Insights from Change Management Consulting: Linking the Hard and Soft Side of Change with Heuristics

  • Frank LattuchEmail author
  • Anna Seifert


Change management offers different approaches that force organizations to tackle many priorities simultaneously. In doing so leader still fail to rigorously balance hard and soft factors of change. The purpose of this paper is to develop a holistic model that integrates these factors through theory-based methods in order to facilitate effective change management. The approach consists of theory-building and heuristics by drawing upon change and management consulting literature and examining implications for linking hard and soft factors in change management. We found that heuristics and theory-based change concepts can act as the precondition and vehicle for effective change strategies fostering learning, reflection, and self-organizing problem solving activities. This paper helps leaders to be better prepared for shaping their organization’s change strategy. Three examples that link hard and soft factors of change provide insights into the means by which organizations applying heuristics can outperform the change efforts of their counterparts.


Organizational Change Change Management Organizational Member Goal Model Change Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Afuah, A., & Tucci, C. L. (2012). Crowdsourcing as a solution to distant search. Academy of Management Review, 3, 355–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Argyris, C. (1998). Teaching smart people how to learn. Harvard business review on knowledge management (pp. 81–108). Boston: Harvard Business Review Paperback.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Argyris, C., & Schön, D. (1978) Organizational learning: A theory of action perspective. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Armbrüster, T., & Glückler, J. (2007). Organizational change and the economics of management consulting: A response to Sorge and van Witteloostuijn. Organization Studies, 28(12), 1873–1885.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Battilana, J., & Casciaro, T. (2012). Change agents, networks, and institutions: A contingency theory of organizational change. Academy of Management Journal, 55(2), 381–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Baum, J. R., & Locke, E. A. (2004). The relation of entrepreneurial traits, skill, and motivation to subsequent venture growth. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(4), 587–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bayus, B. L. (2013). Crowdsourcing new product ideas over time: An analysis of the Dell IdeaStorm Community. Management Science, 59(1), 226–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bommer, W. H., Johnson, J. L., Rich, G. A., Podsakoff, P. M., & Mackenzie, S. B. (1995). On the interchangeability of objective and subjective measures of employee performance: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 48(3), 587–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cranach, M. V. (1996). Toward a theory of the acting group. In E. Witte & J. A. Davis (Eds.) Understanding group behavior: Small group processes and interpersonal relations. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2009). Organization development and change. Mason: Thomson.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Edvardsson, B., Tronvoll, B., & Gruber, T. (2011). Expanding understanding of service exchange and value co-creation: A social construction approach. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 39(2), 327–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Eisenbeiss, S. A., Van Knippenberg, D., & Boerner, S. (2008). Transformational leadership and team innovation: Integrating team climate principles. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(6), 1438–1446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Engwall, M. (2003). No project is an island: Linking projects to history and context. Research Policy, 32(5), 789–808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Etgar, M. (2007). A descriptive model of the consumer co-production process. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 36(1), 97–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Etzioni, A. (1960). Two approaches to organizational analysis: A critique and a suggestion. Administrative Science Quarterly, 5(2), 257–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7(2), 117–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Geke, M. (2013). Rethinking HR. Personalmagazin, 6, 4–5.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Greif, S., Runde, B., & Seeberg, I. (2004). Erfolge und Misserfolge beim Change Management (Success and failure of change management). Göttingen: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Habermas, J. (1974). Theory and practice. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Homburg, C. & Bucerius, M. (2006). Is speed of integration really a success factor of mergers and acquisitions? An analysis of the role of internal and external relatedness. Strategic Management Journal, 27, 347–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Jacobs, G., Keegan, A., Christe-Zeyse, J., Seeberg, I., & Runde, B. (2006). The fatal smirk: Insider accounts of organizational change processes in a police organization. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 18(2), 173–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kelly, G. A. (1955). A theory of personality: The psychology of personal constructs. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kieser, A. (2002). On communication barriers between management science, consultancies and business companies. In T. Clark & R. Fincham (Eds.) Critical consulting: New perspectives on the management advice industry. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kieser, A., & Wellstein, B. (2008). Do activities of consultants and management scientists affect decision making by managers. In G. P. Hodgkinson & W. H. Starbuck (Eds.) The Oxford handbook of organizational decision making. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Klarner, P., & Raisch, S. (2013). Move to the beat—Rhythms of change and firm performance. Academy Management Journal, 56(1), 160–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Koners, U., & Goffin, K. (2007). Learning from postproject reviews: A cross-case analysis. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 24(3), 242–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Langerak, F. (2003). The effect of market orientation on positional advantage and organizational performance. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 11(2), 93–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Lattuch, F. (2012). A management diagnostic approach for assessing innovation capabilities: Empirical evidence from three German family firms. Hamburg: Kovac.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lattuch, F., & Young, S. (2011). Young professionals’ perceptions toward organizational change. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 32(6), 605–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Lattuch, F., Pech, R. J., Riemenschneider, F., & Weigert, M. (2013). Market and technology drivers: Shaping an innovation strategy. Journal of Business Strategy, 34(5), 4–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Lebraty, J.-F., & Lobre-Lebraty, K. (2013). Crowdsourcing: One step beyond. Hoboken:Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Leimeister, J. M., Huber, M., Bretschneider, U., & Krcmar, H. (2009). Leveraging crowdsourcing: Activation-supporting components for IT-based ideas competition. Journal of Management Information Systems, 26(1), 197–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Mohe, M., & Seidl, D. (2011). Theorizing the client—consultant relationship from the perspective of social-systems theory. Organization, 18(1), 3–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Morgan, N. A., Vorhies, D. W., & Mason, C. H. (2009). Market orientation, marketing capabilities, and firm performance. Strategic Management Journal, 30(8), 909–920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Pech, R. J., & Slade, B. W. (2007). Organisational sociopaths: Rarely challenged, often promoted. Why? Society and Business Review, 2(3), 254–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Rauch, A., & Frese, M. (2007). Let’s put the person back into entrepreneurship research: A meta-analysis on the relationship between business owners’ personality traits, business creation and success. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 16(4), 353–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Rerup, C., & Feldman, M. S. (2011). Routines as source of change in organizational schemata: The role of trail-and-error learning. Academy Management Journal, 54(3), 577–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Richter, A. (2004). The changing balance of power in the consulting market and its effects on consulting firms. In J.-P. Thommen & A. W. Richter (Eds.) Management consulting today: Strategies for a challenging environment. Wiesbaden: Gabler.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Richter, A. W., West, M. A., Van Dick, R., & Dawson, J. F. (2006). Boundary spanners’ identification, intergroup contact, and effective intergroup relations. Academy of Management Journal, 49(6), 1252–1269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Shenhar, A. J., Dvir, D., Levy, O., & Maltz, A. C. (2001). Project success: A multidimensional strategic concept. Long Range Planning, 34(6), 699–725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Shin, J., Taylor, M. S., & Seo, M.-G. (2012). Resources for change: The relationships of organizational inducements and psychological resilience to employees’ attitudes and behaviors toward organizational change. Academy of Management Journal, 55(3), 727–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Sirkin, H. L., Keenan, P., & Jackson, A. (2005). The hard side of change mangement. Harvard Business Review, 83(10), 108–118.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Sørensen, J. B. (2002). The strength of corporate culture and the reliability of firm performance. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47, 70–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Sorge, A., & van Witteloostuijn, A. (2004). The (non)sense of organizational change: An essai about universal management hypes, sick consultancy metaphors, and healthy organization theories. Organization Studies, 25(7), 1205–1231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Taylor, A., & Greve, H. R. (2006). Superman or the fantastic four? Knowledge combination and experience in innovative teams. Academy of Management Journal, 49(4), 723–740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Tushman, M. L., & O’Reilly, C. A. (2002). Winning through innovation: A practical guide to leading organizational change and renewal. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Van Kleef, G. A., Homan, A. C., Beersma, B., Van Knippenberg, D., Van Knippenberg, B., & Damen, F. (2009). Searing sentiment or cold calculation? The effects of leader emotional displays on team performance depend on follower epistemic motivation. Academy of Management Journal, 52(3), 562–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Wall, T. D., Michie, J., Patterson, M., Wood, S. J., Shechan, M., Clegg, C. W., & West, M. (2004). On the validity of subjective measures of company performance. Personnel Psychology, 57(1), 95–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Werr, A. (2002). The internal creation of consulting knowledge: A question of structuring experience. In M. Kipping & L. Engwall (Eds.) Management consulting: Emergence and dynamics of a knowledge industry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Yukl, G. (2009). Leading organizational learning: reflections on theory and research. Leadership Quarterly, 20(1), 49–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.KPMG AG WirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaftDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.KPMG AG WirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaftMünchenGermany

Personalised recommendations