Women service in United States Army dates back to 1775, whereby they nursed the ill and the wounded, laundered and mended clothing and cooked for the troops in camps and campaign services. Women are an invaluable and essential part of the U.S. Army because they currently serve in 91 percent of all Army occupations and make up 14.3 percent of the active Army (U.S. Department of Defense, 2005). Statistics reveal that the number of active duty women officers increased in nontraditional occupations such as engineering and maintenance, tactical operations, medicine, supply and procurement among others from 42 percent in 1995 to 45 percent in 2004, while the number of women in active duty in the grade of major and above increased from 11.2 percent in 1995 to 12.7 percent in 2004. The same is true for active duty women in the grade of master's sergeant and above who went up from 8.3 percent in 1995 to 9.6 percent in 2004. In the grades GS-13 through senior executive service, the percentage of women increased from 18.9 to 18.9 percent (Williams, 2005). Innovation and change are necessary components of growth in any organization as they contribute to employee empowerment and better results.
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Key Elements for Innovation and Change and Their Dynamics
Drucker (2005) highlights innovation strategy as a key element for innovation and change in any organization. This involves fundamentally changing the overcharging approach taken by an organization to their core business. Innovation strategy is a combination of where to focus resources and how to focus with an aim of achieving desired goals and objectives. It may involve devising new strategies to improve U.S. Army services.
According to Hill and Jones (1998), innovation skills are an integral element of innovation and change. Development of new capabilities and enhanced competencies within the U.S Army as a whole, then sharing and leveraging them among the organization's various constituencies, including women; in order to get the job done while improving quality of Army services.
Innovation shared values, focusing on shared beliefs and common goals in U.S. Army to drive aspirations and strategies that guide activities and initiatives of the organization is a key strategy for innovation and change (Terry, 2008). By emphasizing on finding the ever changing ways to impart and build on it's strongly shared beliefs and values in the society, the US. Army could involve women in more challenging roles within the military service.
Ducker (1995) points out innovation systems as a key element for innovation and change. This includes changing how the day to day business of an organization is done. Involving combat women in U.S. Army is one way of creating a disruptive innovation for positive change within the military service to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in getting the job done as the resources become scarcer and scarcer.
Innovation structure is an important element for innovation and change (Freeman, 1982). This may involve changing the design of an organization or a network of organizations in innovative ways to create exciting roles for women in the U.S. Army. Refining who does what regardless of gender and how the pieces work together based on qualifications and effectiveness can help the U.S. Army to work more efficiently.
Dynamic Plans for Change
Change should be a strategy to accomplish an overall goal and should not be done for the sake of change (McNamara, 2010). Organizations must undertake organizational wide change to evolve to a different level in their life cycle. McNamara (2010) points out that successful change should be visionary, persuasive and consistent. It must involve top management and should be carried out as a team-wide effort. Furthermore, change can only be sustained when the structures of an organization are modified, with strategic plans, policies and procedures in place to accommodate the desired change (Hill and Jones, 1998).
Kotter (2010) insists on creation of urgency towards change in order to spark the initial motivation and get things moving. This involves identifying potential threats and drawing scenarios of what could happen in future if change is not implemented, examining opportunities to be exploited and requesting support from all members of the organization. A powerful coalition is important to convince people that change is necessary (Kotter, 2010 and Hill and Jones, 1998). To lead change, it is important to bring together coalition or team of influential people whose power comes from a variety of sources such as job title, status, experience and political importance.
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Kotter (2010) insists that bringing powerful coalition for purpose of change involves identifying true leaders in an organization, asking them for emotional commitment, working on team building within the coalition and strengthening the team's weak areas. Hill and Jones (1998) points out the importance of creating vision for change by determining values that are central to the change and creating a strategy to execute the vision.
Communicating the vision is a vital tool in planning and implementing change (McNamara, 2010 and Kotter 2010). People's concerns should be honestly and openly addressed, while applying vision for change to all aspects of operation, from training to performance reviews. Other dynamic plans for change include building on the change by setting goals to continue on achieved momentum and anchoring the change in corporate culture (Kotter 2010).
Change as a Catalyst for Innovation
Change has always been a catalyst for innovation because it provides a framework for organizations to become competitive and makes private industry to be strong advocates at moving governments from controlling, regulating and protecting system to one that facilitates, fosters and beings a catalyst for growth and innovation. Changing organizational systems of management and operation for better performance to achieve quality results has often been as a result of innovation.
Positive Worker Empowerment as a Product of Change and the Power of Collaboration for Positive Change
The primary goal for worker empowerment is to enhance employee's participation in decision making. Positive worker empowerment provides employee motivation by providing employees with an opportunity to attain intrinsic rewards from their job such as greater sense of accomplishment, feeling important and appreciated for their services (Katrina, 2010).
Research has revealed that motivated employees work harder than the ones who are not motivated. Positive worker empowerment increases productivity through better decisions as workers are involved in identifying problems and working out solutions together with management as a team. Positive worker empowerment enables employees to develop personally and professionally (Ahmed, 2007).
This paper has discussed importance of change and innovations as well as the key elements for change and innovation in an organization. Organizations that embrace change as a catalyst for innovation achieve better results by involving, empowering and motivating employees.