The concept of organizational change management applies to organization changes such as mission change, restructuring operations, application of new technologies, major collaborations, and mergers. This kind of change in the organization requires a fundamental and radical reorientation of how the organization functions and operates. This happens when there is a provocation of external driving force such as economic crisis, fund cuts, new markets, and major increase in demand.
The occurrence of organizational change has not slowed down over the last decade and will continue to increase as more and more innovations in technology have been used to drive change within the systems and processes used by the organization. The Internet has further cemented the need for globalization, thereby eliminating barriers on international markets. With bigger markets and more opportunities, change within the organization is a must.
Barriers to Organizational Change Management
In spite having realized the need for organizational change, many attempts have failed because of certain barriers. These include:
1. Lack of support from top-level management
2. Poor project management skills
3. Lack of communication between organization members
4. Lack of strong leadership
5. Lack of problem-solving skills
6. Poorly defined objectives and goals
7. Lack of cooperation and support from work units
The above mentioned barriers will always trigger failure in the attempt to promote organizational change, leaving members to become cynical, frustrated, and become all the more unwilling to cooperate in the next change endeavor. Thus, it is always important to ensure that initiatives should match the needs of the organization, to make the change relevant and applicable. Leadership and management roles should be handled skillfully, and the people who take on these roles must have what it takes to guide everyone successfully towards organizational change.
Principles of Organizational Change
There are five key principles that will help any organization achieve their goal of making an organizational change. These are: sponsorship, planning, measurement, engagement, and support structures.
- Sponsorship: Any organizational change program must be well-supported by the decision-makers in the organization. They must be agreeable to the proposed change and show commitment to the program.
- Planning: Before change is implemented, there has to be a written plan which stakeholders agree with, and must be in accordance to the organization’s main objectives. The plans should also include possible risks involved with the change, as well as the roles and resources needed.
- Measurement: Every major aspect of the change should be measurable to be able to monitor progress. There is no way of telling if the change is effective or not when there is no means to measure it.
- Engagement: Two-way dialogues with stakeholders will promote openness, trust, and mutual respect. Without communication, the attempt to create a change will not succeed.
- Support Structures: The team that implements the organizational change, along with the people who will be impacted by the change should be given support systems in order to help them during the period of adjustment. Support structures also encourage and motivate organization members to willingly accept the change.
Strategies Used for Organizational Change Management
The planning and implementation of organizational change is never easy, but because it is a means to achieve the organization’s overall purpose, it is something that managers and executives must be willing to face. However, there are strategies that will help increase the likelihood of success.
First of all, communication is very important. Management should openly communicate with their members about the plans to make a change, as well as the aspects that may be affected because of it. Each member should be informed about the effects of this change to his job functions and position. Giving support and assurance is also needed so as to help them avoid the feeling of insecurity, which is common whenever there is a need for transformation. Open forums and group discussions before and after implementing the change will be helpful in making the transition smoother.
Acknowledging people’s feelings and fears is very important and must never be overlooked. The use of surveys will help the organization find out some answers from the members themselves, and management should be flexible enough to use different approaches in implementing the various aspects of organizational change.