The Core Challenges of Managing Change in the Workplace Today

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I am writing this article in order to identify how change is managed in business, given today’s economic downturn. In order to do this I am going to compare the experiences of a manager in a large business, which is faced with challenges and change nearly everyday. This will give me an insight into the real challenges of a manager and how these compare to the examples given in the literature that is written around this topic. I have also chosen this topic, as it is appropriate for the module I study and I have to complete such research in order to further me in this module.

Change is ‘an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another.’ (Worldnetweb – change definition) Although change does cause challenges which are difficult to overcome and can have negative outcomes as well as positive ones, ‘organizational success requires integrating both change and stability’ and ‘some cultures warn that organizations must change or dies’ therefore suggesting that ‘stability breeds complacency.’ (Paula J. Caproni – Page 284)

An expansion on change is change management, which is the part that the managers of companies are in control of. This management of the change is the process that prevents problems and deals with the challenges faced. Change management is ‘an integral part of all managerial work that copes with the changing patterns of resource input and knowledge available to work organizations and the shifting demands made upon them by the parties with which they deal, and initiates changes that manager perceive to be in their interests or the interests of those who employ them.’ (Tony Watson – Page 448)

A challenge is ‘a demanding or simulating situation.’ (Worldnetweb – challenge definition) Challenges are a struggle for someone like a manager to deal with but are something that someone in such power becomes used to as they occur so often in a working environment. Sometimes challenges can be seen as beneficial as managers thrive on the completion of them. For example, according to psychologist Mihay Csikszentmihalyi ‘We are more likely to feel engaged in a task if it requires skill that stretch out abilities yet are still within our reach.’ (Paula J. Caproni – Page 395)

I believe the challenges of change within a business to be and an important topic as the handling of such challenges is what makes a good or bad manager. A manager who can efficiently sort out the challenges faced by a business and can draw positives from the results of the change that has occurred is a manager who is useful for the business and who can drive them to success. Studying in depth into some of the changes that occur within a business an the challenges that arise and how they are dealt with gives an insight into how badly or poorly managers deal with situations and can be used as a case study for managers to take note and incorporate the good techniques and prevent the bad ones.

Some changes that come about in a business can be difficult to just enforce, therefore creating challenges for the manager in charge. The key challenges that arose from my research were, the laying off of long serving members of staff, the adjustment of staff to new technology, the litigation involved with splitting with a joint venture and also the struggle of the economic downturn on a market which has particularly struggled, the housing market.

For the first scenario the manager took the decision to lay off the workers, although they were long standing, as this was what was best for the business in the current downturn of the economic climate. The positives of the actions of the manager are that they looked at the overall positive not the individual negative therefore benefiting the company.

The process of reducing the workforce in a business is one that takes strong leadership and a great deal of thought. ‘The leaders of structural changes must implement a process that ensures equity and due consideration to employees.’...
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