Research Proposal: Dealing Effectively With Organizational Change

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Dealing Effectively With Organizational Change

This study seeks to investigate how effectively individuals deal with organizational change. This literature will show how changes within organizations can be a stressful event that effects the emotions of employees, thus having implications on the degree of support and attitudes towards change when various strategies and tactics are utilized. A sample of 69 respondents; both military and civilian responded to an employee satisfaction / organizational change survey. Participants of this study consisted of 52 active duty military personnel and 17 civilian government employees; all with diverse backgrounds. All 69 personnel are affiliated with two separate Medical Readiness organizations.

Dealing Effectively With Organizational Change

Introduction

Organizational change is a growing area of importance for modern organizations' strategic development. Effective organizational change management represents an imperative of success for organizations. Quantitative data was collected by administering employee satisfaction questionnaires in order to obtain statistical data on responses to attitudes in regards to the organizational change process as well as job satisfaction. Qualitative data was also collected through interviews from random participants in order to attempt to gain personal responses of employees experiencing change.

We all have our own assumptions about how organizations work, perhaps developed through a combination of experience and education. Organizations are continually forced to make changes to nearly every aspect of their operations due to a growing global economy, political pressure, social stress, technological advances, and a vast array of other internal and external influences. Managers at all levels, whether in a public or private business environment, have found that the only thing that will remain constant is change. Regardless of whether the change will have an impact at the individual or organizational level, it is human nature to resist the change from what is familiar to the unknown. The effect of this phenomenon grows rapidly as the proposed change goes beyond superficial organizational changes and imposes risk and uncertainty onto deep-rooted cultural aspects of the organization. Remarkably, despite the perpetual state of change in organizations, research has shown that three out of every four organizations that have initiated large-scale change efforts have not realized the significant organizational improvements that were intended, often at a tremendous price (Choi & Behling, 1997).

In an attempt to better understand the change process, academic researchers and practitioners from various disciplines have attempted to classify different stages of change whether it involves health and human services, educational systems, psychology, or general business environments. "Understanding the dynamics of the change process and the factors that influence it, both positively and negatively, may facilitate the diffusion process" (Moore, 1993). Perhaps the most simplistic interpretation is a three stage process introduced by Lewin (1947) who described the change process as a force field model that involves three steps: (a) Unfreezing; (b) Changing and (c) Refreezing. Although this original view of change seems elementary, there are countless other people who have studied change and developed their own stages, indicators, and factors that contribute to the acceptance/resistance to change. For instance, the Tran theoretical Model (TTM) offers an example of a more modern interpretation of the change process (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1982). The TTM uses a five-stage construct to represent the transient, motivational and constancy aspects of change and prescribes a different intervention strategy for each stage. The five stages are, (a) precontemplation (an individual is not intending to make changes), (b) contemplation (an individual is considering a change), (c) preparation (an individual is making small changes), (d) action (an individual is actively engaging in a new behavior), and (e) maintenance (an individual is sustaining the change over time). While more contemporary views add granularity to the change process by identifying additional factors and offering more detailed stages of change, the process of implementing change generally distills into three intertwining stages: (a) readiness, when the organizational environment, structure, and member's attitudes are receptive to a proposed change; (b) adoption, the members of the organization temporarily alter their attitudes and behaviors to conform with the expectations of the change; and (c) institutionalization, when the change becomes an established element of the employee's permanent behavior (Holt, 2000).

Based on the dismal success rates of change implementation, managers are being encouraged to be proactive by utilizing change measurement instruments to gauge their organization's demeanor before implementing changes (e.g., Jansen, 2000; Simon, 1996).

Largely, the results have been poor due to the fact that few organizations actually assess readiness for change prior to implementing changes. One of several factors that experts have contributed to these less than desirable outcomes has been the organizational members' initial readiness for the changes which is the initiating stage of change. It is a primary assumption of this research that those organizations that are able to gauge readiness before implementing changes will be able to develop focused readiness development programs and positively influence more successful change initiatives.

A significant impediment toward managerial efforts to gauge readiness for change is the vast number of change instruments that are readily available. In reviewing the academic literature for this paper, over 40 different measurement instruments were found to exist that claim to measure some aspect of readiness. Because of limited perspective, no one instrument has emerged as a standard and instruments are often used inappropriately without regard to the psychometric properties involved (Holt, 2000). The purpose of this portion of the research was to analyze the existing instruments available to measure readiness for change and integrate those that have empirically demonstrated reliability, utility, and validity into a new synergistic instrument that can be utilized across various research disciplines. It is anticipated that the development of a more comprehensive change measurement instrument will facilitate future research concerning readiness and foster a better understanding of the complicated dynamics of organizational change.

Specifically, this new change instrument was designed to comprehensively measure four main research perspectives dealing with organizational change. The first perspective was the process of the change, or "how" leadership will encourage change in an organization. The second perspective measured was the context of the change, which examines "why" the change is needed. A third perspective of interest was the content of the change with regard to the nature of the change and "what" exactly is involved. Finally, because of the critical role that the individuals within an organization have on the success or failure of organizational change, the individual perspective, or the "who" of the change, was of interest. In the research analysis, each perspective is broken down into smaller elements to ascertain the specific variables necessary to accurately measure each perspective. Beyond the veil of confusion imposed on organizational managers by the sheer number and variety of instruments available to measure readiness, two other details must be addressed as well. First, the research surrounding each instrument has its own interpretation of what readiness is and what is required to measure it. Second, when searching for an appropriate change instrument, how is an organizational manager supposed to make meaningful comparisons among the existing instruments?

Problem

The need for change is increasing and often necessary for an organization to succeed, in this identify factors which often causes for change within an organization

Purpose

The purpose of my study is to identify through extensive research how individuals adapt to and are affected by organizational change. Human beings are certainly familiar with change and often prove they are quite capable of adapting to it.

Theoretical Perspective

Change in an organization can be induced at three broad levels, at the management of the environment of industry, at the company level and at an individual level, where change will be concerned with the performances of employees in an organization. Porter (1980) asserts that each level has got to be separately tackled. He highlights key points and identifies the role of general managers in managing change at the respective levels.

At the top most level, the environment in which the industry is operation is in focus. The industry's environment is a host to a company's competitors and other vital factors affecting an organization that are externally induced. These factors play an important role in affecting the speed or velocity with which change is brought in an organization (Porter, 1980).

This has great repercussions for general managers who are to manage the timings of introducing change into an organization. Sometimes, the external environment is favorable for experimenting new things and brining change first and sometimes the industry only welcomes change that has been tried and adopted by others (Porter, 1980).

Opportunities need to be identified by general managers so that they can be exploited in favor of the organization. At the same time, threats should also remain in focus. At the company level, general managers are required to analyze markets and the organizational features. Analysis which evaluates the organization's strengths and weaknesses are helpful, as companies can highlight their strength while operating and can work on its weaknesses to enhance its performance. The general managers also have to evaluate the company's capacity to change and its general attitude towards change (Porter,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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