The change identified in this paper relates to Acme Inc. that has decided to implement a new piece of software that will change the way its workers perform their work. The employees will need to learn new software skills and develop new processes. However, the workers are resistant to the change because the software is complicated but managers are in favor of the change because it will finally automate some key business processes and avail them access to real-time data concerning budgets and expenses. In the case this change is not implemented, Acme Inc. will face various consequences.
The company will experience an increase in invoice errors. Such errors can lead to mistrust and confusion between the company and its customers. Moreover, if the company overcharges customers and the customers identify the mistake, they may think the company is dishonest and choose not to do business with the firm in the future. Also, a significant invoicing error can affect the organization's balance sheet amounts, which creditors use to decide the company's creditworthiness. If the figures show the company is not worthy of credit, then they opt not to invest in the company and the organization cannot raise capital for crucial future investments.
Failure to implement the change will also lead to a decline in the company sales. When customers are dissatisfied because of billing and invoice errors, they can opt to do business with Acme's competitors, which can lead to low sales. In the current era of technological advancement, the power has shifted to the customers and one mistake by the company can damage its brand as customers share their experiences on social media. A bad reputation about the company then slows its sales, which also take a downturn.
Consequently, poor sales lead to low profitability and loss of the company's competitive advantage. Accordingly, other problems such as downsizing, which would mean some employees losing their jobs or the whole company shutting down may arise, which means loss of income for suppliers, investors, the government, and the local community.
According to Post, Preston, and Sachs (2002), stakeholders refer to those groups or individuals who can influence or be affected by the achievement of an organization's objectives. A common way of differentiating the various kinds of stakeholders is to consider groups of people with classifiable relationships with the company. Acme Inc.'s main stakeholders include employees, customers, suppliers and distributors, and shareholders. Notably, implementing the new piece of software will impact these stakeholders in distinct ways. First, the software will help employees avoid errors as the software will allow Acme Inc. to automate most tasks of the financial processes. Also, the software will reduce the amount of time employees need to generate budgets, invoices, and purchase orders. Moreover, it will provide customizable formats readily available to the employees.
The software will also increase customers' trust and loyalty to the company. Moreover, a reduction in invoicing and billing errors translates into efficient delivery of services, which increases clients' satisfaction. Similarly, the suppliers and distributors will also benefit from the software as it will mitigate supply chain risks. Also, their payments terms will improve and the payment periods will reduce significantly following the automation of processes. Finally, the shareholders are the owners of shares in the company. The software will help increase their wealth as the company's profitability increases. Furthermore, the main goal of any company is to make profits and grow the shareholders' wealth.
Lewin's Three-Step Change Model Phases
Kurt Lewin introduced the three-step change model that views behavior as a dynamic balance of forces working in opposing directions (Barron, 2011). On one hand, driving forces facilitate change since they push employees in the desired direction. In contrast, restraining forces impede change because they push workers in the opposite direction. Thus, a company must analyze these forces and Lewin's three-step model can aid in shifting the balance in the direction of the planned change (Barron, 2011). These three steps include unfreeze, transition, and freeze.
Strategies to Unfreeze
This stage involves reducing the forces that are trying to maintain the status quo and deconstructing the existing mindset (Barron, 2011). Mainly, the status quo is considered the equilibrium state. Thus, unfreezing is essential to overcome the strains of individual resistance and group conformity. The three strategies to unfreeze employees in Acme Inc from their old behaviors will include:
Increasing the driving forces that direct behavior away from the current status quo. I will achieve this by motivating and engaging the employees by preparing them for the implementation of the software. This will involve setting clear goals and expectations by being clear about how the employees can contribute to the change and sharing information that will help them make decisions in line with the change. Also, it will involve providing autonomy through empowering workers to incorporate the software in the way that makes the most sense for them.
Decreasing the restraining forces that adversely affect the movement from the existing equilibrium. I will attain this by building trust and recognition for the need to change. This will involve listening actively to the employees and acknowledging their pain, loss or anger over the change, and respond accordingly and consistently. In particular, I will respond by spending time showing the employees that I take their concerns seriously.
Finding a combination of the increase in driving forces and the decline in the restraining forces. I will achieve this by actively participating in recognizing problems concerning the change and brainstorming solutions amongst the employees. Classic indicators of problems can include negativity, lack of focus, disinterest, and withdrawal by the workers. In particular, this strategy will involve treating resistance as intelligence that can inform the change effort and use it to make the change more effective.
Strategies to Transition
This step involves developing new behaviors, values, and attitudes necessary to move the employees to a new level of equilibrium. Such movement can occur through the organizational structure, process changes, and development techniques (Barron, 2011). The three strategies that I will use to move the employees to embrace new attitudes and behaviors will include:
Persuading the workers to agree that the status quo is not beneficial to them and encouraging them to view the software from a fresh perspective. I will achieve this by explaining exactly how the change will affect everyone and the benefits it will bring. Also, I will relate the need for the software back to operational necessities such as the reduction of invoice and billing errors.
Connecting the views of the employees to well-respected and powerful leaders that also support the change. This will involve connecting these views to those of managers in favor of the change and have these managers avail day-to-day direction on the implementation of the software.
Working together with the employees on a quest for new and relevant information. I will attain this by generating short-term wins to reinforce the change and by providing opportunities for employee involvement.
Strategies for Refreezing
This is the final stage of crystallizing and adapting the ownership of the new "as is" by the company (Barron, 2011). It relates to the actual integration of the new attitudes and behaviors into the organization's values and traditions. Mainly, this step needs to occur after the change has been implemented for it to be sustained over time. Notably, it is highly possible that the change will be short-lived and the workers will revert to their equilibrium if this step is not taken (Barron, 2011). Thus, the aim of refreezing is to stabilize the new equilibrium resulting from the change by balancing both the driving and restraining forces. I will use the following three strategies to refreeze the employees to perpetuate the continuity of the change.
I will develop ways to sustain the use of the software. I will achieve this by ensuring support from the company's management, creating a reward system linked to the use of the software, and establishing feedback systems that facilitate monitoring and control of the change process. Also, I will attain this by reinforcing new processes and institutionalizing them through formal and informal mechanisms such as Acme Inc's policies and procedures.
I will also provide support and training to keep all employees informed and supported. This will ensure that the employees learn new software skills necessary in performing their tasks efficiently.
Celebrating success. I will achieve this by organizing public acknowledgments and celebrations to recognize teams and individuals. I will use normal company meetings as the avenue for recognition of the achievement. I will involve line managers to award these recognitions to the teams and also ensure that key sponsors and stakeholders are aware of the employees' achievements in the adoption of the software.
Barron, P. (2011). Kurt Lewin 3 Phases of Change Theory-Universally Accepted Change Management.
Post, J. E., Preston, L. E., & Sachs, S. (2002). Managing the extended enterprise: The new stakeholder view. California management review, 45(1), 6-28.
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