Organizational change: A critical challenge for team effectiveness

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Authors: E. Goodman, I. Loh

Publication Year: 2011


Journal: Academy of Management Proceedings

Volume: 28

Issue: 242

Categories: Change Management, Organizational Change, Change Management


The article by Goodman and Loh describes some of the current drivers of change, and the challenges for teams in organizations. The authors highlight a number of models and approaches which describe the cycle of change and the elements of team effectiveness, and gives some advice on how to support teams in a time of change (Goodman and Loh, 2011). They start by mentioning that organizations are in a constant state of change. The degree and rate of that change depends entirely on the organization. Furthermore, they stress out the importance that a change involves people: what they do, and/or how the do it. In summary, organizational change does not only affect the organization, it also affects the people in the organization. The article focuses on teams and how they should cope with change in the organization. The authors believe that it is critical for teams to design themselves for effectiveness, to manage the status qua and to increase their resilience for change (Goodman and Loh, 2011). Next, the authors describe some aspects of the impact on the organization and the impact of change. They state that some organizational change is driven by factors outside the organization itself. It is also possible that an organization proactively chooses to change. For instance, to reshape the organization in order to become the future organization they want to be. Teams, in the organizational context, have to sustain delivery to the team’s customers in parallel with evolving the team in a radically new environment (Goodman and Loh, 2011). In order to achieve this parallel action, the authors have come up with a number of approaches/tools. I will describe these approaches/tools in the following paragraph. The first approach is “recognizing reactions to change and responding to them”. The authors’ use the Change Curve proposed by Kübler-Ross and state that team members will go through the same process. Next, they describe five tools that the authors developed to aid teams in their change journey. 1. Stages in team development: involves the team to realize that they go through certain stages in order to reach high performance. 2. Prerequisites for effective teams: involves a checklist to encourage en engage team members 3. Team temperature checks: a diagnostic tool to check the status and progress of the prerequisites checklist. 4. Lean/Six Sigma: involves using the (altered version) Lean/Six Sigma developed by Toyota and Motorola. 5. Dilts – Logical Levels of Change: is a diagnostic and planning tool in a time of change. By describing the five tools above, the authors have tried to come up with an approach for teams to deal with changes in the organization (external of internal to the organization). It is important for team members to understand the different stages of a change and it is important for the team manager to guide the team and to support individual team members in the difficult change process.

Critical Reflection

'There are a certain elements, which are good about this article. First, the authors stress out the importance to recognize that all change involves people. It is the people within the organization who actually change (Goodman and Loh, 2011). The authors focus on the teams in an organization and how they are affected when the organization changes. Second, I find it interesting that they try to use the Kübler-Ross Change Curve, which is based on people confronting grief, and use this Change Curve to they way an individual acts in the team. I think that this Change Curve could say something about an individual in teams. However, there is no scientific evidence in the paper that states that this is actually the case. So I am not sure whether the authors have enough ground to use the Change Curve to individuals in a team. The basic idea of this article is to use the Kübler-Ross Change Curve and the authors have come up with some tools to cope with these changes. The tools they describe seem like a good method to support the team during the change for the following reasons. It is important to be aware of the different stages in order to react and respond to these different stages. This is the first tool “Stages of Team development” that ‘examines’ the above-mentioned situation. Second, they describe a certain aspects, which are important prerequisites for an effective team and also give the tools to monitor these prerequisites. Next, they use the Lean/Six Sigma method and also give tools to monitor the progress of the Lean/Six Sigma method. If compared with the adaptive cycle of Holling (2001), it becomes clear that there is no cycle in this process. The author thinks that this process, teams who change, has a clear starting point and an end. Perhaps it would be a good idea to examine teams in the way that Hollings did in his Adaptive Cycle. For instance, teams could go through multiple changes instead of one major change. In summary, the article gives a good overview for teams and manager of teams what tools to use when dealing with a change in the organization. By apply the tools, provided in this article, and with enough tools to monitor the progress I think that it is a good way (or at least an starting point) for teams to deal with changes. However, I think that the author could have looked at the Adaptive Cycle by Holling (2001) and understand that change is a continues process and has no clear start and end point. Furthermore, a critical point is the choice of the Change Curve by Kübler-Ross. There is no argument why they have chosen the Change Curve and if it also can be used for teams in stress (in a change process) instead of an individual confronting with grief.