MSW's Students (2007-2009), Christ College, Bangalore, India

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Organisational Change

What's "Organizational Change?"
Typically, the concept of organizational change is in regard to organization-wide change, as opposed to smaller changes such as adding a new person, modifying a program, etc. Examples of organization-wide change might include a change in mission,restructuring operations (e.g., restructuring to self-managed teams, layoffs, etc.), new technologies, mergers, major collaborations, "rightsizing", new programs such as Total Quality Management, re-engineering, etc. Some experts refer to organizational transformation. Often this term designates a fundamental and radical reorientation in the way the organization operates.
What Provokes "Organizational Change"?
Change should not be done for the sake of change -- it's a strategy to accomplish some overall goal. (See Organizational Performance Management.) Usually organizational change is provoked by some major outside driving force, e.g., substantial cuts in funding, address major new markets/clients, need for dramatic increases in productivity/services, etc. Typically, organizations must undertake organization-wide change to evolve to a different level in their life cycle, e.g., going from a highly reactive, entreprenueral organization to more stable and planned development. Transition to a new chief executive can provoke organization-wide change when his or her new and unique personality pervades the entire organization.
Why is Organization-Wide Change Difficult to Accomplish?
Typically there are strong resistances to change. People are afraid of the unknown. Many people think things are already just fine and don't understand the need for change. Many are inherently cynical about change, particularly from reading about the notion of "change" as if it's a mantra. Many doubt there are effective means to accomplish major organizational change. Often there are conflicting goals in the organization, e.g., to increase resources to accomplish the change yet concurrently cut costs to remain viable. Organization-wide change often goes against the very values held dear by members in the organization, that is, the change may go against how members believe things should be done. That's why much of organizational-change literature discusses needed changes in the culture of the organization, including changes in members' values and beliefs and in the way they enact these values and beliefs.
How Is Organization-Wide Change Best Carried Out?
Successful change must involve top management, including the board and chief executive. Usually there's a champion who initially instigates the change by being visionary, persuasive and consistent. A change agent role is usually responsible to translate the vision to a realistic plan and carry out the plan. Change is usually best carried out as a team-wide effort. Communications about the change should be frequent and with all organization members. To sustain change, the structures of the organization itself should be modified, including strategic plans, policies and procedures. This change in the structures of the organization typically involves an unfreezing, change and re-freezing process.
The best approaches to address resistances is through increased and sustained communications and education. For example, the leader should meet with all managers and staff to explain reasons for the change, how it generally will be carried out and where others can go for additional information. A plan should be developed and communicated. Plans do change. That's fine, but communicate that the plan has changed and why. Forums should be held for organization members to express their ideas for the plan. They should be able to express their concerns and frustrations as well.
Some General Guidelines to Organization-Wide Change
(Note that the library topic Basic Overview of Major Methods and Movements to Improve Organizational Performance includes overviews of major methods and movements associated with organizational change. Readers would best be served to read the following basic guidelines as foundation for carrying out any of the methods associated with organizational change.)
In addition to the general guidelines listed above, there are a few other basic guidelines to keep in mind.
1. Consider using a consultant. Ensure the consultant is highly experienced in organization-wide change. Ask to see references and check the references.
2. Widely communicate the potential need for change. Communicate what you're doing about it. Communicate what was done and how it worked out.
3. Get as much feedback as practical from employees, including what they think are the problems and what should be done to resolve them. If possible, work with a team of employees to manage the change.
4. Don't get wrapped up in doing change for the sake of change. Know why you're making the change. What goal(s) do you hope to accomplish?
6. Plan the change. How do you plan to reach the goals, what will you need to reach the goals, how long might it take and how will you know when you've reached your goals or not? Focus on the coordination of the departments/programs in your organization, not on each part by itself. Have someone in charge of the plan.
7. End up having every employee ultimately reporting to one person, if possible, and they should know who that person is. Job descriptions are often complained about, but they are useful in specifying who reports to whom.
8. Delegate decisions to employees as much as possible. This includes granting them the authority and responsibility to get the job done. As much as possible, let them decide how to do the project.
9. The process won't be an "aha!" It will take longer than you think.
10. Keep perspective. Keep focused on meeting the needs of your customer or clients.
11. Take care of yourself first. Organization-wide change can be highly stressful.
12. Don't seek to control change, but rather to expect it, understand it and manage it.
13. Include closure in the plan. Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments.
14. Read some resources about organizational change, including new forms and structures.


Adapted from “Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development” – to obtain the entire
book, select “Publications” at http://www.authenticityconsulting.com
Copyright, Authenticity Consulting, LLC 174
Major Types of Organizational Change
Typically, the phrase “organizational change” is about a significant change in the organization, such
as reorganization or adding a major new product or service. This is in contrast to smaller changes,
such as adopting a new computer procedure. Organizational change can seem like such a vague
phenomena that it is helpful if you can think of change in terms of various dimensions as described
below.
Organization-wide Versus Subsystem Change
Examples of organization-wide change might be a major restructuring, collaboration or “rightsizing.”
Usually, organizations must undertake organization-wide change to evolve to a different
level in their life cycle, for example, going from a highly reactive, entrepreneurial organization to
one that has a more stable and planned development. Experts assert that successful organizational
change requires a change in culture – cultural change is another example of organization-wide
change.
Examples of a change in a subsystem might include addition or removal of a product or service,
reorganization of a certain department, or implementation of a new process to deliver products or
services.
Transformational Versus Incremental Change
An example of transformational (or radical, fundamental) change might be changing an
organization’s structure and culture from the traditional top-down, hierarchical structure to a large
amount of self-directing teams. Another example might be Business Process Re-engineering, which
tries to take apart (at least on paper, at first) the major parts and processes of the organization and
then put them back together in a more optimal fashion. Transformational change is sometimes
referred to as quantum change.
Examples of incremental change might include continuous improvement as a quality management
process or implementation of new computer system to increase efficiencies. Many times,
organizations experience incremental change and its leaders do not recognize the change as such.
Remedial Versus Developmental Change
Change can be intended to remedy current situations, for example, to improve the poor performance
of a product or the entire organization, reduce burnout in the workplace, help the organization to
become much more proactive and less reactive, or address large budget deficits. Remedial projects
often seem more focused and urgent because they are addressing a current, major problem. It is
often easier to determine the success of these projects because the problem is solved or not.
Change can also be developmental – to make a successful situation even more successful, for
example, expand the amount of customers served, or duplicate successful products or services.
Developmental projects can seem more general and vague than remedial, depending on how specific
goals are and how important it is for members of the organization to achieve those goals.
Some people might have different perceptions of what is a remedial change versus a developmental
change. They might see that if developmental changes are not made soon, there will be need for
remedial changes. Also, organizations may recognize current remedial issues and then establish a
Adapted from “Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development” – to obtain the entire
book, select “Publications” at http://www.authenticityconsulting.com
Copyright; Authenticity Consulting, LLC 175
developmental vision to address the issues. In those situations, projects are still remedial because
they were conducted primarily to address current issues.
Unplanned Versus Planned Change
Unplanned change usually occurs because of a major, sudden surprise to the organization, which
causes its members to respond in a highly reactive and disorganized fashion. Unplanned change
might occur when the Chief Executive Officer suddenly leaves the organization, significant public
relations problems occur, poor product performance quickly results in loss of customers, or other
disruptive situations arise.
Planned change occurs when leaders in the organization recognize the need for a major change and
proactively organize a plan to accomplish the change. Planned change occurs with successful
implementation of a Strategic Plan, plan for reorganization, or other implementation of a change of
this magnitude.
Note that planned change, even though based on a proactive and well-done plan, often does not
occur in a highly organized fashion. Instead, planned change tends to occur in more of a chaotic and
disruptive fashion than expected by participants.

Adapted from “Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development” – to obtain the entire
book, select “Publications” at http://www.authenticityconsulting.com
Copyright; Authenticity Consulting, LLC 177
Requirements for Successful Organizational Change
Cummings and Worley (Organization Development and Change, 1995) describe a comprehensive,
five-phase, general process for managing change, including: 1) motivating change, 2) creating
vision, 3) developing political support, 4) managing the transition and 5) sustaining momentum.
That process seems suitable for organizing and describing general guidelines about managing
change. Whatever model you choose to use when guiding organizational change, that model should
include the priorities and areas of emphasis described in the following five phases of change. The
collaborative consulting model described integrates highlights from all of the five phases.
Motivating Change
This phase includes creating a readiness for change in your client organization and developing
approaches to overcome resistance to change. General guidelines for managing this phase include
enlightening members of the organization about the need for change, expressing the current status of
the organization and where it needs to be in the future, and developing realistic approaches about
how change might be accomplished. Next, organization leaders need to recognize that people in the
organization are likely to resist making major changes for a variety of reasons, including fear of the
unknown, inadequacy to deal with the change and whether the change will result in an adverse effect
on their jobs. People need to feel that their concerns are being heard. Leaders must widely
communicate the need for the change and how the change can be accomplished successfully.
Leaders must listen to the employees – people need to feel that the approach to change will include
their strong input and ongoing involvement.
Creating Vision
Leaders in the organization must articulate a clear vision that describes what the change effort is
striving to accomplish. Ideally, people in the organization have strong input to the creation of the
vision and how it can be achieved. The vision should clearly depict how the achievement of the
vision will improve the organization. It is critically important that people believe that the vision is
relevant and realistic. Research indicates that cynicism is increasing in organizations in regard to
change efforts. People do not want to hear the need for the latest “silver bullet” that will completely
turn the organization around and make things better for everyone all the time. They want to feel
respected enough by leaders to be involved and to work toward a vision that is realistic, yet
promising in the long run.
Often the vision is described in terms of overall outcomes (or changes) to be achieved by all or parts
of the organization, including associated goals and objectives to achieve the outcomes. Sometimes,
an overall purpose, or mission, is associated with the effort to achieve the vision, as well.
Developing Political Support
This phase of change management is often overlooked, yet it is the phase that often stops successful
change from occurring. Politics in organizations is about power. Power is important among
members of the organization when striving for the resources and influence necessary to successfully
carry out their jobs. Power is also important when striving to maintain jobs and job security. Power
usually comes from credibility, whether from strong expertise or integrity. Power also comes from
the authority of one’s position in the organization.
Some people have a strong negative reaction when talking about power because power often is
associated with negative applications, for example, manipulation, abuse or harassment. However,
Adapted from “Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development” – to obtain the entire
book, select “Publications” at http://www.authenticityconsulting.com
Copyright, Authenticity Consulting, LLC 178
power, like conflict, exists in all human interactions and is not always bad. It is how power and
conflict are used and managed that determine how power and conflict should be perceived.
Matters of power and politics are critically important to recognize and manage during organizational
change activities. Change often means shifts in power across management levels, functions and
groups. To be successful, the change effort must recruit the support of all key power players, for
example, senior management, subject matter experts and others who are recognized as having strong
expertise and integrity.
A strong mechanism for ensuring alignment of power with the change effort is to develop a network
of power-players who interact and count on each other to support and guide the change effort.
Means to manage power can include ensuring that all power-players are involved in recognizing the
need for change, developing the vision and methods to achieve the vision, and organization-wide
communication about the status of change. Any recommendations or concerns expressed by those in
power must be promptly recognized and worked through.
Managing Transition
This phase occurs when the organization works to make the actual transition from the current state to
the future state. In consultations, this phase usually is called implementation of the action plans.
The plans can include a wide variety of “interventions,” or activities designed to make a change in
the organization, for example, creating and/or modifying major structures and processes in the
organization. These changes might require ongoing coaching, training and enforcement of new
policies and procedures. In addition, means of effective change management must continue,
including strong, clear, ongoing communication about the need for the change, status of the change,
and solicitation of organization members’ continuing input to the change effort.
Ideally, the various actions are integrated into one overall Change Management Plan that includes
specific objectives, or milestones, that must be accomplished by various deadlines, along with
responsibilities for achieving each objective. Rarely are these plans implemented exactly as planned.
Thus, as important as developing the plan, is making the many ongoing adjustments to the plan with
key members of the organization, while keeping other members up-to-date about the changes and the
reasons for them.

Sustaining Momentum
Often, the most difficult phase in managing change is this phase when leaders work to sustain the
momentum of the implementation and adjustment of plans. Change efforts can encounter a wide
variety of obstacles, for example, strong resistance from members of the organization, sudden
departure of a key leader in the organization, or a dramatic reduction in sales. Strong, visible,
ongoing support from top leadership is critically important to show overall credibility and
accountabilities in the change effort. Those participating in the change effort often require ongoing
support, often in the form of provision of resources, along with training and coaching. The role of
support cannot be minimized – despite its importance during organizational change, the role of
support is often forgotten. At this point in a consulting project, it may be wise for you to ensure you
have ongoing support (often from other consultants) that can provide you ongoing objectivity,
affirmation, provision of resources and other forms of support. Employee performance management
systems play a critical role in this phase of organizational change, including in setting goals, sharing
feedback about accomplishment of goals, rewarding behaviors that successfully achieve goals and accomplish change, and addressing performance issues.

3 comments:

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shanecastane said...

Employee performance management software feedback measures differences between capabilities and performance in an employee in direct correlation to the job's role. It shows where employees lack skill.

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Employee Performance Management
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Business Management Courses
Employee Appraisal
Business Management System
Sales Courses
Sales Training Courses
Sales Training UK
sales management training

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