Contemporary management practice Change management Change management involves many different initiatives inclusive of personnel reorganisation, resource re-allocation, work team redevelopment or new systems implementation that transform an organisation from a previous state to a newly desirable position. Change management is ensuring that changes to the operational model can be implemented fluidly, including new technology introduction, eliciting attitudinal alterations of important organisational contributors, changes to organisational vision or even new customer service orientations. Change management, from a practical perspective, is removing any disruptions or distractions that occur within the organisation in the pursuit of increasing benefits as outcomes of a change program (Kotter 2011).
Organisations that require change to respond to evolving market conditions in the pursuit of sustaining competitive advantage must reduce resistance to change, a common outcome of change practices. There are socio-psychological considerations stemming from worker characteristics that often conflict enacting a new change ideology which often leads to irrational or illogical resistances (Ford, Ford & D’Amelio 2008). Therefore, when a company enacts dramatic change, such as altering job role responsibilities to provide superior customer service, employees that have become accustomed to doing things a certain way might perceive this as a threat to either job security or perceive a type of organisational injustice which de-motivates and creates an environment of opposition to the change program.
Many companies, in recognition of these negative socio-psychological responses, enact a change champion that works diligently to reduce change resistance. In order for change to be successful, it must be negotiated (Grieves 2010) otherwise it can lead to non-compliance to change-related expectations. Change champions are equipped with advanced knowledge of human behaviours and work to identify what is driving concerns or complaints regarding change policies.
The main agenda of a change champion is to build a sense of trust in the leadership of the firm and build organisational commitment necessary to achieve strategic goals related to a change initiative. Through consultation or the use of qualitative tools to gain perspectives of employees, it establishes a perception of shared decision-making and power that not only motivates employees, but also builds satisfaction with individuals or groups. One of the most fundamental theories of change is based on the recognition that employees strongly require social and professional belonging in the organisation (Chrusciel 2008).
By illustrating a legitimate effort to bargain compliance to change, and illustrating mutual respect between champion and employee, it establishes this sense of belonging which enhances self-esteem and also motivates higher levels of performance and commitment. By appealing to the psychological mechanisms that influence change opposition, employees are more willing to embrace the change and satisfy their job role expectations as a valued contributor of the organisational mission. Effective change management also should be considerate of complexity theory, which states that as organisational systems become more complex, it becomes more difficult to understand and utilise knowledge to facilitate new change-related practices (Mason 2007).
Organisational leadership, therefore, must consider the potential pressures on workers and level of potential perplexity that create stress and frustration that can lead to diminished worker performance related to the new change program. Hence, those responsible for enacting successful change should emphasize coaching or mentoring systems or generally provide more effective training programs related to the change as a means of alleviating confusion or chaos that provide workers with better perceptions of security, trust and knowledge-sharing that assist in developing competencies to effectively handle change activities.
For instance, an organisation can utilise internal resources by which to disseminate knowledge to others that assist in aiding comprehension of how the change will impact a job role and the justification for why the change was implemented. Known as knowledge management, companies can utilise intranets or other communications systems (such as e-mail) to provide recurring updates of information or attempt to make the tacit knowledge held by disparate individuals explicit to gain new understanding of why the change is important.
Giving employees this knowledge not only improves competency development, but also involves a type of consensus-based leadership which improves employee perceptions of job role value and secures a sense of membership in a complex organisational environment. Organisational culture Johnson and Scholes (1992) introduced the cultural web, a model that recognises six different elements which are inter-related that influence organisational culture development. Ritual and routines is one dimensions of this framework, which involves the routine behaviours and actions of workers and managers that serve as a determination for what is specifically expected of organisational members and what is specifically a value of management.
Theory indicates that organisational culture is a type of normative control system, in which employee attitudes, beliefs and behaviours are driven by established or shared norms in both professional and social activities within the organisational environment. Kunda (1992) conducted an ethnographic study of a tech firm and found that when managers consistently reiterate expectations for top performance as a cultural norm, workers began to develop these beliefs which made employees more diligent in providing quality work outputs.
Consistent reiteration and the provision of contingent rewards for achieving established, rigid performance targets built a norm in the organisation whereby important peer reference groups actually began chastising others for not being diligent in superior job performance. Therefore, a culture of performance orientation was established as a normative control system that brought the business better competitive advantages through human capital improvement. It became routine that employees were criticised for failing to meet performance targets. Symbols are also important in dictating culture.
For example, in a company such as Google that requires collaboration in order to create important innovations in a highly competitive tech industry, it is necessary to decentralise and build a team-focused culture. Management began to illustrate informal symbols, such as abandoning the traditional business suit and engaging in more socially-oriented communications with workers. As a result, managerial informality as a symbol created a culture of collaboration and flexibility that drove employee commitment and satisfaction within a consensus-based business model. The aforementioned is also related to organisational structure as a cultural influence.
Companies that have rigid hierarchies of control where decision-making is disseminated vertically from the top layers of management can establish a culture of compliance and conformity. For example, a company such as Boeing which maintains a hierarchical structure as a means of ensuring total quality of product and service, would consistently iterate transactional rewards for meeting pre-communicated job role-related performance targets. Performance becomes not only an established norm, but a cultural characteristic that drives behaviour and attitude. Transactional leaders, or those that conform to the management by objectives ideology, shape culture by establishing control systems that discipline for non-conformity.
By witnessing others being disciplined or terminated for failing to meet norms of top performance, it can theoretically create a type of fear that ensures compliance as a cultural norm. Over time, employees caution others to be more diligent in job role outputs, thus establishing a culture of obedience that drives attainment of strategic goals related to quality. This is also related to the power structure dimension of the Cultural Web model where threat of docked pay, as one example, ensures that production workers adhere to established quality policies and expectations.
Schein (2010) emphasises that once a culture has been established, it becomes very challenging to change it. Therefore, managers must be diligent in influencing a behavioural rigidity to develop a culture related to business objectives and strategy. For example, a company that requires emphasis on cost controls to remain competitive might implement a culture that is dedicated to lean operational activity. Managers would then, as indicated by the Cultural Web model, continue to reassert that the company maintains an expectation for doing things as cheaply and productively as possible.
This can establish, theoretically, a culture that becomes accustomed to thrift and consistently, inter-organisationally emphasise the importance of being frugal and industrious in identifying opportunities to reduce financial expenditures. Managers can therefore tell stories related to thrift and frugality in an effort to ensure that new recruits have these stories reiterated as a means of culturally-acclimating them to this type of business ideology. Additionally, through the use of control systems, managers can influence culture. A more liberal management ideology that believes in rewarding and applauding individuals who are dedicated to superior performance can actually establish a culture of productivity and performance.
By recurring publicised heralding of those who managed to achieve important performance targets would illustrate to employees that if they meet certain established standards of performance, they will be rewarded. This ongoing feedback and public relations ideology in the role of management would establish a conscientious culture that shares stories about remuneration as a benefit of hard work. Recurring stories under this theory associated with potential compensation for being meticulous and quality-focused would influence a culture of accomplishment in which all organisational members adopt a performance orientation in all activities related to organisational goal attainment.