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Business process management is a management approach that aims at optimizing and synchronizing all management strategies to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of business. Since organizations have numerous strategies that enable them to perform their businesses, business management process is an effective and efficient management approach that guarantees optimal performance.
For a long period, many organizations have been grappling with challenges of enhancing product quality, satisfying customers, delivery of services and goods in time to markets as well as motivating employees to adopt and adapt changing business environments. However, emergence of business process management has enabled many organizations to cope with numerous challenges that they encounter in the process of enhancing their management strategies and performance of employees.
Concerning strategies, which enhance organizational performance, management usually encounter numerous challenges because employees tend to resist changes. Bovey and Hede argue that employees undergo reaction process when they experience organizational change that involves four phases viz. “initial denial, resistance, gradual exploration and eventual commitment” (534).
Thus, the management needs to understand resistance that employees exhibit when they experience organizational changes and develop effective strategies of counteracting it. Basing on business process management, this report examines challenges that organizations face when implementing organizational change management in employees.
Exposition of Concepts
Given that a business is a set of activities or processes that aim at achieving certain organizational objectives, business process management is an encompassing approach of optimizing and synchronizing these activities to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization to adapt dynamics of the business world.
Objective of business process management is to be certain that all strategies and duties that an organization employs in conducting its business perform optimally in various aspects. Due to diversity of aspects in which business process management is applicable in an organization, different types of frameworks do exist in contemporary markets. As employees are central components in an organization, application of business process management is critical in enhancing their performance.
Thus, a framework that deals with employees exists and is applicable in most organizations. Aladwani asserts that enterprise resource planning is a framework that aids various aspects of the organization to share knowledge and data, improve management process and reduce costs (266). Application of suitable and effective framework is critical in improving performance of an organization. Thus, business process management is essential in enhancing effectiveness and efficiency of various management factors and strategies.
Corporate world is constantly changing compelling organizations to adapt to new dynamics of business. To cope with myriad changes, organizations have adopted different strategies of change management. Change management involves a systematic process of implementing technological advances, financial management and sharing of knowledge among organizational members. For organizations to survive and progress, they must adopt and adapt to changing dynamics of the business world.
Conventionally, change management consists of processes, techniques, tools and actions for managing human resources to keep abreast with changing business environment. Aladwani argues that, for management to cope with the challenge of workers’ resistance, it must employ a framework of “knowledge formulation, strategy implementation and status evaluation” (269). Knowledge formulation involves identification of individuals’ attitudes, beliefs and interests relative to resistance.
Strategy implementation entails setting up of strategies to convince and persuade employees to adopt them, while status evaluation consists of assessing and monitoring change management to ensure achievement of desired outcomes. Overall, change management is a continuous update and monitoring of organizational changes to ensure that they are in tandem with business dynamics. However, numerous challenges exist in implementing change management in employees.
Resistance to Change
Resistance to change is a considerable challenge that management face in implementing change management. Usually, management perceive resistance to change from the perspective of organizational members who decline to adopt organizational change. Resistance to change is a normal process that employees experience when they encounter new challenges in the course of their duties.
According to Bovey and Hede, resistance occurs in employees because they tend to maintain complacent status rather than adapt to organizational changes (534). Although individual employees differ in their resistance and ability to adapt organization change, their collective resistance poses significant change to management in implementing various strategies. While some employees undergo a process of change quickly, some employees stagnate, and thus pose significant resistance to organizational change.
Concerning change management, resistance to change is a significant factor that is attributable to failure of change programs that management of many organizations implements. As the resistance of employees is a significant hindrance to effective change management, many organizations are grappling to alleviate resistance. Hence, implementation of change management is a rigorous and painstaking process that requires effective strategies of overcoming resistance of employees.
Employees perceive organizational changes as a threat to professional norms they have adopted for many years. Normally, professional experiences make employees experts in their varied fields, but organizational changes take them to the drawing board where they need to begin learning new skills and the way of performing their duties. For instance, introduction of technology into organization compels many employees to acquire new skills and knowledge lest their services become irrelevant to their respective organizations.
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In this view, employees perceive organizational change as a threat to their professional development because it diminishes their importance to the organization. Given that the prime objective of employees to develop their careers, organizational changes that seem to threaten their careers face much resistance compared to the ones that promote their careers. Resistance to change emanate from individual, group and organizational factors.
Organizational factors are threats that originate from unfavourable organizational changes in a structure that affect the normal functioning in an organization. According to Chew, Cheng, and Petrovic-Lazarevic, group factors affect social norms and cohesiveness among employees by disrupting organizational culture that is critical for effective adaptation of organizational change (59).
Comparatively, individual factors consist of elements of personality such as attitudes, emotions and feelings about organizational changes. Thus, these factors impose significant threats to workers making them resist organizational changes because they change their careers.
Resistance to change also emanate from fears of unknown. Employees naturally have fears of unknown changes in the organization because they panic when confronting challenges. Since organizational changes can be radical in that they compel employees to adopt new skills and adapt new working environment, they elicit fears of the unknown.
When employees do not know essence and scope of organizational changes, they tend to develop fears of the unknown since they are unsure of how changes affect their careers, duties, knowledge and skills. Chew, Cheng, and Petrovic-Lazarevic explain that adaptation to change is mainly a personal issue as organizational change causes uncertainty, doubt and factor-fears among employees (59).
Thus, for organizations to effect organizational change successfully, they must ensure that they dispel fears associated with change among employees. Therefore, fear of unknown that employees have regarding organizational change poses significant resistance to implementation of change management.
Change Creates Conflict
Organizational change at times creates conflict in roles that employees hold in an organization. In the organizational environment, individuals perceive change from one perspective while departments perceive from another, thus also perception of their roles. Disparity in perception of organizational change creates a conflict among diverse roles. If the change causes individuals’ roles to contradict departmental roles, employees experience substantial difficulties in adopting new strategies due to organizational changes.
Since the conflict in roles among employees, managers and executives create conflict; it affects organizational performance and change management. According to Chew, Cheng, and Petrovic-Lazarevic, conflicts among employees and managers create resistance to change that impedes effective implementation of change management (63).
A conflict in an organization is inevitable since numerous changes occur that requires employees to adopt new strategies that may contradict previous strategies. Thus, organizations should implement change management cautiously while ensuring that roles of employees, managers and executives do conflict and create unnecessary resistance to change.
Implementation of change management also causes conflict in resources that are central to effective performance by employees. Employees usually share a great deal of resources in which organizational change disrupt or destabilize normal utilization. Disruption of normal utilization of resources triggers conflict among employees that act as an impediment in the implementation of organizational change.
Bovey and Hede explain that although organization spends a huge amount of money in implementing organizational change, they do not consider diverse interests of employees, thus creating a conflict that leads to resentment among employees (535).
In this case, poor allocation of resources due to biasness of management creates conflicts that affect implementation of change management. Therefore, it is vital for management to consider proper allocation of resources when implementing organizational change to realize optimal performance and alleviate occurrence of conflict among employees and managers.
Differences in personalities reflect variation in values and interests that employees have regarding their responsibilities and organizational change. When organizations want to implement change management, they encounter challenges that emanate from conflicts that occur between organizational values and personal values.
Given that employees tend to be conservative when adopting and applying new strategies, management normally experience a daunting task in changing personalities of employees to keep abreast with organizational changes that are critical for development. However, change management seems to focus more on organizational factors than human factors when implementing change, hence causing conflict between employees and organizational management.
Aladwani advices that for organizations to implement changes effectively, they must consider involving employees in the process of change because they play a significant role in effecting required changes (270).
In this case, management needs to effect organizational change by consulting and communicating widely with employees to ease any source of conflict that stem from variation in organizational and personal values and interests. Thus, management faces challenges when harmonizing organizational values with personal values when implementing organizational change.
Dimensions of Change
Organizations also face challenges when implementing change management due to organizational structure. Some organizations have stringent and bureaucratic structure that restricts employees from adopting and adapting organizational changes according to their own perceptions and convictions. Usually, these organizations rely on rules, policies and procedures that are extremely restrictive to allow employees to comply with organizational changes in their own pace.
Thus, employees perceive these organizations as if they are imposing changes into their careers and prevent them from advancing according to their own interests. In contrast, some organizations are too liberal, for they lack proper rules, policies and procedures to guide employees to adopt and adapt organizational changes effectively. In these organizations, it is extremely hard to effect organizational changes because there are no structures and frameworks to enhance occurrence of changes.
Aladwani argues that organizations must have policies and legislations for them to convince and persuade employees to adopt and implement necessary changes in an organization (272). However, lack of appropriate policies and legislations as well as their stringent presence hampers effective change management in organizations. Thus, it is critical for organizations to ensure that they have appropriate and relevant policies and legislations to enhance participation of employees in effecting organizational change.
Degree of organizational change is significant in determining challenges of implementing changes. While some changes are expansive and rigorous, others require minimal implementation that does not cause significant changes in an organization and among employee. Ideally, expansive and rigorous changes are hard to implement because employees find it hard to adopt and adapt.
Moreover, comprehensive changes are exceedingly costly in terms of resources because they compel employees to acquire more information and tactics so that they can precisely adapt complex organizational changes. Since the degree of change determines the extent of learning among employees, comprehensive changes oblige employees to acquire more knowledge and skills as a way of coping with organizational changes.
According to Bovey and Hede, significant organizational change causes anxiety among employees, which deters effective implementation of change management (545). Thus, significant organizational change poses enormous challenges in implementation of critical changes among employees.
Moreover, nature of change reflects challenges of implementing change management. Since organizational change normally occurs at various levels of organization, they have different impacts on employees. Changes that occur at top management tend to have considerable impact on employees as compared to changes that occur at lower management levels.
Thus, management struggles in harmonizing changes that occur at various levels within the organization. Additionally, implementation of change within an organization is a gradual process that requires patience and persistence of management to realize intended purpose of change. Chew, Cheng, and Petrovic-Lazarevic assert implementation of organizational change is a gradual process that needs progressive engagement of employees (60).
Proper engagement of employees enhances their participation in implementation of organizational change. Thus, management experiences enormous challenges in trying to expedite change management to achieve required objectives within the shortest time possible.
Organizations encounter numerous challenges in the course of implementing their policies, legislations and procedures that aim at effecting a given change. To cope with these challenges of organizational change, organizations use strategies of business process management to implement change management effectively.
Despite the availability of diverse strategies of effecting change, organizations usually experience a great deal of challenges that stem from employees such as resistance to change, occurrence of conflicts and complex dimensions of change. Basing on these challenges, it is evident that employees create a great deal of challenges that hinder organizations from making marked changes in their progress.
Overall, these challenges pose significant threats to effective change management. Thus, management needs to consider involving employees as central players in implementation of change as a gradual process progress that is inherent to any organization.
Aladwani, Adel. “Change Management Strategies for Successful ERP Implementation.” Business Process Management Journal 7.3 (2006): 266-275.
Bovey, Wayne, and Andrew Hede. “Resistance to Organizational Change: the Role of Defence Mechanisms.” Journal of Managerial Psychology 16.7 (2001): 534-548.
Chew, Mindy, Joseph Cheng and Sonja Petrovic-Lazarevic. “Managers’ Role in Implementing Organizational Change: Case of the Restaurant Industry in Melbourne.” Journal of Global Business and Technology 2.1 (2006): 58-67.