The Top-Down Company’s Gradual Change Process


Human beings are perceived as being the most resistant to change due to the tendency of embracing a common paradigm while executing mandates. While they tend to stick to their current knowledge, human beings do not embrace new knowledge easily. This condition complicates the process of inducing change amongst people especially in organizations where they work mutually. This implies that the organization should use relevant strategies to initiate gradual change that does not affect people negatively. In light of attaining this change, Kotter (2002) suggests that the agents of change should incorporate three aspects which include seeing, feeling and changing. In the first aspect of change, the researcher argues that the subject of change should see the importance of changing. The change agents, therefore, create dramatic sceneries that compel to the eyes of their colleagues helping them to visualize the needs of changing. Secondly, the visualization triggers feelings encouraging their colleagues to accept the change.

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Preferred Approach

The Top-Down employees have been working in a rigid organization implying that they receive commands from their seniors. The acquisition of this company by the Bottom-Up company requires employees to change their mentality to fit into the new system. This change will be induced using the Bottom-Up approach, which introduces changes from the junior to the senior employees since it uses inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning suggests that change should be introduced to the juniors who coalesce and pass the changes to their seniors (Butcher & Atkinson, 2000). This implies that the prior induction of change to the juniors enables them to understand the rationale of that change before they pass it to their seniors. Starting with the majority ensures that the process of changing takes place in a democratic manner (Butcher & Atkinson, 2000).

Otherwise, using the Top-Down approach is dictatorial since the juniors are expected to adopt changes without understanding the rationale. The dictatorial change, therefore, introduces a drastic change that can lead to interruption rather than the progression of the organization. Also, the Bottom-Up approach encourages all employees to make suggestions that can be incorporated in the organizational structure. The employees possess the change since they are involved in the process of introducing it leading to improvement of performance. Lastly, the Bottom-Up approach will experience less resistance than the Top-Down approach due to the holistic involvement of the employees and individualized understanding. Based on these ideologies, therefore, the Bottom-Up approach is the best approach to introducing change in this case.

Process of Change

The induction of change on the Top-Down employees will take place in three stages comprising of eight steps. These three stages, which were articulated by Kotter (2002), include seeing feeling and changing.


In this stage, the employees will be subjected to seeing the need of integrating the two organizational structures. This will be implemented using the first three steps of change that include the creation of urgency, building the guiding team and getting the vision right.

Step 1: Creation of Urgency

In order to create a visual picture concerning the need to change, the employees will be induced to appreciate that there is an urgency of harmonizing the two organizational procedures. In this case, a group of employees from the two companies will be allocated one assignment to accomplish. Since they use parallel approaches, which include the Top-Down and Down-top approach, a part of them will be waiting for commands from the seniors while the other part will be working to get a solution that they can give to their seniors. This will result in a contradiction of procedures leading to organizational conflict that will enable the two parties to identify the problem. The identification of the problem will help the employees who have been acquired from the Top-Down company to appreciate the need for change. They will have the perception that they cannot work in the new organization without adopting the new system. Otherwise, it will lead to organizational conflict that can result in subsequent loss and retrenchment (Kotter & Cohen, 2002)). This condition will create extreme urgency of harmonizing the two approaches in order to move in a similar direction. This urgency will help the employees to visualize the problem that they are experiencing and accept the process of change.

Step 2: Building a Guiding Team

The second step, also, help in the first stage of ensuring that the people visualize the problem they experience. This step will aim at creating the guiding team that can act as a change agent amongst the employees. It will comprise of the employees who were involved in the first step since they have seen the need for practically changing their old culture. The guiding team will be equipped with skills of convincing their colleagues and resonating with them to ensure that they transform their colleagues. When the guiding team is completely convinced that they should embrace change, they will be allowed to interact with their colleagues to present their opinions and trigger the process.

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Step 3: Getting the Vision Right.

In the background part of this paper, it is clear that a Bottom-Up approach aims at providing a rationale for the intended change. This rationale will be provided by articulating the vision of the process of change. In light of the vision, the guiding team will try to articulate the projected outcomes of this change that is introduced to the employees. When the employees get the vision in the right manner, they can share in that vision since they have the rationale (Mo & Goldblatt, 2010).


When the employees visualize the problem that needs solutions, they develop the feeling of embracing this change. These emotions determine the rate of response due to the urgency created by the change agents. The feelings are proceeding for two steps including communication for acceptance and empowering action.

Step 4: Communication for Buy-In

In this step, the employees will act on their emotions enabling them to accept the idea of adopting the new organizational system. As a result, there will be a gradual shift from the original Top-Down approach to the Down-Top approach. The employees will start making small decisions and passing them to their seniors for approval.

Step 5: Empowering Action

The guiding team will continue to resonate with their colleagues convincing them to adopt the new system of organization. The convinced employees will convince other employees within the institution leading to an effective chain. Many people will have the ability to act on the vision that they want to realize in the organization. They will, also, take the process as a personal possession leading to a robust process of change.


This stage comprises of the actual transformation of employees who are adopting the new system to fit into the organization. It incorporates three steps of the changing process which include creating short term wins, determination and sticking the change (Bolman & Deal, 2008)).

Step 6: Creating Short Term Wins

The feelings of transformation create euphoria of robust change that achieves short term wins. During the short term wins, people buy change into the new system while others abandon the old system. This condition creates the momentum of change that proceeds into massive change. As a result, the short term wins create some few role models who inspire the other employees through personal appeal. The process of change, therefore, becomes a self-propelling process that does not require much effort to sustain.

Step 7: Do Not Let Up

This step aims at sustaining the original determination that was exhibited in the first step. This determination maintains the willingness of persisting towards realizing the vision that was intended (Bolman & Deal, 2008). When the employees resist adopting some certain factors of the new system, this power of determination helps will ensure that the building team does not give up. However, the building team must be encouraged several in order to uphold the spirit of determination.

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Step 8: Make Change Stick

In principle, attaining change and maintaining it are two different concepts that determine the success of the entire process. This step aims at ensuring that the people who have adopted the change will not slip back to the old cultures (Atiknson, 2005). The building team will work closely with all the changed employees to maintain their morale of working in the new system. The group will ensure that it accompanies those employees creating confidence in making a personal decision and relying on it. This continued confidence will ensure that the employees proceed gradually until they fit into the new system completely.


The change that is exhibited in this organization has occurred in three broad stages of transformation. The three stages incorporate the eight stages that have been discussed briefly above. This implies that a successful process of change must occur gradually to avoid causing frustrations among the employees.


Atiknson, P. (2005, Spring). Managing resistance to change: Most organizations do not have a good track record of managing change. Where and why do they fail?. Management Services, 49, 14-19.

Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. (2008). Reframing organizations artistry, choice, and leadership. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.

Butcher, D., & Atkinson, S. (2000). The bottom-up principle.. Management Review, 89(1), 48-53.

Kotter, J. P., & Cohen, D. S. (2002). The heart of change: real-life stories of how people change their organizations. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.

Mo, Y., & Goldblatt, H. (2010). Change. London: Seagull Books.

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