Humanities: Organizational Management

Develop a change management plan


Change management (sometimes referred to as organizational management or strategic consulting) can take place in any organization or business. All workplaces go through a period of change at one time or another. Issues within an organization can arise due to mergers, organizational growth, restructuring of personnel, or problematic work culture, and more. Often, change within an organization can be met with excitement, but also anxiety and resistance. To alleviate issues related to organizational functioning in providing services, and in workplace dynamics, change management is often required.

Change management projects are executed by both individuals and teams of professionals. Professionals can include consultants who have their own practice or business, be employed by management consulting firms, or be employed by companies as internal consultants that are housed in human resources. Leaders within an organization and internal stakeholders may also develop and implement change management plans.

Organizational change professionals work to evaluate organizational practices to help organizations function more efficiently and cohesively to meet organizational goals. These organizational goals may focus on addressing the growth of an organization, increasing revenue and optimization of service delivery, or on teambuilding and improving workplace culture. The intended audience is usually upper-level and management professionals within an organization, since they are often expected to drive the execution of recommended changes within the organization.  

Once a project is completed by the consultant, recommendations for change are submitted to management. Individuals in management positions often implement change recommendations that will then affect an entire organization and the clients that they serve. Consultants may schedule periodic meetings with managers to check the progress of how recommendations are being implemented, with the ultimate goal of ensuring effective change within the organization.  

The Process

  1. Identify the problems. If led internally, the organization’s management meets to define the scope of the change or contacts their internal human resources department. If led externally, the organization could contact a consultant or group who meets with management to get an understanding of the problem.  
  2. Plan for the structure of the project. If led externally, the consultant or team is introduced to staff at the company or organization, and the project plan is explained by the consultant.
  3. Conduct focus groups with each of the functional groups or divisions in the organization to understand job responsibilities, strengths of the organization, and areas of growth for the organization. The leadership and managerial team, at all levels, may be interviewed as a group.  
  4. Conduct informal interviews with each individual in the organization (if the organization is less than 30 people) to gain an understanding of their roles, experiences within the organization, and what is going well within the company and what can be improved.
  5. Conduct meetings with external stakeholders and partners that the organization often serves or collaborates with.
  6. Conduct a Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats (SWOT) analysis based on all of the information gathered.  
  7. Make recommendations for changes to the organization through a written report to management, based on the SWOT analysis.  
  8. Develop an action plan, and present actionable items to the general body within the organization. The action plan will most likely focus on suggestions for:
    1. Trainings for staff that develop technical skills.
    2. A restructuring of the organization.
    3. Team-building exercises that implement a change in office culture.
    4. Monitoring the change within the organization.
    5. Addressing resistance to the action plan suggested.
    6. Including key stakeholders within the organization that can mobilize change.

The Exercise

In this situation, you are on a team of organizational consultants who are part of a strategic consulting organization.  

Imagine that you have been contacted by an executive director of a local non-profit that helps to connect volunteers with other area non-profits that seek volunteers for various projects. The executive director states that they are in the process of a merger with another local non-profit that has a similar mission and values. They are thinking about how to execute this merger.

Task 1: Create a list of questions for management.

(Step 4 of the process) List specific questions for upper-level professionals about what is going well and what they would like to improve.

Task 2: Create a list of questions for individuals.

In the role, you would use these questions to conduct internal interviews with current staff members from all levels to understand the functions and responsibilities of those who currently work in the organization (Step 5). Consider if the list of questions would be the same or different.

Task 3: Create a meeting agenda.

Create a meeting agenda for key stakeholders outside of the organization, such as the other non-profit and individuals that both organizations may have served (Step 6). Again, consider how questions you might ask would be similar or different.


Skills Used to Perform These Tasks

  • Strategic thinking  
  • Active listening  
  • Interviewing skills
  • Project management  
  • Change management
  • Analytical thinking

Skills Used in This Field

  • Intellectual curiosity  
  • The desire to continuously learn and grow
  • Adaptability and flexibility  
  • Quantitative and qualitative analysis skills
  • Data tools (e.g., Tableau and Excel)
  • Public speaking  
  • Relationship building  
  • Time management  
  • Leadership
  • Business acumen

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Simulation author – Clarence E. Anthony Jr., PhD

Simulation vetted by members of the Graduate Career Consortium