Role of Communication & Employee Involvement in the Process of an Organizational Change

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1. INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND

1.1. Introduction
Change, in general, indicates any act of making something different. The factors that necessitate change in organizations are broadly categorized into people, technology, information processing and communication, and competition. Some changes in the organization occur suddenly without the conscious efforts of the people. These are called unplanned changes. On the other hand, some changes are initiated by the management to accomplish certain goals and objectives. These are called planned changes. More often, change is met with resistance.

The resistance can be implicit (or covert) or explicit (or overt). Resistance to change can be classified into individual resistance and organizational resistance. Individuals resist change because they consider it as a threat to their habits, security and economic conditions. Organizational resistance occurs mainly because of structural inertia, group inertia, and fear of losing power, expertise or control over resources.

To overcome resistance to change, management can educate employees, involve employees in change decisions, go for negotiation, manipulation, co-optation and coercion. Lewin's three-step model is one approach to manage planned change. The model suggests that organizations can bring permanent changes in employee behavior by making them unlearn old behaviors and work procedures.

Modern organizations emphasize on innovation and learning to cope with changes in the business environment and stay ahead of competition. The different sources of innovation include change in awareness due to acquisition of new knowledge, changing perceptions of people, demographic changes, rapid changes in industry and market structure, imperfect processes, incongruity between reality and expectation and unexpected happenings. Organizations need to be committed to change and innovation and change their structure and culture to facilitate continuous learning of employees.

In modern organizations, employees work under the pressure of tight deadlines. Consequently, stress has become a major cause of concern in such organizations. Stress causing factors or stressors could be present either outside the organization or within it. Further, the stressors could be organization related or could be related to the individual. Thus, there are various organizational and individual strategies to cope with stress.

At both these levels, there are two main strategies, i.e., problem-focused strategies and emotion-focused strategies. Problem-focused strategies try to eliminate the stressor or modify it to such an extent that people are able to cope with them. Emotion-focused strategies attempt to modify the reactions of individuals to the stressors. At the organizational level, various problem-focused strategies include redesigning the job, using proper selection and recruitment techniques, team building, providing training and day care facilities for employees. Emotion-focused strategies include facilitating open communication within the organization, providing employee assistance programs, and mentoring.

The organization can also give employees personal time off and provide facilities to improve their physical and mental health. The problem-focused strategies at the individual level include time-management, seeking help from colleagues or superiors, and if all else fails, changing the job. The emotion-focused strategies at the individual level include using relaxation techniques, performing physical exercise, pursuing recreational activities, and seeking companions. All these measures go a long way in reducing the stress levels of employees and making them more productive and efficient.

1.1.1. Research Topic
“Role of Communication & Employee Involvement in the process of an Organizational Change”

1.2. Background to the Study
ABC, a reputed Group of Companies in the shipping industry comprising of 24 companies. There are three...
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