One of the most fundamental principles of change management is to involve as many stakeholders as possible at the initial stages of change. Making people involved in the process of change leads to a number of benefits out of which the most important ones include the greater number of ideas, higher degree of involvement, better communication about concerns of all the stakeholders and the probability of reduced resistance to change. The involvement of stakeholders at the initial levels of change management requires managers to be open to ideas and be able to communicate the need of change. This results in establishment of trust on those who are bringing the change and creates a sense of partnership in the process and reduces hostility and ambiguity.
If one reviews the ADKAR model of change by Prosci in 1998 (Hiatt, 2006), the need to create awareness about the change is the first and the foremost requirement. The awareness is followed by the desire to be changed and a result of this desire, more and more people like to gain knowledge about how they can change and increase their ability to change. However, the overall process is being driven, or initiated, by the step which creates awareness about change. The more effective the involvement of stakeholders in the planning of change, the more effective will be the implementation and designing of strategy for change.
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The key, however, to develop systems which may ensure maximum participation of stakeholders, is to develop effective communication channels to all the stakeholders. A clear and concise communication about the need of change helps the management to gain trust of all the workers. The stakeholders, when involved in a decision, planning and strategy designing processes, exert greater efforts for its success at the organization.
3.0 Evaluation of Systems Involving Stakeholders in Change
Change management is one such phenomenon which occurs throughout the organization and therefore the need to adopt different mechanisms for different departments is imperative. The general validity and reliability criteria used for general tests can also be applied to the situations where change is to be applied to the organizations. These two criteria for evaluating a systemââ‚¬â„¢s effectiveness can be applied to the change management situation however a considerable degree of change is required to implement these concepts in the change management initiatives. The focus needs to be shifted from the quantitative aspects to the qualitative dimensions.
A change management participation system which has proved to work well in one kind of change may nit show similar degree of effectiveness in the other situation. In any case, the systems which are developed with the help of employee participation and assert the need of opinions from all the internal and external stakeholders exhibit success when applied in one or the other type of change. Kotter (1996) asserted in his famous model for change that the change management system which have the highest employee participation have higher success rates as compared to the systems where stakeholders were involved at one stage of the change and not at others.
4.0 System and Processes to Ensure Involvement of Stakeholders at Marks and Spencer
When Sir Stuart Rose felt the need of change at Marks and Spencer, the first action he took was to meet the employees, suppliers, salesmen and all the mangers of the organization to get their opinions about what was needed in order to regain the market position of the company and to make the M&S a success in the retail industry once again. This gathering of opinions gave Stuart not only an insight into what was wrong at various levels of the organization ranging from the M&S stores to the research and development facilities, but also evoked a sense of urgency in the organization about the need of the change. In order to make people at the organization feel secure, Stuart realigned the system of rewards and benefits and tied the rewards to the performance of employees and not the seniority levels. This change in orientation of the rewards gave the workers a sense of participating in the change and not opposing it.
Moreover, Stuart provided the workers with a plan to implement and developed the thinking of Ceaser. He communicated the idea that this is the only plan for the survival of the organization and the career of employees with the organization. They called it ââ‚¬Å“Follow plan A as there is no plan B.ââ‚¬Â this clarity and assertiveness about the direction of the organization made all the efforts coherent and the result was a higher sales revenue, more loyal and satisfied workforce and a growing organization.
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Analysis of the two major moves taken by Stuart Rose at Marks and Spencer give the clear guideline that communicating the purpose of change, making employees aware how they can adjust into the changed situations and providing them with incentives once they make change permanent can make change management effective at any organization. This observation is consistent with the findings of Hiatt (2006) and use the guidelines provided by Kotter (1996).
5.0 Strategy for Managing Resistance to Change at M&S and its Effectiveness
One of the most prevalent causes of failure of any change at any organization is the lack of support to the changed processes and procedures from the implementers, the workers of the organization. As we look into the strategies adopted by the Marks and Spencer, it will be useful to review some factors which make employees resist change.
The fear of not fitting in the new systems as a result of change is the major threat which makes a vast majority of workers to resists the implementation of change. The psychological contract of employees with the current and long lasting ways of doing things makes then feel insecure with the new ways and the result is resistance to the change. This issue can be solved by making employees aware that change is to make their future secure in the organization by equipping them with the contemporary tools and techniques in the environment. Secondly, those who do not have the ability to learn new things or have a strong affiliation with the old ways, do not welcome change no matter how much you advocate its need. The fear of the new processes, the fear of their inability to adjust into the changed systems and structures and the uncertainty that either they will be able to adjust in new systems or not, are some factors which make employees resist change in most of the cases.
At Marks and Spencer, availability of only one plan to follow and the linking of rewards to performance were the two major factors which helped employees feel secure and participate actively in the change process. Nothing can undermine the importance of continuous and active communication with employees and it played its role in managing resistance at M&S. Stuart said that making employees feel rewarded and repeating the story of rewards gained as a result of changing themselves helped to manage resistance effectively (Stuart, 2007).
6.0 What it Take to Successfully Implement Change? Conclusion and Recommendations
Analyzing the example of Marks and Spencer and analyzing it in the light of ADKAR and 7-S model, it can be interpreted that continuous communication, awareness, changes in the overall working of the organization to make it coherent and involving stakeholders in the process of change are some of the features which are to be present in any change management system in order to make it effective and to manage change successfully.
According to ADKAR model, the awareness, desire and knowledge about change lead to a successful change management effort. As all these elements were present in the change management initiatives taken by Stuart Rose at M&S, the change took place effectively.
Similarly, the 7-S model suggests that a successful change is brought out only if the hard elements (structure, system and strategy) are well matched with the soft elements (style, staff, shared values and skills) (Peters and Waterman, 1982). This model also holds valid in the situation of Marks and Spencer where structure of the organization was modified according to the changed requirements of the business environment and style of management was adapted to the situation as well.