The case study reflects the current organizational situation of Ecology Matters that provides a range of services dedicated to protecting and enhance the natural environment of New Zealand. The major objective of Ecology Matters is to improve the cleanliness of local forests, beaches and rivers. The organization is known as a non-profit organization and used to gather funds for their activities from individuals and companies as donations. Recently, several issues are bothering John Kahui, who is the owner of Ecology Matters, and he is planning to make some changes in the organization in order to deal with those problems. However, according to Waddell et al. (2013), it will not be easy for John to implement any changes in the organization unless he can come up with a proper plan to deal with the resistance he would face while doing so (Heuvel et al., 2013). The current situation of the organization such as lack of funds, problems with projects related to the volunteer coordinator, allegation from other companies demanding that Ecology Matters is not collaborating to support environmental issues and absence of proper professional to handle the official website are some critical issues that cannot be neglected at cost. Therefore, it is important to develop a proper plan and strategy that will help John and his company to implement the required changes in the organization, which will lead it to new heights (Bourne & Bourne, 2012).
(Source: De Matos & Clegg, 2013)
Given a chance, most of the organizations prefer stability to change, as through stability it is easy to predict and routine activities. As a result of stability, it would also be easy to gain a higher level of efficiency. However, according to De Matos & Clegg (2013), organizations are not static; therefore, they have to experience a continuous change in response to several forces coming from both outside and inside. Forces that are driving the change in Ecology Matters can also be divided into two parts, which are external forces and internal forces. The major external forces that are driving the change in the organization are mentioned below,
Nature of workforce: From the case study, it is clear that the volunteers are declining to show up for the projects because of autocratic leadership adopted by the company's volunteer coordinator. This autocratic nature of higher authority personnel must be changed from the workplace (Kuipers et al., 2014).
Technology: Employee who has the responsibility to maintain the website of the organization has a small knowledge on such matters. Besides, currently, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter has become one of the biggest sources of advertisement and business promotion (Yeh & Xu, 2013). Ecology Matters is lagging behind even in this aspect also as the organization has not implemented any such strategies.
Some internal factors that are originating from inside the organization are also recognizable in the form of signal demonstrating that something needs to be changed. Some of those factors that are affecting the organization are mentioned below,
Changes in employee anticipation
Employees, mostly the volunteers are not getting what they expected from the organization. From the case study, it is found that their volunteer collaborator is not supporting the volunteers by thanking them for their services. Besides, her approach is also considered as autocratic means she controls all the activities and takes all the decisions based on only her ideas and judgments, rarely accepting advice from advice.
A situation of crisis
John and is the company is also facing a crisis as the funds have depleted as a result of gaining negligible revenue from the environmental audit section. Besides, the number of donation the organization used to receive is also decreasing, as the donators cannot claim tax rebates from the Internal Revenue Department.
Complaints from other organization
As an external force that is almost driving John to make changes in Ecology Matters is the complaints of other organizations that are involved in environmental protection. Those organizations claimed that most of the times Ecology Matters works at cross-purposes to them or does something that are very much similar to their work. It was also stated that Ecology Matters is trying to hire volunteers from their organization by offering better wages or facilities.
Lewin introduced a unified theory of change that entirely depends on the theory of field, group dynamics, action research and the three-step model of change (By et al., 2012). In order to bring changes in Ecology Matters, John will have to implement this three-step model of change, which is related Field Theory. The three steps, which will be used in the procedure, are Unfreeze, Transition and Refreeze.
Unfreeze: This stage asks to create an environment that will support the change that is going to take place. The chances are high that volunteer collaborator of the organization along with the employee who is in charge of the website of the organization will resist the upcoming changes even if would bring comfort for them. The primary task of John in this situation would be to move those people from this frozen situation to a state of “change ready” or “unfrozen” state (Heuvel et al., 2013). In order to do that, John will have communicate with the volunteer collaborator in a sense where he will not mention the faults of her but will mention that as she was alone and had to leave as her son had an accident, it is important to have some other collaborators who can help her in such emergency situations. In this way, John would be able to recruit new collaborators without facing any resistance from the existing one.
Transition: Transition level of Lewin’s model is state of confusion where people can understand that the old methods are being challenged and there is no clear understanding of the new ways which will replace them. Therefore, it is necessary for John to implement proper communication strategies for both the internal and external stakeholders so that they can understand the changes in depth and can enhance their skills and abilities to meet the changes. John will have to do this in order to get people out of the “unfrozen” state and keep them there.
Refreeze: Last but not the least; refreeze is the end goal that John would have to meet in order to implement the changes in Ecology Matters. In this state, he will have re-develop a new policy of stability and promote comfort levels by connecting people back into their familiar environment (Burnes & Cooke, 2013). Refreezing will help the organization to come out from a low productivity zone into an area where organizational effectiveness and sustainable performance will increase.
However, while implementing Lewin’s three models, it is evident that John will face some advantages and disadvantages in the sense of benefits and issues (Anderson, 2013). John will have benefits such as the better workplace, employees who are capable of handling new technologies, employees who can promote the organization through social networking sites, leaders who can work with the employees in a cooperative manner and new organizational structure where funds will never be depleted.
People resisting the changes
John will face many people in the organization who will either support him or resist the changes that John is planning to implement in the organization. The chances are high that the volunteer will be the first person who will oppose the changes in the first place. From the case study, it is seen that currently the volunteer collaborator is autocratic towards the volunteers and is not behaving rightfully (Aula & Mantere, 2013). Therefore, John will have to recruit some more collaborators to the organization who will work with the volunteers in a supportive manner. The addition of new collaborators will restrict the power of the current collaborator and she will have to adopt the new working style of those newly added collaborators.
Another strong resistance will come from the employees who are currently working to maintain the company website and to promote the company brand. The existing employees are unable to maintain the official website properly and cannot implement latest features on the website. As a result, the website has become backdated and dull. Therefore, at some point, John will have to appoint new employees with skills that will help the organization to restructure the official website (Cameron & Green, 2015). It is obvious that those employees will lead the way and the existing employees will never accept this situation.
People supporting changes
Among the people who will support the upcoming changes, the volunteers will be the first to react. They are not gaining enough support from the current collaborators; therefore, they are not showing interest in the projects for the second time. If new collaborators are recruited in the organization, then the volunteers will gain some support, which will be good for them. Secondly, the donators, who are unable to claim tax rebates from Internal Revenue Department will support the change if John brings some changes to alter the current situation by developing a separate organization to raise funds only.
Strategies to gain support and deal with resistance
In order to gain support for the changes, John will have to understand the reasons of resistance, which might include the following (Aula & Mantere, 2013).
After finding out the proper reason, John will have to motivate the employees to express openly their thoughts and feelings related to the change. He will have carefully listened and understand their concerns, explore their fears and consider their comments seriously. Some employees who are most likely to lose something would have the primary priority from John as he will have to anticipate how those employees might anticipate. In the end, John will have to find ways to help them by giving them new roles in the organization that represents genuine contribution and mitigate their losses (Yousef, 2016). Communicating with the employees who fear the upcoming changes might also help. John will have to make sure that the communication would be a two-way type with the employees so that the former can come to know about the reactions of the latter directly without any delay.
(Source: Michel et al., 2013)
Diagnosis: In this step, John will start gathering information about the current problems and concerns by communicating with the employees.
Analysis: After gathering the information related to the problems, John will have to analyze the data to figure out possible actions. Extensive involvement of the people who lead the change is required for this analysis part of the action research plan (Michel et al., 2013).
Feedback: In this part of the action research plan, John will share the results that are found from conducting step one, which is diagnosis and step two, which is analysis with the employees. This step would be executed in order to collect feedback from the employees (McGuinness & Morgan, 2015).
Action: In this step of the action research, John and his employees will come to an agreement after finding out the proper change policies and rules.
Estimation: During this step, John will have to evaluate the whether the change plan was effective or not. He will have to take out the initial data that was developed as a benchmark to point out any subsequent changes, which can be compared and evaluated.
Some of the benefits of using action research plan are mentioned below,
First, the action research is problem-focused, where John will objectively look for problems and the type of problems, which will help to determine the type of changes that are required (McGuinness & Morgan, 2015). Secondly, action research plan will help to reduce the resistance in the organization, as employees will actively participate in the feedback stage.
Anderson, D. L. (2013). Organization Development: The Process of Leading Organizational Change: The Process of Leading Organizational Change. Sage Publications. London.
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Bourne, M. & Bourne, P. (2012). Successful change management in a week. London: Hodder Education.
Burnes, B., & Cooke, B. (2013). Kurt Lewin's Field Theory: A Review and Reâ€evaluation. International journal of management reviews, 15(4), 408-425.
By, R. T., Burnes, B., & Oswick, C. (2012). Change management: Leadership, values and ethics. Journal of Change Management, 12(1), 1-5.
Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2015). Making sense of change management: a complete guide to the models, tools and techniques of organizational change. Kogan Page Publishers.
De Matos, J. A., & Clegg, S. R. (2013). Sustainability and organizational change. Journal of Change Management, 13(4), 382-386.
Finch, E. (2012). Facilities change management. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Blackwell.
Forsyth, P. (2012). Managing change. London: Kogan Page.
Kuipers, B. S., Higgs, M., Kickert, W., Tummers, L., Grandia, J., & Van der Voet, J. (2014). The management of change in public organizations: A literature review. Public Administration, 92(1), 1-20.
McGuinness, T., & Morgan, R. E. (2015). Organizational change capability: the theoretical construct and its operational measurement. In Creating and Delivering Value in Marketing (pp. 106-106). Springer International Publishing. NewYork.
Michel, A., Todnem By, R., & Burnes, B. (2013). The limitations of dispositional resistance in relation to organizational change. Management Decision, 51(4), 761-780.
van den Heuvel, M., Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2013). Adapting to change: The value of change information and meaning-making. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 83(1), 11-21.
Waddell, D., Creed, A., Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. (2013).Organisational change: development and transformation. Cengage Learning.
Yeh, C. H., & Xu, Y. (2013). Managing critical success strategies for an enterprise resource planning project. European Journal of Operational Research, 230(3), 604-614.
Yousef, D. A. (2016). Organizational Commitment, Job Satisfaction and Attitudes toward Organizational Change: A Study in the Local Government.International Journal of Public Administration, 1-12.
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