14 July 2010

Organisational Change, and it's Inhibitors.

Change is inevitable. It happens while we are sleeping. I'm involved with a few organisations that are managing change. Some are doing it better than others.

One, that ought to know better as it has all the resources for understanding change, is doing a terrible job because it is prioritising structure ahead of people. Another organisation is doing better as it is people focused; ignorant of major management theory, but treating its people well.

How can managers and leaders make change more palatable, acceptable, even embraced by the people affected or involved? Consider some factors that cause resistance to organisational change.

Us -vs- Them One of the biggest inhibitors to organisation change is the Us -vs- Them mentality. When there is no cohesion in purposes, plans, goals and strategies, much energy is lost within the organisation.

Image, prestige and reputation. Image, prestige and reputation are important to every employee. If people feel they are losing something they are used to, they'll resist.

Job security. Organizational change sometimes results in disestablished positions, redundancies and so on. Job security, while often an illusion, is a comforting illusion.

Reallocation of resources. Restructuring can assign more staff or authority to one person or department, possibly removing some from others.

Acquired interest of some groups. Organizational change can threaten old coalitions, changing the balance of power.

Misunderstanding of changes. Peoples resist change when they do not understand or agree with the purposes of change. Sometimes employees are not provided with adequate information. Resistance might be a result of confusion or apprehension due to lack of information.

Selective information processing. Individuals sometimes hear that they want to hear. This frustrates what might have been a good communication strategy.

Mistrust of initiators of change. When people do not trust the initiators of organizational change, things can become difficult. Strong relationships and good conversations pave the way for change.

Different evaluation and perception. People at different levels of an organisation have different perspectives. Their opinions and decisions are informed by the information gathered from those perspectives.

Fear of the unknown. Organizational change can lead to uncertainty and that might look dangerous to some people. Anxiety can be a sharpening factor in growth. It can also impede change.

Habits. People develop habits. Organizational changes requires a shift of that habit, upsetting organisational culture or patterns that can irritate participants.

Experience of organizational change. Participants already have some experience of previous organizational change and know that this process is not easy. If the experience was negative, the participants might be reluctant to endure the change process again.

Threat to interpersonal relations. If an organizational change threatens the strength social networks in an organization, the affected employees often resist change. Employees are more than producers or performers. They are social

Weakness of the proposed changes. Sometimes proposed change have weaknesses that employees can recognise. They'll be slow to implement change that makes no sense or will not serve the stated purposes or goals.

Peer pressure affects change whether by resistance or communal acceptance.

Skepticism about the need of change. If the problem is not personal thing of employees, they do not see the need have changed. Those that not can to see the need of change shows low readiness to change;

Length of time for change. Too short and resistance is sharp. Too long and it becomes ineffectual.

Understanding these factors might help us avoid obstacles that could derail good and helpful change. Informed change agents can navigate the territory with fewer fatalities.

With reference to Entrepreneurship in a Box

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