Models refer to the methods applied to drive an organisational transformation process

Models refer to the methods applied to drive an organisational transformation process. Davis (2012) offers the following four approaches to management change but it can equally apply to organisational transformation. These four models are the eight phase-, Beckhard and Harris -, dynamic- and the Nadler and Tushman’s model. The following section offers an overview of these models.

3.5.1 Eighth phase model of transformation
According to Lewin in 1940 the organisational transformation model arises because of a disruption in the fundamental forces of the organisation. The aim should be the restoration of a situation of equilibrium. According to Cameron and Green (2008) the underlying principle is that driving forces must offset resisting dynamics in any situation if a successful organisational transformation is to take place. Lippit, Watson and Westley (1958) advanced Lewin’s three phase model into the seven stage model. Kotter (2012) revisits and updates the model of Lippit, Watson and Westley (1958) by adding an eighth stage. These following eight stages as revealed by Kotter (2012) serve as a check list for leaders engaged in transformation:
• Establish a sense of urgency: individuals need to recognise the need for transformation. Form a powerful coalition: Getting together a team of like-minded supporters who have the expertise to influence others.
• Forming a powerful guiding coalition: Gather an authoritative group of people who grind well together.
• Create a vision: All stakeholders need to understand what the purpose of the transformation is and the advantages it will bring compared to the status quo.
• Communicate the vision: Communication is to ensure all stakeholders buy in and efficiently and effectively work to achieve the vision.
• Empower others: To ensure that all factors limiting the process of transformation are reduced or if possible eliminated.
• Create short term success: Many transformation processes can last for a long period of time. To ensure that stakeholders do not lose interest and see tangible results, short term achievements must be recognised and where appropriate praise should be given.
• Consolidate and use success to generate more change: Short term successes should be capitalised on to ensure that further transformation is enhanced.
• Institutionalise the change: At this stage the transformation should be embedded in the culture of the organisation.
To ensure the successful transformation process the following models can be used as guiding instruments during the process of transformation.

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3.5.2 Beckhard and Harris model or approach
This organisational transformation model was developed by Beckhard and Harris in 1987 from the original work of David Gleisher and Arthur D. Little who created a version of the formula in the 1960s (Beckhard & Harris, 1987). This formula is a summary of the process and the factors that need to be in place for organisational transformation to take place. The formula is as follows: C= (A x B x D) > X
Where C= Change
A= level of dissatisfaction with status quo
B=clearly desired state (The direction the organisation want to go with the organisational transformation)
D= practical first steps in the organisational transformation process
X= cost of organisational transformation (emotional, financial and energy costs)

Stoner and Wankel (2000) argue that organisational transformation will take place when the cost of the organisational transformation is not too high or when the dissatisfaction with the status quo is very high or when the desired state after organisational transformation is not practically possible. An honest in-depth assessment of the cost and the expected benefits to all the stakeholders and the organisation at large is a prerequisite before embarking on transformational processes.

3.5.3 Dynamic stability model
This model developed by Eric Abrahamson (2000) allows organisational transformation without disastrous pain or devastating feelings about the unknown. The first requirement is that the organisation must be willing to work with what already exists and invent something new only as a last option. The last requirement is that generalists – more open minded than specialists – should be hired to avoid mistakes made in the past and/or capitalise on new opportunities. If people from within the organisation are used, they may oversee the potential use of the current resources and new opportunities that the organisational transformation may bring.
3.5.4 Nadler and Tushman’s congruence model
This is not really a model of organisational transformation but rather an investigation of the factors that impact an organisational transformation process. These factors are the work, the people, the formal organisation and the informal organisation. A lack of effective management of the abovementioned four factors will lead to resistance, lack of control and abuse of power. Cameron and Green (2008) recommend this model because it can be used as a practical checklist and also as a tool to point out if the organisational transformation is not successful or only semi-successful.


This section addresses problems that an organisation can encounter when embarking on an organisational transformation process. The last part of this section recommends strategies to reduce or if possible eliminate these problems.

3.6.1 Mistakes during an organisational transformation process
Many arrangements are made in the transformation process such as the fact that consultants are brought in, presentations are done and training is offered for employees to change employee behaviour, management philosophy and organisational procedures. The emphasis should be result-driven to assess if employees’ behaviour and management values adjust to the new vision of the organisational transformation. Any organisational transformation process, irrespective of its magnitude, cost resources like money, information and human resources. No organisation can afford resources to be wasted on an unsuccessful organisational transformation.

According to Kotter (2012) the following errors can contribute to the failure of an organisational transformation process in an organisation. One is allowing too much leniency amongst managers and employees. The biggest mistake management/ leaders make is not to establish a high enough drive in managers and employees for a proposed organisational transformation process. Any change in the status quo can cause pain, emotional stress and a fear of the unknown. During the planning stage of a proposed organisational transformation all the relevant stakeholders should be informed. This should be done through consultative meetings and effective communication. In many instances top management take a decision in a vacuum, particularly for a major organisational transformation, and only inform the rest of management and staff at a later stage. This will lead managers and employees who should work towards the organisational transformation to lack the urgency and not see the need for the organisational transformation.

To ensure successful organisational transformation it is recommended that the committee that will drive the organisational transformation should have the following characteristics: commitment to improved performance, formal titles, information and expertise, good reputation, and positive intra and inter-relationships with all the stakeholders and the capabilities to effectively lead and inspire the non-committee members to believe that the organisational transformation is needed to the benefit of all stakeholders of the organisations (Kotter, 2012).