The present age of business is extremely competitive and the only tool for survival is adaptability which comes through constant change. Vested deeply in leadership styles, culture and communication, successful change is vital and yet hard to describe. The role of human resource as an active partner, focusing on the company's vision and ensuring open communication channels is fundamental for change in the organization. Change in any organization may be a result of a combination of elements; social, cultural, economic and/or environmental (Beer, 2002). Also, a lot of companies indulge in the change process to improve their overall efficiency. It is quite established that any kind of change in the organization, triggers emotions as the employees face the effects and end results of the transformation. The way and extent to which employees may experience emotions is largely shaped and influenced by the culture of the organization (Beer, 2002). Research suggests that when the employees' values were consistent with the organization, they embrace the changes more easily (Beardwell, 2004). However, the emotional response to cultural change is usually of a severe nature. It is known that when emotions were taken into account and respected the employees positively adapt to the change.
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In this paper I will discuss the importance of mission command as a driving agent for change. Furthermore, I shall also discuss the roles of leaders in order to bring about successful change and I will compare mission command to other leadership theories.
DEFINING CHANGE MANAGEMENT
Change management, which is the recognized method for bringing about any change in the organization, is defined as the procedural manner and implementation of skills and knowledge, resources and tools to control the outcomes of change (Mullins, 2002). More and more, change management is perceived as a vital part of every business to boost productivity and maximize profits by ensuring that the organization remains at par with the changes in the surroundings (Beer, 2002).
Nonetheless, to bring about an all-encompassing and manageable change, there are usually few barriers that have to be overcome. Usually, these barriers surface because of the organization's failure to address the vital elements of change management, which includes intelligent planning, proper communication and cooperation, often on many lines and varying cultures (Beer, 2002). To carry out the responsibility of a strategic business partner, human resources must be incorporated in the change management process from the very first step. After a thorough understanding of change, from employee perspective to novel tools and techniques, human resources play a very significant role to bring about change in any organization successfully.
Sudden shifts, authentic and drastic revolutions are the forces that are changing the nature and environment of businesses in the current age of globalization. The business arena is getting tougher and the competitors too resourceful as organizations are liberated from the traditional ways of operating (Machin, 2003)..
As mission command explains, global leaders are those who have the potential to steer through the intricacies of the transactional business world. (Kanter, 2003) They express the vision and plan in a multi-environment from a multiple functionality perspective so that they are able to pull along the entire team. This requires setting up examples thorough determined leadership and sharing the views of the team members. This implies fast paced development for individuals with potential along with a multi-cultural exposure, performance appraisals and developmental opportunities to keep them motivated. The teams led by global managers need a vision and a global fellow feeling (Beer, 2003). This means that high performance global organizations should create an all-encompassing culture where people feel that their interests match with those of the organization and hence they remain self-challenged in accordance with the mission dashboard. In such an environment, a sense of belonging prevails and motivation stems from common values and ideals, being involved in work that is both challenging and has meaning too. (Millward, 2007) Such organizations are not distracted by inward issues. They have a clear agenda and focus on competition, consumers and communities.
When managing changes in organizations, the role of a leader is extremely crucial. It draws on one of the key notions of leadership literature, on interpersonal influences and also as the significant role that managers assume in the business as change agents. Their influence is reflected in the change process as they catalyze it. Leaders today have to make decisions in extremely complex, viable and dynamic environments (Gilbert, 2007). The elements of mission command present the organization with a chance to do so more efficiently. For instance it enables the unity of efforts which drives focus while boosting momentum to realize the organization's targets. Communication promotes changes and broadens support for the company's goals. Communication has been emphasized throughout research as a key to successful leadership roles. Effective leaders understand the importance of communicating the company values and making sure that these values connects with followers and their needs. The management of change process also depends upon the type of organization under review. Different change management procedures are successful in different settings. In other words, success can be determined in terms of the organization's capacity to fit and adjust well in its changing environment. (Beer, 2002) An innovative organization is one in which forces of change such as learning is truly reflected, whereas the force of direction results from its environment,
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Mission command is a special yet risk taking method of operation as it empowers individuals within the organization to think about their relevance and question the suitability of the orders given to them. This results in more power with the individuals but also means that the work done will be with utmost efficiency. In order to keep up to date with the fast paced global business environment, it has now become a necessity to properly manage employees in the workplace. In efforts to excel in the global economy, organizations have evolved from personnel to human resource to finally human capital management (Pettigrew, 2000). Efficient organizations are those who strive to formulate productive and positive relations with employees globally. This ultimately becomes visible in the policies that demand full cooperation of the employees through using better proper performance and organizational change strategies (Kouzes et al, 2005). As technology continues to invade every aspect of our personal and business lives, it is predicted that the economic pressures will increase and will raise a demand for custom-tailored services transformations. It is therefore important for employee relations to stress on knowledge management and individuals at a personal level to gain competitive advantage (Burnes, 2000).
Analyzing the mission command's motto of empowering the employees creates a further challenge for the leaders. It becomes more difficult to manage and lead a team of empowered employees. The basic principle of leadership is to serve people in a manner that they feel their own worth and work towards the collective good of the company. In such a scenario, an organization following the principles of mission command will create its own leaders rather than selecting people with some natural skills already. The evolving model of industrial relations therefore, acknowledges that companies will be successful in any competitive situation only if they are able to raise the employees' skills through a structured method which ensures sustainable benefit and as a result, establishes a safe future for all the employees. When translated, it broadly means that efficient, mutually consented functioning and a basic understanding of workers' ambitions should be kept in mind. Overall, it emphasizes on recognizing employee's voice (Knights, 2002). Employee voice is described in various manners and is expressed through diverse paths. Another very frequently used way for employee voice is attitude surveys, which provide a flexible but not an interactive route. A few categories of employee voice encompass direct contribution in the organization and structuring of work and an indirect affect on major decisions which have an influence on the organization in the wider perspective via mutual committees or job councils.
Like the work environment, leadership style and culture all have a huge impact on the performance and efficiency output of any organization, in the same manner; employee relations too, greatly affect the performance of any organization (Kouzes et al, 2005). One way of leadership is transformational leadership where the leaders act beyond their agendas as emotions steer them to and another is transactional leadership where the leaders map efforts with proper rewards. Nonetheless, the basic constituents that make up good practice are proper skill training and development, job design, continuing consultation and guidance and involvement (Kotter, 2005). Along with this approach is the practice of fair and good management which promotes a positive self worth based on unbiased decisions and mutual trust incorporated into the organization's culture. The outcome of this approach is directly connected to company's performance as it affects the dedication level of employees, besides their motivation to perform and excel. For all these reasons it is very significant to maintain healthy employee relations. In UK, in any organization, from the employee's viewpoint of their agreement, their individual evaluations of success at work are influenced by a range of elements which encompasses the type of wok assigned, social incorporation in the work environment, involvement in decisions and most of all job security (Burnes, 2000).
Moreover, the paradigm shift promoting employee involvement has added a new meaning to the employee-manager relationship which has caused a deep change of culture in many business organizations. This also means that the paternalistic and technical beliefs that were prevalent have to be abandoned.
With time the reality and presence of the change is felt throughout the organization and the manager should be prepared to deal with any resistance to the change. Employees who continue to resist, remain agitated are often categorized as difficult ones (Pettigrew, 2000). But the truth remains that they feel more vulnerable and may need individual counseling or assurance from the manager to discuss the change and how it affects his performance expectations. It is also important to realize that change can be triggered from both internal and external elements. External triggers encompass developments in materials or technology, shift in consumer needs and demands, actions and innovations from the competitors, new regulations and laws, shifting local or global trade scenarios, political changes and/or changes in cultural and social values. Internal triggers can be innovations in service/product design, ideas to boost performance and morale, job restructuring, change in senior management, insufficient knowledge base, innovations due to training workshops, business relocation, identification of issues, better process of manufacturing and/or improved ideas for service delivery to the customers. Usually the actions of the top management are a reaction to some external agent; tougher competition, shifting market trends or better technology (Pettigrew, 2000).
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It is vital to realize the importance of change as the key to survival and growth in today's fast paced global economy. Reluctance to change poses the threat of becoming stale and unresponsive. The Organizations that are able to embrace and adjust successfully to the change process are the ones who involve their people in it. It is an undeniable fact that the employees of the organization have to face and adhere to the change process and they are crucial in bringing about change. Proper management of the human aspect of change has multifold benefits. Not only does it guarantee successful execution and proper utilization of the technical solutions, it also sets the perfect ground for implementation of future solutions. (Burnes, 2000)
The rate of organizational change has not declined in the past years and with the current pace of economy, it not likely to decline in the near future also. This leaves the organizations with only one option; to adapt and embrace change as efficiently as possible. Mission command offers an efficient way of achieving as it allows for risk taking and also for competition nurtured within. The swift and continuous developments in technology are leading organizations to change their systems and procedures. (Stickland, 2005) A lot of organizations take a lot of time to embrace and adjust to new economic trends while some implement them without difficulty. Globalization has shrunk distances and has eliminated the former obstacles in the market. In such a situation, unremitting change has become the soul of organizational life. The irony is that in most of the organizations, despite the ever changing economic scenario and the thrift competition, the operational plans and structures still reflect upon the previous ideals and realities, making the inertia of the organization the most critical barrier to change (Beardwell, 2004). This failure is a result of a variety of factors, like the absence of a change custodian or the fact that the person trying to initiate change is at a junior position, poor support from the management, lack of appropriate project management skills, all hopes pinned to one solution, lamely or loosely defined objectives and/or the focus of the change unit on a lot of projects instead of the key project. (Knights, 2002)