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1: How and why can wicked problems be tackled by change leadership? 
2: How and why do infrapolitics affect planned organizational change? 
3: How and why do managers need to use different change management strategies in order to produce better organisational change outcomes? 

What are Wicked Problems?

1. When managing organizations, leaders are bound to encounter problems some of which could be easily solved and others hard. However, there are other problems that are of a complex nature and are usually threatening to the entire organization or even an industry (Camillus, 2016). Such problems are known as wicked problems. There are four major reasons behind their complexity namely; knowledge of a contradictory or incomplete nature, involvement of numerous opinions and individuals, interconnectivity between these problems and a variety of other problems of similar complexity, and their huge burden in terms of finances required to solve such problems (Williams & 't Hof, 2016). Consequently, the personnel in charge should develop efficient techniques to face such problems. Change leadership is one such intervention that can be used to effectively handle wicked problems. This type of leadership constituents the ability to enthuse and influence followers through a drive, vision, and personal advocacy (Wagner, et al., 2012). It also has aspects of accessibility to various resources that will enable the leader in question to lay a strong foundation for the desired change. Having mentioned these, the various ways that, and why, change leadership can effectively tackle wicked problems are discussed henceforth in details.

Effective tackling of wicked problems calls for proper management of available resources as well as proper stimulation of people towards the desired direction. This also turns out to be the chief reason as to why change leadership can be used to handle such problems (Kolko, 2012). Generating solutions to wicked problems is a gradual process that entirely depends on the actions of a huge pool of stakeholders. It is, therefore, the duty of the leader(s) in charge to steer the people under their command to manage and utilize resources allocated for tackling such problems effectively. Leaders can only be able to achieve the aforementioned only if they have the right visions and drives that wins a majority of those under their command. They should also be able to manipulate those under them to perform their duties in the right manner as well as giving them the opportunity to share ideas on how to solve a particular problem. The final decision-making power, however, lies in the hands of leaders.

There are several change leadership practices that could be implemented to tackle wicked problems. First, it would be advisable that the leader brings the whole issue to the table. Due to the fact that multiple stakeholders are affected by wicked problems, authentic representation of them all should take place. Upon identification of the problem, great leaders do their research well so as to involve the right people (Hopson & Cram, 2018). Such leaders also perform analysis of stakeholders, understands the key interest of all the parties in addition to understanding dependencies. Leaders should be aware that working small will not lead to the achievement of quicker progress. This is because knowledge from such parties that will not be involved in the decision-making process will go unused and could subsequently lead to sabotaging of the solution arrived at.

Why Change Leadership is Important in Tackling Wicked Problems

Secondly, leaders should strive to build and sustain a long-lasting trust amongst stakeholders participating in solving the wicked problem prior to devising a solution (Wilber & Watkins, 2015). Whereas many leaders are driven by the ego and desire to be the ‘solution hero’, they should be well aware that by facilitating the emergence of the best solution through collaborative input from all stakeholders, that is the only time that they will have won. Trust being a social lubricant, there are a variety of ways through which leaders can build it. Bringing in third-party expediters, creating transparency for all agendas, coining workshop behavioral guidelines, displaying personal integrity in their deeds, and nurturing positive relationships amongst stakeholders are some of the ways through which leaders can build trust.

While still soaring in search of the long-term solution to the wicked problem, leaders should ensure that short-term wins are achieved for all involved stakeholders (Ritchey, 2011). Stakeholders input their effort, resources and time and failure to get even the minimal returns for these would demotivate them and hinder them from further participation in the problem-solving process. As much as they would be having good intentions towards attaining a long-term problem to the existing problem, members are bound to fall away if no personal benefits are achieved in short time frames. It is therefore upon the leader(s) in charge to ensure that individualistic near-term values are achieved by participants.

Next, leaders should focus on building continuous and adaptive learning. It is human nature to be driven by the desire to finish things whereas wicked problems mutate continuously. Change leadership counters this impulse when leaders drive their followers towards believing that solutions achieved in the group will always be incomplete and that they will always require to add more and more. Members should, however, stay optimistic and strive forward through an intentional integration of all learning processes and learning systems. This will consequently create room for adjustments whenever new information is received or in cases where inevitable issues arise.

Additionally, leaders should be aware of their powers and share them responsibly. For leaders to be able to solve complex problems, knowing their appropriate role is of great significance. As such, there are times for them to bring forth initiatives to tackle the problems and times for them to hold back and leave the leading platform for others who could be more experienced in certain areas to take charge (Kempster & Carroll, 2016). Leaders have powers that exist in many forms such as; financial, coercive or that exercisable through social influence. At times, however, certain situations may restrain them from exercising and subsequently delegating to the relevant individual(s).

Practices of Change Leadership for Tackling Wicked Problems

Lastly, change leadership calls for at most humility from the leader in question for effective tackling of wicked problems (Wagner, et al., 2012). Successful leaders will always suspend what they think they know in relat6ion to the problem at hand, the needs of other stakeholders, and what the final solution of the problem could be. To effect the desired change, manage resources allocated for a particular wicked problem effectively, and consequently arrive at the most appropriate solution for a particular wicked problem, leaders must put aside their ego. They must be ready to learn and accept correction even from their subordinates in instances where they go wrong.

2. Various scholars have come up to define the meaning of infrapolitics. All the definitions are however centered towards the resentment of an invisible nature or the “hidden transcript” which is usually a result of implementation of policies that are oppressive and harsh penalties due to open criticism and/or disobedience (Vodovnik, 2013). Subsequently, effects of infrapolitics could be lethal to an organization as due to the fact that they could lead to the abolishment of important organizational policies as a result of long-term non-compliance. In other terms, infrapolitics could be viewed as passive resistance or non-violent resistance of its kind.

The key reason as to why infrapolitics could affect any planned organizational change is basically non-compliance to any introduced change (Courpasson & Vallas, 2016). Subordinate employees for the majority of the workforce of any organization. Any desired change emanating from the top ranking staff can only be implemented to and through the subordinate staff. Consequently, if there is non-compliance from these section of the labor force, it goes without saying that the planned change will fail. The implemented change could at times seem to work for a short period of post-implementation but it eventually fails.

There are various ways through which planned change could be affected by infrapolitics. Prior to digging deeper into that, it is worth noting that strategic changes, mission changes, technological changes, operational changes, and changing the behaviors and attitudes of employees are some of the aspects of organizational change that could encounter resistance during implementation and actualization (Carnall & By, 2013). One way through which infrapolitics could decapitate organizational change is when employees decide to conduct a non-violent protest. There are various actions that could be adopted by the aforementioned under this category. A boycott is one example of non-violent protest. Workers could also organize marches as well as decide to break some organizational policies and guidelines deliberately but in a peaceful manner. This could include walking to and sitting right in the middle of walkways within the organization to express their dissatisfaction with some area of conflict.

Bringing the Whole Issue to the Table

Employees have also been known to work slower than normal as a way of expressing their resentment to any planned changes that are being implemented within the organization. During such moments that employees are on slowdowns, the organization’s management could be aiming at increased production level (Shepard, 2010). Consequently, their planned and aspired targets are crippled by infrapolitics. Employees, for example, affected by contract unsettlement could present a relatively lower daily output in comparison to the normal average. This could a perfect way of demonstrating their unhappiness, to the organization's management, with no progress towards the formulation of a new contract agreement. Another example commonly observed is when students work slower than their usual rate or move slowly within the school compound due to the implementation of a school policy that is unpopular.

Employees could also give inaccurate information or feedback to the organization's top management on an issue they are unsatisfied with (Clampitt, 2009). This is a move towards sabotaging any planned changes that the organization has introduced in relation to the issue of conflict. The Belgians, for example, used this strategy during the World War I when Germany was making its way through Belgium. It was due to his resistance that the movement of Germans was delayed from the set target of six days to eighteen days. Subsequently, the delay was a perfect opportunity for France to acquire new positions for its army and therefore defend the country.

Alternatively, employees could resort to conducting civil disobedience or failure to comply with certain law(s) or directives. This can be mostly seen amongst elite employees working in governmental institutions whether at the local or national level (Thoreau, 2009). It is often viewed as an act of conscientious expressed through illegal protests that are used by people as forms of communicating their dissatisfaction and/or perceived oppression by a government or organizational policy or law. This form of infrapolitics can greatly hinder any change planned by organizations. Implementation of new policies which is the chief driver of changes in organizations ends up stalled by civil disobedience.

Another way through which infrapolitics can hinder planned organizational change is when people embark on economic resistance which could be achieved through boycotting consumption of an organization’s products (Kaufmann, et al., 2017). This form of resistance mostly affects profit-making organizations that are involved in the production of goods and services. In such organizations, the most basic driver of any change is financial power. This power will definitely be diminished the moment consumer, who is the main source of finances for these organizations, decide to not to use any product or service emanating from an organization in question. Alternatively, consumers, who have the power and freedom to purchase any product of their choice, embark on using products from other organizations. Such acts are usually lethal to the affected organization and could lead to its failure and dissolution. The only quick actionable solution in such circumstances is, the completely aborting the implementation of such policies, guidelines, and directives that could be causing the economic resistance.

Building and Sustaining Trust Amongst Stakeholders

Lastly, labor turnover is another way through which infrapolitics could affect any planned organizational change. Labor turnover is defined as the frequency at which employees cease working and quit an organization with or without notifying the organization’s leaders (Allen & Bryant, 2012). Some of the major reasons that could make employees leave organizations are; Maternity, long-term illnesses, death, retirement, and unsuitability. In the context of infrapolitics, derivation and subsequent implementation of new strategies, policies or directives that are perceived by employees as oppressive are the major causes of labor turnover. Consequently, there are many reasons why the aforementioned will hinder planned changes to the organization. First, there are increased costs of recruitment of new employees. Such funds could have been directed towards implementing the desired change. Also, labor turnover is a reflection of poor morale which in turn leads to decreased production levels. Additionally, upon the hiring of new employees, extra finances must be set aside to train the new employees to fit them into their new roles. Such finances could again be used to actualize the desired change.

3. A plan on how to make things differently or how to operate differently is known as a change management strategy (East & Serventi, 2011). In organizations, these strategies refer to specific ways through which organizations will address things such as supply chain changes, and requirements of the inventory. It is upon all stakeholders to develop a plan of recognizing change needs, how the changes are to be approved, the deliberated changes are to be implemented, and how the progress of the changes effected will be monitored.

The main reason why managers should use different change management strategies is that they will have the opportunity to evaluate different strategies and decide on the best one for long-term use (East & Serventi, 2011). Evaluation will always be based on the results obtained after implementation of each strategy. Some strategies are definitely bound to bring about undesirable results while other prove to be reliable when driving similar changes even in the future. Additionally, the use of different strategies enables the manager to develop new, as well as boost his current, problem solving and decision-making skills.

There are various ways through which managers can use different strategies for change management with the aim of producing more admirable organizational change results. First, it is crucial for managers to identify what needs to be improved (Asl, 2015). Subsequently, changes will be designed by basing on the needs identified. Majority of changes are always designed with an aim of improving an outcome, a product or a process. Managers are additionally tasked with the role of identifying the resources and people that will be used to achieve the planned change. Vario8s scholars have accredited the fact that knowing the areas requiring change forms a strong foundation for a successful, easy, and more clarified implementation of the change.

Achieving Short-term Wins for All Involved Stakeholders

Secondly, it is upon the manager to present business cases that are solid to stakeholders (Freeman, et al., 2017). The aforementioned are of different layers such as financers and top organizational management. The latter has direct control of the whole endeavor as well as the finances available. Individuals charged with the role of instituting the change and champions of the entire process are also stakeholders but of different classes. Different experiences and expectations emanate from different participants. It is, therefore, a role of managers to ensure that there is maximum participation from all members across the board. There are variances in the process of bringing onboard input from various participants depending on the stage that the change framework is at.

Further on, planning for the change will enable the manager to decide on the various strategies to use (Busby, 2017). A plan will guide the manager on where to begin, the methodologies and strategies to be used in the implementation stage and where to conclude the change process. It is also here that the manager will need to integrate the resources to be used, the scope of the desired change, the objectives to be worked towards, and the approximate that could be incurred in the change process. A good plan should have multiple steps to be adopted rather than unplanned and sudden changes being swept into action. Here, a manager will include defined steps with clear targets that are measurable as well as incentives.

Effective communication is another aspect of multi-strategy move to achieve organizational change. This is similar to a golden thread that holds together the entire change process. Good communication lays the foundation for identification, onboarding, and the final execution of a successful change management plan (Townsend & MacBeath, 2011). It is therefore upon the manager to avail open and clear communication lines between all the stakeholders. All participants should have an easily accessible platform where they can raise queries, give suggestions, and also make critiques of an ongoing change management plan that is under implementation. It is also through good communication that transparency will be advocated while simultaneously giving room for applaud of positive progress and/or development of remedies for upcoming problems.

During the implementation of various change management strategies, budgeting risks, dependencies, and resistance are inevitable. It therefore upon the manager to know how to monitor and effectively manage the aforementioned. Though resistance is a normal occurrence during change management, it effects could be lethal and threatening to the successful implementation of a project (Wanna, 2007). In many occasions, resistance is brought about by the fear of the unknown. It also arises from the relatively high amount of risks that are associable with the change. Some of the common risks include; risk of return on investment, risk associable to budget allocation to new plans that have never been tried again and risks of accruing dependencies from various parties. Resistance and all the aforementioned risks should be anticipated by a leader who should adequately prepare for them. They should arm themselves with management tools to effectively tackle such an issue should it arise.

Building Continuous and Adaptive Learning

Cultural values can also be redefined by managers as a way of facilitating the use of multiple change management strategies to effect the production of better organizational changes outcomes (Schein, 2010). By doing so, the manager will be able to drive employee buy-in into the change process. By changing cultural values, the manager will be basing on the fact that people being social; beings will be after fitting in and moving along with any set of cultural values and norms. One way through which the minds and hearts of employees can be influenced positively is through the establishment of a culture that facilitates continuous improvement. Having effected new ways of thinking and working into employees, the manager can now successfully embark on various change management strategies that he deems to be most appropriate for the issue at hand.

Lastly, managers should occasionally review and revise implemented change processes. They should always aim at the continuous improvement of the processes or such area that they find out that they need to be improved (Carnall & By, 2013). Due to the fact that change is a continuous process, hindrances are bound to occur en-route. It is upon managers to identify the signs of such problems and counter the problems before they can even occur. Having followed all the aforementioned, techniques, it will be possible for managers to apply different strategies for change management.


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