Change is inevitable and in order to survive in these competitive world organizations need to adopt change strategies and technologies. There are many change philosophies that focus upon different aspects of an organization to adopt change. But one which has appealed me the most is the Psychological Perspective’. This change perspective has assumed ‘human’ as the most important unit of an organization. The psychological aspect and resistance to change factor has been focused.
In this report, different change perspectives have been analysed. Various change models are being discussed. Organizational development and organizational behaviour have been described, and its importance during the change management process is also highlighted.
In the current business world, the success is not achieved from only satisfying our own selves. In this era of the technology-driven world, the life cycles of the business are accelerated exponentially (Knoster & Villa, 2000). The organizations have to take the challenge to always perform one step ahead from the market expectations, innovative technologies and the issues of human resource.
Change is supposed to happen and organizations should take it positively and create a healthy environment. All the perspectives of change are focused upon all aspects of an organization that need to be focused but the change perspective which has appealed me the most is the ‘Psychological perspective’. No matter how many changes needs to be implemented it is important that the employees should be satisfied. Human Resource is the most useful asset for an organization.
The psychological philosophy is based on the statement that the most useful dimension of change is present in personal as well as individual experiences. Lewin (1947) has explained and proved that the psychological perspective focuses upon the experiences of the individuals functioning within the organization. It is completely related to the human side of change (Stuart, 1995; Iacavini 1993) and it has obvious links with human development, human relations and approaches of organizational development. It is assumed by the psychological philosophy that individuals are the most important unit in an organizational change also have strong links with the behavioural science. There are two approaches that are prominent to change are based upon the assumptions implied to the psychological philosophy known as the ‘change transitions ‘and the ‘organizational development’.
Organization Development (OD) is a systemic application of the behavioural science knowledge at many different levels for instance as group, organization, inter-group etc in order to bring out the planned change (Newstorm & Davis, 1993). The main objective is a higher quality of productivity, work life, effectiveness and adaptability. It achieves all these by changing behaviours, attitudes, values, procedures, strategies and structures so that any organization can adapt the technological innovations, competitive actions and the change in the organizational environment.
There is seven distinctiveness of OD (Newstorm & Davis, 1993):
- Humanistic Values: A positive belief related to the potential of employees working within an organization.
- Systems Orientation: Each part of an organization like structure, people and technology should work together.
- Experiential Learning: Experience of the learner in the environment of training should be highlighting and solving the human problems they encounter at work. The training should not be only lecture and theory.
- Problem Solving: Problems should be identified, data should be gathered, appropriate actions should be taken, progress should be assessed and accordingly adjustments should be made in the process of problem solving as required. This process is known as ‘Action Research’.
- Contingency Orientation: Appropriate actions are being chosen and implemented to fit the desire.
- Change Agent: Stimulate, facilitate and coordinate the change.
- Levels of Interventions: Problems can occur at any level as the strategy will need many interventions.
Change is defined as “to persuade a large number of people to stop the routine tasks and start performing something that people are not willing to perform (Hayes, 2010).”
There are three basic factors about change:
- It is going to happen and the future will not be same as the past.
- It will not occur in the shape that we expected.
- It will occur much faster than our expectations.
Change transition is considered as a sub philosophy of the psychological model which is more focused upon the psychological status of the organizational members. The main process of the organizational change is primarily related to how people cope with the traumatic psychological transitions followed by a change (Bridges, 1980, 1992; Jick, 1990). Therefore, the personal feelings, learning and emotions are considered as the most important contributors to the management of change transitions. These kinds of assumptions imply that any kind of emotion are aspects of behaviour and are culturally mediated and can be well managed. Change will happen but if the people will not change then the desired result will not be achieved. Personal psychological adjustment to change is also an internal process rather than one forcefully imposed by the external forces and it is undirected and uncertain.
Any Information Technology change that happens at the main campus of any university has to be implemented in every satellite campus meaning, all the campuses, thousands of employees, students and staff must also adapt the changed IT system as well. Dealing with this kind of change at a very small organization is a nightmare and it becomes worse for a large organization like the University of Bedfordshire.
But after taking a survey from the employees and students the IT department decided to institute an automated change management system. Cisco’s pace functionality has been used and the company can now upgrade the changes automatically for the whole system. In order to make the change management system more effective they have offered their people to use the system and can make the desired changes for their designated area. Their change management strategy has considered the human factor and has defined the roles of change so that it would minimize the confusion and level of stress also the issues when a change needs to be implemented (Charles, 2007).
The psychological perspective is unique in its own way that it particularly focuses upon the human aspect of the organizational change. For instance consider an example that if an organization installs the latest technology, finest structure, fresh and effective strategies plans and so on , but the employees are not trained they do not know how to use all the updated strategies , what will happen?? Ultimately the desired results will not be accomplished. So, it is very essential to satisfy and educate the employees working in an organization so that they can adopt the change easily and work efficiently. Many organizations do these kinds of mistakes that they ignore the employee learning resulting in increased turnover rate. It is very important to first learn the psychological aspect of an employee and help them to build their confidence in adopting the change positively. The Psychological perspective focuses upon the most important unit of an organization that is ‘human’ (Stuart, 1995; Iacavini 1993).
The organizational behaviour is defined below:
Organizational Behaviour (OB) is known as the study and application of knowledge about how people, groups and individuals act in an organization. It is done through adopting the system approach. That is it helps in understanding the people-organization relationships in terms of the complete person, entire group, entire organization and the entire social system (Knoster & Villa, 2000). The main purpose is to build better and strong relationships through achieving human objectives, social objectives and the organizational objectives.
With the adaptation of Psychological perspective, the following models will help in adopting the change effectively and positively.
Kurt Lewin has emigrated from Germany to America in the 1930’s. Kurt Lewin is known as the ‘founder of social psychology’ who highlights his interest in the human aspect of change. His interest in groups led to the research focusing upon the factors which has an influence upon people to adopt the change and there are three stages that needed to make the change successful.
1. Motivation is created towards the change.
2. Encourages to replace the past behaviours and attitudes from the desired abilities by the management.
3. Involve the creative and innovative ideas to overcome the barriers to change.
4. Psychological safety is developed.
1. New strategies are also developed, new information, behavioural models, a new and creative way are developed to analyse the actions.
2. Employees can enhance their knowledge through learning and experiencing new theories.
3. To facilitate the change role models, experts, mentors and training are very useful tools.
1. The employees are facilitated to incorporate the changed behaviour and attitudes.
2. In order to reinforce the desired change the positive reinforcement is being incorporated.
3. Modelling and coaching can help tremendously to reinforce the stability of change.
Lewin’s Force Field analysis is used to determine which factor in a situation or organization drives a person towards or away from the desired state and which resist the driving forces. The analysis can be conducted in order to make a decision which will make change more acceptable and will present the change as positive to adopt (Lewin, 2001).
Forces are known more than attitudes to change. Kurt Lewin was very much aware that there will be a lot of emotions underlying the attitude of the people to change.
The guiding steps of the force field analysis are defined below:
- Define the change you desire: The goals and vision of the future desired state should be identified and written clearly.
- Mind Map or Brainstorm the driving forces: The forces which are favourable to change record those on the force field diagram.
- Mind Map or Brainstorm the restraining forces: The unfavourable or those that oppose change should be recorded on the force field diagram.
- Evaluate the driving and restraining forces: This can be done by giving numbers or ratings to each force from 1 (weak to 5 (strong) and a total for each side.
- Review the forces: Select and decide that which are the forces are flexible towards the change and can be influenced.
- Strategies: Develop a strategy to strengthen the driving forces and weaken the restraining forces.
- Prioritize the action steps: Develop and define the action steps that are required to achieve the greatest impact also recognize the resources that will be required to implement the action steps.
The superiority of the psychological perspective is the assumption of considering the human aspect as the most important unit of an organization. It focuses upon the individual psychology and the importance of resistance to change. It helps in recognizing the resistance to change , there are a number of behaviour that are the sign of an adverse reaction to change which include, anger, aggression, employees mobilizing and encouraging the resistance, increased absenteeism and late arrivals, not performing according to what have been asked and many more. These are some of the reactions towards change but this also means that uncertainties regarding the change have not been answered properly.
The Psychological perspective also helps in managing the change. The best developed plans and systems can also be failed if the people side of change management will be ignored. Resistance to change does not mean that the change is bad or the management has failed. Kurt Lewin has referred the Unfreezing and the change transition stages that are useful also the Force Field Analysis which is powerful strategic tool in order to help analysing the change which may lead to resistance. The important aspect is to listen to the problems of the employees and the forces causing stress for them.
An organization cannot be controlled or operated by a manager the same way as the machine is operated. There are many change philosophies that reinforce the need to discard the assumptions related to the opposing values, rather than replacing them with the appreciation of complementary concepts. The Psychological perspective is effective and unique in its own way because it has focused upon the most important and useful unit of an organization that is the human aspect. The people of the organization are very important to be satisfied and motivated in order to achieve the desired success. Company need to first prepare the employees to adopt the change positively because if this will not happen then nothing will be achieved.
The employees need to communicate their problems and anxieties to their managers and the resistance to change need to be solved in a productive manner. The human psychology needs to be analysed properly.
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