Organizational change Essay Sample
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Organizational change Essay Sample
Emotion and Change
Organizational change is a process that challenges the status quo, which in turn puts the employees in the organization in a roller coaster of emotions and fears about the uncertainty of the future or the ability to cope with the change. Emotionality at work and at the organization one is working for hampers the ability of the person to work; it has been found that a highly emotional atmosphere is stressful for the employee. Researches have found that stressed employees have low motivation, and it decreases performance, likewise it means high turn0over, sick-leaves, accidents and poor communication and conflict with co-workers (Schabracq &
Cooper, 2000; Murphy, 1995; McHugh, 1993). Change have often been investigated in terms of how it affects the employees in terms of their resistance to change, what has not been explored is the role of emotional stress to the individual during the change process. A number of surveys revealed that majority of those who are stressed at work are emotionally distraught over their work situations and work environment (British Industrial Society Survey, 2001). Employee emotional stress is an important factor to consider since it is a clear obstacle to the planning and implementation of change. Employees who are not receptive to change and feels strongly about it would exhibit behaviors like cynicism, negative comments, disbelief etc, that when communicated to other employees may sow distraught among a large number of the employee population and would become a larger problem for the organization (Armenakis & Bedeian,1999)
Attitudes and Change
Attitudes refer to the specific state of understanding, feelings and preconceptions that causes the individual to behave in certain ways congruent to his attitudes towards his environment (Secord & Beckman,1969). According to other theorists, attitudes reflect the person’s tendency to think, to feel, or behave in a positive or negative way towards the focal object of the attitude (Arnold, 1995). On the other hand attitudes change when the individual understands of the situation changes; this can be brought about by the person’s change in emotions, leading to change in behavior (Elizur & Guttman, 1976). The concept of attitude to organizational change is relevant since employee’s attitudes are formed within the context of the change and is directed towards change. When employees have negative attitudes to change, then it would also lead to negative behaviors about the change, meanwhile, strong positive attitudes towards change helps the implementation of change (Piderit, 2000). This would mean that change can be accepted positively or negatively, and consequently the behavioral reactions towards change may also be supporting the change or opposing it.
Positive attitudes to change were found to be necessary in achieving the goals of the organization and in the success of the change process (Eby et al., 2000; Martin, 1998; Kotter, 1996;
Gilmore and Barnett, 1992). Although the literature on change management has prescribed frameworks and models to approach and manage change the outcomes have not been encouraging. According to Beer and Nohria (2000) seventy percent of all change initiatives fail. The most cited reason for the failure of the organization to implement change lies with the resistance to change (Deloitte & Touche, 1996), which in turn is closely associated with the development of negative attitudes towards the change process. Employee attitudes towards the change process can affect their morale, intention to stay and productivity (Eby et al., 2000).
Several researchers have found that the emotional stress experienced by employees during organizational change is so acute that many authors have described it as emotional stress similar to those experiences in the face of traumatic events like death and grief (Henderson-Loney, 1996; Grant, 1996). Perlman and Takacs (1990) demonstrated that the stages of emotional stress that an employee undergoes in the change process are similar to that of the stages that an individual experiences when faced with death. They found that the emotional states such as equilibrium, denial, anger, bargaining, chaos, depression, resignation, openness, readiness, and re-emergence are all experienced by the employee during the change process. These stages can be extended to the resistance to change, this stages in fact is the movement of the person from what is known to the unknown (Bovey & Hede, 2001) which is also what organizational change is about.
Resistance to change had been a fixture in the literature of organizational change and it has been ascribed with the power to predict the success of the failure of the organization to implement change (Trader-Leigh,2001; Strebel, 1996; Kotter, 1996; Regar et al., 1994). Similarly, it has been found that negative attitudes to change significantly have negative consequences for the organization. For example, it was reported that perceived pressure from the management to implement change was associated with an increase in staff burnout and stress which led to lower productivity and higher intentions to leave the company (Rush et al., 1995).
According to Armenakis and colleagues (1993), beliefs, perceptions and attitudes are critical in the success of the change management program. This can be reversed if majority of the employees believe that the management develops a program that provides support to employees in order to cope with the change process, this would include the provision of funds, resources, participation in the planning and implementation (McHugh, 1993). In order to successfully implement change, all of these measures should be present so as to make the employees feel that the management is taking care of their needs and understand their apprehensions in the change process.
Organizational Commitment and Change
According to Porter (19976) organizational commitment is the relative strength of an individual’s identification and involvement in a particular organization, this refers to how strongly the employee identifies with the organization and defines his/her sense of self and success with the organization. A high organizational commitment would spell higher intents to stay, lower commitment means easily leaving the organization. Meanwhile, organizational commitment has been conceptualized as the quality of the affiliation of the employee and the organization (Mowday, 1982). This refers to the state in which the individual perceives the organization as a part of him and that the organization treats him as an important member, this would that the shared goals and objectives of the employee and the organization binds them together and is committed towards each other. Some have argued that the idea of commitment necessitates a give-and-take relationship, wherein the employees associate themselves with the organization for certain rewards while the organization makes it a point to hold on to its employees for certain business reasons.
Therefore, the relationship is not familial but rather an exchange of services and goods. Employees come to organizations with certain preconceptions that guides them in choosing which company to choose, this is always based on how well the organization can provide for the needs of the employee and how it is able to utilize the skills and knowledge of the employee.
For the part of the organization, good workers are difficult to find and it is always an advantage to the company if the employees they have are the best in their fields, thus it is necessary to make measures that would prevent them from leaving the company, and hence should be able to inspire trust and confidence that the organization is committed to the total development of the employee. Commitment is characterized by three factors, a strong acceptance of the organization’s values and goals, willingness to exert effort on behalf of the organization and the desire to maintain membership with the organization. In light of these factors, it is also evident that commitment is affected by personal characteristics, work experience, and structural characteristics (Darwish, 2000).
The change management literature has found evidence of the relationship between organizational commitment and change. Several researchers have found that commitment is the key factor in how well employees accept change (Darwish, 2000). It was also found that organizational commitment is the next most important factor that determines union membership towards organizational change (Iverson,1996). It was also argued that employees who are highly committed to the organization may resist the change if it threatens his/her position in the organization and if it does not benefit him/her. On the other hand, if the highly committed employee finds the change highly beneficial and will be to his/her advantage then the support for the change will be more likely (Lau and Woodman, 1995).
This shows that organizational commitment may not be as strong as an indicator of employee support for the change process as it was earlier thought. Similarly, a number of researchers also found that organizational commitment was more able to predict behavioral manifestations of staying with the organization than supporting the planned change (Iverson & Roy, 1994). Guest (1987) have found that organizational commitment mediated the total causal effects of positive affectivity, job security, satisfaction and motivation in terms of the employees support of the organizational change.
The employee is equipped with the ability to examine the change as it related to their well-being in the organization, if the employee determines that the change will be a threat to his/her job or whether it will be beneficial to her. Each employee has a set of filters and schema that is used to process the information about change, a highly committed employee would have a more critical filter and be able to assess where he/she stands within the context of that change (Lau & Woodman, 1995). This lends support to the observed individual differences in the reactions to stress and the change process. Thus, one never know what the reactions are or how employees perceive the change process, although knowing the commitment levels of the employees would lead to better prediction and control of how to introduce and implement change.
Organizational Change Management
The restructuring of an organization from being a bureaucratic government agency to a more dynamic and integrated private organization would result to an overhaul of the organizations structure and its organizational culture. Changing an organization from being a government entity to a private company is a very significant change of greater proportions, and this kind of change would likely disrupt the employee’s expectations of the future and is perceived as a loss of control over his/her future (Marshall & Conner, 1996). In the face of uncertainty of the future, the most common response is that of resistance. People are not comfortable with change especially more so if they do not understand what the change is, what it is for and how it will affect them (Doppler & Lauterburg, 2000).
Change is often and always a fearful event, and the uncertainty that comes with it and how the future will be is what most people find anxiety provoking. It is human nature to choose predictability, certainty and routine rather than constantly facing changes every day or every year. It disrupts the state of equilibrium that the person maintains in his/her life and this would mean chaos and confusion. Uncertainty breeds discontent, apprehension and the lack of security which threatens the basic need of man to belong and to feel safe in his/her environment. In this context, it is important that change has to be planned carefully and the change process to be managed as a process in itself and not just a series of changes implemented without appreciating the fact that change is emotionally laden. Thus, the concept of organizational change management has come into being.
Organizational change management is a tool useful in facilitating the successful cultural transformations by helping people deal with the unexplored and unknown future, in general, change management is directed at ensuring that the change process will result to positive outcomes or that the change would become successful (Bridges and Mitchell, 2000). The change management model was first introduced in psychology as an attempt to help individual cope with traumatic experiences like death of a loved one, terminal illness and other life-altering situations. Change management crossed over to the business environment as early as the 1990’s when the major restructuring and changes in the industry have not yielded the results it was supposed to have (Al-Ani & Gattermeyer,2000).
Thus in order to be able to identify where the change failed and how to better address this, the concept of change management was applied to the business model of mergers and acquisitions, organizational restructuring and even small scale changes such as performance evaluation models and the like. The previous change initiatives failed because of the resistance of the employees to the change process, change management specifically deals with the emotional responses to change and any organization who is about to implement change should be able to have some form of change management framework in place.
Change management assumes that resistance is a natural reaction to change that will often contain an underlying message that must be understood by the organization. It can be in the form of an emotional outburst or an intellectual reaction to the change. In the face of resistance, it is only natural to fight it with logical arguments and treat it as an emotional process where feelings surely are high. It is important to pause and deal with resistance as soon as it is evident and not think of it as an after-effect of the change process.
When resistance is not addressed as early as possible, it may cause significant delay in the change process and hinder the organization from implementing the change initiatives (Doppler & Lauterburg, 2000; Block, 1981). Not dealing with resistance as it presents itself and resolving it as quickly and efficiently as it should be means that it would become an obstacle in the process of change and would crop up every time new changes will be introduced. One of the key aspects of change management is that employees are given the avenue to voice out their concerns and to be able to express their fears and apprehensions with regards to the change, this could occur during an assembly where top management is not there to avoid the issue of personalization, or through a comments section posted in the company lounge where anonymity is protected.
Resistance to change has several forms, it can range from the most obvious direct attacks to the change and the management is silence, debating unimportant things, staying away, coming late to meetings, intrigues, rumors (Block, 19981). In turn, several change management models have been developed to better address the different kinds of resistance.
A key factor in choosing what change management model to utilize is dependent on the kind of resistance that it has to answer, most researchers define strategies as incremental and transformational change. Stark (1999) says that incremental change do not challenge the existing assumptions and culture, instead it uses the existing structures and processes and is low risk and slow. It is only advisable to organizations that can afford a long and drawn-out process of change and is in no hurry to meet the changing needs of the industry. Transformational change on the other hand, intends to change everything within the organization, from the structures, the existing organization, and the existing culture, change can also come from the inside or from an external organization.
The figure shows a classic change process (Reis, 1997), it moves through several phases that are accompanied by typical reactions of people involved and must meet the different change management tools in order to lead to a successful resolution. After the announcement of the change initiative, confusion will readily set in and is increasing. Fearing what is not known, and the inability to cope with the new protocols required of them that challenges their previous knowledge will lead to confusion. Communication should be an ongoing process as well as the early participation of the people most affected by the change.
Coaching the employees during this change process and facilitating the learning of new skills are needed by the employees so that they could deal successfully with the new environment. In the diffusion phase marketing of the change initiative is necessary, in which case the publishing of the outcomes of the first change initiative will help employees perceive the change positively. In order to bring to the employee’s consciousness the required behavioral change, those who have exhibited behavior change should be rewarded and set as an example, and inadequate behavior that directly contradicts the change initiatives has to be punished. Finally, in order to sustain the change initiative and to avoid the backsliding of the previous change installments, a program of continued improvement has to be formulated.
The change management model also has an other side to it; it does not only formally address resistance in the face of change initiatives but also has a hidden, informal dimension to it. Change can be likened to an iceberg, where only 10 to 15% are formed by systems like products, policies and procedures which are visible; however the rest of the iceberg remains to be under the surface and are more volatile like perception, feelings, attitudes, norms and behavior (Bourke, 2000; Jarmai, 1997). A major change is a disruption in one’s expectations of the future which results to a lost of control (Marshall & Conner, 1996). Block (1981) says that resistance is not an intellectual process but an emotionally filled process. In any change process, there will always be resistance and it needs an updated and appropriate change management strategy to effectively deal with the resistance.
In the business setting, changes can take several forms; this can range from planned evolutions and reforms to business transformation. According to Reiss, (1997) top-down approaches like business transformation are characterized by a high degree of intervention whereas a bottom-up approach like planned evolution or reforms are characterized by less intervention and by harmonizing the goals of the corporation and the affected employees. Traditionally, the change process was described as moving from a stable state to an unstable state of changing to the desired state and then being stable again. Lewin (1951) characterized these stages as unfreezing, changing and refreezing the organization.
In this connection, Nickols (2000) says that a very useful framework for thinking about the change process is problem solving, wherein the change process is similar to the movement of the problem state to the solved state. However, due to the rapid economic changes in the business sectors, organizations are in a fast track to evolve and keep up with the changing markets that the process of freezing and unfreezing is becoming shorter (Reiss, 1997). Moreover, other researcher view the change process as a learning process and that all organizations must strive to change in some form, or another since change signifies improvement and growth, thus it should not be thought of as a painful process (Dobiey & Wagner, 2001). Thus, organizations must be able to adopt a learning organization culture in order to ease the resistance and the negativity associated with any change initiatives (Doppler & Lauterburg, 2001).
Privatization in Theory and Practice (place this in background chapter 2
Privatization has become the by word in the rest of the world for the past decades, countries who were economic conservatives and had closed markets have now embraced industrialization and free trade. The liberalization of the market economies have led to the privatization of mostly government owned corporations especially in East Europe and in the large part of the third world countries. The move to privatization has however no clear theoretical basis as most of its development is geared towards ideological assumptions. Very few researches has been conducted on the effectiveness of privatization in answering the need for greater productivity, most of the empirical evidence have talked about the effect of changes in the organization.
The reasons governments give to privatize organizations are numerous. This includes promoting efficiency, raise revenues for the state, to reduce government interference in the economic landscape and to encourage foreign investors, to promote share ownership and the development of capital market. Of all the cited motivations for privatization, the most obvious reason is to increase efficiency; this suggests that there is a widespread belief that government agencies lack efficiency. Public ownership seems to have been associated with low productivity and poor services and lack of profit. It has been seen that private ownership is much more superior to government agencies according to several points.
Agency theory says that managers in the government sector are do not fear inefficiency as they do not have any incentives to perform better, they are poorly monitored and the monopoly of a government agency in a financial sector means that they do not have any fears of bankruptcy. Poor monitoring is caused by the fact that government ownership means that the state owns the company and that the sense of ownership is diffused, meanwhile the firms are not publicly traded which means that it does not have to deal with the threat of takeovers. Likewise, property rights advocates say that the inefficiency of the government agencies stem from the inability of the employees and managers to be assigned property rights within the company.
An argument about privatization is that it is not the sense of ownership that is important but the competition that arises from the conduct of the enterprise. If the government moves to liberate the industry, then opening the market to free trade means opening the industry to competition. Privatization actually signals the attempt of the government to reform an industry that it does not have the capacity to develop on its own. The telecommunications industry is a big market and having the monopoly of the market is advantageous to the state but the fact that the industry is one of the most developing and changing, the government does not have the capacity to build the market on its own as it would entail greater resources. Thus, liberalization of the industry means opening the market to competition which however to some degree can still be controlled by the government in terms of its laws on business ownership and enterprises. Therefore, privatization is advantageous for the government.
Cultural Interpretations of Change
The concept of cultural influences to the process of change in organizations have relatively been recent, although the idea of cultural differences had gained momentum in the early 1990’s with Hofstede’s (1986) seminal work, it was only a decade ago that Van de Ven and Poole (1995) put forth the model of differing conceptualizations of change based on social and national perspectives. They postulated that there exist four social factors that define the national understanding of change; these are life cycle, teleology, evolution and dialectic. It was assumed that organizational and member perspectives of change are evaluated against what are the shared norms, values and sense of fairness and equality of the members (Hofstede, 1986; Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Spencer, 1986; Traindis, 1989; Wagner, 1995 ). Cultural researchers have argued that an organization does not stand alone as one organism that is not affected by its members; rather the organization is influenced by its members as well as influencing them through the corporate values and the shared norms and traditions prevalent in the cultural orientations of its members.
The unique organizational culture of an organization is socially acquired and it embodied by a shared knowledge cloaked in specific and general frameworks for understanding the meanings associated in each social reality (McKelvey, 1999). Therefore a more culturally diverse organization has to contend with several cultural perspective, if the organization uses one perspective over the other to initiate change, then those who do not share this culture will surely be resistant to change.
On the other hand, if the organization is characterized by one culture, then the process of change initiatives will be highly successful since all of the members would be speaking in a perspective that is shared by all (Miroshnik, 2002). Therefore, it makes no sense to study employees who represents a number of cultures if all cultures are not considered (Nevid & Sta Maria, 1999; Lind & Tyler, 1988, Tyler, 1994). Lastly, different viewpoints in an organization have led to clashes and disagreements between the organization and the employees when the organizational culture which should be shared by all has not been fully communicated to all.
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