Managing change and diversity
This chapter indicates that both the internal and the external environments can signal to managers that the way an organisation operates needs to change. Because organisations need to be competitive, it is important for managers to develop the skills necessary to manage change effectively. The most demanding challenge is to change organisations so that managing diversity is the norm, not a problem. It means changing the organisation to fully utilise the advantages that such a diverse culture can offer. The second part of this chapter focuses on the effective management of diversity in an environment that is increasingly changing in all respects.
Managing organisational change
Deciding how to change an organisation is a complex matter because change disrupts the status quo and poses a threat to many, prompting some employees to resist attempts to alter work relationships and procedures. Organisational learning, the process through which managers try to increase the ability of organisational members to understand and appropriately respond to changing conditions, can be an important impetus for change. Organisational change can affect practically all aspects of organisational functioning, including organisation structure, culture, strategies, control systems, and groups and teams, and human resource management systems, as well as critical organisational processes such as communication, motivation, and leadership.
Assessing the need for change
Assessing the need for change includes two important activities: recognising that there is a problem and identifying its source. To discover the source of the problem, managers need to look both inside and outside the organisation. Outside the organisation, they must examine how changes in environmental forces may be creating opportunities and threats that are affecting internal work relationships. The change process generally begins with a form of assessment of the need for change which describes the organisation’s areas for improvement or a future desired state. Although the intention may be detailed, it does not generally specify how the changes will occur. These details are part of the subsequent implementation of the change process. The identification of the need for change may include all, or some, of the following elements: Mission or vision –the organisation’s major strategic purpose, and may be about the current state of the organisation or a foundation for envision the future of the organisation Valued outcomes – descriptions of the desired futures should include specific performance measures. Valued outcomes can serve as goals of the change process and standards for assessing progress Valued features –may broadly describe a desired future state or may be a highly specific and linked to particular valued outcomes
Deciding on the change to make
Once managers have identified the source of the problem, they must decide what they think the organisation’s ideal future state would be and begin engagement in planning how they are going to attain the organisation’s future state. This step also includes identifying obstacles or sources of resistance to change. Obstacles to change are found at the corporate, divisional, departmental, and individual levels of the organisation.
Corporate-level changes, even seemingly trivial ones, may significantly affect how divisional and departmental managers behave. For this reason, an organisation’s present strategy and structure can be powerful obstacles to change. Whether a company’s culture is adaptive or inert also can facilitate or obstruct change. Organisations with entrepreneurial, flexible cultures are much easier to change that are organisations with more rigid cultures.
The same obstacles to change exist at the divisional and departmental levels as well. Division managers may differ in their attitudes toward changes proposed by top managers, and if their...
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