Different theorists define organisational change in different ways. Some of them define it as the comprehension of the variations that are deliberately introduced in organisations with the aim of improving performance while others define it as the process through which a difference in various aspects of an entity is noted in organisations.
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However, most of the definitions do not reflect the assumptions that characterize different theories or models of organisational change. For instance cognitive and cultural theorists talk of perception rather than observation when defining organisational change. Since there are differences in the language used to define organisational change, the various definitions of the concept are acceptable. However, the various models or theories of organisational change exhibit some similarities (Laurie 5)..
Organisational change is important for organisations in a number of ways. The first way in which it is important is that organisations need to accommodate expansion as they grow in size. As the number of clients and projects increase, they experience more pressure to expand. This implies that they are forced to think of structural changes to accommodate new developments that result from expansion and increased number of clients.
For example, additional clients make it necessary for organisations to hire more workers who in turn require additional supervisors and managers to ensure that all the duties are performed effectively. Failure to embrace such changes plunges organisations into many problems that threaten normal functioning (Nelson 2).
Apart from accomodating expansion, organisations embrace organisational change in order to address certain problems. Due to constant changes within the environments they operate in, it becomes necessary for them to make some adjustments to adapt to the new ways of doing things.
For example, organisations that record high numbers of sexual harrassment cases may decide to change their training procedures to include protocols on sexual harrassment. Such changes are usually crucial since they assist in dealing with the problems and maintaining the reputation of the organisations (Tonder 125).
Organisational change is also motivated by the need to remain up to date with emerging technology and market trends. Organisations that fail to acquaint themselves with the rapidly changing technology find it difficult to remain in the market for a long period of time.
For instance, failure to use modern technology in the production process reduces their productivity. This gives their rivals who employ modern technolgy in production an opportunity to reduce their prices since they can produce more, hence driving their competitors out of the market.
Challenges of Organisational Change
Despite the fact that organisational change is important and beneficial to many organisations, there are many challenges that are faced during its initiation and implemention. One of the current problems facing most organisations in the field of organisational change is communication.
This is an important tool that can either enhance or make organisational change difficult. Good organisational strategies are important in running organisations but they should always be accompanied by effective communication to ensure that workers and other stakeholders perform there roles as expected. Their facilitation is possible since they are able to get the right information at the right time.
The problem of Poor Communication in Organisations
Poor communication is a major problem that affects many organisations during implementation of organisational change. The output of any organisation is determined by the effectiveness of the communication methods used which means that the most critical areas in the organisational operations should be served by effective communication methods. The first area that is affected by poor communication is performance.
The primary role of communication in organisations during the implementation of organisational change is to ensure that employees deliver high quality services to the right people, at the right time. This ensures that organisations are able to meet the set goals and budget requirements. Poor communication interferes with organisational change since it makes realization of the set goals difficult.
The second problem that organisations face as a result of poor communication is weakening of the organisational culture. In most successful organisations, culture is an important pillar. It enables workers to interact positively and productively with their colleagues. Their interaction with the senior employees of the organisations is also enhanced. Poor communication makes implementation of strategies and dissolution of workplace disputes difficult due to lack of an organisational culture (Hussey 56).
The third problem associated with poor communication is that it affects personal effectiveness. Adequate and right information increases the effectiveness of workers since they are aware of what they are supposed to do. Workers are supposed to know how to manage their tasks. They should also be able to account for changes and interruptions without losing their productivity. Poor communication affects organisational change since those who lack personal effectiveness make achievement of the intended goals difficult.
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The fourth problem that is associated with poor communication in organisations is lack of collaboration. Collaboration involves different individuals or groups who work together to achieve organisational goals. Workers should collaborate with their colleagues in order to implement changes in various departments without moving away from the set goals of the organisations. Poor communication affects organisations whose rationale behind embracing organisational change is to bring their workers together to enhance collaboration.
Consequences of Poor Communication during Organisational Change
Since communication is critical in the field of organisational change, failure to conduct it effectively leads to numerous consequences. The first consequence associated with poor communication is lack of teamwork, which is only possible in the presence of effective communication since all involved parties know where and when they need their colleagues. Organisational change therefore becomes difficult due to lack of teamwork (Russ 25).
The second consequence of poor communication during organisational change is that it leads to poor quality work. Most organisations embrace organisational change after realizing that there are some things that need to be done differently. All organisational change efforts are geared towards improving the quality of work and increasing productivity, but this is made difficult by poor communication. Quality work is only achieved when communication channels are effective.
The third consequence of poor communication during organisational change is lateness. One of the factors that contribute towards success in organisations is the ability to deliver work in good time. Lateness affects organisational change by disrupting normal organisational functions. Effective communication is therefore crucial towards ensuring that work is delivered at the right time for organisational change efforts to succeed (Burke 48).
Poor Communication in Sampled Organisations
In a bid to understand how different organisations deal with poor communication during organisational change, I investigated two different organisations to find out the strategies they use to ensure that organisational change is not disrupted. In order to ensure smooth implementation of organisational change, the organisations have embraced certain general strategies. A strategy is a general approach or pattern used to solve a particular problem.
Creating Organisational Change Culture
The first strategy that the organisations use to deal with poor communication is the creation of a change culture. It is important for managers and leaders of organisations to understand the organisational culture since some cultures resist change. The organisations have discovered that a healthy change culture is an important tool for implementing change. In some organisations, workers fail to embrace organisational culture because they simply ignore it.
The investigated organisations work hard to first of all change the organisational culture since failure to change it makes it difficult for any other organisational change to take place. By doing so, the leaders in the organisations are able to create a change-ready environment that makes it easy for thoughtful preparation and communication of ideas to take place.
They have also been able to make communication in their organisations effective by minimizing resistance through creating a change-ready environment. In such an environment, workers communicate freely, something that enables them to share ideas and issues that facilitate organisational change.
Managing the Style and Content of Communication
Communication during organisational change should be done in a manner that enables the workers to identify with the content and style of communication easily. For instance, colored and scented markers are common on flip charts that are used for communication in the investigated organisations.
Change is also communicated succintly in short messages. During presentation of change programs, the organisations split the overall objectives into goals of specified departments and units. The change messages also emphasize the positive side of the change and ignore the negative one. This is aimed at winning the support of workers, some of whom are resistant to change.
In addition, the organisations use a certain strategy known as pain messages, where the hurting truths of the current problems are communicated before workers are motivated to embrace the promising future resulting from organisational change.The organisations also use sober selling to communicate organisational change to the workers.
This strategy involves informing them of the financial implications associated with the organisational change. Managing the style and content of communication is therefore an effective strategy that the two organisations I investigated use to steer organisational change. This plays an important role since majority of the workers are able to commit themselves towards achieving the goals envisaged in the organisational change.
Improved Dissemination of Information
The leaders of the organisations have realized that there should be certain ways of disseminating information to ensure that organisational change is not hindered by poor communication. Their mode of disseminating information involves communicating clearly about the roles, procedures, tasks and responsibilities of workers.
Other than the workers, the organisations pass important information to all the stakeholders early enough for the necessary actions to be taken. To ensure that the information reaches the intended audience in the right time, the organisations sometimes use multiple communication methods.
In addition, messages about organisational change are incorporated in all activities performed in the organisations. For instance, leaders talk to workers on how proposed solutions fit into the organisational bigger picture during discussions about business problems. During regular performance appraisals, the workers are educated on how their actions enhance or undermine organisational change.
Repeating the organisational change message from time to time assists the organisations to keep the workers updated with regard to anticipated changes. The leaders also update the workers regularly even when there is no hard news being delivered. This enables them to connect with others outside their spheres.
Emphasis on Communication
The organisations emphasize a whole- communicaction focused strategy where interactions aimed at promoting organisational change and dissemination of information about the change proves to be highly effective. The managers at all levels endeavor to communicate in a clear and consistent manner to ensure that the right information is communicated at the right time, and to the relevant people.
The leaders in the organisations have realized that clear and consistent messages that are repeated endlessly are instrumental during organisational change. This is an important communication rule for managers in the organisations since repeating the same message to workers from time to time gives them a chance to incorporate it in their daily activities.
During moments of uncertainty, the leaders communicate probabilities to ensure that malicious workers or outsiders do not generate rumours that affect organisational change negatively. However, they also take precautions because too much communication in organisations is harmful sometimes.
They encourage face-to-face communication by the line managers since this type of communiccation concentrates on local work areas. The organisations also use communication as a tool for dealing with elements that show resistance to organisational change. Change leaders in these organisations create highly structured dialogues among members, something that allows the members to feel more incorporated in the process of organisational change.
Emphasis on Purpose and Vision
This is a strategy used by the organisations to gain support from workers during organisational change. The presence of a clear vision and purpose for change is important since it assists them to bring workers and other stakeholders on board. A clear vision does not only make the organisational change efforts credible but also helps in dealing with some of the uncertainties associated with change.
The workers and stakeholders in the organisations know where they are headed hence they actively participate in implementation of strategies that support organisational change. The leaders establish a shared image for the future by creating visual and written images of that future. They also develop organisational structures to ensure that the future is achieved.
Changes in technology and the manner in which organisations operate have made it necessary for many organisations to embrace organisational change. The concept implies that organisations must introduce and implement changes that have not been popular among their workers. The need to introduce such changes is inspired by various reasons among them competition, expansion and the emergence of new technologies.
Failure to introduce some of the required changes lowers the general performance of the organisations and exposes them to the risk of being driven out of the market. However, organisational change is not an easy thing sicne it is accompanied by numerous challenges. One of the most current problems associated with it is poor communication.
Effective communication is crucial for organisations going through organisational change since without it, most of them find it difficult to achieve their goals. As a result, the ones undergoing organisational changes have deviced various strategies of addressing poor communication to ensure that it does not interfere with the whole process.
Burke, Warner. Organization Change: Theory and Practice, New York: Sage, 2010. Print.
Hussey, David. How to Manage Organisational Change, New York: Kogan Sage Publishers, 2000. Print.
Laurie, Lewis. n.d. Advice on Communicating during Organizational Change. n.d. Web.
Nelson, Lauren. Importance of Change in an Organization. Web.
Russ, Travis. Communication Strategies for Implementing Organizational Change. Web.
Tonder, Christian. Organisational Change, New York: Van Schaik, 2004. Print.