Why organisations need to change
Change management is relevant as though the research finds that change is taking place at an ever-increasing pace, the evidence suggests that most change initiatives fail. For example, recent CIPD research suggested that less than 60% of re-organisations met their stated objectives which are usually bottom line improvement. This is consistent with other published research.
The impact of failures to introduce effective change can also be high: loss of market position, removal of senior management, loss of stakeholder credibility, loss of key employees.
Finally, one organisational response to change is that organisational forms are themselves evolving. Therefore, the change management response will have to be adaptive. For example, the increased competitive challenges and the need to be responsive to the changing environment are resulting in emerging organisational models. Traditional organisational models following functional or matrix lines are being supplemented by new models. These might rely on project teams, on networks, on virtual structures.
In theory, certain of these newer models, for example virtual and project-based structures, allow increased flexibility to respond to change. However such models are not always introduced uniformly, and in practice often introduce other issues that also impact upon change management, for example ability to share knowledge and to operate efficiently. Also, as more companies rely on these ‘new structures’, for example, sub-contractors and agency staff, the traditional psychological contract between organisation and employee can no longer be relied upon to elicit employee engagement, motivation and ultimately superior performance, all of which are particularly important in times of change. These ‘structures’ may also impact effectiveness of communication, which again has implications for change effectiveness.
What issues have been identified in the change management process?
A large number of issues have been identified as having negative impact on effective change management. Some of the key themes are identified below, covering organisational issues and individual resistance to change. Organisational issues
Individual change initiatives are not always undertaken as part of a wider coherent change plan, for example through considering linkages between strategy, structure and systems issues. Therefore a change that considers a new structure but fails to establish the need to introduce new systems to support such a structure is less likely to succeed.
Lack of effective project management and programme management disciplines can lead to slippages in timings, in achievement of desired outcomes, in ensuring that the projects do deliver as planned.
Insufficient, relevant training, for example in project management, change management skills, leadership skills can all impact negatively on the effectiveness of any change initiative.
Poor communication has been linked to issues surrounding the effectiveness of in achieving effective change in various ways. For example, imposed change can lead to greater employee resistance (see section below also).
Finally, lack of effective leadership has been identified as an inhibitor of effective change.
Individual/group resistance to change
Resistance to change can be defined as an individual or group engaging in acts to block or disrupt an attempt to introduce change. Resistance itself can take many different forms from subtle undermining of change initiatives, withholding of information to active resistance eg via strikes.
Resistance to change can be considered along various dimensions:
* individual versus collective
* passive versus active
* direct versus indirect
* behavioural versus verbal or attitudinal
* minor versus major.
Similarly two broad types of resistance can be considered:
* Resistance to the content of change - for example to a specific change in...
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