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Critical Thinking Article Critique #5

Rowland, D., Thorley, M., & Brauckmann, N. (2023, April 20). The Most Successful Approaches to Leading Organizational Change. Harvard Business Review.

Part I: Introduction

Leadership in the organization is required to succeed in a changing business world. The authors discuss problems involving significant scale organization changes and frameworks constituting four approaches to change. The purpose of this critique is to evaluate the effectiveness of the article in providing critical information to managers, highlighting both positive and negative aspects of the document. Specifically, the authors state that failure to analyze leadership approaches carefully is at the root of many failed long-term and complex organizational change initiatives. To begin with, the authors narrate the story of Ling Yen, a finance director working in an industrial manufacturing enterprise, to highlight this idea. Ling Yen’s dilemma becomes the entry point for exploring the four change approaches: Masterful Change, Emergent Change, Self-Assembly Change, and Directive Change.

Part II: Summary

To emphasize their article, the authors note that the biggest issue for leaders in long-term, complex organizational change is that failure is not usually due to missing out on the benefits of such change but because leaders need to understand the approach. The framework introduced consists of four change approaches: Mastery change, directive change, emergent change, and self-assembly change. Change Due To Directive entails closely monitored processes and choices made at the highest levels of leadership with limited capacity building and one-way communication. Top management defines the difference but allows implementation by local managers to take effect; many tools are deployed, but most of the consequences are ignored due to this environmental characteristic (Rowland et al., 2023). It is marked by continuous leadership at the highest levels, broadly engaging and talking people through their proposed changes so that they decide what can be done within approved guidelines. Emergent Change entails guiding intention and loose direction, involving trials and a fast feedback loop toward dynamic adjustments.

That is the case with real-world applications of Masterful and Emergent Change. In an industrial manufacturing company, Ling Yen adopts a model that requires accepting previous difficulties, understanding stakeholders, funding training on skills, and building a space for learning. Emerson Change is based on loosened intentionality, experimentation with volunteers’ sources, minimum principles, connection, and edge management to address their falling revenue during this pandemic. On the surface, the authors state that an organization should move from “What” to “How,” proposing a model that links the attitude and skills of leadership with the most effective way that a change can be implemented in an organization (Rowland et al., 2023). The practical examples add depth to the theoretical framework, providing valuable guidance to leaders trying to manage the intricate terrain of organizational change. The second case relates to the ethical challenges organizations encounter when they strive to uphold the highest standards in their operations while prioritizing.

The framework comprises:

Directive Change: A highly directed approach by top management, which dictates how change should take place in each step and decision. This method entails capacity building on a limited scale, uses uni-directional communications, and seeks commitment.

Self-Assembly Change: This method has the top management define the way of the change. However, most of the implementation is left to the local leaders. Such a situation invariably leads to an abundance of tools, templates, and workshops, neglecting actual impacts.

Masterful Change: It is spearheaded by senior managers but cuts across the entire institution. There is intensive consultation with the parties involved and flexibility in implementation within the guidelines.

Emergent Change: Leaders follow a guiding intent and an open approach that encourages experimentation through trial-and-error in rapid feedback loops forward (Dawson et al., 2023). The dynamic process accepts changes from the environment and creates an environment conducive to change.

The practice of Masterful and Emergent change is illustrated with real-world cases of Ling Yen and Julian, providing a concrete understanding of the effective implementation of these methods (Rowland et al., 2023).

Part III: Review and Evaluate

The critical evaluation of the article involves addressing specific questions:

Author’s Credentials: However, this article does not express the writer’s credibility explicitly. The Harvard Business Review is a good reference material, but knowing who made it authoritative would help assess it.

Use of Evidence: It provides concrete illustrations through examples and case studies that substantiate its arguments for an applied framework. Nevertheless, an elaborate discussion of the research methodology would lend some credence to the evidence put forward (Dawson et al., 2023). The incorporation of explicit references in the article regarding the sources of data and the research process would make it stronger.

Success in Making Their Point: This provides a clear and practical guide for organizations planning change. In addition to providing practical value, the illustrative elements further enrich the theoretical construct and offer a relatable touchpoint for practitioners. Subsection: A more detailed examination of possible restrictions or flaws in the suggested model could improve the article’s completeness (Rowland et al., 2023).

Part IV: Conclusion

This vital read enlightens about effective ways of changing an organization. These show that the framework presented is applicable and acts as a blueprint for leaders. Despite this, the little that is known about the authors’ qualifications and more detailed consideration of likely flaws in their approach considerably detract from its persuasiveness. Specifically, I concur with the focus on ‘the how’ of change; examples such as these are worth learning. This article has taught me the need to be intelligent and elastic in changing depending on the setting. To do so, I applied the approaches of Masterful and Emergent change according to their necessity depending on the particular peculiarities of the firm. The success depends on trust building, stakeholder engagement, and creating an environment conducive to non-stop learning. However, as a whole, the article will contribute to the ongoing debate on organizational change, but for additional research and fine-tuning of the presented framework for it to become more applicable and have higher impacts.


Rowland, D., Thorley, M., & Brauckmann, N. (2023, April 20). The Most Successful Approaches to Leading Organizational Change. Harvard Business Review.

Dawson, P., Andriopoulos, C., Andriopoulos, C. (2021). Managing Change, Creativity and Innovation. United Kingdom: SAGE Publications.


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