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The majority of organizational changes can be considered structural changes, according to Cliff Notes.
These types of changes typically impact how a company is run, from the traditional top down hierarchy.
Some examples of these types of changes include the implementation of a new, company wide computer system or a company-wide non smoking policy.
Other structural changes include any changes to the company’s hierarchy of authority and company wide administrative procedures.
Structural changes can also be considered transformational changes.
When a company must drastically adapt to external factors, it may undergo a major strategic change.
Strategic organizational changes are usually quite transformative, as they typically include major adjustments or complete upheavals of the current way the company operates.
For example, when a company changes its fundamental approach of doing business, such as changing from an in-person retail environment to a heavy web presence, it is considered a strategic change.
Other strategic changes include changing the target market, level of global activity and long time partnerships.
People changes can be large-scale or incremental.
Large scale people changes include replacing the top executives with new employees in order to change the entire company culture.
Smaller scale or incremental people changes may include sending management personnel to team building workshops and classes.
People changes may be planned or unplanned, and they can impact the overall employee attitudes, behaviors and performances, according to Free Management Library.
Process changes are usually an attempt to improve overall Work flow efficiency and productivity. They may include implementing technology changes, such as robotics in manufacturing, or requiring sales teams to begin documenting and reporting activities in a new way.
Another example of this type of change is when a grocery store chain implements self scanning checkout counters to improve customer processing times.
Companies that implement these types of changes are more successful when the new process is proposed to employee focus groups, is carefully thought out, is tested in beta groups and is rolled out in stages or phases.
This type of change is designed to fix an existing problem, such as poor productivity, employee burnout or a large budget deficit.
To do so, the cause of the problem must be identified.
A common mistake is to assume causation and start trying to fix the problem right away.
As with any other change, the root cause of the problem needs to be identified before any changes are initiated.
Sometimes, the entire organizational structure will have to be changed.
At other times, a new program or change in leadership may be required.
Models of Organizational Change
Organization must be able to adapt quickly to the technological innovations and rapid changes that occur within the economy and with other globalized competitors in order to keep up with consumer demand.
Leaders and managers must be able to choose and develop a plan tailored to their organization so that they can adapt to a new strategy for success or remove stagnant or unproductive business practices.
Modified Change Model
Modified organizational change models transfer existing knowledge and experiences to gain support for another action.
Familiarity a key component of modified change models leads to increased likelihood of compliance from employees.
For example, retail stores regularly may extend hours for a holiday season or sale; meanwhile, managers may use the extended schedule to conduct an unscheduled inventory audit.
Since employees are used to the idea of extended hours for special events, communication is not complex.
This temporary change is easy to manage and employees are less resistant to the idea of working more hours on short notice.
The modified change model demonstrates simplicity, compliance and influence.
This holds the lowest degree of cost, complexity, resistance and time to implement.
Inventive Change Model
Organization may seek to advance original and groundbreaking concepts. Advanced concepts are inventive when they can change industry standards.
The inventive change model is moderate in complexity, implementation and cost.
Using existing challenges or problems, new solutions can be adapted to evolve practices. Inventive solutions can gather excitement because they are novel, but implementation is difficult because there are no examples to reference.
Therefore, a moderate sense of uncertainty, resistance and unexpected costs must be managed. New technology is a common cause of inventive change in organizations.
This type of organizational change is demonstrated by the replacement of typewriters and word processors by computers.
Computers fulfilled the need to share and store information, but originally required costly hardware acquisition and extensive employee training to learn programming skills.
Computer use in organizations challenged the status quo and faced resistance by employees accustomed to typewriters, word processors and paper filing systems.
Computer integration was an inventive change model because it was a new solution to existing organizational needs, implementation was moderately complex, and it changed operational standards in vivirtually every industry.
Regardless of the change model needed, managers should consider a three-step process for managing change.
First, create awareness by establishing key success measures that define the activity or need for change.
This is an educational process used to influence attitudes, beliefs and the environment to set the stage for welcoming change.
Then, implement the change through continued education, support and Managers can lead by example and establish reward systems for compliance.
Finally, the change is managed continuously through learning activities, positive reinforcement and demonstrating stability.
In this stage, managers can refer to the key success measures established in the first step to reinforce the proposed change.
Lewin’s Process Theory
According to Entrepreneur magazine, all process models bear homage to Lewin’s model of organizational change.
Lewin’s three stage model of change entails phases categorized as unfreezing, changing and refreezing.
Each of the three phases also proposes specific activities that address motivation, implementation and sticking with organizational changes.
Other models based on Lewin’s work further emphasize the role of leadership and management in preparing the organizational culture and key individuals for upcoming disruptions within the company during pre-launch phases.
Unfreeze represents the stage before the change occurs the point at which the status quo ends. Organization determine the need for change and develop messaging that details why current ways will no longer work.
Old customs and norms are replaced.
As this happens, employees experience uncertainty about how changes will impact them.
This uncertainty may lead to a fear of change that may, in turn, spur dissent.
During the Change stage, organizations incorporate new behaviors, and employee uncertainty eases.
Communication and training are essential to help employees understand their roles in making change happen.
As organizations foster this understanding, people start to buy in to the new ways that will support the organization’s new vision.
Employee are most likely to accept change if they understand how the changes will benefit them. However, some people particularly those who benefit from the status quo may be adversely impacted by change, and it will take time for others to recognize the benefits.
Refreezing takes place after the change.
This is the point when organizations establish the change as the standard.
Those affected embrace the new ways of working.
Moreover, reinforcement and measurement of behavior changes take place.
Incentive systems are put into place to achieve desired behaviors.
Performance appraisals, promotions and bonuses are based on desired performance and resulting outcomes.
Organization develop objective measures to gauge their efforts and form strategies for sustaining change into the future.