Reflection on Managing Organization and Individual Change
The study of managing organizations and individual change is fundamental in enhancing individual’s capacity to make decisions, in addition to stimulating cultural change and novelty. Change is persistent in many organizations, as each day, organizations are launching new initiatives and plans to enhance performance as well as competitive advantage. Without great consideration on implications of individual change, individuals can hardly cope with large-scale management of organizations. Additionally, individuals can never succeed in managing organizations without teamwork. Much of today’s activities in the workplace are organized through teams. The cognitive approach to individual change assists in making changes that are desirable to the team. Thus, my biggest lesson in the discipline of managing organizations and individual change is to comprehend how to align individual behavior to meet the needs of the entire organization as I focus on my future career.
In the study of organizational behavior, the need to go beyond our conscious thinking is vital to understand the underlying motives that prompt individuals to act in a certain manner. Each day, managers handle constant data that flow from activities that go on in their organizations. How they handle such data indicates the essence of gaining knowledge on organization change management, as well as individual change. Organizational change is often linked with individual change, where some few individuals take the role of managing change (Hayes 2014, 359). Individuals cannot handle changes in the organizations without experiencing change in their personal capacity.
Managers are individuals who are responsible for driving change in their organizations; hence, their behaviors have implications on change. Executing change management is fundamental for organizations to attain desirable results, in addition to building competencies that enable organizations to adopt more change in the future. Organizational theorists utilize numerous theories and models to clarify aspects of change and individual behavior. Behavioral change theories enable us to understand why individuals change their behavior. My future career in managing organizations will focus on closing the gap between organizational requirements and results.
In most cases, organizational changes are capable of meeting requirements, but delivery of expected results has been an unachieved goal in most organizations. An organization can plan to hire a certain number of employees who would serve different departments, but such employees may not have the required knowledge in delivering results. New employees need to learn new ideas to thrive in their responsibilities. According to Gestalt perspective, people learn new ideas through their worldview, where they place some ideas in the foreground while others are placed in the background through their consciousness (Cameron & Green 2012, 18). This perspective is supported by Kolb’s learning cycle, which asserts that individuals learn through the process of doing, as well as thinking.
An individual’s function can be expressed through a triadic interface of behavior, as well as through environmental factors. Social cognitive theory claims that individuals’ behaviors are rarely driven by inner thoughts, but rather by external influence. Social cognitive theory corresponds with organizational culture since it emphasizes on social norms, apparent benefits, as well as self-efficacy, in making behavioral intentions (Beidas & Kendall 2014). This theory emphasizes the presence of incentives to influence individual’s self-efficacy.
An individual must possess skills to implement change before convincing others about change. Self-efficacy enables an individual to undertake his/her responsibility assertively, as well as overcome challenges. As a future manager, I need to be aware that change begins with the individual. Employees tend to emulate their leaders behavior, hence, they are likely to respond to change due to their leaders’ commitment towards change.
Individuals can be influenced by other individuals to conform to certain beliefs or concepts. Interpersonal influence involves encouraging another person, or a group of individuals, to be conventional to certain behavior through power, persuasion, or assertiveness. The power of influence usually lies in listening, as people who speak more tend to be more influential while those who listen are quite attentive. Individual’s listening tendencies are directly linked to influence, based on the impact of oral expression (Ames, Maissen & Brockner 2012, 347). Managers can request employees to act in a particular manner through personal request, and employees can accept the request because they do not have a better alternative.
A successful manager should be capable of influencing people to understand the necessity for change. A person who is capable of influencing others must be endowed with numerous tactics, and most of these tactics are based on personal power rather than positions in organizations. An individual’s social environment contributes largely in influencing others. Use of rational persuasion is the most appropriate strategy for interpersonal influence, as it considers facts and logical argument to convince other people to support an idea (Daft, Kendrick & Vershinina 2010, 590). Most successful leaders who hold technical knowledge concerning change prefer to exercise rational persuasion since it is not likely to raise suspicion among the subjects.
Managing Change in Teams
Teams are extremely vital for a manager who expects to make change in his/her organization. As managers prepare for change, they have to ensure that they have strong teams that can withstand change. As a leader, one is committed to do what others fear to do, as taking risks is part of excellent leadership. Organizational leaders are agents of change, and they are responsible for teaching and motivating their teams to execute change. How a leader handles change can either strengthen or weaken the team. Psychoanalytic theories enable us to understand the mental capacity of individuals and the mechanisms of functioning as teams. Psychodynamic approach to organizational change enables managers to understand fears, anxieties, as well as desires of team members, as they endeavor to execute change (Barabasz 2016, 156).
An effective manager must clarify to the team on issues at hand so that each individual in the team is aware of what is expected. Clarity enables teams to understand the risks involved in change, as they anticipate potential outcomes (Llopis 2014, 1). Clarity eliminates guesswork and enhances the capacity to seize the opportunity available to make change. Working with teams promotes accumulation of thoughts and ideas. Collaboration helps in sharing the opportunities to sustain change. Managers should encourage open-mindedness, as employees are ready to offer their opinion in a free environment.
Teams can be exploited to create competitive advantage. Each team should be perceived as a department, and team leaders must work to maximize their teams’ goals. Teams can set the right tone by allowing their members to identify their potential. According to Belbin’s team types, each team member should have a role, or several roles, to have high performance (Cameron & Green 2012, 98). Each team should incorporate a fair distribution of Belbin team types to succeed in implementing change.
One of the qualities that enable some individuals to influence other individuals is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligent involves recognizing one’s emotions as well as other people’s emotions. Emotional intelligence facilitates self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness (Daft, Kendrick & Vershinina 2010, 536). Emotional intelligence enables individuals to categorize feelings from emotions to guide their thinking and behavior. When an individual wants to influence others in a certain way, he/she must respect their views and endeavor to convince them based on their viewpoint.
Individuals with high emotional intelligence are believed to harbor excellent leadership skills, in addition to being commitment to hard work. One of the popular models that conceptualize emotional intelligence is the ability-based model, which perceives emotions as essential sources of information that enable individuals to make sense of their surrounding and circumnavigate the social environment. According to Joseph and Newman (2010, 55), the ability model perceives emotional intelligence as the capacity to undertake accurate reasoning concerning emotions, as well as utilizing emotional knowledge to advance thoughts.
Emotional intelligence has become a fundamental aspect that employees utilize to survive within their workplace environment. Many employees perceive change as either an opportunity for advancement, or a threat on their career, hence, being able to control one’s emotion is necessary, particularly when dealing with people who resist change. When individuals learn to control their emotions, they begin to demonstrate commitment to change, and this offers managers a chance to motivate them toward the desired change (Asnawi, Yunus & Razak 2014, 8). Organizations that are experiencing change are necessitated to appreciate the value of building employees’ emotional intelligence to motivate them to contribute more effectively in making decisions.
Changing Organizational Structures and Systems
Change is multidimensional, and may necessitate organizations to change work processes, work environment, or even a long-standing cultural norm. Any plan to institute change in management should ensure that all systems are capable of interacting effective with each other. Organizational structure incorporates a formal design of hierarchy within an organization that facilitates information flow and employee relationships. Systems theory endeavors to explain the interrelatedness of different departments within the organization, as a change in one department affects almost all other departments. An organization may opt to change its structure to enhance competitive edge, as well as to adapt to new changes.
When changing organizational structure, managers should ensure that all employees are involved to avoid conflict of interest. Sometimes structural changes integrate downsizing, hence, keeping constant communication with employees can help in coping with the change. To minimize conflict within the organizational structure, the contingency theory asserts that organizations can strive to adapt to changes by relating leadership styles to situations (Daft, Kendrick & Vershinina 2010, 577). Change should follow a systematic format to enable smooth transition towards the new system. Therefore, as a future manager, I should be considerate on organizational structure and system, which define the organizational culture. Change is possible when managers understand the strength of systems in influencing behavior.
Every student falls into a dilemma of which disciplines to choose from to make his/her dream career competitive. The core objective of implementing change is to enhance performance, thus, the choices that I make must align with my vision to enhance desirable outcomes. Education environment has experienced constant change; hence, the choices that I make today must offer an assurance of a successful future in my career. Such dilemma may also affect organizations in their endeavors to make change. Although the term organizational change denotes transformation on organizational activities, the term does not indicate which types of activities should be changed. This is because the choices made within an organizational environment can be normative, administrative, or political. Agency theory purports that people are inclined to make decisions that align with their best interests (Smith & Graetz 2011, 116).
An individual who is ready for change must choose to participate in making change or promoting change, as resisting involves developing a negative attitude toward change. The best way to approach organizational change is not to define the term ‘change’, but rather to relate it to other forms of change so that choices can be made on what ought to be changed. Organizational leaders have a responsibility to determining the factors that need to be changed within an organization. Organizations own the power to establish strategies that are easier to manipulate through change. Such organizations need to convince their employees of the benefits that would be accrued from adopting change. However, the same organizations can fall into problems of stagnation if they fail to control what they have established as strategy for change.
Communication and Resistance to Change
Managing change involves convincing employees to be ready for change and to make them feel comfortable that such change will add value to their skills. As a future manager, I am aware that communication is vital in implementing change in organizations. Communication enables managers to convey information to employees concerning required changes. Communication reduces anxiety among employees by keeping them motivated, as well as enhancing feedback in supporting the desired outcomes (Malek & Yazdanifard 2012, 53-54). If an execution of strategy fails to be understood by people who are expected to roll it out, then change may not occur. An initiative to make change is bound to collapse if it lacks proper communication.
The quality of communication is crucial in the change process because it determines the level of motivation to support change. Good leaders ensure that all employees are aware of the organization’s vision, and that all the measures towards change are shared effectively through the existing communication channels. Employees want to be engaged in all activities that concern their responsibilities to believe on organization’s commitment to change. From my personal perspective, I know that communication is vital in passing information that is meant to motivate, give hope, warn, and approve good behavior. Therefore, acquiring excellent communication skills is essential as a manager.
Communication acts as a tool to establish awareness of change, as well as to generate the aspiration to participate in making change. Thus, managers should stop assuming that communication is just a staff function, or something to enhance public relations. Communication is a two-way action, where managers offer information concerning change to employees, and where employees raise the concerns that are related to change (Malek & Yazdanifard 2012, 54). Communication serves to share information, to facilitate participation, to convey the organization’s vision, and to enhance feedback.
An organization that lacks proper communication channels is bound to fall. Organizational silence can inhibit decision making, in addition to eliciting adverse reactions from employees. It denies the management the chance to try alternative options that could tame conflicting viewpoints. According to Hayes (2014, 219), organizational silence can adversely affect creativity and undercut the efforts of decision-making. Absence of feedback creates a room for employees to frustrate the efforts made by the management regarding change.
Poor communication can incite employees to resist change. It is essential to note that change can generate resistance, as it arouses anxiety among employees, who do not want to abandon the usual practices. Employees may rebel against change if they are aware of the problems that the proposed change would bring to them (Lunenburg 2010, 5). Individuals may fear that their services might be termed as redundant in the future, or they may be compelled to change their career to fit the new situation. Any change in organization’s operations is likely to drive employees away from their comfort zone.
Lack of balance when executing change can trigger resistance from employees. The Force-Field Theory of Change, which was developed by Kurt Lewin, attempted to explain how the forces that drive change experience resistance from other forces that hinder change (Lunenburg 2010, 5). According to Lewin, if organizations elevate one set of forces and fail to decrease the other blend of forces, tension would remain high, leading to conflict in the organizations. In a simpler explanation, Lewis claimed that if organizations compel people to act in a particular manner, such people are likely to rebel. In this connection, Lewin proposed for a reduction in resisting forces so that the driving forces can rise automatically to create an equilibrium condition.
Organizations cannot succeed in implementing change if they overlook some employees. Organizations that succeed in overcoming resistance to change usually involves their members directly in planning, as well as implementing change (Cummings & Worley 2015, 184). Members can offer diversity of information, which can assist in making changes that are required at a given situation. Through communication, organizations can convince employees the need for change, in addition to receiving feedback on how to enhance change. Conducting face-to-face discussions and issuing special reports on new changes can help employees to appreciate the need for change and minimize resistance.
Organizations can utilize members in the highest levels of command to train other employees on the proposed changes. Such members should be excellent communicators, approachable, and charismatic, to carry support the management in adopting change. Employees are likely to listening to an individual employ humor in his/her talk. If possible, the management should select some members of staff, who would be trained on the new changes, and consequently assist in implementing such changes at the workplace.
The study on managing organizations and change has enlightened me on how to succeed in implementing change, as I focus on the growth of the organization. Organizational change involves movement made by individuals, working in a team, towards a better future by abandoning the current state within their workplace. The most fundamental lesson in managing change is to communicate what ought to change on time to give employees a chance to adapt. How employees act in response to change is the most essential factor in sustainability and success of an organization. Most organizations experience change quite often, and this has become a challenge to managers. Managers should exploit teams to realize the outcomes of change. Team members need to be directed by emotional intelligence to make decisions on change, as poor control of emotion can create conflict. When change is linked to high performance, teams can be useful in implementing such change.
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