Why is it often difficult for managers to bring about major change in their organization? What, if anything, can a manager do to improve the chances of a successful organizational change?
Change management refers to a strategy applied by organizations in order to modulate people and cooperative units from their current state to a desired state (Balogun 2006).
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Change management also refers to an administration framework used by organizations to implement new processes, revise structural design, and reorient corporate culture. It aims at eliminating bureaucracy in management of organizations (Weil 2002). Organizational change management addresses human resource aspects in organizations because all activities revolve around organizational workforce.
Effective change management in an organization involves understanding the change process, communicating the need for implementing change to all stakeholders, identifying possible obstacles, and working towards getting support from employees. The process of organizational change management involves four key steps namely assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation (Weil 2002).
One of the cardinal rules in organizational change management is to desist from forcing change on people. It is important to ensure that people are ready for real, feasible, and computable change. Effective change management in an organization requires competent leaders who provide necessary motivation, support, and assurance to employees (Balogun 2006).
In most cases, implementing change in an organization is a nightmare because of resistance from workers under different departments, thus failing to meet set targets. Managers and business leaders often face numerous challenges in implementing change in organizations. Many factors contribute to poor results by managers, most of which stem from within the organizations (Balogun 2006). The first contributing factor is poor understanding and interpretation of the change process.
The change process is often complex and necessitates full comprehension of all demands associated with the process (Balogun 2006). For example, the projects created by automobile companies Toyota and Ford under the names Toyota-ism and Ford-ism respectively demonstrated poor understanding of change management. The two automakers wanted to improve their employee productivity through limiting the time they needed to complete tasks (Weil 2002).
The changes failed in both companies as essential considerations in change process did not apply. Some essential considerations the two companies failed to make before implementing change include objectives of proposed change, reasons for effecting change, as well as criteria of determining success of effected changes. It is also important to identify individuals who are likely to be affected by the change, their possible reactions, and best ways of responding to reactions (Balogun 2006).
Another important consideration is identification of organizational potential to implement change. This entails identifying changes that an organization can implement on its own, those that require external help, and possible avenues for such help (Weil 2002). The second reason why managers fail to implement change in organizations is lack of regular outlines, communication systems, and fundamental paraphernalia for managing change.
This is a challenge to managers because employees and other stakeholders are not familiar with change implementation strategies. It is important to have a universal set of explanations, strategies, and development blueprint within an organization (Balogun 2006). For example, when an organization develops its structure and corporate culture without defining how change will apply, individuals responsible for implementing change, and approaches for doing it, managers are bound to have a hard time when need for change arises.
A clear outline will eliminate employee resistance to change, as they analyze change before its implementation. This also entails identification of individuals responsible for effective change management (Balogun 2006).
In most organizations, managers are responsible for change management and act as reference points for shareholders whenever issues related to change management arise within an organization. Finally, managers may fail to effectively, implement change due to organizational structure and corporate culture (Weil 2002). During development of a business plan that determines how an organization will be structured and the corporate culture it will develop, it is important to incorporate aspects of change management.
Many organizations apply change management as an add-on instead of something that ought to be part of the organizational culture. Change happens all the time and an organization cannot afford to shy away from developing strategies that facilitate effective change management (Weil 2002).
For example, when developing an organization’s corporate values, it is important to include values that focus on numerous objectives that promote effective change management. It is also important to ensure that employees’ at all structural levels within the organization have good knowledge of change management, and their responsibilities in implementing change (Balogun 2006). Despite presence of organizational challenges, managers should strive to apply their skills and competencies in achieving success.
Balogun, J 2006, Managing Change: Steering A Course Between Intended Strategies And Unanticipated Outcomes, Elsevier Publishers, New York.
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Burnes, B 2004, Managing Change: A Strategic Approach To Organizational Dynamics, Cengage Learning, New York.
Weil, S 2002, Post-Bureaucracy And Change Management, Cengage Learning, New York.