August 15, 2011
Change and Culture Case Study I
The job of a middle manager is not easy, especially during times of extreme change. It requires balancing and maintaining varying personnel within the organization including upper management and a subordinate workforce. An option for many who successfully have not influenced the direction of an organization is to leave the company. However, according to Covey (2004), “A more common but insidious alternative is to remain and become a mindless conveyor of decisions from the top” (p. 47). The middle manager who manages to compete with the pressures from upper management with some degree of success faces alternate challenges from within the organization. According to Armour (2007), “Middle management jobs have become more demanding. Technology means middle managers have to do more multi-tasking and are expected to be accessible to their staffs, a Herculean challenge in the age of globalization. Employees may be spread across the globe, and a manager may have to get up at 3 A.M. to take a call from an employee in another country” (para. 4). The demanding and steady rate of change throughout the structure of an organization fosters the complications that already exist for the middle manager. The middle manager in a health care organization that has merged with a previous competitor faces many challenges. Up until now, the employees of that organization saw the competition as an enemy that provided poor quality of care. On top of that, the new corporation has in place several inpatient and outpatient services that the organization does not. Knowing that the existing employees of the organization view this new company as an enemy plays an important role in how the middle manager will regulate the change. Recognizing that the employees of both organizations will be resistant to this change, and understanding that a large amount of fear and anxiety will determine how the workforce responds, procedures must be adapted to unite the workforce. The workforce needs to be informed about the specific changes in a manner that will make sense to each of them. In an environment that is already resistant and hostile with change of this magnitude, details of this change must surface no matter how unappealing. Employee reaction needs to reach upper management in an accurate and timely manner. Daily meetings between middle managers and employees and bi-weekly meetings between middle managers and upper management is a means to ensure proper and timely communication. The implementation of procedures to ensure timely and accurate response from the workforce is important. Feedback from the workers needs to be properly and accurately presented to upper management. According to Davenport and Barrow (2009), “Intense change, especially when it occurs in quick succession, as being experienced by many organizations, can be particularly excruciating for rank-and-file employees. The employees’ frustration is exacerbated when they are not given an opportunity to participate in decisions that affect them. As stakeholders and people that execute the mission of the organization, they feel disenfranchised and devalued” (p. 115). The observation of Davenport and Barrow gives credible reason it is important to ensure an organizations’ workforce is properly informed and given consideration regarding a change of this magnitude. When the proverbial dust settles after the merger, they will still be an integral part of the organization. To further the importance of proper and effective communication between management and the workforce, Davenport and Barrow (2009) stated, “Communication is the key to organizational success and nowhere is the truism more apparent than in the influence of internal communication during a transformational process as dramatic as a merger or acquisition. During complex and, often, painful...