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Title Of Paper : Organizational Change And Resistance To Change Essay, Research Paper

Grade Received on Report : 78

Future generations, looking back on the last years of the twentieth century, will see a contradictory

picture of great promise and equally at great uncertainty. The 1990’s have all the symptoms of a “turning

point” in world history, a moment when many of the structural “givens” of social development themselves

become problematic and world society undergoes profound reorganization. These developments occur

within a frame work of rapidly expanding social and economic interdependence on a global scale.

Organizations evolve through periods of incremental or evolutionary change. The major work

changes happening today are changes in organizational strategy, organizational structure and design,

technology and human resources.

A change in organizational strategy is an attempt to alter the organization’s alignment with it’s

environment. Mercedes, for example, is going to introduce this year the new Classe A, which is more

oriented to the new young generation who wants to own a Mercedes. Though Mercedes wants to keep its

image of a high class car producer, it overtook this new strategy to reinforce its presence in the market.

Organization change might also focus on any of the basic components of organization structure or

on the organization whole design. Nobuhiko Kawamoto, president of Honda, recently reorganized the

Japanese automaker’s management hierarchy. He drew up a new organization chart, he created a planning

board and he has taken steps to empower lower-level workers. All this in order to adapt better to the fierce

market of car making.

Because of the rapid rate of all technological innovation, technological changes are becoming

increasingly important to many organizations. One major area of change involves equipment, thus a change

in work processes or work activities maybe necessary. Timex, for example, 3-D design software from

Toronto based software Alias Research Inc. to be able to turn out watches faster. Organization control

systems may also be targets of such a change.

Another area of organization change has to do with human resources. An organization might

decide to change the skill-level of its work force and the level of performance of its workers. Perceptions

and expectations, attitudes and values are also a common focus on organizational change.

Organizational change is anticipated or triggered because of different changing circumstances, an

organization might incur a change because of forces bending its environment. These forces might be either

external or internal.

The external forces derive from the organization’s general or task environments. The general

environment is parted into different dimensions: the international, the economic, the technological, the

socio-cultural and the

political-legal dimension. A good example is Russia’s shift from a communist country to a capitalistic one.

This shift affected organizations inside and outside Russia, on the economical and political-legal levels,

organizations inside the country had to take on drastic changes to flow with the environment nationally and

internationally. On an international level, international organizations saw in Russia an interesting potential


As for the task environment it includes competitors, customers, suppliers, regulators and strategic allies.

Pepsi Lebanon had always been the only cola producer in the country since the early 1970’s, until lately

Coca-Cola entered the market once more. Pepsi realizing the danger of its competitor launched a new

marketing strategy to keep its customers.

The internal forces are mainly related to the organization’s internal environment but some internal

forces might be reflections of external ones.

All organizations will experience change at one time or another. Obviously, expanding the

boundaries of exchange and cultural contact creates both opportunity and risk. The challenges for managers

is to adapt properly the culture and the strategy of their organizations to its current environment.

Unfortunately, management isn’t working as it should: in a telling statistic, leading practitioners of radical

corporate reengineering report that success rates are between 20% and 80%. Determined managers follow

up with plans for process improvement. Managers look for enthusiasm, acceptance and commitment, but it

gets something less. Hence, communication breaks down, implementation plans miss their mark and results

fall short. This happens often enough that we have to ask why and how we can avoid these failures.

Although each company’s particular circumstances account for, some of the problems have

common roots:

n Managers and employees view change differently: top level management sees change as an opportunity

to strengthen the business and to advance in their career, but for many employees, including middle

managers, change is never sought after or welcomed; it is disruptive and intrusive. At Philips Electronics in

the Netherlands, employees’ failures to understand changing circumstances drove the company to the brink

of bankruptcy.

n Uncertainty is the biggest of employee resistance to change. In the face of impending change, employees

may become anxious and nervous. They may worry about their ability to meet new job demands, they may

think that their job security is threatened, or they may simply dislike ambiguity. RJR Nabisco Inc., was

recently the target of an extended and confusing takeover battle, and during the entire time, employees

were nervous about the impending change.

n A change might threaten the self-interests of some managers within the organization, potentially

diminishing their power or influence. Managers so affected may fight the change. Managers at Sears,

Roebuck and Co. recently developed a plan calling for a new kind of stores. The new stores would be

somewhat smaller than typical Sears stores and would not be locate in large shopping malls. Instead they

would be located in smaller strip-shopping centers. When executives in charge heard about the plan, they

raised such strong objections that the entire idea was dropped.

n Many changes involve altering work arrangements in ways that disrupt existing social networks. Because

social relationships are important, most people resist a change that might adversely affect those

relationships. Other intangibles that are threatened by change and that might give a feeling of loss include

power, status, security, familiarities with existing procedures, and self-confidence. Steven Jobs hired John

Sculley to bring professional management to Apple. He later found that he did not like Sculley changes and

wanted things as they were before. His own status and self confidence were being threatened. Jobs tried to

oust Sculley, lost power with the board of directors, and then left himself.

To close those gaps managers should know how to face and overcome resistance to change. Although there

are no certain solutions, several techniques at least have the potential to decrease or even eliminate this


n Participation is often the effective technique for overcoming resistance to change. Employees who

participate in planning and implementing a change are better able to understand the reasons for the change.

Uncertainty is reduced, and self-interests and social relationships are less threatened. Having had an

opportunity to express their ideas and to understand the perspectives of others, employees are more likely

to accept the changes more gracefully.

n Educating employees about the need for and the expected results of an impending change may reduce

their resistance. And if open communication is established and maintained during the change process,

uncertainty can be minimized.

n Several facilitation procedures, which include making only necessary changes, announcing those changes

well in advance, and allowing time for people to adjust to new ways of doing things, can help reduce

resistance to change.

By approaching these phases systematically and creating explicit links between employees’ commitment

and the company’s necessary change outcomes, managers dramatically improve the probability of attaining

demanding targets. That’s what a small family owned business did. Eisai was one of the original

manufacturers of vitamin E. Over the years, it developed drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular,

respiratory, and neurological diseases. By the end of the 1980’s, such drugs comprised 60% of the

company’s total sales. Several years after becoming CEO, Naito formulated a radical new vision for Eisai

that he called “Human Health Care” (HHC): it extended the company’s focus of manufacturing drugs to

improving the overall quality of life. To accomplish that mission, Eisai had to develop wider range of

product and services. Indeed, for his vision to become a reality, Naito knew that employees themselves

should participate in implementing this idea. When Naito announced his new strate!

gy, he initiated a training program for all his employees about the HHC and its derivatives. Then he

charged the managers to turn the insights from their experiences into proposals for the new products and

services. Those managers operated outside both the normal organizational structure and the company’s

traditional cultural boundaries, they had a team work when designing new products or programs by putting

together their ideas. When they reported back to Naito he personally evaluated their performance. As a

result junior people had a chance to break out the old system and to shape the development of the

company’s new strategy. Although personal compacts at Eisai are still dominated by traditional cultural

norms, Naito’s ability to lead his employees through a process in which they examined and revised the old

terms, enabled them to accomplish major strategic change.

We conclude that whatever the changes inside an organization might be, and whatever the reasons

that made these changes necessary, a good way of implementing the changes successfully is for a manager

to treat the participation and the communication with his employees as integral parts of the change process.

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