Change management can be most difficult in companies that are entrenched in their company culture. In the case of the company in the study, the company has a high number of employees that have been with the company for a long period of time. These employees present the greatest challenge to overcome in terms of change management. They are more likely to continue to do their jobs as they have done them in the past. For employees that have been with the company the longest, the proposed changes in customer service would mean changes in long-established daily habits and routines. Routines are comfortable and changing these routines can be stressful for employees, particularly those who have been there for long time. This study will examine the limits and obstacles that make changes in organizational structure difficult for companies with an entrenched corporate culture.
Summary of Readings
One of the most important concepts in the reading was that changes within the organization have to be made within corporate culture if they are to be a real part of organizational change. Simply changing the business on the outside will not result in the types of measurable attributes that the company wishes to achieve. It takes more than mandates from the top to result in organizational change. One of the key trends in organizational change is that the old hierarchical business model is being replaced by a corporate structure that is more open and where communication flows more freely among all levels of the business structure. The readings indicate that businesses will have to be more flexible in organizational structure for changes to occur. These changes are necessary as the competition increases. Several major points were made by the authors studied. The following summarizes their key points.
Oxman and Smith (2003) contend that structural changes moving beyond structure itself. For instance, rather than organization managed performance, performance will become self-managing. New organizations will be increasingly open it better sharing of information that will allow people who are closest to the issue to make informed decisions. This will be the case with the new company by giving those with the most customer contact increased decision-making ability.
Change cannot be dictated from the top down through mission statements, procedures, and words. Cultural change takes more than the actions of executives. Many companies know that they need change, but do not know how to achieve change that is meaningful in the day-to-day operations of the company. Modern companies are undergoing change that involves the dissolution of, or adding flexibility, to the old hierarchical structures. The new emerging model involves wider communication among all levels of the organization (Beer, Eisenstat. & Spector, 1990).
Aside from the decline of the hierarchical organization, moral values are beginning to have as much weight as financial decisions. Shareholder value and lean operation are the mantras of the new business world, but things are changing and CEOs will have to do more than simply increase company wealth in order to be competitive in the future (Simons, Mintzberg, & Basu, 2002). Today, expectations are changing and corporate leaders must now demonstrate social responsibility as well as growing profit margins.
Downsizing was the preferred corporate restructuring tactic of the mid 1990s. Some of the biggest companies drastically cut employees and sold off assets for a supposedly leaner operation. However, for many of the companies, the anticipated benefits failed to materialize. Their financial situation did not improve as they expected. This was largely due to a failure in the ability to break out of the traditional approach of management and mid business structure. The hierarchical system of management failed to allow the necessary changes to take place (Casicio, 1993). Changes in corporate structure and philosophy are needed if sustainable changes are the desired result.
These readings indicate a new realization about the change process that is permeating business philosophy. In the past, change focused on changes in business processes, bad is the reading indicated, many times these changes failed to take effect because the changes were not made a part of corporate culture. Changing corporate culture is much different than changing business processes. In order for the changes to be embraced, people have to feel engaged and involved in the change process. They have to feel that the changes are necessary and that they will have positive results both on and organizational level and on a personal level. They must see a real reason to change their daily routine and to institute the needed changes.
Challenges in the Change Process
The most difficult challenge that was found in all of the readings was simply one of overcoming inertia. Even when behavior patterns are dysfunctional, humans still have a resistance to change. This is one of the key difficulties that the company will have in instituting changes about decision-making about customer contact. New employees, or ones that have been with the company only a short time have not developed set behavior patterns and will be the easiest to convince to embrace the new management philosophy. Nearly ae of the employees at the company fall into this category. Therefore, but is expected that a majority of the company will embrace the new organizational structure and will make it a part of their daily routine quickly.
The problem lies with 1/4 of the employees who have been with the company over 10 years. This group of employees is often seen as a leader and your employees, therefore their behavior must reflect the best company attitudes and current company policies. The problem with this group of employees is that they can have a tremendous influence on newer members of the organizations. If they do not embrace the necessary changes, then they will let their negative attitude and unwillingness to change trickle down to the rest of the workforce. This can have a detrimental effect on the ability to effect change within the organization.
Many cases support the need for support within the organizational culture. A change that is dictated from above, but which does not result in inertial changes among those who have a set routine will not be likely to have the intended effect. Employees that of been with the company for long time are the most likely to have set patterns and be comfortable with their daily routine. And there are several different approaches to this problem that have been taken by organizations in the past.
One approach to the problem that is used in many organizations is to simply eliminate employees that have been with the company for long time and that might inhibit the change process. This meant that has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that it leaves the company with the group of new employees that can be trained to embrace the changes within the organization. However, this can have a detrimental effect as well. It may lead to feelings of hostility by the displaced employees that can travel down to the new employees. These long-term employees might feel that their thanks for long years of dedication was to be terminated. This could lead to fears among the new employees that the same thing may happen to them if it sometime in the future. This can build distrust of leadership among those that are left behind.
Removing the experienced employees also has another effect. Even if they may be the ones who are most resistant to the new changes, with them goes years of experience that are beneficial to the company. They may be resistant to change, but also to have many years of knowledge that is a valuable asset. Their experience and knowledge is passed on to your employees throughout the organization. If those older employees are not there to pass on the knowledge, the organization is left with a bunch of new and inexperienced employees. The method of removing experienced employees creates a bad situation in the company to the loss of organizational knowledge that goes with them.
Firing experienced employees is not the answer to resolving the problem of inertia regarding the organizational changes that are taking place. A better approach is to try to get them to embrace the changes. Personal attitudes will vary about the organizational changes. Those who are willing to embrace the change in that have the greatest experience in the company can play a key role in becoming examples for the rest of the employees to follow. They can be made leaders in the organizational change. Those who are resistant to change must be convinced that they must change their attitudes and behaviors because the changes will be good for everyone in the organization.
If someone in the organization is so resistant to change that they will fight it openly, then they should be replaced because this attitude could be infectious and spread to the rest of the organization. Those who are willing to embrace the change should be rewarded and made leaders. How the company treats its…