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Change Management

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Change Management ­MGMT625
VU
LESSON # 28
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SYMBOLIC PROCESSES
Change processes are not always of an overt, formal phenomenon and may also be symbolic in
nature. Symbolic acts and artefacts of an organization and managers help preserve the paradigm, and
there exist a relation ship between organization culture and its strategy. Symbols are objects, events,
acts or people which express more than their intrinsic content. They may be everyday things which
are nevertheless meaningful in the context of a particular situation. It is argued that the creation or
manipulation of symbol has impact, to the extent that changing symbols can reshape beliefs and
expectation because meaning becomes apparent in day to day experience in the organization.
Many of rituals of the organizations are implicitly concerned with effecting or consolidating change.
They are capable of being managed proactively: new rituals can be introduced or old rituals done
away with. Symbolic significance is also embedded in the systems and processes of the organization.
Reward system, information and control system, and the very organizational structures that represent
reporting relationships and often status are also symbolic in nature. For example take the case of
selection interview for organization. A highly formal interview procedure may signal a mechanistic,
hierarchical organization, whereas a more informal dialogue is likely to signal an environment and
expectation of challenge and questioning. If selection processes are changed, different types of
managers are appointed, and visible encouragement to challenge and questioning is given, this can
signal within the organization a commitment to strategic change. In this sense selection processes are
symbolic in nature.
Similarly changes in physical aspects of the work environment are powerful symbols of change.
Typical here is the location and change of location for head office, relocation of personnel, changes
in dress or uniform, and alteration to office space or office space
The most powerful symbol of all is the behaviour of change agent themselves, particularly strategic
leaders. Their behaviour, language and the stories associated with them signal very powerfully the
need for change and appropriate behaviour relating to the management of change.
Beside stories, rumours on grapevine the use of language used by change agent also effects change
process. Either consciously or unconsciously change agents may employ language and metaphor to
galvanise change. In this context language is also powerful not only for the communication of facts
and information but because of its symbolic significance and is able to carry several meanings at
once.
·
Political Processes
One can not escape politics where there is human concern. The reconfiguration of power structure in
the organization is needed which depends on the nature of change. Radical or transformational the
type of change more radical will be the reconfiguration of power structure. The momentum for
change will need powerful advocacy within the organization, typically from the chief executive,
members of board, union and other influential outsiders. Change occurs in organization combining
the interest and power of individual and groups, thereby making the understanding of political
context in and around organization quite essential for achieving change successfully.
Like else where in organization too there is a ruling party (unsaid) and opposition party whether it is
a public or private sector organization. Members of organization perceive to be on either side, and the
nature of nature of opposition varies from the type of industry, sector and size of organization.
Similar concept is of organization elite, trustworthy and loyal people are appointed on key or prime
position for the use of authority and control of resources. Thus change may either means a threat for
existing elites or perpetuation of their rule. Therefore people, rules and resources are manipulated to
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Change Management ­MGMT625
VU
achieve change related objectives. The successful change management means involvement in the
political activities like building the power or political base, overcoming resistance and achieving
compliance for change related policies and objective. Categorically stating the political activities may
include the followings:
i)
to build the political support or power base
ii)
to encourage support or overcome resistance
iii)
to achieve commitment to a strategy or course of action
COMMUNICATING CHANGE
Of all, communication is perhaps the most complex human and organizational phenomenon. So
communication change, what it is intended to achieve or what is involved in the communication
process and the way to communicate is in fact a very complex one. The effective communication of
vision, mission and strategic intent down to lower tiers of or all across organization is not a simple
and easier task. It may be important to clarify and simplify further the priorities of the strategy. One
approach is to emphasise a limited number of key components or aspects of strategy rather than to
communicate the strategy with overall complexity and ramification. The choices of media also vary
from employing techniques such as face-to-face, one-to-one, through routine bulletins and notice
boards and circulars around the organization. The involvement of members of organization in the
strategy development process or planning strategic change is also, in itself is means of
communication and can be very effective. Communication needs to be seen as a two-way process.
Feedback on communication is important, particularly if the changes to be introduced are difficult to
understand or threatening or if it is critically important to get the changes right. One such effective
technique to get feed back is through focus group employed by senior executives to see the
implementation and acceptance of change. Another powerful technique is the use of grapevine
(informal communication) which takes the form of gossips, rumours and storytelling. Now senior
executive wants to control and manage the grapevine in the best interests of the organization.
·  Change Tactics
There are also some very specific tactics of change which might be employed to facilitate change
process
i) Timings
The importance of timing is often neglected in thinking about strategic change. Timing also refers
to choosing the right time tactically to promote change. For example the greater the degree of
change the more it may be useful to build on actual or perceived crisis. If members of the
organization perceive a higher risk in maintaining the status quo than in changing it, they are more
likely to change. Another important tactic for acceptance or rejection of change is the sequence of
events; or how the change is introduced, piecemeal or as a whole and which should come first and
which should come later.
ii) Dismissals, Job Losses and Delayering
Change programmes are often associated with job losses, from the closure of units of the
organization, with hundreds or thousands of job losses, to the removal senior executives or even
chief executive. For example this becomes so especially if the organization is in its drive for
automation, resulting in the removal of the whole layers of management and hierarchy. It was
during 1990s when larger MNCs were going for mergers, restructuring and outsourcing that
thousands of employees lost their jobs out of change in strategy. Therefore the tactical choice of
where job losses should take place related to the change programme
iii) Visible Short Term Wins
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Change Management ­MGMT625
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Strategy may be conceived of as having to do with long term direction and major decisions.
Nonetheless what is essential is to have the implementation of strategy is that change programme
should have detailed action plans and tasks associated with strategy. For example a retail chain
developing a new store concept and demonstrating its success in the market may need short term
wins like the effective breaking down of working of old ways and the demonstration of better ways;
the speeding up of decisions by doing away with committees and introducing clearly defined job
responsibilities, and so on.
iv)
Promoting Winners & Heroes
Change most of the time result in creating either winners or losers. It is not considered win-win for
every one. What is needed by senior leadership is to promote winners and heroes as symbol of high
performers so that this may create a culture of high performance. Success stories are propagated
amongst managers for their mind and behavioural programming and repeat success. This in overall
is considered important tactic in the implementation of strategy.
References:
This lecture is based on Chapter 11, Managing Strategic change of Exploring Corporate Strategy
written by Johnson & Johnson. 10th edition.
For change in organization culture see further www.soi.org
For MOUND model see Alex Miller's book on Strategic Management 4th edition
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Table of Contents:
  1. COURSE ORIENTATION:Course objectives, Reading material, Scope of the subject
  2. BENEFITS AND SIGNIFICANCE OF CHANGE MANAGEMENT:Traditional management domain
  3. KURT LEWIN MODEL: ASSUMPTIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:Change Movement, Refreeze
  4. IMPLICATIONS OF KURT LEWIN MODEL:Sequence of event also matters, A Critical Look
  5. SOME BASIC CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS:Strategic change, Logical incrementalism
  6. TRANSACTIONAL VS. TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP:Micro-changes, Organisation Development
  7. THEORIES OF CHANGE IN ORGANISATIONS
  8. LIFE CYCLE THEORY:Unit of Change, Mode of change, Organisation death
  9. TELEOLOGICAL THEORIES OF CHANGE:Unit of change, Mode of Change, Limitations
  10. DIALECTICAL THEORIES OF CHANGE:Unit of Change, Strategic planning
  11. A DIALECTICAL APPROACH TO ORGANISATIONAL STRATEGY AND PLANNING:
  12. LIMITATION OF DIALECTICS; DA AND DI:Overview of application of dialectics
  13. THEORIES OF CHANGE IN ORGANISATIONS
  14. APPLICATION OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY:Managerial focus
  15. FURTHER APPLICATION OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORIES:Criticism
  16. GREINER’S MODEL OF ORGANISATIONAL– EVOLUTION AND REVOLUTION
  17. GROWTH RATE OF THE INDUSTRY:CREATIVITY, DIRECTION, DELEGATION
  18. COORDINATION:COLLABORATION, The Crisis
  19. ORGANISATION ECOLOGY:Structural Inertia, Internal Structural Arrangements, External Factors
  20. CLASSIFICATION OF ORGANIZATIONAL SPECIES:Extent of Environmental Selection, Determinants of Vital Rates,
  21. FOOTNOTES TO ORGANISATIONAL CHANGE:Stable Processes of Change, Rule Following, Conflict
  22. SOME COMPLEXITIES OF CHANGE:Superstitious Learning, Solution Driven Problems
  23. ORGANIZATIONAL ADAPTATION:The Entrepreneurial problem, The Administrative Problem
  24. PROSPECTORS:Analyzer, Reactors, Adaptation and Strategic Management
  25. SKELETAL MODEL OF ADAPTATION:Determinants of Adaptive ability, The Process of Adaptation
  26. STRATEGIC CHANGE:Nature of Change, The Importance of Context, Force field Analysis
  27. Management Styles and Roles:Change Agent Roles, Levers for managing strategic Change
  28. SYMBOLIC PROCESSES:Political Processes, COMMUNICATING CHANGE, Change Tactics
  29. STRATEGIC CHANGE:Pettigrew & Whipp’s Typology, Context on X-axis (Why of change)
  30. STRATEGIC CHANGE:Attributes of SOC Model, Implications for Management
  31. STRATEGIC CHANGE:Flow of Information, Recruitment, SOC Process
  32. Determinants of a Successful Change Management:Environmental, Management Orientation, Management Orientation
  33. Higgins 08 S Model – An Adaptation from Waterman’s Seven S model:Strategy, Systems and Processes, Resources
  34. IMPLEMENTATION AND STRATEGIC CHANGE: CONSTRAINING FORCES IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF STRATEGIC CHANGE (CASE STUDY OF XYZ COMPANY)
  35. IMPLEMENTATION AND STRATEGIC CHANGE: CONSTRAINING FORCES IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF STRATEGIC CHANGE (CASE STUDY OF XYZ COMPANY)
  36. WHY IMPLEMENTING STRATEGIC CHANGE IS SO DIFFICULT?:Change Typology, Technical Change
  37. IMPLEMENTATION APPROACHES:Attributes of incremental change,
  38. IMPLEMENTATION: RADICAL OR TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE
  39. IMPLEMENTATION: RADICAL OR TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE:Definition of Leadership, Follower Work Facilitation
  40. IMPLEMENTATION: RADICAL OR TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE:Recognize the challenge
  41. IMPLEMENTATION: RADICAL OR TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE
  42. IMPLEMENTATION: PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM MODEL:Features of Radical Change, Theory of P-E model
  43. CHANGE IMPLEMENTATION: OD MODELS:The Transactional Factors
  44. CULTURE, VALUES AND ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE:Significance and Role of Values, Values Compete
  45. ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES, CULTURE AND ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE:Issues in Change Management