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According to Lamarsh, Change management has been defined as “Change Management is an organized, systematic application of the knowledge, tools, and resources of change that provides organizations with a key process to achieve their business strategy.”
Burnes (2004) says, change is an ever-present feature of organisational life, both at an operational and strategic level. Therefore, there should be no doubt regarding the importance to any organisation of its ability to identify where it needs to be in the future, and how to manage the changes required getting there. Organisation seeks for a change due to various reasons ranging from to earn the profit to make more benefit in a business. But due to various reasons they face problems implementing those changes. Either from the point of view of employees or by the point of view of management.
According to Daft (1994), organisations sense a need for change when they perceive a performance gap, that is, a disparity between existing and desired levels of Performance. It seems a somewhat narrow definition in that it implies all change is planned and positive and seems to ignore the possibility of unplanned and potentially negative change – for example, unexpected budget cuts. This said, most change is planned, is intended to be positive and arises from the need to respond to new challenges and opportunities (Mullins, 1996). In response to, or in anticipation of such factors, organisations may initiate change. This can incorporate both structure (hierarchy and division of work) and communication , and such change may involve, amongst other things, costs, job design, staff development and training, working conditions and new services or products (Cornell, 1996). This essay will consider barriers by the aspects regarding managers and employees and the importance of the barriers they usually face in an organisation. The purpose of this essay is to mainly discuss regarding three main barriers that organisations suffer during the process of implementing change. Starting with barrier of communication which can be either between management and employees or between the people of same designation and nature of work. Secondly essay will look for resistance of the people as a major barrier in implementing change and finally the barrier of gender discriminator which relates the resistance of change due to opinions about the opposite sex. The last passage will show some of the in general measures to overcome the barriers discussed above along with the final conclusion.
Communication is one of the major barriers for the organisations to deal with. Dealing with different personalities and attitudes makes task more difficult for the managers, executives and administrators in the organisation. According to John C. Athanassiades distortion of downward communication by business executives, i.e., the withholding, screening and manipulation of information flowing from the top down, creates in such organizations a climate of suspicion and mistrust among employees. Employees always need a trust and sense of understanding from the managers, reorganization of their work and compliments, suggestions for the work they have done.
For a manager, dealing with change presents a dichotomy. Buchanan and Huczynski (1991) point out the paradox that differences are essential to change but that it is these differences which can generate disputes. In opinion of Bennett Communication problems arise when messages have to pass between groups and individuals with different behaviour patterns, different attitudes, and the different skills and know-how that go with these. People work better when they feel that they are understood and when they understand the conditions under which others work. By the view of Eric Garner communication mainly faces barriers due to seven reasons which are physical, perceptual, emotional, cultural, interpersonal, language and gender. Culture is also a sub part of the communication barrier. When people with different nationalities and culture work together it, really becomes difficult task to understand the views and working styles of each other. As carlie (2004, sited in oswick, 2009) suggests that knowledge transformation is a part of effective communication, which is only applicable if it is from both sides. Communication can only be effective if done with a proper plan, ideas and knowledge of the subject.
Rosenbloom and Larsen (2003) strongly points out that, a high-context culture that emphasizes human elements and personal relationships in communication can help with the trust-building processes.
Communication is an organisation can work in both ways, as a barrier and as a solution to specific barriers.
Individual resistance is one of the major barrier organisations usually face to implement the change. There are several reasons due to which employees hesitate or resist any sort of change come in their way. Changes are all around either in small or in big manner relating to technology, workplace, system and workgroup etc. changes may be welcome but for most of the people, the reaction to certain changes will be one of the automatic resistances, which in turn often results in stress. According to carol spiers (2006) changes are extremely difficult to deal with because people are programmed into a particular pattern of behaviour which they feel safe as their comfort zone. The Intolerance to the adjustment period involved in change is a important factor due to which people resist change. A distinct aspect of individuals’ psychological resilience is their ability to adjust to new situations. Some researchers have suggested that people resist change because it often involves more work in the short term (Kanter, 1985). Most of the times when employees and managers switch from one organisation to the other, it takes time for them to cope-up with the things as well as they are reluctance to change the old habits. Several change theories suggests that reluctance of old habits and working styles is most common reason to resist change. (Harrison 1978, zajonc 2007). The issue of insecurity and disempowerment are also factors which relate to resistance by the people in the organisation. Some researchers have emphasized loss of control as the primary cause of resistance.
By point of view of Conner (1992) Individuals may resist changes because they feel that control over their life situation is taken away from them with changes that are imposed on them rather than being self-initiated. People wish to be dominant or become someone who holds the powers and make the decisions, if changes are imposed on them they feel like their risk to their position in the organisation.
Several researches on the resistance of the individuals are related with the lack of knowledge and involvement. Employees and members of the organisation consider change too personally rather considering it in a broad prospective. In other words they feel that change is only for them and which is not good for their future. Lack of knowledge and inaccurate information about the change often results in resistance by the people in different ways. Employees resist the change when they feel lack of involvement and participation in the change process. They feel the decision of change is imposed on them without considering their problems, need and ideas. In views of Michael j. O’Brien education and involvement are most important factors for an organisation to consider before implementing change. Education will make people to understand about their future in an organisation, and participation will allow people time to work through their resistance while they are solving problems and fixing processes. Disputes among the individuals are also a reason which can cause a barrier for implementing successful change in an organisation. Cornell (1996) identifies four responses to change: withdrawal (including resignation), resistance, acceptance (a reluctant bowing to the inevitable) and embracing (welcoming change and the opportunities it brings). The first three of these indicate conflict. The danger is that conflict can become personal and negative, and undermine individual and organisational performance. Factors like not performing under potential, neglecting work, consuming more time than expected for completion of work, whistle blowing can come under this. Striking a balance between the two is easier said than done and a manager will need to employ a variety of methods in attempting to do so.
Organisations usually face problems with the gender discrimination in which men and women are only differentiated in accordance with their sexuality, irrespective of their talent and ability to work. This passage will discuss regarding the male dominance system in an organisations and neglect ion of women from selection of job to following the orders. This is a part of one of the barriers to change. Sometimes people make an opinion about other people regarding their gender only, this make organisation really difficult to take business further. By the point of view of Schein (1975), Harris (1995) and Aronson (1994) male dominance can be explained by selectors who are looking for candidates who are similar to themselves. As they classify other men as ‘in-group’ and women as ‘out-group’, only members of the first are favoured and promoted. As personnel managers tend to value women less than men, women are often denied important tasks and hindered in promotion. Consequently, they find no entrance to power networks – and sometimes do not even want to, as their need for power and their interest in responsibility and influence are much lower than among men (Wilson, 1995). Nicholson (1996) believes men feel more comfortable under the same sex managers, where as the opposite sex orders hurts their ego and disturbs their working capability. Adding to his point Bill Gregory (2003) says there is a need for specific models for the males to accept the females as per their designation. Which can help more women to enter into business for making ability based system.
As Gherardi (1995) states that organizations, despite their claim to be neuter and neutral, are structured according to the symbolism of gender. Still their culture is gendered. Hicks believes 1950’s was the era when top level managerial jobs were performed by the men, but now the condition is changing and everyone should adjust with it. Ruth Simpson (1995) with the help of statistical data in his article says, it is not surprising that studies continue to show women managers, particularly at higher levels, encountering problems and restrictions that relate almost entirely to their gender. According to Maddock and Parkin (1994) tactics such as, include sexual innuendo and conversations dominated by sport, serve to reinforce the prevailing values of the predominantly white male culture and to confirm their more powerful position.
Women, no matter how senior, can find themselves subjected to this ‘locker room’ culture which excludes and isolates them from informal channels of communication. Burke and Vinnicombe (2005), describes gender discrimination as a glass barrier and ads that still the certain positions and roles are controlled primarily by men. Research on the gendering of organizations suggests that overcoming established behaviour and cognitive views of gender is a highly complicated matter (Benschop, 2005; Czarniawska-Joerges, 1992; Gherardi, 1995; Litvin, 2005). Because progress is slow and often disappointing (Bagilhole, 2003; Barry et al., 2004; Benschop and Brouns, 2003; Benschop and Dooreward, 1998; Liff and Cameron, 1997; SOU, 1997, 2003). Numerous research projects have demonstrated that industry and public sector organizations are exhibiting inertia in their attempts at creating equal work-life opportunities for men and women (Bagilhole, 2003; Barry et al., 2004; Kossek et al., 2005; Wajcman, 1998; SOU, 2003).
Implementing such changes which are discussed above is not an easy task. Likert, in Cornell, (1996) identifies three styles of managing change: authoritative (imposed by management); consultative (discussed with staff but still decided by management) and participative (involving staff in decision- making). Further, Lewin’s widely cited model breaks the management of change into three phases. First, unfreezing – diagnosing problems and an awareness of the need to change. Second, changing – the breaking of old habits and adoption of new skills and behaviour and third, refreezing – evaluating and consolidating the changes (Daft, 1994; Cava, 1990; Cornell, 1996; Mullins, 1996).
However, Handy (1993), doubts whether change can be ‘managed’ at all: “To ‘manage change’ is wishful thinking, implying as it does that one not only knows where to go and how to get there but can persuade everyone else to travel there.”
He continues that change can at best be ‘cultivated’ through channelling and learning, not controlling. In opposite opinion Kotter with his 8 step model to change states that, “you have to work hard to change an organization successfully. When you plan carefully and build the proper foundation, implementing change can be much easier, and you’ll improve the chances of success. If you’re too impatient, and if you expect too many results too soon, your plans for change are more likely to fail”.
He adds by creating a sense of urgency, recruiting powerful change leaders, building a powerful vision and by the use of effective communication, try to remove any kind of obstacles, create quick wins, and build on the momentum. If these things are implemented, management can help make the change part of the organizational culture. That’s when managers and leaders can declare a true victory. Then sit back and enjoy the change that envisioned so long ago. Brown (1976) suggested that: Any serious efforts to improve communication will have beneficial results and the starting point for improvement is an awareness of the problem. If barriers cannot be avoided, at least they should be dealt with; and the effective communicator is one who understands the hazards that messages face and does something about it.
To conclude, Change and how people react to it are important features of organisational life. But as Harris and Armenakis (2009) said using word readiness instead of resistance is always effective way of approaching change. Positive approach to accept the change and making it successful is a responsibility of whole organisation members. As per statistical and historical data it is said that most of the organisational changes don’t get successful, but which does are due to proper planning, organised work and distribution. It is said that, responsibility of the managers and the leaders in the organisation is to initiate the change and make others to understand the importance of the change.
Barriers can arise at any time while implementing change process because it derives from people wanting or perceiving different things. A period of change is, by its very nature, likely to provoke mixed reactions, ranging from enthusiastic acceptance to overt resistance.
Such changes cannot occur without creating feelings of anxiety, tension, fear and loss. For management, the challenge is not so much how to ‘avoid’ or suppress as these changes occur, but to try and understand them and provide effective support and mechanisms through which barriers can be directed into productive channels.
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