The current business environment is fast changing hence throwing different challenges to businesses and organizations alike. Globalization adds to the challenge, as organizations have to fit in a global village whereby the rules of the game change each passing day. To fit in the system, organizations have to change their ways of operations, thus Organizational Change. According to Gareth and Jennifer (2008), Organizational Change refers to the transformation of an organization from its present state to a desirable future state to enhance efficiency. The need to improve its efficiency and to be better than its current state remains the impetus of every organization towards change. Driven by the desire to change, organizations are always faced with the challenge of implementing change in a manner that influences all its important departments hence generating a positive impact in the organization. This essay, therefore, seeks to discuss the manager’s role in implementing change as well as handling resistance to change. The paper also presents a brief on the main steps of the change process.
Steps in the Change Process
Change is never instantaneous. It follows a process that has distinct steps as discussed below.
Assessment: Assessment is the process through which an organization evaluates its performance (Anderson, 2009). Through assessment, an organization utilizes available information to examine how well it meets the needs of its employees, the community at its service, and other stakeholders (Anderson, 2009). At this step in the change process, an organization is more concerned about identifying the problems that exist in its operations. An organization also seeks to find the origin of its problems to be able to come up with proper solutions.
Planning: After identifying problems together with their root causes, the next step in the Change Process involves the identification of appropriate solutions to the problems. For instance, a health care organization may identify some disparities in healthcare provision during the assessment of its services. To solve this problem, the health care organization will have to come up with a range of possible solutions and settle on one that deems best fit for the organization. Planning involves a determination of the future of the organization (O’Grady & Malloch, 2007).
Implementation: The next step in the Change Process after the identification of the most appropriate change is the implementation of the identified change. This is the most challenging step in the change process. Implementing change means putting the identified solution into practice (Anderson, 2009). Change implementation can either take the form of a top-bottom approach or a bottom-up approach, whichever fits the organization’s needs.
Evaluation: After implementing change, it is imperative for the organization to appraise the success of the change. Did it yield the intended results? If not, where was the problem? Evaluation as the last step in the Change Process helps an organization to examine its ability to implement change (Gareth & Jennifer, 2008). It is also important to carry out a benchmark comparison with other organizations to be able to rank your organization’s ability to initiate change compared to other organizations.
The roles and responsibilities of managers in implementing change within the department
Managers are important players in the change process in their organizations. Managers are change agents in their departments and thus entrusted with the responsibility of managing change in a way that their employees can easily cope (O’Grady & Malloch, 2007). The managers are the facilitators of change and must enable change in their respective departments. As change agents, the managers play the following roles in implementing change.
The detective: Employees react differently to change. As detectives, managers play the role of digging deep into the dynamics of employees’ behaviors to find clues to planned efforts to prevent change and thus determine appropriate measures for removing the obstacles.
The advocate: Managers are the vehicles of change in their departments. As an advocate of change, the manager plays the role of campaigning for change in his department and mobilizing employees to participate in the change process.
The counselor: Change alters employees’ behaviors, attitudes and duties (Kanter, Stein & Jick, 1992). This definitely has an effect on employees’ emotional stability. As a counselor, the manager is entrusted with the role of understanding employees’ personal reactions and helping them develop a positive attitude towards adopting change.
The facilitator: Managers role in implementing change is to help employees change. As change agents in their respective departments, managers should make it easier for employees to perform their duties under change (Anderson, 2009). As a facilitator, the manager should come up with creative approaches to change to ensure that employees succeed in the mainstream of change.
The mediator: Change always results into conflict since employees do have opposing priorities. The manager’s role as a mediator is to ensure that the employees accommodate each other’s views and build consensus on conflicting ideas for the common good of all employees (Anderson, 2009).
The Expert: As experts in their departments, managers should provide the expertise needed by employees to be able to cope with change. They should offer consultation services to their employees and provide the necessary knowledge to help employees cope with change.
The enforcer: As an enforcer, the manager plays an authoritative role to ensure that employees meet their deadlines and achieve the set targets and goals in the change process (Anderson, 2009). Managers use both punitive measures and awards to ensure that employees remain motivated throughout the change process.
Handling staff resistance to change
No matter how attractive change is, not all employees will be enthusiastic about it. There are those who will resist change for various reasons ranging from intellectual disagreement to fears of the potential impact of change (Kanter, Stein & Jick, 1992). The following strategies provide means through which managers can handle staff resistance to change. First, educate employees to help them understand the need for change and communicate change efficiently to all employees understand the motive of change and hence co-operate. Second, involve all members of staff in the change process to make them feel part of the program. Third, listen to the concerns of resistant members of staff and support them where necessary so that they can feel facilitated enough to accept change. Fourth, negotiate with resistant employees and reach a compromise for the common good of the organization. Fifth, manipulate leaders of change resistance to ensure that they convince their group to join others in the change process. Last, if all these strategies have failed, managers may be forced to use coercion to instill fears among resistant employees.
Change is unavoidable in the current world business environment. Change is a continuous process that follows four main steps namely: assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation. Implementing change is challenging hence requires managers to be more than just leaders in the change process. No matter the attractiveness of change, there will always be resistance hence managers should be prepared to deal with resistance whenever implementing change in their departments.
Anderson, D. L. (2009). Organizational development: The process of leading organizational change. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.
Gareth, R. J., & Jennifer, M.G. (2008). Essentials of contemporary management. Chicago, Ill.: Irwin Professional Pub.
Kanter, R. M., Stein, B. A., & Jick, T. D. (1992). The challenge of organizational change. New York: Free Press.
O’Grady, T. P., & Malloch, K. (2007). Managing for success in health care. Amsterdam: Elsevier Inc.