Organizations have the desire to realize progress in the performance of their operations. Market competitions create a threat to the success of various companies and businesses. Implementing changes in various aspects of a firm are therefore essential to adapt to the changing market demands and persistent competition from related investment groups with similar products and services. The approach in transforming a group or a team from an initial state to a recommended future condition may, however, depend on several factors in an organization. Very few companies manage the effective steps of making changes in companies. The initiatives of change may include new technologies installation, restructuring, downsizing or altering the corporate culture. Culture is one of the main organizational constructs of change. Cultural elements of a group have significant effects in the operation of a firm and as such, also a determinant during change management plans and executions. The essay intends to assess and describe the cultural components that determine the application of transition strategies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The paper also discusses the challenges that cultural elements cause the plans of effecting transformation. Additionally, the essay intends to relay strategic recommendations for preventing and limiting the challenges that result from cultural components.
Cultural values constitute a major element of organizational changes in management. Culture determines the behavior of people in a society. Power gap in an organization would affect the adoption of new strategies of operation. Companies with a lower power distance are likely to experience positive responses to changes in management while firms with high power distance would observe management alterations easily (Pieterse, Caniels, & Homan, 2012). Avoidance of uncertainty is also a factor which can affect the acceptance of changes in the management of an organization. The stakeholders and other members of an organization have a certain level of trust in the plans and programs of a company. If the members and employees of an organization possess a higher tendency to avoid uncertainty, then the execution of change is likely to face resistance. Organizations prioritize values depending on the enculturation, social locations, personal experience and genetic heritage.
Individualism versus collectivism is a cultural value that also shapes organizational change. Collectivism describes the behavior of people as a society independently from other individuals' behavior (Hayes, 2018). On the other hand, individualism involves the character of an individual to care for themselves and probably their immediate family dependants. Collectiveness brings a sense of belonging of an individual to a certain group in the society.
Masculinity refers to the value of a society inclining towards the achievement of wealth, command and money while femininity describes the nature of individuals in a society to care for one another and as such, they embrace the excellence of life (Burke, 2017). Long-term and short-term gratification is the aspect of a society to embrace delays in the progress and attainment of social and material desires.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a common language and religion and as such, one can state that people have uniform cultural practices. Comprising of the Arab speaking people, Saudi Arabia is likely to exhibit high-uncertainty avoidance. There is also high power distance as a culture in the organization management. Majority of the companies in the region also have a culture of low masculinity with low individualism. The people moreover possess short-term orientation. The people of KSA share similar cultural values which include history, religion, and language. The character of an employee depends on three aspects which include national culture, occupational and organizational cultures. Organizational culture may experience alteration while the national culture is highly resistive to change.
Religious beliefs are additionally a determinant of the adoption of management changes in a business. Changes in management that contradict the doctrines and practices of the people of the KSA may face resistance and such have little or no success in the implementation. For instance, digital operations may possess certain aspects which are against the beliefs of the employees and as such, become difficult to implement (Nafei, 2014). The Islam faith which is dominant requires social aspects which embrace traits and virtues such as generosity and honesty. The values of Islam therefore, influence the attitude that employees have towards the operation of business and management functions. Ethnicity and language form an important component of the cultural beliefs of the people of KSA. There is a perception of cultural homogeneity. The differences in the peoples' culture may, however, exist in groups which include city residents, agriculturalists, and nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.
There are numerous reasons that make an organization to resist operational changes. Reorganization may imply changes in the status quo and interests. The loss of personal interests might be one of the core causes of change opposition. These interests could be economic-related aspects such as salary or other forms of income (Khan, Fournier-Bonilla, Jinugu, & Madhavi Lalitha, 2016). The KSA culture has low individualisms which imply that a certain number of people may fail to embrace change while others may welcome the factor where an individual sacrifices personal benefits for other groups.
Risk avoidance is entrenched in the Arab culture. The culture of uncertainty avoidance is due to traditional values and religious teachings which embrace minimal creativity that is outside their norms. Globalization and introduction of new technologies is an instance where employees of various companies are unfamiliar with the applications and as such, fear to lose their face.
Lack of trust and misunderstanding is likely to pose a challenge to the adoption of new management routines. Lack of trust may be due to the traditional belief in relation to aspects such as technological advancements that people perceive not to conform to their norms. Employees may also fail to trust new strategies due to the power distance phenomenon. The top management in organizational structures fails to engage the subordinates in planning the changes and as such, increases the chances of rebellion.
Organizations in the KSA need to choose appropriate strategies to limit or prohibit the challenges of cultural elements on management changes. Skillful applications are essential to facilitate effective changes in an organization. Managers need appropriate strategies to overcome resistance through an understanding of the advantages' and disadvantages of various techniques. The methods include communication, participation, support and facilitation, manipulation and explicit or implicit coercion.
Education and communication would reduce resistance in cases where employees or members of an organization have inadequate information about a strategic change. Communication may reduce the fears of uncertainty in relation to cultural beliefs (Sikdar & Payyazhi, 2014). Once the members are aware of the benefits of a certain proposal to change, the implementation would be successful. Educating people prepares the individuals for change as it enhances trust within the group.
The involvement and participation of stakeholders in an organization may eliminate possible objection to change management (Lane, Spector, Osland, & Taylor, 2014). This method is applicable in situations where individuals may be opposing strategic alterations due to power distance. Participation promotes the commitment of the members to enhance the execution of the plans. Major resistance may occur where there is no agreement or consensus. Negotiation gives the employees and stakeholders a sense of belonging and ownership. Agreements base on justice where the stakeholders understand the balance between their contribution and the benefits of the changes in management criteria.
Burke, W. W. (2017). Organization change: Theory and practice. Sage Publications.
Hayes, J. (2018). The theory and practice of change management.
Khan, H. U., Fournier-Bonilla, S. D., Jinugu, A., & Madhavi Lalitha, V. V. (2016, March). Possible challenges of the successful implementation of CRM in the service sector: A case study of Saudi Arabia. In Northeast Decision Sciences Institute Conference (Vol. 31).
Nafei, W. A. (2014). Assessing employee attitudes towards organizational commitment and change: The case of King Faisal Hospital in Al-Taif Governorate, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. J. Mgmt. & Sustainability, 4, 204.
Pieterse, J. H., Caniels, M. C., & Homan, T. (2012). Professional discourses and resistance to change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 25(6), 798-818.
Sikdar, A., & Payyazhi, J. (2014). A process model of managing organizational change during business process redesign. Business Process Management Journal, 20(6), 971-998.
Lane, H. W., Spector, B., Osland, J. S., & Taylor, S. (2014). Global strategic change: A synthesis of approaches. In Advances in global leadership (pp. 229-248). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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