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Implementation of Change Management
Change is essential in life. The reality of the complexity and fluidity of the environment (external or internal) is that organizations and individuals are constantly forced to change in one form or another. Change can be fast or slow, perceptible or imperceptible, subtle or substantive.
Vecchio (2006) in a final tone submitted that all organizations (whether profit or non-profit, military or mutinational corporations) have no choice but to change in order to maintain the pressure from the environment (internal and external). It is a pressing case of “change or die” (Vecchio, 2006: 365).
Pressures to change can be overt or implicit. Managers are expected to anticipate and direct the change process so that organizations can benefit from it. Infact Pantea (nd) of the University of Aard, Romania suggests that the underlying model of Lewin’s Change Process is that the change process eventually involves a learning experience as well as the appropriateness of abandon “the organization’s current attitudes, behaviors, or practices”.
The forces of change can sometimes be daunting and may include predictably changing economic conditions, changing consumer preferences, technological and scientific factors, globalization and competition, and last but not least, changes in the legal landscape.
Responding to the forces of change may require strategic change or operational change. Strategic change is organization wide and involves organizational change. While strategic change has a long-term focus, operational change has an immediate impact on the working arrangements within a part of the organization. Operational change focuses on elements such as new systems, procedures, structures or technologies. Organizational change can be static (Lewin’s model) or dynamic (Continuous Change Process Model).
Change management requires strategic thinking and planning, good implementation and consultation with stakeholders. The change desired must be realistic, achievable and realistic.
Lewin’s view of the change process gives us a tool or model to determine the need for change, its implementation and monitoring. (Lewin, 1951). Armstrong (2006) identified several models of change including Bechard (1969), Thurley (1979), Quinn (1980), and Bandura (1986).
Lewin’s planned change process model has the following basic assumptions:
1. The change process involves new learning as well as a paradigm shift from current attitudes, behaviors and organizational practices.
2. The occurrence of change is based on the existence of motivation to change. This is essential to the change process.
3. People are at the center of organizational changes. Whatever kind of change is desired at the end of the day it is the individuals who are the targets of change.
4. Desirability of change goals however intensive does not prevent the existence of resistance to change.
5. If change is to be effective, new behaviors, attitudes and organizational behaviors must be reinforced.
Lewin’s planned change model consists of three steps described as unfreezing, change and re freezing. In the unfreezing stage, it is necessary to create awareness of change. The equilibrium that supports existing practices, behaviors and attitudes must be changed.
Data collection may be required at this stage for further analysis so that the need for change becomes apparent to all. In the transformation phase the goal is to change people, structures, roles and technology as indicated by Vecchio (2006: 373). The refreeze phase requires that an evaluation of the results be made in order to make the necessary adjustments.
New responses can be developed based on new information received. Reecho (2006: 374) identified the forces of resistance to change that include: employee desires for security, contentment with the status quo, narrow forces of change, group inertia, threatened expertise, threatened power, and changes in resource allocation.
CHANGE MANAGEMENT OF ADESHINA ADELEKE AND COMPANY
Adeshina Adeleke and company consists of a group of professionals specializing in property services it is a line company with headquarters in Lagos Nigeria. Adeshina Adeleke and the company have branches in Abuja and Porthacourt, Nigeria and have developed skills in Agency, Marketing and Facility Management.
It has a diversified and yet a cohesive workforce. The diversity of its workforce is in terms of gender and ethnic groups. The company has a flat but well centralized structure. At the top of the structure is the Principal Consultant who is the Chief Executive Officer.
Below this are the unit/branch heads. It has a strong strategic alliance culture. In terms of strategic grouping, the company falls within the SME group and operates within the service segment of the property industry.
Adeshina Adeleke and company are affected by the forces of change in both the systemic and non-systemic sense. The current economic downturn has had a huge impact on the Nigerian economy resulting in lack of liquidity in the property market. The effect of illiquidity is the high inventory of property to be sold and allowed in Adeshina Adeleke’s property bulletin.
Sales and lending declined steadily for a quarter. Sales teams are not meeting their targets. The result of the performance gap analysis triggers the need for strategic and operational change on the part of the company. As a firm, we were caught off guard because the scenario we found ourselves in was completely unexpected.
The management felt the need to increase sales and profits and also to reposition the company through necessary changes. Although at that time, we were not guided or constrained by any management model of the desired change, it was useful to adopt Lewin’s planned change process to analyze Adeshina Adeleke and the change management process. -or the company.
To start the freezing phase the company’s leadership creates an awareness of the need for change, first in the management staff and then in the sales teams. The performance results for three months are discussed and analyzed in the management meeting.
Management is generally designed to understand the emerging pattern and be sensitive to the need for change. A management staff was then directed to meet with the sales teams and middle-level managers to educate them on the company’s situation and the need to develop a sense of urgency for change.
When a consensus was established on the urgency of the need for change, a management and staff committee was created to look deeply into the company’s situation with a view to providing solutions. The committee’s recommendations include the following:
• Wider consultation of the rank and file to sell the change to the majority of the staff, especially the influential ones who can form a coalition to resist the change. It is important that these groups are made to work together in the change process.
• Members of the sales team will be sent to training to acquire additional marketing skills especially for sales during economic times.
• The Abuja branch manager will be replaced by the Porthacourt branch manager who is making waves in Porthacourt.
• A third of the sales team members will be commission based to reduce overhead especially during the transition period.
• That networking and cold calling should be an important area first in the media campaign
• That we must continue our media campaign.
• That an interventionist or a change agent should be allowed to lead the change.
The committee’s report was adopted and an HR practitioner was appointed to lead the change. Suffice it to say that we are still in the transition phase of the project. Sales personnel are on and off training both outside and inside the plant. Consultation continues on the proposed commission-based staff.
A committee looks at our business process and value chain activities with the aim of eliminating unproductive activities. The contributions of strategic business units are also looked at so that decisions can be taken in their relevance.
The performances of the members of our strategic group are studied with curiosity. Our IT department is looking into the possibility of multiple deployments of Ecommerce solutions for increased performance.
The company has not yet entered the refreeze phase, rather it is still in transition. Time will tell if these steps are worth the trouble and if new knowledge will result.
I think that the change project provides the opportunity to mine data from all aspects and elements of the company for further analysis and decision making. It appears that the change project is focused on the financial rather than the human element that ultimately makes the change happen.
1. Armstrong, M., (2006) A Handbook Of Human Resource Management Practice, 10th Ed, Kogan Page. London.
2. Bandura, A, (1986) Social Boundaries of Thought And Action, Prentice-Hall, Eaglewood Cliff, NJ. In Armstrong, M., (2006) A Handbook Of Human Resource Management Practice, 10th Ed, Kogan Page. London.
3. Beckhardt, R,. (1969) Organization Development: Strategy and Models, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA.
4. Lewin, K (1951) Field Theory in Social Science, Harper & Row, New York. In Armstrong, M., (2006) A Handbook Of Human Resource Management Practice, 10th Ed, Kogan Page. London
5. Pantea, MIIVV (nd) “Managing Change In Organizations. Aard University, Arad, Romania.
6. Quinn, JB, (1980) “Managing Strategic Change”, Sloane Management Review, 11(4/5), pp 3-30. In Armstrong, M., (2006) A Handbook Of Human Resource Management Practice, 10th Ed, Kogan Page. London
7. Thurley, K (1979) Management: A reappraisal, Heinemann, London. In Armstrong, M., (2006) A Handbook Of Human Resource Management Practice, 10th Ed, Kogan Page. London.
8. Vecchio, RP (2006). Organizational Behavior: Key Concepts. 6th Ed, Thomson South-Western
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