Role of managers in organizational changes

Managers play an important role in organizational change, often serving as change agents. However, managers may find that change is resisted by employees. After all, change represents ambiguity and uncertainty, or it threatens the status quo. The big challenge to managers is effectively managing this resistance to change.

A manager or an executive can be more effective at managing resistance to change if he adopts the following methodoogy:

Assess the climate for change: A major reason that some changes succeed and others fail is the readiness for change. Assessing the climate for change involves asking a number of questions. More likely change efforts will succeed if the following suggestions are followed:

The sponsor of the change is high up enough to have power to deal effectively with resistance. Senior management must be supportive of the change and committed to it.

There must be a strong sense of urgency from senior management about the need for change, and this feeling shared by the rest of the organization. Managers must have a clear vision of the future will look different from the present.

The objective measures shall be in place to evaluate the change effort, and have reward systems been explicitly designed to reinforce them. The specific change efforts are consistent with other changes going on within the organization.

Functional managers are willing to sacrifice their self-interests for the good of the organization as a whole.

Management must take pride on closely monitoring changes and actions taken by competitors.

Managers and employees must be rewarded for taking risks, being innovative, and looking for new and better solutions. The organizational structure should e flexible and communication flow both down and up in the organization is clear.

History of the organization whether they have successfully implemented major changes in the recent past can contribute to the success in implementing present changes.

Employee satisfaction and trust in management should be high and there must be a high degree of interaction and cooperation between organizational work units. Decisions are made quickly and take into account a wide variety of suggestions.

Choose an appropriate approach for managing the resistance to change: There are six tactics that have been suggested for dealing with resistance to change. Each is designed to be appropriate for different conditions of resistance these include,
* Education and communication (used when resistances comes from lack of information or inaccurate information)

*participation (used when resistance stems from people not having all the information they need or when they have the power to resist)

* Facilitation and support (used when those with power will lose out in a change)

* Manipulation and co-optation (used when any other tactic will not work or is too expensive)

* Coercion (used when speed is essential and change agents possess considerable power)

Which one or more of these approaches will be effective depends on the source of the resistance to the change.

During the time the change is being implemented and after the change is completed, a manager must communicate with employees regarding what support he may be able to provide and employees need to know that their superior is there to support them during change efforts. The employees need the assistance that may be necessary to enact the change which is required to be provided by the manager or superior or the top management whatever is applicable.

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