A Model of Cascading Change: Orchestrating Planned and Emergent Change to Ensure Employee Participation

Kasper Edwards, Thim Prætorius, Anders Paarup Nielsen

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Understanding how and why organizational changes succeed is of paramount importance because many organizational changes do not deliver the expected results. This paper presents a case study of successful change at a world leading cardiology department and proposes a model of cascading change that requires change managers to go beyond the simplistic dichotomies of planned versus emergent change. Successful change requires the reconciliation and integration of top-down and bottom-up approaches. Top management must set the direction and should then step back and allow the diagnosis and solution-development processes to take place in a bottom-up manner. This allows employees to identify and solve the problems that matter to them and that reflect their organizational reality. The implementation of the changes toward the end of the change process should take place in a top-down manner. The model of cascadingchange is based on three key drivers: a cascading change process with formal handovers engaging more and more employees, Lewinian change processes of unfreeze, move, and refreeze, and, finally, orchestrated employee participation. The cascading change process is found to build participation, transparency, trust, and commitment to the change among employees and managers. In turn, this ensures that implementation occurs without problems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Change Management
Issue number4
Number of pages342
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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