Changes in Business Strategies

Changes in political, economic, technological and social envoriments enforce businesses to change their strategies, processes and procedures even sometimes corporate structures in order to compete with the rivals, to be successful in business and to make maximum profits. On the other hand employees can resist change in the begining as they feel that the change will become loss of statu, loss of pay and loss of comfort and maybe dicreasing income level for them in such circumstances. It is purely a psychological concern only. Some of these responses may be positive and some others may be negative. if they are told clearly about change early and given clear options to chose from, they would be more positive about the change. On the other hand. In the same way, people who areaccustomed to a particular style of working will find it very difficult to change their way of working and they do resist such changes. However, there are ways to minimize the negative effects of the changes by individual employees.

The purpose of this paper is to describe and classify resistance types and reasons by emplooyess, soon afterwards examine the various approaches that can show us how to reduce resistance. The paper will also support these approaches with case studies.

Fundamentally, to reduce and overcome resistance need to understand its reasons and reasons why people resist change in organizations are based on and relevant with the change process. The change process consits of four stages and they are awareness which tell the employees why these changes are contemplated and what is theresult anticipated. Understanding, in what way the changes contemplated would affectthe job, role and responsibilities of the employees. Acceptance, what type of support andtraining the employees would get, consequent to the changes contemplated and finanly commitment, involvement to increase both bottom line and top line of the business

The first reason that people resist is coming from first stage of change process which is understanding. Employees resist the change because they do not understand. They simply do not follow what you are talking about. They do not have the back ground. They do not understand where you are going. They don't understand how you are planning the get there. The second reason people resist change is that they do not have the time to engage with the change. They can not both change and handle their current accountabilities. Focusing their energy on the change activity puts them at risk on meeting their required accountabilities. The third reason that people resist is because they do not have the competencies to do what they have to do in the new world. It makes sense for people to resist under those circumstances when participating in the new process simply serves to demonstrate that they are not competent. The last reason people resist is because they do not share the values drive the change. This essentially means that they think you are wrong to initate it. They believe that the “change” is wrong. The only thing you can do in those circumstances is exit them quickly from the organization. They have no choice but to resist you strongly in order to preserve their self esteem

According to George, J. & Jones, G. we can call the resistance by individual employees like individual-level resistance and break down it 3 groups, such as uncertainty and insecurity, selective perception and retention, and habit. As a result of resistance, uncertainty and insecurity, take place. Because employees do not know what the proceeds of the change will be. The situations caused bychanges will trigger the psychological responses such as safety and security. Selective perception and retention occurs when employees direct attention to how the change will affect their position, their titles, or them personally. Furthermore employees have habits as a every human-being and are comfortable in their daily habits and do not want to modif them due to change.

Moreover, employees, in order to protect themselves tactic argumentative, distractivon and avoidant (Brown, 2007). According to Brown, “some employees will aggressively challenge the necessity for change. This is a time waster, which prevents critical objectives from being met. A distracted individual can undermine the change effort by not being present physically or mentally when his or her critical input is needed. Not being mindful of change creates an unnecessarily difficult experience for every member of the team. Such carelessness calls to mind the wasted energy expended when one runs against the wind. Often avoidant members will sabotage the change effort by being unavailable for meetings, denying resources, or withholding feedback.”

Emplooyess may show their resistance to change in different ways and the resistance would be in passive, active and aggressive way. According to Bolognese, passive resistance refers to negative feelings and opinions regarding the change. Signs of passive resistance may include "agreeing verbally but not following through, feigning ignorance and withholding information".Active resistance refers to actively opposing the change. Signs of active resistance may include strikes or increased absenteeism. Aggressive Resistance is relevant to behavior that actually blocks the change. Signs of aggressive resistance may include subversion or sabotage.

Once identified process, reasons and types of change, now time to look at several strategies that can be used to reduce and overcome resistance to change within the organization. Resistance can be countered with education and communication (Kotter, 2007). Management mustexplain why the change is needed, identify the benefits of the change to individuals and departments, and be willing to answer all questions as they arise. Topics regarding the change that must be covered are why, what, when, where, and how (Woldring, 2004 ). Communication between management and employees can occur in the form of discussion groups, memos, formal reports, scheduled meetings, one-on-one meetings, etc.
The final step to education and communication is often overlooked. This step is verification of the message received. Employees should be asked to repeat the message they received, and management should compare the message received with the message management intended to send. If there is a discrepancy between the message received and the message sent, then management should repeat the message until employees state a message received that matches the message sent (Woldring). This step helps ensure understanding. Education and communication is virtually useless without understanding. At all stages of the change process, it is advisable to seek areas for agreement. In the first step, the manager's response has to be “communication”. The change has to explained to them “Why”. Remember the effectiveness of a communication is not a function of the “message sent” but of the “message received”. Make sure you get them to repeat the message they received. See how it aligns with the message you sent. If there is any discrepancy, communicate again. Check the message received again. You may have to repeat this cycle 3 to 7 times before you are sure that message sent message received. In the second step, people are smart when they resist being put in this situation. The manager has to address the task management issue. Lighten their workloads so they can participate in the change. Re-prioritize their work so that they are not caught in the dilemna. Do not expect people to have the energy to change when this means failing on the tasks for which they are accountable.

The first thing that a manager has to work out is whether or not the resisting individuals have the ability to acquire the new knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors. If the answer to that is ”no”, then you have to help them make not a awkward exit from the organization. You are the one indicating the change. They are caught in between a rock and a hard place. Even if they want to participate in the change, they know it will have a negative influence on the way that you see and evaluate them. It is a lose-lose situation not of their own initiation like a win-win. You have to take on the responsible of determining what it takes to make the exit graceful and carry through on it. If the answer is “yes”, then you have to decide if you are going to put on them and give them the resource they need to acquire the new competencies. Once again if you conclude not to invest, you have to help the resisters make a graceful exit from the organization. You have initiated the change. You have decided that you will not a manager's short pioneer on resistance to change in organizations invest in them even though you judge that they are capable of learning what it takes to function in the new world. You bear the responsibility for helping them deal with it. If you do decide to invest, then you in fact have to invest. This process requires some very severe face-to-face conversations with people. You have to set understanable targets for “what”, “by when” and “how made evident”. These should be a grey dialogues, not a blakc or white. They are different from person to person. As well, you have to enter the dialogue undertaking that it will be carried out as “Adult to Adult”. People have different capabilities to do this, often for reasons they do not with awareness understand.

According to Speck, adult learning theory supports the need to tarvel through messages that are felt, seen and heard. By seeking general accord, acknowledging issues, and communicating effectively, organizations can meet resistance without failing. In spite of that, there will be individuals who cannot function in a changed organization. These men and women will always feel personal compact with the employer has been broken (Spcek, 1996) .When change occurs, the relationship ("personal compact") between employers and employees suffer. This "personal compact" has three prongs - formal, social, and psychological.

In accord with Speck's personal compact first step the formal compact consist of captures basic tasks and performance requirements as defined by company documents such as job descriptions, employment contracts, and performance agreements. The psychological compact, incorporates feelings such as trust and dependence between employee and employer, which is the foundation of an employee's personal commitment to individual and company objectives. The social compact: Includes employees' perceptions about the culture of the organization and their chances for success. Change destabilizes the foundation upon which the employer/employee relationship ("personal compact") is built. It is this uncomfortable shift in organizational dynamics (social, formal and psychological) that causes resistance to change, not simply the launch of new ideas or different ways of conducting business.

Managing change means supervising people's fear. People's reaction to change is often unstable and illogical. Employee resistance to change comes from a fear of the unknown or an anticipation of loss. The front-end of employee resistance to change is how they perceive the change. The back-end of employee resistance to change is how well they are provided to deal with the change they expect.

Furthermore, for reducing resistance there are some more tecniques such as commitment which means from above to the below, every employee must be promissed to the change plan. That commitment begins at the top; therefore the organization's leadership must be especially addapted to successful implementation. One who says no on the leadership team can ruin the internal process. Change can not be a choice. With gentle respect it must be made clear that change is not an contract, it is a requirement. Anyone who will be affected by the impending changes must be given the opportunity to voice his or her opinion in a regardful and rules settingby collegaus.

Every person affected by the change program must be held responsible for implementing his or her individual change activity. Not meeting that responsibility must carry consequences. Successful implementation should be acknowledged via compensation and/or recognition. The organization as a whole should commemorate the successful implementation of the change program as well. Examining the success of the implementation at planned intervals is a strategic decision designed to gauge success over time and make corrections for unanticipated consequences.

One method of increasing a worker's sense of value to the system is to break down large organizational structures into smaller teams where by individuals are fooled into thinking that their feedback is not only being heard, but implemented. It is the reduction of that feeling among workers that everyone is merely another meaningless and replaceable gear in the larger piece of machinery that is seen by management and the higher-ups as a vital step toward reducing the natural resistance to wholesale organization change that many employees feel. That deserving feeling of showing up at work one day only to realize that things are nothing like they were when you were hired three or four years ago is the ultimate result of this collective accession toward what they view as labor's ignorant inability to appreciate wholesale change instituted-usually-just for the sake of showing shareholders that change is taking place. The way this arrogant system works is that management takes the approach that laborers need to feel not only that they are being allowed to communicate their views, but also that they are actually being consulted because their views have meaning.

Overlooking any one of the items above reduces the chance of successfully implementing a change program.

To make more sense, it will help to look a couple of international companies change programs implementing methods and understanding reduce resistance to change;

According to report about BP Retrieved November ( 2008), BP is a company that has transformed its organizational model from a traditional model into a transformed model because they have learned to be dissimilar and expand all over the world bringing new innovative ideas and technology to a new generation of customers. BP moved on to find and harness natural gas and today they are working on many new technologies such as wind and solar power. As the desire for clean and renewable fuel sources arose in the world's economy so did the need to discover new ways to bring people power. BP is continuing to bring cutting edge technology and energy sources to the world and their future endeavourers look brighter than ever (BP, 2008). During the 1970s, BP suffered a major loss in profits and work because the Middle- Eastern countries began nationalizing their oil. This caused BP to lose 70% (BP, 2008) of its oil supply from the Middle East which affected jobs and organizational strategies. As the future of BP was beginning to look grim, oil was discovered in other regions around the world like Alaska and Scotland which gave the company new hope but bigger obstacles. Now the company had to figure out how to get the oil in these regions to refineries to be made into gasoline. New engineering and technology had to be used in order for the company to stay in business and transform their organizational model. In order for BP to succeed at the business transition it was necessary for them to create new ideas, bring in new personalities, research new technology and skills, and diversify the company. BP's transition would have never been possible if it were not for the knowledge of the latest technology and engineering. The company had to learn how to find oil and process it without losing profit and without making environmentalist angry. BP needs to find people who are good at researching chemicals and alternative sources of energy such as wind, solar, and water. BP needs to ensure that their future will be secure so strong support systems need to be in place such as funding, popular support, supply and demand, and a strong relationship with investors and land owners.

General Motors was divided into different independent automakers; Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, and Pontiac. Each independent automaker was operated differently and competing with each other. The competition among its own independent automakers and lack of centralization was costly! (Taylor, 2004) This transformation drastically changed the diverse workforce at General Motors. The staff, including management, at General Motors had to learn a central set of skills; for example, each independent auto maker was using different computer software causing inter-corporation communication to be difficult and sometimes impossible. The staff at General Motors all had to learn a central software program; this included all General Motors global offices as well. This was a large undertaking but in the end communication was more productive and easier! General Motors engineers also had to centralize and learn each other's methods of design and engineering. Staff needed to learn to communicate and work as a team not as individuals completing a particular piece of the puzzle. (Taylor, 2004) General Motors had to put support systems in place to assure the changes were successfully implemented. The Automotive Strategy Board, a management committee, was established to keep General Motors's CEO informed of the on goings of the corporation. Monthly meetings were established and attendance was mandatory; global offices attended these meeting via phone. All the heads of regional operations would utilize these meetings to inform the CEO of the progress of the transformation. These meetings enabled all the staff to be on the same page and working towards the same goals; another attribute of the transformed organizational model. (Taylor, 2004)

Mayne, the company has evolved from one of Australia's largest transport operators to become a successful provider of health care products and services. Mayne Nickless Limited was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange on June 30, 1962. The company was renamed Mayne Group Limited in November 2000, enhancing its visibility in the marketplace to better reflect its broad, national health care and logistics operations. Peter Smedley was fired because of his wrong review and misguided strategy bringing Mayne to become worse than it was before. As problems were still not fixed and yet it became worse and was badly underperforming, in October 2003, Mayne sold its hospital business to Affinity Health. With the sale of its hospital business, Mayne could concentrate on its core business rather than diversifying. Mayne's problem and its causes it was mostly because of wrong management structure implemented. According to Barnwell, "employee alienation is the distance an employee feels between themselves and their work". In his article, Stewart wrote that "Investors fretted about the increased cost of executing the about-face in Mayne's centralisation strategy, which alienated local doctors and prompted them to divert patients to other ``friendly hospitals'' as beds became available." The doctors and nurses in Mayne feels alienated in which they did not have control on issues that matter to them and even they need to report expenditures above $2000 to be ratified on the head office in Melbourne. As a result, doctor's referred their patients away to rival hospitals causing huge revenue losses to Mayne. For the first half year, analysts and stakeholders actually thought that the new management style was working as the hospital beds are full but actually in fact, it was because of increased market demand in which doctors have no choice but to refer them to Mayne but after the demand ceased, doctors started to refer their patients away as the alienation continues.

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