Bottom-up Approach Towards Organizational Change

Bottom-up Approach
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Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

Bottom-up Approach Towards Organizational Change

THE IDEA
According to Cable (2012), successful organizational changes are not large organizational changes. A more successful way of organizational change is to bring about small changes in human behavior. How does this work?
According to Cable, we need to establish small changes in each employee’s individual behavior so that all those individuals together act in new ways and realize organizational change that consumers can see and react on. In other words, successful changes are those with a bottom-up approach rather than a top-down approach.

CHALLENGES OF THIS IDEA
First of all, it is challenging to realize small changes into each individual’s behavior to leading to substantial and successful changes, as the diversity in today's workforce is large. And next to diversity, people are more critical, knowledgeable, skilled and aware about past, current and future processes mainly as a result of access to Internet and social media.
This poses a challenge for leaders to implement a different way of management. Instead of the leader creating a new idea and convincing the employees that the change is needed, ideas should come from the employees themselves. They best know the basic facts of the organization and the day-to-day operations of the organization. In this way, change comes from the bottom up.

DISCUSSION
What do you think about this bottom-up approach towards organizational change? Is it possible to bring about small changes in individual behavior that together add up to one coherent idea instead of leading to even more confusion? What possible advantages and benefits could such an approach have?

Source: Cable, D. M. (2012) “The New Path to Organizational Change” Business Strategy Review vol. 23 Iss. 3 pp. 45-47

  Felix
Consultant
 

Change the Person to Change the Organisation?

Anneke, in all practical purposes the ideology of bottom-up approach towards organisational change sounds acceptable to the extent that the thesis applied is: 'Change the person to change the organisa...

  Francisco Encarnado
Management Consultant, Philippines
 

Organizational Change Through Bottom-up Approaches

This has been done in the past through the Quality Control Circle implementation in some company in support of the Quality Management System implementation and is still in practice particularly in som...

  Adrian Groeneveld, Netherlands
 

Conditions for Effecting Change via the Bottom-up Approach

I my opinion the bottom-up approach is still the one with the best chance of success, but a condition is that everyone in the organisation is prepared to change otherwise it is doomed. The management ...

  Lens
Manager, Netherlands
 

Bottom Up or Still Top Down?

Can we talk about a bottom up change if we try to influence people who are in the “bottom” of the organization? If we stimulate employees to make a small change having an effect on the complete organ...

  Kosmas Michail
Business Consultant, Greece
 

The Chances of Bottom Up Approach to Change

The "bottom-up" notion is not deployed in a clear way here. If we assume it means to bring about - even small - change by changing each individual's behavior, the questions are: - Can this be initia...

  Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands
 

This Discussion has 2 Layers

Let's distinguish 2 questions: Can bottom-up approaches to organizational change work IN GENERAL? I think most of us would agree that they can (depending on circumstances such as the ones mentioned b...

  Reijling
Business Consultant, Netherlands
 

Bottom Up AND Top Down Strategizing Process

I just finished a PhD study on the governance of the NL Ministry of Defence. Especially in a political environment the bottom-up approach will not be sufficient to secure the survival of the organisat...

  Michael Huss
Director
 

Success Depends on Including the ENTIRE Organization

One important limiter to any bottom up change is the business acumen of those implementing the change, whether at the bottom or the top. Unintended consequences of change are often what dooms it as so...

  Akintunde Olusegun
Consultant, Nigeria
 

Bottom Up Approach to Organisational Changes

In this part of the world, a bottom-up approach to changes and/or to decision making is critical to its success. People at the tactical and operational levels make up over 75% of the employees of a me...

  J Entrekin
Analyst, United States
 

A Single Method is not Effective in a Large Organization

I agree with @Reijling, organizational change must be both bottom-up AND top-down for change to be realized. The organizational culture controls the approach and can be as diverse as the number of the...

  Martin Lekoski, Slovakia
 

Bottom Up Approach and what Not

It depends. In Japan you have similar concept called the ringi system which uses the bottom-up approach. But the reason it works is because in Japanese organizations employees rotate on different posi...

  Jay Watson
CxO / Board, United States
 

Bottom-up is Half the Equation

All, many of you have hit the nail on the head regarding this (in my understanding of the) topic. First, just so we all know, the Japan has given us a term regarding "small, incremental improvement/ ...

  Jaime Fernandez V.
Professor, Chile
 

Difficult to Propose Bottom Up Change Nowadays

3 observations: Systemic thinking says: people change the organization BUT the organization also changes people. Real life never separates these 2 vectors. The question is not which comes 1st; the qu...

  j.a. karman
ICT Consultant, Netherlands
 

The New Path to Organisational Change = One Often Practized in our Long Human History

We all agree on the www.theToyotasystem.com/lean_concepts/Kaizen.php The weaknessed are mentioned in: en. Wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Toyota_Way and that Micromanagement is the ultimate top down approach,...

  Brett E Holdeman
Student (University), United States
 

Championing Bottom Up Change

Bottom up change is possible, and as we all know, buy-in must be gained, as well as identifying champions to persuade naysayers. Leadership has to also provide the vision for why and where the firm go...

  Avedzi, James
Student (MBA), Ghana
 

Bottom Up Versus Top Down Approach to Organizational Change

In my humble opinion, when employees feel as part of the change process, they embrace it more and own it. But there is a fundamental question to answer in order to know if really changes emanating fro...

  ernest agbenohevi
Consultant, Ghana
 

Bottom Down Versus Top Down Approach to OD

The bottom-up approach to Org. Development places greater focus at the base (departmental / subunits or possibly individual capabilities & expertise) of the organization. It is noteworthy that the bas...

  Brett E Holdeman
Student (University), United States
 

Duty versus Inherent Knowledge and Capability to Assess

@Avedzi, James: I agree, James, that management is responsible for identifying if and what change is necessary, but still believe that those who spend their time many floors above the people doing th...

  J Entrekin
Analyst, United States
 

Public Administration Organizational Change

Colleagues, in public administration Bottom Up change is most likely the only hope for positive organizational change. Maxwell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership identifies personal integrity or char...

  Rebecca Roe
United States
 

Bottom Up Best in Some Situations

As many experts on leadership and management have stated many times, there is no one perfect style. The successful manager knows when to try different methodologies. Is it critical and time sensitive...

  Gautam Mahajan
CEO, India
 

Bottom Up? Try Customer Circles

We started Customer Circles, consisting of the frontline people with a few staff people to allow implementation of the ideas that require changes in IT or billing. This is highly successful, because ...

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

Bottom Up Approach

Marcella Bremer's "Organizational Culture Change" is a proven methodology for bottom-up change. Marcella is based in Zwolle, is the Editor of Leadership and Change Magazine and travels the world assi...

  Vidyut chandra Patange
Management Consultant, India
 

Dealing with Bottom Up Resistance in a Pro-active Way

When employees are newly joining the organization, they can be flexibly molded through induction training, department level training, etc., but over time employee often get too much in their comfort z...

  Anders Nystrom
Management Consultant, Sweden
 

Organisational Development Tradition

Organizational Development (OD) is a tradition in organizational change which combines bottom up with top down. I have very good experiences myself from several transformations. The bottom up is the t...

  Frank Nguni
Director, Zambia
 

Communication is the Key

Bottom up interaction ensures everyone is aboard and usually involves a lot of face-to-face and other communication. Here, ideas and opinions are fully discussed and exhausted with the employees befor...

  Bernhard Keim
Business Consultant, Germany
 

Asking for Change

There is always a good reason why people behave as they do and there must be a very compelling reason to ask them for change. If there is no good reason, don't ask for change. People won't accept it ...

  Sibusiso Ndaba
Business Consultant, South Africa
 

Theory of an Integrated Organisation

Just as I ponder about this question. I am reminded of Max Weber Theory of organisation. Aren't we suffering from the remnants of his thesis about organisations? The corporate function and the operati...

  KTyler
Director, United States
 

Bottom-up Approach to Organization Change

The bottom - up approach can be effective only if the culture change begins at the top, and employees at the bottom are engaged via multiple methods of bidirectional vertical communication. The though...

  Bhavesh Sodagar
Manager, India
 

Bottom-up, Top-down Approaches versus Organizational Change

Everyone in the above discussion agrees on the effectiveness of bottom up approaches. For the bottom-up approach, small changes in human behavior make a big difference. Moreover, what works well depe...

  Sibusiso Ndaba
Business Consultant, South Africa
 

Triggers for Organisational Change

Organisational changes are triggered by many factors, these may be technological advances, the political environment, or the ecological or social environment. Simply applying an approach that assumes ...

  Pieter van der Hammen
Business Consultant, Netherlands
 

Bottom-up Approach Depends on Top-down Culture

We all know that we need the bottom up approach to get the required support for changes. However it is the organisational culture that provide the sense for change. The organisational culture is large...

  FREDDY VILLAVICENCIO
Business Consultant, Venezuela
 

Bottom Up is THE Fuel to Drive Any Sort of Change

I think we all are agree the bottom up approach is feasible and I would like to add it is the fuel to be the engine for small and large scale change into a given organization. From my point of view b...

  James Benedict
Management Consultant, United States
 

Top-down AND Bottom-Up Change Must Go Hand-in-hand

Everyone agrees that change in individuals (at the bottom) will influence change in the organization. I also think a two-prong approach is needed to make the change effective and sustainable, i.e., to...

  Manik Sood
Consultant, India
 

Change Management Must Start from the Top Management

A change must start with the commitment of top management. A good idea or culture cannot be developed by persons at the bottom or middle if it is not supported by the top management. Top management me...

  ernest agbenohevi
Consultant, Ghana
 

Bottom Up Approach and Change Management

I believe the bottom up approach emphasizes a broader participation and decentralization. Just as the top down approach emphasizes decisions by the top and centralization. Each of them have their adv...

  Jaime Fernandez V.
Professor, Chile
 

The Inmediate Future of Organizations

I wonder how close we are to the discussion held by manufacturers on how to improve horse-driven carriages 100 years ago. There wasn't enough time; carriages disappeared shortly after. How long is our...

  jorge anibal hoyos hoyos
Manager, Colombia
 

Top-Down Plus Bottom-up = Success; it is a Mandatory Combination

All which is coming top-down, cascading, and rolling out across the components concerned, involved, and affected requires bottom-up action. That's the only way to rest assured that the right way is be...

  Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada
 

It's not Bottom-up Nor Top-down - It's Inside-Out

In today's world of complexity, I suggest it's time that we leave behind the concepts of Top-down and Bottom-up. These are elements of a functional, hierarchical organizational structure. We are now e...

  Jaime Fernandez V.
Professor, Chile
 

BUp or TDown Get us Caught in Hierarchical Thinking

@Gary Wong: I appreciate your insight. It´s important to discover when language gets us caught in old concepts. As we say BUp or TDown we are inevitably referring to old hierarchical organization char...

  Brett E Holdeman
Student (University), United States
 

Individual Change for Organizational Change

@Jaap de Jonge: I believe incremental changes in people can indeed facilitate organizational change. A specific agency I am thinking of, the VHA, could change for the better if leaders would model val...

  Brett E Holdeman
Student (University), United States
 

Lessons from the Recent American Election

First, I'd like to thank everyone who has weighed in on this crucial discussion. Your varying insights lend to mindful contemplation from our various venues, and are much-appreciated! I'd say the bot...

 

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