19/09/2012IntroductionIn any organization, changes are expected from time to time (Sengupta, 2006). This follows after major managerial decisions are made but anyhow, changes are meant for improvement of the various organizational operations where the main goal is to develop the organizations all round (Sengupta, 2006). However, there are many factors leaders need to think about first for the fact that decisions to be made so as to trigger a change do not always guarantee that the organization in question will benefit. The end effect, as a matter of fact, can lead to worsening off of the organizational goals and mission (Chhabra, 2002).
This study focuses on the implications of periodical changes in a typical organization, strategies to cope up with the changes and alternatives. The study features changes that were proposed by the management of the Australian National University as at May the 3rd 2012, where the management decided to reduce the number of its workforce in its school of music (ABC News, 2012, May 3). The decision saw 23 academic staff and nine administrative staff lose their jobs (ABC News, 2012, May 3).
The decision was described as rather sudden and unfounded from various outsiders’ opinions and the victims, especially the students (ABC News, 2012, May 3). Despite the plan to replace the number of the cut workforce by 20 new ones, workload must have increased due to the suggested net reduction in the workforce. Similarly, change management skills are required at all costs due to the inherent risk of changing patterns of operations and connecting the new workforce to the organizational programs, proceedings and culture (Harris & Field, 1999; Fuller & Ludema, 2000).
The formula taken here is a descriptive account from an onlooker who is a potential manager and/or a leader in a similar scenario. The role of this paper is to analyse such sudden decisions, suggest best ways and options to help the management team absorb the immediate shock from the changes and their effects, and possible alternative courses of actions (Sengupta, 2006). For a leader of an organization, preparation for such changes must be underpinned in advance hand in hand with the potential strategies to cope up with the changes or better, manage the changes.
For all this, the management goals and the mission of any organization must be the main focus. OverviewThe Australian National University is a school of music and each year it produces substantial numbers of students. While the management efforts remain on focus to maintain and improve high quality of its products, major decisions made are all aggregated into policies (Chhabra, 2002). Reduction of the number of workers is a policy that implies that while one party wins, the other loses.
However, reduction of number of workers can be detrimental to both parties if not well addressed. For example, a sudden reduction of the teaching staff momentarily affects the students in session. Similarly, the reduction in the number of administrative positions means a sharp and sudden increase in the workload to the retained members of staff and this can interfere with the quality of services offered at the university to the outsiders, the management and the students. Certainly, losing of jobs by various employees translates to introduction of potential financial constrains for them and their members of their families.
That has never been the intensions of any management. However, if such a change is necessary for the development of such an organization, then the management of the Australian National University did the right thing. Arguably, there are a number of options (Cummings & Worley, 2008) that the management could have considered in the first place. As the changes in the university focused on improving the quality of their products – students – alternatives could be training the incumbent members of the staff (Sengupta, 2006).
But that was not to happen as the quick decisions made could not give room for such considerations.