Role of Management in Developing an Organizational Change Plan

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  • 0:00 Planning a Big Change?
  • 0:38 Managerial Roles
  • 4:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

Managers play a key role in both planning and executing tasks associated with strategic organizational change. This lesson explores five major managerial roles in the strategic change process.

Planning a Big Change?

Dr. Warden independently owns a private, for-profit health clinic. Lately, she's been considering the many compelling reasons to consider selling her business to a larger player such as a hospital. The biggest reason is that decreasing reimbursement rates from Medicare and other payers requires her clinic see an ever-increasing number of patients per day just to keep pace.

In situations like this, the strategic changes required to remain competitive are substantial. Therefore, it is critical that Dr. Warden and her management team understand what is needed in the change process.

Managerial Roles

Long-term success requires fulfilling the roles of management during the planning and execution of substantial changes. Both managers and the plan must be dynamic and capable of changing course efficiently if the surrounding environment changes.

Managerial roles in this process include acting as the communicator, advocate, coach, liaison, and resistance manager. Let's look at each of these roles in more detail.


In strategic planning and change execution, communication is among the most important responsibilities that rests with a manager. Miscommunication represents a significant cause of failure, so managers need to target each affected audience, address their concerns, and deliver the information they need to know.

As a communicator, the manager is responsible for answering questions like:

  • How will this change affect me?
  • Will I benefit from the change? Is that benefit direct or indirect?
  • Why should I support this change?
  • What's the reason for all this?


Change is hard. That's why people resist it, even when it's absolutely necessary. When planning for strategic change, a manager must assume the role of an advocate for change.

Although it's rare for an entire management team to be fully supportive of each and every aspect of a change, the team should have an overall unified front. For Dr. Warden's clinic, a manager fulfills this role by constantly redirecting the focus away from the inconvenience of major change and onto the long-term necessity of it.


One of the most difficult aspects of change for front-line employees is the change to their day-to-day routines. This is especially true of long-time employees. In this aspect, the role of a manager during change is that of a coach.

The coach will provide real-time guidance to staff who need to have new practices reinforced in a positive way. In Dr. Warden's office, a manager should dedicate time to sit with schedulers who must use new appointment templates, the medical assistants who will have less time to place patients in rooms, and the physicians who must move between patients faster while still providing the same level of care.

The manager-coach must always:

  • Help employees understand the need for change, even before it is implemented.
  • Offer support and engagement.
  • Obtain and disseminate the specific actions needed.
  • Provide ongoing support after the change to ensure it 'sticks.'

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