Planned Organizational Change
Difficulties in Planned Organizational Change. 2
Awareness of the Importance of Change. 3
Change Barriers. 5
Motivation towards Change. 5
Overcoming Difficulties. 6
Planned organizational change is necessary for the survival of any organization in tits respective industry. The identification of potential threats and problems facilitates the development of strategies towards organizational change, which is necessary for the organization (Robertson et al., 1993). However, implementing the planned organizational changes may be faced with numerous difficulties ranging from the identification of the necessary skills and knowledge for change, to the identification and elimination of potential barriers towards this change. For that reason, there is a need for the identification of the procedures through which these difficulties can be overcome. The successful implementation of planned organizational change is dependent on the organizations ability to overcome these difficulties.
Key Words: Planned Organizational Change, Difficulties, Overcoming Difficulties
The survival of organizations in their respective industries is highly dependent on their ability to adapt to their respective environments. Organizational environments maybe external or internal and they are subject to constant changes, which the organization needs to acclimatize (Newman, 2000). Accordingly, structural organizational changes act as the strategic responses to the changing environment. Organizations may amend their strategies, structures, and procedures as a reaction to the changing environments, so as to ensure that the organization carries out its operational activities as expected, with minimal interference (Lewis, 2011). Organizational change occurs in various ways ranging from remedial change to planned organizational change. Each of these changes comes as a reaction to the turbulent environmental changes, and they are developed to serve particular organizational needs. More specifically, planned organizational change is one of the most common organizational changes that occur in the organization.
Planned organizational change occurs when those in management identify the need for change in the organization, and proactively develop a plan for change in the organization. Planned organizational change occurs when organizations develop strategies that are aimed at combating assumed future threats and problems to the organization (Robertson et al., 1993). This is much different from the unplanned organizational change, which comes as a reaction to the organizational experience of these threats and problems. As researchers would argue, the proactive nature of planned organizational change makes the process vulnerable to plenty of problems. This, in turn, implies a difficulty in the implementation process, which may require the development of additional strategies to deal with these difficulties. The identification of potential difficulties and the strategies to overcome these difficulties is essential for organizations intending to, successfully, execute planned organizational change (Jones, 2003).
This paper examines the process and procedures of planned organizational change. More specifically, the paper highlights some of the difficulties experienced in implementing planned organizational change, as well as, the procedures to overcome these difficulties.
Difficulties in Planned Organizational Change
As previously mentioned, the proactive nature of planned organizational change may make it difficult to implement in the organization. This is because planned organizational change does not occur as a reaction to existing problems and threats, and instead occurs as a preventative measure for possible organizational threats and problems (Robertson et al., 1993). Accordingly, planned organizational change may be received with plenty of resistance, which may make the implementation of planned organizational change difficult. Researchers have identified four main difficulties in the implementation of planned organizational change including awareness of the importance of change, identification of the required knowledge and skill for the execution of change, removal of change barriers, and motivating individuals to change (Jones, 2003).
Awareness of the Importance of Change
The first and most notable difficulty of managed planned organizational change is the creation of awareness on the importance of the change. According to recent studies on the issue, most individuals may not be aware of the reasons behind the planned change, thus making it difficult for the implementation to take place (Collins, 1998) Employees, as well as, the stakeholders in the organization need to understand why planned organizational change is required. This means that they need to understand the significance of planned organizational change for the organization. The creation of awareness on the importance of planned organizational change becomes a difficulty for the organization because most people do not understand the importance of change. The lack of understanding, in turn, prevents individuals from carrying out their activities towards the implementation of this change (Robertson et al., 1993). Additionally, others may work towards the implementation of these changes, but their lack of understanding prevents them from executing it accordingly. According to Newman, most individuals who are charge with the responsibility of change are unaware of the significance of this change, and for that reason, there is a limitation to the successful implementation of the planned organizational change (Newman, 2000).
Identification of the Required Knowledge and Skill for the Execution of Change
Planning for organizational change is an easy procedure as it relies on a theoretical framework for the identification of threats and problems, as well as, the procedures for the prevention of this (Jones, 2003). However, the practical aspect of the process makes it difficult, in the sense that it requires a various commitment for proper implementation. One such practical aspect is the identification of the required skill and knowledge for the execution of change. As researchers explain, planning for change requires the identification of the necessary knowledge and skill required for the successful implementation of the change (Newman, 2000). All those involved in the process of change need to be equipped with the knowledge of the process of change, as well as, have the skills necessary to implement this. For example, if the organization identifies the fluctuation of prices as a potential threat to the organization, those involved with the process of change need to have knowledge of the implications of this to the organization. Additionally, these individuals also need to posses the skills required to deal with such changes in the organization. The identification of the necessary skills and knowledge for the implementation of planned organizational change is a difficult process for planned organizational change, and most organizations have failed in the successful application of this (Bruhn et al., 2001). Organizations may have a clear vision of what they intend to achieve through the planned organization change, but they more often than not, fail in recognizing the knowledge and skills required for this. For that reason, organizations tend to fail in implementing the planned organizational change because those involved to not have the skill and knowledge required for change.
Another difficulty in planned organizational change is the existence of barriers of the changes that have been planned to take place. Planned organizational change is focused on eliminating potential organizational barriers, and for that reason, is it easy for organizations to miss out on recognizing the barriers towards the change in itself (Robertson et al., 1993). Most organizations have the tendency to develop strategies for the elimination of possible threats and problems, but they lack the ability to eliminate barriers to the planned organizational change (Newman, 2000). For example, an organization may develop a good strategy for the prevention of competition by new entrants; however, it may lack the ability to identify a barrier such as employee intransigence towards the implementation of these strategies. This is common in most organizations, especially since the barriers to implementation of change are quite hard to identify. Such barriers are complex and unpredictable, making the implementation of planned organizational change very difficult for organizations (Tsoukas & Chia, 2002). It is therefore crucial that those charged with the responsibility of implementing change have the ability to identify potential barriers to change for the successful implementation of change.
Motivation towards Change
The last and most common difficulty of planned organizational change is the motivation of individuals towards change. As most organizations would testify, motivating individuals, especially those in subordinate positions is a difficult process when it comes to the implementation of planned organizational change. For planned organizational change to be successful, employees and other key players in the process need to be motivated towards the implementation of these changes (Bruhn et al., 2001). This motivation is in line with the creation of awareness of planned organizational change and those involved in the process need to demonstrate a want and need to achieve these changes for the organization. Motivation towards change becomes a difficulty in the process of planned organizational change because most organizations lack the ability to, properly, motivate their employees towards the change (Newman, 2000). In most cases, those in management provide a layout of how things should be done, and the rationale behind the change. However, they fail to motivate the key players in the pioneering if change in the organization. This, in turn, deters the process of change in the organization, which prevents the organization from attaining its goals and objectives especially in relation to the implementation of planned organizational change.
Having mentioned some of the difficulties of planned organizational change, it is evident that there is a need for the establishment of methods to overcome such difficulties. Overcoming difficulties in planned organizational change is the only means through which any organization may successfully implement the strategies towards change (Jones, 2003). For that reason, researchers have identified the need for the establishment of support elements so as to overcome such difficulties. Accordingly, some of the methods that have been identified to overcome these difficulties include the establishment of a pragmatic project plan, the development of internal change agents, the establishment of an organization structure for the implementation of change , development of communication and training plans for employees and the removal of barriers in planned organizational change (Bordia et al., 2004). The establishment of a pragmatic plan ensures that all key players in the change process are provided with comprehensive information regarding the changes to take place (Newman, 2000). This assists them to understand the importance of the planned organizational change, as well as, equip them with the required skill and knowledge regarding the process of change. The establishment of an organizational structure for the implementation and management of change is necessary for the selection of individuals with the right knowledge and skill for the implementation of change. Each of those selected for the implementation of the planned organizational change is given a specific responsibility that is in line with the implementation of the planned changes (Bruhn et al., 2001). In relation to this, overcoming the difficulties of planned organizational change also requires a solicitation of internal change agents. This ensures motivation for all the key players in the implementation of change, as well as, the identification of individuals with certain skills necessary for the implementation of change.
The establishment of a communication and training plan is also another way of combating the difficulties in planned organizational change. Not only does it ensure proper communication between the different parties involved regarding the implementation of change; it also assures the organization of having the necessary skills required for the implementation of planned organizational change (Robertson et al., 1993). A communication plan is necessary for the creation of awareness regarding the importance of the planned organizational change. The training plan, on the other hand, is used to train the employees and other stakeholders, thus providing them with the necessary skills for change implementation. Conclusively, another way of overcoming some of the difficulties in implementing planned organizational change is the elimination of the barriers of change (Jones, 2003). This involves the identification of possible barriers of change, and the development of the necessary action steps for the elimination of these barriers.
Planned organizational change is an essential tool of survival in most organizations. For that reason, it is imperative that organizations recognize some of the difficulties that may be experienced in when implementing the strategies towards planned organizational change. The recognition of these difficulties will assist organizations in the development of additional strategies to overcome these difficulties. It is only through the identification of difficulties in the implementation of planned organization change and the development of strategies to overcome these difficulties can organizations successfully implement the change they require.
Bordia, P. et al. 2004, Uncertainty during Organizational Change: Types, Consequences, and
Management Strategies, Journal of Business and Psychology, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 507-532.
Bruhn, J. G. et al. 2001, Ethical Perspectives on Employee Participation in Planned
Organizational Change: A Survey of Two State Public Welfare Agencies, Public Performance & Management Review vol. 25, no. 2, 208-228.
Collins, D. 1998, Organizational Change: Sociological Perspectives. Routledge, United
Jones, G. N. 2003, Planned Organizational Change: A Study in Change Dynamics, Routledge,
Lewis, L. K. 2011, Organizational Change: Creating Change through Strategic
Communication, John Wiley & Sons, New York.
Newman, K. 2000, Organizational Transformation during Institutional Upheaval, The Academy
of Management Review, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 602-619.
Robertson, P. J. et al. 1993, Dynamics of Planned Organizational Change: Assessing Empirical
Support for a Theoretical Model, The Academy of Management Journal vol. 36, no. 3, pp.
Tsoukas, H. & Chia, R. 2002, On Organizational Becoming: Rethinking Organizational
Change, Organization Science, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 567-582.