Good Ways In Which The Department Could Have Overcome The Resistance By Workers 6 Report Example
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Executive Summary 3
Outside drivers of change and change agents 8
Functional and dysfunctional effects of organizational culture 8
Mechanistic or organic organizational design 10
Effect of reduced autonomy of workers on job satisfaction 11
This paper is about organizational behavior. The paper attempts a discussion of what organizational behavior is and what are the implications and the dynamics of organizational behavior. To analyze organizational behavior, this paper uses a case study “Health or Safety in the Workplace.” The case study is about implementation of a safety policy in a workplace, the reaction of the employees to the new policy and management strategy (King & DeMarie, 2014).
This paper answers certain questions that arise from the case study and that bring into perspective the question of organizational culture and behavior. The questions include: the ways in which the department could have overcome the resistance of the workers to change, the outside drivers of change, the change agents, functional and dysfunctional effects of organizational culture on the organization and on the employees, ascertaining the organizational design of the organization, organic or mechanistic?, how reduced autonomy for the employees affects their job satisfaction and what I would do differently to improve the implementation of the policy.
Organizational behavior refers to the acquired behavior of people within a group. It can be defined as the study of the way that people behave or interact with each other within a group. The culture of people is how they do things, their attitudes, their beliefs, and their traditions, etc. One scholar, Chester Barnard, recognized that persons act differently in their organizational role as opposed to their roles elsewhere. It is for this reason that the acquired culture of people t the work place is called organizational behavior. Organizational behavior can also be identified as the study of organizations from different points of view. These include conduct in relation to other organizations and within the organization (Shoujun, 2014).
One of the dynamics of organizational behavior is micro organizational behavior. Micro organizational behavior refers to the behavior or different units or groups within an organization. An example of this is micro organizational behavior in a department as opposed to the organizational behavior of the whole organization. Employees within a given unit say a department of an organization can have a different culture from other employees of a different department within the same organization.
Organizational behavior is also studied so as to aid in the assessment of the impact of culture within an organization on the performance, communication, structure, leadership and motivation within an organization. It became important for scholars and other stakeholders to study organizational behavior after the industrial revolution as organizations became more structured, and the workforce emerged to be the single most important resource. Understanding the behavior and culture of employees within an organization is an important strategy that every management requires to master and put into consideration during policy formation and implementation (Eaton, & Kilby, 2015).
The case study in question is about road workers in the department of main roads at Queensland. The department is in charge of maintaining existing road networks and constructing new roads. The road workers were informed of a new policy that was implemented as a result of consultations with the Cancer Council. The policy required that the road workers wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers to work. The department decided to implement the policy as part of its new safety culture. The new culture that the department had decided to adapt meant that new policies and guidelines were being constantly implemented so as to ensure safety in the workplace for the road workers. The safety culture was adapted as part of a strategy to curb risky behaviors that kept recurring at the department that often time led to injuries, accidents and near accident occurrences.
The policy was met with hostility by the road workers who argued that the new dress code was impossible to manage under the prevailing weather conditions. They argued that it was too hot to be effective while wearing such clothing. As a matter of fact, they were used to removing their shirts whenever the sun got too hot. They also argued that the dress code would expose them to heat stress during summer.
The department needed to speed up implementation of the new policy and as such no consultations were made during the formation of the policy and the information was relayed to the road workers. This way of handling matters consequently had an unintended effect on the micro organizational behavior of the road workers. In as much as it was the general culture of the department to follow guidelines and adhere to company policy, this particular policy affected the sub culture of the road workers.
Another concern was the feeling of loss of autonomy for the road workers. In organizations where there is bureaucracy, one of the limited controls that employees appear to have is control of how they work and their immediate environs. The new policy worked to reduce the independence which the rail workers had, and they felt that they could not make minor decisions like how to cope with extreme heat or how they dressed to work.
Ways in which the Department could have overcome the Resistance of Workers to the Change
Resistance to change occurs almost naturally any time employees required to change. This is because most employees would rather work within their comfort zone, and change is an uncomfortable thing that requires new ways of thinking and attending to things. Change also brings with it a certain level of anxiety in employees and workers feel like they do not have much job security. Resistance to change happens even with the most complaisant personnel. It is, therefore, imperative that an organization strategize on the best way to implement change so as to be able to reduce resistance as much as possible. Some of the ways in which the department in the case study could have reduced or overcome resistance to change include:
The department should have involved the road workers in the formulation of the policy.
The participation of employees can be in the form of ideas, suggestions, or reactions.
Employees should be given an avenue where they can express their thoughts and feelings’ concerning a possible policy before the policy is actually formulated and implemented. The process of employee participation is a proactive one as it gives the workers chance to impact the changes that take place in an organization with their own inspired attitudes and ideas. This approach ensures that the employees own the changes that are made within an organization and consequently reduces the resistance to change.
One of the most effective ways of dealing with resistance to change by employees is through talking to them about the changes. The department should have tried to have a chat with the rail workers about their intention to have a safety and health policy and their intentions concerning the same. An open forum enables employees to speak freely about what they feel about change and how they would like things to be. Open conversations can assist management by incorporating some of the ideas and thoughts aired out. Even if not all the ideas are incorporated, the workforce would resist change less because they would feel as though they have been heard out and are an important part of policy formation in the organization.
Change always comes with a need for resources to accommodate the change. When employees are not equipped with the right resources required for the changes that take place in an organization, it can lead to mass resistance. Such resources include, but are not limited to offering training and equipment that will enable workers to not only adapt to the changes but also to excel under the new conditions. It is the obligation of management to ensure that the workers remain, if not become more, effective and efficient during the changes and even long after the changes have been effected.
The timing of implementing change is also very crucial. The management at the department was in a hurry to try and comply with health and safety policies that they made the implementation in a hurry without taking time to properly inform and prepare the road workers of the changes. When implementing the new policy, it is important for management to do it in stages and not introduce all the changes at once. Implementing change in stages also gives the management an opportunity to evaluate the impact of the changes on the workforce and allows employees to progressively ease into the new changes. The correct timing is bound to reduce the level of workforce resistance to change (Schein, 2010).
Outside Drivers of Change and Change Agents
Change within an organization can be influenced either from within or without. In the case study illustrated above, the change drivers were external. The department works closely with other governmental departments to implement various policy agendas. The government policy agendas are influenced by external agencies and other stakeholders. An example of an external agency which the government works with is the Cancer Council. The council is mandated to give recommendations concerning different sun-safe approaches that administrations can implement to be able to improve on the deterrence and detection of skin cancer. Another external agent was the World Health Organization which had statistics showing Australia as the country with the highest occurrences of skin cancer worldwide. The statistics also revealed that thirty-four thousand workers suffer from skin cancer annually.
The cancer council recommended adoption of protection programs from ultraviolet rays, which is a policy strategy for prevention of cancer. Employees who work in construction sites are more prone to skin cancer due to their prolonged exposure to direct sunlight (ultraviolet rays) which usually reflects off planes such as concrete. It is because of such information and recommendation that the department decided it was time to implement a policy that would reduce sun exposure for the road workers.
Functional and Dysfunctional Effects of Organizational Culture on the people and the Organization
Organizational cultures can have either functional or dysfunctional effects on the employees and the organization at large.
It is important to note that culture is a concrete force within an organization and, therefore, plays numerous crucial roles in an organization. The culture of an organization gives employees a sense of identity and gives a strong sense of association with organizational objectives and goals. An example is the organizational culture at Southwest Airlines of having fun and working hard. This mantra acts as an organizational culture and boosts employee morale as well as their association to the airline (Johnson, 2013).
Organizational culture acts as a means of reinforcing the acceptable code of conduct within an organization. Culture can guide the way in which employees speak and carry themselves out. It can be said that organizational culture provides some form of constancy in terms of behavior.
Organizational culture also brings its fair share of commitment within an organization. When an organization has a strong culture, the employees feel like they are part of the bigger picture. It acts as a reminder of the organization's vision and mission that are larger than the interests of any single individual (Mawhinney, 2009).
The other functional effect of organizational culture is that it distinguishes one organization from another. Organizational cultures are distinct across the board even in organizations working in the same or similar industries. The difference in values, symbols, and beliefs abolishes abstruseness and enhances uniqueness.
One of the biggest dysfunctional effects of organizational culture is that it acts as a barrier to change. As is the case with the case under study, culture can be an impediment to change as workers are used to acting and doing things in a certain manner. The stability in behavior, in this case, becomes a dysfunctional effect. This kind of impediment may obstruct an organization from developing especially where such changes are speedy. Culture can also be a hindrance when the traditions, values, and customs do not match with those required to take an organization to the next level.
Organizational culture can also be a barrier during acquisitions and mergers. The coming together of two organizations means integration of two different organizational cultures. This can prove to be a cumbersome process especially where the two cultures are not compatible with each other. The more unique and strong each of the cultures is, the more cumbrous it is to amalgamate the two (Mawhinney, 2009).
Organizational culture can hinder diversity within an organization. Cultures are normally characterized by a strong attachment to values and beliefs. These beliefs and values have major impact on the conduct of employees. Diversity may therefore not be a welcomed aspect within such an organization especially when the belief of employees on their culture is strong (Johnson, 2013).
Mechanistic or Organic Organizational Design
Queensland Department of Mains Roads has a mechanistic organizational design. This is because the employees at the department specialize in a given task but work separately i.e individual specialization. The hierarchy is also very well defined and only the top management makes most of the decisions, like the new dress code policy. The need for decision-making processes that are complex in nature is eliminated in the mechanistic organizational design. The workers also appear to be required to follow a given set of rules, regulations, and operating procedures, communication is largely vertical (Lewis & Fandt, 1989).
Effect of Reduced Worker Autonomy on Job Satisfaction
When the autonomy of employees is reduced, they become dissatisfied with their jobs because they feel like they do not have any sense of independence and do not have any control of even the smallest of things. The example in the case study where the road workers feel like they do not have control of even their immediate environment and cannot decide for themselves what to wear to work can have serious repercussions on how much the employees are satisfied with their work. Reduced worker autonomy, therefore, leads to reduced job satisfaction.
The policy that the department attempted to implement was not an entirely bad policy on its own; the problem was with the method of implementation. The health and safety policy could have been implemented in a better way and perhaps received better reception. I would have first of all involved the road workers in the formulation of the policy and together we would have come up with the best way to ensure that they were safe or reduced their chances of getting skin cancer. The second thing I would have done is to come up with alternative solutions and have the employees choose the one that was best suited for them. Examples of other alternatives include: doing the work at a time when the sun was not at its hottest, using sunscreen or sunshades, etc. Lastly, I would ensure that there was proper communication before, during and after the implementation of the policy as well as ensure that the department gets constant feedback (Sengupta, 2006).
Organizational behavior is such a fundamental aspect of the operations and success of an organization and as such deserves to be properly understood by management. Understanding organizational behavior and culture go a long way in running the affairs of any given organization. Without proper understanding, there would be constant clashes between the management and employees but with a good understanding, an organization can flourish.
List of References
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