Sample Topic: Managing Complex Change

Title: What issues do organizations face in managing complex change? How can organizations increase the success of change management programs?

A change in the economy and business environments compels organizations to alter the way they carry out their business. The top management in any organizations such as managers and supervisors has been granted the responsibilities of carrying out the change in an organization. Besides, not all employees respond to change with the attitude. A complex change in an organization, therefore, posses much risk both for an organization, employees and the environment around it.

The first reason that poses a challenge in performing a complex change in an organization is fear of failure organization may be faced by resistance to change may be entrenched in fear. During periods of change, some employees may feel the need to adhere to the past because it was a more secure, conventional time. If what they did in the past worked well for them, they may resist changing their behaviour out of fear that they will not achieve as much in the, an organization will find it difficult to implement and bring necessary improvements in an organization.

Lastly, confronting errant managers can also be an effective method in managing a successful change program. Managers resisting change can derail the process of change. Senior managers confronted with such errant managers, take recourse to marginalize them. But marginalizing errant managers can take time and is wasteful of the senior manager's precious time and energies. The senior manager must make clear what the organization's expectations are. He should also ask what the organization can do to align the manager concerned with the change vision. If this dialogue does not yield any results, the errant manager should be fired.

Secondly, people are creatures of habit. Human beings have been known as creatures of habit. Therefore, they have been used in doing things in the same routine in a predictable manner to influence their comfortable. Asking them to change the way they perform or think is asking them to move outside their comfort zone. This hampers an organization in effectively managing a complex change.

Third employees may view change as a No obvious need. Some employees may see a change only from the perspective of the impact it has on them and their particular jobs. Not seeing the big picture, they may fail to recognize the positive impact of the change on the organization as a whole. Thus, they may find the change disruptive and totally unnecessary.


Fourth, change can be seen as a loss of control in an organization. An organization may be faced with the loss of control when implementing a complex change. This is because familiar routines help employees and the organization develops a sense of control over their work environment. A change in the way an organization and employees act may make employees and the organization feel powerless and confused.

Fifth, a concern about support system may also contribute to the complexity of change management in an organization. An organization may experience a concern about the support system. Most employees performing within predictable routines know their support system will back them up during challenging times. Changing the organizational structures may shake their confidence in their support system. They may worry about working for a new supervisor, with new employees or on unfamiliar projects because they fear that if they try to fail, there will be no one there to support them.

Sixth, an organization may experience an unwillingness to learn from its employees. Unwillingness for some employees, hesitant to try new routines, expresses an unwillingness to learn anything new. They may say, "I already know all that I need to know.” Like resistant employees who have already made up their minds the change won’t be productive, employees reluctant to learn something new impede the organization’s growth and adaptation to change. They also hinder their own growth and development for an organization contributing to managing change in an organization to be difficult.

Seventh, fear the new way may not be better makes managing change in an organization difficult. The fear the new way may not be better if things have been going well can also be a challenge in implementing a change in an organization. Employees in an organization may resist change because they fear the change will not result in improvement. Focusing only on their part of the operation, they fail to realize that change is needed for the organization to stay competitive. They may resist forward movement because they are satisfied with the way things are going. Their current status is quite enough, and they wish to uphold business as usual.

Eighth fear of the unknown, some employees may resist a complex change simply because it is something unfamiliar. Not knowing much about the specifics of the change, they may imagine a worst-case scenario, which can be very scary. They let fear of the unknown become their reason for not giving the change a chance. These employees may admit that a problem exists and agree that a change might improve it. However, they worry the proposed change might actually make things worse! Their fear causes them to place roadblocks in the movement toward change and therefore an organization can realize its goals of growth and development.

Ninth, Fear of personal impact in an organization. Fear of personal impact in an organization may undermine complex change management in an organization. By viewing change from a personal standpoint, some employees may respond by asking how the change will benefit them directly. Will it make their job easier? Will they have to work harder? Will the change put their job security in jeopardy? Will the change force them to work with different people or learn a new job?


And last, ignoring the history of change in your organization may also contribute to ineffective change implementation in an organization. Past changes set the stage for today's performance. If big projects generally go well, then the organization is likely to have several good wills going into this project. However, if most changes have been a drain on resources, never perform much, and leave people battered, and then organizations can expect people to react with much fear. Therefore this can make it difficult ineffective change management in an organization.

Changing structures can be difficult because employees are expected to a basic organizational design, and are blind to alternatives. Also they have invested significantly in the existing structure with personal loyalties and functional expertise, and do not want to shift to a different structure. Though senior managers may recognize the need to change the existing organizational structure, they might not be willing to arouse dissatisfaction among middle managers and their peers. Therefore, any effort aimed at changing the structure must be carefully planned and fulfilled.

Second, the training of employees should be encouraged. Employees feel empowered and show an inclination to change when they are equipped with the right skills and attitudes to perform in the intended organizational environment. As skills and attitudes are gained over a long period of time, employees cannot be expected to shed all their old skills and attitudes and get new ones within a few days of training. Employees and managers need enough time for this. Sometimes, employees are provided training to acquire only technical skills and not social skills and attitudes. It is also common to find that after training the employees, nobody bothers to check how successfully they are employing their skills, and what problems they are facing while using these skills. Leaders overseeing the change process need to pay enough attention to the new behaviours, skills and attitudes necessary to bring about the needed change.


Third, aligning organizational systems to the vision should be practiced. Organizational systems that are not aligned with the vision act as blocks to the needed actions. Though systems are easier to change that culture, simply erasing all inconsistencies between the new vision and current systems in a day or two may not be possible. This too needs proper planning and consistent effort. For example, the HR department needs time to align the HR systems such as performance appraisal, compensation, promotions, etc with the new vision.

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