Culture and Process of Change (Organizational Change)

Creating Culture for Change

According to some OB (Organization Behavior) scholars, a culture for the change should be created. Culture for the change can be created with the help of following two approaches:

1. Stimulating a Culture of Innovation 

An innovation is a new idea that applies in initiating or improving a product, process or service. Although there is no guaranteed formula, certain characteristics surface repeat when researchers study innovative organizations. These can be grouped as structural, cultural and human resources categories. Change agents should consider introducing these characteristics into their organization to create an innovative climate. 

2. Creating a Learning Organization 

Creating a learning organization is another approach that is used to facilitate or develop climate for the organizational change. Learning organization is an organization that has developed the continuous capacity to adopt the change. All organizations learn for their sustained existence in a competitive business environment. A learning organization has following characteristics on the basis in which climate for the organizational change can be created: 
  • People openly communicate with each other (across vertical and horizontal boundaries) without fear of criticism or punishment.
  • People sublimate their personal self-interest and fragmented departmental interests to work together to achieve the organization's shared vision.
  • People discard their old ways of thinking and the standard routines they use for solving problems or doing their jobs.
  • There exists a shared vision that everyone agrees on.
  • Members think of all organizational process, activities, functions and interactions with the environment as part of a system of interrelationship.

Process or Steps of Change 

Organization must maintain a viable relationship with a changing environment. To achieve long term viability, an organization must turn out good performance by managing changes in the environment intelligently. Modern organizations are learning to cope with changes. They are beginning to realize the importance of managing change in a planned way. Generally speaking, management of change involves a series of steps which is shown in the following figure.
process of change
1. Recognition of the Forces Demanding Change 

The first step in the management of change is the recognition of forces necessitating change urgently or over a period of time. Forces may be internal or external. External changes include changing technological levels, changing market situations, changing products, changing consumer tastes and preferences etc. Internal forces comprise launch of a new product mix, erection of a separate departmental unit, etc. All forces certainly do not demand change. At least some require careful attention from management. The concerned manager should find out the discrepancy between what is and what should be. He should also find out the real forces demanding change. 

2. Identifying the Need for Change 

There are many forces, many demands for change but all changes may not be important and possible. Therefore, management must try to analyze the reasons of demand for change accurately. In this connection, the help of external consultant or unconnected internal staff may be sought for objective analysis of the causes demanding change. In any way, management must come to know the need for change and its true causes. 

3. Diagnosis of the Problem 

Diagnosis leads to locating the specific problem areas and identifying of the source of problem/s. It also enables a manager to know which activities need further improvement and systematization. A manager may use various diagnostic techniques such as interviews, questionnaires, present observations, etc. Diagnosis helps the change agent to see what changes are needed in the structure, system or in people. Actually, the initial diagnostic focus of a manager is on the organizations variables rather than on the psychology of individuals. 

4. Planning the Change 

Change can be made from one of (or all of, or some of) the four ways – change in structure, change in task, change in people, change in technology. A change agent has to consider the following points during the planning phase: 
  • He should be in a position to convince the members of the benefits of payoffs from change and also alerts them to the negative consequences and adverse effects in the absence of change.
  • He should select appropriate strategy - whether to change structure or people or technology or task. Normally all the changes include the change in behavior of people.
  • He should try to involve the subordinates in decision-making.
  • He should enlighten the need for change to the organizations participants.

5. Implementation of Change

The next step in the process of change is to implement the change plan successfully. While implementing change, the change agent encounters resistance from members of organization. Research supports the view that creating and implementing change is more difficult than planning the change. In addition to the problem of resistance, manager also confronts the problem of control. Change disrupts normal course of events and during change, it is quite likely that organizations lose control and many activities easily. 

6. Feedback

To ensure smooth implementation of change in the given direction, it is necessary to make review and evaluation of progress made regarding implementation of change. Without proper feedback, management of change is rendered incomplete and useless. A manager or change agent must compare the standards present during the pre-change period with actual performance after implementing the change and ensure whether the change has been fruitful or wasteful.

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Comparative Public Administration (CPA)

Comparative Public Administration is the theory of public administration applied to diverse culture and national settings and the body of factual data, by which it can be examined and tested. Comparative Administrative Group (CAG) was created in 1960 with the objectives of increasing the volume of research, improving teaching materials and stimulating the formulation and implementation of effective public policies.

It stresses the comparative analysis of system of public administration. Similarly, it also emphasizes on comparison as a method of study to better describe and evaluate the different administrative system of various nations with diverse ecological settings.

Factors of Comparative Public Administration (CPA) 

  • Revisionist movement in comparative politics 
  • The emergence of newly independent nations
  • Extension of American foreign aid program to third world countries
  • Exposure of the visiting American Administrative team to the diverse administrative system

Definitions of CPA 

  • At macro level
Comparative Public Administration is concerned with public administration in all countries. 

  • At micro level
Comparative Public Administration deals with comparing and contrasting different administrative agencies, jurisdiction, technique and administrators in a single nation. It may also take into consideration the description and analysis of societies widely in time from that under immediate consideration. 

According to Robert Jackson, "CPA can be defined as that facet of the study of Public Administration which is concerned with making rigorous cross-cultural comparisons of the structures and processes involved in activity of administering public affairs." 

According to Riggs, CPA is characterized by the following three trends.
  • A shift from normative to empirical studies.
  • A shift from Idiographic (concentrates on area studies and case studies) to nomothetic (seeks generalizations, laws, hypothesis that assert regularities of behavior, correlations between variables) studies
  • A shift in the focus from non-ecological (administrative system as abstract entities to be examined apart from environmental influence) to ecological studies.

Purposes of CPA 

  • to learn the distinctive features of a particular system of systems.
  • to explain the factors responsible for the differences in bureaucratic behavior.
  • to understand the strategies of administrative reform. 

Significance of CPA 

  • Cross-cultural and cross-national
  • It made to understand diverse administrative system in the world.
  • It helps to explain differences in the behavior of bureaucracies in different countries and made easy to generalize.
  • It is helpful to identify the various cultural, political and social factors that are involved in success or failure of administrative program in a country.
  • It is empirical. Therefore, it is helpful to identify bottleneck and suggest solutions.
  • It also identify whether the administrative practices in one country are applicable to other countries. 

Criticism of CPA 

  • American bias
  • Shifting own better values and norm by others
  • Indigenous vs Exogenous alternatives
  • Appointment of foreign consultants

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Approach to Overcome Resistance to Change

Change is a quite complex process. It is the nature of people that nobody instantly becomes ready to change. Resistance to change is the most baffling problem, which the manager has to face.

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The following approaches or techniques are commonly employed by managers in order to overcome resistance to change. 

1. Education and Communication

The useful technique is to educate the employee who resists to change. The concerned manager should clearly explain what the change is, why it is likely to be introduced and why the changes is required. Likewise, they should give special focus to enhance the employee skill. For e.g. give basic computer training, interpersonal development, capacity building and so fourth. 

In other words, the useful technique of overcoming resistance to change is to educate the people who resist change about the advantages of introducing change and the limitations of not having it. The management mostly educates people about the need and objectives of change.
overcome resistance to change

2. Participation and Involvement 

Participation helps to give people involved in the organizational change a feeling of importance. It makes people feel that the organization needs their opinions and ideas and is unwilling to go ahead without taking them into account. Those people who are directly affected by the change should be given opportunity to participate in that change before the final decisions are reached. This technique calls for a dialogue with the resistors and allow them to participate in the change program. Participation ensures commitment from members. It also creates psychological ownership. 

3. Facilitation and Support 

Another approach to overcome resistance to change is to facilitate and provide support to the employees. This includes providing training in new skills, or giving employees time off after a demanding period of change. Similarly, manager can give emotional support by simply listening to the employees. The change agent listens to the subordinates, provides emotional support and gives training and skills to cope with the change. The agent through emotional support helps the resistors to adjust to the new demands. 

4. Negotiation and Agreement 

Another approach to deal with resistance to change is to negotiate to reach to an agreement for accepting a change. It means that management buys the acceptance of change with incentives. For example, management could offer the union a higher wage or no-layoff contract in return for a change in work procedure or a manager could be given an attractive job assignment if he accepts the change. When the group is resisting change in a strong way, negotiation and agreement will be helpful. The change agent offers incentives to resistors under this method in order to tackle the resistance problem. 

Negotiation particularly deals with a group of powerful individual who resists to change. For this specific reward package can be used to deal with a powerful individual. However, it increases the cost of organization but it is assumed that if powerful individuals are ready to avoid resistance to change, s/he convinced rest of his team mates.

5. Manipulation and Cooperation 

Manipulation is a way to decrease resistance to change. It involves selectively using information and events so as to have some desired effect on employees. For example, a manager may tell another manager "to look at the proposal as I've already gotten the potential go-ahead at the corporate level." Similarly, cooperation involves giving individuals a meaningful role in designing and implementing change programs. When all other techniques have failed, manipulation is usually resorted to by the change agent. 

6. Explicit or Implicit Coercion 

Under this approach, manager may use explicit or implicit coercion or force to handle the resistance to change. Manager may force employees to accept the change by threading with the loss of job, promotion, pay raises, incentives and big projects and so on. The change agent threatens the resistors with the loss of job, or status or promotion possibilities etc. or by actually firing or transferring them.

Last on the list suggests tactics is coercion. The organization as a last resort, can apply direct threats on the resistors to make them ready accept the proposed change. Threats of transfer, loss of promotion, negative performance evaluation, and dis-satisfactory recommendation are the example of coercion.

To sum up, though there are various ways to reduce resistance to change. Thus, above all, consensus, involvement and ownership should be encouraged for overcoming resistance to change.

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Reasons for Resistance to Change (Organizational Change)

Many people and organizations resist to change. Generally employees or individual and management or organization resist to change. Some of the possible reason for why people and organization resist change are as follows:

resistance to change

I. Resistance by the Employees or Individuals 

Individual is considered as the main source of resistance to change due to their perception, personalities and needs, because of the following reason individual resist the change. Individual employees or the trade union generally resist change for the following reason: 

1. Inconvenience or Love for Status Quo 

The introduction of a change in doing a job may disrupt the normal routine of employees. Thus, any change that interferes with the normal work routine is generally inconvenient and is resisted. 

2. Fear of Uncertainties 

Employees perform their job in a normal routine. They are aware of their duties, responsibilities and superior's behavior. Any change may create some uncertainties in the minds of the employees. Employees tend to speculate what would be their new roles and responsibilities and how their superiors will respond to them. Such uncertainties may result in some resistance to change. 

3. Fear of Economic Loss

These include the fear of technological unemployment, fear of reduced work hours and consequently less pay after change, fear of demotion and low wages, obsolesce of skills, etc. Whenever people sense that new machinery pass a threatening challenge for their existence, they resist change. For example, many managers in today’s industries are resisting the introduction of computers. Further, when people perceive any psychological degradation of the job that they are performing, they simply try to maintain status quo and resist change. 

Any change that creates a feeling of fear of economic loss among employees is likely to generate resistance to change. Change may create fear of economic loss due to the following reasons. 
  • Fear of lay-off or retrenchment or termination from the job.
  • Fear of reduced job opportunities due to change in technology.
  • Fear of wage cuts or reduced incentives.
  • Fear of demotion and consequently low monetary benefits and status.
  • Fear of more work-load due to automation and reduced monetary benefits.
  • For all or some of the reasons of fear, employees resist change. 

4. Social Displacement

Change often results in disturbance of the existing social relationships. People in work organizations develop some sort of information relationships and any change breaking these relationships will be strongly resisted. Group pressure also brings about resistance to change in individuals. 

By working with each other employees develop certain patterns of social relations. They feel comfortable in communication and interaction with certain persons. This comfort makes work more enjoyable and helps to develop friendships. Any change in structure, technology or personnel may disrupt these social relations. Hence employees resist change. 

5. Fear of Obsolescence of Skills 

The knowledge is exploding at a fast rate. As a result, knowledge is any field that may become obsolete. When employees feel that the introduction of new technology in place of old one poses a threat of replacing them, they resist such change quickly and violently. For instance, when employees have fear of being phased out of their job by automation, or computerization they resist such change. In cases, when job security is at stake, even a minor change in policy and procedure may evoke resistance to change. 

6. Habits

Once we become habituated on anything, it will be difficult to change that habit. As human beings, we are creatures of habit. Changes in old work habits create resistance. Employees tend to respond in accustomed work. 

Every human being has his own habits. Habits are hard to break. They are sometimes serious constraints to change. Learning a new method of performing a job becomes difficult due to the habits. Hence, most employees do resist change due to their habits that have been developed over the years. 

7. Fear of Loss of Power

Employees may fear loss of job security, reduction in pay and increase in workloads. The cost of change may be higher than benefits of change. Sometimes, change may erode the power of the employees. They may lose some power and influence. Apart from it, the change may force to accept new power position. To enjoy new power position, they may be required to establish new relationship which may be in the time being difficult. Hence, employees resist change. 

8. Lack of Understanding / Clarification 

Some people resist change because they do not understand the nature of the change. It happens due to the lack of clarification or gap of communication. Hence, every person takes or understands the change in his own way. Some persons take the change as an indication of their poor performance on the job while some others may assume that their position would soon be abolished. Some others may take it as a measure of punishment for some personal reasons. Thus, lack of clarifications about the nature of change invites resistance from the employees. 

II. Resistance by the Management or Organization 

Organization itself is another source for resistance to change. Many times, the resistance to change is initiated by the organization as a whole or by the top management. Following are the main reasons for organizational resistance.

1. Resource Transfer or Reallocation

Organizational change usually invoices a huge expenditure and sufficiency of resource usually in a major constraint. In such a situation, change is resisted by the departmental heads and employees. This is true, when government forces the organizations to introduce certain technological, organizational or social changes but does not provide adequate human and physical resources, the organizations oppose such changes. Similarly when trade unions pressurize management to introduce certain changes for the safety, welfare and comforts of the employees, the management put resistance to such changes for lack of availability of funds. 

Sometimes, a change requires transfer of resources from one department to anther department. In other words, resources are reallocated to departments for implementing the change. Any department getting lesser or reduced allocation of resources than in the past would resist the change. 

2. Organization Structure

Some organizational structure has built in mechanism for resistance to change. For instance, in a typical bureaucratic structures when chain of command is clearly spelled out, authority, responsibilities and duties are clearly defined, flow of information is stressed through proper, channel and the entire pattern is highly mechanistic and rigid, and any changes in the organization structure or pattern would either be possible or strongly reputed. 

Some organizational structure has built-in mechanism for resistance to change. For instance, in a typical bureaucratic structure, where chain of command is clearly spelled out, authority, responsibilities and duties are clearly defined, flow of information is stressed through proper channel and the entire pattern is highly mechanistic and rigid and any change in the organizational structure or pattern would either be impossible or strongly refuted.

3. Non-cooperation or Threat by Experts 

Sometimes, a change results in the transfer of responsibility to perform a specialized task to a new individual or group of experts. The expert person or group loosing the responsibility for performance may resist the proposed change. Moreover, if the change is to be affected through the cooperation of those loosing experts, it would even be more difficult to affect the change successfully. 

4. Fear of Increase in Responsibility 

Sometimes, a change may result in increase in responsibility of managers. In such a situation, managers may oppose the change. 

5. Threat to Power and Influence

Managers occupying top, key and prestigious positions resist change when they perceive that the change may thereafter affect their position, power or influence. Introduction of new technology, reshuffling in organizations structure (levels, departments, authority or responsibility) or reallocation of resources may disrupt the existing power relationship and may adversely affect some of the top executives. They initiate resistance in order to safeguard their interest by maintaining status quo. 

6. Fear of Loss of Investment

In case when organizations have invested a huge capital in their permanent assets and training of employees, they are afraid of their capital being sunk, if they introduce a new technology. 

7. Group Inertia 

Sometimes, long standing group norms or group inertia may resist the change. In such a situation, an attempt to change the job of one individual is opposed by all group members. 

8. Chain of Effects

Sometimes, one change may lead to a series of changes. For instance, change in the data processing technique in accounting department may require change in data processing technique in all the departments. If the other departments are not willing to change, change in accounting department cannot be implemented.

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