BUS401 Study Guide

Unit 3: Change Management and Decision-Making

3a. Utilize Lewin's three-step model of change in relating types of change to the decision-making process

  • Should managers be proactive or reactive toward change? Why?

When we think of change in organizations today, it could bring about a variety of responses. Change could result from something as simple as a dress code or something as complex as a new President being elected. The modern manager must be aware of the various forms of change as they come to an organization and then be prepared to deal with them. Kurt Lewin was a respected scholar in the field of change/change management. In subunit 3.1, you were responsible for identifying factors (both internal and external), bringing about change to an organization.

To make a successful transition in an organization, change should be ushered in with proper communication. Employees and their stakeholders have concerns about how change will impact their lives both at home and at work. One of the strategies that organizational behavior experts promote is that of transparency on the part of leadership. The more that employees understand change, the less fear or resistance. Lewin characterizes this phase as "unfreezing" the organization.

After unfreezing, managers may execute the intended changes. When the changes are final, organizations must ensure that changes become permanent. This involves the change becoming accepted, habitual to the employees, and takes time. This process is called "freezing", according to Lewin.

To review, see Planning and Executing Change Effectively.


3b. Assess various methods of communicating change within an organization

  • What are the leadership strategies that can be used for bringing change into an organization?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of these strategies for successful change management?
  • What are the six components of change that management should create and implement?
  • Conner and Stopper provided research on distinct leadership styles. How did Stopper's view differ from Conner's?
  • The three major types of organizational change are business process re-engineering, incremental change, and technological change. Are any major types of change are missing here? If so, what are they?

The research on change and organizations conducted by Lewin and other scholars has helped managers successfully bring change into an organization. Just as there is "no one size fits all" application for managing an organization successfully, neither does one exist for handling change. This section intends to address the existing research on change conducted by Lewin and other scholars. As a manager or a future manager, you may wish to become familiar with these methods to help serve as a basis for your strategy in dealing with change.

To review, see Managing Change for Organizations.


3c. Compare and contrast decision making based on individualized and team processes

Decision making as a function of leaders and managers today often requires using a small team of experts or influential individuals. The small group can often reach a consensus and conclusion fairly quickly. The larger the group, the more discussion that takes place that requires additional debate and consideration. Managing decisions among large groups can take more time and involve more issues. Having a large group reach a consensus on a decision does not always mean the group is correct. In this section, you will want to focus on the steps leaders and managers can take in guiding the decision-making process to lead to a justifiable result.

To review, see Techniques for Consensus Decision-Making in Large Groups: The Spokesperson Council Method.


3d. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of rational and "satisficing" approaches to decision-making

  • Identify a time when you or someone our know used either decision-making method. What were the good and bad results?

In the process of making a decision, people have two general methods at their disposal. A group may come to a decision based on what would create a satisfactory outcome for all the stakeholders – the leader of the group is a "satisficer". The rational method differs in that the decision made by either the leader or a group comes by way of whatever information is available at hand. There may be some boundaries that have to be accepted or ignored depending upon the situation. For example, if you wanted to purchase a pack of gum, you more than likely would refer back to your personal preference without seeking any additional information for consideration. This is a satisficing decision because the only stakeholder, you, is satisfied with the decision you will make. On the other hand, when you want to purchase a home, you will talk to your partner, realtors, bankers, financial analysts to help establish the "boundaries" impacting the decision you will make. Business decision-makers and scholars do not always support the use of the rational method.

See Non-Rational Decision Making for alternative methods to the rational and satisficing methods of making decisions. Pay attention to the role of emotion in making decisions.


3e. Analyze the impact of biases such as anchoring, groupthink, and selective perception on the decision-making process

  • What are anchoring, groupthink, and selective perception?
  • Have you seen these biases in action in a work setting before?

It is usually impossible to remove all forms of bias as one is making a decision. It is important to acknowledge these biases and be vigilant for the ways they manifest in your work.

To review, see The Psychology of Groups.