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Planned Organizational Change Essay

Abstract

Planned organizational change can be defined in many different ways, and characterized on many different levels. The common denominator listed after reviewing two related Internet articles, indicates that change cannot take place for “change’s sake”, but must be implemented to accomplish a specific goal or task. Another common statement states that change must also be accepted and embraced before the desired outcome is achieved.

Planned Organizational Change

Planned organizational change can be defined in many different ways, and characterized on many different levels. The common denominator listed after reviewing two related Internet articles, indicates that change cannot take place for “change’s sake”, but must be implemented to accomplish a specific goal or task. Another common statement states that change must also be accepted and embraced before the desired outcome is achieved.

The first Internet article reviewed was titled “Planned Organizational Change as Cultural Revolution” (Izumi and Taylor. n.d.). This article was particularly interesting because of the broad statement provided indicating that organizational schemes often fail because of poor reception by those involved. The article states:

Organizational schemes “gang aft a-gley” during the implementation stage because the corporate culture does not change enough to allow the new ideas, procedures, and structures to take hold. There may not be the “cultural buy-in” necessary to sustain the current change effort. If planned change is to be successful, it must include, as an integral and critical part of the change process, the seeds of the new values, beliefs, and attitudes the organization is trying to grow. Unfortunately, change programs are often set up to fail because the change methods only perpetuate the old way of doing things.

This statement rings particularly true for this author. Over the past 20 years in business I have witnessed many organizational changes that have failed miserably. Businesses seem to want a change, for different reasons, but do not know how to properly implement these changes.

Improper implementation of a sound plan, not enough organizational commitment, and organizational politics, as indicated in the article, seem to provide some of the most common reasons for failure related to organizational change. Businesses will sometimes have a valid plan to change an organization, but neglect the final stages of implementation. This lack of follow-up invalidates the entire effort. Politics also play a significant role in most organizational change failures. Many businesses have allowed small unofficial organizations to form within organizations; this creates internal “kingdoms” which prove fatal to organizational change.

A strong belief in the importance of a proper structure, as told by the article, often causes change factors to focus on the organization instead or processes. The effects of this type of change produce a structural change instead of a process change that allows the same processes to function under new management. The article goes as far as mentioning on model, used specifically in the case of large mergers, how many resources can be combined with little analysis of the operating environment. The thinking is, the combination of skills, thoughts and ideas will combine to form an organization that operates in a drastically different manner that initially imagined. This idea sounds valid, but a combination of organizational direction from management combined with the evolution of processes and organization would seem to provide the most effective solution.

Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is one of the most interesting ideas retrieved from the first Internet article. The BPR is described as a natural outgrowth of the Internal Process approach to organizational effectiveness. This model concentrates on targeting internal processes for change. When these processes are analyzed for inefficiencies there is little consideration given to strategy or organizational structure. When internal processes are changed to increase efficiency, the old systems should be replaced with new systems rather than using the old systems to create new processes. As old systems are purged, the effects on the organization increase exponentially. The “domino effect” seen by replacing old processes often surprises businesses as to the effectiveness of this model.

The second article reviewed was titled: Basic Context for Organizational Change, this article parallels the previous article reviewed by this author. This article written by Carter McNamara, PhD provides two interesting points: (1) Change should not be done for the sake of change, and (2) There is typically strong resistance to change; people are afraid of the unknown. This author has witnessed several organization changes that could easily been implemented simply “for change sake”. The Internet article helps in the realization of the necessity for organizational-wide changes to truly create situations that effect positive change. Many times businesses will implement organizational changes in only one or two departments, when the change truly effects the every department or division in a small way. Organizational-wide change, along with change acceptance will go a long way toward creating a favorable atmosphere to change.

Typically there are strong resistances to organizational change. People are afraid of the unknown. Many people like the way things are, are comfortable, and don’t understand the need for change. Many people view any organizational change as “bad”, and neglect to give proposed changes an opportunity to succeed. This type of behavior is difficult to remedy, but a well-structured, properly organized change can implement change much easier that an ill conceived plan.

In conclusion, this author has realized the importance of implementing and following through with planned changes as an integral part of successful organizational change. This author has also realized that change for “change sake” is a dangerous proposition and organizational changes should always consider the entire company before attempting local changes. A final lesson teaches the importance of recognizing people’s inherent resistance to change and the need to address human resistance as an important step in any organizational change effort. The items reviewed in both internet articles discussed effective ways to implement and recognized planned change, and should be invaluable in future business endeavors.

Reference

Izumi, H., Taylor, D., (n.d.). Planned organizational change as cultural evolution. Empire State College Resource List. Para. 2. Retrieved April 15, 2003 from the World Wide Web:http://www.esc.edu/ESConline/across_esc/forumjournal.nsf/ 3cc42a422514347a8525671d0049f395/1f36661906ca98d9852567b00


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