiencies
challenging. I would venture to add that it
is a "chakraviyuh" which will be continuous The Management deliberated and evolved a
and never come to a stop. turnaround strategy which involved divesting
of unviable businesses and optimization of
Designing HR Interventions - Considerations:
costs including headcount. Being a 75-year-
Organizations are like living beings. Just as old Company, we did not see our legacy as a
we all go through different life stages, we can handicap but dealt with it as a challenge and
also identify a number of stages in the life of an opportunity. It took us a few years especially
Organization. HR interventions need to be as we were spread across six states and had
designed keeping in mind the context in which 11 Unions across the country. Many restrictive
the organization is operating. Let me illustrate practices had got in place and these were
the above with the Philips India experience. obstacles which had to be overcome. However,
If we look at the developments in Philips India by taking a few measures and actions we had
in the last decade, we identify three phases: full flexibility, all non-core activities are
outsourced (they were run in-house earlier),
• Restructuring Phase from 1996-2001:
During this period, the Company went all activities towards reorganization and
through a difficult period of low growth rationalization are carried out with full
and low productivity which was addressed participation of employees. In our plants
through a turn around strategy. today, a part of the wage is linked to plant

November 2007 NHRD Journal 113

yield/quality and/or skill based pay. The Survey Tools. All in all, these have been very
wage increases have also kept below the effective in bringing about changes in the
regional trend for similar Companies. Organization and thereby Company benefits
Interestingly, in addition to the Union -- a as a whole. As a Company, we do encourage
settlement is also accepted individually by each cross-functional as well as quality
employee in a respective location. We have improvement project teams and hold
also gone through quite some divestments and competitions at the country level and also
all these processes have definitely had good depute the winning teams for International level
outcomes, which solely reflects positively on competitions.
the leadership. Communication
Driving Performance Culture Today I see this as indeed the greatest challenge
We had identified this as a very major need before us as an Organization especially due to
and hence have been actively working on this the fact that we have different product
area. The process comprised of proper divisions across different industry segments as
deployment within the teams, regular tracking well as being located across various parts of
and measuring of performance both at this country. As one Company, we are indeed
business and individual levels as well as putting in more effort in order to have better
linking compensation to achievement of lines of communication across the
targets. For the last 8 years, we have also gone Organization. Common platforms, learning
into differentiation in compensation, which events and workshops do supplement the
becomes quite aggressive to the extent of being existing practice of periodic newsletters as well
at least five times in one grade itself. as town meetings in the Organization. We also
Revitalization Phase launched a number of programs aimed at
building Employee Engagement. For example,
Creating a Conducive Work Environment the Employee Outreach Program, where a team
Employees have responded very well to bring of Senior management meets employees at their
change in the work place. To give an example, respective locations and hold Open House at
we have been able to bring about a shift in work each unit. Our efforts paid off as evidenced by
culture by improving work place management, the high scores Philips India achieved in the
which in turn has helped to build an open and company-wide global Employee Engagement
cordial environment, which enhances Survey conducted.
productivity. All services have been The Growth Phase:
outsourced so as to provide good quality, costs
and delivery at the workplace. Employees Talent Management
responded well to our decision to reduce the Talent Management has been identified as a
number of paid holidays in a year from 18 to 10 priority area given our growth agenda. Career
days in all commercial establishments. I do planning and development receive focus as also
not think this would have been possible in the having the advantage of different businesses
normal course. All across the Company, the where we are also able to provide opportunities
employees are involved in the journey to for people within the Organization. Very
excellence and you will find departments specifically, we are focusing on identification/
working on their improvement plans and using development and positioning of our High
Business Balanced Score Card and Process potential employees as also having functional

114 November 2007 NHRD Journal

and regional development programs. We also totally unacceptable. Organizations that have
have a Career Centre, which is an internal job been successful in getting this step right - have
portal, where employees can apply for experienced that it smoothens very much
positions across Philips organizations subsequent actions and communication that
worldwide These activities are part of our are necessary in terms of change. We all know
overall Talent Management process and stand that a crisis very often bonds large Corporations
the Company in good stead with providing and it is this state that brings people together.
Managers for our present and future • Forming a Core Group to Lead the Process :
Whatever may be the prevalent practices - it is
Key Learnings observed that most often the bottleneck is at the
I will now move on to a few key learning's Top. Even otherwise the troops in the
which we have gained through experience. To Organization look to the Top i.e. the leadership.
summarize, a successful change process Be it for direction, guidance and even role
normally involves the following five steps: modeling. Hence, I find that in an Organization
a. Develop an Initial Plan: wide Transformation - it is useful to have a core
group/steering team at the helm. Here I often
This starts with painting a picture or "creating support a Top-Down approach which all would
a vision". Whatever be the state of Organization understand very easily. The key people involved
or nature of the business, this is an important in this team have to be persons who are in the
step to put together as many pieces together leadership group of the Organization and have
e.g. what is it that we want? Where should we the mandate to lead and deliver the end results.
be? Where do we want to be? What is the Of course, it is clear that the leadership group
status today? How do we feel we will get there? has to own and bring about change. But, often
Why do we want to be there? What is not this role needs to be orchestrated and be seen
going well today? across in the Organization - more important is
With many of the initiatives and changes that that a "passion" in the whole process should be
we worked on - in quite some of them, I realized evident rather than be perceived as one more
that the time and effort spent in envisioning initiative / instruction flowing from the Top. A
and putting a plan was very useful and also key challenge is therefore getting to the Right
formed the Foundation for the next steps ahead. Leaders to steer the process and also more
b. Building a Sense of Urgency: importantly encouraging these to work as a
This to my mind is the most critical part in
organization Transformation. It is indeed a • Communication:
catalyst to bring about the change. Having a This part does not need much explaining - but
sense of urgency whilst mostly addressing a truly the role it pays in the Organization, needs
"crisis" could also be directed to address "major some explanation. Organizational
opportunities" too. In other words, it is not Transformation heavily banks on a very good
only in tough times that we need to bring this communication across the Organization and
sense of urgency - but also looking to market its various stakeholders. We have numerous
realities in grabbing opportunities. It is examples of the Organization, for whom good
popularly believed that the urgency rate is not communication has made the day (achieve
high enough until 75% of the management is results). Simply put - the Organization is
honestly convinced that business-as-usual is people and people need to know a lot about the

November 2007 NHRD Journal 115

need for change, what will change and what steps/action for change. Now this to my mind
not, how does it impact the individual in the is an ideal opportunity to highlight to the rest of
Organization etc. etc. Organization Change the organization. Also, such individuals or
is not as difficult - but we constantly need to teams need to be recognized and even recorded
communicate, the Vision, the need, the what, so that they indeed are seen as the role models.
how, why and numerous questions that we Very often such recognition apart from
anticipate and also cannot anticipate. Let me motivating the individual or team along - kindles
clarify that we communicate not only by our a positive feeling amongst the rest of the
words but also by our actions. A compelling organization too. The behaviour improvement
vision, leading from the front, open houses, actions need to be publicized and also
continuous communication with all levels of rewarded. If it calls for a celebration - please do
Organization is something many of us practice it. Very often, these opportunities are missed
- The quality of communication - does it seek out and later it can be too late. Employees do
involvement, opinions and transparency of the need positive stokes and hence these
leadership are all put to test in a journey of opportunities for recognizing short wins are a
Transformation & Change. I have experienced must do. The appreciation works wonders
that open, fact based and the passion with and indeed charges up the environment. This
which we communicate is an indication of is exactly what the organization requires in its
success in getting to the results. After all, what journey to bring change. It reinforces the strong
better results than when all employees in the positive feelings of the few individuals and goes
Organization are able to understand the ahead in getting more to the flock of the vital
purpose of Transformation and also play their few. Believe me, it is not difficult to do these
roles in a manner which creates harmony and acts, however the risk of loosing out by not doing
the Organization change gets in place. It is these is much more.
also possible that this process does take time • Consolidate and Institutionalize
but I would say that it is worth the while and
just rushing through this step is not advisable. Whilst short term wins and gains take you
ahead on the journey of change, it is necessary
• Track Achievements and Recognize that these changes are consolidated and there
Achievements to stay. We also need to guard against things
It is useful to create some milestones as we slipping back to the earlier times Very often
embark on the journey to Transformation in the good things happen and these should be
Organization. These milestones are indeed replicated as required across the Organization,
points of arrival and also help in reviewing and to expedite the change process.
seeing where we have reached. After all, Rome Conclusion
was not built in a day - so we have to look at
opportunities and signs of achievements. To To conclude, Change is inevitable and an
take an example, a total change in the way of intrinsic part of life. Success lies in looking at
working and culture will take some time as we it not as a "threat" but as an opportunity for
go along. However, we can always be vigilant transformation. In designing HR intervention,
for some indicators which are really "short- one needs to take a holistic approach by
wins" and small successes. These need to be designing appropriate strategies and
tracked and highlighted. Very often it is a few processes to provide end to end solutions and
incidents or people who really take the major more importantly, involving people in the
transformation process.

116 November 2007 NHRD Journal


The Context The period from 1996 to 2007 can

The need for organization change be considered as the second phase
at Maruti Suzuki was necessitated of the Company which also
linked to two important variables: experienced the Globalization of
Automobile Industry in India. The
• The changing business entry of global players in the Auto
environment in India with the industry in India meant that there
globalization setting in almost was a very specific need for Maruti
S.Y. Siddiqui is all sectors including the Auto
Executive Director -
to change and prepare to handle the
Industry global competition pro actively.
human resources at
Maruti Udyog Limited. • The changing structure & Jagdish Khattar, Managing
He is also responsible for identity of Maruti from a PSU to
corporate HR for Suzuki Director Maruti Suzuki often says
Powertrain (engine a 50:50 JV (between Government that "We thank our competitors for
company) and Suzuki & Suzuki) and then to be a creating excitement and getting the
Motorcycles. He is on the Private Sector company (Mid best out of us to offer better products
board of Maruti Suzuki 2003 onwards)
and part time director on and services to our customers".
the board of Suzuki The Journey of 26 years This necessitated the Company to
group companies -
Suzuki powertrain and Maruti was incorporated in 1981 introspect, reassess and redefine its
Suzuki motorcycles. as a public sector company and Business and Organizational
started its business operations in Strategy. It was important for the
1983 in technical collaboration with company to come out of its comfort
Suzuki Motor Corporation Japan zone and fight to retain its
with the objective of making small leadership position. Both the media
cars with latest technology and as well as the experts had at that
economic price offerings aiming at time written-off Maruti as another
the affordability by the masses. Government enterprise which will
If one may observe, the first phase succumb to the pressures of
of Maruti lasted from 1983 to 1995. globalization.
This phase saw the revolutionary Inspite of the adverse business
launch of the initial models and scenario and negative Industrial
unprecedented commercial success Relations environment in the
of Maruti. It also saw the company, the entire Maruti team
consolidation as well as regrouped and emerged as a strong
unopposed growth of Maruti. The and committed team and under the
company enjoyed a virtual excellent leadership of Jagdish
monopoly with a market-share in Khattar, who took over the reins as
excess of 80%. The first few models the Managing Director in August
launched by the Company viz. 800 1999" the company has undergone
and Omni still remain one of the a big change both on the business
bestsellers. as well as on the Industrial

November 2007 NHRD Journal 117

Relations perspective and emerged as a winner the perception about the HR role being a black
retaining 55% of the market share with a box, policy and rule driven and insensitive to
healthy and growing bottom line. the people needs, meant a clear disconnect
In 2003 Govt. of India decided to disinvest its between people and HR
stakes in Maruti. The launch of Maruti's IPO Philosophy of Organization Change at Maruti
which was one of the most successful in India's • Integration of change initiatives with the
history, restructured the company's Equity with Business and Organizational strategy
54% by Suzuki thus making Maruti a Private
Sector Corporate & part of Suzuki Motor • Organization Change aimed at redefining
Corporation, Japan. That was the time that the and developing an Enabling Culture
company decided to drive another major • Focus on People development and
change initiative aimed at Organization and Institutionalization of capability building
People Strategy processes
Need for Change Periodicity and consistency of OD
Organization Culture of Maruti reflected high interventions
Business focus and commitment; high target • Leadership development processes for all
and result orientation and strong business levels including the Top management
systems and processes. However, it also • All change Initiatives driven from the top
reflected an Inward-looking approach; strong
compartmentalization and functional The Strategy of Organization Change at Maruti
boundaries; looking up culture with low risk- • To build on the successful past, commitment
taking behavior; bureaucratic & slow decision and competence of people by launching the
making process and culture lacking the change in an appreciation mode
celebration approach. • Emphasize the need for change linked to
The HR Function was IR centric, centralized, external environment & as a pre-requisite to
administrative, and control oriented. The HR future success of the company
focus was Policy and rule driven and not • Create ownership and participation
people driven. The HR processes were towards the change initiatives through
conventional, slow with bureaucratic decision strong and consistent two way
making. In 2003 too it still reflected primarily a communication and education process
conventional approach to HR Policies far away
from the prevailing HR trends. Above all it was • Focus on the senior pros to lead & the young
lacking sensitivity to both business & people population to drive the change
connect. • Organization change to be gradual and
The People profile has been warm, competent linked clearly to business needs
and with an element of pride being a Marutian. Organization Change Initiatives at Maruti
But the people profile was impacted by the To initiate the Organization Change at Maruti
Culture and also the role of the HR Function the first pre-requisite was for the HR function
over the years. It thus did reflect a conventional itself to change. Hence HR Team had to prepare
mindset. There were conflicting views on the itself to change before attempting the
HR needs expressed by the young managers Organization Change Initiative. It took some
vis-a-vis the relatively older population. Also real time and effort to first initiate the change

118 November 2007 NHRD Journal

in the HR thinking, approach and the HR gap between the Indian senior colleagues &
credibility at Maruti. our SMC counterparts. Hence the balancing
The effort involved introspection and act required sensitizing them individually for
brainstorming sessions, informal and formal ownership of the Organization Change
training, exposure to external HR fraternity, the initiatives. Above all it required a
strong HR linkage to business and people and tremendously patient, educative and flexible
aggressive HR leadership and direction. It also approach to discuss, deliberate and convince
involved cutting open the HR cross-section our SMC colleagues on some of the new
view to the key stakeholders - People, concepts, policies etc.
Functional heads, Directors and the Board. It From 2003 onwards, the Organization Change
required a participative, consultative and Initiative was launched through various
flexible approach to define new or redefine OD interventions at five different levels:
existing HR Policies, Systems and Processes. • Top Management
Some key directions were as follows:
• Senior Management
• HR's transition from a stand-alone identity
to Integral part of Business • Middle Management

• HR identity and credibility as mere Staff • Junior Management

support to Strategic part of Business • Technicians/operators
• From Manpower costs to Investment in Leadership Retreat for Top Management
People The key objective was to build & strengthen
• From Labor Law compliance to Strategic IR the Top Leadership Team at Maruti including
Perspective the Indian and Japanese Directors. The effort
• Personnel Administration to People was to shift gears from an operational focus
Connect and review perspective to Strategic Business
Planning & Transformational People
• Technical Training co-coordinator to Leadership. The first initiative in this regard
wholesome People Development was full of ifs & buts, language issues & the
• Discipline concept to developing and cultural subtleties involved between the
sustaining positive Work Culture Japanese culture of SMC Japan & Maruti's
The Success of any Organization Change Indian ground realities. The balancing was
Initiative depends to a large extent if it is owned tough and required tremendously patient
by the Top Management and if it starts from the approach as there were Business Success and
Top. Hence deliberating the Organization learnings in both models. The Leadership
change perspective with the Top Management Retreat involving all Directors, over two & a
specially the Japanese colleagues at Maruti was half days residential at Bangalore, was
critical and cumbersome at times. Sometimes one facilitated by Dr. Pritam Singh and Dr. Asha
realizes that life is so simple if corporate Bhandarkar with focus on:
communication is based on English only. • Team Building perspective i.e. Leadership
Also it was an enormous task to overcome the Team of Maruti Suzuki
Cultural gaps between SMC, Japan and the • Self-development focus for each Director
People issues in the Local context of our based on feedback from others
country. At times we could observe a fairly clear

November 2007 NHRD Journal 119

• Develop a Strategic Perspective of Long • Leadership Training by Dr. Pritam Singh &
Term Business Plan Dr. Asha Bhandarkar at MDI
• Mentoring/Coaching role to develop next • 360-Degree Feedback Process
level people. • Performance Feedback Sessions
• Creating a new curve for Maruti • Potential Assessment through Assessment
Leadership Development Initiatives for Centers & Feedback sessions
Senior Management • On the Job - Coaching & Mentoring Role for
Senior Management young professionals
The focus was on global business perspective, • Developing them as Internal Assessors and
people management and people development, Trainers
and leading and managing change. Leadership Change Initiatives for Young Managers
development was facilitated through:
• Create an Enabling Culture
• A two and a half day Leadership Training
• Positive and high performing
at NCR (Jaypee Greens, Greater Noida)
• Free flow of communication
• External Training nominations at premier
Business Schools • Appreciation and celebration

• Two weeks, Training at Europe - meeting • Fostering innovation and creativity with
thought Leaders from Corporates & patience to absorb failures
Academia through ESCP EAP Business • Mentoring/Coaching for all Campus Joinees
School (Germany, France and UK) (Graduate Engineer Trainees, fresh CAs,
MBAs & graduates). This resulted in "On the
• Leadership Assessment of each person &
job" development that is customized to the
Feedback Session
individual and yet is flexible -- formal or
• On the Job - Coaching and Mentoring Role informal.
for young professionals
Senior professionals in the company
• 360-Degree Feedback Process selected as mentors. Training on mentoring
• Developing them as Internal Assessors & has been provided to all mentors. To help
Trainers. the fresh joinees to settle in the Company,
all campus joinees are also provided with
Leadership Development of Middle buddies who are relatively younger
Management professionals.
The focus was on exposure to the external • With a view to develop all-round business
business environment in India, people managers who can become General
management and people development, and Managers in future the following initiatives
accepting & facilitating change. The need was were emphasized:
to develop them to play an effective leadership
• Job Rotation- Good performers who
role as the first interface with young population.
have spent five years in one function
The development was facilitated through:
have to be necessarily rotated to other
• Leadership Training by GE International functions. The job-rotated individuals
• Nominations to external Trainings at return to their parent function after
Leading B- Schools around 3 years.

120 November 2007 NHRD Journal

• Cross Functional Teams (CFTs) on critical developing family connect through 'Parivar
projects are formed which give exposure to Milan' (Weekly half-a-day event in which
young managers which fosters Team approx. 40 technician families are invited for
Working, Experimentation - tolerance for plant visit) and 'Family Day' (Annual event in
failure, Empowerment, Innovation and which all the Maruti employees along with
Learning. their families, are invited for a evening full of
• Stretch Assignments such as employees at entertainment, fun and celebration).
Manager/Sr Manager level acting as Subsequent to this Company has also
Department Managers (General Managers), introduced Reward & Recognition program for
selection of Area Managers as Regional all employees.
Managers, etc. Strengthening Internal Communication
• Clear Career Growth Paths Processes - directly lead by MD

• Fast Track for high performers and high • MD's quarterly Communication Meetings for
potentials young managers and for middle managers

• Normal Track for good performers • MD's quarterly informal 'Tea-Group'

meeting with young managers
• Extended Track growth for solid citizens
• ED (HR)'s quarterly Communication
Change Initiatives for Technicians Meetings for young managers and for
(Workmen) middle managers
After the VRS of 2001 & 2003, focused • ED (HR)'s quarterly informal 'Tea-Group'
interventions for Technicians were launched meeting with young managers
to bring in positive culture and mindset change.
To achieve this, training initiatives were 2007-08 onwards, Maruti is now entering into
introduced to educate and change the mindset the third phase. This is going to be the most
of workmen. Another big impact was created critical and will define the future of Automobile
by the participative approach in resolving IR Industry as well as Maruti.
issues through Employee Relations Now we are looking at re-defining our
Development Committee (ERDC). Structured Business Strategy & Plan as well as continue
communication channels have also helped the our journey on Organization Change at Maruti
company not only to manage the Industrial Suzuki. As per our honest evaluation, we have
Relations but also to evolve a environment of covered only 50% -- 60% of the distance so far
trust, confidence and mutual cooperation. and thus have to continue our journey to reach
Company has also created opportunity for the destination by 2010 --

November 2007 NHRD Journal 121


At times some of the most things were going for a company

challenging aspect of one's that was the market leader.
professional life is to bring out a
PCBL Journey: My Experience
massive change. The turnaround of
PCBL is an experience that I cherish In this article, I am sharing the
and is fresh out of oven. strategies implemented, leadership
challenges faced and the culture
Taking Over the Reins
change initiatives taken which
Ashok Goyal is an IIT PCBL, a part of RPG Group is enabled organization to transform.
Kharagpur and IIM
pioneer and market leader in the From a loss making entity in quarter
Kolkata graduate. He
has 30 years of multi Carbon Black Industry in India with 1 of FY 07 to have profitability at
domain and cross market share of 41%. In spite of par with competition in quarter 3
industry experience over being the market leader, PCBL was of FY 07, the journey was nothing
the globe out which 16
lagging behind in profitability with but exciting. I believe any
years have been in
various companies of respect to the major competitor organization can be turned around
RPG Group, i.e., Ceat, (Market Share 33%) and the gap if we as leaders basically have a
Harrison Malayalam, was continuously increasing. For belief that "Nothing is Impossible"
KEC International and
FY06, PCBL had declared PAT loss and have that feeling and
Phillips Carbon Black
Limited. of (-) conviction developed across the
He is currently Rs. 14.64 cr and the position had organization by leading by
spearheading Phillips further worsened in Q1 FY07. example.
Carbon Black Limited
(PCBL), a jewel in the The comparative position is given Strategy
RPG group of Industries in figure 1 Over the last 18 years I had an
as its Managing Director.
He has taken the
opportunity to take over and turn
company through a around divisions/companies
journey of turnaround which were in crisis mode due to
and consolidation in nine losses being incurred. When I look
months and the
company has now
back, I find the common elements
embarked upon an of strategies applied were:
ambitious growth path.
a. Identification of operational
He is known as a "Turn- Figure 1 : Competition scenario pre turnaround
Around Artiste" in the efficiency gaps in each functional
RPG Group The Company vision is to become a area by benchmarking operations
global producer by 2008 with with domestic and international
capacity of 450,000 MT but due to companies and thereafter removal
poor financial results the Company of the gap by achieving mindset
had not initiated any action during change.
2005 and 2006 for expansion to
b. Continuous reduction of
enhance capacity from the existing
Competitive Disadvantage the
level of 270,000 to realize its vision.
company had due to ~
It was dismal in terms of how

122 November 2007 NHRD Journal

i. Technology • Develop innovative culture and change
• Plant location mindset

• Culture Consolidation Phase

c. Gradual increase of competitive advantage Reduce Competitive Disadvantage

quotient and thereafter embarking upon • Build on strategies of turnaround phase
"Sustainable Growth Path". Growth Phase
Competitive advantage was defined by one of Build Competitive Advantage
the Indian industrial leaders as under ~
• Execute growth/diversification plans
"When the water level starts rising, the level should effectively at locations and with technology
come to your chin while all the others are drowned". which gives competitive advantage.
I have found the above a very simple way of • While growing ensure continuous
communicating to all stakeholders in the improvement in operational efficiencies.
company including workers and unions the
criticality of building competitive advantage Sustainable Growth Phase
quotient and ensuring that no action or • Build a Business model which is not easy to
decision taken gives the company competitive copy and has high entry barrier
disadvantage. The Benchmarking exercise • Follow Organic and Inorganic growth
should be done with total honesty and for doing
same one should take inputs from all available • Ensure organization continually reinvents
sources i.e. published data and inputs from itself
own employees, Ex-employees of competitor, Leadership Challenge
consultants, customers etc. We need to avoid
Turnaround Phase
trap of justifying the gaps due to reasons
beyond our control but instead should focus The leadership challenges in this phase are to
on preparing action plans to overcome the gaps create a culture of high performance and
with innovative solutions. Having identified change the mindset of the people. The step wise
the gap and prepared the action plan, same approach to achieve these challenges is :
should be shared with everyone in the Step 1
organization so that there is a public
• Develop high level of commitment at the
commitment to deliver the results. Based on the
Management Team level which sets an
concept of competitive advantage, the strategies
example for others in the organization.
applicable for a company in different phases
of growth are as under. • Share vision and ensure acceptance of the
challenges across the organization to achieve
Turnaround Phase
Reduce Competitive Disadvantage
• Challenge the Management Team Members
• Benchmark operations and identify gaps. who are leaders for their functional areas
• Develop clear strategies to cover gaps with assignments and targets which
provide stretch to enable them and their team
• Implement strategic actions as per time
members to draw on their full potential
schedule and monitor benefits.
• Lift aspiration of people
• Capture opportunities

November 2007 NHRD Journal 123

• Lead from front by example The Alignment of mindset leads to correct
Step 2 operational practices which resulted in
Superior business results
An organization becomes sick or performs
badly with respect to competition in the same The Leadership Challenge is to create a
industry only because of basic flaws in the VIRTUOUS CIRCLE ~
mindset of the people in the organization
which leads to wrong strategies and actions.
Unless the mindset are changed, company
performance cannot improve.
PCBL as an organization was focused on
market leadership and market share in each
market segment and had lost sight of
contribution levels leading to having market
leadership but not profit leadership. In
commodity market for a product like Carbon
Black where there is no price premium or brand Some of the examples of mindset change done
loyalty, a company has no choice but to achieve in the various functional areas in PCBL are as
Cost Leadership which would lead to Profit under ~
Leadership. Only with adequate generation of
internal funds, company can invest and
expand to maintain Market Leadership. As
such, it was critical to have this basic change
in thinking i.e from :
Market Leadership Cost Leadership
The leadership challenge is to identify the In PCBL the operational efficiency gaps were
appropriate mindset required across the covered only by such mindset changes across
company in each functional area and for the company in internal and external
arriving at the same, it is critical to understand stakeholders leading to an annualized benefit
what are the key industry drivers for the of more than Rs.90 cr in three months.
industry in which the company is operating Consolidation Phase
which would give maximum benefit in terms
Leadership Challenge in this phase was to
of revenue and profit as well as reduce
ensure that
competitive disadvantage and increase
competitive advantage quotient for the • organization continues with strategy of cost
company. cutting and maximizing contribution
The process followed was as under : • Captures opportunities and continuously
Identification of new mindsets required
• Maintains momentum to ensure ongoing
high performance
Growth Phase
Ensuring everyone shares the specific
new mindset In an organization which turns around and

124 November 2007 NHRD Journal

consolidates in a short period of four to six • Preserve the culture of high performance
months employees are likely to develop inertia developed.
and a feeling of "We are the best" which can - By continuously reinforcing and renewing
lead to loss of momentum. We therefore need to mindset
identify new strategic needs for changed
competitive condition to overcome inertia. - Consistently improving and increasing job
content of everyone
This can be done by creating positive crisis as
under: - Ensuring no burnout by work-life imbalance

• Convince employees that current It is extremely critical that the Core Team is
performance was good but not good Enough willingly participating in the journey of
"accelerated growth" as the work pressure would
• Develop new strategic challenges to need personal sacrifices by way of lack of time for
galvanise people into action family. During this process we need to ensure
• Create an enemy which could be a threat to that we as Leaders are "Energy Givers and not
survival of the company. Energy Taker" through any action of ours.
In PCBL having achieved cost leadership in Sustainable Growth Phase
the turn around and consolidation phase new For PCBL to remain on Sustainable Growth
strategic challenges identified and Path, the challenges are
communicated were :
• Achieve Service & Quality Leadership
• Achieve Service Leadership
• Make PCBL Carbon Black a branded
• Achieve Quality Leadership product
Positive crisis was created by communicating • Enter Speciality Carbon Black business
the new Demand and Supply scenario of excess
supply due to expansion by competitor in • Continuously expand capacity
which survival would depend on being better • By generating adequate internal profit to
in Service and Quality to maintain market finance growth
share. • Identifying locations for expansion with
It is critical to reflect on the strategic health of secured and captive Feedstock supply
the organization in the Growth Phase when which will give long term competitive cost
company is financially doing well. In most of advantage
the cases we do this when organization's • Grow at international locations
profitability is on the declining trend. Having
identified the strategic health gaps which are The above would enable creation of entry
giving competitive disadvantage, we need to barrier by increasing the competitive advantage
communicate same across the organization quotient substantially.
and develop innovative solutions to overcome Culture Change
same. To build a culture in the organization where
The other Leadership Challenges during this individuals have an approach of
phase are ~ "I have to do it"
• Ensure execution of growth plans at "It will be done"
optimum cost and as per schedule
is the biggest leadership challenge.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 125

In PCBL we have been focusing on this through 2. Boss can delegate fully without need to
communication and interaction in various monitor
Forums with the employees and the unions.
We firmly believe that "I am doing my best" or
"I shall try my best" are approaches which do
not lead to excellence in results. These
approaches connote as under : Success assured
"I am doing my best" Productive organization
1. 1.Defensive approach The above model was developed in PCBL
2. Putting limit on Self Capability during the orientation program in November'06
and thereafter communicated to all managers
3. Cannot do Better
through email.
"I shall try my best"
Leadership Challenge is also to build teams
1. More positive approach across the organization which believe in
2. Believing in his ability to deliver results "The greatest pleasure life has to offer is the
3. Commitment to do best but not sure of results satisfaction that follows from - Participating in
difficult and constructive undertaking".
Only if individuals get satisfaction from
participating in difficult and constructive
Success not guaranteed undertaking would they live, breathe, eat and
sleep with what they are doing because they
As against above, the approach of "I have to do have the spirit of "I have to do it" and "It will be
it" and "It will be done" leads to excellence in done".
operations and a more efficient organization
as follows ~ Company Status in July 2007

"I have to do it" As mentioned earlier, I joined the company as

Managing Director in July'06 and the
1. Total commitment to achieving organization went through a radical
2. Guaranteeing results to himself with no transformation and within a Quarter covered
room for excuses/explanation up the substantial gap in profitability and from
3. Ensures stretching of self by unlocking self Qtr 3 06-07 onwards, the company's
potential profitability became at par with competitor as
given in figure 2.
4. Not accepting any limit on self capabilities -
full of confidence Figure 2: Performance as of Quarter 3 - FY 07
PCBL has also embarked upon expansion plans
through Greenfield projects as well as
Brownfield expansion and is now poised to
achieve production level of 450,000 MT by June,
Success assured 2009 to realize its vision. There is also
"It will be Done" substantial improvement in market perception
1. An approach of "Nothing is impossible" for of PCBL as a reliable and competitive supplier.

126 November 2007 NHRD Journal

Our challenge as leaders is to ultimately ensure
that people enjoy what they are doing and they
own the dream that we may have as leaders for
the company. We need to assume a facilitators'
role by assisting the employees in their journey
to achieve difficult targets.
To facilitate the process of turnaround, one also
needs to put in enabling processes like
a) Award and Recognition Systems
b) Development of Talent and appropriate
skills in employees
PBIT (Rs in crores.)
The Award and Recognition System should be
The Company has created substantial wealth fair, transparent and should necessarily ensure
for the stake holders and has been ranked No. that the Awards are given where the Group
11 in The Economic Times survey of the top values have been properly adhered to. In PCBL
100 wealth creators. we have been stressing on the RPG Core values
which are as under
PCBL received the "Best Corporate
Performance" and the "Best TQM Group • Customer Sovereignty
Activity" Awards in RPG Group for FY'07. • Passion for Superior Performance
Company was also given the SAP ACE 2007 • People Orientation
for the best implementation in Chemical • Transparency & Integrity
Vertical. Ashok Goyal received "Outstanding • Anticipation, Speed and Flexibility
Achiever Award" for 2006-07 in RPG Group. • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The PCBL Way PCBL today has a new dream which is the
Phillips Carbon Black Limited (PCBL) screen saver on the computer of all the
employees in the organization
completed the phases of turnaround &
consolidation and thereafter embarked upon World No.6
the growth path within three Quarters which
normally requires minimum two to three years.
The Management Team today proudly Achieve Quality
"Way to do it - PCBL Way - The Accelerated Way".
Service Leadership

It will be done
I have to do it
The Company now is implementing ambitious
The above enables focusing on the criticality of
expansion plan to move from No.9 position in
achieving strategic challenges of "Quality and
World to No.6 by 2009.
Service Leadership" and maintaining the spirit
Summary of "It will be done" and "I have to do it".

November 2007 NHRD Journal 127

Business organizations and change are concepts that have been in the realm
of discussion and research ever since management developed as an inde-
pendent field of study. The development of management studies and its
expansion can be attributed to the ever growing and changing pace of busi-
ness transformation, the pace of which has accelerated after World War II.
Triggered and stoked by changing business scenarios due to technological,
political and economic forces, resultant intense competition has led to orga-
nizations going through the cycle of birth, growth, decay and death. In all
these, change remains the common factor. Therefore organizational change
is synonymous with organizational activities. Since organizations consist of
people, organizational change is predominantly behavioral change. Learning
has to precede such a behavioral change.
In the present world of hyper competition, management of organizational change is a continuous
and ongoing phenomenon. organizations need to master the skills required to manage organiza-
tional change as organizational flexibility is the key to success. Therefore the need to understand
and manage organizational change is a requirement for practicing managers, students who are
future managers and academicians and practicing academicians who intend to unravel the pro-
cess of change.
In the light of such a scenario, a book on management of organizational change seems to be in
perspective, although such books are numerous to the extent that books on specific aspects of
organizational change are in vogue such as social interaction, learning or informational technol-
ogy and change.
The book under consideration has been purported to have been written to address the needs of
students and practicing managers. The author, a widely experienced academician and trainer,
has attempted to express in a very simple and lucid manner the conceptual foundations, the
systems and processes associated with organizational change and its management. The book
is divided into six chapters.
The first chapter introduces the reader to the phenomenon at a conceptual level to facilitate his
understanding. It covers the meaning, nature and types of change. It also deals with the forces
which trigger organizational change. Chapter two and three deal with the concepts and pro-
cesses associated with planning for change such as strategic planning, management of trans-
formation and role of support systems. Having established the basis for understanding of organi-
zational change; the book, in the next three chapters, deals with the process of management of
change. Chapter four deals with the strategic levers which are used to implement change. Chap-
ter five deals with organizational culture and its role in management of change while chapter six
deals with the management of change through management of people.
The content of the book reflects the background of the author, whose main field of expertise is
human resource management, especially conflict management. The book is written in a simple
and lucid manner and uses boxes to highlight and stress upon certain key concepts associated
with organizational change. It also gives end of the chapter exercises to facilitate skill building for
management of organizational change.
Although the author uses his experience and case studies to buttress his arguments, yet the
book lacks case studies of business organizations which could have given the positioning of the

128 November 2007 NHRD Journal

concepts in an organizational context and facilitated the understanding of the reader. The book
stresses upon the role of people in organizational change yet has not touched the topic of learning
in detail. One expects that a book on change management would deal with individual and orga-
nizational learning as it is the key lever to manage change especially in the present business
environment of hyper competition. Further, the dealing with the concepts and terminology asso-
ciated with organizational change could have been better had they been linked to the concepts of
rate, quantum and volition. The book therefore, gives only the definitions of the terms associated
with organizational change but does not put them in a perspective to the other terms commonly
used with it. Management of change requires a thorough understanding of the concepts and
terms used.
Change in mental models of the practitioner is essential if he is to implement organizational
change, which requires that conceptual linkages among terms commonly used to communicate
knowledge about organizational change are clearly understood. To that extent, the book fails to
provide the reader a base to do so. In an attempt to be useful to the practitioner manager and
also the trainers and students, the author seems to have lost out on an opportunity to fortify the
book with essential case studies and theoretical basis which would have given a much better
base for understanding organizational change. Such an effort, if had been done, would have
added considerable value to the book.

Reviewed by
B.V.L. Narayana, FPM fourth year, Business Policy, Indian Institute of Management,


Change as they say is universal in creed. In 1997 when Bob Dylan sung the 1960's popular
anthem, "Blowing in the Wind" beside Pope John Paul, Pope Benedict opposed it, for he
considered Dylan to be "the wrong kind of Prophet". The world since Dylan's era got
divided into those on the side and those opposed to such Prophets of Change. For the
changing face of corporate America and also for corporates across the globe the answer
was indeed blowing in the wind…but it was to be listened to carefully. Those who did,
survived and those who didn't, are no more there to tell their tale. Change comes from
continuous learning not just by individuals alone, but also by teams and organizations as
a whole. As Dr Madhukar Shukla's book on building a learning organization enters its tenth
year of its first publication, it time for organizations to take stock of whether they have
enough leaders within their organization who are prophets of change and can build a
continuously learning organization to make it shine and outperform itself and others in the
The book is divided into three parts. The first part deals with why organizations need to learn in order to survive and
grow. It is supported by innumerable examples from the recent Indian economic history of what brought about the
winds of change and how successful organizations listened to the answers (liberalization and globalization) that
were blowing in the wind. This part also deals with several theoretical frameworks for learning within organizations.
In interesting law that Dr Shukla mentions (in fact first conceptualized by Garratt in 1987) is that for organizations
to survive, their rate of learning(L) must be equal to or greater than the rate of change(C) in its environment,i.e. L?C.

November 2007 NHRD Journal 129

It applies as much to dinosaurs (who probably didn't understand this law) as to contemporary organizations facing
equally hostile and turbulent environment. Author provides four important outcomes of learning leading to-innova-
tion, adaptation to change, continuous improvement and corporate transformation. The third chapter contains the
various forms of learning such as single loop and double loop learning, and building capabilities to learn. The last
chapter in this part of the book highlights how organizations can leverage knowledge to enhance capabilities, by
giving several examples like those of float glass technology, competing on proprietary knowledge and so on. One
of the most interesting things in this chapter is the 2x2 matrix of knowledge maturation process. There are two
dimensions to this matrix. One dimension has knowledge as either explicit or implicit. The other dimension
visualizes knowledge as either proprietary or shared. The matrix helps one to understand how knowledge should
evolve from tacit to explicit form in order to become useful. Throughout the chapters Dr Shukla has provided lots
of examples from various companies from India and from around the world to illustrate the various scenarios in
which organizations have transformed themselves successfully.
The second part of the book contains 6 case studies on foreign companies. These are, ABB, British Airways (BA),
Chaparral Steel, Citicorp, GE and Xerox. Together these cases cover the learning dimensions, namely-Learning as
means of organizational turnaround (BA),Chaparral Steel as a learning factory, Citicorp as a company learning to
innovate,GE on cultural transformation and Xerox who learns to cope with environmental turbulence. However it
would have been much more learning for the Indian readers, if some of the companies were Indian e.g.Infosys, as
a learning organization has achieved a lot, on most of the above mentioned dimensions. Similarly Kamini Tubes
where employee manage the organization(somewhat similar to Semco,an example cited by Dr Shukla in the last
chapter of the book). But if we look at current state of Indian organizations, there are ample examples of such
organizations that have defied conventional organizational theories and would have fitted the bill, for these cases.
The third and last part of the book contains two chapters on the architecture of a learning organization and the
emerging paradigm of learning organization. This part of the book, delves into details of building the new architec-
ture of the learning organization through three elements of the learning mechanism that consists of the strategic
intent to learn, learning mechanisms and supporting structures and processes.
In this endeavour to unravel the DNA of learning organizations, Prof Shukla has provided an insightful book for HRD
consultants, CEO s and senior management. Indeed the book would be a learning exercise even for the practitio-
ners in the top management level, as well as middle managers. Specially insightful are the six cases given in the
book. Dr Shukla takes us through the journey of firms through their transformation in all these cases. We only
wished that some of these cases should have been of Indian companies' transformation in recent times. The
Indian examples have been provided only in form of short snippets in boxes of chapters, on companies like Asian
Paints, Ceat, Mahindra & Mahindra, Milton, Mukund Steel, Eicher Tractors, Modi, Videocon and many others. It
would have been even more enriching experience for readers had the author provided case or snippets on those
organizations who tried learning to transform itself but couldn't succeed. Thus while we learn from inclusion of
successful companies, we may lose some potential insights from the exclusion of the failed companies.
This lucidly written book presents to the readers, a mosaic composed of academic literature and anecdotal
evidence on how to build and sustain a learning organization and make it more competitive based on leveraging
intangible assets like knowledge. It also initiates the uninitiated reader into the complicated world of knowledge
management. CEO s, leaders and managers with traditional mindset would have their plate full, after reading this
book. It is ultimately up to them to become the prophet of change through continuous envisioning and empower-
ment of their employees. Change - as Dylan sung 40 years ago - is blowing in the wind. You just got to listen to it.

Reviewed by: Ramendra Singh, FPM Student, IIM Ahmedabad.

130 November 2007 NHRD Journal