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Theories of Planned Change

Discuss about the Information Communication and Technology Practitioners.

Change management is incorporating tools that will be used to assist employees in implementing and adopting certain practices and processes. The change will affect systems, structure, processes or even roles in an organization. Change is a reaction to specific problems that the organization faces or opportunities that are presented within the environment (Hayes, 2014). The company may want to be more competitive, more customer-centric or more efficient and these things will directly influence systems, processes, structures and job roles

The theories of planned change focus on how change can be implemented in companies. They describe activities, which must be done to ensure that change happens successfully. The three major theories are Lewin's change model, action research model, and the positive model (Cummings &Worley, 2014). These theories are widely applied in the organizational development and serve as a major basis for general models of planned change.
The Kurt-Lewin’s model explains to us the basic stages of a change management process. It is very straightforward. Lewin’s model is based on four elements, which are field theory, dynamics of the group, action research and the three-step change model. All these are important in bringing about the planned change. Lewin viewed the social environment as a dynamic force, which affected with the human consciousness. This theory helps us to understand that while adjusting some factors in the company environment, then some forms of psychological experience ensue (Burke, 2013). A person’s state of psychology also influences the environment of the company. The idea of group dynamics was introduced by Lewin about the study of the interaction of complicated forces involving operations of group behavior that eventually determine the team’s survival, development, and character. Group dynamics looks at a team’s formation, its behavior, its interactions and its structure while looking at how the overall group functions (Theboom, Beersma & Vanviannen,2014). Lewin studied group dynamics and group therapy. He investigated the factors that bring about change acceptance and change resistance in groups. The field theory states that for change to take place, the overall situation must be taken into consideration. If one takes the situation partially, then a misrepresentation will occur (Burke& Noumair, 2015). It also proposes that an individual’s behavior is related to their personal character and the company situation that they find themselves.

There is a comparative relation between the three-step model of change and the field theory. It has three stages of unfreezing, transitioning and freezing. Unfreezing involves creating the best conditions for change to happen. When people resist change, they attach some sense of identity to the environment. Transitioning is a moment of confusion. The employees know that old ways are transforming but lack a clear understanding of how new ways will come to fruition. When the employee roles change, there is a reduced state of efficiency and goals are lowered. At the end of this phase, people get into an unfrozen state. Refreezing involves achieving stability and increasing the levels of comfort by reconnecting the employees back to their native state. It takes the organization from low productivity to company effectiveness and performance that is sustainable. This theory shows us that the behavior of an organization is a function of peoples’ character and the group environment (Gerth, 2013). It also emphasizes that change must include collaboration and participation at the group level. Refreezing needs a change at a cultural level so that all staff embraces new policies and practices.

Lewin's Change Model

Action research is a pillar of organizational development, and it emphasizes the theory and practices of the discipline in the company. The action research theory is based on what Lewin suggested that there is no action without research and there is no research without action. This theory provides a company with the opportunity for an organization to understand the dynamics of organizational issues, organizational change and the need for the organizational development practitioners and other stakeholders in the organization to work together. Action research provides theoretical emphasis and practical application of organizational change (Tong, Tok & Wng,2015). Action research has four processes, which are a diagnosis, planning, action, and evaluation. It bridges the gap between the building of knowledge and gathering of data to bring about effectiveness. It leads to empowerment of employees and enables the company to be able to sustain change efforts by providing the necessary data on the change process. In this theory, all stakeholders are involved in change-execution (Rosemann & Vombrocke, 2015).

The Positive Model puts into consideration the positive mentality that things can get better and that things are already good. It does not need any problem to be applied. It can be applied to the company any time while expecting that things will get better. The first process is to put forward an inquiry. The inquiry is not specific and could be anything that comes up in the organization. For example, if a department wants to improve its processes but is not sure of what exactly it should change so as to do so. In the second step, the company employs the services of an expert to identify what the company has done well in the past. The company will then analyze these to identify its strengths (Jex & Britt, 2014). The organization will then come up with strategies for the future and then molds itself towards achieving these strategies. Plans are then implemented so that the organization begins the path to change.

 This positive model is applied in the concept of appreciative inquiry. This is concerned with the identification of strengths and building on to that. It is also supported by expectation theory research. This states that one will have the most impacts when they focus on their strong areas and will be motivated to produce excellent results as they have a desire for positive things. The disadvantage of this model is that the company may have other issues that may hinder them from achieving their strengths or from achieving their vision (Langley, Smallman, Tsoukas & Van de Ven, 2015). The theory is not problem focused hence these hindrances to achieving goals may not be noticed. A more detailed diagnostic method should be added to make it stronger rather than only looking at the company’s positive effects

Field Theory


Companies are faced with several dynamics to change. These help them to understand how their staff will respond to ideas and processes. The first dynamic is that employees will feel odd and self-conscious as change means doing things differently. Employees will, therefore, react with some level of discomfort, as any change to routine work will make employees feel awkward before they adjust to get used to the processes (Jackson, 2016). The second dynamic is that employees will look at what they had to give up so that the change can take place. They will feel a sense of loss and must deal with it to move forward. The company should give employees a chance to speak about how they feel about the whole change process, as this will make them feel better (Smith, 2014). Sometimes employees feel like they are alone despite the fact that everyone will be going through change. They will wonder why they are being subjected to the change.

For change to be successful, it requires the input of everyone in the organization. Sometimes employees may feel as if they are being punished by the company. Hence, it is good to have employee engagement among peers and also upwards and downwards so as to make everyone feel comfortable with the change. Another dynamic is that employees cannot handle so much change. The company should introduce changes in steps so that the employees do not feel overwhelmed by processes and eventually lose focus and stop being productive. There should be a clear strategy that will assist the company to derive the greatest results from its employees. Work teams can begin by doing simple tasks as they get into more involving and complicated tasks. The company must also understand that employees are usually at different levels of readiness for change (Kirton & Greener, 2015). At first, almost everyone will resist the change but with time others will embrace change quickly and others will take a longer period.

Some employees may also want to implement their ideas, but some will need to be coached to as to warm up to the thought of taking up new responsibilities and learning new processes. Employees will also be concerned about resources. Most employees will perceive that they need more resources because they are being asked to do more work and take on more responsibilities (Jackson, 2016). Energy should, however, be focused on fewer resources as nowadays companies are expected to be more efficient and productive with fewer resources

Action Research

The final dynamic that the organization faces is that when the pressure becomes less, some employees may go back to their old ways. The leaders must counteract such behaviors. These leaders must ensure that they continually engage their employees to avoid situations where they slacken and go back to their old ways of doing things. The company come up with new compensation and motivation plans and reward group activities that lead to success (Smith, 2014). If a relapse happens, the company has to go back, look at where it has gone wrong, and take the necessary corrective action

Change management is a process that is complex and may have lots of strengths and limitations. There are some challenges that a student may have in applying whatever has been taught in change management in classes. The student may experience resistance to change in whatever organization that they are working for (Beeson, 2014). Some other employees in the company may feel that they deserve the job rather than the person who was chosen for the job. To handle this, the student will gather the group together and explain why a certain person was chosen and what they will give to the organization and how it will influence positively on all the other employees of the company. Even after doing this, there may still be some resistance from a few people. Such people must be spoken to individually, and they should be encouraged to express their concerns. They can be assured that all the changes are for their good and the good of the company (Carstairs & Linderberg, 2016).

Another challenge that may be faced is communication. There may be a lack of good communication in an organization hence limiting a student from applying whatever has been learned. This can lead to lots of anger and resistance from the employees as they feel that they have been left out. To tackle this, there must be effective communication within the company. Meetings should be called, and employees made aware of all the changes. Employees should be allowed to ask questions. The student can approach his or her team leader if they feel that communication is ineffective and express their concerns.

Another challenge that may be faced is leaders trying to dictate what should be done. In trying to implement change efforts, there might be many frustrations that are caused by employees. Leaders may, therefore, force a plan at their teams based on some customer issues or complaints (Kourti & Kourt, 2016). The student must, therefore, engage employees and try to find out the source of customer issues. Once this is done, the employees can also be involved in coming up with customer solutions and eventually it will lead to employees embracing change,

Positive Model

Another challenge that may be faced includes failing to inform the staff in lower placement positions that things are changing. They expect these employees just to know that things are changing in the company. Employees should never be overlooked no matter which position they are occupying. The student can, therefore, ensure that through departmental meetings and team-leaders, all staffs are put on board and made aware of the change. Swift change is also another challenge. Things might be changed too quickly that staff does not have time to get used to the new ideas and processes (Beeson, 2014). The student can, therefore, ensure that the company considers making changes in small phases until employees embrace them and then finally the major change will be implemented.

Lack of training is a major challenge that is faced during change processes.  This makes employees feel lost and are not sure of what to do as things are left to them haphazardly. The student can guide the company in developing different training programs for different departmental functions of the organization. There will also be an evaluation after training so as to ensure all employees are on board and have understood what they need to do (Beeson, 2014). Training should be continuous, and the organization must make sure that they keep reinforcing the training even once the change process is implemented..

Another challenge is that the staff may respond negatively and say that the change is not working. The student must encourage the company management to listen to these concerns by reviewing all the processes that have been implemented. Some functions may not be working properly hence frustrating employees, and they may feel like the change is not working. Once issues are identified, the company must come up with resolutions. Meetings can be held, and the employees are taken through the issues that are occurring and assured that the issues would be sorted (Carstairs & Linderberg, 2016). Employees must also be encouraged to support the company and to be patient because sometimes changes especially in systems face many hitches before they finally stabilize

There might be negativity from staff who hate change. Such staff may want to ensure that they make all the other people hate change too. The student can help the organization in identifying such people and ensuring that they are spoken to at individual level. They should be asked their concerns and why they hate change so much. Once the concerns are established, employees must be assured of the positivity of change and how it will influence them. Such employees can be made change-champions so that they lead these processes and experience the benefits.

Dynamics of Change in Organizations

Another issue may be implementing change and not follow the planned processes. This usually results in the whole departments going back to old ways. The student can suggest to the company to have change agents in each department who will be updating the management daily. These change agents will ensure that the department adopts all processes and will also communicate any challenges that are being faced.

The student may also face a challenge of determining whether a change is good or bad for the organization. An idea may be brilliant on paper but does not consider the human element. These changes must, therefore, be discussed with employees and compared to the written plans. Plans can be changed to what will work best for the company (Kourti & Kourti, 2016). The management may be surprised that employees have very good ideas that may even work better for the company. When employees are involved, they will also work better and ensure high productivity

As a professional/change agent in my current workplace, I will apply the insights and learnings from this course into managing change in the organization. This is important because change is constant in many companies today due to different environmental factors. Failing to adapt to will make staff vulnerable to layoffs (Vilijoen, 2016). A change agent should be the detective in the organization. As the detective, I will look for clues that may prevent change from happening so that I come up with steps that will remove any hindrances that are hampering success. I will be observant and analytical to understand the dynamics of my company. I will implement the action research model in implementing it.As a change agent, I will also be the advocate. I will speak up for my company and gain support from staff so that they can participate in the change process. I will keep reminding staff of the change activities. I will be vocal and persistent (Drejer, 2015). I will also be the counselor in the organization. Staff will be required to do things that are outside their zones of comfort. Their emotions will be affected, and they will react differently to change. I will ensure that I understand the personal feelings of staff so that I make them feel better about the changes that are happening (Vilijoen, 2016). I will listen and encourage staff. The positive model will help me in achieving the objectives.

I will be the facilitator of change. Staff must be helped to change, and there should be tools to help them to do. I will, therefore, clarify the change process and make the change easier to handle. I will be helpful and creative. Acting as the mediator will also be my role as change agent. Different teams in the company may have clashing priorities. I will work to reduce any conflict in the organization and to find common ground as the staff has different opinions. I will be the peacemaker. Being an expert will also be my duty as a change agent. I will use my expertise in my profession to build authority. I will share knowledge with my fellow staff so that they know they can rely on me. I will ensure training occur and I transfer my knowledge. I will be confident and knowledgeable. I will achieve this through Lewin's change model. I will also follow the law by ensuring that there is a schedule for each project and definite timelines. I will make sure that everything is on track and that employees are rewarded. I will be determined and conscientious (Rana, Bausal&Gupta,2015).

Change management is a very important process in the organization and should be taken seriously. Companies should have strategic plans to ensure change is implemented well. Employees should also be engaged so as to ensure they are part of the change process from beginning to end.

References

Beeson, M. (2014). ASEAN: the challenges of organizational reinvention. Reconfiguring East Asia: Regional Institutions and Organisations after the Crisis, 185-204.

Burke, W. W. (2013). Organization change: Theory and practice. Sage Publications.

Burke, W. W., & Noumair, D. A. (2015). Organization development: A process of learning and changing. FT Press.

Carstairs, S., & Lindeberg, V. (2016). Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: Turn and face the strange-Struggles of identity work in organizational change.

Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2014). Organization development and change. Cengage learning.

Drejer, A. (2015). Organisational Development and Innovation. Innovation: Management, Policy, and Practice.

Gerth, C. (2013). Introduction. In Business Process Models. Change Management (pp. 1-12). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Hayes, J. (2014). The theory and practice of change management. Palgrave Macmillan.

Jackson, D. (2016). Dynamic organizations: the challenge of change. Springer.

Jex, S. M., & Britt, T. W. (2014). Organizational Psychology: A scientist-practitioner approach. John Wiley & Sons.

Kirton, G., & Greene, A. M. (2015). The dynamics of managing diversity: A critical approach. Routledge.

Kourti, I., & Kourti, I. (2016). Using personal narratives to explore multiple identities in organizational contexts. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 11(3), 169-188.

Langley, A., Smallman, C., Tsoukas, H., & Van de Ven, A. H. (2013). Process studies of change in organization and management: Unveiling temporality, activity, and flow. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1), 1-13.

Rana, N., Bansal, M., & Gupta, M. A. (2015). Organisational Development: A Paradigm. GLOBAL JOURNAL OF BUSINESS MANAGEMENT.

Rosemann, M., & vom Brocke, J. (2015). The six core elements of business process management. In Handbook of business process management 1 (pp. 105-122). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Smith, W. K. (2014). Dynamic decision making: A model of senior leaders managing strategic paradoxes. Academy of Management Journal, 57(6), 1592-1623.

Theeboom, T., Beersma, B., & van Vianen, A. E. (2014). Does coaching work? A meta-analysis on the effects of coaching on individual level outcomes in an organizational context. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 9(1), 1-18.

Tong, C., Tak, W. I. W., & Wong, A. (2015). The Impact of knowledge sharing on the relationship between organizational culture and Job Satisfaction: The perception of information communication and technology (ICT) practitioners in Hong Kong. International Journal of Human Resource Studies, 5(1), 19.

Viljoen, J. (2016). Change management unwrapped: organizational development change. HR Future, 3(Mar 2016), 28.

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