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It can be said that organizational change is one of the critical determinants in organizational success and failure. According to Conner (1994), major change is occurring in most of today's organizations. Perhaps the space between the new organization design and implementing it into actuality is the whole coverage of organizational change and development. People are said to be adaptive to change. However, positive skills must be present from the initiators of change so as to successfully implement their intended development. Thus, managers need to have the necessary abilities not only in identifying the segments of the organization that needs change but also on how to effectively introduce such changes within the immediate members of the organization. According to Moran and Avergun (1997), "Change consists of a series of closer and closer approximation of increasingly ambiguous goals which are embraced by more and more members of the organization. For this reason, change often seems endless and confusing. Often those involved in the change process feel overwhelmed and powerless."
How can change be managed in order to avoid people feeling overwhelmed and powerless? McNamara (1999) points out that there are strong resistances to change. People are afraid of the unknown. In the same manner and in any given organization, the manager must effectively apply the intended changes in a manner that will not bother or negatively affect the performance of people. Among the practical and applicable mechanisms that can be utilized are the following:
Planned implementation. Nothing in this world is ever predictable. Everything seems to follow a law of its own. Dwight Eisenhower once remarked, "In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable". He maybe right in claiming that planning is always relevant, but it there is also veracity in claiming that planning does not always yield sure success. Planning plays a very important role in implementing change. It is a fundamental to consider that every change that needs to be implemented is premeditated. Planning is commonly known as the process of formulating in advance as organized behavior or action. While it is true that people do not always plan their actions, it is inherent for any organizations to plan. However, whether dealing with the context by which planning is occurring, may it be on the individual or organizational level, the process takes shape according to the prevailing attitudes, beliefs and goals that are involved. Planned change is usually triggered by the failure of people to create continuously adaptive organizations (Dunphy 1996).
In planning and managing change, Nickols (2004) provides a very useful framework for thinking about the change process, one which is anchored on problem solving. Solving problems through the use of changes must be deliberate. Careful planning is accompanied by efforts to obtain buy-in, support, and commitment. The net effect is a transition from one state to another, in a planned, orderly fashion. Planning is the primary and perhaps the most fundamental means in implementing change within organization.
Gradual Integration. Change does not always take immediate effect not unless acted upon in a way that is directed by the manager and the immediacy of action. The manager must posses all the necessary skills that will eventually facilitate the integration of change. According to Drucker (2002), being a change leader or the manager as the case may be, requires willingness and ability to transform what is traditional just as much as the ability to do innovative and different things. Drucker (1995) sees leaders as the indispensable resource for an organization as well as the key factor for a economic growth and supply, which is critical to the survival and further development of any organizations. Thus, a strong link is acknowledged between a leader's efficiency and organization performance. It has been recognized that leaders are the underlying and vital power behind the identification of problem, seeking of solution, or managing of change in order for the organization to progress and reach successful development in its organization's strategy. Such success is very much dependent upon their attitudes, behaviors, and commitment with their specific responsibilities.
Gradual integration is done in a progressive manner. The manger must be aware with the step-by-step method that will give the organization and its people who are affected a chance to adjust their selves to the prevailing circumstances of the change being implemented. It is highly recommended that constant deliberation and continuous appraisal is done. In this way, the effects of the changes are well documented and defined it they positively or negatively affect the overall status of the people or the whole organization especially on the aspect or performance.
Motivation. The role of motivation is inevitable to every organizational function. In relation to change management, motivating people that are affected by the change implemented is ways that will augment or reinforce the current situation. Motivation may change with changes in personal, social or other factors in the working environment (Wiley 1997). Thus, in implementing new policies or standards as a result of change within the limits of the organization, there is also a need to redefine the motivation process among the employees. It is a known fact that motivation affects behavior rather than performance (Nicholson et. al 1995; Wiley 1997). But still, as a by-product of effective motivation, perception and acceptance of the change is easier and problem-free.
For the organization to maximize its human assets, they should manage the employees' working condition with intelligence and efficiency (Ulrich 1998). They must be allowed to be involved in making work-related decisions to further enhance the organizational structure (Delaney & Huselid 1996). Levine (1995) stated that correctly applied and operational employee participation increases productivity as supported by empirical literature. Similarly, Champion-Hughes (2001) highlighted the importance of high work life quality through good supervision, working conditions, pay and benefits as well as challenging and rewarding jobs. With the presence of constant motivation, the balance of performance and change practically exists.
For instance, the task to change the culture in order to ensure the promotion and needed integration involves changing people to find unity in apparent chaos (Wheatley 1993). Leadership and commitment of the members with the organization to ensure loyalty should be inculcated and maintained among its people. The development, building, motivation, enhancement and enrichment of the employees of any organization largely depend on the leadership, mandate and vision of the organization (Rainey & Steinbauer 1999).
Coordination. Most of the successful business endeavors depend greatly on good interpersonal communication and relationship among the people and the whole organization. Bounded with a common goal, the management of change must be coordinated with the immediate beneficiaries or people that are directly affected. Explaining the purpose of change is necessary. Communication is the most effective means that the management can utilize. Gaining the trust of the workforce and maintaining a harmonious professional relationship is very important to an ideal flow of organizational operations. But all these will be put to waste if issues and problems brought about by mismanagement and coupled with the differences between employers and employees arise in the process.
Managing the communication and information that the company uses in its daily operations is fundamental in any organization. Information is the blood stream of every company on which every staff; employee and supervisor work on. It is used in order to meet the demands of the clients and customers of the business. This is the reason why there should be proper communication and information management flow within the organization.
Moreover, the impact of a change may affect employees as well as the organization for years. The needs and values should be taken into account in communication planning and decision making (Deetz, Tracy, & Simpson 2000). Direct link between the supervisors, managers, and the subordinate employees should be efficient enough to answer concerns and issues of the members of the organization especially on the matters and consequences of the intended change. Communication between and among the members of the organization should be prioritized in order to provide a well-functioning organizational operation within and outside its jurisdiction.
Change is always directed to the eventual development of the organization - both its functions and operations. The Model of Continuous Improvement (see appendix) offers a lead on how to effectively manage an organization especially those operating in the international environment. It highlights the relationship between the tools or resources of a particular organization as well as with the people working and the systems that are used. The above means on how to manage change is incorporated within the model. The concept of culture, communication and commitment is given importance in overall and continuous improvement of an organization. These concepts should be first inculcated and learned by the members of the organization so as to ensure the positive results and eliminate the negative aspects that may be hazardous in the achievement of the organization's defined objective.