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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Ingrid Guerra-Lopez

Abstract

Research suggests that 70% of change management (CM) initiatives are considered unsuccessful. The most important reason for the dismal success rate of change initiatives is that they are driven by poor and invalid strategic decisions. Frameworks that businesses implement to secure sustainable long-term competitive advantages in the marketplace are often not effective. Therefore, decision-making related to improving results is critical, and must be based on an organization’s preset criteria. Creating and prioritizing key performance indicators direct leaders’ attention to effective change decisions. Prior research addresses several approaches to decide whether change is needed, such as statistical evidence, gut feelings, or group consensus.

Numerous studies have examined a variety of change management approaches and models, which can create a frustrating work environment that hinders businesses from making the right decisions. Therefore, needs assessment (NA) is an essential process for businesses success. The purpose of this study was to: 1) examine the extent to which professionals are familiar with needs assessment (NA); 2) examine the relationship between NA familiarity and utilization; 3) discover the extent to which organizational professionals utilize NA as precursor to change management (CM) across organizational levels; and 4) to assess the influence of level of education, years of experience, and industry type in using NA as part of the CM process.

This study utilized a sample of 164 leaders and consultants who plan, implement, facilitate, and/or recommend change management. Participants worked in different industries and locations, and had various educational backgrounds and years of experience in NA and CM. Data were collected using a survey instrument using 6-point Likert scales.

Findings suggest that consultants are more familiar with and more frequently utilize NA procedures than leaders. Both leaders and consultants relied on statistics as a source of information to make decisions regarding change, yet both reported higher rates of gut feeling and group consensus to make decisions regarding change. Consultants’ level of education, years of CM experience, and type of industry had an impact on their utilization of NA procedures. This was the first empirical study to examine the use of NA by professionals in implementing CM decisions.

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