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Change is an ongoing process in order to bring the system and process in line with the factors prevailing in the external and internal environment of the organization. Change is affected by internal and external forces such as market place, government laws and regulations, labor market, economic changes, changes in organizational strategies, workforce, new equipment and employment attitude. Change is important to usher in long-term success in an organization. (ref: http://dictionary.bnet.com/definition/organizational+change.html,26 November 2009, 12.31) Organizational change involves change in daily work we are doing, daily using tools and techniques, management, working environment and interacting people. The changes revolve around processing and communicating informations. Organizational change can be either planned or unplanned.
Reason for change:
The entire work world is becoming more complex and changes in this dynamic workplace revolve more rapidly. The lack of environmental stability and predictability requires that managers and organizations continually adopt or manage change to survive. There are many reasons for transformation as a businessperson or business communicator. some reasons for change are described below:
Heightened Global Competition:
These days from small companies to large companies are involving slowely to global companies rather than local market. Moving to global competition means daling with people who are different from you who are unknown for you. To be comfortable and engage with their different religion, customs, lifestyles and business, the change becomes necessary. Cultural knowledge and sensitivity, patience, tolerance and flexibility are the skill and attitudes to become successful communicaiton in the global competition.
Flattened Management Hierarchies:
In tradition, the organizational informations flows through many level of managers and no necessary to have skilled communicator employee. But, today the world changed dramatically. Infact, almost all employees are compulsory to be skill and excellent communicator because managers as well as front line employeesx read and write their message and participate in decision making. so, according to flatter organization every employee be a skilled communicator.
Expand Team Based Management:
To take a step in global competition, companies today are turning to the concept of team-based operations. Working in the team-based operations means to share information and work together. Companies are hiring communication coaches to train the employees to work in team based management. Smart companies hires employees who have these skills already.
Innovative Communication Technologies:
This is the new generation where nearly every works are done through computers. Informations are exchanged through cellular phones, e-mail, fax, voice and setellite communications and laptops. Companies fix the meetings with internatiol associates through teleconferencing and videoconferencing. They collets informations, sells products and services through internet and web. So, to work in these type of company we should be rightly skilled.
New Work Environments:
The working environments has been changing due to internet and global competition. Through the mobile technologies, many businessman are telecommunicating internationally. They can work of organization from their home also and some of them are practicing in hotelling and hot-desking.
Increasingly Diverse Workforce:
In an organization, diversity also plays a important role. A diverse staff is better able to read trends and respond to the increasingly diverse customer base in local and world markets (ref: Business Communication Process and Product, Mary Ellen Guffey, 4th Edition). A team worker and experienced persons can create products according to customers demand.
Types of change:
The organizational change is made for achieving organizational goal, revenue growth and increase profitability. The change of internal environment of the company includes strategic, sturctural, process-oriented and people-centered.
In order to achieve the organizational goals and to fulfill demands of the external environments, it becomes necessary for management to adjust the firm's strategy. The company may change all organizational activities they are adopting while adjusting company's strategy such as it may change vatiety of products it sale, selling techniques, target market, proprietors, level of global activities and other joint business arrangements.
The change in heirarchy of authority, goals, structural characteristics, management systems, administrative procedures are all engaged in the category of structural change. These redesign the structure of the company is important due to influences from the external environment.
Process-oriented change involves the techniques of manaufacturing the organizational products, process of assembling products and delivery systems. Organization may need to do process-oriented change to achieve optimum work flow and increase productivity.
Communication, leadership, motivation and interaction within the team are the changes that relate to change in people-centered. It is a change which displays attitude, skills and performance of the employee. People-centered change is necessary in order to watch the employees improvements in solving problems, learning new skills and their responsibility towards their jobs and organization.
Communication means transmitting an ideas and information between people, organizations or palces which delivers from sender to receiver using various mediums and supports. Communication may take place in varous forms such as writing, actions, speech and gestures. The functions of communication are control, motivation, information and emotional expression.
The message is encode by a sender who has an idea, attitude, skill and knowledge that he or she want to share with others. When the receiver will receive message he or she will decode and interpret the message that will help for sending feedback to the sender. Communication process becomes successful only when the receiver understands the message what the sender intended to say.
Steps of Organizational Change:
The start of change process involves translating the need of change into a desire of change deciding who will manage the change and especially where an external change agent is introduced to help with this process, establishing a workable and effective change relationship. The change may start with a formal announcement or it may be less explicit but at some point it typically involves a review, feasibility study or project. There are three steps of change which is introduced by Kurt Lewin (1951)
Unfreeze is the first step in changing behaviour process. Unfreezing is important to motivate change and confrom of individual resistance as well as group. Change requires move some existing factors and add some new factors. Unfreezing can be achieve through increasing the direct forces, decreasing the restraining forces and finding a combination of first two process.
Movement is second step where new behaviour becomes habitual which is necessary while moving to new level of equlibrium from targeted system. Leadership is very improtant to encourage employees to view limitation from fresh prespective, information, work together and connect & respect the group view.
Refreezing is the last step in changing behaviour process. Refreezing is the process where new self-concepts as well as identity are developed and fresh interpersonal relationships are established.
From the above diagram, it is clear that there are three level of management, top managers, middle manager and first line. Top managers receive information came from second and third level managers and identify opportunities for innovation, recognizing problem areas and implementing solutions, selecting critical information from masses of data, understand business using technology and model. Middle level manager give and take help to lower level manager and transfer informations to the upper level. They need to have ability to identiy the threats and oppoetunities and works for department, customer focus, multi tasking, negotiating, project management and reviewing operations of each and every level of organization. Lower level managers follows the command of top level managers and help for daily routine activities. For certain change they may oppose till they will not get well command communication from top level management. Sometime they may resist change.
The exchanging of information, messages and ideas within the organization is recognized as Internal Communication. The internal communication takes place between employees, supervisors, coworkers, subordinates and board members. It is generally used to develop new products, management to change and improvement, motivate staffs, inform management of progress and policies. In an organization, it is very important to interact with eachother in order to do their job. Communication freely help employees develop a clear sense of organization mission, vision and target where you are today and what you want to achieve in near future. It maintains healthy flow of information and quick feedback. Good and clear internal communication may be a cause of success of the organization where as the bad communication may be the reason of unsuccess of the organization. Internal communication can take various forms such as team briefing, interviewing, employee or works councils, meetings, memos, an intranet, newsletters, the grapevine, and reports (ref: http://dictionary.bnet.com/definition/internal+communication.html, 26 nov 09, 12.18 PM). To make a internal commuinication effective, there is necessity of effective skills in communications, including basic skills in listening, speaking, questioning and sharing feedback. Internal communication may be both oral and written.
The flow of information in organization:
To maintain a healthy flow of information within the organization effective communicator use both formal and informal channel. Sometimes employee of an organization resist change due to ambiguity and uncertainty, comfort of old habits, concern over personal loss of status, money, authority, friendships and personal convenience. The different communication supports that helps to bring change in an organization are as participation, negotiation, cooperation, coercion, support and manipulation.
Formal Communication Channels:
Formal channels of communication generally follow an organization's hierarchy of command (Business Communication Process and Product, Mery Ellen Guffy, 4th Edition, Page no. 20). The messages of policies and procedures flow from upward to downward and information about office flows through three directions.
Formal communication network
The downward information of organization generally flows from top level management. The downward messages includes job plans, policies and procedures. These messages are passed by applying different chain of command through decision makers. These days managers are concious to deliver the informations, they now deliver the informations through meetings, videos, news letters, announcements and company interanets instead of using traditional long methods. The top level managers also give instructions and feedback to the employers about their performance. Companies are improving themselves using shortcuts rather than long communication chains.
Normally, the upward flow information provide feedback from lower-level staff to higher level management. The feedback includes product, customer information, customer information, departmental meetings, reports, phone messages, e-mail and suggest method for improving efficiency. There are some employees in the organization who does not believe their employer, who scared to communicate openly, who have negative sence of being manipulated, tricked and criticized. Considering these types of employees, now a days some companies are giving communication trainings, asking for update customers complaints and immediate actions, making friendly environments, applying motivational schemes and fixing regular staff meetings.
In horizontal flow, the information transmit horizontally between the employees at the same level. This type of flow helps to co-ordinate workers task, slove problems, share informations inorder to produce best results. For this, they also resolve conflict through horizontal channel. Ego, prejustice and poor communication skills are the main obstacles of all downward, upward and horizontal flow of communications. Companies are involving employees in teamwork activities, focousing on team achievement than in individual achievement providing reward to improve horizontal communications.
It is not necessary that all the information within an organization runs through formal channels. The non-official information transmits through informal channels named grapevine. Grapevine delivers unofficial news of both personal and organizational among friends and coworkers. These type of channels based on social relaitonships. Some managers thing that grapevine is an best source of collecting information abouts employees character and problems because through grapevine an individual gets chance to discuss about work.
Actually, employees also want to know what is happening within an organization which is their right. However, intellegent companies transmits information to employees through formal communication channels. On the other hand, the grapevine is reducing autometically.
The change in organization may bring lots of obstacles and challanges to the managers. The manager need to face obstacles and challanges while supporting internal communication in terms of change are competition, technological change, globalization, understanding customer wants and time gap. Managers should follow different communication medium while bringing certain kind of change in an organization such as face to face, telephone, postal mail, fax, group meetings, hotlines, email, formal presentations, memos, publications, bulletin boards, audio/ videotapes, teleconference, computer conference, voice mail and video conference. For example, Waitrose want to decrease the number of employees due to ariavel of new technologies and many staffs does not have idea of this echnology in its organization. In this case, managers needs to face lots of challenges, at first whom to fire is the main issue. In this situation, manager needs to discuss very promptly and smoothly with board of directors and union members.Various barriers or obstacles that can be seen which will impact on change while dealing with communication process within the organization. The obstacles or challanges that creates Barriers in communication are: language barrier, cultural barrier, individual barrier, channel barrier, interpersonal barrier and organizational barrier.
Challanges dealing with an international team:
This is the generation of Globalization. Organizations also deals internationally by expanding their business activities accross geographical and organizational boundaries.. Dealing with international team is very challanging job for the managers, they need to have knowledge of cultural differences, language differences, political differences, environmental differences, social differences and technical differences, and employees orientation for effective communication. Managers should not be confused with facts and must have capabiltiy of telling truth. Managers should use simple language and understand the perception with whom he or she is dealing, assume differences until similarity proved, take responsibility to communication, show respect, tolerate ambiguity and empathize the receivers feeling and point of view.
In conclusion, Manager is the personnel who act as a leader, negotiator and motivator and work for fullfilling organizational goal. Manager faces lots of challenges while bringing change and should cope with various obstacles with simple and effective communication tools. The recommendation with conclusion how manager should communicate in the context of change are as follows:
- Planning the change well in advance with better communication.
- Motivating employees and using somewhat democratic management incase of need.
- Understanding employees perceptions and managing conflict at work.
- Understanding language and culture while dealing with international teams.
- Tell in advance for employees benefits and provide required training to employees while bringing changes for well organization management.
- Identifying clear goals, objectives, missions, visions and targets at each level of organization.
- Understand managerial priorities and demands.
- Ensuring and making well financial position of an organization.
- Understand concept of change, communication and principle of management including the basic rules, functions and skills of management.
- Understand the nature of strategic management and go through today's need of society.
- Guffy, ME. Business Communication Process and Product, 4th Edition
- Hayes, J. (2006). The theory and practise of change managment. 6th Edition Pearson.
- Burnes, B. Managing change, 4th Edition Prentise Hall
- Hayes, J. and Hyde, P.(1998), A process model of change