Given the complex nature and competitive environment under which modern organizations operate ,the way forward for organization is to adopt strategies ,methods and practices which enable them to be ahead of their competitors.
Recently global ,political and economic events such as liberations of economics,arising cost of productions ,global economic downtown ,the many competing and substitute products in the market and the spill over effects of the terrorist attacks in America, have led many organization to retrench adopt stringent cost cutting measures and to think of appropriate measures of attracting the largest number of consumers and secure a leading market share in a given industry .
To remain competitive, modern organization should aim at uniqueness and superiority in all spheres of their operations ;in technology ,work procedures ,good and services ,approaches to the various management function of planning ,organizing,staffing , directing and controlling . These changes are only possible through creative and innovative thinking . The survival and continued relevance of organizations in the market place therefore depends on the strategies and survival tactics evolved by these organizations to respond to changes in the operating environment.
One of the greatest challenges facing organizations therefore is the management of change in a manner that encourages pro activity and ensures continued relevance . Organization change can be defined from various perspectives . One commonly used definition of change is alteration of existing activities ,change can also be defined as innovative; the basic sense of introducing something new in the organization. Organizational change in the sense of improvement therefore refers to activities aimed at strengthening organizational performance such as new technology, work policy ,procedure,product,work attitudes and structural design .
Creativity is the process through which a change can be introduced in an organization. It refers to the generation of new ideas into a real product ,service or method of production . Organization change ,creativity and innovation through creative ideas most be capable of being implemented. A creative ideas work therefore be useless unless it is innovative .
Organizational change may be necessitated by pressure from outside or within the organization Cole G. A. 1996), Management Theory and Practice says that external forces for change are those forces which operate from outside organization,These include ; forces of competition ,for example competitors changing their strategies and other methods of operations; economic forces such as poor economic performance may require new cost cutting measures; political and legal forces such as passage of new laws by the government . Economic liberalization policy which no longer affords protection to local firms may require them to adopt new methods in products strategies in order to remain in competitive in the face of the inflow of foreign goods.
Technological forces,for example,new technology of a firm obsolete ;social cultural forces such as change as in societal norms,values and altitudes should be accompanied by corresponding changes in goods and services. For example, a changes in taste require that a company must change quality levels,feature of existing products and services or introduce a completely new product in the market;physical forces like change in weather and climatic patterns,for example,adverse weather effects may require a company to adjust its production program.
This may be due to shortage of essential agricultural based raw materials. Other external forces for change may be;creditors changing their lending policies which would mean that companies must work harder than before;trade unions imposing new conditions on matters affecting employees;consumer protection organizations insisting on specific quality standards hence the need to be quality sensitive;consumer insisting on quality and efficient services other than low prices or fees charged.
Internal forces for change include;existing procedures which have become irrelevant and the existing structures which are too rigid hence the need for flexible structures;centralized systems of authority which is no longer effective after major organizational growth and expansion ;negative working attitudes by workers which need to be changed through new policies,rules and procedures,existing technology which may be obsolete and the organization has to adopt the new technology for it to improve efficiency and the competitive edge against other competitors;existing products and services which are no longer competitive in the market;existing training program which have become irrelevant in light of changes in work methods and technology;existing compensation policy which is not motivational such as automatic salary increment not based on merit.
Anew compensation method for example payment by results may be adopted or introduced in the organization n facing up these internal triggers for change,management have to plan how they will respond to them. Some potential changes will have been announced well before hand and in these cases planning is taken care of pro actively . Koontz and Weirich (1995)Management:A global perspective, defined a change agent as any person or a group of people who may identify and recommend the need for change in an organization . Examples include, a committee set by the management, a task force, board of directors,shareholders,managers or individual employees. An employee for example may identify a difficulty or a weakness in the existing work procedures and suggest change to the management.
If the change is rather insignificant and may not affect the final results,an employee may just implement such a change without a further consultations. Organizational change may be introduced in a planned or in reactive manner. A planned change is introduced pro actively when the organization identifies the need based on the benefits believed to come from change without disrupting operational processes. All change will incur some direct costs,for example,equipment costs,relocation costs,recruitment costs and possible redundancy payments. There will be also indirect costs such as communicating the changes to employees ,providing appropriate training and temporarily redeploying key managers and staff on change projects.
An organization should also consider what might be the costs of not introducing the proposed changes. The resources required are identified in advance,employees trained or prepared accordingly adequate measures put in place to deal with the effects of change such as resistance to change. A reactive change on the other hand is normally introduced in an abrupt manner through a piecemeal approaches. A company waits until the pressure for change becomes too much and simply reacts through measures which can lead to immediate solution of a problem. For example, when there is ‘cut throat’ price competition , a company may wait until it finds it unavoidable to reduce its prices when it is not able to survive in the market by maintaining its prices.
According to Lewin Schein model , a model propounded by Kurt Lewin and Edgar Sshein,German Management theorists ,change can be introduced in an organization through the following steps:unfreezing that is,identifying the need for change and making it clear to employees how the organization will benefit by changing the status quo;change the transition period in the change process when employees abandon the old practices and adopt the new practices or change from the old to new attitudes ;refreezing which are the measures taken by the management which would ensure that employees sustain or continue with the changed attitudes or behavior.
Emotional support,encouragement or financial reward may be provided. Through positive reinforcements ,new practices become the accepted ways of doing things in an organization. One of the principal ways in which organization can bring about planned change is by means of organization development. Organization development is a strategy for improving organizational effectiveness by means of behavioral science approaches,involving application of diagnostic and problem solving skills by an external consultant in collaboration with the organizational management.
Organization development is an organization wide process,it takes an essentially systems view of the organization;it utilizes the techniques and approaches of the behavioral sciences that is psychology and sociology;it also involves the intervention of an external third party in the shape of a change agent trained and experienced in behavioral science application in the work situation. Organization development is aimed at organization effectiveness that is,it is something more than management development ;it is concerned with changing structures and decision processes as it is with changing people’s behavior. Organization development is about change and this change can be painful especially when it involves peoples attitudes ,beliefs and self image. The organization development is utilized when the senior management of an organization come to recognize that the key components of the organization system are not working harmoniously together.
There is no one best way of introducing and designing an organization development program in an organization. It first takes a preliminary stage whereby the senior management team discusses the scope and implications of an a organization development with the change agent. This includes discussion about the aims of a possible program and the means by which it might be achieved. It also includes a consideration of the possible implication for the organization arising from the implementation of a program;it then define the nature of the relation ship between the change agent and the organization’s management that is,whether the change agent is to play the role of an expert , a catalyst for new ideas ,educator or some other agreed role.
If the agreement is reached about the idea of commencing an organization development program then it goes to the next stage of analysis and diagnosis where the change agent usually takes the initiative by designing appropriate methods for obtaining relevant information for example,interviews and surveys and by proposing a strategy for putting these into operation with the full backing of the management team. The information obtained should clarify the problems facing the organization,and build up a picture of staff attitude and opinions as well as supplying some important suggestions as to how the problems would be solved. On the basis of information received,the management team and the change agent agree their diagnosis of the situation . The management team in close collaboration with the change agent agree on what are the aims and objectives of the program. These aims could be to improve profitability ,secure a share of new market ,improve staff motivation or other desired improvement.
To these ends,specific objectives would be useful,such as to achieve the restructuring of the company along matrix lines over a period of say , one and a half years and obtain the full commitment of all the management staff to an open and democratic style of leadership or to reduce substantially the number of customer complaints about after sale service. The organization’s problems have been analyzed ,a diagnosis of the overall situation has been made and agreement has been reached about the aims and the objectives of the exercise,it then behooves a moment of planning the content and the sequence of activities designed to achieve the aims of the programs. Much of the tactics in the planning stage will be influenced by the change agent whose skills and expertise knowledge in behavioral matters will be brought to bear on the manner of introducing the various organizational development activities.
These activities will be examined more closely in bits noting the progression. Once the plans have been put into action,it is very imperative that they should be monitored at frequent intervals by the management and the change agent. Difficulties and misconceptions are bound to occur and these must be noted as soon as possible and dealt with quickly. If a particular activity is having adverse results,it will have to be amended or even dropped from the programs. From time to time more substantial reviews of the progress towards the aims and objectives of the exercise will be required ,and this often leads to comparing the results against the benchmarks which are the objectives of the whole change process.
In light of the major review it is possible that some important revisions of the aims may be important for which further series of plans will be necessary. The success of any organization development concerning change process in an organization depends largely on the part played by the change agent. The change agent is at the core center of the entire organizations development process. If the change agent is not able to build a firm relationship between himself and the management team concerned,or if he fails to establish his credibility with a range of other groups,his chances of obtaining a sense of commitment required in the whole process are so low.
Conversely,if the gains trust and respect both as a person and as a skilled adviser, then he stands a better chance of achieving his own contribution to the aims and the objectives of the program. The roles of a change agent are a multiple ones. These roles range from the highly directive,leadership type of roles to a non-directive counseling role. In the first place,he prescribes what is best for his clients and on the other hand ,he will reflect issues and problems back to his clients without offering any judgment to himself. Qualities of intellect and personality are also important with the change agent in particular the ability to listen and to apply rational approaches to problems and situations;also a mature outlook in terms of awareness and acceptance of personal strengths and weakness.
Abilities required are not only those associated with behavioral science knowledge but more general skills such as interviewing skills,presentation skills and the ability to establish and maintain comfortable relationship with a wide cross-section of people. This combination of attributes suggests that a change agent will not always be readily available. It takes a certain kind of character to be able to make the contribution to joint problem solving and decision making that is required in the organization development. The most significant benefits of an organization development program obviously depends on the needs of the organization at the commencement of the program.
Organization development enables an organization to adapt to change in away that obtains the full commitment of the employees concerned that is,it instills a mind of change in the employees minds where they perceive themselves as apart of the whole process of change ;organization development can also lead to organization structures that will facilitate employee cooperation and the achievement of tasks in that it brings about the issue of critical thought and mind development whenever the employees swaps between the jobs and the ranks unlike when the the employees would on a p[articular job and role until the retirement hence change brings about new challenges to the employee which eventually turns around the status quo and implement the policies of an enterprise into improvement of services;it also release the ;latent energy and creativity in the organization by way of specialization;it provides opportunities for management development in the context of real organization problems and the way to solve them by involving all the parties concerned including employees in the decision making process;it may also stimulate more creative approaches to problem-solving throughout the entire organization.
Finally,change increases the ability of the management groups to look as teams and this will eventually lead to the achievement of longterm goals of the company. Resistance to change has been associated with the change and accepted as a major element of any change process. No matter how change may benefit the organization and individual employees,there will always be a tendency to resist it.
Stower J. F (2000) Management,says that change may result from fear of the unknown ,for example,potential difficulties or uncertainties which may come along with a new method or a procedure;fear of losing power,prestige or status that is fear of perceived inferiority complex towards the subordinates;fear of losing job related opportunities such as promotion or lack of care growth;failure to understand why a change is being introduced due to poor communication;perpetual differences between individual employees ,managers or work groups;fear of losing a job or going for further training when computerization program is to be undertaken or a major change are to be introduced through business process re-engineering .
The management should device ways of reducing some of the resistance to change in an organization such ways as;conduct an education and communicate effectively with employees on the need and benefits of change;involve employees in planning the change process ;negotiate with employees or departments which are likely to resist changes ;introduce change in piecemeal manner and provide emotional support including time off during the most difficult period of the change process;selectively use information which gives emphasis on positive aspects of change. Employees likely to resist change may also be co-opted or assigned new positions created during the change process. In order to create an environment in which people think creatively and develop suitable ideas for change ,the management of an organization should take the following measures;develop an acceptance for change,employees must think strategically and believe that change is inevitable for the organization survival;provide a clear objectives and freedom to achieve them. Organization members who are given clear objectives would be stimulated to meet them .
Their creativity will have a purpose and direction ;a conducive environment for creativity is enhanced if individual have the opportunities to interact with members of their own and other work groups. Such interaction encourages team spirit ,exchange of useful information,free flow of ideas and fresh perspective on problems,also make it clear in word and deeds that the management welcomes new ideas. Managers who closely supervise every action of subordinates encourage them to follow orders rather than to experiment with new ideas. Because of tough competition ,resource scarcity and high equipment costs,the only way to ensure survival in any industry is change through creativity and innovation. Any idea that leads to more efficient and effective operation should be explored and implemented,hence a new idea may be a boon in an organization.
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