The chapter 15 on Organizational Change speaks on the forces and process of change in an organization, the difficulties of change implementation and how to manage these challenges. Change can be described as the process that causes an alteration in the organization’s processes or structures (McShane, Olekalns, and Travaglione, 2010, pg 715). There are forces that activate change in an organization. Change can be brought about by information technology in areas such as information transfer and telecommuting. Globalization and competition may also lead the organization to instill changes in their system. Changes in the demography of the workforce such as an increase in a younger workforce or a more educated workforce may force management to activate organizational change.
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The Lewin Force Field Analysis model speaks of change as unfreezing a system, moving it to the desired position and then refreezing the system. In this process there will be restraining forces which is resistance to change. Employees should be motivated to change. A manager may employ strategies such as coercion, employee involvement, communication, training, negotiation and stress management to deal with resistance to change. In refreezing the system the management may have to alter the reward system in order to reinforce acceptable change behaviors or get feedback information from employees on the impact of the change. Within the organization there should be change agents to act as a change champion and motivator to the other employees.
Case Study Questions
The board of directors at TIC instituted some changes in the company in order to improve the organizational competitiveness and customer service.
The changes were several. They hired a new president to spearhead the change process. The board recruited three new vice-presidents who replaced the existing ones in the organization. Jim Leon, the new vice president of Claims brought changes in the unit. He introduced a newsletter for the department to enhance communication. He included feedback forms in the newsletter for employee participation. He introduced an open door policy for officers to approach him directly without first going to their immediate supervisors. Flexible programs were introduced so that the employees could work around their needs. The changes with the most impact however were the “Claims Management Credo”. This was a list of 10 principles for the managers to adhere to. Lastly, he introduced an annual survey to evaluate the each claims manager’s performance.
There are several events that indicate something went wrong in the change process. First of all, majority of the managers scored average or poor on the “Claims Management Credo”. This showed that officers in scoring the managers had safely chosen average scores. The managers who had scored poorly received devastating comments. Several officers were disappointed while others criticized the managers harshly. Officers also put forward their grievances about the isolated working conditions and high workloads. The comments by the officers created hostile feelings between them and their managers. The specific people who had written the comments were identifiable. Two claims centre managers quit. Several managers had no desire to continue working in management position, they wanted to be officers.
The causes of these disturbing events are several. First of all there was no adequate communication about the effect of the change process. The annual survey was introduced without the vice president communicating the process well. Managers were in the dark all the time. They were worried when they were informed that the results would be shown to officers. They had questions such as which results would the officers see? What course of action would be taken by the company towards a manager who scored poorly in the annual survey? The managers were shocked and distressed to find out that the officers were given access to not only the manager scores but also the individual comments. Several managers informed the regional directors that revealing the personal comments would damage their career. The damage however had already been done. The structure of the annual survey questionnaire was also not designed wisely. The anonymity of the officers was not secured leading to hostile feelings between certain managers and officers.
There was also no training conducted for the employees and managers in answering the annual survey questionnaire. The vice president noted that most of the managers did not score more than 3 out of 5 in the “Claims Management Credo”. The tendency towards average scores showed that the employees were unsure on whether the managers had performed or not. The officers were not trained on the key indicators of performance on each of the management principles. Throughout the change process the managers were anxious, unsure and concerned.
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In the second annual survey, the TIC executives should follow certain guidelines to ensure smooth transition to the change process. A company should use strategies such as employee involvement, training, negotiation and stress management to ensure smooth change processes. The employees should be trained in assessing and scoring manager’s performance. The managers should be told the effect of their results on their future career with the company. The managers and regional directors should negotiate and come to a compromise on the information that would be shown to the employees. From the beginning to the end of the process all employees should be involved so as to remove the fear of the unknown. Improvement process guidelines and mentorship should be provided to managers who score poorly so that they can become better managers. This will aid in alleviating stress among the claims managers.
McShane Steven, Mara Olekalns, and Tony Travaglione. Organizational Behavior on the Pacific Rim Focus. 3rd Ed. Sydney: McGraw Hill Sydney. 2010. Print.