Change is necessary in realization of objectives in institutions. In spite of its significance, some staff tends to reject change due to the probable tension it introduces in a workplace. Tension may manifest from firing employees or introducing work shifts in the places of work. Generally, it is hard for organizations to thrive without the implementation of change initiatives when necessary. Firms that fail to implement change operate on ineffective strategies as a result of the absence of innovation and creativity. Some of the factors that raise the need for change include reorganization of business structures, change of organizational goals, and retrenchment of workers, innovation, and employment of new members of staff. The adoption of change allows administrations to pursue pragmatic opportunities and enhance productivity. Some of the major factors that facilitate resistance against change include self interest, lack of understanding, trust issues, poor communication, and lack of the required skills (Kegan & Lahey, 2013). Some of the ways that administrations can use in combating employee resistance against change include educating and communicating, negotiating, coercing, encouraging participation, and manipulating where possible. This paper uses the case study of Saudi Binladin Group in explicating on the essential tools for combating resistance to organizational change.
Summary of Saudi Binladin Group and the Need for Change
The most important aspect in managing an organization is in acknowledging the need for change. Most administrators consider scenarios that threaten the performance of organizations as necessities for change. The circumstances hinder the capability of organizations to meet their set target. Saudi Binladin Group, a construction company based in KSA encountered a case in 2015 where a crane fell on a mosque-based in Mecca, killing a total of 107 people (Slav, 2016). The incident placed the reputation of the construction giant at stake. Incidents that pose a threat to the capability of an organization to meet its set goals and objectives require the implementation of an abrupt change. The KSA based company incorporated some strategies in freezing all of its contracts. The move of slowing down construction activities in the country resulted in laying-off thousands of workers. It is a routine activity for most companies to reduce the numbers of their workforce whenever times are bad.
Cause and Signs of Resistance Against Change
The most effective way of selecting tools to combat resistance against change is considering the severity of the case at hand. An effective tool should address the case and motivate members of staff to embrace change. Major causes of resistance against change as mentioned in the case of Saudi Binladin Group include self-interest, lack of understanding, trust issues, poor communication, and lack of the required skills. Misunderstandings erupt from the provision of insufficient information during attempts of challenging the status quo. Employees that have a low tolerance to risks showed fear as their primary motivation against change. Some employees might put their interests first before the status of the organization. In addition, resistance manifests if a move of change affects their interests as opposed to the needs of the company. The consequences of employee resistance can be recognized in rebellious attitudes, hostility, negative attitudes, reduced morale, high rates of absenteeism and breakdown in the channels of communication (Senior & Swailes, 2010). Past research shows that employees of Saudi Binladin Group used to express their hostility by torching buses and demanding their compensations. Even though it is hard to eliminate resistance to change, Saudi Binladin Group incorporated numerous strategies to control it. The organization conducted a thorough analysis of the situation to ensure that the findings will guide the administration in eliminating resistance against change.
Processes the Organization Followed
The first step was to clarify the change and align it with business goals. The goal of the organization is to ascertain customer satisfaction through expertise, experience, and quality services. The case that had befallen the organization had negative implications on its reputation. Consequently, it was likely to affect the delivery of services (Slav, 2016). The move of slowing down construction services showed that that the company respects the lives of other human beings in delivering construction services. The change is in line with its goal of strong constructive structures that are likely to protect lives.
The next process was to determine the impacts of the change process. In a short time, it had adverse effects on employees and the organization. The employees will be jobless while the company's capability to make profits will be reduced. In the long run, it will stabilize the company's reputation (Slav, 2016).
The third process entailed the determination of a communication strategy. The organization relied on team leaders to disseminate the message to employees. Messages were delivered orally in the presence of change managers. Communication took a while to ensure that employees have understood.
The last step was implementation and monitoring. This step entailed the delivery of the change process to involved stakeholders. It was essential to monitor the process so that the prospected outcomes are attained (Slav, 2016).
Strategies of Combating Resistance to Organizational Change
Education and Communication
Employees tend to show resistance against change because of the administration's incapability to communicate and the unavailability of appropriate skills of managing change. Furthermore, the provision of inaccurate information in regards to change can also incite resistance (Spector, 2012). Managers in Saudi Binladin Group started by education employees on the importance of change, processes of implementation and probable effects on their duties. Even though some employees appeared risk averse and are likely to resist any move that affects their lives, the provision of education helped in inculcating trust in them. Therefore, leaders are expected to understand the reasons behind the progress of embracing change. Managers of change were honest to prepare the members of staff psychologically. Alerting employees about probable uncertainties offered reassurance to employees regarding the firm's readiness to provide support in the process of making readjustments.
The move of excluding employees from change initiatives has a high likelihood of causing resistance. Consequently, resistance can be combated by encouraging their involvement in the change process. Saudi Binladin Group involved the ideas of employees in the change process to give them a sense of belonging and a realization that they are valued. Employees are likely to be supportive of the change process if their participation is guaranteed (Burke, 2010). The involvement of the employee allowed the administration to identify weaknesses and performance gaps.
Changes that are likely to affect the livelihoods of employees require negotiation and agreement to their prospected terms (Burke, 2010). Negotiations between the leaders of employees and change managers smoothened the transition period by offering opportunities for incentives such as huge remunerations as forms of encouragement in embracing change.
Manipulation entailed the incorporation of tricks and tactics that could influence the willingness of employees to embrace change. It was done by nominating team leaders to participate in implementing changes. This approach ensured that the needs of employees are considered in instituting the prospected change (Burke, 2010).
Coercion is a useful tool in cases where other approaches need to be strengthened in implementing immediate change. The procedure was appropriate due to the unavailability of adequate time to engage in lengthy discussions in regards to the implications of the change process on their lives (Burke, 2010). Some of the techniques that change managers used in coercing employees to embrace change were promises of employee retention once everything stabilizes cancellation of compensations, and demotion. However, the approach is risky as it leads to the loss of trust, development of negative attitudes, and rebellion if misused. Notably, it should be used cautiously.
Provision of Support
In some cases, employees show resistance because of the lack of support from the administration in regards to the adjustment process (Burke, 2010). Managers of change in the case of Saudi Binladin Group promised their support to employees to eradicate fears of change and uncertainties during the transition period. The change processes, in this case, had numerous implications for the work, social lives and relationships of employees. Notably, the administrations considered counseling and training of employees. Slower employees in making adjustments received appropriate technical support services in an attempt to turn the period of transition into a smooth and successful stage.
Change is vital in ascertaining organizational success as it facilitates the attainability of goals. Even though it affects the welfare of employees, proper tools tend to control rebellious attitudes and hostility. Tools such as training, participation, support, negotiation, manipulation, and coercion are effective in managing change. The fact that the approaches worked for Saudi Binladin Group implies that can also be embraced by other organizations.
Burke, W. (2010). Organization Change: Theory and Practice. New York: SAGE.
Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. L. (2013). Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization. New York: Harvard Business Press.
Senior, B., & Swailes, S. (2010). Organizational Change. New York: Financial Times/Prentice Hall.
Slav, I. (2016). 50,000 Laid Off In Saudi Arabia As Oil Crisis Bites Deeper. Oilprice.com. Retrieved from: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/50000-Laid-Off-In-Saudi-Arabia-As-Oil-Crisis-Bites-Deeper.html
Spector, B. (2012). Implementing Organizational Change: Theory into practice. New York: Pearson.
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