Change Management

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What a manager does and how it is done can be categorised by Henri Fayol's four functions of management: Planning, Organising, Leading and Controlling. Through these functions managers can be catalysts for change or by definition change agents – "People who act as catalysts and manage the change process." (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg and Coulter, 2000, p.438) Wether performing the role of the change agent or not, change is an integral part of a manager's job. Change is "An alteration in people, structure or technology." (Robbins et al., 2000, p.437) Change occurs within and around organisations today at an unprecedented speed and complexity. Change poses threats and creates opportunities. The fact that change creates opportunities is reason why managers need to encourage change. What a manager can change falls distinctively into the three categories stated in the definition of change: people, structure and technology. The manager can make alterations in these areas in an attempt to adapt to or facilitate change. The change of people involves changing attitudes, expectations, perceptions and behaviour. These changes ar used to help people within organisations to work together more effectively. Changing structure relates to job design, job specialisation, hierarchy, formalisation and all other organisational structural variables. These changes are ones that need to be flexible and not static to be adaptable to change. Technological change entails modification of work processes and methods and the introduction of new equipment. Changes in this area have been enormous especially in the areas of computing and communications. An organisation's environment has both specific and general components, or micro and macro environments. The organisation also has its own personality or culture. This environment and culture can be the generator of forces for change. Needs from within the organisation can stimulate change, these are internal forces for change. "Of course, the distinction between external and internal forces is blurred because an internally induced change may be prompted by the perception of an external event." (Barney & Griffin, 1992, p.755) Today's organisations are characterised by frequent disruptions to its environment. New strategy, new technology and change in employee mix or attitudes are all internal factors that can create force for change. The introduction of new equipment or technology can create the need for change within the workplace. The staff will need to learn how to use the new equipment and it may affect the duties required of them. Their jobs may have to be redesigned. New company strategies, which may involve the change in management practices, enterprise agreements and industrial relations, will create a vast variety of needs for change. So will the attitudes of the workers. In fact employee attitudes can create the need for new company strategies in the case of job dissatisfaction, poor team spirit, lack of commitment and job insecurity. External forces affecting an organisation demand change by creating threats and opportunities. The organisation it compelled to respond to these threats and opportunities. These external forces are apparent in many of the segments of the organisations external environment. These include political-legal, technological, economic, marketplace and sociocultural dimensions. The political-legal environment is that which consists of government bodies, pressure groups and laws. It is pertinent for companies to keep abreast of and change in political environment because these changes can have dramatic effect. Change in political environment can see legislation introduced that will not make selling or providing a product feasible or somewhat difficult. There are many political factors and laws that can affect business. Pricing, competition, fair trade packaging, labelling, advertising, product safety and minimum wages can all affect business. The...
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