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A critical analysis of John P. Kotter's change management framework

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DOI: 10.5958/2249-7307.2017.00106.2


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Asian Journal
Asian Research Consortium of Research in
Business Economics
Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management
Vol. 7, No. 7, July 2017, pp. 181-203. Management
ISSN 2249-7307 www.aijsh.com
A Journal Indexed in Indian Citation Index
DOI NUMBER: 10.5958/2249-7307.2017.00106.2

A Critical Analysis of John P. Kotter‟s Change

Management Framework

R. Rajan*; Dr. R. Ganesan**

*Doctoral Research Scholar,

Saveetha University,
Saveetha School of Management,
Thiruverkkadu, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
**Professor & Chairman,
National Foundation for Entrepreneurship Development (NFED),
Tamil Nadu, Chennai, India.

The process of change management is such that it needs a phenomenal and experimented model in
terms of adaptation within an organization. Keeping this in view, the present research study focuses
on critical review on readiness and applicability of John P. Kotter‟s change management
framework for implementation in Small Medium Enterprises, based on Practitioner‟s validation
from practical viewpoints in successfully managing a change program. Also, envisages on
identifying gaps in each step of this framework from execution perspective, highlight
recommendations for improving this framework thereby increasing the acceptance level by
practitioners for wide spread adoption across industries. A list of 40 Small Medium Enterprises
with a revenue target between 20 Cr to 30 Cr has been chosen using simple random sampling
technique from SME directory, based out of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The CEO‟s have been
approached through a structured work shop. The detailed validation of this model has been carried
out from the perspective of practitioners. The CEO‟s team opined that this framework provides
fundamental conceptual inputs on implementing a change successfully and disseminating in to the
culture of an organization. However, the execution methods with suitable examples on templates
and tools required at every stage are not illustrated. In addition to that, CEO‟s team narrated the
need for this frame work to address components in identifying and implementing clear measure for
estimating effectiveness of change, which needs to be implemented for industrial growth. The
analysis and inferences made on the change management framework by John.P.Kotter is based on a
team of CEO‟s belonging to Small Medium Sectors. The recommendations made on improving

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 181-203.

this model for wider adoption by practitioners, which are confined to this chosen group. The
researchers also recommend that similar studies must be conducted across different industries at
CXO level team for validation of this frame work. This research study has proposed number of
changes to be incorporated in the change management framework, from practitioner‟s viewpoint.
Moreover, these changes are to be included in the core design of this framework, which will further
enhance the visibility among the other practitioners and make it as a robust executable model. This
research essentially has validated readiness and suitability of John.P.Kotter‟s change management
framework, by a team of practicing CEO‟s who have been championing the change improvement
initiatives. Hence, the outcome of this critical review and specific recommendations made by this
high power management team could be of great value in further refining this model for adoption
across industries.

Keywords: Change Management, Execution Methodology, Goals Deployment, Management

Commitment, Change Leadership, Sustenance.

1. Introduction
The successful implementation of a change is a herculean task in any organization irrespective of
its magnitude, size and complexity. Therefore, meticulous planning and high level of top
Management commitment are the pre-requisites for a change to yield fruitful results. It is to be
noted that change management specialists recommend a minimum of 30 percent of time has to be
spent in planning for a change, in order to realize the desired results. The researchers have
identified handful of reasons for a firm failing to implement a change. The key factors for change
implementation failure include poor planning, inadequate assessment of “cultural-fit” and absence
of robust change execution methodology. A detailed risk-assessment on three pillars of an
organization namely “Process-Technology-People” must be performed and outcome of this
exercise is used for planning the change implementation. Moreover, transforming organizations fail
to cope up with the changes implemented for creating excellence in product and services delivered
to the customers. The objectives of change implementation could be revenue enhancement,
efficiency maximization, enhancing profitability, creating customer delight, employee morale
enhancement and quality excellence. Hence, the researchers have identified the following key
factors attributed for failures (Kotter, 1996) in change implementation process:

 Allowing too much complacency.

 Failing to create a sufficiently powerful guiding coalition.

 Underestimating the power of vision.

 Under-communicating the vision by a factor of 10, 100, 1000.

 Permitting obstacles to block the new vision.

 Failing to create short-term wins.

 Declaring the victory too soon.

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
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 Neglecting to anchor changes firmly in the corporate culture.

The survey conducted by Prosci in 2016 on the Best Practices in Change Management reveals that
94 percent of the change management programs are reported to be highly successful, when people
involved are managed well. The Top Management must exercise active and visible partnership to
create successful change initiatives. The cultural awareness on the need for a change and successful
implementation were felt to be extremely critical by 56 percent of employees who participated in
the survey. So organizations pursuing a change must choose a standard “change management
framework” which can help and direct the organization for successful change management.

2. Literature Survey
Mildred et. al. in 2008 have revealed challenges faced in change management theories and
compared the components of popular change management framework. The following Change
Management Frameworks have been reviewed by researchers for the purpose of establishing a
consensus on unanimously favoring a model for critical review and analysis.

1. Action Research Model, (Collier, 1945; Lewin, 1946; French, 1969; Schein, 1980)

2. Lewin‟s Model, (Lewin, 1945; Lewin, 1951)

3. Schein‟s Extension of Lewin‟s Change Model (Schein, 1980)

3. Kotter‟s Model, (Kotter, 1996)

4. Jick‟s Model, (Jick, 2003; Jick, 2001)

5. Mento, Jones and Dirmdofer‟s Twelve-Step Model (Mento, Jones & Dirmdofer, 2002) and

6. Shield‟s Model (Schield, 1999)

2.1 Action Research Model

Action research focuses on testing the change method being exposed, combining changes in
attitudes and behaviour (McShane and Von Glinow, 2005; Collier, 1945; Lewin, 1945, 1951;
French, 1969; Schein, 1980; Argyris, 1970, 1968). This model prescribes a change through five
different stages namely, Diagnosis, Analysis, Feedback, Action and Evaluation. This approach may
be useful if it is done through the process of drills or exercises.

2.2 Lewin’s Model

In Lewin‟s Model, there are three different steps in embracing a change. Those are unfreezing the
present, moving from the present and freezing. However, in order for change to be sustainable, you
must discard the present, move from the present to the future and put in place the people and
processes (Lewin, 1951). This model is still relevant in terms of what to do. Lewin‟s Model is one
for planned change, not responses to unplanned change. This model is mostly adopted when
unplanned changes occur.

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 181-203.

2.3 Schein’s (1980) Extension of Lewin’s Change Model

Schein in his comprehensive research studies discussed the three steps of Lewin‟s Change Model as
three stages of change and describes ways to unfreeze an organization, move it from the status quo
to a future state and freeze the changes. He emphasize that people must realize and look forward for
a change to occur in order to replace the current status quo. Once a new practice is introduced,
people will receive it voluntarily, foresee the futuristic state and enjoy the current new climate.
They will start comparing the benefits of new practice introduced against the old and traditional
way of doing things. The organization implementing changes by this method could see a great
motivation among the work force as a result of receiving changes whole heartedly. They must be
assured that changing will not cause them humiliation, punishment, or loss of self esteem. The
terminology for Stage Two, “Moving or Changing”, involves what calls “cognitive restructuring”.
This stage will help people to recognize change and respond so differently. Also, they must acquire
new, relevant information that can help them move forward with needed changes. Furthermore, the
studies have segmented stages. The final stage is stabilization, in which people must accept and
realize that the change introduced must be practiced on a day-to-day basis, which becomes an
integral part of the organizational culture. . They also must ensure that their respective attitudes and
behaviour are aligned with the system and relationships with others, both of which must become
“frozen,” i.e., stabilized (Schein, 1980, 1985 & 1992).

2.4 Expansion of Lewin’s Change Model

The terminology and number of steps of Lewin‟s Model are expanded and changed (Lippitt,
Watson & Westley, 1958). They have recommended the following steps for change implementation
in their change model:

1. Diagnose the problem.

2. Assess the motivation levels and capability to accept and carry forward the new thinking

3. Assess the resources and commitment by the motivation agent.

4. Establish plan of action strategies required for implementation.

5. Clearly define Cheer Leader, facilitator and expert role.

6. Sustain the change with extensive communication among the stake holders involved.

7. Withdraw the support from change agent for dissemination of new practices.

2.5 Kotter’s Model

Kotter developed a model, which can be used at the strategic level of an organization to change its
vision and subsequently transform the organization. Studies using this model have shown that the
change process goes through a set of phases (Kotter, 1996 & 1998). This model proposes
transforming organizations must create an artificial void for establishing a sense of urgency for a
change to be accepted and driven by the people. All the eight stages of this change management
model are depicted in diagram1.

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 181-203.

2.6 Jick’s Model

Jick‟s model geared more towards tactical level of change. This model can be used to show that
change is an ongoing process, which has been based on questions asked ongoing that used to often
overlap at each step (Jick, 2003). This model is depicted in 10 different stages as below:

1. Analyze the organization and the need for change

2. Create a shared vision and common direction

3. Separate the past

4. Create a sense of urgency

5. Support a strong Leader Role

6. Lineup political sponsorship

7. Craft and implementation plan

8. Develop enabling structures

9. Communicate, involve people and be honest

10. Reinforce and institutionalize the change.

2.7 Mento, Jones and Dimdorfer’s Model

Mento, Jones and Dimdorfer‟s model recommends twelve steps to lead the transformational
change. This model is based on research of other change models but has been updated based on
experiences from late 1990‟s (Mento, Jones & Dimdorfer, 2002).

2.8 Shield’s Model

Shield‟s model builds on the idea that when change fails, it is because of insufficient attention to
the human and cultural aspects of business. Furthermore, the model suggested that there are critical
components that are necessary for leaders to change an organization. If a change occurs in one
component and one does not align the other components, this will lead to inefficient work
processes. This model provided the five steps to accomplish change: (1) Define the desired business
results and change plans; (2) Create capability as well as capability to change; (3) Design
innovative solutions; (4) Develop and deploy solutions; and (5) Reinforce and sustain business
benefits (Shield,.1999).

A research study indicated that an Organizational Behaviour model or approach may be one of the
most pragmatic ways to deal with organizational change. The strength of organizational behaviour
model or approach is that it is very methodical in dealing with change (Robbins, 2005). In
furtherance some studies have found that transformational leadership was more strongly related to
followers' change commitment than change-specific leadership practices, especially when the
change had significant personal impact (Caldwell, Herold & Fedor, 2004). A recent study

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 181-203.

suggested that non-tangible factors such as strategy and culture were the major determinants of
long-term positive results as opposed to specific methods of implementing change (Nohria &
Roberson, 2003). Moreover, a comparative study on “Role of facility Managers in change
management initiatives” conducted by Marharyta in 2013 revealed that there exists
a disconnecting sequences between Russian and British attitudes towards managing change,
which are in particular supported by Hofstede‟s in 1980, wherein the study identified a large divide
on power distance and uncertainty avoidance.

In particular, change determinant of sustainability showed highest level of divergence between two
locations suggesting a markedly different attitude towards sustainability and its role in business. A
research study identified that organizational leaders are inclined towards implementing changes
only when they find the gap between current organizational performance and International
benchmark is wider, leaving a huge void in the existing system that needs an immediate action
(Wischnevsky, 2004). Deming‟s in 1986 popular “Plan-Do-Check-Act” (PDCA) model is applied
for effecting day-to-day small improvements by transforming organizations. Kohles, Baker and
Donaho in 1995 pointed those organizations with futuristic orientation always envisage natural
resistance to change and adequately include strategies to handle such people movement against
changes being implemented. It is to be noted that after a thorough comparison of various change
frameworks, the researchers have concluded that all the models are still relevant and valid.
Furthermore, it has been an observation from the literature review that no model is inferior and
each has its own merits and demerits. The researchers have further proposed that organizations
need to choose the right model based in accordance with purpose of the change, organization size,
domain in which they are operating, skills & competency levels, hierarchy, leadership type,
competitors move and culture prevails.

The literature survey has identified the need for capturing the practitioner‟s view on suitability and
adequacy of information available in each of the change management framework for adoption. The
existing change management frame works are completely theoretical based and do not offer great
details on the MODUS-OPERADI for step-by-step implementation methods. There is ample of
need in researchers taking up validation of these change management frame works with the
practitioner‟s view is immensely felt. Hence, this research was undertaken to validate
John.P.Kotter‟s change management framework, inviting practicing CEO‟s critically reviewing the
as it-is applicability and adequacy for implementation in industries.

3. Objectives
The following research objectives are identified and defined as an integral part of this research:

 This research study aims at capturing the voice of practitioners on suitability and adequacy
of change management framework, which can direct and transfer knowledge to the
decision makers and those who are involved in execution of changes

 This research will propose the expectations and gaps from practitioner‟s viewpoint on a
chosen Change Management Framework favored by CEOs team as target group for

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
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4. Methodology
A team of 65 CEOs from Small Medium Enterprises was identified for a detailed review of this
change management framework. The six most popular Change Management Frameworks have
been administered by the researchers and circulated to this group of CEOs for voting on most
favoured model for critical analysis. The John.P.Kotter‟s change management framework has been
chosen for a detailed assessment. The printed edition of the book “The Heart of Change” by
John.P.Kotter in 1996 has been sent to all CEOs. A structured work shop was planned and
conducted with this CEO group, wherein every step of this change management framework was
presented, deliberated and critique captured from the practitioners.

5. Research Design
A team of 65 practicing CEOs, who are driving the change implementation representing Small
Medium Enterprises (SME) were identified and communicated about the objectives of this research
study. This study was confined to SME‟s, who are operating in and around Chennai and with a
revenue target between 20 to 30 Crores. These 65 SME‟s were chosen from the Dictionary of
Small Medium Enterprises, through a Simple Radom Sampling method. This CEO‟s team has
recognized the need for a structured approach for change implementation as they committed to take
their organization to the next level but have experienced roadblocks in implementing changes with
their traditional approach. A note on six different models of Change Management framework
comparing the salient features was prepared and circulated to CEO group along with a
questionnaire for selection of the most desired model. The following questions have been included
in the questionnaire.

1. Which of the change management model is most suited for your organization and

2. Which model do you think is easy to understand and fairly implementable?

3. In your opinion, which model provides detailed method for implementation?

4. If you are asked to choose one model for a detailed discussion, what would be your
choice and why?

This group has been asked to choose one model that can be taken up for a detailed review and
analysis. The researcher has received unanimous consensus and voting on Kotter‟s Eight Step
Model, from 40 CEOs. Hence, Kotter‟s eight steps strategic model of change implementation
framework was chosen for critical review, through a consensus approach.

The researcher has designed a workshop inviting all 40 CEO‟s for presenting the Kotter‟s change
management model. Prior to commencing the workshop, the printed edition of the book “The Heart
of Change” by John.P.Kotter in 1996 was sent to all the participating CEO.

They have been mandated to read the book in full and establish a clear understanding of Kotter‟s
change management framework. However, there were only 40 CEOs participated in the workshop.
The workshop has been critically analyzed all the eight steps of this change management model. It

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 181-203.

has captured the voice of practitioners for further research and appropriately incorporating the
changes suggested by them. This present research has been validated with regard to readiness and
suitability of John.P.Kotter‟s change management model framework, by a team of practicing CEOs,
who are the change management champions of their respective organizations or industries. Hence,
the output of this critical review and specific recommendations made by this high power
management team could be of great value in further refining this aforementioned model for
adoption across industries.

6. Analysis & Interpretations

At the start of workshop, eight step model (Diagram 1) framework of John.P.Kotter change
management framework has been presented and common understanding of the same was

Diagram 1: John.P.Kotter’s Eight Step Change Management Frame work

6.1 Establishing a Sense of Urgency

This is the first step in which “a sense of urgency” has been created among the relevant personnel
who are involved in change implementation. The resistance to change by people involved is due to
complacency and it is the responsibility of Top Management to establish a sense of urgency. The
sense of urgency could be even creating an artificial financial loss in the books of account and
showing the employees that situation looks grim, which needs to be addressed across the
organization for sustenance.

The sources of complacency are depicted in diagram 2, which inhibit change implementation. All
the sources of complacency must be removed and a stage for making the team ready for change
needs to be set. Each component that contributes to complacency was discussed with clear
example and the whole team was made to understand this stage. The overall objective of stage 1 is

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
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Diagram 2: Sources of Complacency

6.1.1 CEO Group Response

The objective of this stage in eliminating sources of complacency was well appreciated by the
team. Moreover, designing an artificial loss mostly in financial terms to establish a sense of
urgency was also understood. However, from a practitioner‟s viewpoint, the team has identified
and reiterated the need for a structured tool to assess and identify various sources of complacency.
The team has put forth the need for a detailed method for assessing “Complacency Risk
Management” across the organization and metrics for top management to take decisions. This is a
gap in step 1 and needs to be addressed as an integral part of change management framework.

6.2 Creating a Guiding Coalition

With urgency turned up, in this stage the most successful change agents pull together a guiding
team with credibility, skills, connections, reputations and formal authority required to provide
change leadership. The objective of this stage is to formalize a group powerful enough to guide a
big change and they start to work together. The four characteristics for effective guiding coalition
are Position Power, Expertise, Credibility and Leadership as shown in Diagram 3. In furtherance,
egos and snakes (people who can create enough mistrust to kill team work) are the qualities to
avoid while creating the Team. Also, finding right people, creating trust and developing common
goals are key deliverable of this stage.

Diagram 3: Characteristics of Guiding Coalition

6.2.1 CEO Group Response

A single common voice was heard from the group on accepting the need for nominating a change
leader within the organization to spear head the change. The group has expressed that a detailed

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characteristics of change leader and team members with guidelines for selection are missing. The
profiles of four different guiding coalitions (diagram 4) were also discussed to create an
understanding for choosing the right people.

Diagram 4: Profiles of 4 different Guiding Coalitions

The team has contemplated the need for standard templates in designing JOB Goals and KRA‟s
with clear measure of performance of every member of the Team leading change, which is missing
in the framework.

6.3 Developing Vision & Strategy

This is a stage in which a vision statement has been developed, to reflect a sensible and an
appealing future of their organizations. The strategies for accomplishing Vision is as well thought
through and documented in crystal clear terms. The strategy is to be understood as “logic for how
the vision can be achieved”. Once a vision and strategy is defined, then management (Diagram 5)
creates plans (Specific Steps and time table to accomplish strategies) and budgets (Financial
Projections & Goals). The vision and strategy creation are responsibilities of Top Management for
any industry / organization. The breaking vision and strategies into specific plans and budgets are
the responsibilities of senior management within an industry / organization.

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
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Diagram 5: Vision - Strategies Vs Plans – Budgets

A detailed discussion on the components of vision and their importance was conducted with the
group. The characteristics of a vision statement are imaginable, desirable, feasible, focused,
flexible and communicable as shown in diagram 6.

Diagram 6: Characteristics of a Vision

A vivid example of a vision statement (diagram 7) was circulated amongst the group that has met
all the characteristics of a vision statement.

Diagram 7: Vision Statement - An Example

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
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6.3.1 CEO Group Response

The entire CEO team has agreed that this is a very powerful step and appreciated on the need of
meeting all the characteristics of a vision statement. They have also opined that in reality most of
the vision statement does not reflect these characteristics. However, they felt that a checklist for
verification of adequacy of a Vision statement and clear guidelines for making Vision and
Strategies are not available as a part of this framework. The checklist must cover verification
parameters for different stakeholders such as Employees, Managers, Leaders, Top Management,
Investors, Customers, Suppliers and Regulators. They have also recommended the need for getting
an acceptance from across the organization prior to finalizing the vision and circulating it for
implementation. The framework must also describe a simple mathematical model for evaluating
and rating the Vision statement Quality, prior to acceptance.

6.4 Communicating the Vision

This stage deals with how the organization will need to communicate the vision and strategies
across the organization for creating an awareness and wide spread acceptance among the
stakeholders involved in change implementation. The objective of this stage is to communicate to
all the stakeholders on the expectations until it reaches everyone concerned and the message is
understood in full. It is essential that communication is repeated periodically until the intent is fully
achieved. The communication mix must be designed to reach different types of people such as
visual centric, audio centric and kinaesthetic oriented. This is represented in diagram 8.

Diagram 8: Communication Mix

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
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6.4.1 CEO Group Response

The CEO group has expressed total consensus on this stage and assigned the complete
responsibility of designing and communicating vision with Marketing head. Measuring the success
and effectiveness of communication is highly qualitative. The group expected a detailed approach
on measuring the effectiveness of communication including the metrics from different industries
from this framework, which is found to be missing. In addition to that, addressing the importance
of using various means of communication for effectively reaching the target audience also need to
be done in the framework.

6.5 Empowering Employees for Broad based Action

This stage emphasizes the need of empowering employees who are assigned with the accountability
of implementing change successfully. Empowerment is an important action to be performed by the
Top Management and one cannot expect that every activity is to be done by them. The whole
purpose of setting up of an organization structure is to ensure various functional owners perform
the assigned tasks. However, the Top Management needs to assess barriers to change based on the
past experience and culture before empowering employees for broad based action. The following
common barriers to empowerment was cited and deliberated.

6.5.1 Common Barriers to Empowerment

- Formal Structures make it difficult.

- A lack of needed skills undermines action.

- Personnel and information systems make it difficult to act.

- Bosses discourage action aimed at implementing the new vision.

The Top Management must consider all these barriers to empowerment and appropriately consider
the remedial measures for defining a successful strategy. The re-energized empowerment strategy
must cover the following aspects for a successful empowerment process.

- Communicate a sensible vision to employees.

- Make structures compatible with the vision.

- Provide the training employees need.

- Align Information & personal systems to the vision.

- Confront supervisors who undercut needed changes.

6.5.2 CEO Group Response

The team expected formal templates for authorization, job goals definition and clear measure of
performance as an integral part of the framework. The empowerment is recognized and accepted
fully by the person championing change, only if it is written and issued with a signature by Top

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
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Management. Moreover, employees feel great pride when such communication on empowerment
is made in office letterhead and given in presence of their peer group. The influence of peer group
and cohesiveness between the team must also be addressed in this framework.

7. Generating Short-Term Wins

It is a natural phenomenon that every individual wants to be a part of winning team. It is the fear on
failure of implementing change and consequences leading to lose of job that makes them to oppose
for a change being implemented. Hence, it is essential for the leaders to show them that change
being implemented is beneficial with tangible and quick results for them to visualize the larger
picture. It is imperative that a pilot project is undertaken before commencing a large-scale change
program for accomplishing a short-term win. The short-term win must be visible, unambiguous and
clearly related to the change effort. The characteristics of a short-term win are shown in diagram 9.

Diagram 9: Characteristics of a Short-term Win

The short-term win will make the rest of the team who were looking for the change effort to fail
will also fall in line with the change being pursued.

7.1 Role of a Short-Term Wins

- Reinforcement for the effort needed.

- Opportunity to relax for few seconds and celebrate.

- It is a test of vision against concrete conditions.

- Will make blockers difficult.

- Will retain the essential support of the bosses.

7.1.1 CEO Group Response

The conceptual inputs made in this stage were well accepted and understood by the group. They felt
that GOAL-EXECUTION accomplishment template must have been included in this stage for
realistic implementation. This step is essentially deal with the execution of a change and it is

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 181-203.

expected that the framework must address various methods of establishing goals specific to change
being considered for implementation. The program management tools and techniques must also be
addressed in this framework for implementations by the Change Leader to enable all the
stakeholders know the status of the project at any point of time. The communication of Goals and
Measure of performance are shared with other team members for them to contribute in achieving
short-term success.

8. Consolidating Gains and Producing More Wins

The differences between simple and interdependent systems (Diagram 10) were discussed in this
stage. The goal of this stage is to eliminate all unnecessary dependencies, including elimination of
human where not required for fostering the adoption of change across the organization. This is a
stage in which, implementation is accelerated to bring more changes at different levels. Having
established quick wins can make opposing team also accept the need of falling in line with
organizational expectations to overcome hurdles and help spreading the news.

Diagram 10: Simple and Interdependent Systems

Eliminating unnecessary dependencies includes:

 More change, not less: Use credibility afforded by short-term wins to tackle more change.

 More Help: Additional people are brought in, promoted and developed to help achieving
more change.

 Leadership from Senior Management: Role is to keep the urgency levels up.

 Project Manager and Leadership from below.

 Reduction of unnecessary interdependencies.

8.1 CEO Group Response

This stage requirements and the way conceptual framework designed were fully agreed by the
team. The team has recognized the need of tracking bottlenecks and other issues that creeps up
while accelerating the implementation, which is not discussed in this framework. Managers are
expected to take decisions and they need to realize that any IDLE RESOURCES in the system will
impediment process efficiency and effectiveness.

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 181-203.

The change management framework must deal with handling tougher situations and role of a
manager in removing non-value contributors for making the change profitable. The measures of
performance and bellwether for tracking change progress are very different from basic level
indicators used for establishing quick wins. Hence, this framework must also address the advanced
metrics that needs to be designed and followed while the change is moved to the acceleration phase.

9. Anchoring New Approach in the Culture

This is a stage in which, new learning and practices inherited due to change implemented has been
standardized in to the culture. The documentation of new processes, benefits realized, workflow of
what has been changed (diagram 11) redefined goals and measures need to be integrated with
Quality Management System as a knowledge base for quicker adoption across the organization.
The norms of group behaviour and share value play a vital role in anchoring changes successfully.

Diagram 11: Anchoring New changes in to Culture

The changes identified and implemented must always be focused on enriching customer experience
with organization on all transactions. This will only make the entire organization becoming
“Customer-Centric”. It is also essential to capture voice of the customer or taking a feedback from
customer on changes implemented so as to understand whether the real benefits are passed on to the
customer, which can facilitate the organization in retaining customer base and repeat business. The
entire team must realize that changes can be implemented only through a structured improvement
methodology and everyone concerned will work beyond specified office hours on improvement

Anchoring new changes are characterized by the following aspects:

 Comes last, not first: Alterations in norms comes at the end of transformation process.

 Depends on results: New methods usually sink in to culture only after the work and
superior to old method.

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 Requires a lot of talk: Without verbal instruction, people will be reluctant to new

 May involve turnover: Sometimes the only way to change culture is to change people.

 Makes decision on succession is crucial: The old culture will reassert, if promotion
processes are not changed to be compatible with the new practices.

9.1 CEO Group Response

The team has agreed on the need for standardization and sustenance. They had pointed out that the
framework is highly inadequate and not ready for a practical implementation. The framework must
cover post implementation Risk assessment, effectiveness audits, template (s) for standardization,
Standard Operating Procedures, Value Stream analysis from the customer view point, Kaizen and
tools for efficiency maximization. The framework does not address employee reward mechanisms
for implementing successful changes. The reward system must be integrated with performance
appraisal system and should not be standalone. Recognizing employees involved in successful
change implementation in presence of the peer group will motivate them to get involved more and
more. They will speak about the management expectations and gesture for recognitions and
appreciations with other employees across the organizations who were not involved in change.

10. Findings
Visioning is one of the most important steps of a change process. A good vision helps people in the
organization know where they are going. If the vision of a company is to have the best workforce in
the industry and the leaders disregard employee opinions, hire inappropriate candidates and spend
little in the way of employee training and education, it sends a message that the vision is not really
worth the paper on which it is written (Simonson, 2005). This research study supports this
argument very well and recommends the need for factually assessing adequacy of the Vision
statement and estimating effectiveness of implementation.

According to McNamara in 2010, conflict is inevitable in any organization, and at times is good
because employees go through a „form, storm, norm and perform‟ period. The process of
empowering people includes evaluating the current systems, processes and capabilities to facilitate
change organizational learning and the ability of a company to create and exploit knowledge and
information leads to successful organizational performance (Farrell, Flood, Curtain, Hannigan,
Dawson & West 2005). According to Herrick in 2005, leaders should be involved in stewardship.

The research study findings further augments this approach by identifying and defining very clear
roles and measure of performance of people involved in change initiatives. Though the importance
of communication is explained in every model, except Shields in 1999 change management frame
work, successful organizations have to acquire, integrate and use new knowledge in to the
communication framework. Understanding where an organization is and where they should be is
part of this communication process. This has to be discussed, explored and communicated (Farrell,
Flood, McCurtain, Hannigan, Dawson and West, 2005). This study has recommended the need of
pursuing communication as a strategy and assigning Marketing Leader as a specialist change agent.

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 181-203.

It has further reinforced the thought process of designing specific tool and check list for objective
evaluation of communication effectiveness.

The Mento‟s model in 2002 is the only one which includes a step for monitoring and measuring
change as it is implemented. Successful implementation of change involves discipline. Collins in
his book, Good to Great, indicates that the most successful organizations should have disciplined
people, disciplined thought and disciplined actions (Collins, 2001). People should be held
accountable for their actions and this cannot occur unless measurements are in place. Newcomb in
2005 suggested that leaders have to be accountable to the organization for the results of their plans
and the outcomes of the organization. However, this study finds that defining what to measure and
how to measure is not discussed in detail, leaving plethora of opportunities to undertake specific
research on this subject.

Employees in the organization can have a significant impact on how the organization is perceived
and can help build and maintain the organization‟s image (Helm, Liehr-Gobbers & Storck, 2011).
For Burgess and Connell in 2006, the pace of change is evident in the culture and environment of
the organization. The findings of this study elucidates employee recognition and reward schemes
must be integrated with Kotter‟s frame work as that can only ensure employees are retained. In
organization theory, a broad group of scholars (e.g. Dent & Goldberg, 1999; Ford, Ford, &
D‟Amelio, 2008; King & Anderson, 1995; Knowles & Linn, 2004; Symon, 2005; Bringselius,
2008) have suggested that the classic concept of resistance should be reassessed. Historically,
resistance has been understood as a reaction based on emotions and dysfunctional to the
organization. Craine (2007), for example, explains how resistance will hamper any organizational
change and he talks about how change always will start with reactions such as denial, shock,
frustration, and anger. Ford, D‟Amelio (2008) and Ford (2009) suggest that resistance should
instead be understood as an important source of employee feedback. They explain that in this way,
resistance “can be an important resource in improving the quality and clarity of the objectives and
strategies at the heart of a change proposal. And, properly used, it can enhance the prospects for
successful implementation.” (Ford & Ford, 2009:103).

Kotter model deals this effortlessly saying that resistance is due to fear of losing job. Every
individual would like to be a part of winning team and once a quick win is established in a change
initiative, all those who were initially resisting for the change would align with the team leading the
change. Regardless of which forces cause organizations to see the need for change, organizational
leaders continue to struggle to maintain or increase their companies‟ competitive advantage as rapid
changes occur both in the external and internal environments. Conclusions drawn by these
researchers are that the driving forces for organizational change are the result of the need to
constantly improve productivity and efficiency (Arnetz, 2005).The CEOs team opined that this
framework provides fundamental conceptual inputs on implementing a change successfully and
disseminating in to the culture of an organization.

However, the execution methods with suitable examples on the templates and tools required at
every stage are not illustrated. Hence this framework is considered to be a theoretical phenomenon
and not explicitly understood for further implementation of a change. The CEOs team also narrated
the need for this frame work to address components in identifying and implementing clear measure
for estimating the effectiveness of change implemented. It was also recommended by this group

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 181-203.

that visual aids citing situation “prior and after” implementation of a change must be incorporated
into this framework that will gain momentum for sustenance of new practices across the

11. Limitations & Implications

The analysis and inferences made on the change management framework by John.P.Kotter is based
on a team of 40 CEOs belonging to Small Medium Sectors. The recommendations made on
improving this model for wider adoption by the practitioners are also confined to this chosen group.
The researchers also recommend that similar studies must be conducted across different industries
at CXO level team for validation of this frame work. This research study has proposed number of
changes to be incorporated in the change management framework from practitioner‟s viewpoint. If
these changes are included in the core design of this framework, it will further enhance the
visibility among the other practitioners and make it as a robust, executable model.

12. Suggestions & Conclusion

This research work has ascertained that practicing CEOs are handicapped without a structured
change management framework and appreciated the fundamental framework of John.P.Kotter.
However, their expectation is that change management frameworks must be designed with a very
clear execution method (step-by-step implementation protocols) for fostering the swift adoption.
The practicing CEOs have provided more than adequate inputs for further refining this framework,
which could be reviewed for improving this model. The John.P.Kotter‟s change management
framework was understood by the practicing leaders from the context of conceptual design and
opined that this is not “As-Is” ready for implementation. They have recommended the following
aspects to be incorporated as an integral part of this framework, which will enable better
understanding of various layers of employees across the organization for effectively customizing
the change program for their organization.

 Execution Tools and templates for each stage of the framework.

 Check list for identification of source (s) of complacency.

 A ready reckoner with characteristics of guiding coalition and key responsibilities

 Assessment checks list and guidelines for verifying Vision statement adequacy.

 Method of defining quantitative metrics at every stage of change implementation


 Job Goals and Key Measure of performance indicators for the change management
execution team.

 Goal-Execution tracking mechanism and template (s).

 Change implementation effectiveness verification mechanism and guidelines.

 Employee Reward System for successful change implementation.

Rajan & Ganesan (2017). Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management,
Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 181-203.

 Independent assessment of pre and post change implementation scenario.

An improved version of change management program with the above changed incorporated can be
used to create more awareness on suitability of this framework. The acceptance by this group can
be used as a lever to cover different type of industries. This opens up opportunity for taking up
further research work in the following areas:

 Designing Execution Tools and Techniques for implementation of John.P.Kotter‟s


 Real life implementation of this change management framework to assess the

applicability and suggest further changes to amend the framework for better adoption.

 Validation of John.P.Kotter‟s framework with moderate and larger organizational


Thus, it is apparent from the present research study that change management programmes are sheer
necessity for organizational emancipation, sustenance and growth in general and a strategy to
overcome the saturation and maturity levels in particular. Hence, organizations or industries
looking ahead of emancipation must understand the economic transition and future challenges.
They must adhere to change management process through devising and / or inculcating change
management training programmes in upbringing the organizational understanding among their
workforces ranging from top management to the bottom levels for smooth functioning and attaining
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