Change can be referred to as a mode of revolutionizing organizations, groups of people or individuals, from an existing condition to the expected status. In the context of an organisation it refers to transitioning of the firm’s structure by bringing in new ideas. New techniques have been improvised in the world to address change in institutions. There are a lot of questions about the role the human resource management plays to manage change in an organisation. The management needs to improvise strategies that can effectively address revolution in an organisation (Noe 2004, p. 18).
The change process takes place in phases; the three main ones include; unfreeze, change and refreeze. This model was developed by Kurt Lewin. He referred to the initial stage as “unfreezing”. This is where the existing ‘mindset’ is demolished and inertia is engulfed. This is where defense mechanisms are at work. Unfreezing takes place as soon as change is declared. Change transpires in the second level. More often than not, this period is characterized by uncertainty and transformation. At this point, we become conscious that our conduct is being questioned but lack a clear way out. Kurt Lewin referred to the third stage as “freezing” (also known as “refreezing’’). During this time, new ideas falls into place and one’s contentment returns to its former level.
Leopold and colleagues (2009) argues that, this often quoted three-stage version of Lewin’s approach is an oversimplification and that his theory was more complex and owed more to physics than behavioral science (p. 137). Nonetheless, scholars have remained unyielding in their interpretation of the force field model. This three-stage approach to change is also adapted by Paton and McCalman (2000), who refers to: “exit” (departing from an existing state), “transit” (crossing unknown territory), and “entry” (attaining a new equilibrium).
Pynes (2004) suggest a change process where movement is from “homeostasis and holding on”, through “dying and letting go” to “rebirth and moving on” (p. 143). Although elaborating the process to five stages, Rowley and Roevens (2007, p. 159) still proposes a linear, staged model of implementing change:
- Analysing and planning the change
- Communicating the change
- Gaining acceptance of new behaviors
- Changing from the status quo to a desired state, and
- Consolidating and institutionalising the new states.
Elements of change in organizations
In implementing change within an organization, there are three elements that the management must understand. These include the following:
- The current situation of the organization.
- The desired situation.
- The change program.
In this stage, the management should analyze various factors about the organization. Amongst the factor to be considered include the business performance of the organization. Determining business performance can be about the organization’s revenue generation. The management should also consider the current culture of the organization. Change in organization may result to a change in the corporate culture. This may affect the performance of the employees. The management should determine the magnitude of the impact to the employees. This would help the management in determining whether the impact can be easily integrated by employees. The management should also consider its current social corporate responsibility. Firms that have integrated social corporate responsible are in most cases successful. This is because they have developed a positive image in the society. The intended change should not have negative social impacts. By considering these factors, the management should be able to analyze the need for integrating change within the organization.
Implementing change in organization is aimed at improving the performance of the organization and that of the human resource. The human resource management should have a clearly defined goal in implementing the change. The management needs to undertake effective forecasting during the change process. This helps in determining whether the outcome will be favorable or not. Through this, the management can only implement the change that will be of value in the operation of the organization such as improving the operation efficiency.
For the change to be effectively implemented in the organization, it is paramount that the management develops a change program. The change program entails all the requirements for effective change. This ensures that there are no gaps in the process of implementing change. Change program also defines the timeline within which the change should be completely implemented in the organization. This makes it possible for the organization to effectively exploit the identified opportunity.
Importance of change in an organisation
Change brings several benefits to an organisation. To start with, it enables a firm to implement immediate tactical actions based on problems affecting the institution at that particular time. Moreover, it sets a vision for the prospects and plans of an institution from which it ought to grow. Furthermore, it ensures that the organisation will be satisfied in achieving its goals and objectives (Ira & Mike, 2000, p. 6). Change enables an organisation to have a competitive advantage over the other firms. An institution can get new ideas in which it will use these new strategies to gain profits in the subsequent days. Change brings awareness to the employees who will use these skills to enable them to be more effective, productive hence an increase in output of the firm. Change allows employees to be autonomous and innovative in their work, thus they expound self actualisation knowledge.
Why employees resist change
Most employees in many organisations are usually reluctant to adapt to the new change which a firm is ready to implement. This is because administrators often keep their employees in the dark on issues regarding to change. The administration in any firm is not supposed to hide vital details to its key staff members. Moreover, new strategies may mean restructuring of the entire or part of a department’s norms, values, rules and regulations, which maybe difficult to the employee to muddle through (Leopold, Harris, & Watson 2009, p. 305). Other changes demand the recruitment of new personnel or self managed teams. This may make employees insecure in terms of job security since they can easily get replaced. Change may require retraining of all or part of the staff which may end up making the employees to avoid change since it is usually a tedious routine.
Organisational change management consists of procedures and mechanisms which are used while handling people to produce the best results out of the change process. This practice involves a planned method that is effectively used to shift individuals or groups through a certain period to achieve a desired outcome, in terms of productivity. Change management takes part at four different levels namely;
- Task of managing change
- An area of professional practice
- Body of change
- Control mechanisms
The task of managing change: Managing change can be interpreted in a variety of ways. It may refer to the making of changes in a well planned and managed or systematic fashion (Michael 2003, p. 58). The main objective here is to execute innovative techniques and schemes in an organisation successfully. It may also mean the response to changes over which the organisation exercises little or no control (e.g. legislation, social and political). For many people this is a difficult task as it involves helping others to cope with changes as they face their catching up process. This is usually referred to as” readiness assessment” they are techniques for creating a change strategy.
Throughout the world, several firms deal with change management professionally. Majority of the management consulting firms have set apart a certain area from where they practise and train change management. They claim to help clients manage change; others claim to make clients make change. In almost all this cases the process of change is treated separately from specifics of the situation. It is the expertise of this task of managing the general process of change that is laid claim to by professional change agent. (Nichols 2007). This level also entails engaging senior managers as change leaders; they should participate actively in decision making.
As a mass of knowledge, change management entails the models, techniques, skills and tools that are required for the effective execution of the change process. This knowledge is crucial as it helps the workers to cope up with change. Immense awareness should be created among the employees in organizations to enhance the need of change. Training and education is very essential in this stage, as it fosters and makes the worker acquire insightful information (Bratton, & Gold 2001, p. 315). In addition there is coaching by managers and supervisors to help individuals to deal with any immerging changes. It involves instilling crucial ideas to the employees in an attempt to make them aware of change taking place with and what measures should be used to deal with the change effectively.
Control mechanisms: These are methods which are improvised to measure the procedures, rewards, reinforcement and method that are needed in dealing with change in an organization. Analysts who are experts in this field should be diploid to make informed choices which will enable the firm expand rapidly (Cummings & Worley 2008, p. 145). They ought to use their skills to formulate, analyse and present data to the relevant authority for action to be taken. Moreover, their statistics need to measure the impacts the information will have on workers and the head personnel. Specialists must also look into the impact the change will have on the environment near the firm. Consideration for the benefits the change will bring to the organisation when implemented should be taken into account.
Strategies that human resource management needs to institute when imposing change
At the strategic level, human resources managers ought to introduce supportive techniques. Thus, such tactics should not be built on low cost or low wages, but rather on sources of competitive advantages. Moreover, commitment must be practiced by the top management on matters about change and guiding principles and values should be followed (Kochan Dyer 1993, p. 21). Thus, organisational culture needs to be introduced for change to take effect. The effective voice for human resource in strategy making and governance should be more formal. The influential and top managers need to be respected and their policies followed for effective change to take place.
At the functional level or the human resources level there needs to exist staffing based on employment stabilisation (Rowley & Roevens 2007, p. 89). Their jobs need to be guaranteed in the years to come. Thus, this will guarantee commitment and motivation of workers. There ought to entail training and development for the employees to be ready when sudden changes occurs in the organisation. Finally contingent compensation that reinforces cooperation, participation and contribution should be adequate. This will encourage morale for employees to adapt to the new change brought up.
At the work place selection of employees should be based on qualification and expertise. This is done to avoid complications and to maintain the integrity of the organization. (Rowley & Roevens 2007, p. 90).
There ought to be broad task design and team work.This can be achieved by job rotation and working together in unity. Dowling and colleagues (2008) opine that employee involvement in problem solving is very crucial as this will enable workers to participate in the change process (p. 71). An atmosphere of cooperation and trust should be introduced to generate competitive strategy. Key employees need to contribute to this transition process of effecting change. It is done to avoid employee resistance to new ideas in the organisation.
A careful and detailed plan need to be made by experienced strategic analysts to ensure that they can be easily applicable and implemented. The members of the organisation should have desire to welcome change. The management ought to motivate its employees for them to have the urge to change to new ideas developed. Employers also need to state and explain the benefits of change to the firm to their workers. Workers should be updated on the progress of the change and hardworking individuals should be rewarded. This is important for the preparation and readiness for future change.
The human resources Management’s responsibility (and that of administration in case of political changes) is to detect trends in the macro environment as well as in the micro environment (Bratton & Gold 200, p. 119), to be able to identify changes and initiate programs. It is also important to estimate to estimate the impact that the change is likely to have on employees’ behavior patterns, work processes, technological requirements, attitudes and motivation. The administration must assess what employee reactions will be and craft a change program that will provide support as workers go through the process of accepting change in the firm (Gibson & Billings 2003, p. 79). Such a program should be adapted and employed in organizations, circulated right through the organisation, scrutinized for efficiency and alterations made where needed.
Since change is inevitable, organizations must always be prepared to cope up with any matters arising over time. This is because; we live in a dynamic environment that is exposed to all manner of forces such as technological influence. Therefore, for an organization to carry on functioning efficiently within its dynamic environment, it must be well prepared to manage any type of change, whether initiated by internal or external forces. In implementing change within the organization, the management should consider elements such as the current organization situation, the desired situation and the change programme. This would enable the management to determine the need of change in the organization. Effective change management requires an understanding of the possible effects of change upon people, and how to manage potential sources of resistance to that change (Paton & McCalman 2000, p. 64). This is because, when change occurs in an organization, it will automatically affect the individuals involved in the company. The human resource management needs to implement effective means and ways to achieve desired goals in a firm. It also needs to give the employees time to digest the new ideas before formulating new policies. The challenges facing the human resource management should be addressed adequately to improve the firm’s interest on matters regarding to change.
The modern world is changing and all institutions are vulnerable to change to enjoy competitive advantage like others (Rogers 2003, p. 13). Hence, the human resource management needs to explore the existing ways of embracing organisational change. As the saying goes nothing comes on a silver plate you have to make efforts so as to fulfill obligations set by an organisation. Thus the human resource management department has to do extensive research regarding this field of change.
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