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A 14 pages term paper on Planning & Helping Implement Management Changes

           The concept of organization change refers to a change brought in the organization on the organization-wide basis. It is different from the day-to-day changes that a company goes through like an addition of a new employee, modifying a program etc. The organization wide changes are different from these minor day to day changes in a sense that it affects almost each and every individual of the organization like a major restructuring of the whole organizational setup, modifications made in the company objectives, setting new missions or goals for the organization, introduction of new technologies in the organizational setup, re-engineering, mergers etc. The only way for organizations to survive in the present highly dynamic world is to keep changing. Organizations may create changes themselves, they may change internally or they may resist change but in no way they can stop it. The most successful organizations of the future will be those that develop and grow and to take advantage of the changes rather than to resist the change or wait until organizational change becomes inevitable.

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           With the increase in pace of change it has become more and more difficult for the organizations to keep themselves up. Top managements of companies now worry that long term planning is nearly impossible because of the extreme difficulty in predicting changes in the long run. The best example of unpredictable changes is the transformation in the business, political and social climate of the United States as well as in the rest of the world, to some extent, in reaction to the incident of 11th September. Changes affecting the organizations can come from a variety of sources ranging from people, technology to new laws and regulations imposed by the government. These changes affect every aspect of an organization from its people to its processes as well as its structure.

           Different forces contribute to bring an overall change in an organization. These forces are though unpredictable but experts have identified some of the major forces that will be bringing an overall change in organizations in the coming years. These forces are both internal as well as internal i.e. the change process will be initiated from within the organization as well as from outside forces. These major forces include people such as change in employee demographics, aging of baby boomers. Technology is another factor such as rapid advancement in information technology and other new technologies. Third major force affecting the organizational change process is competition. Finally, government regulations are also a major factor in this regard. Though the above mentioned forces are the major contributors in the overall organizational change process, however, there are still some unpredictable forces that may force organizations to change themselves. The recent terrorist attacks are a prime example of such unpredictable forces. No one can have ever imagined that any such incident may occur and may bring the airline industry to a halt.

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           Several external forces affect the organizational change process. These may include government regulations, people, competition and technology. Changes in policies of the government or any new law passed by the government can cause the organizations to review their long term as well as short term strategies. A premier example of such a situation is the regulation passed by the government recently to ban the outdoor advertisement of tobacco products near schools or public parks. This regulation has forced the tobacco companies to reconsider their promotional strategies and to change their business practices. In some countries where the political environment is not very stable, a change in government can even transform the business climate. In such countries businesses should closely watch the political situation and should respond accordingly to the challenges caused by any such changes. Change in the demographics of the population contributes to bring change in the structure and business practices of an organization. The aging of existing workforce and the entrance of new generation in the workforce bring numerous changes in the way organizations deal with its customers as the expectations of the newly entered group, their education, their values are significantly different from the other group. Many organizations including colleges, governments and companies involved in manufacturing and marketing of products proactively responds to the changing desires of the people. Immigration from other parts of the world to the United States also lead companies to bring similar sort of changes as these immigrants bring new norms and new cultural values with them. As the American population becomes more and more diversified, organizations should respond to their changing needs accordingly. With the increase in competition and globalization, companies have to respond to these issues in order to remain competitive. Competition is not new for organizations. Organizations have been facing competition since their existence. However, the type, source and intensity of competition have been changing rapidly. In earlier periods companies only faced competition in their local regions but now with increased globalization companies are forced to compete with organizations from all around the world. The advancements in communication and transportation have wiped out the importance of distance as a competitive advantage. Companies now not only worry about competitors in developed countries but also in developing countries. In some developing countries, governments protect the local companies by providing them tax exemptions, quotas and through other methods. Advancement in technology such as rapid developments in the field of information technology brings faster changes. These technological advances have been used to create better and technologically sophisticated products. As the available equipments used in production become more improved, new designs can be developed and incorporated more quickly. A single change in an organization’s technology can lead the organization to purchase and use other technologies. Machines and computers are now used in almost every process of any organization. Organizations may be constantly seeking to develop and adopt new technological changes to stay ahead of the competition. This will not only increase the overall productivity and reduce operational costs of any organization but also will give a competitive advantage to it over its competitors. If any organization ignores to the changes brought in technologies then it may be for it to even survive.

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           Some internal factors also contribute to the change in an organization. The employees may force an organization to change its policies with respect to wage rates, hours worked per week and other compensation issues. A new vision brought by the top management can also bring changes in the organizational structure such as changing the management practices from centralized to a more flexible, decentralized management style. Changes in employee demographics also forces the organizations to alter their structure, processes and management styles as a workforce with different lifestyle, educational level and set of values will be expecting something entirely different as compared to their predecessors.

Plan for Bringing an Organization Wide Change:
           The process of brining change in an organization is not easy to be initiated. The management should consider several factors before making a decision to start the change process. First, it will have to consider what will be the reaction of the employees in response to such initiatives. Second, will it be feasible for the organization to start a major restructuring at this point of the time. Finally, will the organization be able to effectively manage the change process. As the organizational change process affects almost every employee of the company, it is important for the HR department of the particular company to actively participate and to provide necessary assistance to other departments in implementing the change process. The change in organization can be brought with respect to various aspects. The areas to be addressed during the change process are the organizational structure, the people working in the organization, technology that the company is using and product and services.

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1) Organizational structure:
           The most important aspect to be addressed for managing and implementing an effective change process is that structure of the organizational structure. Organizations benefit from predicting and planning for change in their structure rather than waiting for a time when change will become inevitable. The structural change will involve rearrangements of the authority and reporting relationships and the way tasks are handled throughout the organization. A structural change brought in any organization can affect almost every aspect of organizational behavior. Any type of reorganization is difficult to bring and therefore must be carefully managed. Before making a decision to change, the organizations should carefully foresee and recognize different of resistance to change. Moreover, it is highly recommended that the management make the objectives of change and its details as clear as possible to employees. The HR department will facilitate the process of bringing a structural change by assisting the departmental managers as well as the first level managers in bringing necessary modifications in their reporting structures and hierarchies. The role of HR is important in this regard as the most affected component of the organization to be affected in this regards are the people and HR can best define the strategies to bring change in organizational structures that best fit the people’s needs.

2) People:
           People are the most important component of an organization. It is because of people that an organization survives and remains competitive and it is also because of people that an organization fails. In order to initiate an effective change process it is necessary to bring the desired changes in an organization’s workforce first. People usually resist changes brought to them by the management. This resistance can be reduced or wiped out by making the employees understand that how this change is going to benefit them and making them clear the objectives of change. This can be done through open communication between the upper and lower management level employees. Moreover, the employees of the organization should be trained and educated according to the hanging demands of the organization. The HR department will assist in bringing change in the organizational workforce by providing them necessary training and educating them about the changing trends of the organization. Moreover, the HR will help the management in making the importance and benefits of change to the employees of the organization.

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3) Technology:
           As technological advancements bring new and improved tools and equipments, it becomes necessary for organizations to update their existing technology. Technological change affects employees’ by changing the task people perform and the way they interrelate. It is the responsibility of the HR to define that to which extent the technological change brought in the organization will be feasible for the people in organization. Moreover, the HR will bring new people who will be proficient and knowledgeable with respect to technology and they will educate people regarding the new technological changes that are going to be brought in the organization. In this regard management will adopt an approach to design organization in such a way that organization’s technology, people and structure all fit together. Autonomous work groups will be formed and the group will make decisions about such things as scheduling and allocation of tasks. However, every member of the group should be highly committed and the management should accept the fact that in the beginning this approach can be expensive.

4) Products/services:
           As the market demographics keep changing from time to time, consumer preferences also change. A product is needed to be replaced by a new product or by a modified and more innovative product after its life cycle is complete. Organizations usually bring modifications to their existing product line instead of developing new products or offering new services because of the level of difficulty and cost involved in developing a new product. However in highly competitive markets, new product development is vital for an organization to remain competitive. Though the HR department is not directly involved in this phase of change but it can facilitate the process of new product development by providing the organization’s workforce necessary training in this regard.

           It should be highly emphasized that the overall change process should be having full support, participation and involvement of all the managers and heads of departments from first level to the highest level. Without involving managers at all levels of the organizational hierarchy it will be extremely difficult for the company to bring any reasonable and favorable change in the organization. Moreover, the management should seek guidance from and listen to the viewpoints of all these managers. In this way they will be having a clearer vision of what will be the best approach in effectively implementing the change process.

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           The management will have to be prepared to face resistance to change from the employees. The reason for such a resistance is usually the fear of losing their jobs or a loss in their importance in the organizational setup. Management will have to give significant attention to address this problem. The best strategy in this regard, on behalf of the HRD, will be to organize an educational workshop for the purpose of creating awareness among the employees with respect to the need of organization wide change, why it is important and how will the employees themselves benefit from such a change. The HR will also help the management in other aspects as well; such as it will forecast the future demand for the employees by the organization according to its changing setup. Then it will estimate that how much it will cost to the company in inducting the new workforce in accordance to the new structure of the organization.  It will also prepare new compensation plans and packages according to the demands of the newly defined roles in the organization.

Works Cited

Janssen, C. (1987): Productive Workplaces: San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Hammer, M., & Champy, J. 1993:Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution: New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc.

Jones, J.E., and Bearley, W.L. 1987: Managing change assertively:King of Prussia, PA: HRDQ.

Jones, J.E., and Bearley, W.L. 1996: 360° Feedback: Strategies, Tactics, & Techniques for Developing Leaders: Amherst, MA: HRD Press.

Alan L. Otten: The New Old, the Wall Street Journal; May 11, 1987. 

Michael Beer: Organization change and development: A system view (Santa Monica, Calif.: Goodyear, 1980)


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