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Understanding the Importance of Change and Change Management in Organisations

Question:

Discuss about the Change Management for Models of Change.

The literature review presents the aspect of change and change management while focusing on external and internal environments in which an organisation operates. In the change process, the employees of an organisation must understand the change and the need to change in order to embrace that change (Hill et al. 2014, pp.60). Change can involve all the aspects of an organisation whose turn can affect the people employed by the organisation. Therefore, when initiating change process within an organisation, there is need to engage employees and explain the reasons for the change. Failure to consult and involve the employees may hinder the process of change within an organisation since the employees will resist the change process (Pillai 2017, pp.22). Change encompasses going from the familiar to the anonymous ways which affect the employees’ competencies and also their ability to cope with changes. Evolution is a way of life that the organisation must go through for it to maintain a competitive advantage in the business environment (Miner 2015, pp. 52). Therefore, to avoid failure, organisations should communicate clearly on the intended change, techniques to promote a long-lasting shift and the challenges to be encountered during the change process and how to deal with such challenges. 

Change is defined as the aspect of defying normal way of doing things in an organisation which may make the employees feel the pressure and stress of failing to meet the demand of the new situation brought by change. Organizational change may be crucial in dealing with the environmental changes and forces to enable the organisation achieve constant growth and survival in the market (Dalkir 2013, pp. 53). Change management is a technique used to manage the transformation process in making the desired results. Change is an externally driven process, aiming at how the organisation will react and adjust to the changing environment for it to improve their probability of surviving in the market (By et al. 2017, pp.13). In the present world of trade, organisations have strived to link the change management to the human resource department. Since change involves varying the behaviour of the employees, the HR department is given the obligation of managing the employees by providing the necessary support to help embrace a successful change process (Benn et al. 2014, pp. 103). It will entail activities such as training, seminars, boardroom meetings and group discussions to help the employees gain the relevant knowledge and skills needed in the successful transition from one way of doing things to another.

The only hindrance to a successful change process is the employee resistance. As discussed above, the failure by the organisational management to introduce the change and explain to the employees, it may lead to resistance. Effective communication is most essential aspect when dealing with employees and urging them to embrace change (Pillai 2017, pp. 25). To support the theory of change management is the traditional and contemporary representations by various scholars to help in understanding multiple ways of managing change, types of change and also the reason for a change. In the report, it will look at the current and contemporary models applicable in the today’s world of business. Also, it will assess the model's suitability and viability in helping the initiation and implementation of a successful change process within an organisation.

Engaging Employees in the Change Process

Models of change management can be described “as a mode of describing and representing the theoretical understanding of the change process through a series of stages” (Qadri 2015, pp. 276). Models of change will, therefore, seek to understand the need to identify the importance of change, create an associated and immediate reason in communicating a specific vision for change.

The theory was anchored on the fact that a planned change that is implemented through learning would help the employees understand the need to reframe their views and adopt the difference in the organisation (Argyris 2017, pp. 21). The model was procedural, and it was implemented in three stages: unfreeze, change and refreeze.

The unfreezing stage involves the process of changing the present employee behaviour and attitudes. During the process, the organisation's management looks at the threat that the new change poses to the existing employee and the need to motivate them to accept change. The organisation undergoes a process of self-reflection and involvement aimed at stimulating the employees to adopt change. The process involves effective communication to discuss with the employees the need to change and minimise the chances of resistance.

Once that is done, employees are now ready to move on by acquiring all the information about the new ways of working, process known as cognitive restructuring. The role of managers here is to promote and enhance the employee adaptation and commitment to the whole process. The final stage in the model is refreezing (Argyris 2017, pp. 23).  The employee's new behaviours are incorporated into operations by ensuring that they practice the newly acquired skills repeatedly.  During the cognitive restructuring, training can also be offered to teach the employees how the new skills can be applied in their line of duty. It is vital for the managers to ensure that the strength of the new force is stronger than that of the previous effect.

The planned approach model seems systematic, and in Australia, it is mainly applied in the banking sector during the reshuffle. The employees may be taken to a new department or branch, and the managers strive to help the employees understand the need for the reshuffle by encouraging them through training; to learn skills needed in their new area of work. Moreover, the manager can ensure that the employee feels comfortable in their new area of work and forget their previous field of work entirely.

Just like the planned approach, the model is procedural and planned. Richard Beckhard developed the model in 1969, and it incorporates the steps discussed below.

Goal setting and definition of the organisation's future desired situation after the change takes place. Establish the current conditions about the set goals. Listing the activities to be undertaken during the transition process and the commitment required to dictate the future of the organisation is important. Coming up with the strategies needed to manage the aspects needed to influence the start of the change process.

Many organisations will depend on their reports to understand the changes needed to be implemented for survival, by taking into consideration the present and the future state of competition. Further, the assumption of the planned change is to govern how to develop and implement actions in the achievement of a desired future state (Vohs and Baumister 2016, pp. 502). However, the steps listed above can be undertaken in any order to achieve successful change management. The above-discussed model can be applied in the taxi service in Australia. With the stiff competition being realised between Uber, Taxify and public transport vehicles. Each side is trying to adopt a new change to counter the robust competition in the market.

Employee Resistance: The Only Hindrance to a Successful Change Process

The model was developed by Kotter in 1996 and 1998 and can be used at the top planned of the organization to transform its vision (Kazmi et al. 2017, pp. 4.). The first step in the model is creating a sense of urgency. For the managers to avoid resistance from the employees, the management presents change as a matter of survival for the organisation (Pillai 2017, pp. 27). The second step is to form an influential group of managers to convince the resisting employees. Then, a plan consisting the vision and strategies should be created to accelerate the change. The other step involves the communication of the image of change in advance to the employees to make them less likely to resist. The additional step will be to inspire and encourage people to adopt change. The last level is a process of marking the process more permanent by fostering the anticipated change and creating the modifications necessary for the change to be effective. Thus, the model encourages cooperation and the employee involvement by empowering them to act for the betterment of the organisation (Kazmi et al. 2017, pp. 6). For the company to reinforce change, short-terms awards can be given to the people who adopt change and are ready to work towards the new vision (Bratton and Gold 2017, pp. 70). The above-discussed model has been witnessed in Australian airline industry. Since the privatisation of Qantas Airways in 1995, the organisation has strived to bring immense changes to its operations. Thus, the organisation has adopted this model, and it has grown tremendously to be the best airline company in Australia with over 140 destinations across the world

Just like Lewin’s and Beckhard’s change models, continuous change process model looks at change as a planned process that looks at change from a top administration angle and maintains that change is constant. However, the model incorporates the Lewin’s model at the implementation stage (Hayes 2014, pp. 23). Top management will define the goals it wants to achieve after a change. Also, other alternatives for the desired change are brought up, evaluated, and the best acceptable option is selected. The management here looks at those employees who collaborate with them at the start and use them as change agents to convince others to adopt the change. The change agents act as the source of information in the form of feedback for the management to know where to make adjustments to the change idea for it to be accepted by all employees (Brown and Osborne 2012, pp. 109). However, throughout the process, the transition management ensures that business continues as usual. The above-stated model has been used to bring change in Australia's health sector. The survivors of a particular ailment and who have received proper treatment are used to convince the people to adopt a specific way of lifestyle and seek medical attention for them to remain healthy.

Schein model is an improved Lewin's model. Schein specifies that for people to embrace change there must be an experience of displeasure with the status quo within the organisation (Qadri 2015, pp. 278). Schein states that once the need and desire to change is initiated, the people will experience the gap between what is there and what has not been there and the employees will be motivated to reduce the gap hence bringing the desired change. For the employees to embrace change and remain productive and hold change the employer must assure them the security and that the new system will not affect normal working (Alexander 2013, pp. 80). The second stage here is cognitive restructuring.  The primary aim of cognitive stage is to assist the employees identify and respond to the future issues in a different manner. The last step is that management should ensure that employees voluntarily change way of doing things and they act in line with the desired change. Therefore, the behaviour and attitudes must be associated with the systems and relationships and must be changed permanently.

Theoretical Models of Change Management

Recommendation and Conclusion

In the contemporary world, there are more remarkable environmental and global changes being experienced as opposed to the earlier days. Thus, organisations have been forced to adopt and maintain some changes to remain relevant in the competitive environment. With the complex nature of many organisations, initiating change also proves to be a complicated ordeal. Therefore, to achieve an adequate change, an organization requires efficient change management process under an experienced and dedicated leader (Samuels and Sommers 2017, pp.14). Moreover, it is important to note the following recommendations: Planned implementation of the change process is highly significant. Change should be implemented with proper planning considering the organisational culture.  There must be efficient and effective communication within an organisation to ensure that all employees are aware of the change process before implementing it to reduce the chances of resistance.  Companies should also take the right approach to procedures to deal with organisational change process by ensuring that they control and drive change.  However, it is important to note that change management model adopted is also dependent on the type and nature of the organisation (Clegg et al. 2014, pp. 91). Therefore, organisations should be keen to adopt a model of managing change that fits the need of the employees and other stakeholders to achieve the desired results.  

References 

Alexander, K. ed., 2013. Facilities management: theory and practice. Routledge, pp.78-84.

Argyris, C., 2017. Integrating the Individual and the Organization. Routledge, pp. 21-26.

Benn, S., Edwards, M. and Williams, T., 2014. Organizational change for corporate sustainability. Routledge, pp. 100-105.

Bratton, J. and Gold, J., 2017. Human resource management: theory and practice. Palgrave, pp. 67-75.

Brown, K. and Osborne, S.P., 2012. Managing change and innovation in public service organizations. Routledge, pp.101-110.

By, R.T., Ford, J. and Randall, J., 2017. Changing times: what organizations can learn from Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election, pp.12-17.

Clegg, S.R., Kornberger, M. and Pitsis, T., 2015. Managing and organizations: An introduction to theory and practice. Sage, pp. 89-94.

Dalkir, K., 2013. Knowledge management in theory and practice. Routledge, pp.45-62.

Hayes, J., 2014. The theory and practice of change management. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 21-25.

Hill, C.W., Jones, G.R. and Schilling, M.A., 2014. Strategic management: theory: an integrated approach. Cengage Learning, pp. 56-66.

Kazmi, S.A.Z. and Naarananoja, M., 2017. Collection of Change Management Models–An Opportunity to Make the Best Choice from the Various Organizational Transformational Techniques. GSTF Journal on Business Review (GBR), pp. 3-11.

Miner, J.B., 2015. Organizational behavior 1: Essential theories of motivation and leadership. Routledge, pp.51-71.

Pillai, C.R., Murthy, C.R.K., Sagar, M., Ramanujam, P.R. and Mukhopadhyaya, M., 2017. Unit-1 Models of Educational Change, pp. 21-39.

Qadri, M., Hussain, M.K. and Bin Ahmad Dahlan, A.R., 2015. Role of change management in the successful roll-out of IT projects: A case study of higher learning institutes in Malaysia. International Journal of Management and Commerce Innovations, 3(2), pp. 275-281.

Samuels, M. and Sommers, S.L., 2017. What is the impact of leadership style and strategy on Business Performance and Transformation?, pp. 13-33.

Vohs, K.D. and Baumeister, R.F. eds., 2016. Handbook of self-regulation: Research, theory, and applications. Guilford Publications, pp. 502-503.

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