The evolution and growth of change management as a discipline has seen a meteoric rise over the three main eras of the definitive past, evolving present and the formalized and expanding future. The foundational years before the 1990’s saw academics beginning to define and understand the very basics of change management and systems experiencing, reacting and learning to adapt to change.
1910s-1940s: Management as Science
Management as Science was developed in the early 20th century and focused on increasing productivity and efficiency through standardization, division of labour, centralization and hierarchy. A very ‘top down’ management with strict control over people and processes dominated across industries.
1950s-1960s: Functional Organisations
Due to growing and more complex organisations, the 1950’s and 1960’s saw the emergence of functional organisations and the Human Resource (HR) movement.
Managers began to understand the human factor in production and productivity and tools such as goal setting, performance reviews and job descriptions were born.
1970s: Strategic Planning
In the 1970’s we changed our focus from measuring function to resource allocation and tools like Strategic Planning (GE), Growth Share Matrix (BCG) and SWOT were used to formalise strategic planning processes. After several decades of ‘best practice’ and ‘one size fits all’ solutions, academics began to developing contingency theories.
1980s: Competitive Advantage
As the business environment grew increasingly competitive and connected, and with a blooming management consultancy industry, Competitive Advantage became a priority for organisations in the 1980’s. Tools like Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma and Lean were used to measure processes and improve productivity. Employees were more involved by collecting data, but decisions were still made at the top, and goals were used to manage people and maintain control.
1990s: Process Optimisation
Benchmarking and business process reengineering became popular in the 1990’s, and by the middle of the decade, 60% of Fortune 500 companies claimed to have plans for or have already initiated such projects. TQM, Six Sigma and Lean remained popular and a more holistic, organisation-wide approach and strategy implementation took the stage with tools such as Strategy Maps and Balance Scorecards.
2000s: Big Data
Largely driven by the consulting industry under the banner of Big Data, organisations in the 2000’s started to focus on using technology for growth and value creation. Meanwhile, oversaturation of existing market space drove to concepts such as Blue Ocean Strategy and Value Innovation.
It’s 2013. Globalization, advances in technology and increased diversity have put Organisational challenges into hyper drive. Despite the inspirational stories we read about companies like Zappos, Innocent Drinks and Google, the truth is that most of us are using out-dated management practices and failing to get the most out of our people. Not convinced? Consider this: 65% of people are unhappy at work, only 14% understand their company’s strategy, and 75% are seeking jobs as we speak. Now, what do you think that does for your bottom line?