Due to the changing circumstances within and outside the organization, it is common to tweak operations or undergo a dramatic change to survive. Some of the factors that result in needed change may be unprecedented, while others can be deliberate. Some of the factors that necessitate change are technological transformations, financial turmoil, and new regulations. Conceivably, implementing a change of any kind in an organization setting may have many unintended consequences, which if not coordinated well, may cripple operations completely. One way of aligning the organization with change is to establish a sustainability framework that integrates behavioral science principles on dynamic optimal functionality and effectiveness of organizations. Back clashes in organizational change such as high employee turnover, difficulty in overcoming financial challenges, and reduced employee motivation indicate that immediate measures be taken to foster a smooth transition. Addressing organizational realities that impede or frustrate implementation of change requires that the specific bottlenecks be identified then addressed conclusively.
Identification of the Specific Barriers to Change
Employee dissatisfaction, equipment failure, and high employee turnover rate are signs of severe underlying difficulties that need to be properly identified for deliberate resolution. The principles of strategic organizational change require that successful implementation of a change process be encompassing, elaborate, and involving all stakeholders (Hughes, 2018). It is anticipated that change in any form means a transition from one way of doing things to the next. The possible reservations, indifferences, uncertainties, and anxiety of every agent of change must be identified. The identification of the barriers should focus on the immediate agents of change and their environments since they hold a crucial role in implementing the order. While the obstacles are varied, they often arise from the agents of change (human resource) or the facilitation of change (processes, systems, or technology).
The lack of proper planning is a primary barrier to the successful implementation of change. Every organization, even the least established ones, have some form of the chain in which operations occur (Hughes, 2018). Lack of planning prevents a systematic understanding of what needs to be done. A plan tests the adaptability of the new order to the existing one to bridge the possible gaps. Without proper planning, roles for change remain undefined, timelines unclear, and slowdown on operations become rife (Rieder, 2017). Ideally, employees are more supportive of changes that they lobby for as opposed to those that come from the top-level management or third parties. Since the employees do not identify with the proposed adjustment, their morale drops. Low employee morale quickly manifests in resistance to change, dissatisfaction, and failure to implement the necessary measures to realize the required outcomes.
An organization does not necessarily exist as a homogenous unit in which every player agrees with whatever is being undertaken at a particular time. This means that their perception of change can either be positive or negative. Failure to consolidate all perspectives and create consensus can adversely affect the process of executing change and slow down the operations (Rieder, 2017). While change decisions arise from top-level management, it needs to be diffused to the lower cadre employees to identify with it. Failure to have a substantial onboard a decision to create change means that the weight of dissenting stakeholders thwarts the anticipated end. The exclusion of employees or actors in the chain of executing change can be characterized as a communication failure. Communication failure implies the deliberate overlooking of actors, failure to persuade them towards the course or adamance to consider their perspectives.
Another critical source of a barrier to change is the technology. While change execution requires supporting infrastructure, perceived or actual lack of such reduces the chances of success (Hughes, 2018). Outdated technology that cannot be adaptive to the new ways imposes logistical challenges on the change agents. When the employees, who are supposed to implement the change, do not trust existing technology to achieve the desired end, they frustrate it or opt-out.
Interventions for a Successful Change
The executives need to create a sense of urgency among the existing employees. The urgency in this sense denotes exposition that the intended change is worthwhile and is not only for the benefit of the organization but also to themselves. Ideally, a change of any kind presents leaning pints which are essential for employees' career development. It behooves the leaders to explain the imminent crisis which the change is intended to overcome (Kotter & Cohen, 2014). In this case, a financial crisis is so severe that it necessitates a turnabout in virtually every aspect of the organization. With properly articulated urgency, the organization is likely to sustain the workforce's energetic cooperation, thus minimizing their resignation. When the need is created, and employees' perceptions are aligned, it is necessary to mobilize a coalition that can adequately champion the change integration in their various levels of work (Hughes, 2018). The executives need to define what roles each employee is supposed to play in the broader scheme of change. Such a redistribution of tasks should be cognisant of the abilities of each change agent.
In collaboration with the employees, the executives should craft a clear strategic vision and delimit the initiatives needed to realize the change. The underpinning for this is that transformation is not an event but a long-ranging process which must be broken down into smaller, more specific initiatives or activities (Kotter & Cohen, 2014). The vision which encapsulates the particular actions should be clear, feasible, communicable, and adaptive. In hindsight, the executives need to identify the specific limitations within its system, which need to be corrected so that the change is seamless (Kotter & Cohen, 2014). This process of eliminating barriers includes the procurement of suitable technologies, employee training, and team building.
Adopting the organization to a drastic change should involve long-ranging piecemeal adjustments. These intermediate changes are short term wins, which confirm to the change leaders and executors that the anticipated outcomes are likely to be achieved (Hughes, 2018). Creating such short term wins makes the results visible, recognizable, and accomplishable. Along the process of implementing change, it is crucial to identify the opportunities where early achievements are imminent (Kotter & Cohen, 2014). This also encourages the participants to remain on course. The results from such short term successes should not be ambiguous but easy to relate with. Based on early achievements, it is vital to establish safeguarded in terms of favorable policies, systems, and structures that incentivize sustainability. Such interventions infuse change into the organizational culture, limiting the possibility of a fallout between the change leaders (executives) and the lower cadre employees.
Hughes, M. (2018). Managing and leading organizational change. Routledge.
Kotter, J. P., & Cohen, D. (2014). Change Leadership: The Kotter Collection (5 Books). Harvard Business Review Press.
Rieder, A. K. (2017). Employee Reactions to Organizational Change. How Change Agents can Overcome Resistance to Change (Vol. 2415). GRIN Verlag.
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