By Saloni A D:
Situational Management theory is undergoing a sea of change with most of its disciplines viz. Human Resource Management, Marketing Management, Financial Management, Operational Management, Systems Management etc. being seen as fluid disciplines.
Leaders world over, are gearing up to cope with “Change”. Firstly, the need is to understand “Change” by the leader himself and then prompt the “Change” in such a way so that there is decreased resistance when the task comes to operation. Hence, “Change” is apparent at Individual level, group level and at organizational level.
However, “Change” that happens to an organization can be distinguished from “Change” that is planned by its members. Organizations can use planned change to solve problems, to learn from experience, to reframe shared perceptions, to adapt to external environmental changes, to improve performance and to influence future changes.
There are three major theories of organization change that have received considerable attention in the field — Lewin’s Change Model, The Action Research Model and the Positive Model.
Despite their continued refinement, the models and practice of planned change are still in a formative stage of development and there is considerable room for improvement. Planned change has typically been characterized as involving a series of activities for carrying out effective organization development.
Although current models outline a general set of steps to be followed, considerably more information is needed to guide how those steps should be performed in specific situations. Planned change also tends to be described as rationally controlled, orderly process.
Critics have argued that although this view may be comforting, it is seriously misleading. They point out that planned change has a more chaotic quality, often involving shifting goals, discontinuous activities, surprising events, and unexpected combinations of changes. For example, Executives often initiate changes without plans that clarify their strategies and goals. As “Change” unfolds, new stake holders may emerge and demand modifications reflecting previously unknown or unvoiced means. Those emergent conditions make planned change a far more disorderly and dynamic process than is customarily portrayed, and conceptions need to capture that reality.
Reshaping the organization’s culture and design element becomes need of the hour. Organization transformation implies radical changes in how members perceive, think and behave at work. These changes go far beyond making the existing organization better or fine tuning the status quo. They are concerned with fundamentally altering the organizational assumptions about its functioning and how it relates to the environment. Changing these assumptions entails significant shifts in corporate philosophy and values and in the numerous structures and organizational arrangements that shape members’ behaviours. Not only is the magnitude of “Change” greater, but the change fundamentally alters the qualitative nature of the organization.
Leadership And Communication Traits in implementing Change Management: The ability to communicate has been a proven factor in leadership. Generally, a leader’s communication comprises:
– A sense of confidence and control over employees.
– His/her own feelings about the change.
– The degree to which he/she trusts the abilities of the employees to get through the change.
– A sense of purpose and commitment.
– The degree to which he/she accepts the reactions and feelings of employees.
– Expectations regarding behaviour that is seen as appropriate or inappropriate.
– the degree to which he/she is “connected to” employees’ situations and feelings or is “in-touch” with them.
It is clear that if the leader communicates effectively, he/she will be sending messages that decreases resistance, and encourages moving through the ‘change’, more effectively and positively.
Contemporary Managerial Communication pattern embraces both the basics of communications of yesteryears and complex electronic communication systems. Thus, the latest meaning to “Communication” has been “CREATING UNDERSTANDING”.
Whenever a leader communicates to employees about change, he/she should be striving to convey the following position:
a) That he/she is personally committed to the change, and is seeing it through, even if it has negative consequences.
b) That he/she can recognize that the change negatively impacts upon some people.
c) That he/she is open to discussion of the feelings of employees regarding the change.
d) That he/she is confident that the “team” can make it through the changes.
e) That he/she wants and needs input to make the changes in work.
Sometimes the leader won’t be committed to the change, or won’t be very confident that self and the staff can pull it off, particularly when the change is imposed from above. While some may disagree, it is important that the leader still conveys an image of strength and commitment despite his/her own misgivings. The change leader has a role to play, and if he/she have misgivings or strong negative emotional reactions of own, it may be more effective if he/she underplays them. If the leader shows anger about a change, he/she may legitimize the same kind of negative behaviour in the staff.
While the leader shouldn’t hide his or her negative reactions completely, it is probably wise to keep them in the background by stating them in a matter of fact way and moving on with time.
Change is continuous. As a change leader, communication is the primary and most important tool. There is no substitute for good judgement and thus, change leaders need to be reflective and thoughtful about the ways they communicate.