Organizational change refers to the movement of an organization from one way of doing things to another. One of the factors that trigger changes within organizations is change in organizational environment. Change in any aspect of organization’s operations is normally met with resistance from employees. Various organizational cultures have varied reactions to changes being implemented and respond differently to promoting change (Fedor, Caldwell & Herold, 2006, pp. 1-17). To ensure that there is limited resistance to change implementation, there are various measures that organizational leaders ought to take. It is imperative that employees are fully involved in the process of implementing changes in an organization. This would facilitate overcoming employee resistance.
How MedPharm’s change was implemented
In its change implementation, the company overlooked various things, which led to the current resistance and go slow being experience in change implementation. Generally, MedPharm organizes numerous consultation meetings. However, as one of the managers asserts, decisions are never discussed in these meetings until they are implemented. This is one of the mistakes the management did. It did not take time to educate employees on the benefits of coming up with a single supply chain platform. Accordingly, the different plants saw it as a plan to deny them their freedom of operations.
The team selected to oversee the change implementation process was dominated by managers from the United States and Germany. This was considered to be a betrayal by other companies. It looked like a conspiracy between the United States and Germany to assume control of operations in the company. Prior to change implementation, the company would have called all stakeholders and expressed their desire to have operations in the company altered. This would have given all managers an opportunity to air their opinions. Rather than listening to complaints from managers who were opposed to changes, the company enforced changes on them. This led to managers hesitating in implementing the changes in their plants. The company did not put into consideration different conflicting priorities that may arise. Hence, no proper time frame was established, or benchmarks made to be followed in implementing the changes.
Overcoming slow speed of progress and resistance
Generally, when employees understand that they will benefit from changes being implemented, they embrace them wholeheartedly. Therefore, before changes are implemented in an organization, employees need to be informed about the benefits of these changes (Fedor, Caldwell & Herold, 2006, pp. 18-29). Employees tend to fear that changes may drastically affect their careers. This prompts them to resist so as maintaining their status quo. To embrace changes, employees need to feel that commitment, energy, and time required in implementing changes will be fully compensated by benefits brought about by the changes. Changes being implemented in MedPharm would facilitate in reducing operations costs and improving organizational efficiency. However, these benefits were not communicated to employees. The company ought to have assured employees that their career would not be affected by intended changes. Instead, the management aimed at helping them cut down on operations hardships encountered in their workplaces.
To overcome resistance to changes in an organization, it is important to reason with all employees. Leaders need to listen deeply and compassionately to their employees. Overlooking employees’ reactions to even a slight change may have detrimental impacts on an organization. However, much the change seems not to affect most of the employees, it may seriously affect another employee’s preferred task. Normally, employees are happy and satisfied when they feel that they have full control of their tasks. This makes them feel independent, thus willing to give their best in return (Fugate, Kinicki & Prussia, 2008, pp. 17-29).
When employees fear that they may lose control of their tasks due to changes, they tend to oppose its implementation. Directors in MedPharm failed to reason with employees. Rather than listening to views of mangers that were opposed to change implementation, they used their powers to enforce changes. The current slow progress in change implementation can be attributed to failure by directors to listen to managers. Had the directors listened to managers opposed to changes, they would have understood their fears, thus assuring them that their interests would not be affected by changes or what they would do to safeguard their interests. This would have seen the managers embracing these changes.
Rather than enforcing changes on employees, the directors would have left employees to work towards achieving desired changes. The team looking into changes to be implemented required communicating their views to employees, giving them directions to follow, and informing them about the benefits of embracing changes. From there, employees would have been allowed to take control of the changes they can handle. This would have made them feel to be part of the team implementing the changes. To ensure that desired results are achieved, directors would have only established critical path points at which they would assess implementation progress. Enforcing changes on managers and employees in the company made them fear that directors wanted to Americanize the company. Changes were perceived as a motive by the American company to take control of the different plants in other nations.
Issues To Address When Planning and Implementing Change in a Global Context
One of the major issues that MedPharm ought to put into consideration when implementing global changes is cultural diversity. Generally, cultural differences lead to challenges when it comes to change implementation. Employees from various countries tend to have conflicting interests based on their cultural beliefs and practices (Fugate, Kinicki & Prussia, 2008, pp. 30-36). Some cultures embrace changes, while others are opposed to changes. Hence, before MedPharm implements its changes, it ought to come up with measures to deal with resistance caused by cultural differences in the various countries. The company’s human resource team needs to bear in mind that it would be difficult to change the behavior of employees, especially those who are not comfortable with changes. The company’s workforce is to be comprised of diverse cultures. It is the duty of the human resource team to ensure that it has effectively blended the various cultures so as to exploit their potentials effectively.
Another challenge the team needs to prepare for is dealing with varied external factors in various countries. These are factors such as customer behavior and government policies (Herold, Fedor & Caldwell, 2007, pp. 942-951). In as much as MedPharm wants to streamline its operations in the different plants, it has to bear in mind that some operations will be influenced by government policies of individual countries. As earlier stated by managers opposed to change proposals, the human resource team has to scrutinize varied, conflicting priorities in the different countries. This is where the company has to come up with strategies to help it act locally in as much as it thinks globally.
The intended changes will lead to overhaul of the current supply chain system as well as the information technology system. To ensure that employees are conversant with the new platforms, the human resource team has to prepare for on-the-site employee training and development. This would not only help them learn to use the new system but would make them feel comfortable in embracing new changes.
To cope with current resistance, directors of MedPharm Company need to assume the responsibility of change implementation. Rather than delegating duties to managers, they need to go to the grassroots and deal direct with managers and other employees. They need to involve other employees in laying down strategies to follow in realizing intended changes. Instead of enforcing changes on managers, the company should sit down with all stakeholders, listen to their views, and deliberate in appropriate direction to follow. This will help in reducing resistance as the adopted direction will comprise of views from all parties affected. Prior to implementing these changes, MedPharm needs to develop a working environment that is employee-oriented, supportive, and one where there is trust. This would minimize the chances of some managers perceiving the intention as a move to Americanize the company. For intended changes to be embraced, directors have to prove that they are committed to changes by being impartial in their support. They need to discuss with managers who feel that their plants will be negatively affected and look for ways to solve that. This will make such managers trust them on realizing that they do not have clandestine motives in their move.
Fedor, D. M., Caldwell, S. & Herold, D. M. (2006). The effects of organizational changes on employee commitment: A multilevel investigation. Personnel Psychology, 59, pp. 1–29.
Fugate, M., Kinicki, A. J. & Prussia, G. E. (2008). Employee coping with organizational change: An examination of alternative theoretical perspectives and models. Personnel Psychology, 61, pp. 17–36.
Herold, D. M., Fedor, D. B. & Caldwell, S. (2007). Beyond change management: A multilevel investigation of contextual and personal influences on employees’ commitment to change. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, pp. 942–951.