Discuss about the Organizational Change Management for Strategic Management.
The process of change in organizations, also in the public sector, has been a subject of study for many years. One of the approaches to change is combining strategic management with the organizational development process. The change implemented in UMV organization in the Netherlands was researched to study the process of planned change in the public sector (Sminia and Nistelrooij, 2006).
Topic of the Article
The topic of the article is ‘strategic management and organizational development: planned change in a public sector organization’. The need for changes in public sector organizations arises because technology changes with time. Further there are reorganizations in public sector enterprises also brought by changing policies of the management and politicians. Thus these organizations adopt strategies that bring changes leading to better performance and competitive advantages for these concerns. This topic is therefore very much relevant in modern times as there are large public sector organizations which implement changes in a planned manner, in fixed time and within predetermined costs, also by involving and educating the employees about the change (Bouckenooghe, 2010).
Objective of the Article
The objective of the article is to find out what should be the right approach to implementing change in a public sector organization. The top management of the organization has the resources and the power to implement change within the enterprise (Hornung et al., 2010). Further it is argued by many that management understands the need for the change better and also has the knowledge and expertise. But that is sometimes not enough to bring a change successfully. The cooperation and participation of the employees needs to be secured, also by giving them more information and decision making powers to implement change. But the management sometimes is not ready to do so fearing chaos and conflicts would break out.
Thus, the article attempts to find out if strategic management and organization development measures should be adopted simultaneously to implement change in a public sector organization.
Argument Advanced in the Article
The argument advanced in the article that application of strategic management approach (top to down) and organization development approach (bottom to up) simultaneously for implementing change in an organization is not easy but has many advantages if applied properly seems valid (Hornung et al., 2010).
The Methodology and Means of Analysis Used
In the UMV organization the VizIer project was studied relating to provisions purchasing reintegration (Sminia and Nistelrooij, 2006). In this research, the changes regarding organizational structure and work processes were studied. The method employed was to record the events happening in the change process in the organization. This was done through direct observations made during meetings of the employees and later obtaining their responses on a questionnaire.
Conclusions and Findings of the Article
The organization initially realized the importance of employee participation in the process of change implementation (Weerakkody, Janssen, and Dwivedi, 2011). This is evident by its action of holding conferences and meetings to involve employees by taking their suggestions regarding the project. This was followed by involvement of local managers and employees in initial phases of the project (Suddaby, 2011). But the top management was not able to sustain and promote this employee enthusiasm for playing a more active role in implementation of the project. Further when differences emerged between the two departments of the organization over distribution of work among them, the top management did not take enough measures to resolve the conflict. Instead the top management killed the process of organizational development for implementing change by taking everything under its absolute control and showing indifference to employees’ suggestions and initiatives for implementing the change project.
In the end the project was completed speedily, but there were many drawbacks of this approach by the top management. Many employees felt they had been treated unfairly when the organization development process was derailed. In future if the top management wants to secure the cooperation and proactive participation of the employees in implementing a change project, the employees would not easily trust the management and would not like to waste their efforts by working for change exceptionally, as they would fear that eventually the top management would sideline them and force its own will without incorporating their suggestions and work. Participation of employees in the change process was a source of satisfaction for them (Bouckenooghe, 2010). They had felt more connected to the organization when they were asked for their suggestions. This would have increased their productivity also in the form of innovative advice given by them. The top management lost an opportunity to motivate employees further, which would have led to better implementation of the project.
Implications for Managers During Organizational Change Process
In a public sector organization, the decision making is more centralized and there is prevalence of bureaucracy. In order to effectively implement a change process, the participation of people is required, also in the decisions and initiatives relating to the change. This is basically against the bureaucratic culture. Thus the top management in a public sector organization has to make extra efforts to implement change through organizational development in a phased manner. The management has to effectively deal with the outcomes of a change process like changes in behavior of people and their attitudes (Kuipers et al., 2013). There is the need for the management to take feedback from employees continuously during the implementation of change and respond by clearing the anxieties and fears of the employees regarding the changing situations (Daly and Finnigan, 2010). The management needs to have the expertise to define new positions and systems in clear terms to implement change properly.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Argument
The top management of an organization should use its powers to implement change intelligently. In a public sector organization, the power is more centralized. This would help the management in to bring organization wide change with speed using its wide powers. But it is one thing to change organization structure and systems to exercise change but another to get full involvement and cooperation of employees in the change process which is crucial for its success. This can also be achieved through bottom up approach of organizational development. This approach leads to a better flow of information from the employees to the top management. This helps the management to be aware in a greater detail of what is happening on the ground and take effective measures to remove any frictions and differences that have arisen due to changed power equations within the organization (Ven and Sun, 2011). The top management should know how to integrate strategic management and organization development approaches to get the desired results.
In situations, where a strategic change is to be implemented with speed, then a mixed approach is not beneficial. There is not enough time to get the suggestions and involve all the employees in the decision making relating to the implementation of the change. Sometimes the top management has to take make tough changes in the organization to ensure its survival and rely solely on its expertise and experience.
Bouckenooghe, D. (2010). Positioning Change Recipients’ Attitudes Toward Change, In The Organizational Change Literature, Journal Of Applied Behavioural Science, 46(4), 500-531, [online]. Retrieved from: https://jab.sagepub.com/content/46/4/500.short (Accessed: 13 August 2016).
Daly, A. and Finnigan, K. (2010). A Bridge Between Worlds: Understanding Network Structure To Understand Change Strategy, Journal Of Educational Change, 11(2), 111-138, [online]. Retrieved from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10833-009-9102-5 (Accessed: 13 August 2016).
Hornung, S. , Rousseau, D. , Glaser, J. , Angerer, P. and Weigi, M. (2010). Beyond Top Down And Bottom Up Work Redesign: Customizing Job Content Through Idiosyncratic Deals, Journal Of Organizational Behaviour, 31(2-3), 187-215, [online]. Retrieved from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/job.625/full (Accessed: 13 August 2016).
Kuipers, B. , Higgs, M. , Grandia, J. , Kickert, W. , Tummers, L. and Voet, J. (2013). The Management Of Change In Public Organizations: A Literature Review, Public Administration, 92(1), 1-20, [online]. Retrieved from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/padm.12040/full (Accessed: 13 August 2016).
Sminia, H. and Nistelrooij, A. (2006). Strategic Management And Organization Development: Planned Change In A Public Sector Organization. Journal Of Change Management, 6(1), 99-113, Routledge Taylor And Francis Group.
Suddaby, R. (2011). Professionals And Field Level Change: Institutional Work And The Professional Project, Current Sociology, 59(4), 423-442, [online]. Retrieved from: https://csi.sagepub.com/content/59/4/423.short (Accessed: 13 August 2016).
Ven, A. and Sun, K. (2011). Breakdowns In Implementing Models Of Organization Change, Academy Of Management Perspectives, 25(3), 58-74, [online]. Retrieved from: https://amp.aom.org/content/25/3/58.short (Accessed: 13 August 2016).
Weerakkody, V. , Janssen, M. and Dwivedi, Y. (2011). Transformational Change And Business Process Reengineering (BPK): Lessons From The British And Dutch Public Sector, Government Information Quarterly, 28(3), 320-328, [online]. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740624X11000323 (Accessed: 13 August 2016).