Organization Change - Leveraging Power & Influence in Change Management
Leveraging Power & Influence in Change Management
Change is the only inevitable factor within any organization in the contemporary society. The changes that take place in line with the Human Resources as well as the technology are so rapid that to stay relevant, each organization must of necessity keep up-to-date with the changes that are relevant to the organization. However, to have effective change, amid all the challenges that come with the attempt to effect change, there must be leadership that leverages power and is in a position to influence change and manage it to the conclusive end. It should be noted that change is not a destination but a continuous process, hence change management must also be continuous and not static. Changes in organizations take place all the time and each and every day which in most cases are unplanned and occurs gradually. Organizational changes that are planned and occur on large scale hence affect the whole system are unusual and do not occur every day. There is also revolutionary change that are a major overhaul of organization which result in modified or entirely new mission, changes in strategy, culture and leadership which is very rare indeed. These changes occur in spurts, leaps and disruptions and not in incremental or linear fashions. However most of the changes that take place in organizations are evolutionary. This type of change is typically an attempt to improve aspects of the organization that will lead to high performance. The fundamental nature and structure deeply rooted of any organization is the culture and hence it remains undisturbed.
This paper will therefore examine the various ways through which change can be managed, the types of changes that may be required, the challenges that change process may face, how to manage these challenges and the various theories connected to change and above all the ways in which leaders leverage power in managing the changes.
1. Leaders' sources of power
Trait theory was concerned about the physical features of an individual and there were claims that leaders had distinct features like height, body size, stature and so on. This was however dispensed of as more research came into place (Fleenor J.W., 2006). Instead there were new traits such as achievement drive, leadership motivation, honesty and integrity, self-confidence, cognitive ability, knowledge of business, emotional maturity and charisma that became the center of focus for traits of a leader (Scott D.D., 2011). The behavior theory came as an answer to the traditional trait theory and it sought to indicate that the leadership qualities are internal rather than physical. It shows leaders as people who have a well developed positive ego, self-confident and have high self-esteem (dito). There are several sources of power that leaders can derive their power and in effect be able to carry out their leadership roles and influence issues within the organization. The most common bases of power that leaders have are coercive power, legitimate power, expert power, reward power, referent power, informational power and connection power (Daugherty R., 2013). These three, trait, behavior and bases of power play a central role in leaders' ability to influence issues within the organization and become performing leaders.
a). Legitimate power; which he acquired by the virtue of being the team leader in the organization and holding the formal position as shown in Changing Minds, (2011). Here people would comply with the direction of the individual due to the formal position he is holding.
b). Reward Power; this is the power that one holds knowing that he has what the other person wants/needs and these may vary from a congratulatory note to cash or material rewards. These can also be used to punish for instance, if they are withheld from a rebel individual or a non-performer and given to the person who has performed well.
c). Referent power; is the situation where a given individual would like to be like you and is more likened with the power of charisma and fame. It applies where the person has some outstanding features that make him be the darling of the entire group out there.
d). Coercive power; which is technically the power to force someone to do something even if it was against their wish. The main aim of coercive force is compliance from the participants in the activity that has been set and demonstration of the harm that would emanate incase of failure to comply is usually given before the real responsibility is delegated as discussed in Reference for Business, (2011). The coercive force at times intertwines with the reward or expertise power in an organization were a reward can be withheld so as to coerce someone into doing a required duty or withholding of some expertise information till one does what is required if he needs the expert service or knowledge.
e). Expert power; is when one uses the possession of a given special kind of knowledge as a source of power. Withholding of such information or skills could result in the stalling of the entire process of the organization or serious malfunctions in the organization (Reference for Business, 2011).
Ethical issues with leadership
In as much as the leaders derive their powers and can use it to influence change within an organization from the sources mentioned above, there always emerge some ethical issues to them leveraging their power. Under authoritarian leadership, the leaders give clear expectations of what has to be done when it should be done and the procedures to be followed. There is a clear division between the leaders and the rest of the employees. The leaders make their decisions with no input from the rest of the team members. The ethical issues that can come up here is that it can be a coercion of the human resource to do what they may have no idea about, one that could potentially harm them in the future and in effect most would either withhold their absolute participation or perform below expected standards.
Participatory leadership style is whereby the leaders work with the team so as to generate new ideas and come up with solutions to problems. This is quite an effective leadership style as the leaders participate in the group and at the same time allow input from other team members Magzan M, (2011). However there are related ethical issues that may come up for instance the leaders abdicating their direct responsibilities to the disadvantage of the other junior team members, and the team members have to accomplish it for fear of reprimand.
There is need hence in such situations for ethical leadership even as the leaders leverage their powers to influence changes within the organization. Ethical leadership is simply based on the constant pursuit to create positive relations at the place where one is a leader. It is not an instance but a continuous process. There are basically two ways through which ethical leadership can be measured; through the actions and decisions that are ethical in their making with consideration of all the people the decision is bound to affect. Secondly, it is through the way the leaders lead, ethical leaders must lead ethically and this involves how they treat people in their daily interaction in the organization, their attitude, the way they give encouragement and the direction they steer the organization in general.
2. Culture and change
Changes within the organizations do not happen in vacuum but within a social setting that has people from different backgrounds. Many organizations take pride in the diversity of its staff in terms of the culture, it is imperative then that these cultures are taken into account when implementing change or even suggesting some fundamental changes within the organization. It is important that culture is leveraged in every changes that are envisioned within an organization. However, as noted by Agguire D., et.al (2013) indicates, culture still remains one of the aspects that is grossly ender-leveraged when it comes to implementation of change. This is on the background of many organizations taking great pride in their diverse culture and cultural accommodation. There is a sharp disparity between the way organizations view culture and the way they treat culture within the organizations. There is need for culturally oriented approach to changes. According to Edgar Schein, any meaningful and planned learning, development and change cannot be well understood without understanding culture to be the root cause of the resistance to change hence culture understanding is essential to all managers (Value-Based management, 2011).
This then means that the leaders should use the powers they leverage to take into account the overriding cultural practices of the employees apart from the common culture of the organization. In instituting changes, the leadership should conduct interviews among the employees to help determine the cultural values that the employees hold and how these could be affected by the impending changes. Cultures will vary, right from personal beliefs, to the communally shared values and even the religious…