Management of change Essay

Proposed Change

 

The US Agency for International Development has numerous departments and agencies in other regions it needs to improve their communications systems. That is why, it is proposed to implement the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) service in terms of integrating business processes was the foremost priority of the many companies concerned of applying such service in order to get more worth from the service process then, certain companies need to move from ‘Time to market’ that leads to the continuous business improvement where the companies constantly need to assess and improve their existing business practices and the need to review their ERP implementation of different scenarios and will have to upgrade their ERP systems to meet changing business demands. Basically, ERP serves will provide avenues in order to improve communication, accountability and responsibilities in the business organizations (Koch 2002). Moreover, successful implementation of ERP system reduces cycle time, increase production, improve customer support and increase overall efficiency and that apart from ongoing benefits to the companies there are certain factors that must be kept in consideration in order to have successful implementation of such new systems and or the upgrading of various essential existing system.

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The advances in technologies and emphasis on the services along with the stakeholders and customers may have changed the way business operations run in the companies and that the existing business processes need to change amicably by making present ERP systems be possibly upgraded and that before upgradation, it is necessary to assess current business process, future requirements and systematic approaches in order to implement changes. Besides continuous business improvement, there are various situations that mandate to modify these ERP services and systems.

These services pose a lot of challenges such as redundancy of information, compatibility among different technologies, data conversion and integrating the systems and management across all management units is of utmost importance to improve the overall business efficiency. Reviewing the business case and by mapping business requirements with the business processes can achieve standardization of data information (Bernstein, 2003).

The Business Case

Critical business applications such as the content management and e-commerce and others have rely on the ERP service systems by driving market expansion as it initially focus on technology driven issues still the ERP service and its development has shifted attention to business driven issues (Markus and Tanis, 2000).

Needs/Opportunity

Due to rapid changes in technologies, extending business operations and collaborations with business partners, often ageing ERP systems fail to meet the increasing customers demands and requires changes in business processes and systems equipped with latest technologies. The companies have to upgrade their systems to incorporate additional functionalities in their services and will have to ensure that they have a failsafe upgrade plan in order to minimize the disruption to users and business which requires consolidation and rigorous analysis of current and future services adapted by the business as well as the changes required (Demann, 2003).

Although most business companies have come to realize the benefits of using testing procedures and tools during the ERP service implementation but still, many companies recognize the need for change-management support in their projects. Identifying as well as assessing the impact of and migrating changes in Enterprise Resource Planning is a significant challenge building extensions and or upgrading to a new release while safeguarding the stability of the systems of the most valuable business resources.

There is a need to have a more effective, total enterprise planning system that will link communications, work processes, customer data and stakeholder capabilities into a centrally functioning system. A good understanding of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems is becoming essential for the aspiring business professional and it is now considered by some a price of market entry for many businesses (Denmann, 2003).

Change Management

 

Definition and importance. Change management is basically defined as the formulation and assimilation of change in a methodical process. The major objective of change management is the introduction of innovative means and systems in the work organization. Businesses must normally undergo change in order to evolve to a higher level of for instance, stability, management or production. Appointing a new head officer, for example, can greatly enhance his subordinates based on his management principles and personality.

 

Adding a new member in the organization or reconstructing an old company program are called smaller versions of change and are significantly different from that of change management. The scope of organizational change is much wider as compared to minor company changes. This may include changing the company’s mission, reforming business operations, application of new technologies, major group efforts, or adoption of new programs.  Usually, the organization is encouraged on settling on change management due to external influences, usually termed as the environment (Nickols, 2004). Thus, change management can alternately be defined as the response of different business to changes brought about by environmental influences in which organizations have minimal or absolutely no control over.

 

Organizational change is part of and a result of struggles between contradictory forces, also change management practice is related with endeavoring to manage their competing demands. To understand why and how to change organizations, it is first necessary to understand their structures, management and behaviour. According to Burnes (1996) these systems of ideas are crucial to change management in two respects. They provide models of how organization should be structured and managed. Then they provide guidelines for judging and prescribing the behaviour and effectiveness of individuals and groups in an organization. Hardy and Clegg (1996) believe that modern organizations passed by the guild structures and as organizations grew larger, skills become increasingly fragmented and specialized and positions become more functionally differentiated. It can be said that organizational change is one of the critical determinants in organizational success and failure (Appelbaum et al 1998).

 

Appelbaum et al (1998) stated that the focus of successful organizations is on customers and their needs, which includes investing in ways to improve sales and provide superior service to clients, and they do not forget that their customers and their customers’ needs underlie their organization’s existence. In addition, adapting factors crucial to the success of certain missions and the implementation of solutions to problems are common traits of a successful organization (Appelbaum et al 1998). The lack of such initiatives can throw an organization into confusion, being stuck in traditional practices that cannot solve or handle the current problems faced. Thus, the lack of such factors stresses the need for a strategic organizational change. It is basically a flexible strategic planning process as opposed to a static form of strategic planning.

 

Strategic implementation. Nickols (2000) provides a very useful framework for thinking about the change process, one which is anchored on problem solving. Managing change is seen as a matter of moving from one state to another, specifically, from the problem state to the solved state. Diagnosis or problem analysis is generally acknowledged as essential. Goals are set and achieved at various levels and in various areas or functions. Ends and means are discussed and related to one another. Careful planning is accompanied by efforts to obtain buy-in, support, and commitment. The net effect is a transition from one state to another, in a planned, orderly fashion.

 

Drucker (2002) indicated that being a change leader requires the willingness and ability to change what is already being done just as much as the ability to do new and different things.  He suggests a set of required policies and practices that make the present create the future. Meanwhile, Slobodnick and Slobodnick (1998) focuses on the system types component of a human systems change management model.  They review the human systems theory and the dynamic relationship between the change agent and the target system.  Leaders play a key role in change implementation. It can be argued that the effective planning and management of change require careful consideration of the impact of structure change on middle managerial work roles and work satisfaction levels – to maintain their resistance, and maximise their commitment to the containing and accelerating pace of change within the organisation.

 

Drucker (1995) sees leaders as the basic resource for an organisation as well as the key factor for a healthy growing economy and supply, which is critical to the survival and further development of any organisations.  Drucker (1995) further regards leaders in an organisation as the life-giving elements in every organisation in that without managers, organisations cannot possibly function properly.  Thus, a strong link is noted between a leader’s efficiency and organisation performance. It has been recognised that leaders are a significant power behind the progress and successful development of an organisation’s strategy and such success is very much dependent upon their attitudes, behaviour and commitment to their specific responsibilities.

 

Given the challenges of managing complexity and internal resistance to change, the task of leaders during the implementation of change can be very difficult indeed. Where significant change is involved, effective management is required. The challenge to understanding management becomes one of identifying effective management behaviour in the context of the organizational turbulence stirred up in the change process. So in order to cope with and manage the challenges posed by organisational change, leaders at any level should perform a variety of roles.

 

Coordination. Most of the successful business endeavors depend greatly on good interpersonal communication and relationship between the service or product providers and their clients. Persuading customers on trying the offered services and products is only a start on putting up a successful entrepreneurial activity. Gaining the trust of the clients and maintaining patrons is very important to ideal business transaction flows. But all these will be put to waste if issues and problems brought about by cultural differences between employers and employees arise in an organization functioning to achieve a common goal.

 

Managing the information that the company uses in its daily operations is crucial in any business organization. Information is the blood stream of every company on which every staff; employee and supervisor work on to be able to meet the demands of the clients and customers of the business. This is the reason why there should be proper management flow within the organization. Direct link between the supervisors and the subordinate employees should be efficient enough to answer to the daily work loads of the members of the organization. Communication between and among the members of the organization should be prioritized in order to provide a well-functioning business operation within and outside an organization.

 

In order to be most efficient in terms of the time and documents saved considerations not just by the Communication Systems Head Officer but also of every individual member of the business organization. An employee should have an idea of the future use of the file or document he or she is working on because most of the time, the files that were being manipulated at present will still be usable in the future. It should also be remembered that the reusability of a particular file is both a disadvantage and an advantage. Earl (1998) discussed the importance of good information management in the ever-increasing demands of the global business industries which are common nowadays. He emphasized the relevance of the search for global efficiency, local responsiveness, transfer learning and external alliances through proper information management in a particular business organization.

 

Commitment. Management as a role for the leaders of organizations involves control over others’ behaviors and actions. For most people a position of leadership centers on the management role, its tasks and techniques as well as its technology. It conjures up ideas like controlling interpersonal relations, making decisions, aligning individual member actions and perceptions with corporate goals, planning, budgeting and directing the effort of the several followers engaged in the work with people (Senge, 1990). The leader role involves insuring that group activity is timed, controlled and predictable.

 

An organization’s culture is about how much members trust each other, if indeed they trust others at all. They are about attitudes and emotions and their impact on team performance. Organizations are defined best in these terms and in ideas like change, trust, cohesion, conformity and adaptability. Leaders in a changing business environment are required to have the capacity to be adaptable which allows for quick and intelligent responses to what is perceived as constant change. It involves the ability to identify and seize opportunities as they are presented, hence the aforementioned shift from being plan-centric to intent-centric.

 

The leader’s task is to create a culture that integrates all individuals into a natural unity so individual actions can strengthen the results of the whole and when the prevailing culture is incompatible with the leader’s vision, the task is to change the culture to insure that it promotes needed integration and harmony as leadership involves changing people to find unity in apparent chaos (Wheatley, 1993). Commitment of the members with the organization to ensure loyalty to the company should be inculcated and maintained among its people.

 

Competence. The employees need to avail of the opportunities of developing their skills further and enriching their knowledge through the training programs and exercises that their company invests on. This will ensure their competitiveness in the fast-paced and ever-changing description and scope of their work and may also sustain their personal desire of improving themselves as productive individuals. Minimum stress level could also be expected in the workplace atmosphere.

 

According to Levine (1995), correctly applied and operational employee participation increases productivity as supported by empirical literature. Similarly, Champion-Hughes (2001) highlighted the importance of high work life quality through good supervision, working conditions, pay and benefits as well as challenging and rewarding jobs. She said that these conditions will provide opportunities for employees to contribute in the overall effectiveness of the organization as they become more motivated and productive members of the company’s work force with positive self-esteem and improved morale.

 

It is apparent that the business organization as a whole will in general gain from utilizing the said training and bonding practices. The smooth working operations and transactions inside the company that resulted from the availed workplace learning and training activities guarantee that the higher productivity level of the organization in general.

 

The basic tension that underlies many discussions of organisational change is that it would not be necessary if leaders had done their jobs right in the first place. Planned change is usually triggered by the failure of people to create continuously adaptive organizations (Dunphy, 1996). Thus, organisational change routinely occurs in the context of failure of some sort. Successful change must involve leaders who initially instigate the change by being visionary, persuasive and consistent. A change agent role is usually responsible to translate the vision to a realistic plan and carry out the plan.

 

Coping and adapting effectively. According to Conner (1994), major change is occurring in most of today’s organizations. The presence of this continuous and overlapping change has become a way of life in the corporate environment. Change continues to shrink today’s global boundaries and push businesses to their competitive limit.  Business leaders who want to get ahead in today’s marketplace must learn to respond to a growing number of changes in how they structure companies, conduct business, implement technology, and relate to customers and employees. While most organizations focus on deciding what to change to improve company performance and quality, the human element of executing these decisions is often left unattended.

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Moreover, McNamara (1999) points out that there are strong resistances to change. People are afraid of the unknown. Many people think things are already just fine and don’t understand the need for change. Many are inherently cynical about change, particularly from reading about the notion of “change”. Many doubt there are effective means to accomplish major organizational change. Often there are conflicting goals in the organization, e.g., to increase resources to accomplish the change yet concurrently cut costs to remain viable. Organization-wide change often goes against the very values held dear by members in the organization, that is, the change may go against how members believe things should be done.

 

Hence, it is important to understand the extent to which formal changes in management systems and role prescriptions have resulted in change in work behaviour and job satisfaction experienced by personnel. It is thus essential, when attempting to assess the impact of formally espoused changes within an organisation, to examine the extent to which, and the way in which, managers have adapted new forms of work behaviour in accordance with the new managerial role perceptions. Any organisation, may it be profit oriented or not-for-profit, the most vital asset is its employees. And for these organisations to maximize their assets, they should manage the employees’ working condition with intelligence and efficiency (Ulrich 1998). They must be allowed to be involved in making work-related decisions to further enhance the organisational structure (Delaney & Huselid, 1996).

 

Furthermore, the structure of tasks among the employees strengthens the organisational performance (Wilson, 1989). It is therefore necessary to understand the employees for the organisation to be effective. The development, building, motivation, enhancement and enrichment of the employees of any organization largely depend on the leadership, mandate and vision of the organization (Rainey & Steinbauer, 1999). According to Barbeschi (2002), the process of making an organisation is simultaneously the growth and maintenance of relationships among individuals who are working towards a common goal and the actual accomplishment of tasks, individually and collectively.

 

In this regard, continuous improvement within any business organization can only be realized if good working relationships between and among employees is experience by all the members of the company. To be able to function effectively with clients and customers, manufacturers of goods and products as well as service provider companies should be aware that success is first elicited inside the organization. Good working relationships should be observed first within the company so that the whole business operation can answer to the demands of the business transactions with clients and suppliers alike.

 

The cultural web model offers a lead on how to manage a business enterprise especially those operating in the international business environment. It highlights the relationship between the tools or resources of a particular business organization with the people working in the company and the systems that that the company employ in processing their transactions. The concept of culture, communication and commitment is given importance in overall and continuous improvement of a business firm. These concepts should be first inculcated and learned by the members of the company so as to ensure that the business will run smoothly.

Barriers to Change

 

While changing organizational processes and functions seems to be a great idea, whether it would be incremental or transformational change, there are many instances that efforts in organizational change are faced with resistance or inertia. Murray et al (2000) stated that many sees change as a threat because the outcomes are less certain than leaving things as they are. Resistance is defined as employee behavior that seeks to challenge, disrupt, or invert prevailing assumptions, discourses, and power relations (Collinson, 1994).

Murray et al (2000) reviewed literatures about change resistance and found out that trends in resistance literature can be divided into two categories, namely: external influences (factors which managers believed were outside of their control); and those who should be blamed when change initiatives failed. The literature review found that resistance to change in cost workload and legislation as stressed by other researchers. Murray et al (2000) found instead that the major barrier or inertia to change is the cultural entrenchment made by a dysfunctional management which prevents organizations from experiencing positive change. Resistance to change includes problems in: leadership, management and culture.

Leadership was seen to be poor when: there was no vision for the future; managers were unable to garner support of those concerned; senior officers obstruct change; and managers do not believe that change is necessary (Murray et al, 2000).

Management can also be a problem. First, there are managers that use tactics to justify why change is not necessary, which are also know as pot-pourri approaches. Then, internal systems were also reported to prevent change initiatives from succeeding (Murray et al, 2000). This is usually caused by the bureaucracy within the organization that seems to make acceptance to change stiff and more diverse.  Furthermore, managers having a victim mindset are also considered as barriers to change. Managers blame their resistance to change on external factors, but this only shows that they are not optimistic to perform change. Finally, managers resist changing because of the status quo, as change might affect the ways they do things (Murray et al, 2000).

On the other hand, culture is also a concern. As an obstacle, four perspectives were described namely: uncertainty; turf protection; inability to cope; and internal politics. Uncertainty about the outcomes of change creates anxiety to employees particularly about their positions. Moreover, like managers, staffs also tend to protect their turf or cling with their status quo. Particularly, most are unwilling to maker and learn from mistakes. Then, the third one, coping is also a problem when there is a lack of knowledge, training or ability to engage with the changes better. Finally, change is resisted mostly by people who needed power or who believed that their status would be diminished, or who depended on others for political and emotional security. Change is also a game of politics and those who want to stay on top would most likely resist change, specifically if the change requires them to sacrifice their position (Murray et al, 2000).

Basically, how the people accept change is the main problem why organizations are having difficulties achieving positive results. As Cobb et al (1995) stated “how people are treated and how the change is implemented can have considerable influence on employees’ resistance to change”.

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Bibliography

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