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Change management' is a set of decisions and actions used to formulate and implement strategies that will provide a competitively superior fit between the organization and its environment to enable it to achieve organisational objectives. No matter which type of industry is discussed, change management is an essential component in today's ever-changing business environment. Each organisation has unique requirements - their circumstance and resources differ, clientele and relationships are unique, cultures differ, and their aims, objectives and very ambitions may be different .It is about exploring choices and choosing pathways.
Although change management strategies and considerations are unique there are many resources that an organisation can tap into to facilitate planning and the management of change - case studies, theoretical planning models, examples of existing plans and documents (not to copy necessarily, but to be inspired by, or to adapt), and other practical tools.
Change should be forward-looking, otherwise the organization will gradually, perhaps imperceptibly, become more and more at odds with the environment in which it operates. Tim Hannagan (2005)-p24
Need for Change:
Managing change is a important activity at all levels of the organization in order to integrate that change within everyday practise and maximise the benefits and outcomes.
Specific reasons why organisations manage change are to:
maximise the opportunities presented by the proposed change
identify and overcome impediments
minimise disruption to programs and services
Prepare, & support staff, to ensure effective change and to achieve strategic goals.
New technology, changes in raw materials supply and competition are among the factors which create a need for change.
Change management activities
Change management activities listed within various research literatures included:
creating readiness for change and overcoming resistance to change
creating a vision, as well as articulating a compelling reason for the change
developing political support for the change
managing the transition of the organisation from its current state to the desired state
Sustaining momentum for the changes so they are carried to completion.
Types of Change
There are a many of ways in which change can be categorised. Most are related to the extent of the change and whether it is seen as organic (often characterised as bottom-up) or driven (top-down). Ackerman, L (1997).
Developmental change: is either planned or evolving; it's in first order, or an incremental. It is that change, which enhances or corrects existing aspects of an organisation, often focusing on the improvement of a skill or working culture.
Transitional change: It tries to achieve a known desired state that is different from the existing one. It is episodic, planned and second order, or radical.
The model of transitional, change is the basis of much of the organisational change literature (see Kanter, 1983 and Nadler & Tushman, 1989), change as a three-stage process involving:
â€¢ unfreezing the existing organisational equilibrium;
â€¢ moving to a new level (change); and
â€¢ refreezing it, in a new equilibrium level.
Refreezing occurs when the new point of view is integrated into:
â€¢ The total personality and concept of self; and
â€¢ Significant relationships.
Transformational change is a radical or second order in nature. It requires a transform in assumptions made by the organisation and its employees.
Transformation can result in an organisation that differs significantly in terms of structure, processes, culture and strategy. It may, therefore, result in the creation of an organisation that operates in developmental mode - one that continuously learns, adapts and improves itself.
Change can be planned or unplanned. Unplanned change just happens in the natural course of events or is imposed on an organisation by external forces. Organizations and individuals then react to these unplanned changes to minimise disruption, or to maintain or improve their situation.
Planned change is the result of consciously preparing for and taking actions to reach a desired goal or organisational state. It involves proactively making things different rather than reacting to changes imposed from outside organisation.
Picture showing the process of planned change (Wendy 2003)
Managing Planned Change
The purpose of change is to move an organisation from its present point to a different one which is more desirable in meeting its objectives. In managing this process the gap between the starting point and the desirable conclusion needs to be identified. The usual steps are:
Vision: A vision is a process of reminding everybody and clarifying to everybody the direction of the organisation; 'where are we going'?
Vision incorporates current realities and expected future conditions to create a desired organisational scenario and outcome within a relevant time frame: there must be a process by which the vision or mission of an organisation is converted in to an action plan. The purpose of action plan is to ensure that everybody in an organisation understands the objectives of the organisation, their responsibilities in relation to them, the achievement of stretch and leverage, and how to put these factors into action in order to achieve results.
Strategy - outlining how this is to be achieved through the development of objectives and goals; 'how are we going to get there'?
Strategy is the sense of purpose, looking ahead, planning, positioning, fit, leverage and stretching, while Strategic change is the implementation of new strategies that involve substantive changes beyond the normal routines of the organization. The decisions and actions used to formulate and implement strategies that will provide a competitively superior fit between the organisation and its environment to enable it to achieve organizational objectives is to be known as Strategic Management. (Tim hannagan-2005).
Different Approaches of Change
Organisational change can be accomplished by three approaches.
The structural: this is in which change is brought about by modifying the formal organization.
The technological: this is in which change is based on work measurement techniques, communications, systems, and computers and at last
The humanistic: this change is all about bringing about changes in its organisation members.(Durbin J.A,1978).
After understanding the theories on different approaches of change strategies, I comment that 'organisations can be changed via various strategies that focus upon structural, technological, or human factor. By keeping these cores in combinations, it can be noted that structure, technology and humans (people, employees) are interlinked. This can be briefed with an example like; giving an employee new mobile phone (technology) and more responsibility (structure) will surely influence his (human) attitude towards the work and amongst other employee also
Different stages of changes require different approaches in strategies in the organisation.
Monitoring/ Reinforcing change:
Progress is measured in order to observe and encourage change; 'this is how far we are?
This process involves determining, if the change is progressing as per planned and also accomplishing the desired results. During this phase statistics needs to be gathered through different communication schemes like feedback, surveys, and comparing those with the prescribed results. The whole process is to be reviewed and monitored at regular intervals and then adjusted as necessary.
Framework for change
The popular framework for change management, developed by Prosci in 1998 is the. ADKAR. ADKAR stands for:
Awareness - Employees got to have awareness that change is needed. It is more likely a communication plan
Desire - In this employees need a desire to create and support or resist change. It has more to do with stakeholders/people.
Knowledge - This says that employees should be aware what needs to change, and how to go about doing it. It is concerned with training the employees for the change.
Ability - this is about the change must be actionable. This deals with the capabilities in order to undergo the change like, resources, strategy etc,.
Reinforcement -this is in order to keep change, it must be monitored. This also helps in resisting the change.
California State University (CSU).'s IT system was such that ,any change that happens at the main campus will have to go through every satellite campus that means twenty three campuses all around and hundreds of their staff, and students should adapt their IT systems also. So managing with this change at a small organization might be a terrible by itself; and it is even worse at a large organization like CSU.
But, instead of simply washing away their hands up in repulsion, the IT dept decided to introduce a automated change management system. Using Cisco's Pace functionality, the university can now make upgrades that will automatically make changes to the entire system. And, to make their change management strategy even more effective, they are into defining who can use what system and what changes they can make to their designated area. Their change management strategy considered the human factor and that not only includes the automated system, but also clear roles of change so that it will reduce the confusion and issues when a change has to be instituted.
The above example is a combination of both technology and humanistic approaches of strategic change, similarly; more combinations can be worked out according to the planned results. And by taking the feedback with proper communication channel and that monitoring the results and taking necessary steps to improve or continue the change is essential.
Barriers for change:
Organisational barriers may arise when little top-management support or where there is support for strategic planning at senior management level but little support for this process being carried down to middle managers and at operational level. Even if there is support, the strategy and strategic plan may be too abstract or too statistical to be translated in to operational terms. There is a danger that too much emphasis on planning will lead to very well produced plans, but they may not be leading to implementation, and hence the operational activities ignore the plan and are based on resourcing for solving the problems. Therefore a change needs to involve everyone concerned in both the process and in the agreeing the objectives and the approach to its implementation.
Environmental barriers may become important when a critical and rapid change circumstance surrounds the organisation and discourage the strategic planning. This is not to ignore the external factors on an organization. Organisations at all levels require a sense of purpose and require strategic planning to keep the pace of moving in that desired direction, but if they don't move in that direction that proves to be a dead-end.
Overcoming the barriers to change
Overcoming barriers of strategic planning is a very important part of developmental change process. And the following steps are to be followed in managing the developmental planned change in an organisation:
Top management support: This is very important that the senior level management not only supports the change but also get involved in it. This impacts all levels of the organisation in make the sense of importance for change and will for change in that organisation.
Allocation of responsibility: Someone has to be responsible for the successful completion of the planned change.
Consultation and communication: This involves wide range of people in the process of change. All the people in the organisation need to be able to obtain and understand information relevant to planning and any plan with which they are concerned.
Training: Individual barriers can be lowered by the process of training in implementation of the planned change, particularly those associated with lack of confidence in strategy planning, fear of failure, and willingness to relinquish established systems.
Reward and Encouragement: This can be attached to the outcomes of the planned developmental change. It can be either for individuals or in teams. These systems will increase the attention paid to planning and more commitment in achieving it.
Contingency strategy: It consists of preparing an alternative course of action in case if the preferred plan either becomes failure or impossible or no longer desirable. These plans provide safety-valve for individuals or groups of people who have doubts about the ability of plans to success, answering the so called the worse scenario's 'what if?'