Bottom-up Approach Towards Organizational Change

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

Bottom-up Approach Towards Organizational Change

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.

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.

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


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  Francisco Encarnado
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  Adrian Groeneveld, Netherlands

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  Kosmas Michail
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  Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

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  Michael Huss

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  Akintunde Olusegun
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  J Entrekin
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  Martin Lekoski, Slovakia

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  Jay Watson
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  Jaime Fernandez V.
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  Avedzi, James
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@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
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  Rebecca Roe
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  Graham Williams
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  Vidyut chandra Patange
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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
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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

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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...

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  Bhavesh Sodagar
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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
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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
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Business Consultant, Venezuela

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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

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  ernest agbenohevi
Consultant, Ghana

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  Jaime Fernandez V.
Professor, Chile

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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
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  Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada

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  Jaime Fernandez V.
Professor, Chile

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  Brett E Holdeman
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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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