Organizational Change Barriers
The importance of organizational change is a reality that business organizations cannot ignore. Leaders in some organizations believe that organizational change should take place from time to time as a matter of procedure. However, most organizations implement organizational change in order to achieve vital strategic goals. Although managers perceive organizational change as an important undertaking, numerous barriers must be addressed in order to successfully implement it. The success of the process depends on the proper planning and commitment of employees (Faber, 2002). In a bid to implement organizational change, organizations face different barriers.
Most employees consider organizational change as a process that would make them obsolete in their organizations. As a result, fear of job loss among employees is a barrier that organizations encounter as they try to implement organizational change. Employees who play an important role in their organizations often think that organizational change is aimed at diminishing their value in the organizations and eventually making them obsolete. The management should dispel fears among employees by assuring them that organizational change is not aimed at making them obsolete. So long as employees are competent, management should encourage them to participate in organizational change and support it. Employees should give the management different options in order to ensure that organizational change is implemented effectively (Putnam & Krone, 2006).
Organizations might plan to implement positive organizational changes and execute them effectively, but there are always groups of employees who try to disrupt such changes. Resistance from employees is, therefore, a barrier that organizations face. Resistant employees sow discord among their colleagues to ensure that organizational change does not take place. In most cases, resistance is based on fear hence it should be addressed by management in good time. Managers should make employees understand the value of discussions in organizations and that dissenting views are acceptable. They can also meet employees to get their views on planned organizational changes. Eventually, this turns dissidents into proponents of organizational change (Communicating organizational change, 2008).
Failure to give employees an opportunity to take part in decision-making processes is a barrier that prevents organizational change from taking place. It is important to involve employees in organizational change processes because they naturally fear change. Successful organizations assign employees different responsibilities or allow them to focus on certain aspects of their skills during organizational change (Blue, 2012). Employees become pervasive, when they are asked to take part in massive changes. More importantly, they fear failure due to new and challenging roles. Employees should be involved in organizational change as early as possible. They should also be allowed to initiate certain changes because this facilitates the whole process. Since employers understand the need for organizational change, they should involve employees fully to ensure that the process is implemented successfully (Hodges, 2007).
Another barrier to organizational change is defective communication strategies. Appropriate communication strategies during organizational change should focus on the message, delivery method, timing, and importance of sharing information with various departments in an organization. Organizational leaders believe that it is enough for them to tell employees that certain changes would be made in the organization. However, the reality is that employees are concerned about the reasons behind the changes and how they would affect them. Organizations should endeavor to ensure that employees understand why organizational change should be conducted. Successful organizational change should give employees an opportunity to manage the communication channels used.
Finally, bad timing is a barrier that prevents effective organizational change from taking place. It is important for organizations to identify the most appropriate period to carry out the organizational change. For example, a small organization that has not positioned itself in the market should take enough time to stabilize before implementing organizational change. Timing is very important because it determines whether the change would be accepted by employees or not. It is important for managers to consult employees and relevant stakeholders in order to determine the most appropriate period to implement organizational change. This ensures that the change is embraced by everybody and does not stall organizational growth (Barney, 2012).
Role of Communication in Change Situations
The barriers to organizational change identified imply that it is important for organizations to employ effective communication strategies since communication plays an important role during the change process. Organizations that undertake planned organizational change must make important choices about communication during the process. Different communication channels can be used to communicate to employees and other people outside an organization during planned organizational change. For instance, organizations must consider the effectiveness of face-to-face communication, written communication, and the internet. However, these communication channels are suitable for communicating particular types of information to different people (Douglas & Martin, 2006).
Change agents are also important during the organizational change process since they strategize on how an organization should communicate effectively. Most frequently, they communicate to individuals within an organization or those who are close to the organization. There are numerous communication strategies that organizations can use in order to communicate change processes to employees. Such strategies include spray and pray, tell and sell, underscore and explore, identify and apply, and withhold and uphold among others. In all communication attempts, the perceived quality of information is important because it determines the extent to which employees accept organizational change. Quality information is enhanced by involving employees in different aspects of the change process (Miller, 2011).
Successful organizational change requires organizations to clearly communicate to employees the rationale behind any change process. Failure to communicate to employees about intended organizational change and the reasons behind the change makes it difficult for them to support the process fully due to a lack of adequate information. As a result, they lack the motivation to get involved in change processes. Organizational change succeeds if there is a deliberate effort to explain to employees the rationale behind the change and its anticipated benefits.
A clear explanation to employees about the importance of organizational change enables them to understand the value and importance of supporting the process. For instance, new regulations and market competition might make it necessary for organizations to implement organizational change. In addition, new technologies and opportunities necessitate organizational change. Organizations also consider making certain changes on the basis of new knowledge about organizational structure. For organizations to clearly communicate reasons that inform organizational change to employees, they must make necessary preparations that would enable employees to embrace the change process. This is often a test of the legitimacy of the process. Clear explanations about organizational change show that organizational leaders understand the process before they convince employees to support it (Visser, 2011).
Adequate information about the need for organizations to implement organizational change enables employees to develop positive attitudes since they understand the benefits associated with the process. As a result, they identify with it and offer their full support to ensure that it is implemented successfully. Employees also feel valued and respected, when managers take time to explain to them the need for carrying out organizational change. Some organizations underestimate the role effective communication plays in ensuring that organizational change is achieved successfully. According to them, there is no need to repeatedly inform employees about intended organizational change for them to understand the importance of the process. However, it is important to fully explain to them the circumstances under which organizational change becomes important. Adequate information enables employees to embrace change processes and take part in their areas of specialization.
Importance of Internal Communication during Organizational Change
Research has shown that organizational change is inevitable in organizations since it is aimed at achieving organizational success. Internal communication plays an important role and failure to use it effectively can make organizational change difficult to implement. Employees constitute an important part of an organization. Depending on how they perceive the performance of an organization, they can communicate positive or negative messages to other publics who play an important role in the organization (Allen, Jimmieson, Bordia, & Irmer, 2007).
For organizational change to be effectively implemented, internal communication plays an important part. During the organizational change process, organizations should communicate to their employees the exact changes that would take place, how they would be implemented, and their impact. To a large extent, organizational change depends on the ability of employees to implement the desired change (Smith, 2006). The employees must be changed through internal communication for them to understand the importance of planned change. It is the responsibility of managers to ensure that they implement effective internal communication strategies for employees to fully understand the part they should play during the organizational change process (Barrett, 2002).
Clear and effective internal communication motivates employees to actively take part in organizational change. An organization that gives employees a chance to take part in internal decision-making processes or keeps them informed about organizational progress encourages loyalty to the organization. In addition, mutual respect and trust are fostered. Employees feel motivated when they discover that their input in an organization is valued. As a result, they commit themselves to actively participating in activities that enhance organizational growth. This plays an important role in ensuring that organizational change is implemented successfully because employees consider themselves key people in the organization. It is important for organizations to communicate new information to the employees before communicating the same information to outsiders (Burke, 2010).
Effective internal communication also builds good relationships between employees and management. As a result, employees feel free to communicate with managers. Although some organizations believe that junior employees play a minor role during organizational change, employees should be given an opportunity to express their ideas. They possess constructive ideas that can play an important role during organizational change. Internal communication, therefore, plays an important role in ensuring that employees are fully aware of what an organization intends to do and the benefits associated with organizational change.
Role of External Communication during Organizational Change
External communication involves information exchange between an organization and other organizations or individuals that are not part of its formal structure. It aims at enhancing cooperation with investors, suppliers, and other groups that play an important role in the growth of an organization. It is achieved through channels such as print, face-to-face meetings, the internet, and broadcast media. Generally, external communication involves passing information to stakeholders, who influence organizational growth. Communicating to stakeholders effectively enhances organizational change in different ways (Price & Gioia, 2008).
Communicating to external stakeholders plays an important role in ensuring the successful implementation of organizational change. For example, effective external communication ensures that investors do not withdraw their support from an organization. Most organizations rely on investors, who provide financial assistance that facilitates organizational operations. It is important for an organization to clearly explain to such investors any planned organizational change because it affects them as well. Once an organization is in agreement with investors about planned organizational change, the investors fully support the process and this contributes towards its success (Collins, 1998).
The clients of an organization also play an important role in the daily activities of the organization. Without them, it would be difficult for the organization to sustain its business activities. A successful organization, therefore, strives to ensure that the needs of its clients are met because the organizational change affects them. This implies that proper communication to the clients should be made before the change process begins. External communication makes it possible for organizations to understand what their clients would want from them. This is because certain changes might not be favorable to clients, thus an organization might end up losing a large number of its clients. External communication, therefore, helps an organization to plan its organizational change process in line with the aspirations of its clients.
Organizational change plays an important role in organizations since it increases the general performance of an organization. This paper has looked at some of the barriers that organizations encounter during the implementation of organizational change. The role of communication during organizational change has also been evaluated. Since organizational communication involves both internal and external communication, the paper has looked at the role played by internal and external communication during organizational change. Organizations must take the necessary steps to implement organizational change successfully.
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