Module code: MOD004062

Word count: 3263 words


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The present report shows us what the Aquarius hotel London organizational change management programme is planning to achieve and by the utilization of different academic theories to identify the type of change the company is undergoing. The data for the analysis is collected by observations and talks with staff working in the organization.

The findings reveal that major barriers to the change are the lack of self-interest and the negative psychological impact it has on the employees. Specifically, the staff does not feel they will benefit from the change so as to accept and support it.

The report comes to the conclusion that the organization is at the beginning of the change programme, trying to cope with employees that are not interested in change and that just do not want to believe that it is happening. The recommendations made include:

1.      Identification and debate of the new tasks, related to the change with the whole staff;

2.      Sharing the vision for change with the employees, customers and suppliers;

3.      Creation of stories of success, so as to show the work of employees, involved in the change management process;

4.      Raising salaries and provision of training to the employees who have actively participated in the change process.


Executive summary…………………………………………………………………………p.2

1.0 Introduction……………………………………………………………………………  p.4

2.0 Aquarius hotel Earls court………………………………………………………………p.4

2.1 History…………………………………………………………………………………..p.4

2.1.1 The Change programme………………………………………………………………p.5

2.1.2 Definition of change…………………………………………………………………..p.5

2.1.3 Type of change………………………………………………………………………..p.5

2.2  Current stage of the change programme of Aquarius hotel…………………………….p.7

2.2.1Aquarius hotel – barriers to change ………………………………………………… .p.8

2.3 Kotter’s 8 step model. Strategies of Aquarius hotel in overcoming barriers to change ……………………………………………………………………………………………….p.9

3.0 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………p.11

4.0 Recommendations………………………………………………………………………p.12

5.0 Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………….p.13



This report examines and presents information concerning the situation and barriers standing in front of the successful completion of an organizational change management programme in Aquarius hotel London.

Essential aims of the report are to:

Illustrate   what the Aquarius hotel London organizational change management         programme is planning to achieve;

Using        academic theories, define the “type” of change that the         organization is going through.

As a consequence of that, its purpose will be to:

Discern     and monitor the stage of the programme the hotel is in;

Examine    the hindrances standing in front of the successful completion of         organizational change management programme and,

Employing         Kotter’s 8 step model review the change management strategies that   will be used to deal with these hindrances.

The abovementioned tasks will be executed in the following manner:

Evaluation         of the current change management programme.

Considering       suitable academic theories that may be administered to the hotel;

Spotting    where the application of the change initiative was not satisfactory         and make recommendations for improvements.



Aquarius hotel London was open in the early 1980s but has new owners since 2015. It is a small, privately-owned hotel by a limited liability company, not part of a big hotel chain. The place is located nearby Earls Court Tube station in an area with plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes. Its basic competitive advantage is its location between Kensington and Chelsea area, making it a preferred place not only by people working in London and staying over the week but also by tourists and visitors of the city. The property offers its customers budget accommodation, basic amenities and continental breakfast.

Moreover, the hotel provides single, double, triple and family rooms all equipped with basic amenities at budget prices. The extra facilities provided to guests are 24-hour reception, en-suite bathrooms and WiFi at a small additional cost, as well as friendly welcome on part of the reception staff (Aquariushotel.co.uk, 2019).


Having in mind the attractive location of the hotel it represents, as evident from its financial reports, a profitable business, however, guests are often complaining about the bad situation of the hotel rooms and the need for refurbishment. For instance, the other budget hotels in the Kensington area are providing similar-style room, however, newly refurbished and decorated. In this regard, the present room redecoration and change in the appearance of the breakfast place is a part of a wide change initiative, resulting in the provision of customer services of high quality. What the present change programme hopes to achieve is to improve the image of Aquarius hotel and to provide budget accommodation in a stylish atmosphere at cheap prices.


In today’s highly competitive world organizations cannot avoid change (Jabri, 2017). However, the mere change process consists of separate stages that often demand considerable time and effort (Kotter, 2007). The change could be regarded as different by the different individuals and organizations that experience it, as those that cannot transform in accordance with it will ultimately fail (Jabri, 2017). Further, Lippitt, Watson and Westley (1958) claim that changes in organizations are more stable in case they expand to closest systems or to parts of one and the same system, affected at one and the same time. Finally, Lewin (1951) described change as a powerful balance of forces acting in two opposite directions, one for the change others against it.


Aquarius hotel management realized the need for change as a result of external factors, namely guests’ complaints and preference for neighboring hotels, visiting them for their better prices and customer care. In turn, the change took place during times of relative organizational stability, however demanding swift pace of performance. It is the implementation of a combined strategy that is designed to affect the whole hotel, starting with its appearance. Further, the wide context of the change initiative required room redecoration and breakfast place renovation to be performed within the time frame of 3 to 4 months. Therefore, the type of change might be regarded was bumpy incremental (Grundy, 1993), driven by external factors and performed in a dynamic context, at a time, when the business is not short of cash.

Type of change




Big                           Bang





Diagram 1. Types of change. Source : ( Authors own work, adapted by Balogun and Hailey, 2008)

Further, it possesses the characteristic features of an adaptation type of change, as it states the vision of the new owner and his manager and happens by a set of initiatives, part of a wider change programme whose purpose is to finish with the provision of differentiated customer services. For example, at the first stage some of the furniture will be removed, then the colors of the bedspreads, curtains and walls will be changed, third large wall mirrors will be placed on the empty walls in every room. Finally, small items such as bedside lamps and cushions should be placed to create a homely image for guests. Meanwhile, complete redecoration of the breakfast place will also take place. In summary, the aim of those previously defined initiatives will be to achieve a more appealing image to the guests and make it a preferable place to visit.

The change undertaken could also be regarded as a reconstruction type. For instance, it is happening at a relatively short time period, demands cost-cutting in the operating expenses, but does not involve a change in the hotel vision (Balogun and Hailey, 2008). The outlook of the breakfast place will be completely changed and the breakfast variety will be expanded. After the refurbishment, the hotel management will aim to provide guests with stylish accommodation at affordable prices. Simply put, the hotel will be better in the provision of services such as bed and breakfast and customer care.

Besides, the features of evolution change might be observed in the organizational change of Aquarius hotel. Moreover, the change programme will be executed in various stages and through interconnected activities, however, it may take a longer time than expected; namely, once the renovation has taken place in the hotel differentiated customer services will be implemented. On the contrary, it cannot be claimed that it is a revolution. Despite, witnessing initiatives happening at one and the same time and in a comparatively brief period, the change cannot be classified as “crisis measure” as the hotel finances are in sound condition.



First, the refurbishment in Aquarius hotel started and only the management and owners were aware of why these changes are needed. For the employees it was a waste of time and money, the old room decoration was working just fine and the hotel management was not telling them what is going on. In brief, their natural reaction to the change was to oppose it. However, the awareness of why the business has to change, even only in the management team, is an important component of dealing with resistance (Hiatt, 2006). In regard to the Prosci/Adkar model, the present stage of the change programme is awareness, namely Aquarius hotel was already in the awareness stage. What is more, if the employees understand that the old room decoration is not liked by customers, or that they prefer neighboring hotels because of the renovation that has taken place in them and that will lead to decreased competitiveness on part of Aquarius hotel, their reaction will be more positive.






Successful change

Diagram 2. Prosci/Adkar model and the Aquarius stage of change. Source: (Hiatt, 2006)

Second, considering the current stage of change programme from Lewin’s (1951) perspective it is unfreezing. Similar to the awareness stage of Prosci/Adkar model, unfreezing the current situation is done to cope with the resistance and lack of engagement (Lewin, 1951). Aquarius hotel employees need to be stimulated by explaining them the change, as well as by participation in the process.  Third, considering the Kotter (1996) model the change is at step one: establishing a sense of urgency. All the three models share some similarities. However, the first four steps in the Kotter’s model help to unfreeze the present situation. If the change in Aquarius hotel is so easy, all that efforts will not be needed. Stages five to seven in Kotter’s model present the new practices and correspond to the second phase of Lewin’s model. The last stage in Kotter is what makes the change stick to the new organizational culture and practices.


In Aquarius hotel, employees are not interested in change and they just do not want to believe that it is happening. They lack the energy and desire to participate in it. Most probably the reason for that is fear of the unknown or some kind of ideological opposition against the planned renovation. So far, they have performed their everyday activities in one and the same way, always reporting to the manager and setting their own standards of a work well done. As expected, when the change started they just did not want to go out of their comfort zone. That type of organizational culture in combination with the human factor were the main barriers to change.

As said in the Kubler-Ross model (1969) this is the first stage of denial and shock in which the employees need to accept the fact that they are about to adapt to something new. Besides that staff is simply pretending that no change is present and is hoping that the management and the owner will forget about it. In brief, if this happens the hotel will fail to offer the services its guests want at prices they can pay.






Diagram 3. Kubler-Ross model. Source: (authors own work, adapted by Elizabeth-Kubler Ross, 1969)

In brief, the causes that we identified as a barrier to change in Aquarius hotel are self-interest and psychological impact. As said by Karyn (2002) the staff needs to believe that there are ways they will benefit from the change so as to accept and support it. Many of the employees of the hotel thought that they have a limited role in the hotel refurbishment, despite the fact that it will continue to be open during the change management period. For instance, the chambermaids must take direction from the owners, who will place new cleaning standards and evaluate the level of service, a change that was regarded as frightening.

The second factor the psychological impact shows fears in the form of job security, professional expertise and social status in the company (Karyn, 2002). Most of the employees who have to deal with the change don’t want to do it, not because they do not think it is the right thing for the organization, they do not like the impact it will have on them. For example, the new standards in the cleaning service will affect the everyday work tasks of the chambermaids, as they will require more attention to the detail. Also, the duties of the receptionists will multiply as they will have to inform guests about the room and breakfast place renovation as well as to apply hotel rules and policies in cases of damaged furniture; a thing that was not done before.

In addition to this, the multidimensional resistance theory (Piderit, 2000) shows the employees’ attitude to change management by three dimensions. The cognitive dimension of that theory examined the beliefs of staff about change. In the case of Aquarius hotel, their employees regard the change initiative as unnecessary, deny the need for it and simply pretend that it is not happening. So, in regard to the cognitive dimension, the beliefs about the change are negative. The emotional dimension of this academic theory examines the ideological resistance to it (Piderit, 2000). Simply put, the employees of the hotel are opposing it as they feel they will be overwhelmed, that they will have constantly something to do it and in turn, their current working duties will suffer. For this emotional dimension, the notion of the change is that it cannot be managed. The third, intentional dimension shows the protest against it. However, as stated by Potter (2001) the problem of the company is that it has started a change process without plain goals, without a plain understanding of the role of everyone and without the hearts and minds of the personnel behind them.


Step 1: Create a sense of urgency

Initially, the need for room redecoration and for changing the atmosphere in the breakfast place has to be shared in conversation with the owner of the place. The new tasks must be identified and debated with the whole staff, as their execution will demand a certain time frame. Kotter claims that creating a sense of urgency is about focusing on a window of opportunity, that will work for the organization today and will be closed tomorrow (Kotter, 1996). Also, the need for change in Aquarius hotel has to be explained to everyone; namely, the shared sense of urgency between the hotel manager and the owner stimulated the actions demanded to perform the organizational change. Finally, the redecoration period will last 3-4 months or the situation will lose its urgency.

Step 2: Build a guiding coalition

In the case of Aquarius hotel employees are not interested in the process of renovation. As a result of that people with high energy and readiness to perform the change cannot be identified. In addition, the redecoration will be driven by the senior leadership team, consisting in the owner of the Aquarius hotel and its manager. In this case the leaders of the change stimulate the guiding coalition to work as a team by starting to give to the team efforts by themselves (Wheeler and Holmes, 2017). In brief, guiding coalition including leaders at all hotel levels may help deal with the situation (Kotter, 1996). To sum up, the two leaders performed their role and at the same time motivated staff to join them in this project.

Step 3: Create a vision for change

This is the stage following the debates and observations in Aquarius hotel. In this particular case, the vision may be summarized as “Interested” or “Uninterested”; simple message saying that the staff care about the organization. Vision like we will perform better than our rivals, we will aim never to lose a guest will have a great impact on the management of change. Also, that simple philosophy needs to be shared not only with employees but also with customers and suppliers. In brief, including their opinions in the discussion will result in one better vision for change.

Step 4: Communicating the vision

Once the initial three steps are performed in the hotel, it is time to share the vision in full with staff. In this stage it is important to use open conversations so as to make stronger the devotion and trust in the team. In fact, the latter will give working in an efficient manner and lower the resistance to change (Burden, 2016). Also, a PowerPoint presentation showing the new room decorations, as well as changes in the colors of bedspreads and furniture will be present. Further, the technology will work for the organizational change management in Aquarius hotel, presenting the new look of the breakfast place and the breakfast variety.

Step 5: Remove obstacles

The two barriers met during the change implementation were lack of interest and lack of desire to change. Both of them are connected with people and not enough information. To overcome them information about the change was provided in detail by utilizing financial reports, PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets. In fact, this made employees change their behavior about the change. In turn, the successful work, performed by the hotel departments and working groups need to be presented to every member of the staff. Aquarius hotel management needs to design reward schemes that will support their colleagues and slowly turn them into supporters of the change programme.

Step 6: Create short-term wins

Wins have to be collected and presented in an easy and frequent manner in order to trace improvement and stimulate the need for change (Kotter, 1996). Aquarius hotel management has to create stories of success, showing the work of the employees, involved in the change management process. Amabile and Kramer (2011) claim that employees are stimulated by advancement and progress more than they are motivated by material gains. Besides, success needs to be celebrated in the employees ‘meetings. It is important for the hotel management to realize that their employees will strengthen the long-term existence of the hotel. In summary, each team need to be praised after the completion of their tasks.

Step 7: Build on the change

The short-term wins made easier the next step; the culture transformation. Both hotel owner and manager decided to promote and develop opportunities for employees. At this stage the already planned refurbishment works should be monitored against a time frame and strategy as a whole will be reassessed. The management of Aquarius hotel has to outline the progress of the ongoing change. For example, the room décor was made different, more optically space enlarging colors were used, the place has become more competitive than its rivals.

Step 8: Institutionalize change

Normally, this stage will be present at the end of the project. The employees who have actively participated in it will be rewarded with a salary raise and individual training, an expression that there is a future career path in front of them (Wheeler and Holmes, 2017). In brief, these are the people who have embraced the new organizational culture at the very beginning. Finally, new employees sharing similar culture will be hired from the outside environment.


As noted above, this report studies the position and barriers standing in front of the successful completion of an organizational change management programme in Aquarius hotel London. The centre of attention has been the type of change tried to be implemented in the hotel and its current stage. As is apparent from the results, the organization is at the beginning of the change programme, trying to cope with employees that are not interested in change and that just do not want to believe that it is happening. Specifically, it is the owner and the manager of the hotel who performed their role and at the same time motivated staff to join them in this project.

This report is based on observations and talks with staff working in the organization. Despite the fact that they are plenty, regarding the number of employees interviewed, the themes examined here need further investigation. A conclusion can be made that the company is that it has started a change process without plain goals and without a plain understanding of the role of everyone. In turn, a number of recommendations could be made.


1. The new tasks, related to the change implementation must be identified and debated with the whole staff, as their execution will demand a certain time frame.

2. The vision for change needs to be shared not only with employees but also with customers and suppliers.

3. Stories of success need to be created, showing the work of the employees, involved in the change management process.

4. A salary raise and individual training need to be awarded to the employees who have participated in the change process.


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Burden, M. (2016). Using a change model to reduce the risk of surgical site infection. British Journal of Nursing, 25(17), p.950.

Grundy, T. (1993) Managing Strategic Change (London: Kogan Page).

Hiatt, J. (2006). ADKAR: a model for change in business, government and our community.. 1st ed. Loveland, Colorado: Prosci Learning Center Publications, pp.1-20.

Jabri, M (2017). Managing Organizational Change: Process, Social Construction and Dialogue (2nd Ed). London. Palgrave.

Karyn, E. (2002). Case study: managing change in identifying resistance. Journal of organizational change management, 15(2), pp.146-148.

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Kübler-Ross, E. (1969) On Death and Dying, Routledge.

Lippitt, R., Watson, J. and Westley, B. (1958). The Dynamics of Planned Change. New York: Brace and World, pp.58-59.

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Potter, J. (2001). Creating a passion for change – the art of intelligent leadership. Industrial and Commercial Training, 33(2), pp.54-58.

Wheeler, T. and Holmes, K. (2017). Rapid transformation of two libraries using Kotter’s eight steps of change. Journal of the Medical library Association, 105(3), p.277.