The paper 'Rapid Continuous Change versus Painless Change' is a great example of a Management Essay. The recent market turbulence is a harbinger of a new stage in globalization where constant volatility can be expected. Once the current crisis subsides, there will still be fundamental instability in the prices of commodities, currency, and energy due in part to the growth of fresh competition, and increased consumer expectations that will cause upheaval in conventional commerce and operating models in the near future. This could cause organizations to find themselves in a bind if their response is not quick and agile enough to the dynamism in the market.
In order to ensure sustainability in today’ s knowledge-based markets, it is important to be able to convert information into insight. Organizations have to find ways to introduce flexibility into their processes. This report examines the ways in which firms can do that. In some organizations, the recommendation is to facilitate rapid and continuous change over time to keep up with a market in flux. In others, ‘ painless’ change is preferred. The issue is whether one paradigm is better than the other in terms of maintaining an organization’ s niche in the marketplace. The most important reason that we focus on organizational change according to Abrahamson (2000) can be summarised as the premise that in order to stay alive, an organization must change.
However, the approaches and theories advanced to manage change are sometimes in conflict with each other (Sirkin, Keenan & Jackson, 2005). In the past, many organizations regarded change from the point of view of a secure business environment where routine and order were prevalent. This engendered a sense of security and certainty in the members of the business community (Tsoukas & Chia, 2002).
The archetypal reaction to change is via the silver bullet methods (Schneider, 1996) which include total quality management, redesigning the organization, or re-engineering new training programs. The problem is that these solutions were only partially successful (Kotter, 1995). It has now come to be understood that silver bullet change methods tend to be ineffective according to Glover, Jones, and Friedman (2004) unless they are coupled with a program to develop and enable the company ability to continuously adapt.
This is because they realized that change initiatives are not always accompanied by adaptation. It is necessary for firms to maintain an ongoing state of preparedness for change and adaptation. This state of preparedness is interspersed with periods where change is initiated via planned change events. This is crucial for the organization to remain viable (Rowden, 2001). While the ability to change and grow in response to the dynamic operating arena was previously an optional extra for many organizations, it has now become an integral part of any successful organization hoping to arrive at success.
This is because success is never completely achieved, but organizations continue to strive toward it at all times. Thus ‘ painless change’ as part and parcel of the organizational framework would be advised. Studies on organizational change in the 1990s uncovered a distinction between episodic, intermittent, and continuous emerging organizational change according to Weick and Quinn (1999). The distinction marked a progression in the development of theoretical and operational structures that guide change in the organization. From a distant perspective, this flux appears to be composed of monotonous action, habitual torpor interspersed with sporadic spurts of radical change.
However, when the operation is viewed from a more intimate perspective according to Tsoukas and Chia (2002) the weave of activity by organizational members that from a distance resembles routine inertia is actually manifold cyclical adaptation and adjustment activity (Weick and Quinn, 1999). This can also be termed as ‘ painless change’ because it tends to occur in a way that escapes notice.
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