October 27, 2012

MU0018 [Change Management] Set2 Q5

Q5. What are the skills and ability required for the role of change agent? 

Ans. 

The change agents design and implement the changes to help the organisation to respond to the demands of the dynamic economy. According to Sims the new economic environment gives tremendous demands to the change agents. Change agents play an important role to assist change implementation. They educate, guide, coach and facilitate the employees and management who are a part of change process. They play a helpful role for the organisation in bringing the change and in achieving the objectives of the change. 

According to Balogun and Hope Hailey the roles of the change agent include external facilitation, leadership and good entrustment. Hutton suggests that the role of the change agent is to support top management to bring about determined transformation of the organisation. 

According to Hutton the transformation process: 

  • Helps the employees to think different about the work. 
  • Change the norms of the organisation that includes the usual work practices. 
  • Change the organisations systems and procedures to improve and achieve the objectives of the change. 


According to Spence there are four fundamental and crucial roles of the change agent. They are:

Observer 
The change agents have to observe the environment, processes, attitudes and behaviour of the employees with in the organisation before implementing the change process. The first and the most important task of the change agent is the observation. 

Diagnostician
The judgement based opinions are ineffective. Therefore the change agent should analyse the information that they have gathered and should have the idea about the change process. Thus the diagnostic process should be based on sufficient information available. 

Strategist
The change agent is a policy maker and a planner. The change agent should be strategist in taking many decisions. The action of the strategist is to identify the problem on addition to it the strategist should emphasis the fact that there are many ways of handling a particular problem. 

Stimulator
Spence suggests that it is good to stimulate others instead of taking actions alone and this makes the role of the change agent to achieve many objectives of the change process. 

The advantages are identified below: 

  • Encouraging the individuals to participate and that in turn helps the change agent. 
  • Avoiding the change agent from going wrong in any areas. 
  • Making the change agent to act as both advisor and assessor or evaluator. 
  • Increasing the confidence level of the employees. 
  • A change agent should: 
  • Be a good sensor of the business environment. 
  • Function vertically and horizontally. 
  • Have good leadership skills in all the levels. 
  • Be a manager as a catalyst. 
  • Perform with shorter time-frame perspective. 
  • Be a good balancer in work and personal life. 
  • Have a good knowledge of information.

For an effective change agents need to be an expertise in the following area. They are: 
  • Strategy formulation. 
  • Human resource management. 
  • Marketing and sales. 
  • Negotiation or conflict resolution. 


The change agents are required to follow the steps to achieve successful management of change in an organisation. 
Freeze Change 
Providing Support to sustain in embedded change 
Implementing Change 
Managing Transition 
Incremental Changes for Improvement 
Communicating Effectively 
Developing Awareness or Winning Confidence 
Challenging the Status Quo 
Stirring the environment of psychological discomfort 
Developing Visionary Leadership 
Creaitng Shared Vision 
Predicting and Managing Resistance 
Mobilising Commitment 
Developing Process of Change of Culture

Generally the most important contribution made by the change agent role is to maintain the organisations present performance and make the future performance effective that includes: 

  • Enabling the employees to work effectively to plan, implement and to experience change. 
  • Managing the future change and increase the employees ability. 


According to Dave Ulrich the successful change agents had the ability to: 
Diagnose a problem that is to understand the organisation and the business drivers and should recognise performance issues, analyse the results of impact on short and long term business. 

Build the relationships with a client that is to form partnerships with common responsibility for the outcome of the change since the faith is very essential as the risk is very high. For an effective change the client and the change agent should have a high level of trust on each other because of the high risk. 

For Example, the management consultant Ric Reichard uses an easy method to discuss the issues Trust = (perceived competence + relationship)/RISK. 

Understand and motivate the workforce and the idea of change should be expressed. 

Set a leadership agenda that is to define the ongoing role for leaders, such as reinforcement of necessary behaviours, this makes the hr employee to closely understand the history and competencies of the leadership team and have a firmness to insist on the achievement of the scheme. 

Solve the problem that is the change agent must recognise the issues and must be concerned about the employees involved in the issue and must resolve the problem effectively. 

Implement the plans to achieve change goals that is successful organisational change on the significant level is attributed to the right strategy and suitable change in organisation culture. Here culture change depends on supportive employee polices, systems and processes. 

From the above competencies, the skills required for the effectiveness of change agent are to:
  • Communicate effectively in all the directions. 
  • Know well about the organisation, business, products, services and work processes. 
  • Keep a business perspective in both macro and micro, that is to have a vision on how mangers manage. 
  • Plan effectively and possess project management skills. 
  • Managing resistance and risk. 
  • Managing conflict. 
  • It is noticeable that the above features are the combination of personal attributes and skill sets that is required for the change agent to be effective.

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