Organizational Change Management
Organizational change management is one of the crucial aspects of organizational operations. For effective change management, an organization has to ensure that all stakeholders are aligned with the need for change and the intended change process. Additionally, the management has to be supportive of the change and motivate the other stakeholders towards performing their roles in the change process. The expected outcomes have to be clearly stated so that all the participants in the change process understand how their roles contribute to the overall change objective.
Organizational Preparation for Change
Preparation for change enables the organizational components to be ready for embracing the planned change without any resistance. As such, change preparation is very important in various ways. First, it enhances the organizational understanding of the need for change. According to Kotter (2014), most organizational resistances to change occur as a result of a lack of understanding of the need for change, which pushes the organizational stakeholders to push for the retention of the status quo. By explaining the need for change to the members of the organization, they get to understand the potential benefits of the planned change and support it fully (Shraeder, Swamidass, & Morrison, 2006). Preparation also fosters the identification of change agents in the organization. Change agents are individuals who can be tasked with initiating and encouraging the change process (Kotter, 2014). Change agents must be sufficiently prepared as part of the overall organizational change preparation process.
Adequate change preparation also promotes the probability of success of the implemented change. During change preparation, organizations identify all the required resources, bring them together, and put in place measures for effective coordination to ensure that those resources are utilized effectively during the change process (Wischenvsky, & Damanpour, 2006). The preparation process also enables the organizational management to identify the potential risks to the change process and work towards mitigating those risks to avoid their interference with the change process. It is thus deductible that change preparation increases the chances for organizational change success by fostering efficient resource utilization and minimizing risks. The risks here could include financial risks, human resource constraint risks, and adaptation risks for the change process.
Managerial/Leadership Roles in Change Management
The organizational management is responsible for developing the strategic plans for an organization, and any change process is expected to be aligned to the existing organizational strategic plans. The management, therefore, has the first responsibility of communicating the linkage between the proposed change and the organizational strategy. In order to perform this role effectively, communication skills are needed (Gilley, 2005). Additionally, the leaders who are to drive the change process ought to possess adaptability skills and be flexible towards market changes in order to learn from the markets and initiate change that can foster sustainable operations in the midst of competition.
The management also has to demonstrate its support for change. In any organization, the management also performs a motivational role to the rest of the employees. It is easier for an organization’s employees to be aligned with changes that already have the support of the management than when there is no indication of support (Creasey, 2019). The abilities and skills required to achieve this include charisma, optimism, and innovation. The management identifies an opportunity for change and ensures that the rest of the employees understand the need for change and are aware that the management supports that change. Management’s support for change motivates the participation of other individuals in the change process since it implies that the resources required for the change would be availed.
Other roles played by the management in the change preparation process to facilitate positive change outcomes include engaging with and providing support to the change project team, coaching employees who are tasked with implementing the change and identifying and managing change resistance (Gilley, 2005). Change resistance management is particularly important since resistance is a potential barrier to change success.
Assessment Areas for Change Preparation
The organizational change process addresses changes in different areas of organizational operation. Accordingly, during the change preparation process, the management has to assess various change potential areas to determine the scope of support or resource allocation that would be necessary. The first area to be assessed is an organizational strategy. According to Suddaby and Foster (2017), any organizational change process has to be aligned with the organizational strategy. As such, external and internal factors that motivate change have to be assessed for their impacts on the organizational strategy. Where the proposed change would result in a different strategy, the strategy ought to be changed before introducing the proposed changes to avoid directional conflict between the intended change and the organizational strategy.
The human resource function is the second area that has to be assessed in a change process. People changes may be necessary for various reasons, including where there is a need to fit the attitudes of the available members to the needs for change. Individuals with a more positive attitude towards change would be allowed to be part of the change project team. If the skills of the available members do not match the required skill set, personnel change may be necessary.
The third area for change assessment would be technological changes. Technological changes often need to be introduced as part of the system support for the larger strategic changes in an organization. During the assessment, the objective would be to determine what technological systems are available for communication and various other activities. This would be followed by an analysis of the required technologies for the organization once the new changes are implemented. The technological change would be needed where there are gaps between the required technologies and the already existing ones.
Fourth, an organization has to assess its structural system to determine the probability of fitting with the intended changes. Changes may be required in the management structure as a result of strategic or operational changes in the organization. As such, Creasy (2019) purports that understanding the implications of the impending changes can help to determine whether the existing organizational structure would be effective after the implementation of the intended change.
The fifth area of assessment would be the organizational legal implications and policies. Operational, structural, and strategic changes sometimes result in various legal implications, and organizational managements have to work on change procedures that would ensure continuous compliance with legal requirements.
Methods of Assessment
Each of the mentioned areas of assessment works with different strategies. A business canvas model can, for instance, be used in assessing the need for a strategic change. Accordingly, the model would indicate the business objectives, the inputs, revenue streams, and the resources required for the business to succeed. Two distinct models can be created for the existing operations and one that would be relevant following the implementation of intended changes. From the two, it would be possible to identify the gaps in organizational strategy, and thus to determine the need for change in the strategy.
For the human resource assessment, a performance appraisal would be the most effective tool for determining the need for change. An appraisal would help to identify existing skill gaps and the capabilities of the existing human resources for effective employee positioning and job definitions. The technological changes, on the other hand, would be assessed by focusing on the different technologies used in the organization. Systems such as the human resource management software, enterprise resource management, and the finance model software may be checked to determine the scope of their performance and come up with strategies for further change to accommodate the new structures. Similarly, the organizational structure can be assessed through an executive-level discussion in which the need for a different organizational structure is identified, and the different structure is proposed (Hao & Yazdanifard, 2015). Lastly, the legal changes are assessed by involving legal experts who can outline the potential changes in legal liability by the organization and recommend the best strategies for handling those changes. Implications on labor laws and the use of technology; or impacts of environmental regulations, may need to be assessed to determine the need for additional structures to help manage the legal implications of change.
Using the Data Collected
Different data types would be collected and used to identify the need for change and implement the intended changes. For instance, information collected from the different business canvasses can be applied by having an executive discussion to develop a new strategic plan for the business and communicate this new strategic plan to the other stakeholders in the organization. For the human resource changes, the information obtained would be used to determine the need for hiring new individuals, shifting the available resources to other roles, and terminating the services of other employees. In most cases, technological changes are required only when there are significant operational changes that result in changes in how information flow is managed. During the assessment of the technological systems, it becomes necessary to focus on the content changes in relation to each operational activity. Such changes in content and/or flow inspire change in the technological systems in use. For the structural changes, the information collected would be relevant, especially from an operational perspective. The introduction of new manufacturing lines, for instance, would necessitate the development of a new management structure to position the line supervisors for the new production line. The legal changes assessment information would be used to inform decisions regarding hiring practices, unionization, environmental regulations, and others (Gartner, 2018). For example, a change in manufacturing processes could result in a lot of effluent water. Effluent discharge licenses would be needed, which may not have been necessary if the organization would have retained its original dry production process.
Strategies to Facilitate Readiness for Change
Change readiness can be facilitated through effective preparation, namely fostering the understanding of the need for change. Many organizational members would not be comfortable implementing changes whose rationale they do not see. The first strategy towards ensuring that they understand the need for change is through stakeholder training supported by a business case. Secondly, explicit management support for change is mandatory. By first understanding the need for change and confirming the management support for change, it becomes easier for the rest of the team to be involved in the change (Wallington, 2000). Besides, setting milestones and celebrating their achievement can be an essential part of the change process that motivates people towards pursuing other interests that promote the change outcomes.
Change management is a complex process in any given organization, and understanding the rationale behind that process is a fundamental step towards change acceptance and change support. For any given organization, change requires effective preparation, which would involve assessment in five areas, including the organizational strategy, human resources, technology, structure, and legal implications. Addressing these areas before initiating change can help to obtain information that would be useful not only in change management but also in promoting supporting systems for change
Creasey, T. (2019). The role of managers in change management. Prosci, Inc. Retrieved from blog.prosci.com/the-role-of-managers-in-the-3-phases-of-change-management
Gartner. (2018). Change management. Retrieved from www.gartner.com/en/insights/change-management
Gilley, A. (2005). The manager as change leader. Praeger. [Print].
Hao, M.J., & Yazdanifard, R. (2015). How effective leadership can facilitate change in organizations through improvement and involvement. Global Journal of Management and Business Research: Administration and Management, 15(9). Retrieved from globaljournals.org/GJMBR_Volume15/1-How-Effective-Leadership.pdf
Kotter, J. (2014). Accelerate: Building strategic agility for a faster-moving world. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.
Schraeder, M., Swamidass, P.M., & Morrison, R. (2006). Employee involvement, attitudes, and reactions to technology changes. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 12(3), 85-100. Retrieved from journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/107179190601200306
SHRM (2020). Managing organizational change. SHRM Foundation. Retrieved from www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/managingorganizationalchange.aspx
Suddaby, R., & Foster, W.M. (2017). History and organizational change. Journal of Management, 43(1), 19-38. Retrieved from journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0149206316675031
Wallington, P.M. (2000). Making change. CIO. Retrieved from www.referenceforbusiness.com/small/Mail-Op/Managing-Organizational-Change.html#ixzz6DEiDsG4H
Wischenvsky, J.D., & Damanpour, F. (2006). Organizational transformation and performance: An examination of three perspectives. Journal of Managerial Issues. Spring 2006