Change is a process of alteration that can cause good or bad effects upon the subjects to which it is applied. In organizations, change can be applied to processes and methods,technology improvement and in many more ways within an organization. Adoption of new idea or a behavior by an organization is known as organizational change.(daft,1995).According to Hammer and Champy(1993), change is normality.
"Change destabilizes the status quo"(Brton,2001). It disturbs the processes and systems form their equilibrium.
In our daily lives and routines,we know that things change rapidly.these include our banking systems,payment methods,billing processes,educational systems and so much more due to which we are provided quality,efficiency and improvement in all aspects related to these similarly for organizations, the change that they have to implement into their system to provide them a competitive edge, is not an easy task. Indra(2007) in her journal associated change with opportunity. These can be related because whenever a change is implemented, organizations get the opportunity to make themselves more productive,more efficient or cost effective change can be taken in terms of opportunity by organizations to make them competitive. Jyothi Raghavan(2005) related change in organizational setup as the introduction of a new business process or a new technology.
Richard Leucke(2004) highlighted four major types of change initiatives namely structural,cost cutting,process and cultural change. However, technological,environmental and demand driven change cannot be neglected at all circumstances. These types or dimensions to change are sometimes called drivers of change. Drivers of change are motives for an organization to implement change(black,2008)
according to Handy(1980)broadly forces of change are of two types;internal and external forces of change.among the ones listed above, policies,structural,cost cutting,process and cultural are internal forces where as technology,environment and demand are external forces for change. The internal forces that drive change are often planned forces to implement change.
In today's fast paced environment, organizations are acquiring each other,merging with each other,expanding themselves to get the greatest market share(Micheal Beer,2000). All of these activities require massive changes in infrastructures,processes,technology and even work force.
The first step to manage change,according to Jeffery and Linda Russel(2006)is to identify the force that initiates the need to change..whether the force driving organization to move in a different way is internal or external,it may effect each and every one associated with the organization in positive or negative manner.
Stephen P Robins,Timothy A judge and Timothy T Campbell(2010) have discussed change to be a cause of stress among employees n any organization. According to their book on organizational behavior the introduction of technology in any workplace causes drastic changes in the work setup and hence is a cause of stress among the employees.adaptation to new technology has become a major type of change that is implemented in order to face the competitors. Robert in 2003 argued the same sin his book Managing Change And Transition. Laurie J Mullins(2007) defined internal forces of change as from within the organization and external forces as from outside the organization. Infact more than 23% of population in the USA alone are working from home through the use of technology(Leucke, 2003) which explains its impacts and involvement in today's world to a great extent.
"Change is ainfluence. It is an inescapable part of both social and organizational life and we are all subject to continual change of one form or another"(Richard Leucke,2003)
It is obvious form Richard's researh that change is inevitable and irresistible part of life and it effects individuals as well as organizations.
Dr Jain McCormick(2002) gave the life of human beings a perfect example of change,starting form his birth,ending after his death and the phases are a result of change.
Since change always effect people who come in contact with it, it is important to understand human psychology, and acceptance of change in human beings.
Change almost always indicates disruption that is massive in nature. People tend to avoid it because they do not know what consequences they are going to face in their daily lives and job routines after it is implemented. However, it is essential for personal as well as organizational growth and success according to Conner(1990).Hatch and Cunliffe(2006) argued that organizations should identify the costs of not changing with that of the benefits they will get after changing themselves. This approach would help them realizing the importance of the change in their systems for survival of the company due to increasing competition.
"Changing in life style trends are effecting the way people view work, purchases, leisure time and society "(Paton & McClman,2008)
Beer, Russell and Spector in 1990 gave a series of steps to introduce change in organizational setup. These steps ensure employee participation and acceptance to change at all levels to minimize resistance abiding by companies strategies an goals. The steps are;problem identification and its possible solution, development of a shared vision, leadership identification, focus on results, implementing change from small units and spreading it gradually, checks and balances while implementation, monitoring and responding to problems caused by its implementation while practicing these steps, HR department may play a vital role in employee training and coaching in order to minimize resistance by them. If all aspects of change are clearly explained to them ,it might help them understanding importance of change and helps them in accepting it. Some of the techniques Hr department can use is to conduct psychological and personality tests(Mayers Briggs personality test) to check that what type of employees are their and how many of them would resist change. The employees having a judgingpersonality would like to accept change if it is gradual and pre planned whereas the pperceivingtype of employees would be more flexible and adaptive of changing processes and systems. Another twoo extreme type of personalities discovered by Discover Learning Inc. in Greensboro, North Carolina by Costello(2005) are conservors and originators. As the names indicates, conservors are strictly adhesive to old methods whereas originators are the ones who take initiatives in identifying change and adopting them all at once.
Leucke(2003) gave seven tactics to overcome employee resistance to change in his management's guide to survive change. These tactics include education and communication with employees to help them identify the need for change, participating them in change decisions, building support activities to overcome their change reactions, implementation of change in a positive and friendly manner, selecting change friendly and flexible people from employees in order to get help from them to make other employees accept change happily, applying change with direct force and lastly applying change with indirect forcing methods. All these tactics can be utilized depending upon the situation and level of resistance from employees in a particular environment. The idea is to implement change in such a manner that it becomes integral part of organizational setup and employees accept it understanding they do not have much options left.
Lewin(1947)presented 3 step model to explain changing nature of things. This model explains organizational change and argues people are the main characters that either support or resist change. According to Lewin, people tend to move backward to their previous behavior if the old habits are not discarded entirely. IN order to discard the old methods entirety, Lewin presented his 3 step model. The first step is unfreezing from the existing change which is achievable only when the need to change is recognized. The flexibility in organization's previous state to adapt to something would help it to move towards the second step that is "moving/changing" in which the organization is motivated to move towards a certain change that may be a new technology, a change in product design, a new strategy or a diverse work force(Costello,). So It is essential to educate people in order for them to feel the need for change so that they do not move in backward direction. In the changing/moving step, the organization is actually changing itself to a new state. In the 3rd and last step, the changes are supported and encouraged by providing rewards and benefits to employees.
This model can be used to implement any change in any type of organization due to its simplicity and conciseness. The most important aspect of this model is to ensure employee participation right from the first step when they are educated and communicated about the need of change in any of their systems. Although the theory given by Kurt Lewin was presented in social and behavioral perspective, yet it is highly related to organizational change because the organizations are run by societies and society comprise of people. It also helps dealing the psychology of humans because change is a complex and powerful psychological experience and human beings react negatively to change due to lack of understanding and fear of the after effects of change.
Lewins theory reveals the behavior of changing organizations as moving from an equilibrium state to a certain direction in order to achieve a quasi-state equilibrium
due to advances in technology and introduction of computerized methods, there are numerous theories that explain acceptance and implementing of change in a better way than lewin's 3 step model.but the importance given by his model to communicating with and participation of employees in change process cannot be ignored completely.
Organizations deal with their employees in a number of ways as suitable to them while implementing something different. The idea is to develop a sense of trust between employees and the change leaders by shared commitment and mutual decision making process so as to minimize the resistance caused by them.this resistance might be caused due less desirable hours of work, separation from a co worker, more computerized work etc
For example Leucke(2003) cited the company in which a tor mental rainstorm caused destruction and serious damage to the offices but the negative change in infrastructures was cured cleared within 24 hours. After a few days the workers started complaining about breathing problems that might be related to the earlier rainstorm. Realizing this problem would be the cause of turnover,resistance, absenteeism and panic, the manager replaced all the carpets of the offices to ensure employee health and safety. This type of action won the hearts of employees and help building "organization loyalty". It also helped the workers who experienced disastrous rainstorm at work place in forgetting the hassle and misery.
In such types of changes where management usually cannot take control until it has effected the organization, there should be an alternative strategy that motivates people and help them forgetting the unwanted change. Such situation was experienced by Shackleton when he started his ship journey from England to antarctic shore. Their aim was to reach the antarctic but they were trapped by an ice pack in sea which forced them to remain in the sea for 15 months. The unforeseen change in strategy was handled by Shackleton very wisely by immediately changing his goal or objective of the journey, by keeping his employees busy after presenting a new goal, by sharing difficulties with them through communication and involvement of employees. The result was survival of the crew and their safe return to England when the ice melted.
The above examples prove that effective and strong leadership is vital to deal with employee panic and resistance caused by any unwanted and UN planned change as changes are not always very much pre planned (Argenti,2002)and is often a result of crisis. Infact change and crisis are very closely related (Zook and Rigby, 2001) It has been observed that during the times of crisis people need support from their leaders. This is why in times or wars, the commanders get themselves mingled with their fighting troops to reduce the stress level among them.(leucke, 2003)
The stages in reaction to change must be identified by the leaders of change in order to deal with it properly.these stages are shock,defensive retreat, acknowledgment,acceptance and adaptation. Hultman in 1979 associated change reactions with the death of a loved one.when some one loses his loved one, the first reaction to this change would be shock and fear leading to their defensive retreat. After some time, they acknowledge themselves of the loss and accept it as it is. Smart mangetout would attempt to support and communicate with their employees during these phases to reduce their panic and halo them acknowledging and adapting it quickly. They can formulate a checklist to ensure proper remedy of panic caused due to alteration of any previous process.this idea is supported by Jick(1990) by providing a number of bullet points for managers to deal with change. They include keeping cool while dealing with others, doing the best to handle pressure, responding non defensively and agreeing with resistor's point of views, creation of innovative solutions to problems arising due to resistance, risk taking and handling strategy, setting priorities to handle change resistance, demonstration of goals and objectives of the company to emphasis need to change, openness while dealing with resistors, participation of management in the actual change process, and decision making in a straight forward manner. Although this checklist is good for management, it fails to adhere to the importance of employee participation in change decisions discussed by Lewin's model.
While dealing with resistance to change two approaches to change were presented by Beer and Nohria(2000).they presented two theories to deal with changes namely "theory E "and "theory O". they argued that theory E is economic approach to change and would be applicable when the goal of change is to increase shareholder's wealth. In this theory, organizations do not involve employees at any level while implementing change and it is rather forced upon them regardless of the level of resistance they show. Whereas "Theory O" is capability approach to change and emphasizes on employee ability to accept and respond to change. It explains the importance f adapting change for their survival as a business and chance takes into account employee participation at all levels. Employees are provided with the education needed by them to accept the reality that change is in inevitable part or life and is essential for their growth. For instance Hewlett-Packard in 1980's used Theory O to implement change by valuing its employees. Ulrich(1996) discussed the transition of HP, using "theory O" by giving people autonomy and reducing bureaucracy in his book "Human Resource Champions ".
there is no guarantee of success by use of either approaches to change however the use of first theory can be done when organizations have a high level of centralization and decision makers are always leaders. On the other hand, the theory O is suitable in companies where decision making is decentralized and employee participation is valued such as companies like HP.
According to Gestalt field theorists, change is associated with learning process. It requires some physical action to take place as a result of learning a new skill, a new technology, method of transaction etc. An example of change as learning process is to adopt paper free environment in organizations after the introduction and knowledge of technologyy in replacement of paper work.when people learn how tooperatee with technology instead of using paper, they "changed" their working style.
Beckard & Harris,1987 presented a formula:
where c is the change that will incur, D is the level of dissatisfaction with the present status qua, V is the desirability to change, FS is the first practical step to change and R is the resistance to change. According to the formula ,it is clearly emphasized that change is only possible when the desirability to change and the steps for implementation to change are greater in magnitude and significance than the level of resistance. This is very true in practice because if the resistance overcomes the desirability to change, the change will never incur or may incur for a very short term and be reversed.
So in order to overcome the resistance, management must take action quickly and effectively. The use of project management techniques while implementing change practically is of great significance. Communication vertically will help when people will respond positively if their opinion is given importance. Scheduling for effective and quick implementation is the key to success in change management. Hence the planning process to develop change strategy should be developed with great attention to detail. Projectt management techniques such as documenting the list of tasks and task breakdown structures and frequent meetings to discuss over all progress of implementation are yet another point to remember.employee training andguidancee to get them acknowledged with the new processes/technologies/methods being implemented should be given first priority. Providing them with manuals to operate new machinery installed is a good way to help them reduce their fear to adopt the change. According to Cameron & Green(2004), managers must treat the employees with dignity when dealing with change in their organization. According to Green & Cameron, sense of urgency, a new visions,immediate planning to achieve the new vision, improvements in plans and linking change with the success are some important rules to be followed by managers while dealing with resistance to change. These set of rules will enable them to relate the pros and cons of changing the system.
Blaming others (Kegan,2001)for the cause of trouble and crisis is one of the things that should be avoided during change process.
Summing up the arguments, Change should be implemented with full participation and involvement of employees to make it long term and effective. When an employer helps his employees coping and accepting changes, it might lead to a happy,friendly and healthy work place. Being flexible with people, understanding their concerns, providing them with training, coaching and formal assistance in order to improve their vision about the change are some of the golden rules to apply changes at workplace.To bridge the communication gap between top management and workers, a communication strategy must be formulated, followed by an extensive training programme that help the employees to learn the need for change and the skills required to accommodate themselves with the change(WEB 1)