In the present economic world management Style can be defined as the style adapted to control or lead a business efficiently for the attainment of objectives set by the business. So the effective management style helps in maintaining the motivation of the employees and as a result enhances productivity. It is very important to look at the prominent management styles and how they function in the real world before we draw in to change process.
A top-down/command and control style management can be defined as a style where the leader or small number of people takes all the decisions on their own and employees are told what to do and are closely controlled. The top management does not consult his subordinates or takes their opinion in consideration for decision making and dominates and controls the entire task. The person or persons who possess these personal qualities would be task oriented. In other way this can be described as a centralised way of governance. When the changes needed to be taken place involve high risks and the circumstances request quick and immediate decision making, this kind of management style proves to be the most effective. But it involves the use of power and fair amount of politics than the other management styles. As a result this causes demotivation as it implies the skills and ideas of others being ignored and it can also lead to the alienation of the staff.
Typical characteristics of a centralised structure of decision making, or governance within an organisation would be an autocratic structure, because everyone is answerable to the leader or the top management. This brings advantages to the organisation in terms of focus and clarity of purpose; everyone is likely to know the company’s goals and what is expected from them. Consistency is often a beneficial by-product, possibly because of lack of variety or maybe the attention to detail that becomes viable. The speed at which decisions can be made and passed down to the relevant persons is an obvious advantage. A high degree of flexibility is also associated with centralisation; the ability to change direction with the market is a valuable characteristic. However, it becomes clear that too much responsibility can be placed upon one person, usually the owner or manager. An autocratic nature usually has very little opinion, points of view or other valuable information passed up the hierarchy; wholly undemocratic, emphasised by the lack of accountability and scrutiny. Centralised models of decision making tend to only work effectively in small organisations, most of the associated advantages are lost in large organisations, for example, it becomes much more difficult for employees to share one uniting aim or goal, speed of decision and information flow would undoubtedly be adversely affected in larger hierarchies etc, as would flexibility.
Implementation of change in the organization will require the leader to weigh resistance to change at both the individual and organizational levels. Because change invariably threatens the status quo, it inherently implies political activity. The following chapter looks at different kinds of leadership qualities and how they managing the change process with in an organization.
Leadership is cautiously defined as the process of influencing people and providing an environment for them to achieve team or organization objectives. (McShane, 2002). Effective leaders can help individuals or teams define their goals and identify ways to achieve them. Effective leaders also create conditions that enable others to realize their potential in the workplace. Leadership styles will influence the effectiveness of the change management process by recognizing and varying the style with the specific situation. The identification of when to give directions, times to empathize, times to use stretch goals, and times to involve subordinates in decision making will influence the effectiveness of the change management process under the guidance of specific leader. The Directive leadership style or task-oriented leadership is effective when clarification of performance goals, the means to reach the goals, and identification of the standards used to judge reaching the goals is needed by the organization undergoing the change. The Supportive leadership style is effective when the need is for a leader that is understanding, approachable, friendly, and is able to guide the employees involved in organizational change through stressful situations while treating them with equal respect and showing concerns for their needs and well-being. The Participative leadership style is effective when employees undergoing change are motivated by involvement with the decisions beyond their normal work activities. The Achievement-oriented leadership style is effective when employees are motivated by encouragement to reach their peak performance and the leader shows a high degree of confidence in their ability to set and achieve change goals. Task structure, team dynamics, employee skill and experience, and locus of control are contingencies that will impact the effectiveness of the leaders impact on the change management process. (McShane, 2002).
Over the following paragraphs I will be discussing two examples of participative change processes namely Appreciative Inquiry and Public Conversations Project and how they differ from the command-and-control styles of managing change.
1. Appreciative Inquiry
In this process there will be ongoing discussion among the organization members at different levels and they will be actively participated on decision making. This type of process normally follows a problem solving method and involves identification of problem, analysis of causes, analysis of possible solutions and possible treatment.
Appreciative inquiry takes off on this idea that how we think about, and talk about, our organizations influences how we work in them. Appreciative inquiry is based on the belief that if we conceive of organizations as problems to be solved, we end up in an endless cycle of problem definition and problem solution. This in turn saps energy for productive change since people end up feeling criticized or accused of having done something wrong. Appreciative inquiry removes organizational habits of distrust, animosity and blame, and replaces them with a willingness to learn, mutual respect, and cooperation. Appreciative inquiry sees organizations as miracles to be appreciated. If we see organizations in this way, we begin to understand what is working well and how this is coming about, and we can intentionally amplify those positive factors. This will create forward motion, positive energy and the possibility for lasting change.
There are usually four steps of appreciative inquiry.
a. Appreciating what gives life (appreciating the best of what is)
This phase is a quest to identify positive stories and spread them throughout the organization. The discovery phase shifts the attention from what isn’t working to what is working and may possibly work in the future. In order to find out what is working, an appreciative interview is generally performed. This involves exploring a person’s beginnings with an organization, what they value most about themselves, their work and the organization, and their hopes and dreams for the organization’s future.
b. Imagining what might be (envisioning what might be)
This phase is a time for groups of people to engage in thinking big, thinking outside the box, and thinking out of the boundaries of what has been in the past. It is a time for people to describe their wishes and dreams for their work, their working relationships, and their organization. This phase takes place in a large group meeting during which data and stories collected in the previous phase are shared. Wishes and dreams for the future of the organization are often acted out to dramatize the positive possibilities envisioned for the organization.
c. Determining what will be (dialoguing what should be )
This phase provides an opportunity for large numbers of employees and stakeholders to come together to co-create their organization. This phase allow members to make important decisions on what steps or actions are required to make the dreams come true.
d. Creating what will be (innovating what will be)
This phase focuses on action planning at both the personal and organizational levels. During this phase, commitments are made to ensure that their dream will be realized. This takes huge commitment from individuals to comply with the action plans, small groups to work on collaboration efforts, and new teams that have been established for new projects.
Since all these phases involve large number of employees and stakeholders, the likelihood that these action plans for changes will be accepted and implemented will be high. Appreciative inquiry engages the whole organization in discovering the best of what has been and dreaming about the best of what might be. Appreciative inquiry focuses on what is right and do more of it rather than the traditional approach that focus on what is wrong and do less of it. It focuses on what works and determining how to do more of what works. Positive learning and innovation comes from studying, adapting, and replicating what works. Also, appreciative inquiry is based on the past of all the employees and aims to involve all the employee and stakeholder for the future of the organization. This can only lead to positive attitudes about the organization’s future and brings unity among all the members of the organization. Comparing to control command style of management this process takes much longer time to give the result and it is quite obvious as a successful participative change process.
2. Public Conversations Project
This is another example of participative change process where the management can work with groups in conflict with in the organization. The main task is to facilitate and create dialogue sessions among the conflict groups or participants and allow addressing their own issues regarding the problematic relationship. Questions like, How did you get involved?, What’s the key issue?, What’s your ‘grey’ area? Will be asked from both parties. The main objectives are to discuss the popular misconceptions of stereotypes, how to promote better relationships among people and the importance of diversity among people living/working together.
The facilitators meet with participants prior to each dialogue, in a pre-meeting designed to exchange their hopes, concerns and experiences. A draft of ground rules being given to the participants intended to prepare them to deal with issues in a way that results in a dialogue rather than debate. Group discussions will be carried out with a facilitator guiding the whole process under his observation, to be start with a series of questions will put forward that each person must answer. The outcome of the dialogue generally will be participants sharing their reflections on the process and exploring implications and next steps. As a main feature of this participation change process members who participated are also asked to fill out evaluation forms and will be requested by the facilitator to participate in follow-up conversations. There will be minimal degree of control, power and command will be involved just to progress with the process. Every participant contributes them selves for the conversation and during the progress a pattern will be identified which will guide them to disclose the information more freely among the members. The facilitator must take action to make sure that every member of the group will be ‘pace’ with the ongoing conversation so they will be ‘heard’. To facilitate change of the information or knowledge they can be asked to interrupt the pattern of conversation or ‘conventions’ of the group and contribute them selves. Contributions are linked together to conversation will be continued as a joint action.
‘Narrative therapy’ is another way of participative change process where it views problems as separate from people and assumes people have many values, skills, beliefs, competencies, commitments and abilities that will assist them to change their relationship with problems in their lives. This is a kind of a non-blaming, respectful approach to counselling and community work, which centres people as the experts in their own lives. The client plays an important roll to decide which direction they should take during the consultation, making it more similar to a person centred counselling session. Always maintaining a curiosity stance and willingness to ask questions to which we don’t know the answers genuinely are the main features of this process.
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