Planning, Diagnosing and Managing Change

Introduction

Change management is an important organizational process directed at defining the current problems within an organization, understanding the organizational culture and behavior, introducing specific training programs, and accepting and integrating changes through specific approaches, strategies, and plans. All these procedures are crucial for sustaining a competitive advantage and organizational development. In this respect, each organization should thoroughly examine the external and internal aspects affecting performance and profitability to keep pace with existing changes and cope with emerging problems.

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Managers should guard the shifts in the globalized business environment to enable corresponding changes in the sphere of creative marketing and communication. They should also have deep social understanding concerning group dynamics and leadership styles, evaluate group’s expectations and needs to introduce corresponding training programs, and use performance metrics to work out appropriate models, theories, and strategies for managing change. In whole, successful implementation of changes depends on a great number of factors and nuances as well as modern trends in managing people.

A careful examination of recent academic articles has revealed that much research has been done on change management and organizational development. Specifically, the studies are dedicated to both traditional and non-traditional approaches to diagnosing and managing change. They also provide a clear picture of existing problems and constraints on the way to high levels of organizational performance as well as case studies revealing negative and positive experiences of implementing shifts to an organization. Finally, there are researches related to defining the concepts of management and that of change to better comprehend the terms and their meaning. In this respect, the presented researches provide us with current theories and practices in diagnosing, planning, and managing changes in different organizations about the ever-changing international community.

Main Discussion

Diagnosing Change

Overview of the Theme

Diagnosing change implies a careful evaluation of the current situation about the changes needed. The process also presupposes the overview and assessment of previous activities for managers to understand the context, causes, and underpinnings for coping with problems and improving the present situation. In most cases, the primary focus is made on organizational culture, employees’ behavior as well as external and internal aspects (Igo and Skitmore, 2006; Heracleous, 2002; Kotter and Schlesinger, 2008; Danisman, 2010; Bloor and Dawson, 1994). The studies prove the significant systematic diagnosis of group dynamics and expectations to introduce further steps and measures. Therefore, the analysis of barriers dynamics, influencing factors, and organizational behavior are the core pillars in diagnosing change.

Barrier Analysis: Understanding Organizational Behavior

According to Kotter and Schlesinger (2008), efforts to implement change often undergo human resistance. Managers fail to analyze previous experiences as well as employees’ reactions to existing codes of moral and ethical conduct. Applying a simple set of rules and principles is not enough to make employees accept the forthcoming organizational shifts. Such a situation takes place when managers resort to a one-dimensional approach to diagnosing organizational behavior.

Alternatively, they often refer to their interests in the fear of loss of one of organizational values. In this respect, situational factors should be considered more to introduce changes in the most effective way. Westover’s (2010) approach to diagnosing change is also consonant with that provided by Kotter and Schlesinger (2008). At this point, Westover (2010) argues that there are different levels of responding to human resistance to organization and the extent to which it is possible to affect people should be carefully diagnosed (p. 47).

External and Internal Aspects Influencing Change

While implementing significant changes, managers should take into consideration less significant details whose influence in complex is tremendous. In other words, external factors affecting an organization have a potent impact mostly on the internal elements of the hierarchy. In this respect, Heracleous (2002) offers to implement a discursive view on diagnosing and managing organizational change. As a result, a thorough evaluation of internal problems, conflicts, and misconceptions can identify effective strategies to resisting unfavorable external influences. Otherwise, the misbalance between external influences and failure of employees to react to those influences can lead to misalignment between employees’ needs and expectations and organizational purposes and perspectives.

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Organizational Culture

Barrier dynamics analysis underscores the importance of understanding organizational culture, specifically when it comes to the globalization process in the world. Hence, in the studies provided by Danisman (2010), particular reference is made on cultural diversity as the main reason to resist organizational change among employees. While evaluating a medium-sized company, the scholar defines the managers face significant challenges while implementing shifts due to the social patterns of understanding as far as hierarchy, status, and emotion-based relations are concerned. Similar to Danisman (2010), Igo and Skitmore (2006) state that addressing culture as the cornerstone in implementing changes and, therefore, managers should comply with this phenomenon to sustain a competitive advantage and diagnose future changes.

Bloor and Dawson (1994) adhere to similar principles when it comes to diagnosing change within an organization. The researchers delve deeper into the essence of the concept of organizational culture to study history, theories, and practice of examining cultural diversity as the main reasons for hampering changes. While evaluating the organizational culture in Australian-based companies, the research ascertains the significance of subculture as the core determinant in creating a favorable organizational climate and cultural system.

Also, Bloor and Dawson (1994) define organizational culture as “a patterned system of perceptions, meanings, and beliefs about the organization which facilitates sense-making amongst a group of people sharing a common experience and guides individual behavior at work” (p. 276). Interpreting this phrase, the term largely depends on the interaction of individual behaviors with group cognition. Though the company’s culture is perceived at a group level, it acts and constraints at an individual level.

Planning Change

Overview of the theme

A carefully diagnosed organizational environment should be followed planning organizational change. One of the major conditions for planning change management successfully involves effective team building and introducing leadership style appropriate for a particular change to be integrated. Much research is dedicated to studying organizational performance and metrics to define the change management plan (Mathews, 2009; Carton and Hofer, 2010; Chhinzer and Ghatehorde, 2009). At the same time, many studies argue the importance of examining leadership models as the core determinants of effective change planning and integration (Song, 2009; Westover, 2010).

Importance of Performance Metrics for Implementing Change Management Plans

HR metrics and performance evaluation are the main underpinnings for fostering a change planning process. In this respect, Mathews (2009) introduces specific activities for implementing change management plan, namely “…identifying assumptions, analyzing choices, making commitments, selecting appropriate actions and engaging in critical reflective activities” (p. 8).

The researcher refers to different theoretical models and authors discussing the importance of considering the concept of change planning in more detail where human factors are the leading one in defining the major strategies for planning. Also, Mathews relies on the change process about social factors and organizational arrangements leading to improving organizational performance.

Apart from social and psychological factors, Carton and Hofer (2010) attain much importance in measuring the financial performance of an organization. Using empirical data including primary statistics of an organization’s financial performance, the researchers select a multi-dimensional approach to analyze the research question – the overall evaluation of performance and analysis of reliability and validity of testing tools. The given study is vital because it provides further implications for research in the field. In particular, the researchers state “…a generalizable and more powerful model for measuring organizational financial performance has significant implications for future research and for reexamining the findings of prior research…” (Carton and Hofer, 2010, p. 2-3).

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Chhinzer and Ghatehorder (2009) also align their studies to the connection between HR metrics and financial performance of an organization. The researchers critically analyze and integrate academic research to define the gaps concerning the link between organizational performance and HR metrics as well as known facts about these two aspects of organizational activities.

Leadership Effectiveness in Planning Organizational Change

The effectiveness of organizational change planning heavily depends on the effectiveness of leadership style implemented. According to Song (2009), resort to information from public employees in Korean agencies to examine the effectiveness of creating team building as the key to a successful planning of organizational change.

The researcher refers to leader-member exchange as well as to change-oriented leadership to define that organizational change is inefficient unless internal factors and contexts are examined. About team building, Song (2009) recommends to reduce hierarchical control and introduce a self-managing team that is more relevant for ever-changing business environments. In this respect, change-oriented leadership should be applied to define external opportunities and hazards, envision new perspectives and opportunities.

According to Westover (2010) and Johnson-Cramer, M, Parise, S, & Cross (2007), introducing a new model of organizational performance implies setting a new, alternative leadership style being more relevant for involving new partners and stakeholders. Collaborative working and participative leadership is optimal for integrating new techniques and planning change. While inventing a new set of leadership principles, the researcher refers to cultural, social and political nuances that influence the organizational environment and structure.

Managing Change

Overview of the Theme

Managing change and introducing shifts to an organizational structure implies that managers often resort to a great number of theories, models, and approaches. However, few of them realize the essence of management and that of change because these phenomena cover a wide range of meanings and aspects. Regarding the approaches, there is a growing tendency or implementing non-conventional approaches to organizational change because they are less restricted to obsolete principles of handling an organization. In this respect, it is reasonable to analyze and synthesize the studies disclosing the terms, latest approaches, and new paradigms while selecting change strategies. Moreover, the studies dedicated to exploring the connection between continuity and change are also of great significance for the given research.

Defining the Terms

The definition of ‘managing change’ seems to be clear, but deeper considerations reveal that neither managing no change is accurately defined. In this respect, Palmer and Dunford (2008) provide assumptions concerning the meaning and nature of managing and change outcomes. They narrow their considerations to six interpretations of managing organizational change, namely navigating, coaching, directing, nurturing, and interpreting. All these interpretations are enhanced by various organization theories.

The phenomenon of change is heavily discussed by Westover (2010) whose investigations are also associated with a history of change and the role of the changing processes for an organization. Specifically, the researcher states that chance should be carried at external and internal levels setting a foundation for introducing theories of planning and managing change. Also, the paper provides reliable information on different assumptions about a great number of theoretical foundations and empirical findings supporting and expanding the notions of organizational change.

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Latest Approaches and New Paradigms Applied to Managing Change Strategies

Recently introduced researchers prove that the effectiveness of traditional, rational approaches is not justified. The studies presented by Graetz and Smith (2010) disclose that classical, linear models of managing change imply a sequence of reducible and predictable stages enabling managers to establish new paradigms. Therefore, the researchers oppose the traditional assumption that change is a one-off phenomenon denoting the exception, but not the rule.

To prove that, Graetz and Smith have examined 10 organizational policies to define that one-dimensional nature of organizational change approaches is too limited in comparison with a complex understanding of continuity and change. The latter is perceived as a multi-philosophy approach that successfully assists in managing change that opposes inertia. Such an outlook entails more opportunities for an organization for advancing their capacity and performance. Similar hypotheses are supported by Cornes (2011) who provides the statement about the limitedness of traditional approaches, specifically when it comes to personalization within an organizational environment. Instead, the researcher proposes to implement collaborative working in the community.

Connection between Continuity and Change

Besides new paradigms, Graetz and Smith (2010) continue the discussion of such concepts of continuity and change that are more applicable to shifts occurring to an organization. The researchers insist, “…change is a natural phenomenon which is intimately entwined with continuity but, also, that the change-continuity continuum is what defines organizations and their ability both to exploit and explore” (Graetz and Smith, 2010, p. 136). This view is strongly supported by Bhat (2010) who considers it important to understand in what way change and continuity are connected. The researcher specifically sheds light on these terms while analyzing the strategies for managing innovation. The latter is a complex mechanism using which organizations produce new products, systems, and processes for implementing changes as the key for sustaining a competition.

Conclusion

An in-depth analysis of reviewed literature has revealed that research approaches the problem from a variety of angles to define the gaps and problems that should be further explored. In particular, most of the researchers have provided a clearer picture of the new trends and modes of diagnosing, planning, and managing change that are not congruent with traditional approaches. Secondly, the scholars have successfully disclosed the terms of organizational change for the audience to understand its importance.

In whole, the strong side of the sources lies in the reliability and validity of information used because most of the studies dedicated to analyzing particular organizations. Using empirical data and evidence has contributed greatly to the essence of the research. Despite the strengths, some of the studies fail to refer to practical information being more based on theoretical approaches and models. About the above-presented assumptions, further research can be dedicated to the analysis of project management change, being part of organizational change to define the differences and peculiarities in diagnosing, planning, and managing.

References

Bhat, JA 2010, ‘Managing Innovation: Understanding How Continuity and Change are Interlinked’, Global Journal of Flexible Systems Management, 11, 1/2, pp. 63-73.

Bloor, G, & Dawson, P 1994, ‘Understanding professional culture in organizational context’, Organization Studies, 15, 2, pp. 275-295.

Carton, R, & Hofer, C 2010, ‘Organizational Financial Performance: Identifying And Testing Multiple Dimensions’, Academy Of Entrepreneurship Journal, 16, 2, Pp. 1-22.

Chhinzer, N, & Ghatehorde, G 2009, ‘Challenging Relationships: HR Metrics and Organizational Financial Performance’, Journal of Business Inquiry: Research, Education & Application, 8, 1, pp. 37-48.

Cornes, M 2011, ‘The challenge of managing change: what can we do differently to ensure personalisation?’, Journal of Integrated Care, 19, 2, pp. 22-29.

Danışman, A 2010, ‘Good intentions and failed implementations: Understanding culture-based resistance to organizational change’, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 19, 2, pp. 200-220.

Graetz, F, & Smith, A 2010, ‘Managing Organizational Change: A Philosophies of Change Approach’, Journal of Change Management, 10, 2, pp. 135-154.

Heracleous, L 2002, ‘The contribution of a discursive view to understanding and managing organizational change’, Strategic Change, 11, 5, pp. 253-261.

Igo, T, & Skitmore, M 2006, ‘Diagnosing the organizational culture of an Australian engineering consultancy using the competing values framework’, Construction Innovation (Sage Publications, Ltd. ), 6, 2, pp. 121-139.

Johnson-Cramer, M, Parise, S, & Cross, R 2007, ‘Managing Change through Networks and Values’, California Management Review, 49, 3, pp. 85-109.

Kotter, J, & Schlesinger, L 2008, ‘Choosing Strategies for Change’, Harvard Business Review, 86, 7/8, pp. 130-139.

Mathews, J 2009, ‘Models of Change Management: A Reanalysis’, ICFAI Journal of Business Strategy, 6, 2, pp. 7-17.

Palmer, I, & Dunford, R 2008, ‘Organizational Change and the Importance of Embedded Assumptions’, British Journal of Management, 19, pp. 20-32.

Song, Y 2009, ‘The Leadership Effectiveness in the Process of Planned Organizational Change’, Public Organization Review, 9, 3, pp. 199-212.

Westover, JH 2010, ‘Managing Organizational Change: Change Agent Strategies and Techniques to Successfully Managing the Dynamics of Stability and Change in Organizations’, International Journal of Management & Innovation, 2, 1, pp. 45-50.

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