Change is an inevitable part of life. We change physically as we age but just like so we change mentally. With passing time, our understanding of the world changes with new experiences (Cameron & Green, 2015). Einstein’s theory of relativity states that nothing we encounter in this universe is absolute but is relative, we can agree to the fact that change is an absolute truth of life (Senge, 2014). Professionally every individual is attached to an organization and as change is an inescapable truth, every individual encounters the turmoil associated with any developmental change regarding that organization (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2015). If something is incapable of adapting to change it is set to be destroyed in due course of time (Fullan, 2014).
This reflective journal provides a general idea about organizational changes and ways to deal with them. Apart from general information, this journal also states about my personal experiences regarding the subject. I will input my understanding of the concept of change and the ways through which changes can be managed in life. I hope this write up help other people who are going through any change or want to learn how to manage changing situations.
General idea about organizational change:
When we consider change, it can be of two types, intrinsic change or extrinsic change. The forces that are driving intrinsic or internal change are low performance, new leadership responsibilities, low satisfaction, new mission and conflicts that we encounter in our daily lives. For external change the forces may be economic and political, cultural and social, demographic, industry and technology (Cummings & Worley, 2014). If we specifically consider organizational change then that change may be of two types. Change may occur in a particular organization either during organizational development of during organizational transformation (Chhokar, Brodbeck & House, 2013). In case of organizational change, again that change may be planned. In that case, decisions regarding specific issues made in conscious mind. Unplanned changes are random and sudden and decisions regarding those changes are taken without specific intensions. Revolutionary changes however, are dramatic and rapid (Hayes, 2014).
Organizational development is a planned change. The characteristics of organizational development include the change of the total system, which is proactive and incremental and a long term but stable process. Organizational transformation on the other hand is dramatic and unplanned change. The process of this type of change is chaotic and unstable but outcome oriented (Benn, Dunphy & Griffiths, 2014). According to Burke (1980), organizational development is a planned changing process and happens in an organization’s culture by using behavioral science, research, theory and technology. Therefore, there are much important information regarding organizational change but the question arises that what is the utility of learning about organizational change. Personally, I think that the knowledge that I will gather through learning about various aspects of organizational change will help me in future professionally. It is still helpful to know about the process of change and the ways these changes can be dealt with presently as life is ever changing, society is ever changing, globalization is changing markets and environments, advancement of Information technology is changing pattern of work.
Resistance to change:
It is common knowledge that no matter how flexible human race is towards the changing world, still it is an indigenous urge to be resistant towards change. The flexible human species is rigid in that aspect as whenever we encounter a sudden change we tend to resist it or try to avoid it (Anderson, 2013). Any organization when undergoes a change whether it is due to development or transformation; people related to the organization at first resist it. The causes may be seen in three different aspects. If we consider the reasons for the governing body then these will be; inertia, culture, structure lack of rewards and the sudden timing. If we consider individual resistance then the causes may be the fear of unknown and fear of failure (Van der Voet, Kuipers & Groeneveld, 2014). Job security may be another cause. If a change is occurring in a group then, resistance may be due to norms, cohesion or leadership (Goetsch & Davis, 2014).
I have seen people resisting to change many times. I myself have been resistant towards change a few times. I have seen my grandparents being resistant towards new technologies and smart phones and MP3 players. My parents have been skeptical a few times about me having my own personal surrounding while growing up. When I was child, I was much more attached to my parents and my siblings; they were my friend philosopher guide. However, as I grew up I started having people in my life outside of my family boundaries and sometimes in certain cases; I relied on them more than my own family. Adjusting to these changes occurring in my life as well as theirs has been a difficulty to my parents. Not only my parents I also have been a rigid person many times in my life in many situations. I have always been a bookworm but I also liked outdoor games. In my childhood, playing games like football, and baseball had been a common norm. I am not saying kids these days still do not do so but they are more inclined on playing video games, computer games. They prefer the virtual world rather than the real world. Children these days do not read books but spend hours in the internet. My younger brother never read Harry potter or the lord of the rings. He prefers watching Naruto anime instead. Therefore, the change and the generation gap between two people, is difficult to deal with for both the individuals.
In another instance, I encountered in my life was the change in leadership. At that time, I was a customer service representative of English language working in a team of many representatives of the unit of TCS New Delhi. When my team leader (TL) was changed, I faced difficulty with communicating with the new TL. For that, I suffered in many cases and my performance dropped a little. Instructions became blurry to me and complaints from customers started coming regarding my communication with them. Had I known at that time the ways to cope up with a change the transition period would had been easier. However, I made that into a learning process and with the help of my TL, my work improved, as a result, I got a promotion afterwards. When I become the TL of the English customer care unit, many of my associate team members did not go well with the change in leadership. It became my responsibility to implement the changing rules. Becoming an authority figure had not been easy but I learned a lot. Instead of being incompetent or blaming others, I started being responsible for complain generated from a customer’s end and that helped gaining their trust. Hence, there are many ways to handle any changing situations. Each individual has their own approach but learning the key concepts can definitely be of virtue.
Dealing with change:
Now, we have a clear understanding about what is change and why we encounter resistance towards change it is time that I discuss upon how to deal with change. Dealing with a planned change is easy as we generally have a background idea about the change. However, dealing with unplanned change can be tricky (Hornstein, 2015). Knowing some key points may be of help. During organizational transformation, employees may get agitated. If an authority figure is leading a change then avoiding being too formal or rigid with the employees may be a good way to start (Cantore, 2017). Infusing moderate uncertainty as well as spontaneity into decisions may be of virtue while preventing complacency (Szabla, Stefanchin & Warner, 2014). While introducing new strategies, products or services being proactive can also be helpful. Rotation in leader ship may help generating fresh ideas and visions and bring positive attitude from the employees (Martinez, 2016). The best way of leading any change is to become a role model. We have seen Che Guevara becoming a role model of an entire generation in America and implementing his political view through other people’s minds. Becoming a good leader is not easy. One has to be creative and influential. Leaders need to encourage and inspire followers to question assumptions and to look for alternatives. A good leader needs to be tolerating towards mistake in order to encourage experimentation (Simons, 2015).
One way of leading organizational change is becoming an organizational development practitioner. Nowadays, it has become a trend to call on OD practitioners to lead a change in the organization. They work with the organization towards resolving the issues regarding the developmental process. The OD practitioner in such cases may be in-house or external. OD practitioners are expected to have a wide array of skills. An OD practitioner must possess the ability to push boundaries while maintaining independence and flexibility. Using emotional intelligence to fulfill emotional demands while implementing knowledge and experience is a good a for an OD practitioner to lead a change (Cantore, 2017).
One incident of my life when I was leading an organizational change was, when the company changed leave-policies and changed shift timings. The company I work for is TCS New Delhi and like any other company has its own sets of rules regarding casual and sick leaves and weakly off days. Previously the company had fixed Saturday and Sunday off and 2 casual leaves and 1 sick leave a month. But due to change in company policies the fixed Saturday offs was changed to rotational week day off and 2 casual leaves was reduced down to 1 casual leave per month. The shift timing was from 10 am to 6 pm but it was changed to 9 am to 5 pm. These changes although planned for the managerial body of the organization, but was sudden for other non-managerial employees, as these were not discussed with them. As I am a customer care executive as well as the team lead of my team, it became my burden to inform my team members and handle any situation regarding these changes. These sudden changes created uproar among my team members. To handle these situations I planned an interactive session with the employees where I explained the reasons behind these changes. I listened to their issues regarding this change and tried to convince them to go with the flow of these changes as planned. I could have handled the situation better, if all the aspects regarding these changes were known to me. Nonetheless, I was able to resolve the agitations regarding these changes successfully in calm and composed manner, which I think, is a very important leadership quality.
Going through the subject enlightened me towards many factors regarding organizational change. Learning about the various aspects of organizational change and not only ensures a person’s personal growth but also about ways to manage them. It is in fact very important to learn about how to lead a change as well. There come many situations in life when we need to bring a change to our personal, social as well as professional life. In order to bring a change in someone else’s life, in the society, or in any organization one must implement such changes in his or her life. Implementing changes in life also requires adapting to various changes as well. In near future if I ever encountered such situations that I encountered in the past, I will be able to handle them successfully. This course work has helped me to increase my leadership skills. I am confident that in future I will be able to lead changes in my as well as other people’s life in order to maintain organizational as well as personal growth. As a concluding note, I would say that knowing and learning about the entire process of change will help everyone to manage the changing situations one encounters in their life.
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