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Organisational Change. Chapter 7 Hard Systems Model of Change. Overview. There are a number of models for handling change in situations of hard complexity ( difficulties not messes ).

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organisational change
Organisational Change

Chapter 7

Hard Systems Model of Change

overview
Overview
  • There are a number of models for handling change in situations of hard complexity (difficulties not messes).
  • This chapter describes one model (Hard Systems Model of Change) and, in order to demonstrate its use, applies it to a particular change situation.
  • The limitation of this type of model, that it’s not able to cope well with soft complexity (messes),are discussed.
objectives
Objectives
  • To:
    • Recognise change situations (problems/opportunities) characterised mainly by hard complexity, where the use of hard systems methodologies are appropriate;
    • Describe the main features of hard systems methodologies for defining, planning and implementing change;
    • Explain the hard systems model of change (HSMC) as representative of hard systems methodologies of change;
    • Discuss the limitations of hard systems methodologies of change and, therefore, the need for other change methodologies more suited to situations of soft complexity.
unitary relationships
Unitary Relationships

Unitary.

People relating to each other from a unitary perspective:

  • Share common interests.
  • Have values and beliefs which are highly compatible.
  • Largely agree upon ends and means.
  • All participate in decision making.
  • Act in accordance with agreed objectives.

(Source: Flood, R.L. & Jackson, M.C. (1991). Creative problem solving: total systems intervention. Chichester: Wiley, pp. 34-35.).

pluralist relationships
Pluralist Relationships

Pluralist

People relating to each other from a pluralist perspective:

  • Have a basic compatibility of interest.
  • Have values and beliefs which diverge to some extent.
  • Do not necessarily agree upon ends and means, but compromise is possible.
  • All participate in decision making.
  • Act in accordance with agreed objectives.

(Source: Flood, R.L. & Jackson, M.C. (1991). Creative problem solving: total systems intervention. Chichester: Wiley, pp. 34-35.).

coercive relationships
Coercive Relationships

Coercive.

People relating to each other from a coercive perspective:

  • Do not share common interests.
  • Have values and beliefs which are likely to conflict.
  • Do not agree upon ends and means, so genuine compromise is not possible.
  • Coerce others to accept decisions.

(Source: Flood, R.L. & Jackson, M.C. (1991). Creative problem solving: total systems intervention. Chichester: Wiley, pp. 34-35.).

slide7

Hard and soft problems

UNBOUNDED PROBLEMS

Relationship and team building

Messes

Organisation Development Models

for Change

Emotional involvement

Hard Systems

Models for

Change

Project management

Difficulties

BOUNDED

PROBLEMS

Technical complexity

the challenge of change
The Challenge of Change
  • Change in situations that are characterised by hard complexity (and widely-held unitarist assumptions about relationships) is usually easier to achieve.
  • Change in situations of soft complexity, where issues are contentious and there is a high level of emotional involvement among stakeholders is usually less easy to achieve.
hard systems model of change 1
Hard Systems Model of Change - 1
  • The Hard Systems Model of Change (HSMC) is a method for designing and implementing change in situations that have the characteristics of ‘hard complexity’, i.e. situations:
    • where the presenting problems are understood and agreed by most people in the situation.
    • where quantitative criteria can be used to test options for change.
    • Where simple systems prevail.
    • Where a unitarist ideology of relationships prevails.
hard systems model of change 2
Hard Systems Model of Change - 2
  • This approach provides a rigorous and systematic way of determining objectives (or goals) for change.
  • Goal setting is followed by the generation of a range of options for action which can be tested against a set of explicit criteria.
hard systems model of change 3
Hard Systems Model of Change - 3
  • The process can be thought of as falling into three overlapping phases.
  • The descriptivephase (describing and diagnosing the situation, understanding what is involved, setting the objectives and performance measures for the change).
  • The optionsphase (thinking about what might be done: generating options for change, evaluating options.
  • The implementationphase (selecting the most appropriate option, putting feasible plans into practice and monitoring the results).
  • Within these phases a number of stages can also be identified (see Illustration 7.3).
slide12

Sequence of stages in the intervention strategy model

Development of Implementation Strategies

PROBLEM/

OPPORTUNITY

Implementation

CLIENT SET

Evaluating Options

Situation Summary

Identification of

Performance Measures

Identification of Objectives & Constraints

Modelling

Chosen Options

Generation of Options

slide13

Time spent on different stages of the change process

Time which

should be spent

Time actually spent

Diagnosis 2% 20%

Planning 10% 20%

Implementation 80% 40%

Control 6% 10%

Learning 2% 10%

stage 1 situation summary
Stage 1 – Situation Summary
  • Ask yourself - is this situation characterised by hard complexity (difficulty), ‘closeness to certainty’, & unitary assumptions about stakeholder relationships. Or is it a ‘mess’ (soft complexity), a ‘far from certainty’ situation. If it’s a mess, using the HSMC will probably not work out.
  • Identify the components and boundary of the system that will be changed.
  • Identify the decision maker’s overall purpose in the change situation.
  • Identify the factors that are having an impact on the system and how these causes inter-relate.
stage 2 identifying change objectives 1
Stage 2: Identifying Change Objectives - 1
  • A key part of stage 2 is to identify the overall objective or goal of the change and the sub-objectives that contribute towards this.
  • The objectives are normally, formed into an ‘objectives tree’ or objectives hierarchy.
stage 2 identifying change objectives 2
Stage 2: Identifying change objectives - 2
  • ‘Objectives tree’ or objectives hierarchy:

High-level obj

Sub-obj 2

Sub-obj 3

Sub-obj 4

Sub-ob 1

Sub-sub obj 1

Sub-sub obj 2

Option 1

Option 2

slide17

Stage 2: Identifying change objectives - 3

Hierarchical objectives

  • Objectives are about “ends” - ultimate goals and the sub-goals needed to achieve them
  • Characteristics of a good objective
    • It should address the problem to be solved
    • It must be relevant
    • It should provide a guide to action on what needs to be done to move from the present state of affairs to the desired solution
    • It must be something the system is capable of doing
slide18

Stage 2: Identifying change objectives - 4

  • The objectives tree should ‘read’ logically downwards, from the top objective to the lower level ones (and upwards from the lowest level objectives to the top one) in the sense that each lower level set of sub-objectives should contribute to the achievement of the next higher level objective they are attached to – and so on.
  • They must be mutually compatible.
  • This is, perhaps, the most difficult stage of the entire model.
slide19

Stage 2: Identifying change objectives - 5

  • Strict application of the model requires each objective to be measurable in terms of its achievement or not.
  • Objectives should be what the system must achieve to improve – it is the options for meeting the objectives that specify how the objectives might be achieved.
slide20

Stage 3: Performance Measures

Quantify each objective in the tree.

  • Where this is difficult, use a rating scale.

Examples:

  • Costs in cash.
  • Savings in cash.
  • Waiting time in days, hours.
  • Sales volume in dollar value.
  • % Meeting quality standard, etc.
slide21

Stage 4: Options Generation

  • Often the lowest level objectives of an objectives tree become the options for change. That is, the means (or the how) of bringing change about rather than the ends (or the what) of the change.
  • There will, however, almost certainly be more options for how to make the change than the ones that appear on the objectives tree.
  • Generating options for change (having decided what the goal is) is a creative process and creative thinking techniques can be used to help with this.
slide22

Stage 5: Options Editing & Detailing

  • To make evaluation possible, some of the selected options may need to be elaborated or even ‘modelled’ – clarifying what is involved, who is involved and how it will work.
  • This can involve:
    • Charts, diagrams, flow diagrams.
    • Cost-benefit analyses.
    • Computer simulations, scale models.
    • Experiments and trial runs.
slide23

Stage 6: Options Evaluation - 1

  • Options that seem feasible are then evaluated against the criteria for making judgements which were set up earlier at stage 3 in the change process.
  • Each option can be rated on an evaluation matrix (see overleaf).
  • Options that are not mutually exclusive may be combined, if there are added anticipated benefits.
stage 7 implementing the change 1
Stage 7 Implementing the Change - 1
  • In problems of a defined ‘hard’ nature, implementation will usually not be a problem.
  • However, unless some consultation has been carried out with those who must make the change, there is likely to be some resistance and something could go wrong.
  • Implementation is frequently a test of how much people involved in the change have participated in the design.
stage 7 implementing the change 2
Stage 7 Implementing the Change - 2

Three alternative strategies for implementation:

  • Pilot studies leading to eventual change.
    • help sort out any problems before more extensive change is instituted.

2. Parallel running.

    • The new system (e.g. new computer system) is run alongside the old until confidence is gained that the new system is reliable and effective.

3. Big bang.

    • Maximises the speed of change, but can generate the greatest resistance to change.
    • Carries a high risk of failure unless planned very carefully.
stage 8 consolidation carry through
Stage 8- Consolidation & Carry Through

It is important that in all change situations.

  • there should be continuing vigilance,
  • there should be continuing support for those making the change.
issues in using the hard systems model of change 1
Issues in Using the Hard Systems Model of Change - 1
  • People who are likely to be affected by the change should be consulted as early as possible.
  • They should be kept informed throughout the design and implementation period.
  • Support from senior management is essential for any but the most localised, operational types of change.
issues in using the hard systems model of change 2
Issues in Using the Hard Systems Model of Change - 2
  • All the information that decisions makers ideally would like to have is not always easily and quickly available.

Testing out options can be a time-consuming process, particularly if models have to be built and tested.

  • It is possible, however, to go through the stages of the HSMC quite quickly to address key factors associated with the change situation and identify at least some tentative solutions.
issues in using the hard systems model of change 3
Issues in Using the Hard Systems Model of Change - 3
  • Using what Paton and McCalman (2000) call a Q & D (quick and dirty) analysis can be a useful starting point for the change agents tackling a more complex problem.
  • Even if if the problem situation is a messy one, where it is not possible to set quantitative criteria for evaluating options (as the pure method requires), it is nonetheless useful to construct an objectives tree as the first stage of a change process.