The paper "The Role of Background Conversations in Facilitating the Work of Change Agents" is an outstanding example of management coursework. Conversations are a complex information-rich mix of auditory, visual, olfactory and textile events, which include not only spoken but the full conversational apparatus of symbols, artefacts, and theatrics that can be used alongside what is spoken. Conversations are not only the process through which reality is constructed but also the product of the construction process. Background conversations are implicit, unspoken backdrops against which explicit foreground conversations occur. They are a result of peoples’ inherited or direct experiences.
Background conversations definitely have an effect on how people view things and react to conversations around them (Ford, Ford, & McNamara, 2002). Change agents as the persons who initiate, stimulate and facilitate a change programmer in an organisation need to use background conversations in their work to their advantage in order to achieve success (Jabri, 2012). There are three background conversations that offer the greatest resistance to change; complacent, resigned, and cynical backgrounds (McKay, Grainger, Marshall, & Hirscheim, 2011). A change agent should use the organisational conversations associated with these three backgrounds to develop effective change programs that encounter the least resistance.
Indeed, background conversations offer great insights on how critical support for a change programme can be achieved from people in any organisation. Complacent background conversations A complacent background is anchored on the historical success of an organization. The history of success sustains the unchallengeable argument that current success is a result of the right decisions made before. Success in complacent conversations is often attributed to the person or groups ability in decisions made, skills used and actions taken before and should, therefore, be relied upon even in the current context to guarantee future success.
It is, therefore, only prudent to resist any change proposal that seems to alter the status quo or the proven modus operandi. In fact, proposals for change may elicit conversations that tend to reflect a theme of preference for the kind of success that was achieved before and specific actions that were taken to achieve previous success. In a complacent background, change proposals often meet with cliché s such as “ sticking with the proven methodology” , “ why change that which works and replace it with uncertainty” and “ If it’ s not broken don’ t fix it” (Ford et al, 2002).
Clearly, any attempt to introduce change in such a context will be met with significant opposition and preference for maintenance of the current status quo. Change agents can be able to navigate through a complacent background effectively by first understanding the premises of conversations in a complacent background. While complacent background conversations may limit the success of an organization, they are genuinely concerned with ensuring the tested and proven procedures that guarantee success are not discredited or abandoned in preference for experimentation (Barratt-Pugh, Bahn, & G, 2013).
In light of such a logical perspective, it is important to acknowledge the fact that continuous change and innovation is closely associated with dynamism, flexibility and improvement. Organizations that do not change risk losing touch with reality and are, therefore, likely to fail. A change agent should seek to understand the past success of the organization and the best practices that yielded good results. It is upon the change agent to help people understand the actions that led to dynamism and innovation then and the results achieved.
The change agent should not prescribe new ideas or actions that supposedly will bring about new success. He/she should rather suggest a renewed focus on continuous change to build o the existing success, albeit cautiously (Doyle, 2001). Indeed, complacent background conversations provide a change agent with the prevailing attitudes and beliefs held by people and how they can be modified for an effective change process to take place. Most importantly, shifting background conversations from complacency to continuous improvement and innovation as a culture of success may be instrumental in achieving tremendous growth and change (McKay et al, 2011).
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