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Employee Resistance in the Change Process

Essay by   •  June 7, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  3,276 Words (14 Pages)  •  1,953 Views

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1.0 Introduction

Managing change entails a well thought plan and careful implementation, the major component requires consultation with the people to be affected by the change and getting them to be highly involved in the process in order to create ownership of the change process otherwise if change is forced on the people, it generates some problems. An agent to change is able to initiate a formal process in order to accomplish organizational change; such an individual must take up responsibility for the situation so as to discover the major barriers. (David, 2010)

To pre-empt issues that might seriously undermine the process of introducing change, it is ideal to start by engaging the top management or leadership of the organization in which one intents to effect the change. The idea of change should not be "sold" to the people because it is not a sustainable strategy that can be successful because it will be challenged in the future by the employees when you least expect it. Communication of change should be done face to face such that sensitive issues on organizational change that require elaboration can be handled. It is not easy to establish and develop strong understanding by use of written notices and e-mails.

Urgency, unless extremely warranted by reality, should be avoided in the process of implementing change because such quick changes do not allow time for consultation and involvement and it may result in difficulties that may be costly to resolve. When people are involved, it gives them an opportunity to participate in the process of planning and implementing the change; this translates to spreading of the organizational load and generates a sense of ownership among those people who will be affected by the change. Organizations can make use of workshops in a bid to get workers involved, committed and to understand the aspects of change. More care is demanded when initiating tough changes like closures, such requires careful management rather than issuing memos, consultation and helping people understand is considered strong and improves integrity, respect is a two way and people appreciate when you treat them with respect. (Chapman, 2005-2009)

2.0 Employee Resistance in the Change Process

Most employees find change to be deeply disturbing and highly threatening. The responsibility of managing change does not lie with the employees; their role is to do their best which is relative and different for each individual depending on factors like health, personality, maturity, stability and experience. The onus of managing change rests with the management and executives of the institution, they are expected to be objective in understanding prevailing situation and consequently help the people affected by the change come to terms with the reasons prompting such changes and help them cope with the change. (Hutton, 2010).

Managers should avoid instructing or imposing change but instead take a position of communicating, interpreting and enabling change. Changing the mindset or attitudes of people should not be a pre-occupation of the management because it has a connotation of forcing change based on (theory X) that indicates that people are not willing to take up responsibilities voluntarily and they would do anything possible to avoid work. It is wrong for the organizations executives to perceive their employees as having the 'wrong' mindset, most often than not, if workers are ineffective in their tasks, then it is the organization that should re-examine their mindset. New systems and environments result from new structures, targets, policies, relocations and so on, therefore such new dimensions need to be explained to the people early enough in their implementation process so as to refine and validate such changes. (Chapman 2005-2009)

Some important factors necessary to diffuse the difficulties possible when introducing new things include participation, involvement and early and open communication. Workshops assist in developing collective understanding creating new approaches, designing new policies and generating new ideas. The executives should conduct staff surveys to help repair damage and mistrust that might exist among employees, this can be done through anonymous questionnaires after which the results should be published and acted upon. Managers should be trained, should be empathetic and should posse's facilitative capability so as to enable and facilitate policies which may be tough to implement. Workers need to be empowered, supported and facilitated to seek their own solutions and responses, leaders and executives need to be tolerant and compassionate. The behavior and style of leadership provided by the management is more important than assuming a clever policy and process since such tends to erode the trust the employees have on the organization. Leaders should be willing to work with the above ideas or else the process of change will become a painful one and probably they will lose some of the best employees in the process. (Chapman, 2005-2009)

3.0 Understanding and Managing Change

A system is made up of the environment, relationships, cultures, processes an so on, as a matter of principle in the management of change of change, the managers should understand the position of the organization as at that moment, people need to know where they want to be, how long it will take, the reasons for heading in such a direction and what is expected of them to get there. People should be involved at all times until they agree to render their support and this can only be a success if the change is communicated to them fully, early enough and in an open manner. (Chapman 2005-2009) John Kotter in his book titled "leading Change" describes an eight steps model for understanding and managing change. First and foremost is to inspire people to move and make real and relevant the objectives of the change as a mater of urgency, then a guiding team which consists of the right people having the right emotional commitment coupled with the accurate mix of skills and levels is formed. Thirdly, the team should establish a vision and strategy that is straightforward and concentrate on both emotional and creative aspects which are necessary to drive deliverance of services in an efficient manner. Fourthly the task lies in involving as many people as possible, inform them of the essentials in a simple manner as well as making an effort to appeal and respond to the needs of the people.

The next step involves empowering action by removing obstacles, encouraging constructive feedback and mobilizing support from the leaders while at the same time rewarding and recognizing progress and the people's achievement. Management should set easy to achieve goals that exists in manageable

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