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Change Management

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Change Management ­MGMT625
VU
LESSON # 22
SOME COMPLEXITIES OF CHANGE
The above six factors are closer to real life organizational dynamics; demonstrate the complexities of
routines of real life. While he interaction amongst these five phenomenon makes change complex which
are listed below:
1. Unanticipated Consequences of Ordinary Action
2. Solution Driven Problems
3. The Tendency for Innovation - And Organisations to Be Transformed During the Process of
Innovation
4. The Endogenous Nature of Created Environment
5. The Interaction amongst System Requirements of Individuals, Organizations and Environments
1. Unanticipated Consequences of Ordinary Action
First, the rate of adaptation may be inconsistent with the rate change of environment. Unless an
environment is perfectly stable, organization can not learn appropriately. This means organization
always lag behind environment. Where an environment changes quickly relative to the rate of
organization adaptation, the process of adaptation can easily lose its sense to be sensible and relevant.
At times organization anticipates ahead of time. Example can be given from marketing. A product was
launched by one sugar firm in Pakistan as liquid sugar. The idea seems too fine and advanced a concept
but failed miserably given the cultural context of Pakistani society. Similarly, some products that are
technologically too advanced also liable to fail because they are ahead of time. Similar is the case with
changing organisation strategy and organisation when situation/ time or environment /market is not
mature enough to absorb change.
Therefore, it is possible for an anticipatory process (problem-solving) to result in changes that out runs
the environment and thereby become unintelligent. Second, the causal structure (cause and effect as
seems obvious to us to external) may be different from that is implicit in the process. While changing
through following and imitating we tend to focus external effects and ignore causal links which are
benign or hidden. Since we have an incomplete picture or false model of causality, therefore eventually
change can result in unanticipated outcomes. Third concurrent or parallel processes (changes at times
stay parallel) appear to carry sense may combine to produce joint out come that are not intended by any
one, and counter the interests motivating the individual action. For example the retention of a manual
system besides going for the automated (New) one. Though avoided but these unanticipated outcomes
are quite common.
Examples ­ Competency Multiplier
Oorganizations have procedure to involve relevant people in processes such as decision-making,
planning, budgeting or the like. Individual vary in their knowledge, skills and interests about a problem.
Initial participation rate vary and participating individual turn out to be slightly more competent than
others. This induces them to become even more competent. Before long, the de facto composition of the
group can change dramatically (than initially conceived). More generally organizations learn from
experience, repeating actions that are successful. As a result they gain greater experience in areas of
success than in areas of failures. This seems sensible and logical. The sensibleness of such
specialization depends on the learning rate and rate of change in environment. The process can easily
lead to misplaced specialization if there are infrequent, major shifts in the environment (increased
specialization lead to increased dependence and hence org. is vulnerable to change)
Another example of unexpected outcome from org. routines is related with satisficing behavior of
individual and organization. According to March and Simon, organization seek alternatives that will
satisfy target goal rather than to look for the alternative with the highest possible value. Satisficing
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Change Management ­MGMT625
VU
organization can be viewed as the organization which tries to maximize the probability of achieving
targets. But it is not necessary to assume that satisficing organization will follow decision rules, that are,
risk avoiding in good times, and, risk-seeking in bad times. For e.g. organization that are facing bad
times will follow riskier means and riskier strategies, thus simultaneously increasing the chances of their
survival through the present crisis and reducing their life expectancy simultaneously.
As a result organization efforts to survive in fact speed up the process of failure. Risk-seeking behavior
transformation that needs some qualification, experience and mindset to manage risk which was never
cultivated earlier in organizations. Second, most of the time organization exhibit risk-avoiding
behaviour by its very nature. Because, if organization goals vary with organization performance and
performance of comparable organizations, then most organization will be termed reasonably good most
of the time. The above example depicts how routine can lead to un-intended surprise outcome
Another example identified is of performance criteria. An organization measures the performance of its
participants. Common criteria for business firms are to reward their managers on the basis of calculation
of profits warned by different parts of the organization. The performance-reward linkage is to be made
precise and visible for organizational control purposes as well. However this practice may lead to ignore
long term consequences for organization since it is more efficient in short term because efforts are
devoted to accounts rather than to performance. This may lead the participants to manipulation and
maneuvering in organization.
Superstitious Learning
Organizations learn from their experience, repeating actions associated with good outcomes and
avoiding actions associated with bad outcomes (Learning by association phenomenon or conditioning).
This is successful in stable world. But the world is not so simple and stable all the time, experiential
learning can result in superstitious learning. Example reported one author here is of pilots. The trainers
reward pilots who make good landings and punishing pilots who makes bad ones. They observe that
pilots who are punished generally improve on the subsequent landings, while pilots who are praised
generally do worse. Thus they learn that negative reinforcement works better than the positive one. The
learning is natural but the experience is a confounded one. Let me quote my own experience here about
students. Students who perform better in the preliminary examination and get rewarded well will tend to
perform mediocre in the subsequent examination as against the one who performs average in the
preliminary examinations and improves more in the subsequent emanations. Hence these examples
illustrate the variation in behavior generated by adaptive processes in a typical organization conditions
which can lead to surprising outcomes.
2. Solution Driven Problems
Good examples for solution driven problems exist in our society. You can observe this in real life. For
instance go to doctor and you will find long, comprehensive multi-dimensional prescription at hand. The
solution is already with him without even giving listening appropriately to his patient. If you go to
computer technologist for problem solving with software or system etc., the solution presented will be
to reconfigure the whole system/ window etc In office meetings bosses or heads of department or
organizations frequently come up with statements starting with you all .All such scenarios refer to the
tendency to have a generalized solution in prior.
According to Cyert and March, "There is ample evidence of when organization performance fails to
meet objective then it search for new solution, that is new ways of doing things as changes often seem to
be driven less by problems than by solutions." Why this is so? Because organizations face a large
number of problems of about equal importance, but only a few solutions. Thus the chance of a solution
to a particular or unique problem is small. Consequently organization scans for solutions rather than
problem, and matches any solution found with some relevant problem.
Second reason is the linkage between individual solutions and individual problem is often difficult to
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Change Management ­MGMT625
VU
make unambiguously especially when causality and technology are ambiguous. Therefore what we
observe will be predicted by knowledge of solutions than by knowledge of problems. Imperatively
professional change their procedures and introduce new technologies because they have knowledge of
it. An organization that is modern adopts new things because that is what being modern means. When a
major stimulus for change comes from a sense of competence, problems are created in order to solve
them, and solutions and opportunities stimulate awareness of previously un-salient or unnoticed
problems or preferences.
3. The Tendency for Innovation - And Organisations to Be Transformed During the Process
of Innovation
It is observed that both innovations and organizations tend to be transformed during the process of
innovation. Different and multiple meanings exist for the intended change in the organization and hence
the standardization of meanings of change is a problem owing to inappropriate strategy or poor analysis
It is also a common problem that change policy or program gets started with some intent and eventually
end up with something else because of the fundamental ways in which changes are transformed by the
process of change. Organization also gets transformed in the process. Organizations develop and
redefine goals while adapting to environmental pressure; minor changes can lead to larger ones, and
initial intent can be entirely lost
4. The Endogenous Nature of Created Environment
General assumption is organization takes action due to environmental pressure, and that environment is
not influenced by organizational actions. But organizations create environment as well, and the resulting
complications are significant. For e.g. action of one competitor becomes an environment of another,
therefore each competitor determines its own environment. For example an executive of a leading shoe
firm revealed why their firm does not charge higher prices despite producing a quality product of
international standards? Because this will become an industry standard and other competitors will
follow without delivering the same quality. This type of behaviour is inline with corporate social
responsibility.
Hence adaptation is not learning about fixed environment but is to deal with continuously changing.
Therefore organizations are quite capable of influencing and creating their own environment by the way
they interpret and act in a confusing world. So what happens practically is that small signals out of
routine or adaptive processes get echoed back to organization (through environment) in an amplified
manner, and hence may result in changing organization simultaneously and endogenously
5. The Interaction amongst System Requirements of Individuals, Organizations and
Environments
Though this is oversimplification, nonetheless, it is possible to see an organization as an intermeshing of
three systems: individuals, collection of individuals (which is organization) and environment (which is
collection of organization). Conflicts might exist in the demands of these three. While classical literature
focuses on making individual and organization demands compatible, but in the analysis of organization
change it seems that individual in organization and organization itself has different requirements in the
collection of organization (which is environment). The question is how to place all three in equilibrium?
Finally organization is complex combination of activities, purposes and meanings.
Even impressive integration of formal organization, should not however, obscure the many ways in
which organization is loosely coupled. Behavior is loosely coupled with intentions, and intentions are
loosely couple with actions; actions in one part of the organization are loosely coupled with actions in
another part; actions of today are loosely coupled with actions of tomorrow. Such loose coupling does
not appear to be avoidable. These do not relate to theory but pertains to adaptive process of change.
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