The entry of internet has led to the creation of new business outlets that have increased the competitive landscape (Gilley et al., 2009). Several stores started online shopping services after realizing the importance of convenience to customers. Other similar companies will follow suit and open up online stores to stay competitive.
Many businesses have always adopted modern technology to improve their chances of efficient operations (Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002). When there is a new invention or innovation, it spells improvement for the company and disaster for any affected employees. Organizations will adopt any efficient technology and make strategic changes in the business for its incorporation. Modern communication technology has made it possible for companies to conduct outsourcing and other critical globalization activities.
Desire to Grow
Any company that sufficiently motivates its workforce by fixing all their problems are likely to have a highly motivated team. It is increasingly difficult to find competent, and skilled employees and hence businesses want to hold on to their best human capital. Managers must make various changes in strategy or processes to impart extra motivation. It could include shortening the working hours or introducing a level of independence. Companies could also decide to merge to increase their chances of survival in the industry. Such decisions lead to several interruptions such as in the trimmed workforce.
Sometimes businesses find themselves in situations where they must agree with various government decrees. Affirmative action is an example of a law that governs how a company employs people. Managers in such circumstances must adjust their workforce accordingly, and this could cause massive changes in the organizational structure. Compliance with government directives is a necessity, and hence change is an inevitable outcome.
The general economic environment conditions will dictate how businesses operate (Gilley et al., 2009). For example, a recession will cause some organizations to lay off their workers, or shut down certain operations to remain competitive. On the other hand, an economic boom is likely to have the opposite effects. The fact remains that prevailing economic conditions will have a knock-on effect in driving change in the firm.
Theories of Organizational Change
Theories of organizational change are meant to guide managers and help them understand the nature of the change process (Gilley, Gilley & McMillan, 2009). Studies have shown that change is a phenomenon that affects people differently. Individuals have varying rates of acceptance of innovations in the workplace. The workforce will perceive a specific change by its impact on the job and the degree of newness (Gilley et al., 2009). The effectiveness of the change will, however, depend on the communication methods used to adopt the innovations.
Some primary theories explain the concept of organizational change:
Kurt Lewins Three Stages
It is one of the most influential approaches to the study of this phenomenon. It postulates that there exists two forces; those that want to maintain the status quo and others that want to modify it. Therefore, the theory affirms the importance of effecting change while protecting the individuals egos. It is divided into three fundamental parts as shown:
Unfreezing- this stage involves an assessment of the current business environment to identify any changes and then preparing the staff accordingly.
Movement- this stage involves the change process per se as the organization modifies its strategy. There is the development of new behaviors, values, and cultures through the change processes.
Refreezing- the new ways and ideas are anchored into the daily routine and culture of the business
This model gives the staff sufficient time to adjust to the new beliefs and practices (Gilley et al., 2009).
Kotter Eight Step
Harvard professor John Kotter came up with an eight-stage model to help in explaining the organizational change.
Establish urgency- developing a sense of urgency that permeates to others. Change can only happen when everybody is pulling in the same direction.
Create a strong coalition- it involves grouping the leaders in a firm to convince them of the importance of change. This bunch of leaders creates a significant influence that will push the agenda down to the lower ranks.
Have a vision for change- there should be an end-game to the change process that people can identify with sufficiently.
Communicate the vision- this message must be communicated in all aspects of the company. Apart from explaining it to the workforce, it should be visible in firm activities.
Empower other people to work- change is only useful when everybody in the business is fully engaged.
Plan and create short-term wins- results of the change ought to be staggered in stages to keep the motivation flowing within the team.
Build on the change process- companies should take time to observe how the changes impact the operations and how to create meaningful long-term change.
Institutionalize the new approaches- it involves making these changes into a permanent part of the business.
Ulrich Seven Step
David Ulrichs theory adds more practicality and reduces Kotters steps to seven (Gilley et al., 2009).:
Creating a shared need
Shaping the vision for other people to understand
Mobilizing commitment of the employees and other stakeholders
Changing structures and systems to accommodate the new ideas.
Monitoring the progress of the changes
Making the innovations a permanent part of the company identity and behavior
Implications for Management Practice
Most changes that occur in firms are planned and not coincidental. Management introduces these variations for diverse reasons ranging from the response to external stimuli as well as strategic decisions aimed at developing the firm. Developmental change originates from a firm's growth philosophy and a culture of using manageable change to build up competitive advantage. This kind of change avoids the infrequent large-scale workplace changes by continually monitoring the external and internal environments. Managers become aware of the minute changes they need to make to enhance their efficiencies such as workforce motivation and encouraging innovation (Thomas & Hardy, 2011). It is well understood that significant organizational change results in job losses, layoffs, and general psychological suffering of the staff members. Managers have to deal with an increasingly tense and emotionally stressed workforce.
Managers should expect a degree of resistance from some quarters within the business (Serban & Iorga, 2016). Certain people are averse to change since it threatens the status quo, which favors them in most cases. The manager can arouse or minimize case of resistance depending on how they approach and communicate a change situation. Anxieties about the future make people apprehensive when it comes to issues of adaptation. It is challenging for people to get rid of the old habits and embrace change suddenly. However, managers can formulate a strategy to bring about permanent results by inducing the innovations in measured amounts. Education is essential since the other members of the team must understand the purpose and effect of the new ideas and processes. Managers can inform the employees of impending variations through internal memos, group discussions, reports, and individual discussions. The more democratic managers will involve the input of staff members when considering important strategic changes such as adoption of new technology.
Studies have shown that even new issues like computerizing the workplace and cross-training the support staff achieved success through ingenious management in specific forms. The changes were made to appear like incremental changes produced via packaging and involvement (Dutton et al., 2001). The response and effectiveness of the intended new ideas will be as successful as the commitment from the managers. One way is by ensuring that employees have sufficient resources to comply with the new requirements. Another is by availing themselves for any clarifications and questions that will arise from the staff at such confusing times.
Effective change management ensures that a company moves from its current state to the envisioned plan. Managers must understand the prevailing conditions and determine what is required to effect the change. The final part involves implementation and helping the employees to comprehend the ideas. Organizations that fail to change are risking the fate of losing ground on their competitors. Retailers who went online have a significant advantage to those who have only physical stores. Change is a challenging undertaking because it requires the modification of peoples behavior and possible termination of employment (Serban & Iorga, 2016). Sometimes there is resistance from employees but managers have to take all these challenges in stride if they intend to do business in an increasingly competitive environment....
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