Perspectives on Change
Change can be viewed and reviewed from different perspectives: those individuals in the organization who are in charge of implementing the change and the group of individuals who are the recipients of changes implemented. The perspective of top management who feels that a certain change is necessary for the course of the company’s growth is very different from that of an employee who is questioning the change.
We can describe planned change as a systematic process of introducing new policies, new procedures, products, new behaviors, structures, and technologies for addressing various problems and challenges facing the organization. These challenges can be both external (e.g., loss of market share, new capabilities introduced by the competitors, lower prices, etc.) and internal (e.g., major corporate restructure, relocating, etc.).
It is change agents such as project managers, consultants, or members of the change management team who must first understand both the top management and the frontline employee perspectives to change management.
The Need for Organizational Change
A need for change management will occur in the corporation as it moves into the international environment, as it becomes multinational, and as it opens new markets. A need for change management can also occur in the organization as it recognizes that it must improve the company’s efficiency and effectiveness to grow or remain competitive. In anticipation of change in the competitive environment, organizations can introduce new products or add new features to existing products. If an organization anticipates change in the industry and its competitive landscape, it may respond by changing the corporate identity, vision, and strategy. Sometimes there are such radical changes in the environment that the organization must challenge its core values to reposition itself in the market.
There are many roles for change agents in the organization; all are critical to change management:
- Change generators who demonstrate the need for the change to the organization.
- Change implementers who actually carry out the change specified by the top management.
- Change adopters who practice the changes implemented as part of their daily work.
As with any change, there are forces that work for the change and forces that work
against the change; hence, it is critical to identify ways of increasing the force for the change and reducing the resistance against the change. Firms must employ strategies that include extensive communication to employees through regular meetings, training programs, and education programs that help employees learn the new skills needed because of the change. New organizational structures are put in place to create a climate of innovation and to reduce the organizational tendencies to maintain the status quo. New policies and procedures are developed to ensure support for the behaviors required from the employees due to the implementation of the change. Active participation of the employees in decision making related to the changes is critical to change management.
Issues for Effective Change Management
There are, of course, issues involved in the implementation of the change. The time required to implement the change is critical. Often the project team in charge of the change is not allotted time off their regular work to implement the change program. Cost is also a big factor. The cost estimates often change during the implementation stages. Expenditures for the change must be carefully estimated for top management to approve the change and then tracked throughout the change period. The cost of the change should not outweigh its benefits. A diverse functional team for implementation of change brings a shared sense of responsibility across all levels in the organization leading to successful implementation.[DISPLAY_ACURAX_ICONS]