change management: Resistance
Chapter 2 – A Review of the Literature
This part will focus on how to overcome resistance to change. We will discuss theories on resistance to change and any other theory related to change management.
The notion of change is something that we are facing everyday in our life; it is therefore the only constant. Change process can take gradual, rapid or radical form. Society is made up of human beings as well as inanimate organisms are subject to change over time. Environment is the only factor that is subject to and the only thing that does not change is the change itself.
Change always affects employees in the organisation, therefore it is important to manage it successfully in order to avoid a failure of change or resistance to change.
The change concept was studied by Authors like: Lewin, Trist, Hardy, Nieto and more. Nieto (2006) highlighted that a good definition of change is where the refreezing stage of Lewin’s model is no longer an option because nowadays change is faster in the twenty first century, there is no need to refreeze or you will be left behind by the competition.
2.2. A Review of the Literature
If we conduct a survey we will find out that many employees have a negative attitude, behaviour and perceptions towards change. Employees feel more insecure about their jobs, status and also the fear of doing more work.
Very often, the impacts of change on employees in the organisation are negative. There are fears, stress, frustration and resistance of change. Therefore most employees tend to resist to the change and change is always first resisted than accepted or seeing as an opportunity for improvement.
Change, as death and taxes cannot be avoid, is it necessary bad? Even though uncomfortable and embarrassing, change can also be positive.
The marriage, the birth of a child and a promotion are examples of change, very often we are happy and therefore it can be easily accepted rather than the negatives one like the divorce and the death. Good or bad, any change that happens whether to a person or inside an organisation requires adaptation and management.
Nothing is unchangeable, even organizations are required to change.
It is important to know understand why people resist change, to support those who cannot cope with change by motivating and coaching them and also handling the problems that change brings.
Organisations are dynamic entities. They are changing all the time as they develop their operations and outputs in the pursuit of efficiency and effectiveness.
The management of change is concerned with how change is effected in organizations and the principles and processes are essentially the same whether applied to the resign of the working practices of one section or the re-specification of the whole organisation and management structure
According to Balogun et al (1999) change management is fast becoming one of the most talked about topics in management circles. Discussions about organizational change often focus on how important it is for organizations or individual managers to possess a capacity in this area. Likewise, business school courses on strategic change stress that change competence is fast becoming a key promotion differentiator within a manager’s toolbox.
2.3. Change management
According to Ventris (2004), change management is all about inspirational leadership, detailed planning and rigorous, comprehensive implementation.
A successful change management programme can be helpful to establish a continuous change in the organisation. But the most important thing is to make people realizing the value of change. Once people and have good experience about change management, and recognize the need for almost continuous change.
As William Shakespeare said “Things must change or cease”. This sentence illustrates what has been said before about the Constance of change.
Organisational change is a modification to employee attitudes, expectations, and skills (Robertson, Roberts, and Porras, 1993), it can also be a deliberate introduction of new ways of thinking, acting and operating ( Shalk, Campbell and Freese, 1998). The general aim of organizational change is an adaptation to the environment ( Barr, Stimpert and Huff, 1992; Leava and Barry, 2000) or an improvement in performance (Boeker, 1997; Keck and Tushman, 1993)
This definition shows the importance of culture on change management, for the management to be able to implement these changes successfully, they will require changing the organizational culture which is not something easy to accomplish.
Therefore by change employees’ attitudes, expectation and kills as suggested by many authors it will be necessary to make sure they adapt to the new environment and improve their performance which will also improve the organisational performance.
Organisational change involves moving from the known to the unknown. Because the future is not certain and may affect employees’ performance, worth, and coping abilities, people inside the organisation do not want change unless they are forced to do so. It will be therefore important to create readiness for change.
Implementing change in an organisation involves moving from the existing organisation state to the desired future state. (Cummings and Worley 2005)
Change is omnipresent in society, and can occur in many forms. It is not a new phenomenon. Many Authors have developed a model of change process as it was argued by Moorhead and Griffin (2004) cited by McKenna (2006), that an alternative model of lewin’s process model will be the continuous change process model, which incorporates facets of the Lewin model. It is considered more realistic because it studies the change in an organisation from the top and recognizes that change is continuous.
It is not good enough for an organisation to change; it must try to anticipate it as well by being proactive. This would require the planning of organisational change as part of the organisational strategy.
According to McLagan ( 2003), managing changes as they emerge is not enough nowadays. As the number and complexity of changes increasing, it is time to plan and rethink about the structure of the organisation. It is time to accept the change in our life and move along with it, avoid doing business as usual or staying in the “status quo”. It is time to look at how the organisation is running its daily activities so that it is not a case of constantly trying to override the usual organisational processes. Such approach requires a structural and mental regesign of the organisation.
The author emphasizes that change should not be managed during a period of crises or when strategies shift. It is a continuous challenge and condition in organisational life.
A successful change management depends on how ready is the organisation to change its culture that is the attitude and the behaviour of members of the organisation. It is pointless to have only a part the employees who agree to the proposed changes. The aim of the executives is to ensure that all employees in the organisation are accepting the desired changes.
The biggest motivator is to see other people embrace change management and witness the successful implementation of the company’s vision.
2.3.1 The importance of change
Change will always be there and will not disappear. Technology, civilizations and creative thought will keep their ever- accelerating drive onwards.
It could be argued that change has almost become a continuous routine. (Luecke, 2003)
Change management plays a significant role in any organisation since the task of handling change is not an easy one. Managing change in this case, mean making change in a planned way. Changes involve more challenge and life without challenge can become boring, therefore it is important to notice any small change because it will create an impact inside the organisation.
The speed of change has increased significantly. Managers and the organisations they work for will be judged by their ability to manage change successfully. Unfortunately, for the managers of the early twenty-first century their ability to cope with complex change situations will be judged over ever decreasing time scales.
Change is important because it enables to business managers to be more effective as a leader and sponsor of change. Knowing the importance of change will also enable you to prevent and manage resistance to change, decrease the cost, avoid unnecessary turnover and increase the probability that your business changes produce the desired results.( Hiatt, J and Creasey, 2003)
As change is essential in an organisation, it is crucial to continue to improve and sustaining the change. The results about the organisational leadership’s ability to continue and sustain performance improvement will be observed after a long period of time.
Schein (2004 and Kotler (1995, 1996) have suggested that change is only
Sustainable, when the organisational culture will match the new ways of thinking.
These new ways of thinking must reflect the new behaviors and approaches that
Change is important in any organisation and it contributes to its success, but the
people perceive it in a different way, some employees might resist the change
in a passive way or in the opposite way.
2.4. Types of change
Change is inevitable in an organisation. Different types of change require different strategy strategies to implement the change successfully.
According to Dessler(2004) there are four types of change which are: strategic change, technological change, structural change and people/Behavioural/Cultural change.
Strategic change could be one option. For example, a company can face declining profits and decide to adopt this kind of change. This type of changes are usually triggered outside the company. External threats or challenges, such as deregulation, intensified global competition, and dramatic technological innovation like the internet generally make organisation to embark on companywide, strategic change.
Strategic changes are often required for survival. For example researchers discovered that implementing strategic change did not necessary lead to success, but companies which did not change failed to survive.
Another types of strategic changes will the one implemented during a crisis period, these types of change are highly risky.
Technological change is the second basic approach of Dessler’s type of change.
It means bringing change in the way the company is creating and marketing its products or services. Here, for example, the owner of a small farm might want to improve the productivity by buying new machines, training employees to use the new machines and also modifying the relationship between employees and their physical environment.
Structural change is all about modifying the organisational structure or it is about how to reorganize. Structural change means changing one or several aspects of the company’s organisation structures.( Here, for example, GE’s new CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, recently reorganized his firm’s huge GE Capital division. He broke it into four divisions, with their four managers reporting directly to him rather than to the former GE Capital head)
Structural change can also be applied by downsizing, recruiting or replacing. Or managers can change the firm’s infrastructure by changing its policies, procedures, and rules.
This is the last approach; strategic, technical and structural changes invariably trigger various changes in the behavioural side of the firm, including the employees’ attitudes, values, and skills to the job.
This type of change is very difficult to manage because it is related to people and people always resist change, culture is hard to change.
Some Authors have also discussed about other types of change.
According to the punctuated equilibrium paradigm, incremental change is associated with those periods when the industry is in equilibrium, and the focus is ‘doing things better’ through a process of continuous tinkering, adaptation and modification.
Nadler and Tushman (1995) argue that incremental changes are not always about small changes. They can be large in terms of both the resources needed and the impact on people. A key point of this type of change is that is builds on what has already been accomplished and focuses on the continuous improvement. According to the gradualist paradigm incremental change can be cumulative and, over time, can lead to an organisation transforming its deep structures and reinventing itself.
Transformational change is another type of change and it occurs during periods of instability. This kind of change can be referred to be revolutionary, but most writers- for example Tichy and Devenna (1986), Kotter (1999) and Burke and Litwin (1992) – use the term transformational change. It involves a break with the past, a step function change rather than an extrapolation of past patterns of change and development. It is applied on new relationships and dynamics within the industry that may undermine core competencies, and try to know the very purpose of the organisation. This king of change involves doing things in a different way or doing different things.
Transformational change is change which cannot be handled within the existing paradigm and the organisational routines; it entails a change in the taken-for-granted assumptions and ‘the way of doing things around here’.
Nadler and Tushman have summarized the work of Tushman and colleagues, and the studies suggest that continuous incremental and discontinuous transformational change are faced by most companies but that:
â–ª This pattern of change keep on coming with some degree of regularity
â–ª Patterns change across sectors (e.g. periods of discontinuity may follow a thirty-year cycle in mini computers)
â–ª in almost all industries the rate of change is increasing and the time between periods of discontinuity is decreasing. The Authors also suggest that this holds true whether the focus is episodic or continuous change, and they propose that the ideal company in both cases would look like the successful self-organising firms that have been studied by Brown and Eisenhardt in the computer industry. There are three main categories of organisations that may not experience periods of discontinuous change; the self-organising and continuous changing learning organisation, companies that operate in the niche markets and last organisations that are able to continue functioning without transformating themselves. Weick and Quinn (1999) and Gersick (1991)
Combining the incremental change and the transformational change which have been discussed so far- the extent to which change involves incremental adjustment or transformational change- provides a useful typology of organisational change (see Figure xxx).
Nadler et al. (1995) also identify four types of change:
Tuning is a type of change that occurs when there is no rush to change. It involves looking for better alternatives of achieving and defending the strategic vision. Here, for example, improving policies, methods, procedures; introducing new technologies; redesigning processes cost or developing people with required competencies.
Adaptation is an incremental and adaptive response to a pressing external demand for change. It might involve responding to a successful new marketing strategy adopted by a competitor or to a change depending on the availability of the resource.
Re-orientation involves a re-definition of the enterprise. It is introduced in anticipation of future opportunities or issues. The aim is to ensure that the firm will be aligned and successful in the future.
Re-creation is a reactive change that leads to the transformation of the organisation or the restructuring through the fast and simultaneous change of all its basic elements. The Authors state that it inevitably involves a break down and destruction of some elements of the system.
2.5. Change process theory
This theory as formulated by Lewin (1948) called force field analysis states that change can be divided into three stages namely; unfreezing phase when people realize that the old ways of doing things is no longer an option due to crisis, threats or opportunities; changing phase when people look for new way of doing things and select a promising approach; refreezing phase when people implement new approach as it becomes established.
The problem for many organisations is not that they need to change, but that they do not see the need for change. This is especially true for organisations which have been successful in the past and cannot see why they should change what they see as a winning formula that everyone has become safe and comfortable with.
By looking at the position of leadership towards change, the theorist states that leader can achieve change by either of the following two actions: to approach it by increasing the driving forces towards change through increase in incentives, use of position power to force change or to approach a change by reducing the restraining forces that create resistance to change, e.g. reducing fear of failure or economic loss, co-opt or remove opponents. Or using dual approach, which is a combination of the two approaches.
Considerable research in the process of change management has been conducted in the work of Lewin, his model focused on changing the behaviour of groups, involves actions beginning in phases over time.
The unfreezing stage according to Schein (2004) is about improving motivation and getting ready for the change, the changing stage is when the change is implemented, and the refreezing stage involves reinforcing and integrating the change. One of a popular model in the business literature about the change process has been developed by Kotter’s (1995, 1996) into an eight-step process for leading change management: (1) the first step is about establishing a sense of urgency, (2) forming a guiding coalition, (3) creating a vision, (4) communicating that vision, (5) empowering individuals to act and removing obstacles, (6) creating short-term wins, (7) consolidating improvements and creating more change, and lastly (8) institutionalizing new approaches.
2.6. The impact of change on organisational members
The theory of reaction to change process describes how people in organisations react to an imposed change, is founded upon the typical sequence of people’s reaction to sudden traumatic events like death of loved ones, marriage collapse or natural disaster. The four stages of reaction pattern, which also happen during organisational change are: denial- deny the change is necessary; anger- get angry and look for someone to blame; mourning- stop denying that change is inevitable, acknowledge the loss and mourn it; adaptation- accept the need to change and go on with one’s life. There is a related opinion regarding the effect of experiencing a repeated traumatic change has on different people.
One effect of such repeated change is to leave people less resilient and more vulnerable to adverse effect from subsequent change.
Another effect of repeated traumatic event can inoculate and leave them better prepared to change again without such an intense or prolonged period or adjustment.
Repeated change can make some people more resilient and others less resilient.
It is over thirty-five years since Toffer has published his book on Future Shock in which he discussed three aspects of change and assumed about the impact it will have on people. Toffer (1970) suggests that ‘future shock’ is similar to culture shock, but with a crucial difference- there is no going back. If people find it hard to adapt to a new culture there is often an alternative to go back to the old culture, however this option is not possible with future shock. For example, if emigrants fail to settle in a new country it may be possible for them to return home.
The management of change poses many challenges for managers. Burnes (2005) observes that:
Managing and changing organisations appears to be getting more rather less difficult, and more rather than less important. Given the quickly changing environment in which firms operate, there is a small doubt that the capacity to manage change successfully needs to be a core competence for organisations.
2.7. The benefits for change
According to Bradley (2006), changes must be well designed and managed in order to generate benefits which the author refers to benefits not generated, but removed from budgets.
One realization can be made by a team effort; achieving benefits and agreed targets needs team effort.
The author defines benefit as something that can be related to a cost reduction or increase revenue. A better definition of a benefit is an outcome of change which is perceived as positive by stakeholder.
Changes consume resources, cost money, and need managing. Benefits are the outcomes, which cannot be directly made to happen and have no direct cost.
The benefits of change can be also well explained by elaborating the following characteristics of an effective change management team which has been developed by Kotter(1996) as follows:
The team member must share a keen sense of discomfort with the inertia
They should be in substantial agreement on a vision for the future
The team should include people who represent diverse points of view
They must have a good reputation in the firm
They must be willing to demonstrate public support for the change
The team must commit to being involved for the long-haul
Enough of the key players in the organisation must actively support the change to legitimize the process
2.8. Theories of change
2.8.1 Lewin’s three step model of change
Lewin ( has worked on assessing the extent to which organisational change might be resisted by members of the organisation as we saw earlier when considering force field analysis in the change process. In addition, his work on group dynamics has resulted in what is known as Lewin’s three step model, which is usually used in change programmes.
Introducing a programme of change into an organisation tends to arouse expectations in those involved; thus a subsequent failure to “come up with the goods” can lead to a state worse than it was before the innovation, because of these hopes and expectations not being realized. Thus Lewin considered that attention should not simply be made on the change itself, but should address what happens both before and after.
The process of change should be implemented into three steps according to Lewin (1951) which are: Unfreezinf, changing and refreezing.
The first step is unfreezing, where the motivation for change in the workforce is created. It is important to move the organisation away from its current position.
This step is often not taking into consideration and is related with dividing old patterns of behaviour. People must be given reasons about the change and a good communication should be created before the implementation of change. To “unfreeze” the resistance to change, managers must increase the tension and dissatisfaction with the present, and improve the desirability and feasibility of the alternative. This stage takes more time because people have to change attitudes and behaviour. People do not like change because they are comfortable with old habits and it is important to consult them, let them know adopt the project as their own. To avoid resistance to change, we must encourage the staff, discuss and explain them the reasons for change. Once employees are aware, and have accepted the need for change, we can now move to the second stage.
Changing is the second step where we have to identify the new behaviour, process or procedure and also encouraging individuals to adopt the new behaviour. It involves the development of new responses by the personel, based on the new information being made available to them and moving towards the new culture as necessary to fit strategic requirements of the organisation.
At this stage it is important to make sure that there is a successful implementation of change, we also monitor the change and find out how people are feeling about their team.
Refreezing is the final stage and we need to reinforce the changes made and stabilize the new culture in order to avoid people to go back to their old habits. At this stage, motivating employees by incentives will occur in the form of praise or reward for adapting to the new culture. The process as a whole is achieved through leadership, communication, education and training.
In the twenty-first century it will be difficult to implement the refreezing stage, the term “refreezing” need a critical evaluation. The “slush” model was introduced by Nieto (2006), where he stated that changes in technology, employees, tasks and structure are more frequent. Organisations should have a flexible structure as having employee who is always been learning. The motivation of employees by using incentives will be a good idea. Refreezing is no longer an option because in this century, the change is moving faster than before, there is no need to refreeze otherwise you will be left behind by your competitors.
Lewin’s model has been developed by edgar Schein through the integration of the latter’s perception of the response to change involving seven stages. This is known as the “three conditions” change model. See figurexxxx!!!!!!!!
2.8.2 Interrelationship of change
The interrelationship of change or Trist model was developed by Trist (1981), this model helps to understand the interconnection of activities that influence change in organisations. It is important for the HR to understand because the model can be applies to our attention on the influence that changes in a firm’s activities can have on employees. For example a change of technology would lead to training people, changing task and the structure of the organisation, all elements are interconnected that means one element affects the others.
Reid and Barrington (2000), argues the sociotechnical model suggests that management should learn how to understand and cope to changing relationships between people, tasks, technology and structure. It is therefore helpful to review the kinds of internal changes which have occurred in the organisation and to what extent to appropriate HR initiatives have been put in place to prepare employees to cope with the new technology but neglected to invest sufficiently in staff training, it is likely to be as effective as planned.
Deciding what to change is very important for the organisation, it means any change should be planned effectively. The manager’s change programme can aim to alter one of the four basic things: the firm’s strategy, technology, structure and people/behaviour/culture. For example an organisation can change its strategy when the profit is declining. Technological change is a second basic approach and it means changing the way the firm innovates and markets its products or services.
Structural change means changing one or more aspects of the company’s organisation structure. Reorganizing is a familiar organisational change technique in today’s fast-changing times. Dessler (2004)
2.9. Resistance to change
Change can create uncertainty and therefore lead to personal insecurity. Therefore, we are not surprised to notice resistance to change within organisations.
An organizational change, such as being promoted, is mostly accepted, simply because it is perceived to have obvious advantages. But not all changes fit into this category. Where changes create confusion and uncertainty, then resistance is likely to take place; the resistance is not to change as such- rather it is to the personal loss (or possibility of personal loss) that people believe will accompany the change (Burke, 1982).
2.9.1 Reasons for resistance
(1) Perceived negative outcomes
Employees are resisting to the change most of time because they perceive it as a negative outcome. According to Manfred (1995) change is creating a multitude of fears, of the unknown, of loss of freedom, of loss of status or position, of loss of authority and responsibility, and loss of good working conditions and money.
This can be summarised as being in the comfort zone. People do not like change; they like staying in the same position and keep on doing the same old things. Once any change is introduced it will automatically create a resistance because it does not allow them to be in a comfort zone.
Before undertaking any change management exercise, managers must identify where the changes will occur in the organisation and also anticipate how the change will affect employees in their job. After an economic assessment of the proposed change, managers will highlight the nature of the changes that need to be made for the benefits to be realized. (Berry 2002)
(2) Fear of more work
By introducing new changes it creates the fear of more work and less performance by employees, there is fear that additional work will be required at the same level of compensation. Change mostly involves additional work, change of culture and responsibility. We can also face some changes on the working hours, possible relocation, working condition, technology and more.
As people fear of additional work, we will notice that people always resist change; Strebel (1996) argues that resistance to change is based on the disturbance of an employer’s implied pact with the company. This pack is formed of cultural values, job description and social dimensions.
(3) Misunderstanding and lack of trust
This is a situation when the people affected do not understand the real reasons and benefits of the change and mistrust the management who are introducing the change. They often do not believe what the management says and believe that they have secret ulterior motives. This may be because the management can access too many information than the people affected.
This situation is commun in any organisation which have been organised traditionally on antagonistic industrial relations lines and have developed an ‘us’ and ‘them’ culture. Nowadays, most organisations try to engender a harmonious spirit which sees everyone as having a common interest, but for organisations which have a long history of conflict this is not something which is easily changed. The lack of trust is due to imaginary hidden implications; we can also list other elements that caused the resistance of change like: belief that change is not necessary or feasible, economic threat, relative high cost, fear of personal failure, loss of status and power and lastly threat to values and ideals. Kotter and Schlesinger (1979)
(4) Lack of communication
Communication is the exchange of information in an organisation. For organisations to work effectively, it is vital that information be communicated to those who need it.
Communication is essential in starting a process of change in an organisation. It is compulsory for employees to be familiar with the proposed changes and also to know the reasons why they are necessary and how the changes will maintain in achieving the objectives of the company.
(5) Low tolerance for change
This is where those affected by the change do not cope to change because of the nature of their personality, or feel that they cannot cope with the changes that will affect them. An example might be when we introduce a new technology; there will be some people who feel that they will be unable to learn the new skills, or that they will never understand it, particularly if they have worked on a manual system for many years.
This model can be very helpful for identifying the different types of resistance to change and helping us to understand that different sources of resistance require different strategies and management styles.
2.9.2 Sources of resistance to change
Resistance has many sources. For example, in his book Beyond the Wall of Resistance, consultant Rick Maurer says resistance like this can stem from two main sources. What he calls Level 1 resistance stems from lack of information or honest over the fact. Level 2 resistance is more personal and emotional. In this case people fear that change may cost them their jobs. The author says that treating all resistance as if it were Level 1 can undermine the manager’s change efforts. For example, using “slick visual presentations to explain change with nice neat facts, charts, and time lines, when what people want to hear is:’What does this mean to them?’ “can be a recipe for disaster. ( Dessler 2004)
Palmer (2003) argues that a very high percentage of changes introduced in business organisations do not reach their full potential- that is, the implementation and the benefits are not reached by the change agents. Change that fails most of time does not fail because of technical problems but most of time because of human reasons. The failure generates time wasting, low morale and a decrease of productivity.
It is therefore important to measure the organisation’s readiness for cange, we must cultivate readiness, not resistance because it is often said that people do not resist change so much as they resist being changed.
Resistance will be overcome when it is accepted that the new position of the organisation, after changes, will provide satisfaction of the needs of those interests, groups and individuals who feel threatened by the change.
Although change is generated by senior management, successful change comes through a participative approach.
2.10. Overcoming resistance to change
Resistance will be overcome when it is accepted that the new position of the organisation, after the changes, will lead to satisfaction of the needs of those interests, groups and individuals who feel threatened by the change. The development of this acceptance is, therefore, the driving force for strategies of change.
In order to achieve acceptance, people have to fully understand the requirements of the new position- new objectives and their organisational implications- in terms of both what it means in respect of new activities, relationships and behaviour can result in the satisfaction of their needs.
Although change is generated by senior management, successful change comes through a participative approach. Listening to people’s concerns and acting upon them, and providing the support, advice and assistance to enable people to cope with the change will all help to ensure motivation and acceptance.
Kotter and Schelesinger (1979) suggested a model of managing change that related managerial strategies to the source of the resistance to the change.
They both suggest that a contingency approach should be adapted to every change management situation- that is to say; there is no one way of managing every change, but the manager has to select an appropriate way of acting which fits the particular situation. For each type of source of resistance, an appropriate strategy for change and management style should be selected.
The basic elements of the authors’ model will be represented on the figurexxx!!!!!!!
Six approaches have been put forward as ways of controlling resistance to change (Kotter and Schlesinger, 1979):
education and communication;
facilitation and support;
negotiation and agreement;
manipulation and co-optation;
It is important to choose the right tool for overcoming resistance. The six approaches above will be represented in figurexx!!!!! and the figure summarises some tools that managers use to overcome resistance- and when to use them. For example, “education and communication” are appropriate where inaccurate or missing information is contributing to employee resistance. This can work wen manager has the power to force the change, but can be risky if it leaves influential employees with the will and ability to undermine the change.
2.11. Implemention of change
In Kotter’s model of a change process there are eight stages that can be used to successfully implement change (Kotter and Cohen, 2002).
These stages can be interpreted as a change process moving through time. In reality, stages can overlap and change agents need to go back to earlier steps.
Here are the following eight stages of the process:
establishing a sense of urgency;
establish a coalition;
create a vision and strategy for change
communicate the vision and strategy through a combination of words and symbols;
remove obstacles that impede the accomplishment of the new vision and empower people to move ahead;
produce visible signs of progress in the form of short-term victories;
stick to the change process and refuse to give up when conditions get tough, and do not declare victories or achievements too soon;
nurture and shape a new culture to support the improvements and innovations that are taking roots.
2.12. Culture and change
Culture may be defined as “the sum total of the beliefs, knowledge, attitudes of mind and customs to which people are exposed in their social condition. Through contact with a particular culture, individuals learn a language, acquire values and learn habits of behaviour and thought.”
According to Schein (1992) culture of a group or organisation is a shared assumption and beliefs about the world and their place in it, the nature of time and space, human nature and human relationships. These beliefs are learned responses to problems of survival in the external environment. The basic external problems are the core mission or reason for the existence of an organisation. Concrete objectives are based on this mission and strategies are to achieve objectives and must conform to stated mission.
Much of the attention in managing change is devoted to the areas like: activities, structure and behaviour. However, all these are directly linked to the concept of the culture of an organisation and any changes which are sought will have, therefore to be effected within the constraints of the existing culture or, directly or through the workings of the change, seek to change the culture.
Burman and Evans (2008) argue that’ culture is more affected by leadership than management’, and the author also describe the difference. However, when one factor wants to change an aspect of the organisational culture, the other one has to notice that it is a long terms project.
Organisational culture is very hard to change and the workforce need time to adapt or cope with the change. It is going to be harder for companies with a strong or specific culture to change.
Organisational culture, then, refers to the deep-seated values of an organisation as they are manifested in the ways in which people are expected to behave. The culture of an organisation can be observed in the way in which it is structured (e.g. centralized or decentralized); in the way authority is distributed. Organisational culture affects organisational climate.
2.12.1 Effective cultural change
Changing an organisation’s culture is not something easy to do. Culture is difficult to define and even more difficult to distil out into parts which can be changed. Furthermore, an organisation’s culture is reflected in its recruitment policies, so that individuals who conform to the old culture will have been recruited in the past, perpetuating and strengthening the very cultural aspects which subsequently have to change.
Establishing new patterns of behaviour and norms demands a consistent approach which addresses the following areas:
â— Top management commitment
â— Managers must be seen to adopt the new patterns of behaviour, not just
Directing others to do so
â— Training is almost always required
â— Recruitment and selection procedures and policies may require reviewing
To ensure individuals conforming the new patterns of behaviour are recruited
â— The new behaviours must be clearly communicated to existing employees and to new employees via an induction programme Handy (1985).
Changing the organisational culture is the hardest task you will ever take on. It is a difficult task because it was formed over years inside the organisation.
Senior management is responsible for the organisational culture.
The culture of the organisation grows over time. People are comfortable with the current organisational culture that is why they always resist change.
Even though changing the culture of an organisation is difficult, the good news is that it is possible. Change the culture involves understanding, commitment and tools.
By looking at organisational change, we have encountered other important points like: the resistance to change, the source of change, its benefits, the implementation of change and also the cultural side of change.
An analysis on how to overcome resistance to change brings us to make a conclusion that change will always affect organisation and it is safer to be proactive about the change rather than being reactive. Innovation will be therefore very essential for the organisational change effectiveness.
Change in an organisation always affects people, therefore it is crucial to manage change successfully and avoid the resistance to change.
Certo (2003) suggested that people, structure and technology are the three factors that organisational effectiveness depends on. People factors are attitudes, leadership skills, and other characteristics of the human resources within the organisation. Structural factors are more about control, policies and procedures of the organisations and last technological factors are any types of process or equipment that assist organisational members in the performance of their jobs.Order Now