Change Management Research Proposal

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Change Management

Change is one of the aspects of human life that are certainly going to take place at some point in time. Change interferes with people's social life, emotional life, and professional life. Even more, change affects people by affecting the organizations in which they activate professionally.

Sometimes, change is absolutely required by the environment in which it produces itself. In such cases, if change does not emerge by itself, it means change must be induced, it must be manipulated and directed towards a specific area affected by problems. This is where change management interferes.

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But sometimes change does not happen for the best. In certain cases, the effects of changes are quite negative. However, change cannot be avoided indefinitely. In cases in which the consequences of change create serious disadvantages, it happens so because the players involved in that certain situation did not anticipate any emerging changes, as this is not always something in people's power. Furthermore, change brings negative outcomes in the cases in which change is not managed adequately for the situation in case. Again, this is why change management is important. Anyone should have at least basic knowledge of change management in order to counteract negative consequences of change and to exploit the benefits of change as much as possible. Change management can be successfully applied in any aspects of people's lives, especially if people treat the aspect in case in managerial, organizational terms. Of course, change management is mostly applied in the business environment, since nowadays macroeconomic and micro-economic environment changes so rapidly, affecting all types of companies, whether they are small companies or large conglomerates.

Organizational Change Management

In order to understand change management one must understand what change management specifically aims at. The most common definitions on change management are related to the following ideas:

The task of managing change

An area of professional practice body of knowledge control mechanism

Research Proposal on Change Management Change Is One of the Assignment

Regarding the task of managing change, this term basically refers to applying changes in a planned, managed, or systematic manner (Nickols, 2006). Therefore, the method aims at putting into practice certain systems or new activities in a given organization, in a successful manner. This way, the organization in case has complete control over changes that emerge and their evolution. Another term related to change management in this case is change control. But there is more to this explanation. Usually, even if changes are deliberately induced by the organization in case, they are induced because the external environment of the organization has determined it to act this way. In other words, change management is a response to changes determined by the external environment, changes that cannot be initially controlled by the organization in case.

Regarding change management as an area of professional practice, one can find a notable number of experts dealing with change management: independent consultants, small consulting firms, major management consulting companies. These so-called experts act in different ways: some of them help their clients to manage changes that have already happened, others assist their clients into inducing required changes themselves, while others take on the task of managing necessary changes.

Regarding change management as a body of knowledge, change management incorporates a series of models, methods, techniques, tools, skills, and procedures through which change management can be applied. Change management as a body of knowledge incorporates knowledge from various disciplines, like: psychology, sociology, business administration, economics, industrial engineering, systems engineering, human and organizational behavior.

Regarding change management as a control mechanism, as it was mentioned above, change management allows a certain degree of control over the changes induced in any organization. Therefore, change management is sometimes used together with configuration management.

The Change Process

Kurt Lewin has divided the change process into three main stages:

Unfreezing

Changing

Refreezing

As shown above, the first stage is the unfreezing, and it consists in "overcoming inertia and dismantling the existing mindset" (Wikipedia, 2008). The actual change is produced in the second stage. The second stage is characterized by confusion and transition. The third stage is called freezing, or refreezing, and is characterized by the establishment of the new mindset and the reinstallation of comfort levels. However, Lewin's theory was criticized for its simplicity.

Prosci developed another change management model, the ADKAR, based on input from more than 1000 organizations. ADKAR consists in:

Awareness: of why the change is needed

Desire: of supporting and participating in the change process

Knowledge: on how to manage change

Ability: of applying new skills and behaviors

Reinforcement: for sustaining the effects of change

However, in the case of organizations, the process of change management is more complicated. On an organizational level, change management basically means that the organization is dealing with a problem that needs to be solved. In other words, change management can equal problem solving. The planned change model for organizations consists in the following steps: the process begins with a problem diagnosis or analysis, as this is the starting point that determines the course of action. It is important to establish objectives and goals for any section of the organization, in order to observe which part of the organization encounters any problems in achieving these goals and objectives.

The reason for which organizations need to change the way certain processes are performed relies on the fact that these processes include costs that are too high and they also involved extended amounts of time. In other words, organizations need to change these things in order to be more effective, by cutting costs and reducing time.

Production costs are usually high because the company in case pays higher wages for its employees that its competitors do. These higher wages are meant to determine higher productivity. This happens up to a point, for a short period of time. On a medium and long period of time, paying high wages turn out not to be profitable and productive.

As a consequence, productivity must be constantly improved in order to increase profits. This eventually leads to attracting additional capital for the company. This additional capital is further needed for investing it into research and development for new and innovative products and services. No matter what the domain a company is activating in, it must continuously invest in research and development for new products, because this is what competitors are doing. Therefore, the company in case must do it faster.

Principles of Change Management

In order to be applied successfully, change management must be applied in accordance with the following principles:

People that are part of the environment subjected to change must be involved at all times in the change management process, as their support is clearly required

Understanding where the organization is situated at the time when the change is emerging, which must be accomplished by the diagnosis and analysis previously mentioned

Understanding where the organization must arrive through the change management process, when is the best timing for accomplishing this, why the changes in case are required, and what means must be employed in order to manage change successfully

Planning development in achievable measurable stages

Communicating and involving the people that are part of the environment in which change produces

The first principle refers to human resources, which must be involved from the beginning of the change management process. The reason for this relies on the fact that any important change determines negative aspects related to the organization's employees. For example, old managers can be replaced by new ones, certain jobs can be changed, new skills and capabilities may be required by these changes, while employees can become uncertain and resistant. As a consequence, "dealing with these issues on a reactive, case-by-case basis puts speed, morale and results at risk. A formal approach to managing change - beginning with the leadership team and then engaging key stakeholders and leaders - should be developed early, and adapted often as change moves through the organization" (Jones et. all, 2004).

This is why data collection, analysis, planning, and implementation discipline are important. Even more, the change management process must be integrated into program design and decision making, as part of the strategic decision.

In order for the change management process to be successful, leaders and top managers must set an example for the rest of the employees. They are the ones that must follow first these new directions, and then challenge and motivate their subordinates.

But the change management process does not stop here. The transformation process affects all the levels of the organization. Therefore, specific plans must be designed for each level in particular. Also, for each level, there must be a leader that sets the new direction that must be followed by subordinates.

Other principles of change management include: making the formal case, creating ownership, assessing the cultural landscape, addressing culture explicitly, preparing for the unexpected, and speaking to the individual.

Regarding the principle of making the formal case, "individuals are inherently rational and will question to what extent change is needed, whether the company is headed in the right… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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