Making Sense of Change Management | Esther Cameron

Summary of: Making Sense of Change Management: A Complete Guide to the Models, Tools & Techniques of Organizational Change
By: Esther Cameron


Welcome to the summary of ‘Making Sense of Change Management: A Complete Guide to the Models, Tools & Techniques of Organizational Change’ by Esther Cameron. This comprehensive guide dives deep into the psychological aspects driving change and offers practical advice on navigating organizational shifts. Throughout this book, you will explore various psychological theories relevant to change, learn the importance of understanding individual personalities, and discover the role of teams in adapting to change. You will also examine different metaphors for organizations and how varying assumptions about change can impact leadership styles and strategic decision-making.

The Psychology of Change

Learning and change are cyclical processes that require managing anxieties to succeed. While people tend to be uncomfortable with change, two types of anxieties come into play: survival anxiety, which motivates change, and learning anxiety, which can inhibit it. Self-consciousness often accompanies the early stages of learning as individuals strive to master new skills and techniques. Eventually, unconscious competence takes over, ensuring their performance becomes more natural. However, facing a new situation means starting over, and the anxiety reruns, making individuals anxious or doubtful about their ability to learn and change. Overcoming learning anxiety is necessary to shift towards survival anxiety and commit to undergoing the necessary changes to thrive in a changing environment. Change requires recognizing the two anxieties and striving to manage them to enable lasting change to occur. The key is to understand how change works and to be prepared to navigate and embrace the anxieties that come with it.

Four Approaches to Change

Understanding the Four Schools of Psychology that Explain How People Change

People change in different ways, and there are four schools of psychology that provide insight into these changes. The first is behavioral psychology, which rewards individuals for desired change and punishes them for undesirable change. The second school is cognitive psychology, which seeks to change behavior by reframing values, attitudes, and feelings. The third is psychodynamic psychology, which focuses on an individual’s emotions and helps managers work with people during severe change. The fourth school is humanistic psychology, which emphasizes development, relationships, and potential.

It is crucial to understand that personality determines an individual’s ability to cope with and change during the change process. Any significant change may evoke feelings like denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, and each personality type may react differently to these shifts. Some people are thinkers, while others are feelers. Some are extroverts, while others are introverts. The personality types, along with the organization’s history and the probable consequences of change, will affect the way people respond.

In conclusion, managers must understand their assumptions about managing change and examine different possibilities offered by each school of psychology. While psychological theories provide guidance, each individual’s personality traits play a central role in the change process. Thus, managers must understand how individuals perceive change and respond to them accordingly.

Different Types of Teams

The article distinguishes between a group and a team, emphasizing the importance of understanding team dynamics to accomplish complex tasks. It then describes different types of teams, such as work teams, self-managed teams, parallel teams, project teams, and other variations. Each type has different structures, objectives, and risks associated with them. The article provides a clear illustration of each team type, without superficial language, to facilitate readers’ comprehension.

Team Evolution and Traps

Teams evolve over time, and with each stage come different challenges. These challenges include excessive dependence, fear, high hopes, and cocooning. To be effective, teams must have a mix of the personality types identified by the Myers-Briggs profile. Moreover, change affects teams, and it’s crucial to consider how they will handle it and what resources they need to remain effective. This book recognizes the role that power, competing interests, and conflict have in organizational life, making the political metaphor interesting. This chapter provides practical insights for those leading or working in teams to remain effective and successful amidst change.

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