Management of change
Updated: May 19, 2022
Management of change is the approach that prepares, equips and supports individuals, teams and organizations in achieving organizational change. It includes the methods allowing to redefine the use of resources, business processes, budget allocations, or other operations closely related to business and/or organization.
Change is one of the most repeated terms in the corporate world. No one seems to have doubts about the need to change constantly. Driven by the belief that technology changes at a fast pace, that the markets are even more volatile than we think or that politics is as ephemeral as it gets, most people seem to accept change as a kind of fate. Every organization and everyone should be ready for change at any moment and yet two facts of life point towards a different possibility.
1 - Some fundamental things do not change that much. 2 - Apparently, most change initiatives fail.
It might be sensible, therefore, to start by defining what we mean by management and by change. The combination of these two definitions will eventually result in a definition of what “Management of Change” might mean. Management allows to informally organize groups of people and brings them to get things done. As for Change, we can define it as the process by which an organization moves from one state into another desired state. The outcome of an organizational change process is always measured in terms of performance.
What triggers change
There are two main triggers/obstacles for change: external and internal.
External obstacles originated by what we call the PESTLE factors: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Economic factors. However, external triggers can also include changes at the level of the various stakeholders of the organization.
Internal triggers for change relate to change initiated by factors which are internal to the organization. These might include new strategic developments, re-structuring as the result of the introduction of a new technology, or changes at the level of the human resource policy, among many others. However, there is one internal trigger for change which is extremely important to consider: organizational growth. The latest is the objective of many businesses no matter their size. It offers companies multiple benefits such as increased power, keeping up to date with market fluctuations, and enhanced flexibility. When organizational growth is reached by a company, the business can consider expansion and look for new options (joint venture, licensing, new markets and/or products expansion, equity, loans, merging or new acquisitions) to instigate more revenues.
How to implement change
Kotter's 8 Step Change Management Model is a process designed to help leaders successfully implement organizational change (see figure below). It shows many ways allowing to initiate change by creating urgency, coalition, and vision. Then communicating THE Vision, followed by removing obstacles to generate short term wins, and consolidating improvement to reach THE Change.
The important point of all this is not only to change the structure nor the strategies, but to make those changes fit into the company in order to achieve the wanted vision and maximize the performance.
There is one dimension of change which mainly deserves our attention: ambiguity!
It is known that change is uncertain. It always happens with a great deal of ambiguity. Obviously change points towards the future. And the future is always related to the unknown. Organizational change is a highly important event that may lead to great stress levels for employees trying to get through uncertainty, ambiguity, and the feelings of personal loss often occurring during transformational changes. It was suggested in a study conducted by Gioia et al. that ambiguity can be a state to be contained instead of avoided. In fact, the ability of organizations to withstand ambiguous environments allow to reach benefits accompanying a successful transformational change.
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