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Individual and Organizational Change and Responses to Change

Topics: Developmental psychology, Erik Erikson / Pages: 9 (2142 words) / Published: Oct 25th, 2011




Table of Contents
Defining change 3
Individual Change 3
Other forms of changes 9
Organization Change 10
Responses to Change 12
References: 14 Defining change
Change has various definitions but one underlying factor about change is that it is the transformation from a status quo position, to a new position. This new position can either be positive or negative.

Individual Change
Human beings undergo changes in many ways in their lives. The most notable changes that individuals undergo are the developmental changes as an individual grows and passes through the various stages of growth. These are as detailed below:-
1. Infancy: Birth to 18 Months
Ego Development Outcome: Trust vs. Mistrust
Basic strength: Drive and Hope
This stage referred to as infancy is also called the Oral Sensory Stage where the major emphasis is on the mother 's positive and loving care for the child, with a big emphasis on visual contact and touch. Once passed successfully, people learn to trust learn to trust that life is basically okay and have basic confidence in the future. If one fails to experience trust and is constantly frustrated because his/her needs are not met, they may end up with a deep-seated feeling of worthlessness and a mistrust of the world in general. This trust helps people later in career life in developing team spirit as they interact with colleagues and become part of the team in a work place.

2. Early Childhood: 18 Months to 3 Years
Ego Development Outcome: Autonomy vs. Shame
Basic Strengths: Self-control, Courage, and Will
During this stage we learn to master skills for ourselves. Apart from learning how to walk, talk and feed ourselves, we also learn finer motor development as well as the much appreciated toilet training. Here people have the opportunity to build self-esteem and autonomy as they gain more control over their bodies and acquire new skills, distinguishing right from wrong. This stage relates to career development in that it is at this stage that we develop a strong sense of autonomy, self-control, courage and will which are key determinants in career development.

3. Play Age: 3 to 5 Years
Ego Development Outcome: Initiative vs. Guilt
Basic Strength: Purpose
At this stage, children have a desire to imitate adults and take initiative in creating play situations. They make up stories and play a lot with toys, playing out roles in a trial universe, as they experiment what they believe it means to be an adult. It is also at this stage where the word/question ‘’why’’ is on the child’s vocabulary as they begin to explore the world. According to Erikson at this stage we usually become involved in the classic "Oedipal struggle" and resolve this struggle through "social role identification." If we 're frustrated over natural desires and goals, we may easily experience guilt. This stage is crucial in career development because this is where our sense of taking initiatives well as guilt and having purpose are developed. These characteristics are important in career development.

4. School Age: 6 to 12 Years
Ego Development Outcome: Industry vs. Inferiority
Basic Strengths: Method and Competence
This stage is also called ‘’Latency stage’’, during which we are capable of learning, creating and accomplishing numerous new skills and knowledge, thus developing a sense of industry. This is also a very social stage of development and if we experience unresolved feelings of inadequacy and inferiority among our peers, we can have serious problems in terms of competence and self-esteem.

5. Adolescence: 12 to 18 Years
Ego Development Outcome: Identity vs. Role Confusion
Basic Strengths: Devotion and Fidelity
According to Erikson, development at this stage mostly depends upon what is done to us. From here on out, development depends primarily upon what we do. And while adolescence is a stage at which we are neither a child nor an adult, life is definitely getting more complex as we attempt to find our own identity, struggle with social interactions, and grapple with moral issues.
Key task here is to discover who we are as individuals separate from our families of origin and as a member of a wider society. Unfortunately for those around us, in this process many of us go into a period of withdrawing from responsibilities, which Erikson called a "moratorium." And if we are unsuccessful in navigating this stage, we will experience role confusion and upheaval.
This stage is very significant in career development because it is at this stage that we establish philosophies and perspectives of life as well as form ideal, which are conflict free, rather than reality, which is not. Inexperience on matters of life is major at this stage and many people tend to substitute ideals for experience.

6. Young adulthood: 18 to 35
Ego Development Outcome: Intimacy and Solidarity vs. Isolation
Basic Strengths: Affiliation and Love
This is the in the initial stage of adulthood during which we seek one or more companions and love. Families crop up as people seek mutually satisfying relationships, primarily through marriage and friends. A successful passing of this stages develops a sense of intimacy on a deep level. While failing at this stage leads to isolation.
This stage is relevant in career development in the sense that as we develop an deep sense of intimacy, we become more trusted members of our work teams and we tend to value such team highly.

7. Middle Adulthood: 35 to 55 or 65
Ego Development Outcome: Generativity vs. Self absorption or Stagnation
Basic Strengths: Production and Care
For people going through this stage, work is most crucial. Erikson observed that middle-age is when we tend to be occupied with creative and meaningful work and with issues surrounding our family. Also, middle adulthood is when we can expect to "be in charge," the role we 've longer envied.
The significant task is to perpetuate culture and transmit values of the culture through the family (taming the kids) and working to establish a stable environment. Strength comes through care of others and production of something that contributes to the betterment of society, which Erikson calls generativity, so when we 're in this stage we often fear inactivity and meaninglessness.
Mid-life crisis sets in at this stage as we undergo various changes in our lives e.g. our children becoming of age and leaving home. Career-wise, this stage is important and it is advisable to pass it successfully, because failing at this stage may be disastrous. This is because people are nearing their retirement at this stage and it is important to ‘’finish’’ the career race better, than bitter. If we don 't get through this stage successfully, we can become self-absorbed and stagnate.
8. Late Adulthood: 55 or 65 to Death
Ego Development Outcome: Integrity vs. Despair
Basic Strengths: Wisdom
Erikson felt that much of life is preparing for the middle adulthood stage and the last stage is recovering from it. Perhaps that is because as older adults we can often look back on our lives with happiness and are content, feeling fulfilled with a deep sense that life has meaning and we 've made a contribution to life, a feeling Erikson calls integrity. Our strength comes from a wisdom that the world is very large and we now have a detached concern for the whole of life, accepting death as the completion of life. On the other hand, some adults may reach this stage and despair at their experiences and perceived failures. They may fear death as they struggle to find a purpose to their lives, wondering "Was the trip worth it?" Alternatively, they may feel they have all the answers (not unlike going back to adolescence) and end with a strong dogmatism that only their view has been correct.

Other forms of changes
Apart from these, the other forms of changes an individual will go through are as follow:-
Economic changes – one can improve and deteriorate economically if there is an increase in earnings or a decrease/loss of earning. This moves one from one status quo to another.
Social changes – very frequently an individual will move from one social status to another e.g. marriage, initiation rites, widower/widow, from simply being married to being a parent among others.
Cultural changes – often times, people move from one geographical region to another and within a short period of time, they change to adapt the culture of the new environment. This is especially common with African immigrants moving to Americas whereby they eventually change and adopt some cultures that are otherwise odd in African set up like celebrating Halloween, homosexuality among others.

Organization Change
An organization is like a living organism and hence has a ‘life’ of its own. This ‘life’ is what is known as Organizational Life Cycle and an organization – just like an individual – passes through the various stages of its life. The main stages of an organization life are inception, growth, maturity and eventually ‘death’ or collapse.
Organizations therefore will undergo various changes throughout their life cycle, and some of the changes are:-
Growth – an organization will change for small to large enterprise in terms of bases like capital, customer, asset, market share, share value, geographic among others. This will be appositive change and an indicator of a thriving enterprise. Retardation or decline in growth is also a change but a negative one.
Product – an organization can also change in terms of products, whereby it diversifies from reliance on one product line and introduces new products. This amounts to change as it moves the firm from a status quo of one product to multi product status.
Structure – firms also do change in terms of their structure. This mostly happens when organization undergo restructuring mostly driven by the need to remain efficient and profitable in a fiercely competitive environment. In most cases, such change is characterized by reduction in staff numbers, structural tiers and levels.
Mergers/Acquisition – in the competitive environment that organizations are operating under, so often firms have decided to merge for survival. When a merger happens, it amounts to change since a lot of internal structural re-organization takes place. In the case of acquisition, there is identity loss by the organization that is bought, which is a major change.
Culture – this is reputed as one of the most difficult variables to change in an organization. However a number of organizations do undergo culture change in their life cycle. This is mostly driven by the top leadership and it can be either positive or negative change.
Technology – this has remained one of the top concern for many CEOs when it comes to managing business risk. Technology has been changing so rapidly with each passing day and some of it has rendered many organizations obsolete or at least some of their processes, goods and services.

Responses to Change
Whether at individual or corporate level, there is a definite and almost predictable response to change. The following are some of the responses to change:-
Denial/Resistance – this is common with individuals especially when the new status quo is negative. When an individual losses a job or a loved one, the initial reaction will likely be denial, depression and eventually acceptance of reality and efforts being made to adjust to the new status quo.
Some organizations have also denied to accept change since they find it difficult to change from the know and tested conventional ways they have always done business. What they tend to do is to cling to their old practices and eventually change when they realize they are faced with extinction.
Adaptation – some individuals and organizations respond to change by adapting/conforming to change as soon as it happens. This happens specifically in cases where the coming change had already been communicated to those affected and more so where benefits have been perceived to out-weigh losses.
Attempts to maintain status quo – especially with individuals, one way of responding to change is attempting to convince the change agent to maintain status quo. This can be by way of unnecessary delays in implementing change or by offering flimsy excuses why the change cannot be effected.
Sabotage – this is a serious response and it occurs when employees or individuals decide to sabotage the change process with an objective of ensuring that the process stalls or fails. This will mostly occur in cases where the change initiative has been mismanaged by the top executive, or employees have not been fully involved in activities and deliberations in run-up to the change.

Erickson E. /Harder A.F, 2002
Colin A. , Managing Change in Organizations, 2007, Prentice Hall
Sengupta N, Managing Change in Organizations, 2006, PHI Learning Pvt, 2006

References: Erickson E. /Harder A.F, 2002 Colin A. , Managing Change in Organizations, 2007, Prentice Hall Sengupta N, Managing Change in Organizations, 2006, PHI Learning Pvt, 2006

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