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Managing Conflict In The Organization

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Autor:  anton  12 June 2011
Tags:  Managing,  Conflict,  Organization
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Outline a strategy for change designed to achieve the following objectives:

a) To prepare people for change, convincing them that significant organizational changes are needed.

Change process starts with an awareness of the need for change. Bringing about change is easier said than done because as humans it is our nature to resist the unknown and unfamiliar. We are comfortable with the status quo, not matter how many problems lie underneath. However, the need for change is increasing; change capability is necessary for organization that will succeed in the future. At its heart, change management is a state of mind, a philosophy that says "we want to only make changes after due planning and consideration, and we want those changes to be made in a consistent, repeatable, reliable fashion." Implementing that philosophy usually results in a process, outlining how change occurs.

An analysis of this situation and the factors that have created it leads to a diagnosis of their distinctive characteristics and an indication of the direction in which action needs to be taken. Possible courses of action can then be identified and evaluated and as choice made of the preferred action. Managing change during this transition state is a critical phase in the change process. It is here that the problems of introducing change emerge and has to be managed.

To manage change, it is first necessary to understand the types of change and important to bear in mind that while those wanting change need to be constant about ends; they have to be flexible about means. This requires them to understand the various models of change that have been developed. This will make them better equipped to make use of the guidelines for change.

There are two main types of change; Strategic and Operational.

1. Strategic change is concerned with organizational transformation and deals with broad, long-term and organization-wide issue. It is about ensuring that an organization can develop and implement major change program that will ensure that it responses strategically to new demands and continues to function effectively in the dynamic environment in which it operates. It will cover the purpose and mission of the organization, its corporate philosophy on such matters as growth, quality, and innovation and values concerning people, the customer needs served and the technologies employed.

Organizational transformation activities involve radical change to the structure, culture and process of the organization. It may respond to competitive pressure mergers, acquisitions, investments, divestments, changes in technology, product lines, markets, cost reduction exercises and decisions to down size or outsource work. The change may be forced on the organization by investors or government; it may be initiated by a new CEO and top management team with objective to В‘turn around' the business.

2. Operational change relates to new systems, procedures. Structures or technology which will have an immediate effect on working arrangement within a part of the organization. But their impact on people can be more significant than broader strategic change and they have to be handled just as carefully.

To create a change-friendly climate, executives must first signal change by creating significant moments. By actually stating an event or start that resonates with the masses, change agents have a grater opportunity to challenge the old system and brand their new initiative. The baseline for any change is working with people who will put plans into operation; people who will lead, support, and act as resources; and people who will act as catalysts and energizers.

People are different and will respond to change in different ways В– some will quickly become involved, some will resist, some will perhaps never engage themselves in the process. An individual's involvement with and commitment to change is motivated largely by an individual's subjective understanding of the meaning of change. Whiting this subjective reality individuals have to decide В‘what's in it for them' and how they will deal with this new opportunity. It is the transformation of subjective realities, or the establishment of a new meaning or relationship to the change, that is the essence of any substantive change process.

To prepare people within the organization and build support for the change:

В• Provide as much information as possible, to as many people as possible about the business. Share financial information, customer feedback, employee morale survey results, industry projections and challenges, and data from processes you measure. Assuming decisions about needed change are made based on relevant data, an informed workforce will understand and agree with the need for change.

В• Create urgency around the need to change. Project, for your workforce, what will happen if you don't make the needed changes. Communication this information honestly and use data whenever it is available.

В• Spend extra time and energy working with your front line supervisory staff and line managers to ensure that they understand, can communicated about, and support the changes. Their actions and communication are critical in molding the opinion of the rest of your workforce.

В• Align all organizational systems to support needed changes. These include the performance management system, rewards and recognition, disciplinary approaches, compensation, promotions, and hiring. A consistency across all human resources systems will support change.

В• Align the formal structures and networks in your organization with the desired changes. If you can tap in the informal communication and political network, you will increase change commitment.

Successful change management requires the following:

В• Effective communication,

В• Full and active executive support

В• Employee involvement

В• Organizational planning and analysis and widespread perceived need for change.

b) To plan and monitor a programme of organisational change.

В• Assess the readiness of the organization to participate in the change. Answer questions such as what the level of trust within the organization are, whether people feel generally positive about their work environment, whether you have a history o f open communication and so on. These factors have a tremendous impact on people's acceptance of and willingness to change. If you can start building this positive and supportive environment prior to the change, you have a great head start on change implementation.

В• Creating a vision В– creating a vision to help direct the change effort and developing strategies for achieving that vision. Turn the change vision into an overall plan and timeline, and plan to practice forgiveness when the timeline encounters barriers. Communicating the vision В– using every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies and teaching new behaviors by the example of the guiding coalition

В• Create a plan for involving as many people as possible, as early as possible in the change process. Solicit input to the plan from people who В‘own' or work on the processes that are changing. Form a powerful guiding coalition В– assembling a group with enough power to lead the change effort and encouraging the group to work together as a team. However recognize that if a small group learns important information and fails to share it with the rest of the group, the rest of the people will have trouble catching p with the learning curve. If a small group makes the plans, those affected by the decisions will not have the needed time to analyze, think about, and adjust to the new ideas. If you leave people behind, at any stage of the process, you open the door for misunderstanding, resistance and hurt. Even if people cannot affect the overall decision about change, involve each person in meaningful decisions about their work unit and their work.

В• Establish a sense of urgency by gathering information about and determine ways to communicate the reasons for the changes. These may include changing economic environment, examining market and competitive realities and identifying and discussing crises, potential crises, or major opportunities, financial considerations, resource availability and company direction.

В• Assess each potential impact to organization processes, systems, customers and staff. Assess the risks and have a specific improvement or mitigation plan developed for each risk.

В• Plan the communication of the change. People have to understand the context, the reasons for the change, the plan and the organization's clear expectations for their changed roles and responsiblitites. Nothing communicates expectations better than improved measurements and rewards and recognition.

В• Determine the В‘what's in it for me' of the change for each individual in the organization. Work on how the change will affect each individual directly, and how to make the change fit his or her needs as well as those of the organization.

В• Empowering others to act on the vision В– getting rid of obstacles to change and challenging systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision and encouraging risk taking and non-traditional idea, activities and actions

В• Planning for and creating short-term wins В– planning for visible performance improvement; creating those improvements and recognizing and rewarding employees involved in the improvements. After allowing some time for people to pass through the predicable stages of change, negative consequences for failure to adopt the changes are needed. The nay-sayers cannot be allowed to continue on their negative path forever, they sap the organization of time, energy, and focus, and eventually, affect the morale of the positive many.

В• Consolidating improvement and producing still more change В– using increased credibility to change system, structures and policies that don't fit the vision; Hiring, promoting, and developing employees who cans implement the vision and reinvigorating the process with new projects, themes and change agents.

В• Institutionalizing new approaches В– articulating the connections between the new behaviors and corporate success developing the means to ensure leadership development and succession. The change manager should be wary of expressions like В‘mindset change' and В‘changing people's mindsets' or В‘changing attitudes', because language often indicates a tendency towards imposed or enforced change, and it implies strongly that the organization believes that its people currently have the В‘wrong' mindset, which is never, ever, the case. If people are not approaching their tasks or the organization effectively, then the organization has the wrong mindset, not the people. Change such as new systems and environments, which need to be explained to people as early as possible, so that peoples involvement in validating and refining the changes themselves can be obtained.

Effective change management can help successfully implement any change necessary for future prosperity and profitability. Successful change must involve top management, including the board and chief executive. A change agent role is usually responsible to translate the vision to a realistic plan and carry out the plan. Communication about the change should be frequent and with all organizations members. To sustain change, the structures of the organization itself should be modified, including strategic plans policies and procedures. This change in the structures of the organization typically involves an unfreezing, changing and re-freezing process.

Workshops are very useful processes to develop collective understanding, approaches, policies, methods, systems, ideas and so on. A good way of monitoring the change is through staff surveys assessing attitude. This is a good way to repair damage and mistrust among staff В– provided you allow people to complete them anonymously, and that you publish the results and act on the findings. Management training, empathy and facilitative capability are priority areas. Managers are crucial to the change process and must enable and facilitate, not merely convey and implement policy from above, which does not work. Monitor how the change is progressing and review the adequacy of risk controls. Establish what is working well and what needs improving. Modify these in light of experience.

c) To help people at all levels in the unit cope with the problems of change.

People resist change because it is seen as a threat to familiar patterns of behavior as well as to status and financial rewards. 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 notions of В‘change' as if it's a mantra. Many doubt there are effective means to accomplish major organizational change. Often there are conflicting goals in the organization as the value held dear by members of the organization, are the very ones being changed.

Specifically, the reasons for resisting change are as follows:

В• The shock of the new В– people are suspicious of anything which they perceive will upset their established routines, methods of working or conditions of employment. They do not what to lose the security of what is familiar to them and may not believe statement by management that the change is for their benefit as well as that of the organization; sometimes with good reasons. The may feel that management has ulterior motives and, sometime, the louder the protestations of management; the less they will be believed.

В• Economic fears В– loss of money, threats to job security

В• Inconvenience В– the change will makes life more difficult

В• Uncertainty В– change can be worrying because of uncertainty about its likely impact

В• Symbolic fears В– a small change that may affect some treasured symbol, such as a separate office or a reserved parking space, may symbolize big ones, especially when employees are unce4rtain how extensive the program of change will be

В• Threat to interpersonal relationships В– and thing that disrupts the customary social relations and standards of the group will be resisted

В• Treat to status or skill В– the change is perceived as reducing the status of individuals or as de-skilling them

В• Competence fears В– concern about the abilities to cope with new demands or to acquire new skills.

Resistance to change can be difficult to overcome even when it is not detrimental to those concerned. But the attempt must be made. The first step is to analyze the potential impact of change by considering how it will affect people in their jobs. The analysis should indicate which aspects of the proposed change may be supported generally or by specified individuals and which aspect may be resisted. So fare as possible, the potentially hostile or negative reactions of people should be identified, taking into account all the possible reasons for resisting change listed above. It is necessary to try to understand the likely feelings and fears of those affected so that unnecessary worries can be relieved and, as far as possible, ambiguities an be resolved. In making this analysis, the individual introducing the change, who is sometimes called the В‘change agent', should recognize that new ideas are likely to be suspect and should make ample provision for the discussion of reactions not proposals to ensure completed understanding of them.

Involvement in the change process gives people the change to raise and resolve their concerns and make suggestions about he form of the change and how it should be introduced. The aim is to get В‘ownership' В– a feeling amongst people that the change is something that they are happy to live with because they have been involved in its planning and introduction В– it has become their change.

Communication about the proposed change should be carefully proposed and worded so that unnecessary fears are allayed. The entire available channel should be used, but face-to-fare communications direct from managers to individuals or through a team briefing system are best. The best approach to address resistance is through increased and sustained communications and education. For example, the leader should meet with all managers and staff to explain reasons for the change, how it generally will be carried out and where others can go for additional information. A plan should be developed and communicated. Plans do change. That is fine, but communicated that the plan has changed and why. Forums should be held of organization members to express their ideas for the plan. They should be able to express their concerns and frustrations as well.

During the change develop a written communication plan to ensure that all the following occur. Communicated consistently, frequently, and through multiple media including speaking, writing, video, training, focus groups, bulleting boards and intranets, and more. Communicate all that is known about the changes, as quickly as the information is available. Provide significant amounts of time for people to ask questions, request clarification and provide input.

d) To achieve improvement in unit's performance.

Increasingly, an organization's ability to respond and adapt quickly which providing increased stability in the midst of change is a great leverage point for achieving sustainable competitive advantage. However, this is not about predicting or riding trends; change needs to be a lot more than that. Organizations can get caught in pendulum swings from one trend to another. To ensure improvement in performance the following things should be taken into consideration:

1. Sound preparation

Clarify what the change is intended to achieve. Establish clear, measurable and realistic objectives and outcomes. Identify risks and develop appropriate controls. Choose incremental over transformational change if time allows. Aim to introduce change fast enough to give a sense of progress, yet not exceeding people's ability to absorb and control it. Where appropriate, trial changes before full implementation to allow development and modification. Consider what resources and training will be needed to make the change succeed.

2. Create a common vision

Help people understand the need for change and provide a clear vision of what will be accomplished and how people will be affected.

3. Clear communication

Communicate the vision clearly, and often, to everyone. Establish processes to allow ongoing communication so that people hear things through official channels, rather than "on the grapevine".

4. Address concerns and enable participation.

Develop processes to bring concerns out into the open and discuss them. Participation in the change process can help to develop ownership and commitment and improve its effectivenessВ—so build employee feedback into the change process. Where changes have negative consequences for individuals, provide organisational support and assistance where possible (such as counselling, further training, redeployment, and treatments for any identified occupational health and safety risks). Also ensure that managers have the capability to provide effective support to their staff.

5. Develop a clear action plan

Involve people in developing clear plans about who will do what, when and how in order to achieve the vision and make the change work.

6. Celebrate progress

Celebrate as stages are achieved to enable people to let go of the old and accept the new. Set short-term goals and provide a sense of achievement when they are reached. Aim to create a culture where change is about continuous learning and improvement and is viewed positively.

7. Create a climate of certainty

Tell people what you do know, explain what will change and what will not. Establish processes to give individual and team feedback on how change is progressing, and how their efforts and support are helping. Do whatever you can to provide a sense of stability and routine.

8. Follow up

Monitor how the change is progressing and review the adequacy of risk controls. Establish what is working well and what needs improving. Modify in the light of experience.

Key messages for leaders

In introducing change, it is important to understand that:

В• poor levels of employee adjustment to change can reduce productivity and increase the incidence of workers' compensation claims;

В• employee adjustment to change is a partnership between the individual and the organization;

В• the quality of change leadership, and the communication of a clear understanding of the need for change and how change is to be achieved are crucial to the success of change processes;

В• supportive leadership behaviors and the quality of an organization's people management practices exert considerable influence on employee adjustment to change

o supportive leaders are approachable, accessible, responsive, understand the problems facing staff, and communicate well with employees

o effective people management practices are characterized by effective delegation, treating people with consideration and respect, encouraging staff to take initiative, actively seeking staff involvement in decisions, understanding the problems faced by staff, and showing confidence in their abilities;

o individual responses to change will vary, depending on past experiences, individual capacities and coping styles. So leaders should be prepared to expect a variety of responses to change, and be trained to cope with them as they arise.


Armstrong M, 2005, A handbook of Human Resource Management, 9th Edn, Kogan Page, London

Jacobs R W, Johnson B and McKeown F, - How to add value in continuing strategic change В– www.humanresources.about.com/library/weekly/uc090101a.htm - retrieved on 09/12/2005

Heathfield S M, 2006, Your Guide to Human Resources В– Change, Change, Change: Change Management lessons form the field В– www.humanresources.about.com - retrieved on 23/04/2006

Kane K , 2004, Creating the climate for change; Mobilizing the Executive team and Your organization В– New Perspectives В– Balance Scorecard report

People: The most important element in change В– www.ed.gov/pubs/edreformstudies/sysreforms/stiegel2.html - retrieved on 09/12/2005

Cole's eight stepping stones to lasting change - http://www.comcare.gov.au/leadership/managing-change.html (Retrieved 09/10/2006)

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