Friday, October 24, 2008

MS 25 question 4

Describe various sources of resistance to change. Discuss how one can overcome resistance to change. Discuss with reference to an organization you are familiar with and the mechanisms they had used in overcoming resistance to change. Briefly describe the organization you are referring to.

WHY PEOPLE RESIST CHANGEIt used to be an accepted fact that everyone resists change. We now know that it is not true. There are many reasons why a person resents (negative attitude) and/or resists (active opposition to) a particular change. Likewise, there are many reasons why a person accepts (neutral attitude) and/or welcomes (positive attitude) a particular change.Why People Resent or Resist ChangeThere are many reasons why employees of all sizes/ shapes may react negatively to change.Personal Loss. People are afraid they will lose something. They might be right or they might be wrong in their fear. Some of the things they might lose are as follows:Security. They might lose their jobs through areduction in force or elimination of their jobs.Automation and a decline in sales often bring aboutthis feeling.Money. They might lose money through a reduction in salary, pay, benefits, or overtime. Or, expenses such as travel may be increased because of a move to another location that is farther from their home.Pride and satisfaction. They might end up with jobs thatno longer require their abilities and skills. Friends and important contact. They might be moved to another location where they will no longer have contact with friends and important people. This loss of visibility and daily contacts is very serious for people who are ambitious as well as those with a strong need for love and acceptance.Freedom.They might be put on a job under a boss whono longer gives them freedom to do it "their way."Closer supervision that provides less opportunityfor decision making is a dramatic loss to somepeople.Responsibility.Their jobs might be reduced to menialtasks without responsibility. This may occur when anew boss takes over or through changes in methods orequipment.Authority. They might lose their position of power and authority over people. This frequently happens when re‑organization takes place or when a new boss decides to usurp some of the authority that an individual had.Good working conditions. They might be moved from a large private office to a small one or to a desk in a work area with only a partition between people.Status.Their job title, responsibility, or authoritymight be reduced from an important one to a lesserone with loss of status and recognition from others.This also happens when another layer of managementis inserted between a subordinate and manager.No Need.The typical reaction is, "What's the matter with the way things are now?" Or, "I don't see any reason why we should change."More Harm Than Good.This is even stronger than the previously mentioned "No Need". People really feel it is a mistake ‑ that it will cause more problems that it is worth. Sometimes this reaction is justified. It is particularly common when people at the "bottom" of an organization feel that top management makes changes without knowing what is going on "down on the line."Lack of Respect.When people have a lack of respect and/or negative attitude toward the person responsible for making the change, there is a strong tendency to resent and even resist it. Their feelings do not allow them to look at the change objectively.Objectionable Manner.Sometimes change is ordered in such a way that the people resent and/or resist because they do not like being told what to do.Negative Attitude.People with a negative attitude toward the organization, the job and/or the boss are very apt to resent or resist change no matter what it is.No Input.One of the most significant reasons is the fact that the people who felt they should have been asked were not asked for their ideas concerning the change.Personal Criticism.Whether or not the change is actually criticizing the things that were previously done or the way in which they were done, people may look upon the change as a personal criticism.Creates Burdens.Some changes add more work and with it confusion, mistakes and other negative results.Requires Effort.The change will obviously require more effort. Much of the effort accomplishes very little, if anything. Whenever changes require more time and effort, people are apt to resent and even resist them, particularly if no rewards accompany the extra effort.Bad Timing.The timing of a change is very important to its acceptance. If it comes at a time when people are already having problems, the change is usually resented and probably resisted by those who are supposed to implement it.Challenge to Authority.Some people are testing their power and influence by simply refusing to do it.Secondhand Information.Some people are very sensitive about the way they learned of the change. If they found out about if from a secondhand source, they might resist it until they hear it "from the horses mouth."What is the Real Reason for Resentment or Resistance?Managers often have difficulty in determining the real reason why subordinates resent and/or resist a change. They may feel that the subordinates are just being stubborn or that they are afraid they will lose something. The real reason may be entirely different.------------------------------------------------------------------WHY PEOPLE ACCEPT ORWELCOME CHANGEWhile some people resent and/or resist change, others accept and welcome it. The degree to which these opposites occur depends on many factors. Some of the reasons for positive reaction to change are described in this section.Personal Gain.When changes are made, some people may gain such things as the following:Security.They feel more secure in their job because of the change. Perhaps more of their skills will be used.Money.They may get a salary increase, more benefits, an incentive or profit‑sharing programme, or more overtime.AuthorityThey may be promoted to a position of greater authority, or they may get a new boss who gives them more authority than they had under the previous boss.StatuslPrestige.They may get a new title, a new office, or a new responsibility, their boss may have assigned more responsibility, or they may have a new boss who assigns more responsibility than the previous one did. Better working conditions.They may get a new working schedule, new equipment, or other conditions that make the job easier or more enjoyable.Self‑satisfaction.They may get new satisfaction or feeling of achievement because of the change. Perhaps the new job gives them more of a change to use their abilities, or the boss may eliminate some of the obstacles that had prevented them from doing their best.Better personal contacts.They might be located in a place where they will have closer contact with influential people. Their visibility is very important to some people.Less time and effort.The change may make their job easier and require less time and effort.Provides a New Challenge.While some people look at a change negatively because it requires effort and perhaps risk, others will be eager for it because it provides a new challenge.Likes/Respects the Source.If people have a positive attitude toward the person or the department they represent, they will probably accept and even welcome the change. Likes Manner.People who are asked to do things instead of told to do them may react very positively. Someone described the most important words in the English language as follows:Five most important words:"I am proud of you."Four most important words:"What is your opinion?"Three most important words:"If you please."Two most important words:"Thank you."One most important word:"You (or possibly We)."The tone may have much to do with resentment or acceptance.Reduces Boredom.Changes that are designed to reduce boredom will be welcomed by some.Provides Input.One of the most powerful approaches to get acceptance is to ask for input before the final decision is made.Desires Change.Some people will react to change by thinking or saying, "It's about time." In other words, they have been anxious for the change to occur.Improves Future.Some changes will open up new avenues for future success in the organization. People will be provided with opportunities to show what they can do. Future possibilities include promotion, more money, more visibility, more recognition and more self­satisfaction.Right Time.Some changes come at just the right time. If more money is needed to pay current bills or to buy a luxury item like a video recorder or a boat or to take a vacation, the change will be welcomed.===============================The organisation I am referring to, where we introduced ERP software for managing the supplychain management system, with the objective of -improving the efficiency-improving the effectiveness of the supply chain operation.The organization, I am familiar with is a -a large manufacturer/ marketer of safety products-the products are used as [personal protection safety] [ industrial safety]-the products are distributed through the distributors as well as sold directly-the products are sold to various industries like mining/fireservices/defence/as well as to various manufacturing companies.-the company employs about 235 people.-the company has the following functional departments*marketing*manufacturing*sales*finance/ administration*human resource*customer service*distribution*warehousing/ transportation*TQM ==============================================HOW did we INITIATE CHANGEOften it is easier to carry out a job if there is a specific plan to follow. When major changes are to be installed, careful planning and preparation are necessary. Strengthening the forces promoting the change and weakening resistance to it are the main tasks.CREATE A CLIMATE FOR CHANGEHow people react to proposed changes is greatly influenced by the kind of climate for change that the manager/supervisor has created in the department.HOW IS THE RIGHT KIND OF CLIMATE CREATED?Supervisors and managers who have enthusiasm for progress and change build a healthy climate.Creating the right climate is more than just passing on changes. It involves:Encouraging employees to seek ways of improving their jobs.Seeking suggestions and ideas from employees.This requires the manager/supervisor to listen and seriously consider suggestions. It is easy to see that there is a great deal of ego involvement in coming forth with an idea for improvement. Change can become an exciting and dynamic way of life. The manager/supervisor determines the climate in which they initiate change.GET READY TO SELLMuch of the difficulty in getting co‑operation stems from the employees lack of understanding of how the change will affect them. With a little effort, managers/supervisors can find most of the answers to employees' questions before they are even asked. Answers to these questions would be useful.What is the reason for the change? Whom will it benefit and how? Will it inconvenience anyone, if so, for how long? Will training or re‑training be necessary? When does it go into effect?Armed with the answers to these questions a manager/supervisor can head off many objections and can develop a plan to present the change.IDENTIFY THE SOURCES OF HELPWhy should you, the managers and supervisors, shoulder the burden alone? Staff can frequently be a great help in preparing to sell a change by explaining technical aspects and demonstrating new techniques.One of the most overlooked sources of help in introducing changes are the informal leaders in the work group. With their help the job becomes easier. Giving recognition to informal leaders puts them in a co‑operative frame of mind.Since union stewards are often informal leaders, their co‑operation ought to be solicited. The backing of union stewards makes the job easier.ANTICIPATE OBJECTIONSChange that upsets routines, requires new knowledge or skills, or inconveniences people are bound to meet with some objections or resistance. Looking at a change from the employees point of view will usually be enough to help determine what their objections are likely to be. Knowing the objections, we can, with a little creative thought, turn these objections into advantages.Showing the staff with reason or logic will not do the job. Managers/supervisors have to convince people that the change is really best for them and that will not happen until their objections are dealt with seriously.SELL BENEFITSEveryone is concerned with, "What's in it for me?""Will the change mean more satisfying work. greater security. opportunity to show what I can do. more responsibility. more pay. less fatigue. less confusion. greater independence?"The benefits used to motivate people to co‑operate should be put on as personal a level as possible. It would be dishonest, however, not to recognise any disadvantages that a change may bring. These can usually be countered with long range benefits.One of the techniques that is helpful in identifying the characteristics and values of the proposed changed condition is a "Word Picture". The picture makes the new condition desirable in the minds of the staff.A)One of the ways this concept of "word picture" is used, is the physical change in office layout or new equipment or any other physical changes.B)To picture or model a change in policy, organization or operation is more difficult than the physical change. The principle is the same. The picture can help in communicating the desirability of the change and in fine tuning the change because it makes it possible to discuss how things will operate. It may take the form of a flow chart, an organization chart or a description of relationships.To use this approach for deciding whether to initiate a change, you can take the following steps:Describe as clearly as possible the present situation.Describe as clearly as possible the desired situation.Analyse what specific changes will have to take place in the key factors involved to produce the desired situation. Look at such key factors as bosses, employees, equipment, physical environment, policies and procedures, work methods, materials and time. Identify the relevant factors.Assess the strengths of the forces promoting the desired situation and of those resisting it.Determine what action to take. Choices are:A)Do nothing, the resistant forces are stronger than the forces promoting change.B)Act to strengthen the promoting forces and/or to weaken resistance, by concentrating one's efforts on the key factors.LISTEN IN DEPTHEmployees have a right to be heard. If employees are treated with respect, they probably will respond in kind. They will feel better too, if they know their concerns have been considered.FOLLOW‑UPAfter having conscientiously sold the benefits of a change, it is tremendously important that the managers/supervisors see that their promises have materialized. A sincere interest in how the change has affected the employee and a willingness to make adjustments, help build the climate in which future changes will be initiated.AS A MOTIVATION, WE INTRODUCE AN INCENTIVE SYSTEM,WHERE ALL MANAGERS/ STAFF WOULD GAIN A BONUSOF 50% OF THE PRODUCTIVITY GAIN DURING THE FIRST2 YEARS OF IMPLEMENTATION.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------CHANGES AND COMMUNICATIONThe following steps will help you to minimize resistance:1.Explain why. Provide all the facts about the reason for changing. If there are risks, acknowledge them but explain why the risk is worth taking.2.Objectively explain the benefits that could result from the change.3.Seek questions/clarifications and answer them.4.Invite participation and ask for suggestions because the people involved know the situation best.5.Avoid surprise because this stirs unreasoning opposition more than any other factor.6.Acknowledge the rough spots and explain how you plan to smooth the change.7.Set standards and explain your expectations.8.Contact the informal leaders and use their resources.9.Acknowledge and reinforce the staff's co‑operation and give them feedback on the progress.10.Keep the two way communications open for suggestions and corrections.=============================================CONCLUSIONHow do you manage change? The honest answer is that you manage it pretty much the same way you’d manage anything else of a turbulent, messy, chaotic nature, that is, you don’t really manage it, you grapple with it. It’s more a matter of leadership ability than management skill. The first thing to do is jump in. You can’t do anything about it from the outside. A clear sense of mission or purpose is essential. The simpler the mission statement the better. “Kick ass in the marketplace” is a whole lot more meaningful than “Respond to market needs with a range of products and services that have been carefully designed and developed to compare so favorably in our customers’ eyes with the products and services offered by our competitors that the majority of buying decisions will be made in our favor.” Build a team. “Lone wolves” have their uses, but managing change isn’t one of them. On the other hand, the right kind of lone wolf makes an excellent temporary team leader. Maintain a flat organizational team structure and rely on minimal and informal reporting requirements. Pick people with relevant skills and high energy levels. You’ll need both. Toss out the rulebook. Change, by definition, calls for a configured response, not adherence to prefigured routines. Shift to an action-feedback model. Plan and act in short intervals. Do your analysis on the fly. No lengthy up-front studies, please. Remember the hare and the tortoise. Set flexible priorities. You must have the ability to drop what you’re doing and tend to something more important. Treat everything as a temporary measure. Don’t “lock in” until the last minute, and then insist on the right to change your mind. Ask for volunteers. You’ll be surprised at who shows up. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what they can do. Find a good “straw boss” or team leader and stay out of his or her way. Give the team members whatever they ask for — except authority. They’ll generally ask only for what they really need in the way of resources. If they start asking for authority, that’s a signal they’re headed toward some kind of power-based confrontation and that spells trouble. Nip it in the bud! Concentrate dispersed knowledge. Start and maintain an issues logbook. Let anyone go anywhere and talk to anyone about anything. Keep the communications barriers low, widely spaced, and easily hurdled. Initially, if things look chaotic, relax — they are Remember, the task of change management is to bring order to a messy situation, not pretend that it’s already well organized and disciplined.

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