Change and the phenomenon of it, is fundamental to evolution; and yet it implies some sort of resistance. Resistance to change can take various forms and the task of filtering out the cause of resistance can often be difficult. Examples include change in work processes where the needs, expectations, and concerns of individuals are ignored. Change and resistance to it forms a knock-on-effect to both the construction and destruction of any organisation. Fear is one of the major forms of resistance to change and I shall discuss this in depth at a later stage.
Alas resistance to change can be categorised to the organisational level and the individual level. It is these two separate levels which I shall discuss further exploring what steps may be taken to overcome resistance at both the organisational and individual level. The Organisational Barriers to Change There are a number of barriers to change at the organisational level that, need to be addressed to allow change to be implemented with the least amount of resistance.
These include: Financial and Environmental Lack of working capital in an organisation can prevent it from introducing change that is necessary to stay ahead of competitors or merely survive as a business. The lack of finance could be due to a variety of factors. Lack of Resources and Bad Resource Allocation Lack of resources is an onset of financial and/or environmental issues as discussed in the above paragraph. Bad resource allocation, occur when managers make bad decisions in allocating resources such as money, time, machinery and staff.
Structural An organisation that follows the traditional hierarchical structure tends to resist change more than that which has a more flat structure. Insufficient Communication There are two branches of communication, which are communication internally, within the organisation between Employees and Management and externally between the organisation and suppliers and customers. Lack of or Bad LeadershipStrong leadership is required in order to direct the change management process in any organisation.
Bad leaders who merely provide are not doing enough to inspire the employees to march ahead. People want to be shown the way. Lack of Preparation for New Roles Organisations may lack in their planning phase. Failing to prepare and define the new roles that will need to be satisfied when change is implemented; shall give rise to resistance. Cultural Issues The culture of an organisation is a set of unwritten rules. Management may have a set of protocols for employees to adhere to perform business processes.
The way a task is actually carried out depends namely on the culture Individuals Resisting Change There are a number of barriers to change at the individual level that, need to be addressed to allow change to be implemented with the least amount of resistance. These include: Fear News of change can invoke fear among employees. Employees may feel afraid of not being able to fulfil the new proposed changes to work practices that are being imposed. Employees may begin to question the future of their job, which shall cause much discomfort.
People resist change due to anxiety, pessimism and different personal ambitions. Lack of Input into the change Individuals tend to resist change where they play not part in change. The idea of not knowing the change can cause a rift between the employees and management. Overcoming Resistance at Organisational and Individual Level Organisational Level Overcoming Undefined Goals and Objectives Goals and Objectives should be frequently redefined and relayed to all employees. This shall aid towards clearing up any misunderstanding and possible conflicts.
Overcoming Financial and Environmental Issues Organisations should have a contingency fund to cater for changes in demand or develop a very good relationship with their bank manager in case you need to borrow money at hard times Overcoming Structural Problems and Insufficient Communication In a large organisation employees may wish to elect a spokes person who can act as a collective voice to air potential barriers directly to management Overcoming Lack of or Bad LeadershipIt is a natural human instinct to follow leadership as children we look up to our parents and as adults we look up towards our superiors Overcoming Lack of Preparation for New Roles The importance of planning must be emphasised and reflected.
The new roles should be concisely explained to the respective employees prior to implementing change, to stifle out any doubts, fears or resistance. Overcoming Cultural Issues The cultural characteristics once identified need to be overcome and evolved into a non-blame culture Individual Level Employees should be directly involved in the change process, which shall motivate and reduce resistance. Extra incentives should be made available to further encourage and reward compliance. Support networks should be established as a means to reinforce the change theory.
Appendix 1 Maslows Hierarchy of Needs depicts the theory of psychological needs, values of authority, hierarchy and rationality, security needs. The model consists of many levels. Maslow argues that once the basic level of Air food water and sex are met the next hierarchical or rational need is for safety. An organisation must concentrate on invoking a sense of Belonging to the organisation by keeping them informed, involved and sharing the success. Force Field AnalysisThe force field analysis helps identify the forces for change (drivers) and forces against change (resistance) in an organisation. Through analysis the author concludes that it important to note that even if you have more forces for change than against this may not actually guarantee you successful change.
The key is to remove the barriers to change on the organisational and individual level. Force Field Analysis Figure 1 Field Force Analysis Twelve Principles for Managing Change These principles provide the cause and effect of managing change strategically: Thought processes and relationship dynamics are fundamental if change is to be successful. Change only happens when each person makes a decision to implement the change. People fear change it happens to them. Given the freedom to do so, people will build quality into their work as a matter of personal pride. Traditional organizational systems treat people like children and expect them to act like adults.
Truth is more important during periods of change and uncertainty than good news. Trust is earned by those who demonstrate consistent behaviour and clearly defined values. People who work are capable of doing much more than they are doing. The intrinsic rewards of a project are often more important than the material rewards and recognition. A clearly defined vision of the end result enables all the people to define the most efficient path for accomplishing the results. The more input people have into defining the changes that will affect their work, the more they will take ownership for the results. To change the individual, change the system.