ASSIGNMENT: ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE
New Territories Retraining Center Organizational Change
The early Greek philosopher, Heraclitus was right when he wrote, “We cannot step into the same river twice.” Just as the rushing waters of a moving river are in constant flux and change, so are we. In only a few years time, not a single cell in our bodies will be the same one that it is today. And like our living, changing bodies, organizations live and change at even larger scales. The commonly held idea that we or our organizations can remain static and predictable is both illusionary and dangerous. To resist change is futile, to embrace change as a dynamic force that allows for real growth is the only way to go ( 2002).
When we look closer in the issue of change what we usually find is a company that is continuously engaged in change. In each case consultants were employed, a change program introduced, and senior management enthusiastically embarked on a campaign of support for the new program. If there was a common theme in company documents and the statements of managers and employees, it was change - the need for change, the introduction of different change programs, responses to change programs, and the outcomes of change programs.
Organizations need to undergo a profound and continual process of change if they want to adapt to a world which has revolutionized them in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Every day, management literature produces an impressive catalogue of ‘new organizations’, new structures, new concepts that illustrate the variety of initiatives introduced virtually across the board in order to face up to the multitude of challenges.
Even companies in the ‘new economy’ have not been able to escape this movement – between 1999 and 2000, eBay, Amazon.com and AOL were all to announce fundamental restructuring programs, intended to adapt their organizations to a market that was undergoing profound change. From ‘communities of practice’ to cooperation, presented as the key factor in reducing costs and continually improving quality, not a day goes past without the appearance, on the marketplace for ideas and practices, of some new suggestion in terms of organization.
Such consensus and such proliferation help to explain both the pressures placed on organizations and the hesitations in the responses that are made. There is no longer, as in the good old days of mass production or even, more recently, of triumphant Toyotism, a dominant model that can assert itself and provide a key that guarantees performance under optimal conditions (, 2002).
This is the very case for Territories Association Retraining Centre, where I am working. It is Non-government organization (NGO) established in 1999. The organization provided some retraining programs only in 1999 – 2002 when the organization shown deficit. Mr. Chan was employed as managing director on 2002 and tried to change the organization status from loss to gain.
After Mr. Chan joined the organization, the company is now providing not only the different kind of retraining programs, but also providing youth employment service and Intensive Employment Assistance Project (IEAP). The aim is to provide different kind of service to help the unemployed people and change their status from poor family to gain stable salary family. The organization has 10 employees on 2001, before Mr. Chan joined the company, and now has at least 100 employees
Change occurs even without companies and employees calling for it to happen. But whatever changes might take place, it is important that it should be managed. For without proper management of change, results could be detrimental to the company and the employees.
There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. The difficulties of managing change have been recognized for over 400 years. Changing a company's culture is indeed a major task. The change is managed with this proven path. It is a tested way to implement your program with very little risk (1991).
It is argued that, within management thought and practice, the notion of organizational change has changed in significance over the last two decades, from one of many potential strategies of managing to a key influence on organizational effectiveness and survival. The focus has shifted from the strategic choice of the actor to one of incontrovertible external forces that managers need to anticipate, react to and manage. It is contended that organizational change as imperative has become an important management discourse that can be witnessed in the discursive practices of companies throughout North America and Europe ( 2003).
The most successful companies not only adapt to change but capitalize on its power with creativity, courage, and with an eye toward transformation. The abilities to move fluidly, react quickly, and embrace new realities should be considered as basic requirements for every organization that wishes to fulfill its mission and grow toward the future.
The need for a new lens with which to see the cycles of life and business and the truth about the nature of change has never been more critical, especially in today’s fast-moving world when the forces of change have intensified in frequency and magnitude. The unstoppable power of change is, in fact, an opportunity for enhanced consciousness. It’s a wake-up call for honest self- and organizational-awareness and a new appreciation about the true nature of reality, including change itself (, 2002).
Describe the content and the context of the change you have chosen
My organization “New Territories Association Retraining Centre” was established in 1999. Unfortunately, the organization showed deficit in 1999-2002, whereby the retraining programs were made. Mr. Chan was employed on 2002 and tried to change the organization status from loss to gain. The organization has 10 employees on 2001 and at present has at least 100 employees.
There are many factors that may help or hinder effective change, such as individuals and organization, which are not present in New Territories Retraining Centre. Employees as well as the managers welcome change within the organization. The organization itself needed a change.
Many managers and employees in hundreds of organizations have experienced the struggles, successes, failures, and frustrations that go along with changing the way business is done, as is definitely the case for New Territories Retraining Center. In some businesses, innovations involving production quality, customer service, re-engineering, right-sizing, culture, and teamwork follow a regular pattern: introductory fanfare, followed by tough times of implementation, ending with something less than complete success, just in time for the next major change to begin ( 2003).
The introduction of change programs has become a major phenomenon throughout businesses and not-for-profit organizations. New institutional theory provides one level of explanation for the popularity of specific change programs, namely, that if certain activity appears successful in one organization it is likely to be mimicked by other organizations. But that does not explain the process whereby mimicking occurs. In order to explain the recent popularity of change programs, it is necessary to understand what drives the sense-making process of those who buy the programs, and how those who sell the programs act upon this sense-making ( 2003).
Some employees may be unable or unwilling to support the change because they honestly believe it is unnecessary. Do not argue or become defensive - neither changes anyone's mind and could do serious long term damage not only to the employees themselves but to the company they are working for as well.
If ever there was a consensus, it is the initial resistance to change. Change strikes at the comfort factor of both individuals and operational organizations. Change represents the unknown and, as such, is clouded by suspicion (1994).
Employee resistance is a common reaction to any organizational change. The employees who will have the difficulty in accepting change will be those in the positions who do follow-through and attend to repetitious and tedious work such as, secretaries and accountants, while employees in self-managing positions such as, salespeople and management will readily welcome change. To be able to implement this effectively and with less resistance, be sure to explain the necessity of the change in details, listen to what the employees will have to say and finally, ask for their support ( 1997).
In order to bring about change, leaders therefore must address all important domains that go with change effectively. According to a business review article, seventy percent of change programs fail ( 2002). That's depressing news at a time when more and more companies face upheaval. They fail because leaders shy away from making changes broad enough, deep enough, and above all, swift enough to revive the company. Instead, they administer a series of half-cures, which often serve only to prolong the agony which is inevitable to respond to change anyway.
Analyze how successful your example was in achieving appropriate change and discuss what contributed to its success or lack of success
Mr. Chan tried to find out what reasons of deficit: the performance of staffs and the quality of services. And then try to use some theories to discuss what the right remedial steps he took to correct a shortcoming. To summarize, he was successful in achieving appropriate change. The next paragraphs will discuss some factors that contribute to successes of change programs within organizations.
Various follow-up routines should be established for the performance of staff and the quality of services. Performance reports should be issued on the basis of follow-up reports received from departments within the company. In this way, top management will be kept informed on the flow of work through the company, and it can note any deviations from the company’s plans and fix accountability for them.
We should note that there can be no single theory of change since there is no single body of thought that would be accepted by all organizational members, theorists and commentators as a valid account and explanation of the nature of organization.
The best transformers focus first on developing a clear strategy. They establish nonnegotiable goals to support that strategy and incentives to reinforce those goals. Then they step back and let managers figure out how to get the results. Too many companies in transformation make the mistake of pursuing broad employee layoffs instead of getting at the root of the problem: senior management ( 2002). Most of the successful transformers didn't start showing meaningful improvement until they made significant personnel changes at the most senior levels.
Some change theorists argue that cultural shifts can only take place after the organization observes tangible results of the change effort that alter their assumptions and expectations. As the organizational culture shifts, change becomes more profound and sustainable as new behavioral norms are established that exert subtle yet pervasive influence on individuals and groups (, 2003).
Corporate transformation may be the most difficult professional test an executive will face. It involves both processes and people within the organization. There is no formula for a successful turnaround, because companies and the challenges they face vary too widely, not two challenges faced by companies are exactly the same. But the principles that characterize the most successful transformations -- quickly and simultaneously focusing on results, changing senior management, and reinvigorating employees -- provide a powerful agenda for taking necessary action as response to change. Ultimately, managing change will be a successful one.
Mr. Chan has been equipped with the right tools to manage the change that is called for in the company. By changing the senior management of “New Territories Association Retraining Centre and hiring Mr. Chan, change was managed effectively and as an effect the employees are reinvigorated.
Discuss what possible alternative approaches might be/have been more effective
The change of organization culture and building up staffs’ sense of belonging within the company is also an effective approach to the problem encountered by the organization. It is not a secret that one of the most important domains in having a successful organization is the understanding of the employees. All of these are clearly easier said than done. Some basic principles in organizational change and innovation may help improve the success rate of managing change in organizations and these should be taken into account by managers and leaders (, 2003).
In addition to understanding your employees and their specific, personality-related reaction to change, there are four things that management can do to reduce resistance.
First, explain, in detail, why the change is needed. If it is being made for obvious or logical reasons, your people, after the initial shock, will probably understand and support it. Next, be very specific when explaining the change. The more detail you can provide, the better. This helps employees know exactly what part of their work will be affected and what will not. This also helps pull the plug on the company rumor mill. The less concrete information your people have, the more likely they are to worry, speculate or object ( 1997).
Third, ask for each employee reaction, both for and against. Don't be afraid of negative comments. The open, responsive atmosphere you will create by asking for input will far outweigh the effects of any negative comments. Then, after you have explained why the change is necessary, how it will affect your people and have asked for and listened to their feedback, ask each employee to support the change, even if they disagree with it ( 1997).
The impact of change on most employees, both line and management, and on safety, health and environmental performance is typically negative. Results include increased worry, frustration, resentment, stress and distraction. These lead to lower productivity and an increased possibility of accidents, injuries and environmental incidents ( 2000).
Another positive approach for the scenario would be organizational development. Activity that came to be known as organization development brought a particular kind of rational inquiry to the art of improving the processes of human communication and organization. Practitioners advocated a planned and sustained effort to apply behavioral science to the improvement of organizational processes, using reflexive, self-analytic methods. Their stance was one of rational constructivism ( 2002).
Existing organizational processes might be poorly designed or suffering from lack of design, or they might simply be no longer fit for current circumstances, or the way they might be working in reinforcing or undermining one another might be poorly understood. Subjecting such processes to joint examination (mapping of some kind) on an organization-wide scale was bound to lead to the specification and implementation of improvements. Organizational development interventions were thus activities for stimulating organizational learning as collective understanding of and action to change human systems and processes at a particular 'level' of an organization.
Teams, departments, businesses, organizations, communities, societies, could be approached as nested open systems, each in dynamic exchange with an environment consisting of other systems across the system boundary. A range of organizational development technologies became widespread: process consultation, survey feedback, teamwork inventories, inter-group dialogues. All these interventions proposed that the purpose of intensive collective reflection was to create understanding of what gives rise to certain systemic patterns which would then foster the ability to generate alternative processes, to achieve chosen outcomes, again in terms of the patterns of systems behavior (, 2002).
The company grew from 10 employees to 100 employees, which is definitely a manifestation positive development. This would account to many things including a positive work environment and culture, and a good management.
Draw on the literature, frameworks and theories covered in the module, as appropriate and relevant to your example, to illustrate your analysis
Existing models of organizational culture did not explain the underlying assumptions that appeared to fuel the organization's need to continually engage in change. As such, studies of culture show that it became secondary to the process of change, which continually re-invented it ( 2003).
In order to argue that the notion of organizational change, and particularly the pre-packaged change program, has acquired something of the status of a discourse, it is important to demonstrate its widespread acceptance. That is not difficult.
Changing a corporate culture is not easy. Culture emerges out of the shared behaviors of organization members and working relationships, which have developed over time. Consequently, it takes time for the cultural transformation to take effect ( 2004).
We know that a different culture cannot be announced or imposed by an act of will. Culture develops itself day by day in the practical interaction of doing business in the new circumstances. Employees are usually at ease with the old organization cultures that having a new one is not usually welcomed and thus presents a hard task for the manager. When the employees are locked in am organizational culture, it kept new ideas from coming out (promoting "group-think"), and will be inflexible in the short run, and may also have contributed to complacency associated with too much insulation from the consequences of actions.
Culture is not simply another variable or isolatable component of organizations. It is what organizations are. Organizational culture is the product of social invention and interaction that are influenced by the following factors. They include organizational history, artifacts, physical space, and architectural design; degrees of formality and informality; social control that involves professional and institutional modes of socialization or indoctrination; shared symbols and meanings found in rituals and myths; organizational leadership personalities; espoused and practiced norms and values and management philosophies; groups (units, offices, divisions, etc.) as subcultures; host cultures that include economic and political task environments; and, finally, humor and play at work ( 1993)
Organizational culture is ultimately a product of the ways in which participants interact at work. Components of organizational culture, both explicit and implicit--artifacts, formalities and informalities, socialization and indoctrination, rituals, myths, espoused and practiced theories of action, leadership personalities, groups as subcultures, host cultures, organizational history, and humor and play at work--contribute to organizational design, strategy, and productivity ( 1993). Leadership and group dynamics are essential variables in assessing organizational culture. However, the shared meaning of organizational life cannot be adequately captured with conventional treatments of organizational culture. There is more to it than that.
Any effort to change organizational culture will therefore be met with serious resistance and psychological defenses among organizational members. Neurotic styles develop over time, taking root in the transference between the executive and staff. It is therefore unrealistic to expect organizational members to welcome change. Neurotic styles are, after all, characterized by inflexibility and conservatism. Changing the status quo is anxiety-producing and perceived as dangerous by participants, especially in changing and highly stressful organizations.
Reflect on what you have learned from the study of this example about your own practice in managing or influencing change
Having a good leader and good management skills are very important in managing or influencing change. Clearly, Mr. Chan has been a good leader and has good management skills, which is why the company has progressed so much in a span on 4 years since he first joined the company.
The element of change is inescapable, and it is most unwise for any business or businessman to ignore it. The pervasive nature of change affecting so many aspects of business scenes has suggested the observation that the only permanent element in the environment of business is change. Actually, there is a cliché that the only thing constant in this world is change and it seems to apply not only to businesses but to everything as well.
An important element of the organizational change story is an implicit, often explicit, image of the ‘good manager' as one who is able to grasp the underlying problematic and take appropriate action (, 2003). The image of the good manager' has always been implicit within much of management and organizational theory but is stressed in a dramatic fashion in the change story.
There is an accepted notion of what a good manager looks like with techniques of good managing. The steps to becoming a good manager include, the creation of 'constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service', a ceasing of 'dependence on inspection to achieve quality', ending 'the practice of awarding business on the basis of the price tag'; the driving out of 'fear', breaking 'down the barriers between departments'. In almost every case, there is a strong suggestion that existing practices, and thus ways of managing, are outmoded and inefficient ( 2003).
Observation of the mechanisms at work in organizations in general, and in companies in particular, shows that decisions for change are most often taken in accordance with a logic of ‘good reason’, the one appealing to an actor's good sense in order to be understood: bearing in mind the existing situation, there are good reasons for doing this. But that ‘good reason’, however evident, however legitimate it may appear, can be likened to the good old ‘one best way’ of Taylorism: because it is, or is assumed to be, the only way, a decision made must be imposed on all, without possibility of discussion ( 2002).
Questioning it, criticizing it, even fighting it can only be the result of incomprehension at best, intellectual dishonesty and bad faith at worst, and in this respect is a matter for reprobation to start with and then sanctions to follow. Implementation, from this point of view, is therefore nothing more than a simple problem of routine management not really worthy of much interest (, 2002).
Reality is quite different, even if plenty of ‘deciders’ pretend to ignore it in the name of a theoretical ‘general interest’: any decision for change has a greater or lesser impact directly on a human system and the strategies of the actors who are in it. Mr. Chan therefore is a good manager for he is able to put into reality that which he has learned from books.