Organisational change and management is a momentous practice that cannot be eluded by managers at any level of an organisational hierarchy. Although change may be resisted at the point of initiation, it is imperative to note that proper assessment of the changes being effected should be done so that optimum benefits are derived. Besides, the sentiments of the group being targeted by a given change should be noted keenly so that the very change is not substantially resisted to an extent that it fails to meet its goals.
Organisational change has two important elements worth considering. The first important aspect is the organisational change management that is concerned with drawing people closer to the organisation in terms of their hearty commitment towards achieving the mission and vision of the organisation (Taylor 93). On the other hand, organisational design aims at restructuring the entire workforce within an organisation. This requires thorough engagement of human resource experts with the right knowledge.
Although the relative importance of organisational change management is sometimes not given the seriousness it deserves, its impact on performance is enormous bearing in mind that the very change can be effected in all areas of operation such as in health and safety. This paper explores and critically evaluates how the management of a UAE organization conceived, designed, implemented and managed change in its health and safety environment.
Occupational health and safety environment at workplace has been a major issue of concern for organisations. While profitability remains to be the top agenda for any business organisation, the health and safety of the workforce cannot be underestimated. It is against this backdrop that a critical, uniform and consistent procedure is necessary in order to identify, evaluate and set control measures against any hazards that may be experienced at workplace. For this reason, the challenge lies with establishing a proper methodology that can be employed to detect hazards related to Health and Safety Environment (HSE), the determination of risks or environmental effects of the hazards that have been identified, to critically showcase the risk level or the impacts associated with each given environmental hazard and finally the identification, management and enforcement of regulatory measures aimed at curtailing the various environmental risks and hazards.
Change elements and variables
The Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC), a UAE company, has endeavoured to embark, maintain and control variety of processes and procedures as part of the much needed change element and variables in keeping up with the Health and Safety Environment (HSE). To begin with, identification of hazards at workplace has been given the first priority in the organisation. It is not possible to control the various environmental risks and hazards associated with the ADDC without detecting the likely hazards that may pose danger both to the organisation and the community of its users.
In order to identify hazards in the most appropriate way, system safety is required. Expertise knowledge in managerial and technical skills might have been lacking before ADDC opted for a thorough change in Health and Safety Environment (HSE). Through system safety, hazards can not only be identified but also controlled in the most effective way. In addition, the life cycle of the ADDCs operations heavily relies on the nature of change that will be effected and hazards emanating from the production process ought to be detected in advance.
The most significant reason why identification of hazards has been given the top priority by ADDC is that it assists in preventing accidents or circumstances that cause higher risk levels before, during and after the production process (Asbury & Ashwell 217). Moreover, preventing the possible occurrence of an undesired event has also been deemed as a cost cutting measure for ADDC since it is an expensive affair to confront the impacts of hazards at advanced levels.
The second change element that ADDC has considered to be of great value is the assessment of the various risk levels. In other words, the organisation has come to the realisation that the best way to asses risk impacts is by evaluating the consequences and probability of the very risks in the event that they may occur at any given time. For instance, the environmental impacts of risks and hazards vary considerably from one case to another. Through a critical assessment, ADDC will be in a position to categorise risks and hazards based on their magnitude and their potential on the environment. It is highly likely that the UAE organization may not have been employing the right assessment of risks and hazards required for a safety working environment.
Third, a hierarchy of control is paramount when risks have to be monitored effectively. Quite a number of variables can be applied at this point. For instance, the organisation can decide to eliminate or replace certain administrative controls that seem to hinder operations during the process of change management. Besides, the use of isolative measures or better still, engineering aspects can steer the organisation towards the right path of success. ADDC has not been following this form of change element thereby making it cumbersome for the organisation to determine the most effective and efficient control measures for purposes of change.
Fourth, once the right control measures have been instituted, the tricky task is to implement the very changes, an element that may be construed to be the end of the change process while it is merely a very small component of change being injected in the organisation. ADDC should then endeavour to implement each of the measures of control identified above.
Fifth, there are residual risks that may be latent and not openly visible during the initial phase of implementing the change variables. The Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) either ignored or carried out poor estimates of the residual risks and how much the very risks can negatively impact the organisation. Even after performing the process of elimination and substitution, a residual risk may still be prevalent and equally hazardous. The management of the UAE organisation may have concentrated a lot more with conceivable quantities at the peril of invisible risks. The ALARP level should be reached when identifying and assessing the residual risks (Asbury & Ashwell 63).
Sixth, the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) should not only implement the control measures identified and assessed above, it is pertinent for the organisation to use the most effective and efficient control measures that will yield desired results. To achieve this, ADDC should not terminate monitoring of its processes even at the implementation phase. Rather, continuous and rigorous monitoring is necessary to ensure that the right input is incorporated in all the elements of change variables. Moreover, one of the likely sources of managerial failure at ADDC is the probability of introducing other risks during the implementation process. This may grossly jeopardize the quality of the expected outcomes.
Furthermore, the management at Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) has been pushing for various changes within the organisation without necessarily involving the employees. As much as the subordinate staffs is not mandated to pass major decisions in the company, engaging the employees in decision making is an essential organizational behaviour practice that cannot be underestimated by any other organisation. For example, ADDC must be working by setting growth targets in its distribution portfolio. These targets are also in line with the mission, vision as well as the short, medium and long term strategic planning of the UAE organisation. Unless the entire workforce is incorporated in decision making and setting goals, the management per se cannot deliver those set objectives and goals. The organisation should come into the realization that recoding and passing the results obtained from risk assessment to employees is an integral step in implementing successful change at ADDC.
Nevertheless, the change elements and variables identified and assessed by the management of ADDC ought to be reviewed from time to time and on a regular basis (Asbury & Ashwell 108). The review of the risk assessment can preferably be undertaken on a yearly scale. During the review, the various changes that were effected previously should be compared and analysed against the impact on working procedures. Any negative outcomes should be a vivid indicator that the change element was either implemented defectively or it is mal-functional altogether. On the same note, the Health and Safety Environment (HSE) procedures adopted by ADDC ought to introduce better working tools, materials and machinery for the organisation for the purpose of improving occupational health and safety.
As the management of the company admits, international standards on occupational health and safety have been adhered to the letter. These safety standards are not only directed towards workers alone, the assets owned by the company are also considered to be important parameters in the production process. The management systems as well as procedures at the department of Health and Safety, Environment and Quality is continually in the process of maintaining the safety standards as required by law both at the local and international level (Pasmore 195).
Internal marketing should specifically focus on the company workforce since achieving the mission and vision may just be a mirage without their dedicated input. For Abu Dhabi Distribution Company, this requirement is especially important bearing in mind that it still relies on a few employees to discharge its mandate and steer it to profitability. The company has not put more emphasis on the potential of its staff and how they can enormously contribute towards the success of the organisation(Tooma 74). It is worth noting that the modern world business strategy is no longer the customer is currently the first consideration then the product later as far as changes in marketing processes are concerned.
The management at ADDC need to balance their focus between the customer and the employee who must work smart to satisfy the needs of the customer. Indeed, internal marketing should be viewed by the company as a way of creating employee ‘demand’ to double their efforts and improve the productivity and growth of the company. Whereas the external demand has always spearheaded the needs of customers, most organisations tend to downplay the contribution made by staff members. The business can only be kept afloat and on the right competitive platform if and only if internal marketing is sound.
In addition, a horizontal stream of valuable events such as those that tend to optimally utilize skills and competences from staff members are paramount since if well used, the external demand for the ADDCs products and services will be superb (Salaman & Asch 54). Apart from satisfaction by customers, the businesses will be assured of its continuity and growth. Moreover, the relationship between the customer and supplier during the process of distribution can work towards either pulling down the growth of the company or accelerating growth. To this end, employees are indeed the actual suppliers who must be marketed properly and thoroughly throughout the life of the organisation (Taylor 188).
Change institution and organizational outcomes
In order to implement change in an organisation with minimal resistance, there are quite a number of setbacks that may be experienced. These barriers to introducing change should be eliminated if any change will have to take effect in an organisation. To begin with, the management at the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) should pin-point goals and objectives that have not been clearly defined since they are barriers to change (Asbury & Ashwell 154). Clarity of goals and objectives should be a priority before and during the process of change.
The process of introducing change can equally be interfered with by inadequate working capital. Finances are required in order to fully implement changes in an organisation and compete effectively with other market rivals. Moreover, when resources are not available or they are poorly allocated, it may hinder the introduction of any change necessary in the life of an organisation. Bad or inappropriate decisions are occasioned by bad options taken by managers especially in the allocation of finances and human resource to various units within an organisation (Asbury & Ashwell 132).
Similarly, traditional leadership structures are often repugnant to change and therefore it may grossly strangle any adjustments being introduced at ADDC. This may be coupled with poor communication within and without the organisation.
There are myriad barriers that have worked against implementing changes in human resource system at ADDC. It is vital to reiterate that human resource development forms the backbone of any organisation without which it may be practically be impossible to do business. Hence, relevant changes should be injected in ADDC operations on a regular basis in order to meet the changing needs and demands of a business unit. These changes my include but not limited to enhanced working conditions, better wages and benefits as well as sustained cordial employee relations with the organisation. Nevertheless, implementing these human resource changes may prove to be cumbersome and challenging owing to some of the reasons discussed below.
First, changes to human resource can be thwarted by the high cost maintaining talented employees in a business organisation (Tooma 221). Employees with a higher input ratio to a company can only be retained when there is a better wage level, favourable working environment as well as attractive fringe benefits that are over and above the basic pay. Although most firms would wish to retain talent rather than hire amateurs or semi-experienced workers, the former desire is short-circuited by high operational costs which end up cutting down the net revenue. The Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) is not an exceptional case since the management has to struggle between balancing profit levels and retaining high skilled and competent workers.
Second, capacity building and training through seminars, workshops and team building exercises is indeed a worthy investment to make on existing employees. This will not only equip workers with the necessary organizational tools required for optimum performance, it will also replicate into higher productivity of the firm under question. Similarly, training costs may also increase organizational overheads.
Another barrier to changes in human resource policies is evident when recruiting employees for various positions in an organisation. In the even that the recruitment policy in place is not good, then it will act as a hindrance towards implementing the right policies on human resource (Salaman & Asch 129). In addition, organisations with poor support system may not have an upper hand in adopting and implementing the much needed changes on human resource. Issues being faced by the employees in an organisation ought to be communicated to the right authorities within the organisation for appropriate action to be taken. Malfunctioning support system is a barrier to an operational human resource.
Finally, lack of employee motivation due to poor or lack of performance management system is a real setback to vibrant human resource system. Performance appraisals should be conducted on a regular basis to ascertain whether goals were met or not. Employees who meet the targets should then be motivated in variety of ways in order to remain productive.
From the health and safety environmental audit carried out at the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC), there are several lessons that can be drawn from that experience. As already noted in the preliminary section of this literature, the management of environmental health and safety is part and parcel of steering a business organisation to profitability and hence, it is an essential business component (Taylor 145).
For ADDC, it is imperative to take preventive measures against occupational illnesses and other health hazards in advance to avoid incurring heavy treatment costs that come along with environmental accidents on employees. The potential hazards should be eliminated before they cause real bodily harm. Besides, the company should have created a closer working relationship with its employees (Pasmore 267). The very workers should be educated on the need to be vigil on their occupational and environmental safety. Company workers should be held responsible especially if they fail at a personal level, to take preventive measures against environmental accidents on health and safety. Further, they ought to commit themselves towards minimizing the potential danger posed by the material and machineries which they use. One way through which employees can participate in reducing risks and hazards is by proper use of the available resources.
When environmental health and safety is handled and managed in an excellent manner, it boosts reputation as well as the standards of goods and services being produced by the company. As a secondary benefit, all the individuals associated with ADDC will enjoy the success of the company.
Finally, the process of risk identification and management at ADDC should be carried out using approved and accredited management systems (Tooma 89). The company should focus more on identifying risks and hazards associated with environmental Health and safety before such incidents reach critical levels that warrant emergencies. Risk prevention should not just be targeted towards workers alone but also the working environment, clients and the wider community that co-exists with the organisation.
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Tooma, Michael. Safety, security, health and environment law, Sydney: The Federation Press, 2008.