Roles of Managers and Individuals

MGT/426 – Roles of Managers and Individuals

Change is inevitable in every organization, whether it results from external influences or a new vision held my managers that promises to capitalize on a new opportunity. Managing expectations is a key consideration for the decision makers whose goal is to implement change while at the same time ensure that the organization and its employees can identify and accept the changes.

Management typically resorts to two fundamental types of implementing change, which are management as control and management as shaping. The intended, partially intended, and unintended outcome of the implemented changes results in which role the change agent must take on to successfully implement the changes.

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Three roles associated with management as control are director, navigator, and caretaker. There are also three roles attributed with management as shaping, which entail being a coach, interpreter, and nurturer (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2006).

Management as Control

When managers decide to enact change using the management as control model, they are basically deciding what actions are needed and detail for the employees on how to carry out those actions.

They are much like a bus driver who is driving the bus to predetermined destinations along the route that have been decided upon by upper management. The employees are basically just along for the ride and don’t really have much input on the direction the bus in driving.

When the proposed change is relatively straightforward and not greatly impacted by outside or internal influences, management can proceed by acting as a director agent or change.

If the proposed changes rely on some uncertainties, such as how a newly formed team will interact with each other to accomplish a task, then the agent of change will take on more of a navigator role. Management must assume the caretaker role if the external or internal forces are so overwhelming, and the change has produced completely unintended results (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2006).

Management as Shaping

Management can alternatively implement change using the management as shaping model. This model relies more on input from employees who are closer to the action and may be able to improve how business is done on a daily basis. According to “Identifying Targets And Agents Of Change: Who Can Benefit And Who Can Help” (2014), “The agent of change can influence others in a variety of ways.”

Using the same bus example from before, management is still at the wheel but will use feedback from employees on deciding which route to take. Employees who are riding on the bus may know the neighborhood better than management, and good managers will recognize this specialized knowledge and put it to good use when deciding which stops the bus will make along the route.

Under this model, the agent of change may assume the role of coach and prepare or train employees for what needs to be accomplished in order to success. This is different that just mandating what needs to be accomplished as a director would do.

Enacting change as an interpreter requires the change agent to convey to the organization and its employees why the change is needed. This change agent would successfully get them onboard a new bus that is going in a new direction, while everyone on board is convinced the new direction will be worth it.

If the new changes are dependent on many internal or external factors that are beyond the control of the manager, he or she may opt to pursue the changes as a nurturer under the management as shaping model. This approach allows management to slowly implement changes along the way and in a sense keeps the organization open minded and able to accept new changes when they occur (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2006).

Resistance to Change

Managers may use one of these approaches or a combination to become an effective agent of change within an organization. It is then the responsibility of management to combat the resistance to change by properly managing the expectations of the employee throughout the entire process.

Quast (2012), “The biggest impact is to the employees being laid off, as there will be both emotional and financial impact.” The common first reaction to news of change for employees is the question of how it will impact them personally or professionally.

Employees often become content and feel secure when tasks and responsibilities become somewhat repetitive and the introduction to new protocols can lead to stress or even all out resistance. Resistance will not help the agent of change be effective.

In order to combat this, communication is vital to reassure employees that the changes will have a positive impact on them and ultimately the entire organization. Successful managers will paint a clear picture of the new bus route, and will show in detail how the changes will benefit them personally and professionally (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2006).


Identifying Targets and Agents of Change: Who Can Benefit and Who Can Help. (2014). Retrieved from Agents of Change: How Content Coaching Transforms Teaching and Learning by Heinemann

Palmer, A., Dunford, R., & Akin, G. (2006). Managing Organizational Change: a multiple perspectives approach. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Quast, L. (2012). Overcome The 5 Main Reasons People Resist Change. Retrieved from The Product Manager’s Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed as a Product Manager by McGraw-Hill Education

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