In today’s society change is inevitable and must be viewed positively as a necessary transformation. Organizational changes or restructuring, for many people, may be a cause for anxiety and worry, fear about the unknown, uncertain future, new reporting relationships, and new challenges. However the issue we are faced with is not change itself but how to deal with change, especially for today’s managers. The dynamic nature of today’s organizations, due to rapid market changes, has forced a change in the roles and responsibilities of managers. With companies trying to achieve more with less, managers are called to take on additional responsibilities and this takes not just technical or management skills, but a positive attitude.
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Organizational change can be triggered either by internal or external factors. Globalization is an example of external factor, where heightened competition from a company from across the ocean, may trigger a strategic change. A change in leadership is an example of an internal factor that can trigger a structural change. It is important to understand that, typically, organizations must undertake organization-wide change to evolve to a different level in their life cycle, e.g., going from a highly reactive, entrepreneurial organization to more stable and planned development. (Authenticity Consulting, LLC, 1997-2008). According to Robbins and Langton (2003), organizational change affects the culture, structure, technology, physical settings, and people of the organization.
Savvy managers understand that change is an ongoing process and position themselves as catalysts of change. During a survey of 100 senior IT executives, conducted by a study, to understand the evolving role of CIO, almost half indicated they have broadened their responsibilities beyond the traditional CIO-only role to absorb some form of business responsibility (Bernard, 2005). This is true not just for senior managers but also middle and first line managers. In the past the core responsibilities of management included planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Newer management models introduced the human-relation aspect which suggested that managerial responsibility went beyond productivity and efficiency to include the need for attention (Leslie, Dalton, Ernst, and Deal, 2002). In today’s knowledge based economy, managers are responsible for facilitating and assisting their staff to accomplish organizational and personal objectives, rather than being technical experts. They are responsible for training their people and help them develop newer skills in their specific field. Successful businesses must operate with integrity and operating with integrity principles must come from the top down and managers are responsible for making sure these principles are in place (AuBuchon, 2009).
We live in a truly interconnected and global economy and this was evident during the recent financial meltdown. We have seen how the financial meltdown in one country spread rapidly to other countries till it became a global pandemic. In this globalized economy managers need to enhance and develop new skills while staying focused on business. In uncertain times people tend to lose morale and their productivity drops and in times like these the ability to motivate the staff and maintain productivity levels is an important skill managers need to develop. With rapid market changes and customer demands, ability to manage uncertainty and balance priorities is desirable attributes of today’s managers. With organizations trying to stay lean, the ability to innovate and think out of the box is a key attribute managers need to have in their arsenal of skills. Since human relations are an important element in management, developing relationship building skills across cultural differences is a definite plus for managers of today.
An organization that refuses to transform itself to meet new challenges will disappear. Changes in the economy have forced organizations to evolve and managers would have to evolve if they want to participate in the new global economy. New challenges have come with new responsibilities and new skills need to be developed to fulfill these responsibilities.
- AuBuchon, D., Management Integrity in Today’s Economy. Retrieved from American Chronicle.
- Bernard, A (2005). New Roles, New Responsibilities: Today’s CIO.
- Leslie, J. B., Dalton, M., Ernst, C., & Deal, J. (2002). Managerial Effectiveness in a Global Context. Center for Creative Leadership – North Carolina.
- McNamara, C. (1997-2008). Basic Context for Organizational Change.
- Robbins, S. P., & Langton, N (2003). Organizational Behavior: Concepts, Controversies, Applications. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson – Prentice Hall.