HCA 675 Week 6 Discussion Question Two
HCA 675 Week 6 Discussion Question Two
In health care, change agents are faced with the challenge of engaging both employed staff and physicians in change initiatives. Frequently they have different perspectives and different agendas. Discuss your thoughts on how this can be managed so that everyone can feel that they are heard and that some common ground can be achieved.
Change Agent Types
Although little research has explored what type of change agent is most effective
in a given situation, some research has identified different types of change agents
according to their characteristics and methods of implementing change (Burke, 2011;
Eikenberry, 2011; Mansfield, 2011; Thota, 2012). These include the following types.
Outside Pressure Type
These change agents work to change systems from outside the organization. They
are not members of the company they are trying to change and use various pressure
tactics such as mass demonstrations, civil disobedience, and violence to accomplish their
objectives. Typically, they offer options that are more radical than the community might
accept. This usually results in the possibility of examining many different change
The focus of activity for this type of change agent is the individual. The change
agent may be concerned with employee morale and motivation, including absenteeism,
turnover, and the quality of work performed. The methods used include job enrichment,
goal setting, and behavior modification. The major assumption underlying this orientation
is that if individuals change their behavior, the organization will also change, providing
enough people within the organization change. A manager can certainly assume the role
of people-change-technology type and often do.
The focus of this change agent is on changing the organizational structure so as to
improve output and efficiency. The change agent uses operations research, systems
analysis, policy studies, and other forms of analytical approaches to change the
organization’s structure or technology. For example, the change might include
introducing computerized information-processing systems. Many managers assume this
role when implementing change.
These change agents focus their attention on internal processes such as intergroup
relations, communication, and decision making. Their intervention strategy is often called
a cultural change approach, because they thoroughly analyze the culture of the targeted
organization. This approach grew out of such areas as sensitivity training, team building,
and survey feedback. Many managers assume the role of organization-development type
when implementing change.
Change Agent Roles
There are at least three distinct roles that change agents play: consulting, training,
and research (Carnall, 2008; Dawson, 2010; Stephen, 2010; Tidd, 2010). A manager can
and often does perform each of these functions. An outside change agent can perform
these activities as well.
As a consultant, the manager places employees in touch with data from outside
the organization or helping organization members to generate data from within the
organization. The overall purpose is to help employees find solutions to problems
through analysis of valid data.
In addition to performing the role of consultant, the manager may function as a
trainer. Here the manager helps organization members learn how to use data to effect
change. The manager, or outside change agent if one is used, has a dual purpose as
trainer: (1) to help organization members derive implications for action from the present
data and (2) to provide organization members with a new set of skills—the ability to
retrieve, translate, and use new data to solve future problems. Several companies have
hired outside consultants to instruct organization members on how to improve the overall
operation of their firms.
Finally, and closely associated with the previous role, the manager may assume
the role of researcher. As researcher, the manager may train organization members in the
skills needed for valid evaluation of the effectiveness of action plans that have been
implemented. Furthermore, as part of the overall intervention strategy, the manager will
design an evaluation component that can be used in solving not only the current problem
but also future problems.
Characteristics of Successful Change Agentry
After an extensive review of the literature, several researchers have identified a
set of ten factors characteristic of effective change agentry (Anderson, 2011; deBruijn,
2011; Jain, 2011; Lindegaard, 2011; McCabe, 2011). These factors briefly defined in the
following list, refer to the way in which change agents manage change rather than to any
personal characteristics they may possess. In many cases, the plant manager performs the
role of change agent. However, the change agent can be an internal change specialist,
corporate office administrator (often called a “trouble shooter”), or outside consultant
whose expertise is in implementing change.