Failures Of Change Essay
Personal Experiences / Failures of Change / Partnerships / Organizational Learning
Organizational change can impact people, who work for organizations in a different way. While sometimes organizational change can be viewed as a trigger of issues and misunderstandings, it can still exert positive impact upon employees. My personal working experience involves an example of a situation, when I was positively impacted by an organizational change. The change I experienced was mostly driven by financial concerns. The idea behind it was to redistribute tasks between employees in an efficient way, so that the actual number of employees could be reduced. Diminishing the number of employees required that remaining ones learn to fulfilll new tasks. Thus, as a result of a change I managed to enhance my expertise and develop new competences. Such developments would not have been possible without an organizational change that took place.
While I was positively impacted by the change at hand, there were lots of employees, who experienced negative impact of the change. Such situation is explained by the fact that they were facing a challenge of finding a new job within a highly limited timeframe. Furthermore, as it was hard for the leadership to conduct redistribution of tasks, employees experienced uncertainty, not knowing who will be directly influenced by the change and who will not. Such situation called forth extensive dissatisfaction and lowering efficiency of work. Thus, utilization of Kotter’s 8-step model of organizational change allows suggesting that errors occurred at several stages of leading the change, such as creating urgency (change-related steps were taken too urgently), developing the vision of the change and communicating it to employees (Kotter, 2014). The change could have been implemented in a smoother way, so that employees do not experience extra pressure, and are fully aware about the scope of the change and the reasons behind it.
The concept of organizational change encompasses all aspects of change within any type of an organization. Under such broad formulation, the notion of change can be used to address major shift, such as corporate restructuring or rotating key personnel within an organization, as well as insignificant modifications of minor operational procedures. Despite broadness of possible understandings of change, the concept of organizational change most commonly refers to significant transformations (Weiss, 2012, p.9). Success of such transformation may be undermined by a range of factors. They include the lack of the manifested sense of urgency; not creating a so-called leadership coalition (lack of support); non-establishment or miscommunication of a vision; failure to provide short-term wins, as well as considering change to be completed too soon.
The list of factors that cause failures of change shows that a change manager is likely to face obstacles at different stages of a change process. However, there are still factors that influence several phases of changes at the same time, such as a failure to adjust a change to a corporate culture.
Conducting successful organizational change requires not only knowing risk factors one can face, while providing for change, but understanding core factors that determine quality change management. Five pillars of successful change, established empirically include: creating a common model and methodology for a change management; providing support to internal organizational change agents and facilitators; ensuring quality change management infrastructure; capable managers as leaders of change and institutionalizing change management. Institutionalization of change management requires that it becomes part of all projects and, thus, of corporate culture.
The notion of “organizational learning” encompasses variety of processes within an organization, such as creating, retaining, revising and transferring knowledge (Schwandt&Marquardt, 1999, p.9). Ever growing importance of organizational learning deals with the evolution of a globalization phenomenon and a sustaining need for companies to get adjusted to the changes, occurring both in external and industry environments. These changes frequently deal with the development and introduction of new technologies in general and the practical implementation of innovations, conducted by competitors. Thus, maintaining a market position and increasing competitive advantage requires both continuous changes to be implemented within an organization, and increased organizational learning capacity. The importance of organizational learning for conducting change cannot be overestimated. Failure to collect knowledge within an organization, as well as to analyze and utilize it in the light of continuous need for change is likely to lead to losing the logics and continuity behind the change. In other words, a company will become incapable of properly analyzing challenges, stemming from external and industry environment, in case it lacks necessary knowledge.
At the same time, particularly proper perceptions of trends that exist both between and outside an organization can serve as a basis for conducting an organizational change that will respond to most topical trends and challenges. Thus, knowledge that is created, organized and utilized in organizational terms needs to be viewed as a key intangible asset, possessed by a company. Therefore, specific measures need to be developed in order to facilitate quality collection and storage of organizational knowledge. HR development strategies need to concentrate on skills that are necessary for dealing with processes that fall within the scope of organizational learning.
Modern relationships between companies and their customers are characterized by emerging trend towards cooperation. While previously such relations were to great extent influenced by denial of authority issue (customers tended not to trust companies and institutions), nowadays they develop a new far more appealing attitude towards authority. Such change of trends can be attributed to population aging. It can be argued that aging customers lack capacity and own interest to explore markets, characterized by great variety of offers. Thus, they require assistance to be delivered by companies’ employees and management. At the same time, consumer empowerment theory suggests that partnerships between companies and consumers are currently being driven forward due to increased empowerment of employees, promoted with the help of information and communication technologies.
It is worth mentioning that both models of buyer’s behavior (seeking help or self-empowerment) testify to the fact that modern customers tend to discuss their needs and expect them being met. Thus, developing customer loyalty requires that employees are capable of making decisions to meet customers’ needs. Employees’ empowerment and providing them with significant degree of autonomy can be a helpful tool to establish trust between an employee and a customer, especially in service sector (Niederer, 2013). As a customer, I can surely confirm that a well-trained self-confident and autonomous seller (service provider) is much more capable of developing trust in a customer, than the one, who lacks authority. The fact that a staff member always needs to consult a manager to serve you, as well as time that is required for it can be viewed as factors that prevent customers from the development of loyalty.
Kotter International (2014). The 8-Step process for leading change. Retrieved 17 February 2015 from http://www.kotterinternational.com/the-8-step-process-for-leading-change/
La Marsch Global (2013). Five pillars needed to build a change management core competency. Retrieved 17 February 2015 from http://www.lamarsh.com/5-pillars-needed-to-build-a-change-management-core-competency/
Niederer, A. (2013). Can you improve customer service by empowering your team? Retrieved 17 February 2015 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alistair-niederer/can-you-improve-customer-_b_4193366.html
Schwandt, D., Marquardt, M.J. (1999). Organizational learning. Boca Raton: CRC Press
Weiss, J.W. (2012). Organizational сhange. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc