Claire and Brisson-Banks article explores the concept of change and the various options that organizations can employ to bring about changes that will sustain their operations in an environment that is becoming increasingly competitive. Change brings uncertainty to the organization, and this climate is likely to affect operations negatively. For this reason, the process of change introduction should be managed. Its management should be based on principles that emphasize the mission of the organization to ensure compliance with long-term objectives of organizations. Claire and Brisson-Banks propagate the idea that the approach followed in implementing organizational change is as important as the recognition of the need to effect the change.
The conditions in which businesses operate in change every single day. Such changes necessitate organizations to redesign their business models to meet the operational demands of the new business environments (Claire and Brisson-Banks, 2010). Several studies have substantiated this observation. According to Chen, Suen, Lin, and Shieh (2010), organizations introduce change to their business processes in order to exploit new market opportunities. The market opportunities may be created by various factors such as change of technologies, economic crisis, and industry crisis, among other factors. As such, an awareness of the environmental influences of change can be an essential step towards identifying the specific needs of the organization and the right approaches to fulfill the identified needs.
Identification of the change needs of an organization is critical for change implementers to come up with the best courses of action. Awareness of the need for change in the organization helps leaders to assess issues which the organization faces and make decisions as to whether a change is necessary in order to address them (Claire and Brisson-Banks, 2010).According to Claire and Brisson-Banks (2010), it is during this phase of change management that leaders make a decision on the type of change and transition model that fits the organization.
Identifying change needs of an organization is an important process, but the fulfillment of the change needs is not an easy task. As scholarly evidence suggests, only 30% of change initiatives succeed in delivering their long-term expectations (Chen et al., 2010).This is an affirmation that the process of effecting change is a challenging affair that requires adequate planning. As Claire and Brisson-Banks (2010) note, change is not a simple process; it follows a raft of procedures and processes that require unique management skills in order to bring together employees and other stakeholders in the equation. In other words, identification of the need for organizational change must be carried out in a well-thought approach while recognizing the fact that successful implementation of change is not a one-person activity.
Claire and Brisson-Bankss article gives a detailed account of the different change and transition models that have been proposed by various scholars. These models provide prescriptions on what is supposed to be followed to come up with the best course of action depending on the problems a particular organization is facing. Each of the approaches explored in the article reveal certain unique circumstances organizations find themselves in and the specific remedies that can be pursued to ensure that they remain competitive in their area of operation.
Kurt Lewins model prescribes a three-steps process that needs to be followed to implement change successfully. It involves what Lewin describes as unfreezing, changing and refreezing, in that order. According to Claire and Brisson-Banks (2010), unfreezing entails preparation for change, helping employees to accept the change, as well as revising the status quo to allow the organization to remodel itself for the proposed changes. Changing involves embracing new process and procedures of doing things. The new ways are implemented based on the new information available regarding work processes and procedures. At this stage, some employees may fail to accept the change, necessitating refreezing. Refreezing is the final phase of change implementation, and it involves stabilizing the new ways of the organizations core activities. At this stage, workers show acceptance of the new methods of carrying out their daily duties.
Other models discussed in the article include the Richard Beckhard model, K. Thurley model, Bridges model and that proposed by Kotter. Apart from Kotters model, the discussed models give prescriptive approaches on how certain change activities should be implemented in order to realize the desired objectives. By giving prescriptions, these models ignore very critical aspects of change in their discussions. Although Lewins model is still relevant today, its descriptive nature requires that leaders assess organizational circumstances before the implementation actually begins. Some of the aspects ignored by these models include the employees and their complex attitudes, the internal processes, and the dynamic nature of modern business environments.
Employees are at the center of implementation of any change initiative. These are the individuals whose attitudes and skills need to be modified in order to align them with the expectations of the new change initiatives. It is a reasonable expectation that employees will exhibit a negative reaction to change as it entails moving from a familiar workplace environment to an unknown way of doing things (Witting, 2012).As such, the success of change initiatives largely depends on the extent to which organizations engage their workers.
Employee involvement does not involve just making them aware of the intended changes. Rather, it is explaining to the employees the need for change and how such changes will affect their duties and responsibilities in the organization. Put simply; it is difficult to forge a way forward without knowing what is coming in the first place (Claire & Brisson-Banks, 2010). Besides, the process must recognize the concerns employees may raise regarding the consequences of the impending changes(Witting, 2012).For instance, the uncertainty created by proposed changes can generate fear of imminent job loss among employees as a result of the fear of lack of the specific skills such changes may require to be successfully implemented. A perceived threat to the livelihoods of employees can generate reactionary responses which can, in turn, hinder the implementation of change (Fuchs & Prouska, 2014). For these reasons, it is critical that participation is entrenched in the process of implementing change.
Participation is an active form of employee involvement in change management. In an environment where employees participate, decision making is a shared responsibility between top management and subordinates (Witting, 2012). Participation allows employees to offer their views and ideas concerning the change efforts that the organization is pursuing. This way, leaders of change can know the concerns of employees as well as get ideas on how best the change can be implemented in the best interest of the organization and its workforce (Fuchs & Prouska, 2014; Witting, 2012). Besides, the participation of employees in change management creates perceptions of fairness and also makes the staff feel that their skills and contributions to the organization are valued thereby fostering mutual respect between supervisors and subordinates. Workers who feel that they are treated fairly are more likely to show commitment to organizational goals (Witting, 2012). As a result, employee resistance to change would be avoided.
Employee involvement may not yield the desired results if the vision of the organization is not articulated and institutionalized in the employees at the onset of the change process. A major challenge that is faced by change management leaders today is designing a clear vision of what they seek to achieve in implementing change (Kotter, 2011). For this reason, all workers must understand that the changes being implemented are in line with the vision of the organization. This requires top-notch communication skills from change implementers. Effective communication ensures that the gospel of change is spread to every person within the organization. The change message should also be simple to understand (Kotter, 2011). By so doing, leaders develop positive employee relationships which can be exploited to build the right attitudes for change to take off (Claire & Brisson-Banks, 2010).In the end, resistance would be countered.
Vision has been described as the desired future for the organization. It creates a mental image of the long-term state of the organization once the changes have been effected. It also creates an emotional bond between employees and what they ought to change in order to realize a predefined future state of the organization (Kotter, 2011; Claire & Brisson-Banks, 2010). Besides, vision indicates the various opportunities that employees are likely to have if the desired future is realized. The significance of vision is that it helps to define the direction of change efforts (Claire & Brisson-Banks, 2010). It is worth noting, however, that change vision is different from corporate vision (Kotter, 2011).
Vision originates the strategic decisions of an organization in so far as its long-term goals and objectives are concerned. Strategic moves are made to give organizations competitiveness. Strategic decisions rely on people, processes, and technology (Kotter, 2011) to align the structure of the organization with the change vision. A major issue noted with change vision is that leaders rush to implement strategic decisions without aligning the infrastructures of the organization with the desired vision. A lack of alignment of structure and vision has been cited as one of the leading causes for the failure of change initiatives. For instance, a desire to cut costs and enhance efficiency may be hampered if processes and procedures are revised, but the structure remains untouched.
Another critical aspect of change that has not been sufficiently discussed by the models in the article is culture. Claire and Brisson-Banks (2010) have acknowledged the role culture plays in facilitating change efforts. They post that leaders need to acknowledge the significance of culture when enforcing change as inadequate information on the culture of the organizations they lead could lead to failure in change management efforts. However, the models of change subsequently explored do not make a direct reference to the role culture plays in ensuring change initiatives succeed.
As noted in the preceding discussion, change involves reorganization of how the organization operates; from the people, processes, to procedures. However, revised processes and procedures may not conform to change expectations if the workers approach to individual and collective duties and responsibilities remains untouched (Xiaoming, 2012).
Organizational culture has been referred as shared values, goals, traditions, norms, processes, attitudes and assumptions associated with a particular organization. Stated in another way, organizational culture is a group of shared values, shared thoughts, and shared methods of doing things unique to a given organization(Xiaoming, 2012).Essentially, it is the unique way of doing things among employees and other stakeholders of a specified organization.
Appreciation of culture is critical to successful implementation of change. Culture takes a long time to entrench itself within an organization (Iljins, Skvarciany, & Gaile-Sarkane, 2015).For this reason, change efforts must acknowledge that modification of entrenched attitudes and...
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