An organized approach of shifting persons, groups and organizations from a present state to preferred future state, is known as change management. It is an orderly approach to deal with change, both from the perspective of the organization and individual.
Change management is an organizational process that aims to make the employees to accept the change in their present work environment.
Learn about:- 1. Introduction to Change Management 2. Definitions of Change Management 3. Why Change Management is Necessary? 4. Types 5. Triggers 6. Steps 7. Models 8. Interventions 9. Roles of Different Individual and Group 10. Challenges 11. Resistance to Change 12. Rationale for Change.
Change Management: Introduction, Definitions, Types, Steps, Models, Challenges, Roles and Rationale for Change
Change Management – Introduction
Change management includes all sets of activities aimed at minimizing resistance towards change and motivating employees to readily adopt changes. It requires altering the attitude and inhibitions of employees towards organizational change. These inhibitions or fears may surface in the form of stress, decline in productivity, absenteeism, and high-attrition.
The top management of an organization should always be ready to face and manage change properly. There are many forces, such as market forces, socio-economic forces, and technological forces, due to which change occurs. Change management strategies aim at preventing the alterations of structural relationships between organization and employees as well as reducing the employees’ resistance towards change.
The description of change management would be incomplete without including the concept of Organizational Development (OD). This concept encompasses a set of interventions that seeks to improve organizational effectiveness.
According to Warren Bennis, OD can be defined as “a response to change, a complex educational strategy intended to change the beliefs, attitudes, values, and structure of organization so that they can better adapt to new technologies, marketing and challenges, and the dizzying rate of change itself.” It can also be referred to a unique type of change management process in which two or more people try to achieve a desired end result by taking up certain improvement measures.
Another upcoming concept in change management is known as creating learning organizations. These organizations are a way of proactively managing change. Learning organizations help in building capacity on a continuous basis to adapt the change. The foundation of survival for such organizations is the ability of rapidly changing and inculcating the changes quickly.
Change occurs due to various external and internal forces, and the pressure of these forces decides the scope of change in an organization.
Change management can be implemented effectively by considering the following points:
i. Impact on People:
Reflects the influence of change on people in the organization, or vice-versa. If change covers only the top management and leaves the middle and lower management unaffected, then the scope for change management gets limited. On the other hand, if change has a high degree of impact on all the people of the organization, its scope becomes wider. For example, change in an organizational policy or an organizational goal will influence all the people and departments at all the levels, whether directly associated with the change or not.
ii. Complexity of Work:
Increases the degree of scope of change management as complex work has more risk of failure that need to be managed. In every organization, there are certain jobs that can be easily completed, whilst others require significant expertise. For instance, when new products or complex IT systems need to be developed, the services of the experts in the respective fields are required.
iii. Degree of Resistance:
Refers to the extent of employees’ opposition towards change and its consequences. The opposition of employees towards change may be logical and justified in some cases. Employees by nature abhor ways of life, thought, and action that are unfamiliar to them. This is partly because they fear from the new and the unknown; and partly because adapting to new ideas is a complex and pain-taking process. If the degree of resistance is high then the scope of managing change in the organization becomes very important and crucial.
Although the organizations put their maximum efforts in managing the change within the organization, but there are certain problems that act as a challenge and hamper their functioning.
Change Management – Definitions
An organized approach of shifting persons, groups and organizations from a present state to preferred future state, is known as change management. It is an orderly approach to deal with change, both from the perspective of the organization and individual.
Change management is an organizational process that aims to make the employees to accept the change in their present work environment.
Few definitions of change are as follows:
“Change is not merely necessary to life. It is life” – Alvin Toffler
“As a society, we have been moving from old to the new. In addition, we are still in motion. Caught between eras, we experience turbulence.” – John Naisbett
According to Stephen P. Robbins, “change is concerned with making things different. Things must be different because they change constantly.”
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
For any organization, change management involves defining and implementing rules and technologies to deal with the change in the work environment and to earn profit from the altering prospects. Change management has three aspects, including adaption to change, controlling the change, and making the change effective.
Successful adaption to change is very crucial phenomena to the organization and individuals as they need to deal with it efficiently otherwise it would become difficult to thrive in the competitive environment. Adaption might comprise establishment of structured methodology for responding to change in the business environment, or workplace.
The success of change depends upon its linking with the strategic, operational and ordinary aspects of the organization. It emphasizes upon the communication of change not only through the everyday aspects of the organization but also the translation of change into detailed resource plans, key tasks, and the way the organization is managed through control procedure.
Managers are needed to consider the balance among different approaches to manage the strategic change in accordance with the circumstances they face in the organizational context.
In an organizational context, change refers to the alternations and modifications in the overall strategies and structures. In recent years, the organizational environment has witnessed several changes, such as – growing complexity in the production process, accelerated delivery cycles, changing government rules, regulations and policies, and unstable global environment.
These changes can be addressed by bringing relevant changes in policies, procedures, and norms of an organization. Therefore, change is needed by an organization to survive and develop in today’s fast changing global environment.
Generally, organizational change refers to the organization-wide change as opposed to smaller changes, such as – changing the organizational structure or method of production. The organization-wide changes may be of various types, such as – planned versus unplanned or episodic versus continuous.
Such changes might include alteration in organization’s mission, policies, restructuring operations; or adoption of new policies and programs, including total quality management and participative management. Organization-wide changes are triggered by some major external events, such as – dramatic increase in the demand of a particular product and obsolescence of a widely used technology or product.
For example, with the invention of mobiles, the usage of pagers became negligible. Therefore, the organizations manufacturing pagers had to change their production policies to launch a new or improved product for attracting consumers.
If an organization refuses to keep pace with the rapidly changing business environment then it may not survive in the long run. For example, there was a time when BSNL, a telecommunication services provider, had the monopoly over the market. However, it could not bring changes in its policies and procedures with the changing needs of people.
As a result of this, BSNL lost its position and market share. Therefore, an organization needs to adapt the changes occurring in the business environment to gain competitive edge and sustain in the long run.
Change can be predictable or unpredictable, complex or simple, and organization-wide or limited to a particular department.
In an organization, the scope of change can be determined by using the following parameters, namely 3Cs:
i. Cost – It refers to the investment required to bring the change
ii. Complexity/Compositeness – It refers to the amount of difficulty faced while implementing change
iii. Certainty – It refers to the predictability of the outcome.
Change Management – Why Change Management is Necessary?
Because of changes in political, economic, cultural, social and technological changes, organisations need to change their own systems and processes to continue to be relevant and deliver as per the expectations of their customers. In other words, same skill set will not be adequate to maintain the competitive edge in terms of delivering the quality goods and services.
Some of the reasons that necessitate change can be outlined as given below:
1. Change in Government policy such as – globalisation, demonetization or Goods and Services Tax (GST).
2. Obsolescence of technology.
3. Increasing volumes of business on e-platforms.
4. Low marketing costs on social media.
5. Change of focus from non-renewable sources of energy (such as – crude oil, petrol and diesel) to renewable sources (such as – solar power, hydropower, etc).
6. Increasing productivity.
7. To reduce the costs per unit.
8. Delivering quality products and services for international markets.
9. Enhancing the competitive edge for the organisations.
10. Dwindling rates of interest on fixed and savings deposits.
11. To improve the rate of Return on Investment (Rol).
12. To improve academic performance from the present level (say 50% of marks to say 80% of marks).
While this list can be considered as only inclusive, there could be many other factors in different contexts that calls for change. One of the key responsibilities of top management is to keep close watch on both external and internal factors that may necessitate change so as to sustain present volume of business, market share, brand value and competitive advantage.
Since organisational change directly impacts every department and employee, they are involved in formulating the strategies for change management for effective results. In other words, unless the entire organisation is oriented as to how to handle changes in the strategies, processes, procedures, change management cannot be effective and result oriented.
If employee morale is high, change management processes can be initiated and completed faster and smoother with no challenges. On the other hand, if the employee morale is low, the top management may have to face problems and challenges in initiating and completing the change management processes. There is strong association between employee morale and smoother completion of change management processes.
Change Management – Types
i. Structural change refers to the changes in the organisational hierarchy such as – centralisation or decentralisation.
ii. Strategic change involves changes in the vision and mission of the organisation because of the changes in the external/internal forces.
iii. Product-oriented change involves either dropping off or adding a few products to the existing product line.
iv. Process-oriented change refers to a case where the manufacturing process or service is redesigned considering the recent changes in technology. Cloud Technologies, Digitalisation, Block Chain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT), Analytics, Artificial Intelligence have considerably impacted the business/manufacturing processes in the recent past.
v. Radical change refers to significant change in production as a result of large scale automation.
vi. Planned change is driven from top management down the organisation covering all the cadres. When leaders proactively organise a plan to accomplish a change, it is a case of planned change. Here, the top management comes out with a strategic plan, plan for reorganisation and implementation of large-scale changes.
vii. Unplanned change is what occurs when employees respond to the sudden resignation of CEO, loss of customers suddenly because of a negative news flashed in electronic media or social media. Handling unplanned change is a very daunting task.
viii. Emergent change is the change that may come from any level in the organisation. An example includes unskilled workers may go on strike with demand for wage revision.
ix. Organisation wide vs. sub-system change is the kind of change wherein organisational restructuring or merger, takes place and affects the whole organisation. Sub-system change may be confined to a particular sub-system, say, marketing or finance. Marketing department may introduce online marketing.
x. Transformational vs. incremental change is also called quantum change and affects the entire organisation, all departments, all products/services and processes. Downsizing by say 20% at all levels or virtual organisation is an example of a transformational change. Incremental change takes place as a result of continuous improvement, for example, automation through robotics.
Change Management – Triggers: External Triggers and Internal Triggers
Change is something that enforces a person to come out of his or her comfort zone. It applies on the organizations too. No one wants to change easily unless there are some significant triggers for change. These triggers may be opportunities or threats, and may- arise from inside or outside of the organization.
There may be change in government policies, which might lead into disinvestment, there may be new competitor that may present new challenge, changes may also become necessary if the customers’ taste changes or when technological innovations arrive. Change in leadership, union activities or employee initiatives may also trigger change.
Change can also be triggered by the desire of altering the knowledge, skills, attitude, and behavior of the people of the organization to improve. In organizational context, triggers may be classified in external triggers and internal triggers. External triggers are jolts that happen in external environment or outside of the organization, but put a significant impact over the organization.
1. External Triggers:
A few external triggers for changes are as follows:
i. Competitors’ move
ii. Change in customers’ behavior in terms of need want and desire
iii. Change in market demand
iv. Industry outlook with local, national and global perspective
v. Demographic change
vii. Political interference or change in legislation
viii. Social environment
ix. Technological changes
x. General environmental changes.
2. Internal Triggers:
Internal triggers are events that arise from within the organization.
They may be listed as follows:
i. Human resource issues such as – succession and personal turnover
ii. Project implementation issues such IT, total quality management, and innovations
iii. Creating new inter-organizational collaborations such as – joint ventures, strategic alliances, and franchise partnership.
An organization is required to understand the need for change. It has to understand that change is necessary for the successful survival in the end. A sense of balance is maintained in our lives. Change occurs when this balance is disrupted. Triggers make people understand what is important to them as they serve as a kind of motivator to make organization to learn new things. They also tend to force the organization to respond to the changes of the environment.
According to Brookfield, “Triggers are life events that prompt a sense of inner discomfort and perplexity.” Hence it can be summarized that any disorganizing pressure, which arises from outside or within the organization and indicates that the current arrangements, system, rules, procedures, and other aspects of organizational structure are no longer apposite or effective, are known as triggers that cause change.
Change Management – 3 Important Steps
The important steps of change management are as follows:
Before launching a project, the team should conduct the following:
1. Benefit Identification– The early identification and agreement to the organisational, functional and personal benefits to be produced from any change programme is essential.
2. Executive Sponsorship– The programmes must show alignment with senior management’s business objectives. Gaining executive sponsorship and leadership is the first step to verify that the change to be implemented aligns with the business objectives.
3. Readiness Assessment– An assessment of the readiness of the organisation to adopt the changes required will enable a realistic implementation plan to be developed.
4. Benefits Planning– Having identified the benefits of the programme, it is important to structure the plan in a way that demonstrates when and how these benefits will be delivered.
5. Resistance Management– A major obstacle to successful change management is employee resistance at all levels, typically due to lack of awareness about the change, comfort with the ways things are, fear of losing control or overload of current responsibilities. A strategy will be developed to reduce resistance.
Step # 2-Change Management Execution:
Once the project has been launched, the project should conduct the following four key execution steps:
1. Communications Plan– If employees know ‘what’ the change is and ‘why’ it’s being implemented, then ‘how’ to implement the change becomes far less challenging. We will develop a carefully structured communications plan to inform the employees about the change management programme and how the change will affect them.
2. Implement the Change Management Plan– The execution of the actions within the change management plan can be supported by continuously assessing progress and if necessary revising the plan accordingly where the aim is to equip the employees in the organisation with the skills, tools, and techniques required for them.
3. Education and Training Plan– A key element of the change management plan is the Education and Training plan, to perform an effective role within the organisation once the changes have been implemented.
4. Resistance Management– By actively listening, feedback on the changes can be constantly monitored during implementation, to identify any areas where resistance is being encountered.
Step # 3- Change Management Reinforcement:
Once the project is complete, PMIS (Personnel Management Information System) can support clients’ through three further steps focused upon sustaining the change.
1. Measuring Benefits – Measuring the benefits delivered by the programme assessing the progress achieved against the objectives identified at the outset.
2. Identify Gaps and Manage Resistance– If some of the anticipated benefits have not been realised this may be because of gaps in the actions undertaken or unexpected resistance. The identification of these gaps and resistance will enable the implementation of corrective actions to reinforce the change.
3. Reinforcing Change– Having achieved the new behaviours, process, practices, etc., it is all too common for organisations to slip back to operating and behaving along the original familiar lines.
On a regular basis, monitor the Organisational performance relative to the goals of the Change Management project, developing where appropriate corrective actions to reinforce the desired changes.
To conclude it can be said that by encouraging employees’ involvement and delegating responsibility downward to shape the change becomes continuous. This is because people develop greater awareness and a different mindset with which they actually want to continually improve. To be effective, the project must recognise, respect and leverage the knowledge, insights and opportunities that this change can bring. Effective change is nothing but winning over people in the organization.
Organisational change is increasing yet the high level of failure indicates that effective management of these changes is still lacking. Such a gap indicates that there is much to learn about how to manage change more effectively. Hence, people management and development professionals have significant role to play in any change management process.
Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with change, both from the perspective of an organisation and on the individual level. With the widespread commitment of people throughout the organisation, change efforts will succeed. Change does not substantially alter the way a leader leads; change only reinforces that leaders must always use their skills to lead every day.
Change Management – Top 3 Models
Three models of change management are presented here – John P. Kotter’s Model presents the steps in leading change; ADKAR model outlines the prominent steps in change management; and Kurt Lewin’s model explains that unfreeze what all you know, learn or change the way you desire and then freeze what works.
These three models are explained next in detail:
John P. Kotter suggested the following eight steps in the process of leading a change:
i. Establish a Sense of Urgency:
The top management has to explain to its cadres what the compelling need for change is and why it is urgent to change the systems and processes. The competitor has already moved to digital processes and this could be one compelling reason for changing the existing process into digital to sustain the competition.
The only way to emphasize the compelling need for change is to share the details of what is likely to happen in the near future if the waste is not eliminated, and how it is going to affect badly the employees of all cadres. Also assure the employees that the top management is ready to address all the issues and challenges in the process of ensuring the bright future of every stakeholder if there is co-operation and support to the change initiative.
Ensure that there are clear and honest communications that create a sense of urgency rather than a sense of doom. Once both a compelling picture of a desired future and the danger of accepting the status quo are presented, the stakeholders are likely to show up higher degree of commitment for a necessary change effort.
ii. Create the Guiding Coalition:
Decide on the top performers who should take part in guiding the team for change management across the organisation and constitute a powerful and enthusiastic coalition or team that can compass or set direction for change initiatives. Leaders cannot implement new strategies without the help of such guiding coalition.
Change management initiatives failed in many cases just because the guiding coalitions were not passionate and enthusiastic. The coalition is a crucial tool for leaders who are keen to operationalise the new strategies to transform the organisation.
Ensure that the members of the guiding coalition bring unique skills, experiences, perspectives and networks to the table so that team can evaluate an issue from different perspectives and enable the most innovative ideas to emerge. Their varied roles, titles and seriousness bring in more credibility to the overall change effort. From their enthusiasm, the members of whole organisation should push the change management initiatives with the speed and momentum necessary for success.
While choosing the coalition, leaders should avoid candidates who are selfish, not focused; say no to every initiatives and conventional thinkers. The members of the coalition should be extraordinary in their accomplishments and thus extraordinary powerful to steer the change process.
iii. Develop a Change Vision and Strategy:
Organisations without vision are like the ship without any direction. Vision is a dream of the founders or the top management. It describes what the founders want the organisation to achieve or accomplish in a given time frame. It serves as a clear guide for choosing a given course of action at present or in the future.
Strategy explains how to operationalise the vision. Change vision describes how change initiatives help to realise this dream or vision. As part of change vision and strategy, the areas of change are identified. Clear and realistic targets are provided for measuring success. This gives a clear picture of what the future looks like after the change initiatives are implemented.
The senior leadership has to create a change vision and strategy of what everyone in the organisation dreams to achieve. They have to impress everyone in the organisation that the future is a desirable place to be in.
If the leader’s vision of the future is not sensible and not appealing, members of the organisation may not accept the change and on the other hand, they start resisting every change initiative. So, making the proposed change feasible and desirable to ensure that everyone in the organisation will embrace and take ownership for taking it forward.
At times, it may even involve necessary sacrifices for a future that is worse than the present. It is always desirable to centralise the responsibility with the senior leader at the top level for creating a high-level description of the change vision and strategy. However, the guiding coalition may be entrusted to refine the draft for a sensible and appealing change vision and strategy considering the data relating to markets, emerging business trends and forecasts, etc.
In this process, never lose sight of the past and the future. Make the vision and strategy as clear as possible in terms of the areas of change, clear and realistic targets for measuring the success and appealing to all the stakeholders in the long term.
iv. Communicate the Change Vision:
Once the change vision and strategy are in place, the top management should make a rehearsal carefully as to how to communicate the change vision to the cadres down the line in the organisational hierarchy. Every change initiative is seen with lot of suspicion, fear of losing the present level of comfort and sense of insecurity.
It is to be noted that there will be very little support for implementing the change initiatives when others do not understand the compelling need for change. Draft the communications as simple as possible without much data which may be difficult to comprehend.
See that the core message of the change vision is delivered. It is very likely that there could be several doubts, questions, apprehensions and there should be mechanism to address all these issues. Keep the communication as simple, brief and appealing as possible with no room for confusion.
The focus of such communication is to draw everybody’s attention that it is time for change and every communication channel such as – email communications, large group meetings, written communications, informal meetings, the company intranet, etc., formal and informal – need to be utilised to capture the mind and heart of every member and also as frequently as possible. This establishes a foundation for gaining commitment from employees at all levels to embrace this new direction.
This communication should be an ongoing process till everyone in the organisation understands the reasons for the change agree with it and are committed to making it happen. Since words have power, small vision statements foster understanding and retention. Wherever necessary, translate these statements into the languages the employees predominantly speak so that they are always mindful of the genuine value of a change effort.
See that every question from the employees is answered by the top or senior management so that there is a bottom-up approach to communication. Top-down communications may be good to communicate the vision, mission, strategy, rules and regulations but only bottom-up approach to communication will resolve the communication gaps.
Foster open communication channels and ongoing feedback to encourage everyone in the organisation to contribute actively to the change effort and shape its implementation.
Senior leadership holds total responsibility for the whole change effort and they have to stay actively engaged until the change effort occurs. Guiding coalition is only a second level of communication for making the change effort happen. To communicate the change vision, use extensively, the verbal pictures, stories, metaphors, analogies, and examples.
All said and done, if the top management does not follow what they preach (walk the talk), all change efforts remain meaningless. The top management should be available for interaction and encourage open communication to directly address every important inconsistency between leadership behaviour and the change vision. Change vision can be accomplished not by forced compliance but only by compliance with total and honest involvement with a focus on efficiency and innovative thinking.
To sum up, employees show high level of involvement and commitment only when – (a) change vision is communicated with simplicity and repetition; (b) employees and managers are engaged in two-way communication; (c) multiple platforms are used to get their message across; (d) obvious inconsistencies in behaviour are addressed by top management as and when required, and (e) verbal pictures and used. Organisational change may look very difficult, but it is not impossible to be achieved.
v. Empower Employees for Broad-Based Action:
To make significant change lasting in the organisation, empowering broad-based action is a prerequisite. This involves investing in employee and managerial training and development. The employees get oriented to new perspectives; identify the new behaviour, attitudes, and skills that are required for implementing change initiatives.
Periodical training and orientation efforts and the recognition and reward programs will make the employees align their behaviour, attitudes, and skills to what is needed for the change effort.
vi. Generate Short-Term Wins:
Creating some quick wins is one way of maintaining momentum for change in an organisation. Short-term win refers to a moderate improvement that can be implemented in short term say 6 to 12 months and this is a significant organisational improvement which is visible and significant in terms of cost savings, enhanced revenues or streamlined procedures, technology optimisation, new technology adaptation or increased market share.
Thus, the short-term win is a significant and visible organisational improvement that keeps the members of the organisation grossly engaged. Implementing major change is a time-taking process and it is only short-term wins that keep the members of the organisation enthused and committed for implementing major changes.
vii. Consolidate Gains and Produce More Change:
Many change efforts fail because they are not executed in a professional way. More often, it is either over/under estimated how far the change effort can proceed on the successful implementation of a few short-term wins.
The only way to avoid this is that the top management along with the guiding coalition must consolidate the gains from the earlier short-term wins and implement more and more initiatives to ensure the desired results. By doing so, the organisations can avoid sliding into complacency, slowly overcome the resistance to change and there by continue the momentum for change.
Senior leadership has to – (a) continue its communication and actions so as to keep the urgency level high to effect change; (b) allot additional resources, empower the key manager and departments and further remove the unnecessary interdependencies among departments, processes and systems – never look for just low hanging fruits; (c) motivate the lower-level managers to work with the guiding coalition so that they can identify unnecessary inter-dependencies and lead projects as needed to effect change. Such initiatives consolidate the change initiatives while countering the organisational resistance.
viii. Anchor New Approaches in the Culture:
When significant resources and time are not devoted to an institutional change effort, change initiatives do not yield the expected results. In other words, old ways of doing things continue. As a result, employees become cynical and their commitment to change also lies low. Without bringing necessary change in the culture of the organisation, any amount of effort invested in change initiatives becomes a waste. Also, it is to be noted that changing an organisational culture is a critical, long and difficult process.
Senior leaders have to adjust the organisation to align the culture with the changes they sponsored. The prominent changes that are to be initiated in this process include –
(a) Identify the norms and values that support the changes;
(b) Ensure that the candidates are selected, promoted, identified for succession as per the new norms and values;
(c) Modify reward programs to align with the new norms and values;
(d) Supplement training efforts to develop the necessary skills and competencies associated with the changes;
(e) Modify and eliminate organisational processes and procedures that do not support the changes; and
(f) Anchor change in the culture by reassigning the roles of those who are barriers to progress.
Wherever necessary, such candidates may even be dropped from the teams. Changing the culture of the organisation involves huge preparation and great deal of perseverance and hence any shortcut in this process may be suicidal.
Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement (ADKAR) is a simple model that represents the key stages in change management.
i. Create an awareness (A) about the need for change. Explain why change is required and how the present circumstances do not take you to next level of efficiency. If awareness is not created, there would be large scale confusion about the whole effort and the productivity tends to be lower.
ii. Ensure that everybody desires (D) to be a part of change so that they also get their due share in the pie of prosperity. Resistance to change comes from those who fail to desire.
iii. Provide the knowledge (K) as to how to go about in the change process. If there is no concerted effort to make the employees knowledgeable about the whole change effort, they tend to develop fear or anxiety and start raising doubts and questions.
iv. Improve the ability of all the employees through training and development so that they become competent and feel secured. If the capabilities are not enhanced, the employees tend to get frustrated and this is the beginning of fighting with the management. Where they are not successful, even the valued employees tend to leave. This weakens the whole change management process.
v. See that there is Reinforcement (R) from time-to-time so that they feel confident and keep looking forward to next level of change. In the absence of reinforcement, it is likely that the employees tend to slide back and prefer to stay in the original position. They feel insecure to come out their present comfort zone.
Management of change is viewed as transition from current position to future position. Awareness and Desire constitute current position, Knowledge and Ability constitute transition and Reinforcement constitutes the future.
Unfreezing refers to the process of preparing for change and creating the motivation and desire for change. Change involves initiating new values, behaviour, new structures and bias for action. Refreeze means reinforcing the best practices and stabilising new methods and procedures.
Change Management – Interventions Commonly Used
Change agents are people who facilitate change and make interventions to manage change in an organization. These interventions assure that change is being managed in an effective and efficient manner. Any doubt that arises while implementing change must be cleared and all employees must work in tandem to bring change. The interventions are made at all stages of change management to ensure that it is being implemented smoothly.
A few interventions commonly used in change management are as follows:
i. Encouraging Transparency:
Refers to improving the communication by making change-related information available to all employees across the organization. It also requires top-management to respond to employees’ queries and apprehensions regarding change. For example, if an organization decides to change the authority structure by introducing a team leader who will work as a link between the team member and project manager, it should be made clear to all team members why such an alteration has taken place.
ii. Providing Training:
Refers to educating the employees and developing their skills, which would help them in readily adjusting to the changes. Change management calls for providing employees with both behavioral and technical training. For example, an organization decides to change its job structure from individual-based to team-based. This change would require that employees are imparted behavioral training to smoothly adjust themselves in a team.
iii. Ensuring the Participation of Employees:
Refers to the involvement of employees in the change management process. All the employees in an organization should be engaged in the process of change management to minimize their resistance. For example, an organization decides to change the documentation process from manual to semi-automated. Now, employees may give their inputs regarding the problems they are currently facing and what changes can help in sorting out their problems.
iv. Facilitating the Support of Top Management in Bringing Change:
Refers to involving and encouraging top management to effectively implement changes. For example, until and unless an organization approves off giving incentives and bonuses to employees for exceeding work targets, this change cannot be implemented in the pay structure of the organization.
v. Using Negotiation and Coercion for Implementing Change:
Refers to using persuasive measures for change management. Negotiation is a politer method of bargaining or persuasion while coercion involves intimidation. For example, when labor union demands a pay hike, it first uses negotiation technique and later on resort to coercion.
Change Management – Roles of Different Individual and Group in the Change Management Process
It is very important to understand the roles of different individual and group in the change management process.
These roles can be identified as:
Sponsors refer to group or individual those are authorized to bring change in the organization. The leaders are sanctioned to maintain the status quo in the rapidly changing business environment and communicating its effects to the employees.
They are also aware of the misperception, vagueness, uncertainty, and discomfort, the employees may experience at the time of change implementation. Thus, the sponsors are required to possess few personal attributes such as persuasion, commitment, influence, firmness, and hopefulness.
Agents refer to group or individual those are answerable for making changes. In other words, the change agent refers to a person or group that brings the change or helps in its implementation. In any organization, the owners and the team members work as change agents. They are appointed by the authorized persons, which are known as sponsors or leaders. Agents understand the present ongoing process and develop means of improving those processes significantly.
There are two types of change agents, which are as follows:
i. External Change Agent:
It refers to an outside consultant who is an expert in managing change.
The advantages of the external change agent are as follows:
a. Offers an unbiased perspective about various aspects of the organization
b. Does not get influenced by internal power and politics
c. Provides opportunities to an organization to deal with certain type of changes, such as – restructuring, reengineering, or implementing total quality management
ii. Internal Change Agent:
It refers to a manager who knows how to handle change.
The advantages of the internal change agent are as follows:
a. Possesses a complete understanding of the organization’s values, culture, history, procedures, and personnel
b. Uses a thoughtful and cautious approach for dealing with unforeseen changes
c. Builds trust and confidence among employees of the organization
d. Convinces the employees about any upcoming changes.
One cannot say that one type of change agent is better than the other as the selection of a change agent totally depends on the situation.
Therefore, we can say that change is an important part of an organization. However, changes should be done if they take the organization to its desired level. All the changes done in the organization should impact all the employees positively.
Agents refer to the individuals who are required to change their attitude and behavior to accept the change positively. They are needed to grasp the proper information about the limitations of the way in which they are functioning. They are required to understand that the limited way of working will negatively affect the overall performance of the organization.
Thus, change is needed at priority basis. It is desirable that the leaders should communicate directly with the targets about the limitations of the current processes and the scope of desired changes. The targets are more likely to cooperate with the process owners and team members, if they come to know that the leader or sponsor is supporting the change. Adequate training facility should be provided to the targets to make them proficient in new skills.
Advocates refer to group or individual who intensely desire to bring change but neither have power nor have the authority to implement it. Any person may play the role of an advocate who is relatively at junior position and is near to place of action. He works as process orienteer and knows the shortcomings of the present processes. He or she plays a dual role.
At first, they convince top management about the short comings of the current ways of doing the things. For this, he or she needs to go through the detailed study of the existing process and present its limitations of it to the top management in terms of data to convince them for making changes.
At second he or she voluntarily take the responsibility of making the target group aware of the shortcomings of the current processes and how it is hurting the business. His effort may convince the target group to the urgency of change implementation. Here one should keep in mind that while both sponsors and advocates are, in their respective roles, want to bring change, but only the sponsor has the authority and power to do so.
Change Management – Challenges
Change management is a challenging activity because it not only aims at changing the work processes and organizational functioning but also involves remolding the employee behavior in the desired way. Thus, change management faces certain challenges, which can be broadly divided into two parts.
The change in an organization poses individual as well as organizational challenges. The individual challenges can be divided into four categories.
Any change that takes place in an organization poses many challenges for the individuals associated with it.
These challenges are explained in the following points:
i. Fear of the Unknown – Refers to the negative feeling in the minds of employees that they will not be able to adapt change or they will have to do more hard work, which will eventually disturb their comfort zone.
ii. New Learning – Refers to performing; new tasks where employees learn new languages, technologies, and work culture. New learning is seen as a cumbersome process by many employees. This feeling of the employees may also correspond to the fear of the unknown.
iii. Friendship among old Employees – Gets disturbed as a result of change. This creates an uncomfortable feeling of alienation among the employees and poses a challenge for the management.
iv. Distrust on Management – Creates a fear of exploitation in the minds of employees. This largely results when the management is not transparent enough and fails to convey the benefits of the required change to the employees. When the employees notice ambiguity of future with respect to any change, they tend to oppose the change initiated by the management of the organization.
Until now, we have studied the challenges or problems faced by the employees, let’s explore the challenges faced by the organization itself.
Organizational challenges connote the problems faced by the organization either due to changes or consequences of changes.
Some of the challenges posed by an organization are as follows:
i. Threat to Power – Acts as the greatest challenge for organizations. Some changes may lessen the power of top management that becomes a cause of frustration and distress in the organization. Therefore, this challenge must be solved at the initial stages of change implementation to ensure successful implementation.
ii. Organizational Structure – Involves altering the job assignment, selection and training procedures, and performance-reward systems that are designed to maintain the organizational stability. Any change in the organization can bring a corresponding change in the organizational structure. Implementing such type of change in the organizational structure is a big challenge in itself.
iii. Resource – Constitutes the most important component of the organization. Shortage or non-availability of adequate resources can pose a big challenge for an organization while implementing any change.
iv. Sunk Costs – Refers to the costs that are invested in fixed assets by the organization. When a change occurs, there is a fear of wastage of such cost. Therefore, the vested interest of the organization and stakeholders becomes a challenge for the change implementation.
There are instances when change management does not bring the desired results in an organization. The main reason why change management fails is the inherent and latent fear amongst the employees regarding the negative impact that change can have on them.
Following factors lead to failure of change management in an organization:
i. Lack of leadership – Refers to the situation in which the organization is not able to identify suitable transformational or transactional leaders to facilitate change.
ii. Lack of support from top-level management – Refers to a situation in which the acts of top management do not reflect the change component. In such a situation, the success of change management is impossible in the organization.
iii. Underestimation of organizational transformation process – Refers to a situation in which the complex and difficult process of organizational transformation is considered easy. As a result of this underestimation, the organization does not put required efforts in bringing change; therefore, the successful implementation of change becomes tough for the organization.
iv. Lack of involvement or self-interest of employees – Refers to a situation in which the employees resist change as they find it unfavorable and unpleasant.
Change Management – Resistance to Change: Reasons, Remedies and Strategies
Changes are desirable order to have proper functioning of the organisation and standing to competition etc. But many times they are inevitable also such changes are required to be brought in higher level performance and making optimum use of all the resources in a profitable manner. The changes are taking alone in every field very fast and therefore the organisation has to change and in the opportunity profitable and maintain its survival.
Whenever the changes are introduced the members of the organisation have to change or modify their attitude, perceptions and working behaviour. But in actual practice the members of the organisation resist to change. If the changes brought into organisation are more positive and beneficial to the member, the degree of their resistance is on the lower side and if the change is less beneficial the degree of resistance is higher.
In fact the “change” is a law of nature and to resist the change is a natural tendency of human behaviour. However for accepting the changes by the member of the organisation, it is good to give them temptation of some regards and attract them for the changes. In this way changes can be implemented with least resistance.
1. Insecurity of Job:
The employees feel in secure about their employment as the direct impact of change. This is one of the major reasons for resistance to change.
2. Changes in Status-Quo:
If the change like redistribution of authority and responsibility, re-defining the job and reallocation of it among the employees are introduced in organisation existing position and schedule of the employees is bound to change. Under the situation their position does not maintain status-quo. They have to adjust with new situation which they feel inconvenient and uncomfortable.
3. Lack or Gap of Communication:
It is necessary to communicate the employees about the expected changes. They must be taken into confidence and informed about the change. Their participation in implementation of change should be ensured. But if there is a communication gap or lack of communication among the employees and management about the change to be introduced then there may be resistance on the part the employees for the change.
4. Socio-Psychological Reasons:
As a result of change present position of the employees may change and their buy they may be deprived of the existing usual set up with, they are habituated, where in their superior subordinate relations may change as new and unknown person may replace the supervisors as well as subordinates. Under such a situation they may become psychologically weak and feel socially displaced. Resistance to change also arises due to such social and psychological reasons as mentioned above.
5. Group Pressure:
The member of group generally remain loyal committed and sincere towards the group norms, values and objectives. These individuals many times are prepared to sacrifice their individual interest, for the interest of the group. Because, of the group pressure members of the group resist change.
6. Loss of Power and Control:
Due to the change, the power of the individual employee or of a group may be lost. Therefore, he or they may resist the change.
7. Nature of Change:
So long as the nature of changes is minor, temporary and does not affect the members significantly, the resistance may be minimum, But if the change is introduced suddenly that too major one, the resistance may be higher one.
8. Rigid Organisational Structure:
If the organisational structure is rigid where no change is possible such inflexibility or rigidity in the organisation structure may also become a cause of resistance. On the other hand if the organisation structure is flexible, the pace of changes will be fast. Flexible in organisation can help the changes to be made without any problem or resistance from the employees.
9. Past Experiences of the Employees:
If the previous change had not been handled by the organisation efficiently and the members of the organisational had a bitter experience about it they will oppose the existing as well as future changes too. Again due to lack of trust among the employees the important of change may be misinterpreted and they may oppose it.
Resistance to change is a single rigid of something wrong either in the process of introducing or implementing the change. The concerning authority must find out the real cause of resistance and overcome it as early as possible.
There are some alternative means / ways / remedies for overcoming resistance to change:
1. Employees Participation and Involvement:
To reduce employees’ resistance to change it is desirable to associate and involve the employees in the change process, because they are the part and parcel of the organisation and whatever change introduced in the organisation may affect them. The employees should be the party to change as to get their consent, cooperation and commitment. If the employees active participation in the implementation of the change is ensured the manager can easily overcome their resistance to change.
2. Education and Communication:
One of the simplest way of getting the employees to accept the change is through the process of education. It is necessary to educate the employees about to change so as to reduce their resistance. The employees can be educated through training, seminars, conference and meetings. The employees must be persuaded about the need and importance of the change.
Communication is also one of the best devices for proving information about the change. They should be taken into confidence and their doubts confusions etc. have to be removed. This will help to create a favourable atmosphere to change.
The manager as a leader may develop his informal relationship with the subordinates for seeking their cooperation to implement the change. He can also influence to subordinates through leadership process and can convert their negative attitude into positive one. Basically the leadership process which is aimed at influencing the behaviour of others may prove helpful in the successful implementation of the change.
4. Facilities and Support:
The manager must assure the employee that he will provide all type of help whatever they require for adjusting with the new situation. And as well, if he gives all support to the subordinates, there may be minimum resistance for change. But this remedy is time consuming and expensive too.
5. Negotiations and Agreements:
Negotiations and agreements are considered to be the most effective way to overcome the major resistance to the change. For example if a particular group of the members which is very important and powerful, is losing significantly due to the change, the negotiation process is an effective way to overcome their resistance.
The management may negotiate with the union leaders or representatives of employees on the matter to arrive at a settlement through some via media. An agreement between management and the employee be signed by both the parties and diffuse the resistance.
6. Time of the Change:
Whenever the changes are required to be introduced it should be done at appropriate time and in a gradual manners. Resistance to change by the affected members of the organisation can be reduced significant by two. Generally “the sudden and untimely change” may result in strong opposition. Therefore, the manager must introduce the changes at right time.
7. Use of Group Pressure:
Generally there are two types of groups in an organization – (i) Formal group – which is a work group (ii) Informal group (when likeminded people come together as a natural process a group is automatically formed ) Such informal group have much influence of their own as well as other members. If these groups are convinced over the change and if they accept the change other members to accept the change, resulting in minimisation of resistance.
8. Change Agent of Initiator:
An agent or an initiator is appointed to make the employees accept the change, when all other effort turn futile. An agent is a person who by hook or crook, gets the change accepted by the members. He may use the method of threatening or coercion towards the resisting members. But when the things are managed to be done put their heart intelligence, and experience in doing the things i.e. job. Thus, the method may turn to be detrimental to the organisation in future.
Strategies to Overcome Resistance to Change:
There are various strategies for change management which act as guidelines to overcome resistance to change.
Management of change can be done by adopting following strategies for overcoming resistance to change:
1. Identification of target employees – Before any change is initiated, it is essential to involve those employees who are to be affected by change. After identification of employees, the manager should lay down its objectives and study its implication. The time should be determined and mode of introduction of change should be planned.
2. Discussing change beforehand – It is very important to know the reaction of individuals regarding change and management should discuss change with employees beforehand. Employees are more committed towards change if positive implications are explained to them for change.
3. Effective two-way communication – Effective two-way communication should be there between management and employees for the proposed change because it provides a feeling of half the job is done regarding implementation of change. This provides a platform to employee to discuss their queries regarding change and feedback can be taken from them to know their reaction.
4. Training and development – In order to successfully implementing change, employees must be taught new skills, helped to mould their attitude and provide them necessary information to understand where they fit into the total picture. This can be done through training and development of subordinates.
5. Appropriate leadership style – Only a successful leader can help in smooth implementation of change in an organization. Appropriate leadership style should be adopted in order to make change after analyzing the type of subordinates, need for change, change environment etc. An effective leader acts as a panacea for overcoming resistance by effective leadership process.
6. Trade unions – Management is the initiator of change and trade unions are regarded as implementing agents. The representatives of trade union convince employees about the proper logic for change and benefits about change. Employees listen to trade union leaders because they think that trade union leader are working for the welfare and interest of workers.
7. Group interactions – Instead of focusing on individual employees the entire group of employees should be focused and targeted for change. Group interaction and discussions should be encouraged by management. The group should be explained the rationale behind change and they should be convinced about the benefits of change at the group level and at the organizational level.
8. Facilitation and support – Providing proper facilitation and support to those employees who are to be affected by change make the process of change an easy one. Emotional and psychological support should be provided by showing personal concern for the subordinates.
Change Management – Rationale for Change
Why change is inevitable? What is wrong with the traditional way we do business?
(i) We are bound to a short-term focus:
Most of the organisations are driven by short-term objectives, it is true whether the organisations are engaged in manufacturing or services we use to judge everything we do on the basis of a measurable pay-back (return-on-investment) in the next quarter or next year (i.e., Keynesian economics)
(ii) The traditional approach tends to be arrogant, rather than customer focused:
Most traditional organisations are arrogant. They think they know more about what their customers need than their customers do. Or worse yet, they don’t care about their customers’ needs.
(iii) We seriously underestimate the potential contribution of our employees, particularly those in hands-on functions:
The person who knows the most about a job and the one who is most likely to know how to solve problems-is the person who is doing the job and facing the problem day in and day out. But this truth is often overlooked by supervisors and managers who direct the workers to do their job as they are told to do by their superiors.
Even though every employee would generally want to do a good job, faced with processes that are not capable and management that is not willing to listen, they end up living with the situation and do what best they can do with the existing limitations. This will result in wastage of the brain power employed in the organisation.
(iv) The traditional approach equates better quality with higher cost:
The perception of higher quality is usually associated with higher cost. Price is the indicator of quality to the customer. However, Phillip Crosby wrote a book titled “Quality is Free” in 1979. In the beginning, many traditional managers did not buy the idea that quality is free.
However, organisations that have successfully changed themselves into total quality enterprises have found not only that quality is free but that it also brings unforeseen benefits. One glaring example is that of Japanese cars or consumer electronic goods which have become better in quality and cheaper in price over a period of time.
(v) The traditional approach in short on leadership and long on “boss-man ship”:
Many traditional managers see their jobs as simply telling their subordinates what to do and when to do it. A classic example was the mass production and assembly lines evolved in Ford Automobile manufacturing plants in the early decades of 20th century. Mass production has brought in “specialisation”- a way to divide the labor into other areas to minimize the need for worker skills and knowledge.
The moving assembly lines and interchangeable parts produced by mass production methods eliminated the need for highly skilled workers (craftsmen). However, the Japanese demonstrated a better approach where in, the manager acts like leader and not a boss thereby fostering team work and better interpersonal relationships which motivated the employees to improve their productivity.