Type: Management
Pages: 8 | Words: 2352
Reading Time: 10 Minutes

Change is a constant element in our personal and professional lives. Change occurs around us and beyond, in national and international levels, in the way, companies are structured and how they conduct their business, socioeconomic problems, and political solutions. As the world becomes composite, changes are increasingly developing which are seemingly far away affecting us. Changes are occurring frequently and randomly, these calls for organizations to be mindful of their operations and the company operations.

Organizational development is a field of study that deals with change and the impacts that change has to organizations and individuals. Successful organizational development can help individuals and organizations to manage change impacts. Strategies can be developed to introduce planned change such as improving organizational functioning and team building efforts. While change is expected in an organization, there are number of ways to deal with the changes, some of which are useful and some are not. Organizational development help companies in managing the unstable environment both internal and external, regularly doing so by bringing in planned efforts (Nonaka, 1994).

Organizational development is relatively modern practise for business and the professions. While the organizational development and professional development of persons have been accepted, and nurtured by multiple organizations for some time, there is still misunderstanding of organizational development. The basic concept of professional development and organizational development is all the same but with slight difference in the focus. Organizational development concentrates on ways to develop organizational overall productivity, responsiveness, and human fulfilment while professional development attempts to develop and improve individuals’ effectiveness on how they conduct their daily tasks and practise. This essay focuses on both organizational development and change. Managers in the Medtronic must be familiar with the complexities of organizational change, since all changes pertaining management activities are in professional and organizational levels that will effect change. Change efforts and organizational development comes in one package; Medtronic Managers who are interested in implementing change within the organizational structure need to thoroughly understand the moral force of change. The Managers must think in terms of the managerial and the employee gear to which they may play part as the change agents and the processes involved (Hannan, Pólos, and Carroll, 2003).

Medtronic is where I currently work and have done so for ten years. I have personally witnessed many changes in that period of employment. Some of which are beneficial and some of which may have been a good idea with bad execution. I will be discussing the changes that were poorly executed and need further improvement. Medtronic is a company familiar to change especially since our economy turned. Layoffs are a common third and fourth quarter occurrence. I personally have been lucky but had a few close encounters; nonetheless, I understand the reason and thought process behind that difficult decision. Yet, when cutting corners with layoffs the needed business function should still be able to run efficiently and effectively. I feel there is one area in particular that need improvement. The department that we all are feeling the inefficiency from is the facilities department. This department runs the building I work at including maintenance, shipping/receiving, reception desk, copy centre, building schedulers, cleaners, and facility management for a building capacity of 5,000 people. Since these areas are no longer worker at the high level they did in the past, all employees can feel the discombobulating (Templeton, Lewis & Snyder, 2002).

In order to make any changes it would take a step of high management within the company. A group of employees all ready sent in a petition for change 6 months ago and nothing has been addressed. Even though employees took a step in making a change I feel showing a compliant when money is being saved in these hard times more action needs to take place. I plan to write a report illustrating a solution rather than a compliant. The report will be filled with factual structure to make a beneficial change and examples of the current issues. I feel this would grab the attention of the higher-level management to make a needed change for the best of the building where I work. Then this change will continue across all twin cities Medtronic’s for a more efficient workplace (Canary, 2010).

Managers in Medtronic company should understand that organizational development crusades. Whether institutionalized, or alleviated from an outside expert and conducted on a progressive basis, they should bring planned change within the Medtronic Corporation and the working environment. There are two forms of change, planned and unplanned. Planned change takes diligent and conscious effort on the part of the manager while unplanned change takes the form of unprepared situation that can be disadvantageous to the organisation. Change will not happen unless the managers want the change to be implemented. Change in Medtronic will not be implemented because it is a good move, change will only occur when the effort of the organization or for an individual is satisfactorily high to defend the difficulties of absorbing change. The managers should focus on the sheer want of the company to change, rather on the positive impacts of the anticipated change. Medtronic managers should be effective in understanding that it is their responsibility to assist the Medtronic employees to understand the need for change (Kusunoki, Nonaka & Nagata, 1998).

Planning for change

Before the managers can embark on organizational change initiative, it is highly advisable that they plan their strategies carefully and expect potential problems. The managers can employ Kurt Lewin theory which is based on the concept of force field analysis, meaning analysis that is misleadingly simple a can be utilised to plan and manage organizational change. Kurt Lewin believed that organizational behaviour was a result of two dynamic opposing forces. Lewin stated that change would only occur when there was a shift in either side of the forces. These forces would include driving force and restraining force. Driving force is that push that affects the organization positively, enhances the desired change, and may include resources, persons, information, or trends while restraining force are forces that hinder the desired change. When these forces exist in the organization, they create a certain form of equilibrium that may affect the organization in certain ways. When these forces are at the same level, they tend to make the organization to be in a static state. As the managers impose changes, the force equilibrium will be affected, a new balance will be attained, and the company will return to a position that Lewin described as quasi-stationary equilibrium. Most developing organisations around the world have well stipulated organizational structure practise Lewin theory and operate under that context.

Force field analysis provides the required information for the managers to plan effectively for change. If the manager is aware of some probable booby-traps, can come along with the planned changes. The managers can formulate proper measurements to prevent the advance negative effects of the pitfalls. The successful way for the Medtronic managers to overcome the potential problems is to confront the obstacles at the outset. The managers should outline the driving forces and the restraining forces, so that when they want to plan for change, they should be adding or enhancing the positive forces while reducing the restraining forces. By doing so, the company would be enhancing skills such as coalition building, conflict resolution, networking and the utilization of power is necessary (Huber, 1991).

The process of change

Force field analysis is the first step to a planned change. There are multiple change processes in Lewin literature. For example, Egan proposed the following straightforward steps:

• The evaluation of current scenario

• The formation of preferred scenario

• Formulating a plan that propels the system from the current to the preferred scenario

Egan was a philosopher who had received much influence from Lewin, he emphasized on both assessment and planning. In addition, Egan argues that assessment must lead to an act that produces positive outcomes for the company. Thus, Medtronic managers should make sure that change and planning is directed towards achievement of specific goals. Once the managers have identified the need for change, the manager should follow the steps in sequence.

Firstly, the managers should evaluate the current scenario and this can be accomplished through force field analysis. The analysis provides the important information on the forces that can aid in attaining the desired change and those which will be a set back on the implementation of the change. Secondly, the managers should form the preferred scenarios that could be attained through team effort and developing alternative futures and it is very important that the managers evaluate the alternatives thoroughly. Thirdly, is formulating a plan that propels the organizational structure from the present scenario to the preferred scenario, this includes the strategies that the managers have developed to overcome the restraining forces in the company. Managers should gather assistance for the desired changes throughout the company, using both formal and informal communication networks (Grant, 1996).

Strategies of implementing change

For the managers to move the organizational development effort from idea stage to implementation stage, they should seek support, information, and resources from the company.

Topping the list in implementing change would be for the managers to collect various tools of implementation as possible. This would be critical for the change to take place because the employees would be well informed of the change and ready to accommodate them. Secondly, the managers should formulate the change in a way that it is less threatening to the staff and easy to be absorbed. For example, it is easier to implement change for a particular brand of good when it is tested on trial basis and if the process does not work it can be exercised by taking one-step at a time or using similar steps that had been used to introduce older brand.

The managers should establish coalitions throughout the entire process of implementing change. Assistance should be gathered from areas that will be impacted by the change across the organizational structure. It is advisable for the managers of Medtronic to gain support from subordinate managers for the effectiveness of the change. Effective managers need to use informal networks to deal with any questions and concerns of the employees rather than using the formal meetings. The managers should organise pre-informal meetings that will ensure that the employees feel secure to air their views about implementing the change. Change involves all the stakeholders of the company. Employees need to feel part of the company and cherished. This motivates them to perform better than before, hence boosting the company’s performance. Employees are the driving force and engine of the company. No company can exist without an employee or a number of them in service. This qualifies them as the critical agents of performance. Policies that have been laid well will be beneficial in guiding the operations of the company and conduct of the employees. In such meetings, the employees will be able to contribute ideas that will generate the support. The more the managers know how the employees are reacting to the change, the better they will be able to search for more support (Kusunoki, Nonaka & Nagata, 1998).

Resistance to change

Every change in most organizations is accompanied by denial by some of the employees, regardless whether the change is major or minor. Every manager can justify to this, whether the change involves restructuring the company’s structure. The managers should be prepared to accept the resistance, so that he can be able to plan the change effectively so that he/she can evade the resistance. There various forms of resistance that the manager can encounter as discussed below.

Individual resistance

This form of resistance occurs due to the fact the employee is afraid of change. They are afraid to forgo the normal way of conducting business activities due to the uncertainty of what change will give forth. It is a fact that the employees as normal humans tend to prefer the normal way of doing things and habits that will be easy to adapt. The employees understands that change presents the unknown, that is it could mean the possibility of success or failure, renounce one’s state of power or control or in case of success will create further change. The change might have little or no effect on the organization but some of the employees will have the tendency of resistance, hence undermining the process of change (Holan & Phillips, 2004).

Moreso the transition from the present state to change state is complicated to both the organization and individuals. The Medtronic manager should educate the employees that every change effort begins with an ending of the current state. The first move towards change is going through the progression of ending. Individuals should accept endings and they should embrace the new change of state. Change makes us as employees to redefine our responsibilities, our roles, and our context.

Organizational resistance

The employees are not the individuals who are resistant to change only, but the organisation too. The organization as a general structure is composed of employees and the management, height of employees’ willingness to adapt the change represents the overall company’s capacity to change. Although there are other factors that affect organizational resistance, of which the managers should be able to understand. They include;

  • Inertia- the daily demand of work lessen the urgency of implementing the change effort, change will only take place the current state slowly vanishes within the organization.
  • Lack of clear communication- if the managers do not clearly communicate the change, the staff will have mixed expectations and perceptions of the change.
  • Insufficient resources- if the company does not have the required resources for implementation such as funds and staff. The change efforts will definitely be undermined.
  • Type of the environment- if the managers have not formulated policies that do not promote punishment for mistakes, the employees will develop resistance. They would prefer to continue working in safe environment with less risk behaviours.

The above factors combined with other resistance forces will sabotage the change effort and create resistance. Experienced managers will spend more time anticipating and planning ways to manage resistance. The managers should employ field force analysis as an important tool to help in developing strategies for overcoming organizational resistance to change. 

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