This paper would look at the change element of Northampton Business School (NBS) wishing to facilitate training of professional courses such as Project In a controlled environment (Prince2) and Information Technology Infrastructural Library (ITIL) centre within the Northampton Business school (NBS,) its impact on the school, staff and looking at the ways of implementing this change. It would also have some academic underpinning with some theoretical ‘lens' in order to clearly understand how this change would impact and implemented.
Change in organisation is ‘normal' and comes as a respond to external or internal forces (Leifer, 1989) and mostly seen as to improve performance (Luecke, 2003). However, writers like Burnes (2004), Clackson and Rieley (2001), have argued that change is important to every organisation for its continuous growth and development.
There are three conventional elements of change thus envisioning, implementing and dealing with the reaction or impact of change to the organisation (Paper and Wang, 2005).
Analysis and Impact
Wider environment factors such as business and societal dynamics creates new and emergency policies that organisation often response to (White, 2000). These factors can either lead to big or small change (Bamford and Forrester, 2003). For example, the wide acknowledgement and use of Prince2 and ITIL framework in organisation to manage their projects have given rise to NBS to think strategically of having a training centre to be able to train professional for the certifications.
Change according to (Price, 2009), can be classified as incremental, discontinuous, continuous incremental, smooth incremental bumpy incremental developmental and punctuated equilibrium. This classification has been used by Burnes (2004), Grundy (1993), Leake (2003), and Senior (2002) in various different ways.
Change can also be classified by how it came about (Burnes, 2004) . According to Burnes (2004), change in organisation can be planned, emergent or by choice. However, Senior (2002), argues that change can only be either one of the two that is planned or emergent. NBS approach to change has it characteristics of attempting to elaborate reasons for the change (Bamford and Forrester, 2003), knowing the diverse stages of the change (Eldrod II and Tippett, 2002). However, Lewin (1946 in Burnes, 2004), who is the “founder” of the planned change framework, argues that for the change to be planned, it must go through three stages of 'unfreezing' the current stage, advancing to the new stage and ‘refreezing' the new stage. In theory, it proposes the abandonment of old processes behaviour and culture (Bamford and Forrester, 2003), though this is not in the case of NBS. The proposed change in the NBS appears to have some elements of a planned approach and of developmental incremental nature as discussed above. This approach has suffered some drawbacks in argument such as favouring only incremental or small scaled change (Senior 2002, Burnes 2004, Eldrod II and Tippet 2002). Also it assumes that operational conditions in the organisation is stable or constant whiles in reality they are fast and dynamic (Bamford and Forrester, 2003). In planned approach, it's also assumed that all stakeholders are interested and willing to work with the project.
Emergent approach is a bottom-up approach rather than a top bottom approach as seen in Planned Approach (Hayes, 2007; Burnes,2004; Bamford and Forrester, 2003). The process of emergent change is rapid and sometimes difficult for change manager to efficiently recognise the cause, plan and implement change solutions as responses (Hirst and Taylor, 2001). Bamford and Forrester (2003), argues that emergent approach to change is more viable and advocate it use due the turbulence nature in the environment. Other approaches suggested by change managers are the contingency and situational approaches.
In practice, there are various models used by organisations to manage change (Price, 09; Burnes 04). Organisations tend to choose models according to their structure, believe in the model and type of change they plan to carry out (Dell and Rollins, 2005). In most cases organisation adopt or merge two or more models so as to suit their environment and circumstances. Other factors that help change managers into their strategic model are the level of pre-planning, involvement and interest of other stakeholders and their believe base on the knowledge and emphasis of the model. Some of the change tools or models use help to identify the reasons for change, identify stakeholders, risk etc.
SWOT Analysis tool
For the NBS to be able to implement change, the use of SWOT analysis tool can be used to identify their strength, weakness, opportunities and treats with regards to the proposed change.
Strength: NBS has its strength of being a teaching university with their lecturers having various degrees of experience in the field of Information Science (IS) and project management. NBS offers models which have Prince2 and ITIL as the core as well as having ITIL and Prince2 certified lecturers who facilitates these models within the school. NBS also has IS facilities that already up and running and supports traditional classroom teaching and distance learning. Prince2 is a government framework which can and is used in extensively in managing projects both in the private and public sector. Currently most organisation request for not only a good knowledge of prince2 but the certification too. Similarly ITIL is a framework aim to help IT projects to be deliverer a high level IT services by out lining extensive procedures and steps to achieve high standards in both value and quality of IT products or projects in the organisation. It is a government initiative for best practice approach in IT projects (IT Management (A), 2009).
Weakness: NBS had not been able to identify early enough the need to have this accreditation and be able to train organisation in its catchment area with Prince2 and ITIL.
Opportunities: NBS is situated in the heart of the midlands and surrounded with business that uses prince2 and ITIL in their day to day management of their business. They have in the past raised students in various departments in IS and continue to be credible. Prince2 and ITIL are government initiatives that are used in managing government projects and its currently being used by many private sectors. The business community within Northamptonshire is growing and expanding and would need more of their staff being trained.
Threat: This appears to be minimal from the political divide as the government has full support to the programme and certification. Another possible threat is of a private organisation setting up training in the same catchment area.
Force Field Analysis:
Another change tool that can be used by NBS to determine and understand the pressures and tensions maintaining the status quo (Burnes, 2004) is the lewin's force field analysis. Using this tool would also give good understanding and identify the kind of stake holders making it much easier to manage and persuade them better during change (Price, 2009). It also gives understanding of the position and conditions of stakeholders in terms of if they are drivers for the change or resistant to change. However, the down side of this tool is that it only identifies stakeholders who are resisitant and for the change but does not identify the reasons for the change.
Using the Lewin force field analysis, stakeholders identified are as follows, IS department of the NBS, IT services, IS Course Leader, IS lecturers, Dean, Present Students of IS NBS, Distance Learning Coordinator, School Manager, Admission Board and enrolment board, Domestic and care taker staff of the NBS.
Impact of change on the stakeholders:
IS Department of the NBS- the proposed change would only affect the IS department of the NBS as the course intended to run are purely IS related. This course would add more scope and work to the department as a whole. It would increase their work load in terms of academic work, administration and stretch the facilities. With this, there would be some resistance from this department to the change.
IT Services- the IS services ensures that the IS system used by students and tutors are fit for purposed and are efficient in what they are to do. With the new change additional responsibility would be placed on them to ensure that they are able to provide maintain and efficiently support and facilitate new and all IS requirement needed to make this change a success through regular update, provision of modern software and support to staff and students. There may be addition work in creating and facilitating e-learning support for the programme. These factors can contribute to this department to be resistant to the change.
IS Course leader- the IS course leader is the person who designs the course in conjunction with the school academic board as to which models and subject areas are relevant to the course. She also helps in the recruitment and allocation of appropriate team of staff to help run the course. This change would increase her workload capacity and scope. If the change is a top down approach without her favour and passion, there may be some difficulties in handling the change as she would be resistant to it. However, this can also be a driver to the change if it's her idea and also as part of her strategy to move the IS department forward.
IS lecturers- these are a group of stakeholders that delivers tuition and facilitates academic tuition to available students. In as much as some of the models being delivered have Prince2 and ITIL incorporated in it, not all the lecturers have the requisite foundation or certification to teach Prince2 or ITIL. Some lectures may need to upgrade them self through additional courses to be able to facilitate or fit in with the new programme. This would ignite some degree of stress of having to go back on a course or fear losing her job to new recruits or consultants if the change require. There is also a fear of some lecturers having additional models through adjust of modules and subject area to make room for the change. This would increase their work load and stress through fear of the unknown and might contribute to them resisting change.
Dean- This is the head of the school and plays a vital role in the running of the school. The dean is the visionary holder and the director of the school. For planned change such as that within NBS to have ITIL and Prince2 accreditation and training centre, the vision would come from the dean. He would need to do anything to make this goal a success by strategically directing and managing the project. He is the authority behind the finances and main sponsor of the change project.
Present Students in IS NBS- current students of IS in NBS can be seen as supporting the change although there might some possibilities of resistance to the change. They would be happy for the visionary progress of the school, through its new accreditation and position of the university in the university league. However there would also be fears of losing favourite and good lectures handling ITIL and Prince2 related course as these lecturers may be moved to take up new positions and modules. Also student-IS facilities ratio would be affected in terms of the IT facilities and the classroom.
Distance Learning Coordinator- This could be the staff in charge of distance or e-learning support of with the NBS. Since the change entails some of the course to be delivered through this mode, there would additional responsibility added to her job, thus increasing her workload with or without incentives. If these staffs are already struggling with her job, this change would add additional stress. There would also fear of her losing her job due to this.
Implementation of change in an institution is one of the fears task in change (Engle and Richards, 1996), however Oden, (1999), argues that there are about three main issues in the implementation of change and if done carefully, need not be difficult to have success. Oden, (1999) sees that there must be a support to the structure, a consistent change and the ability and authourity to close the gap between the strategist's vision and organisation reality. With all change transformation, the change management team must be given authority and internal clout so as to effectively communicate with the organisation (Sirkin, Keenan and Jackson, 2005).
There are several models of change tools that can be used. Some of these models or tools are 6-3-5 method which involves six persons generating ideas at random and using them, the Awakishi model which also looks at what one is to do in order to achieve desired goal, Breadth and Depth Matrix model where the scope of the change is determined and worked within and demand, Constraints and Choices model. Others are the Force Field Analysis, Ishikawa cause and effect model, The ADKAR Model, McKisey's 7 S model, Mind Maps and the Nominal Group techniques. Also, Six Thinking Hats, the Lotus Blossom Techniques, the SFA Balance Sheet and the Tropics models have been used by many other change management processes.
The following steps of implementation are suggested by (Levy, 2001). Levy 2001 argues that even with the implementation of any project, it involves two elements of developing a plan and implementing the plan. Levy stages suggested to be use in NBS as follows.
The urgency and the need for change has to be established through assessment, identification and analysing using tools like the (SWOT) analysis, Business Case and Balance Score Card to see if the change is needed and worthwhile to proceed (Burnes, 2004; Levy, 2001; Garvin and Roberto ,2005). This is also crucial to gain needed cooperation (Burnes, 2004).
To implement change there have to be a supporting structure that facilitates and supports the vision of the change (Engle and Richards, 1996). This is where structures such as, accreditation of the school and course facilitators is sorted and upgrading of IT facilities to support the new system. ITIL and Prince2 certification are professional courses, the change management team is the critically examine if it's suitable to train own staff or to bring in expects to run the course or a mixture of both expects and in house expects would be a good mix to run the course.
Hiring of external consultants or agencies to manage the change process has proved successful and improved accountability (Lupton, Peckham and Taylor, 1998). This helps in ensuring accountability and developing of stronger focus on the change process (White, 2000). These consultants often than not have various experiences in the change management process.
Setting the stage is the next stage of the implementation process. In this phase the change management team gets the employees especially those affected by the change (key stakeholders) on a waking up message. This where information of the change including the need for change is disseminated through emails, meetings, open discussion groups, forums maybe use (Garvin and Roberto, 2005). A period of consultation (Carnall, 2003) with Information Sciences (IS) staff that would be affected by the change should be done to give staff the opportunity to brood over, air out their fears, ask question and its impact on them and they could also contribute through suggestions to the change teamor give alternative to the change (Garvin and Roberto, 2005). This helps with the staff's acceptance of the change (Garvin and Roberto, 2005).
The next phase suggested is to position and frame preliminary plan, get the feedback from mostly the affecting staff and to announce the final plan to the university- NBS. This can again take the form of emails, memos and consultation. Levy (2001), suggest that the importance element of this stage is to make staff be convinced that the plan belong to them. Time table or time scale of the change process has to be clearly defined and monitored. This should include, when consultation have to be started and to end, training of staff, start date of the programme and critical mile stones of the roll out programme. A clear and quantifiable objective of the change has to disseminated and monitored.
Managing the mood within the change is very complex and can be extremely difficult if change the leads to downsizing and restructuring is involved (Kotter, 1996). Attention to emotions, workload, staff complaints have to be critically analysed and solved. This would help employees gain confidence, support the change. Managing the risk is a vital element of this stage. There must be periodic review of the change process, where the change management would continually revisit the business case and the objectives and drive for the change to analyse if the change is still viable and needs to continue, here the Prince2 framework could be used to help, serving as a practical experience for the facilitators. In all stages clear and detail documentations coupled with good communication is needed by the change management team.
The change management team have to scheduled regular feedback times to feedback the process, difficult and concerns including achievement to the NBS school managers and board for review.
Barriers and Solutions
Insufficient power, authority and time given to the top management not only communicate the change vision to the institution but also to overcome the resistance that is encountered during implementation and transformation by the change management team has often being the number one problem (Becckhard and Harries, 1987). When this ‘energy' is not available, there is lack of promotion of the change vision to the staff (lecturers and IT support staff) and therefore would lack understand with the change process. There would be lack of support and also resistance to the change process. Change managers should be given this ‘energy' so as to be able to communicate the vision, specific plans and objectives to staffs especially those that would be directly affected by the change process.
Another barrier to the change process would be that staff might see the hired external consultants as outsides without any authority or influence (Paper and Wang, 2005). This situation can be worsening if clear responsibilities are not delegated to these change managers and consultants (Jick, 1993). The university managers, which would include the dean and faculty head, would have to not interfare in the day to day running of the change process as detailed to the consultants.
Fear of losing job to others as there could be expects brought in to train student. Fear that although has the requisite accreditation for facilitating Prince2 and ITIL, they might not have enough job experience training candidate with real life experience background.
Resistance to change within and outside the organisation due to fear of losing job, not able to live up to expectation, lack of trust between staff and change authorities where interested staff may be viewed as “boat rockers” who have self interest in the change.
Openness in change
The vision of the NBS to run a training centre for Prince2 and ITL certification alongside the traditional academic ‘work' involves a change process which can be described as developmental change. This change is planned and would be a top-bottom approach. The position of NBS in the heart of the midlands in England gives it a completive advantage to run the programme as they have a wide and rich catchment area. Levy's model is a good framework or tool to be used by the NBS as it has elements not only to handle the soft issue but also the hard issue in change. It also has an element that allows the change management team to continually revisit and review the change.
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