Section 1: Examine – “The Coping Cycle’s ability to explain why changes fail” 3
Section 2: Debate – Emergent Change does not offer a coherent alternative to planned change but merely provides and umbrella for those who oppose it” 4
Section 1: Examine – “The Coping Cycle’s ability to explain why changes fail”
The idea of The Coping Cycle was first put forward by Edgar Schein in 1980 (Golembiewski, 2000) and consisted of six stages. This was adapted by Carnall in 1990 (Schwieren, n.d.) and was reduced to five stages: Denial, Defence, Discarding, Adaptation, Internalisation. The Coping Cycle is a process that shows how people react to change and how they adapt to these changes (Burnes, 2014, p. 344). This section will look at whether the coping cycle proposed by Carnall has the ability to explain why changes within an organisation fail.
As discussed by Burnes (2014, p. 344) the coping cycle sees people within an organisation go through a series of changes starting with people denying that there is a need for change. However, once they realise that this change will happen they can become defensive and ask why there is a need for this change and what are they doing wrong to warrant this change. During this time peoples’ productivity will remain fairly constant as there is no actual change happening at this stage. Eventually people will realise that the change is going to happen so they begin adjusting their practice and discard their old practices in place for new ones. It is at this stage that peoples’ performance will start to fall as they learn new techniques and ways of doing things. Following on from this people will start to adapt to the change process. This is where management adjust what has been proposed and make minor adjustments to allow the changes to be incorporated into the existing processes of the organisation (Burnes, 2014, p. 344). It is in this stage that productivity will plateau and then begin to rise again. The final stage is internalisation. This is where the changes become normal rather than something new and where people find a new level of productivity.
Burnes (2014, p. 344) also states that closely related to the performance of the staff is their self-esteem. As the productivity drops so does their self-esteem. The rate at which people go through this process will vary between individuals and therefore will reach the internalisation stage at different times (Chernenko, 2014).
The coping cycle can show why change fails because there are various points throughout the cycle where change may come to a halt. Depending on how strong the staff feel about the need for change, they may resist this change. Up to twenty percent of staff may resist altogether as they like the way things were and may resist the change altogether (Innovation for the Nation, 2014). With this number of people resisting change, unless there are plans in place to mitigate these issues then any process is likely to come...