What can a manager change? The manager’s options, fall into one of three categories: structure, technology, or people. Let’s look more closely at each of these three areas.
Changing structure includes any alteration in authority relationships, coordination mechanisms, degree of centralization, job design or similar organization structure variables. For instance, in our previous discussions we mentioned that work process engineering, restructuring and empowering result in decentralization wider spans of control, reduced work specialization, and work teams. These structural components give employees the authority and means to implement process improvements. For instance the creation of work teams that cut across departmental lines allows those people who understand a problem best to solve that problem. In addition, cross functional work team encourage cooperative problem solving rather than us versus them situations.
Changing technology encompasses modification in the way is processed or the methods and equipment used. The primary focus on technological change in continuous improvement initiatives is directed at developing flexible processes to support better quality operations. Employees committed to continuous improvements are constantly looking for things to fix. Thus, work processes must be adaptable to continual change and fine tuning. This adaptability requires an extensive commitment to educating and training workers. The organization must provide employees with skills training in problem solving, decision making, negotiation, statistical analysis and team building and they must be able to analyze and act on data. For example, the infusion of technology and employee training has been the primary basis that propelled Maruti Suzuki to its market leading position in India.
Changes in people refer to changes in employee attitudes, expectations, perceptions, or behaviors. The human dimensions of change require a workforce committed to the organization’s objectives of quality and continuous improvement. Again, this dimension necessitates proper education and training. It also demands a performance evaluation and reward system that supports and encourages continuous improvements. For example, successful programs put quality objectives into bonus plans for executives and incentives for employees.
How do organizations implement planned changes?
We know that most changes that employees experience in an organization do not happen by chance. Often management makes a concerted effort to alter some aspect of the organization. Whatever happens – in terms of structure or technology however, ultimately affects organizational members. The effort to assist organizational members with a planned change is referred to as organization development.
What is organization Development? (OD)
OD: An activity designed to facilitate planned, long term organization wide change that focuses on the attitudes and values of organizational members essentially an effort to change an organization’s culture.
OD facilitates long term organization wide changes. Its focus to constructively change the attitudes and values if organization members so that they can more readily adapt to and be more effective in achieving the new directions of the organizations. When OD efforts are planned, organization leaders are, in essence attempting to change the organization’s culture. However one of the fundamental issues of OD is its reliance on employee participation to foster an environment in which open communication and trust exist. Persons involved in OD efforts acknowledge that change can create stress for employee. Therefore, OD attempts to involve organizational members in changes that will affect their jobs and seeks their input about how the innovation is affecting them.
Any organizational activity that assists with implementing planned change can be viewed as an OD technique. However, the more popular OD efforts in organizations rely heavily on group interactions and cooperation. They include survey feedback, process consultation, team building, and inter group development.
A method of assessing employee attitudes toward and perceptions of a change they are encountering by asking specific questions.
The use of consultants from outside an organization to help as change agents within the organization assess process events such as workflow informal intra unit relationship, and formal communications channels
An activity that helps work groups set goals develops positive interpersonal relationships and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of each team members.
An activity that attempts to make several groups become more cohesive.