The process of managing change is always fraught with difficulties, the main one being adamant resistance to change among staff members. While the reasons for the specified complication, as well as other obstacles on the way to introducing improvements, may vary, the approaches ward successful implementation of change always seem to focus on addressing the communication-related side of the problem.
In their management of change, the Abu Dhabi Forensic Medicine Division (FMD) has overlooked one of the crucial components of effective transition to a new mode of organizational management, which is ensuring that the issue of resistance to change is addressed. The described failure can be amended b introducing the ADKAR change management framework, which allows cementing alterations to a company’s structure by addressing the attitudes and organizational behavior standards for staff members, at the same time catering to their needs and worries. Thus, the new platform for quality management can be successfully reintroduced into the Abu Dhabi FMD setting.
Promoting change is one of the most difficult yet also the most exciting parts of being a leader. However, in the context of organizational leadership, introducing change and instilling the principles of change management into the target context may become far more challenging than a leader might expect. The difficulties arising from the immense number of factors that have to be accounted for when promoting change is an evident complication that a leader needs to address in a timely fashion.
Since changes in an organizational setting have to be implemented at the levels of human resource management, production processes, corporate values, financial issues, and other aspects of a firm’s performance, a leader may become entangled in a number of difficulties. Dealing with the descried obstacles may become possible once analyzing the target environment and developing a clear plan to follow.
As seen in the case of Abu Dhabi attempting at upgrading its Forensic Medicine Division (FMD) to the world class standards has shown, the implementation of the ISO/IEC standards as the tools for quality control allows reducing the threat of mismanaging the quality issues due to the presence of homogenous standards as the means of reducing the inconsistency in project results.
The goal of this report is to consider the project aimed at improving the quality of the Abu Dhabi forensic medicine performance and explain the reasons for the project to witness such tremendous success. Namely, the factors that have contributed to the enhancement of the organizational leadership efficacy and the control of quality will be examined. In addition, the management of resources will be explored as one of the principal factors leading to the ultimate completion of the project.
By considering the challenges experienced in the course of improving the quality of the forensic services in the Abu Dhabi context, as well as studyign the choices that experts made to address the specified issue, one will be able to determine the components of effective project leadership. Namely, compliance with the existing ISO/IEC standards has facilitated the implementation of the project and introduced the opportunity to upgrade the quality of the Abu Dhabi forensic analysis to the top class level due to the homogenous structure of the specified standards and the connection that they provide to the rest of organizational tasks, allowing to view a project as a single entity.
Evaluation of the Organizational Change
On the surface, the organizational change that has occurred in the Abu Dhabi FMD environment seems to be quite successful. However, on closer look, the efficacy of the organizational change performed at the Abu Dhabi FMD is currently quite questionable. Since one of the main barriers to its successful implementation, namely, resistance toward accepting it, has not been addressed fully, the organizational change cannot be considered as completed.
When evaluating the current avenues for overcoming resistance to change, one may have to consider the Six Change Approaches suggested by Kotter and Schlesinger. The authors of the framework insist that every change within an organizational context undergoes several critical phases, which include the shock, denial, frustration, depression, experiment, decision, and integration (Yue, Men, & Ferguson, 2019). When evaluating the organizational change that has occurred in the Abu Dhabi FMD setting, one will realize that its implementation has been stalled on the denial and depression part.
Although the new standards have been incorporated into the company’s quality management framework, the staff members still refuse to accept them, which has led to the development of rather depressive attitudes within the corporate environment. Therefore, it is presently necessary to make the process move from the depression stage to the next one, namely, experiment. Specifically, staff members need to b encouraged to try the proposed quality management strategies and standards in order to see whether they can actually comply with them and utilize them to coordinate workplace processes (Yue et al., 2019). However, for this purpose, a shift in their perception of organizational goals, values, and their role in the company will have to occur.
In addition, the company will have to identify the reasons for staff members to resist that change that the Abu Dhabi FMD is trying to implement. According to the typology offered by Kotter and Schlesinger, there are four main reasons for employees to resist change, which include the prevalence of parochial interests over the broader view of the effects that corporate performance has on one’s financial and business opportunities (Vos & Rupert, 2018).
Another important factor that Kotter and Schlesinger identify in their analysis is the problem of the lack of trust, which can also be traced in the Abu Dhabi FMD scenario. Because of the inefficient communication strategy used by the organization and the inconsistent dialogue between its leaders and its members, the purpose of change and the effects that it would produce on the employees may have been underrepresented, thus undermining the staff’s trust in the organization (Vos & Rupert, 2018). Thus, the problem of communication management becomes even more glaring as one of the key stumbling blocks in the change management process at the Abu Dhabi FMD.
The next reason that the authors outline in their taxonomy seems to stem directly from the lack of effective communication, at least, in the context of the Abu Dhabi FMD. Namely, the different assessments of the change that could be observed in staff members must have led to the discord in the organizational environment and the further development of a stronger misunderstanding between the company and its employees.
Finally, the combination of the factors mentioned above leads to the fourth and the final reason, which is low tolerance for change (Fadzil et al., 2019). Due to the general unpreparedness toward change, the employees at the Abu Dhabi FMD have been refusing change and the very idea of introducing new standards into the quality management process. Namely, the very notion of changing the routine actions of the quality assurance process currently evokes negativity in staff members, which leads to the general failure of the change management project that the Abu Dhabi FMD strived to implement.
Assessment of Methodologies Used to Implement Change
Inspecting the alterations that have been made to the Abu Dhabi FMD environment, one will notice that the process followed the Participative Leadership model rather accurately. The application of the Participative Leadership style appears to have been instrumental in creating the proper setting for change. The framework itself suggests that all team members should have a voice in an organization and especially in the decision-making process occurring within it. Li, Liu, and Luo (2018) described the Participative Leadership Model as the leadership style that “manifests behaviours directed towards encouragement of follower influence on decision-making and work unit operations, such as consulting with followers and taking follower opinions when making decisions,” which is why it meets the needs of the Abu Dhabi FMD setting perfectly (p. 2).
However, the introduction of the Participative Leadership principles may have added to the tension within the Abu Dhabi FMD environment. Namely, the model may have placed staff members under far too much stress due to the rapid and unexpected increase in the number of responsibilities that they have to face. With the adoption of the Participative Leadership framework, the staff members had to accept their crucial role in decision-making and, thus, the ultimate results thereof (Akan, Ülker & Ünsar, 2016).
Coupled with the increased understanding of how organizational processes are interconnected within the company’s framework, the specified change may have placed employees under a great strain as they recognized the weight of their choices and the impact that it may have on the organization (Akan et al., 2016). Therefore, the introduction of the Participative Leadership principles has become a rather double-sided sword when it comes to evaluating the impact of the implemented change.
To dissect the change that has occurred to the Abu Dhabi FMD setting, one will have to consider it from the perspective of Kotter’s 8-Step Model. Implying that change should be institutionalized and engraved into the foundation of the organizational values and philosophy, Kotter’s 8-Step Model can be seen as the primary tool for promoting positive shifts in terms of process management and alterations in the corporate philosophy. Using the specified model to examine the approach that the Abu Dhabi FMD undertook to the management of change in its environment, one will realize that there was a substantial lack of focus on cementing the change, as well as preparing staff members for it.
Indeed, according to the model, the first and second stages of change management, which require raising awareness about its urgency and forming a team of supporters, are the core requirements of the successful implementation of the said change. However, in the case in point, the lack of focus on the perception of change by staff members resulted in the increase in the levels of reluctance and even resistance to change, creating the setting that was rather hostile to the further promotion of improvements. As a result, the next stage of Kotter’s model, namely, the creation of the vision for change, did not have the powerful effect that it was supposed to have due to the lack of enthusiasm in staff members to accept the proposed solution to the management of quality issues. Likewise, the change could not be communicated properly, which must have led to difficulties in advancing the newly represented standards as the principles that and to be upheld in the context of the Abu Dhabi FMD environment.
Following the next stage of Kotter’s perspective of change management, the process of removing the obstacles that the organization was facing at the implementation phase of its project was not as effective as it should have been. Namely, the foundational obstacle to the management of change, which was the problem of employees being unenthusiastic and often reluctant toward accepting the innovation, was largely ignored. Giving the organization some credit, one will have to admit that the identification of resistance to change and reluctance to accept new quality standards is often a rather complicated and often convoluted process that involves dealing with a plethora of subjective opinions and the presence of self-esteem issues in employees (Rajan & Ganesan, 2017).
Therefore, discovering the problem could have taken much more resources and time than the Abu Dhabi FMD could afford or expected to invest in the project. Nevertheless, the specified issue clearly served as an impediment to change management, causing the project to be implemented only partially. The creation of short-term wins as the next stage of Kotter’s change management framework can be seen as partially present in the environment of the Abu Dhabi FMD. However, the lack of compliance due to low engagement level and the presence of resistance is still evident. Thus, building on the change and cementing it in the company’s philosophy ultimately failed.
What Worked and What Did Not: Assessment
In retrospect, the implementation of change in the Abu Dhabi FMD’s context may have stumbled over two essential obstacles to effective change management. The reluctance toward accepting new role and quality requirements among staff members is, perhaps, the most obvious and easily foreseeable of the two. Indeed, reluctance toward the idea of accepting new responsibilities and changing the workplace routine is quite common and typically expected during the implementation of a massive organizational change (Damawan & Azizah, 2020).
According to Damawan and Azizah (2020), the fear of failing to meet the new quality expectations and the uncertainty about one’s ability to develop new skills make the basis for the reasons to rebel against change among staff members. In turn, the lack of detail concerning the management of reluctance among staff members indicates that it was either entirely absent from the case or that the leaders were unwilling to address it.
In turn, reluctance to accept that change would become inseparable from the organization’s further functioning and could have been the foundational obstacle for change implementation. In turn, the unwillingness to accept change became the stumbling block for the introduction of innovative standards and new responsibilities to the staff members (Hussain et al., 2018). Thus, there is a threat that the outcomes of the project may not have reached the desirable level despite the efforts made by the leader and the resources that were poured into the project. Therefore, further insight into the management of reluctance to change and the ways in which it was handled is needed.
The specified analysis will shed light on whether the organization faces the threat of staff members deviating from the provided quality management guidelines and resorts to the previous behaviors and attitudes.
Arguably, the issue with the implementation of change in a cohesive and comprehensive manner could have arisen in the process due to the lack of tools for coordinating the process. Specifically, the FMD setting requires that even the tiniest decisions made in the context of the organization should agree with the rest of the processes. Specifically, the interlaboratory comparison and the tests performed in the specified conditions have to agree fully with those undertaken in the intralaboratory setting, as the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (2020) (PECB) demands.
The guidelines established by the PECB specifically emphasize the role that coordination of the processes within the laboratory play in the veracity and trustworthiness of the test results. Therefore, the need for coherence and cohesion in the integration of the said principles and the enhancement of compliance with the newly set guidelines was critical for the improvement of quality management in the Abu Dhabi FMD setting. As a result, the transformation of the workplace philosophy toward a new mode of managing the processes performed in the laboratory setting did not quite meet the set expectations.
Summary and Conclusion
Helping to envision a project as a whole and introduce the connections between seemingly disjointed elements of it, the ISO/IEC standards of quality made it possible for an effective leadership strategy based on an elaborate control system to be established in the Abu Dhabi forensic medicine context, thus upgrading its standards to the top tier global requirements. Moreover, the results of the case are an important indicator of the ISO/IEC standards being fully homogenous, which is essential in establishing absolute compliance with the set standard. By adhering to the ISO/IEC standards, the Abu Dhabi administration has created a perfect setting for the transfer to a new culture of quality management, as well as a completely new paradigm of workplace interactions, workplace culture, and the general workflow.
Overall, the case proves that the successful management of change represents the primary challenge for organizational leadership. Due to the immediate response form participants, which is often represented by unwavering resistance to change, leaders have to be very careful in their choice of change management techniques. Namely, the necessity to keep the quality of performance intact and even upgrade it while addressing organizational concerns associated with the coordination of the key processes deserves a mentioning.
Therefore, apart from the pushback expected form staff members that are afraid of changes, the problem of coordinating transformations within a firm so that the rest of the processes could be aligned with the updated quality management one is a major challenge. Consequently, introducing the leadership strategy that will serve to overcome the said hindrances is essential. In the case of the Abu Dhabi forensic system and the improvement in its quality, the failure to comply fully with the set ISO/IEC standards along with a leadership framework designed to aspire the participants for the oncoming change was one of the foundational problems. Thus, the described case can be used as a cautionary example of how the implementation of change and its further control can be ruined by the mismanagement of the quality standards.
Recommendations with Evidence
Although the case of Abu Dhabi FMD cannot be considered a perfect example of how changes should be implemented in the organizational setting and institutionalized to serve as the basis for future improvements, there are still several aspects of it that can work. Moreover, the case should be used as the means of examining and dissecting the issue of change management and quality improvement, in general. Specifically, the case represents the importance of synchronizing every change management process across the target setting. The specified step is essential in ensuring that everyone has been provided with a set of role sand responsibilities for the oncoming change.
In addition, the synchronization of change-related processes across a company allows avoiding the instances in which the process of change occurs unevenly and affects only one side of a company’s performance. The latter scenario typically leads to other departments of an organization failing to meet the pace set by the changed ones, thus stalling the production process and inevitably reducing the performance rates (Ashraf, 2016). Therefore, the case proves that it should be strongly recommended to create a homogenous change management strategy.
The specified goal should be achieved with the help of well-developed change management model. Specifically, the ADKAR Model can be advised for the purpose of implementing the quality standards in the Abu Dhabi FMD properly. By definition, the ADKAR Change Model implies establishing change b raising awareness, increasing desire for change, promoting knowledge about the methods of changing the situation, increasing the ability to use appropriate skills an follow the required behaviors, and reinforcing the change to ensure that it will remain in place for the necessary time period (Goyal & Patwardhan, 2018). In its essence, the ADKAR Model reiterates the same idea of building awareness, introducing change management tools, and exerting control as similar improvement-oriented frameworks suggest (Gilani, Kozak, & Innes, 2018).
However, the ADKAR Model has doubtless benefits over similar approaches in the Abu Dhabi setting since it shifts the focus to the Knowledge part of the process and, thus, helps to connect different aspects of change management to ensure that the necessary transformations are homogenous. Specifically, the implementation of the proposed change has to be planted into the Abu Dhabi FMD so that the laboratory schedule should not be disrupted, that the participants should be fully aware of their new roles and tasks, and that the budget should be allocated accordingly.
In turn, the ADKAR Model will help to tie the loose ends during the implementation and unify the transition process due to the emphasis on knowledge as the crucial component of change. Specifically, education of staff members, promotion of awareness, and the provision of clear and concise guidelines for workplace performance will become the priority of the specified transition due to the ADKAR Model. Once the issue of knowledge is placed at the top of the project’s priorities, further progress will become guaranteed.
Therefore, the integration of the ADKAR Model as the means to reinforce the principles of the ISO/IEC standards in the environment of the Abu Dhabi FMD should be seen as the debtless necessity. The process should start with building awareness for the necessity of change. The descried step can be implemented by performing an open assessment of the current performance and the management of it in the organization so that team members could realize how disjointed the processes of monitoring the analysis, performing it, and providing recommendations based on the analysis results are.
Afterward, the benefits of introducing the ISO/IEC standards into the workplace will have to be detailed to staff members so that they could not develop reluctance toward the change. Instead, the opportunities that the new principles of quality control will provide should ignite enthusiasm in the FMD employees, which can be performed by showing the impact that the specified change will have on the development of the staff’s professional competencies and overall extent of their professional value.
The next stage of the ADKAR Model, which deals with Knowledge, should be based on providing educational and training opportunities for staff members along with the change in the data management within the organization. Namely, the processes that used to be viewed as separate should be connected on every level, with all participants being informed and aware of the said connections and the effects that the decisions made in the workplace have on different parts of the company’s functioning.
The specified change will bring the opportunity to ensure that the information management within the departments of the Abu Dhabi FMD will be fully coordinated. As a result, quality issues will be avoided due to the drop in the probability of misunderstandings and misconceptions, as well as the mishandling of data leading to the omission of defects. Moreover, the adoption of the principles of Knowledge as a part of the ADKAR framework will incite the process of education among staff members, fostering the principles and the culture of lifelong learning among then. As a result the employees at the Abu Dhabi FMD will learn t acquire new skills as soon as the new requirements for quality management emerge, thus closing the loop of constant upgrade of performance quality.
The Action part of the model, in turn, will require applying the freshly developed guidelines for quality management to the laboratory processes. Notably, the specified part will require certain adjustments since the alignment of the external and internal laboratory procedures will demand certain time and training. Nonetheless, it is paramount to set the course for quality improvement, which can be enhanced by the application of testing techniques as the method of controlling change and making sure that quality guidelines are followed.
Specifically, the ADKAR Model suggests “Determination of one or more characteristics of an object of conformity assessment, according to a procedure” and “Proficiency testing: Evaluation of participant performance against pre-established criteria by means of interlaboratory comparisons” (Professional Evaluation and Certification Board, 2020).
Finally, the Reinforcement stage will suggest that the change to be implemented in the environment of the Abu Dhabi FMD should be controlled properly. The utilization of the appropriate control mechanisms will help to avoid the situations in which some staff members forget to follow the newly designed rules or face difficulties complying with them due to their novelty or the challenges associated with the transition from the development of theoretical knowledge to solving practical issues.
In the described process, the adoption of the Transformational and Participative Leadership Models is essential. Namely, the model will help to introduce the element that was missing in the FMD setting from the very start, namely, enthusiasm of the employees. The Participative framework will help to increase the extent of staff members’ engagement, thus explaining the essence of the organizational change to them and allowing them to adjust to new standards of operating (Goyal & Patwardhan, 2018).
Thus, the levels of resistance to change will be reduced since the employees will recognize their ability to meet the new standards and, thus, will no longer experience the fear of failure. Moreover, the introduction of the Participatory Leadership approach will increase the levels of engagement in corporate decision-making among staff members, leading to higher levels of investment in the company’s success. As a result, the employees will be motivated to change.
The application of the ADKAR Model, therefore, will serve to address one of the foundational problems with the Abu Dhabi FMD, namely, the lack of cohesion in the implementation of change. Due to the disjointed nature of the FMD’s functioning, the issues such as making the new standards readily available, ensuring compliance with the said standards, and addressing resistance to change among staff members have been major impediments to the project’s implementation.
In turn, the ADKAR framework with its focus on knowledge and, particularly, the promotion of awareness, will help to link every aspect of the project into a single entity and coordinate change within different departments of the FMD, thus preventing the cases of incompliance with the reintroduced standards. In turn, the ADKAR Model will also help to manage resistance to change observed among the target audiences by creating the sense of urgency and necessity of changing the quality management standards. Thus, staff members will accept their new responsibilities as they are equipped with a new vision, updated goals, and a different outlook on their role in the grand scheme of the FMD’s structure.
Akan, B., Ülker, F. E., & Ünsar, A. S. (2016). The effect of organizational communication towards resistance to change: A case study in banking sector. Economic Review: Journal of Economics and Business, 14(1), 53-67.
Ashraf, A. A. (2016). Total quality management, knowledge management and corporate culture: How do they synchronized for performance excellence. Pakistan Journal of Commerce and Social Sciences (PJCSS), 10(1), 200-211.
Damawan, A. H., & Azizah, S. (2020). Resistance to change: Causes and strategies as an organizational challenge. In 5th ASEAN Conference on Psychology, Counselling, and Humanities (ACPCH 2019) (pp. 49-53). Paris: Atlantis Press.
Fadzil, A. S. A., Hassan, R., Mohamad, S. J. A. N. S., Zainudin, M. I., & Ali, A. A. E. R. (2019). Towards a successful organizational change: The role of dialogic communication. International Journal of Asian Social Science, 9(1), 86-95.
Gilani, H. R., Kozak, R. A., & Innes, J. L. (2018). A change management model for the adoption of chain of custody certification in the British Columbia value-added wood products sector. Journal of Change Management, 18(3), 240-256. Web.
Goyal, C., & Patwardhan, M. (2018). Role of change management using ADKAR model: a study of the gender perspective in a leading bank organisation of India. International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 18(3-4), 297-316.
Hussain, S. T., Lei, S., Akram, T., Haider, M. J., Hussain, S. H., & Ali, M. (2018). Kurt Lewin’s change model: A critical review of the role of leadership and employee involvement in organizational change. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, 3(3), 123-127. Web.
Li, G., Liu, H., & Luo, Y. (2018). Directive versus participative leadership: Dispositional antecedents and team consequences. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 91(3), 645–664. Web.
Professional Evaluation and Certification Board. (2020). ISO/IEC 17025:2017 – General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. Web.
Rajan, R., & Ganesan, R. (2017). A critical analysis of John P. Kotter’s change management framework. Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management, 7(7), 181-203. Web.
Vos, J. F., & Rupert, J. (2018). Change agent’s contribution to recipients’ resistance to change: A two-sided story. European Management Journal, 36(4), 453-462. Web.
Yue, C. A., Men, L. R., & Ferguson, M. A. (2019). Bridging transformational leadership, transparent communication, and employee openness to change: The mediating role of trust. Public Relations Review, 45(3), 1-12. Web.