Understanding and Coping With Change

Introduction 

Change is a significant aspect of the business world as it is the core of growth, but it is influenced by several factors. This calls for a need to explore the different challenges that influence change in this assignment. I will explore the internal and external factors that result to change resistance. Kotter and Schlesinger in their article, ‘Choosing Strategies for Change’ introduced four primary reasons for change resistance; self-interest, lack of understanding, lack of trust in management, differing assessments of the need for change, and low tolerance which will be discussed using case studies.

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Parochial Self-Interest

The first element is parochial self-interest where Kotter’s theory argues that individuals may resist change due to the belief that adopting change will negatively affect something they value like status, power, and money. For example, there was an introduction of vice president in business operation department which was negatively embraced by the vice president of marketing. Previously, the vice president of marketing was in charge of the business operation and the introduction of this post threatened his role and power in the company. 

From one angle, the marketing vice president felt the change was a loss of power or his ability and authority to decision making. To solve the change, there is a need to train the managers the benefit of the big picture by applying Kotter’s approach to change, education and communication (Kotter and Schlesinger, 1989). The CEO, in this case should educate all the vice president the significance of having a vice president in the operation department. With this, the vice president in marketing will see the logic of including a vice president in business operations and he will support change implementation.  

Lack of Trust or Misunderstanding

Jaros (2010) explains that some employees tend to react to change than others. I remember in my previous place of work there was a time when the HR department was moved away from the main building. This change brought interdepartmental conflict where many argued that the department was inferior to others. The HR department felt secluded from the other part of the workforce. However, to eliminate such resistance, the management had a role to play to ensure that this was accepted.

One strategy to employ is participation and involvement. Appelbaum et al (2012) argue that change resistance can be eliminated by involving potential change resisters or parties actively involved during the designing and implementation of change. Kotter explains the need for employing a participative strategy by actively listening to their opinion. In our case, actively involving HR to the change would have been productive by actively involving the group. With this, the HR would be more committed and committed is a key to change success.  

Lack of Trust in Management

Trust is one significant element in the change process. Low trust levels cause resistance among managers towards change. One example of how a lack of trust affected the change process is when new software was introduced in my previous place of work but the employees did not trust the leaders. There was a treat fear that the management was planning to fire some employees as the software performed some of the tasks that were manually done by the employees. Although the managers had communicated the advantages of the software in terms of efficiency and effectiveness to daily tasks, their integrity was still questionable. 

Education and communication are one approach to solve the issue. There is a need to comprehensively explain the significance of the new software and its impact on production and the workforce. For example, there was a need to illustrate that the software was not replacing workforce duties but to facilitate their performance. Poor communication is one of the causes of a lack of trust and integrity among leaders. This can be solved through a transparent decision-making process and leaders should be consistent both in their actions and speech.

Differing Assessments of the Need for Change

Jaros (2010) explains that differential assessment between employees and those initiating change. Kotter (2012) explains that differing assessments occur particularly when some managers view the change to be more of a cost than a benefit both for themselves and the business too. Although the majority of resistance is argued from the negative aspect, this can positively drive more benefits. This is because the resisters may open up some of the unforeseen issues in business. I witnessed differing assessment is a business that applies a flatter form of leadership approach. The company operates on the culture of succession planning. However, the senior manager who was almost leaving the company called for a need to hire new employees rather than hiring one of the existing employees. 

Changing this culture attracted resistance among employees where they argued that succession planning has been a tool in the company that increases the availability of capable employees who are ready to embrace the roles when they erupt. This can be resolved using negotiation and agreement where Kotter explains is applicable when resistance occurs due to resisting employees and that they will lose out following change. In this, the CEO may reduce resistance by negotiating with the employees the advantages of hiring a new more qualified employee in the company. An external employer is not an indication that the employees are underperforming but it is a strategy of attracting new skills and opportunities. 

Low Tolerance for Change

The last element for this assignment is low tolerance for change which explores on stress and anxiety which welcoming change. Baack (2017) explains that some individuals resist change for either personal or professional fears and stresses that are associated with the change. This is caused by the great fear that they are not in a position to learn or adopt the changes and the new way to do business. Stress and anxiety may cause low tolerance to change irrespective of the .positivity of the change to their professional and personal lives. 

The aspect of low tolerance to change can be explored using the example of new software in an organization. The new software was supposed to increase the effectiveness of a deficiency in the business. However, the employees were fearful and anxious that the introduction would greatly affect their status in the company where they would lose their status and job. Such an issue can be effectively solved through manipulation and co-optation where co-opt according to Appelbaum et al (2012) is applicable when other approaches are impractical or ineffective. Baack (2017) explains that the approach of co-optation occurs when an individual is taken to the change management process not due to their substantive gain but rather for learning. In this case, the manager should select some of the representative s from the group to be part of the change process without manipulating the employ.

Reference

Appelbaum, S. H., Habashy, S., Malo, J. L., & Shafiq, H. (2012). Back to the future: revisiting 

Baack, D. (2017). Organizational behavior (2nd ed.). Retrieved from https://ashford.content.edu

Kotter’s 1996 change model. Journal of Management Development31(8), 764-782.

Kotter, J. P., & Schlesinger, L. A. (1989). Choosing strategies for change. In Readings in strategic management (pp. 294-306). Palgrave, London.

Kotter, J. P. (2012). Leading change. Harvard business press.Jaros, S. (2010). Commitment to organizational change: A critical review. Journal of Change Management10(1), 79-108.

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