Managing Change


In one way or another all organizations whether big or small will eventually undergo some form of change, whether it comes in the form of changes to organizational leadership, changes to processes due to market influences or simply changes in the way the company addresses interoffice communication, the fact remains that in one way or another change is inevitable and as such it is important to establish methods of managing change so as to ensure a smooth transition from one method of doing things to another (Schraeder & Jordan, 2011).

3 Principles to Remember when Managing Change

For this particular exercise I chose the following principles of change due to the way in which they reflect my own personal thoughts on what is necessary to manage change effectively:

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1.) To change the individual, change the system

2.) People fear change it “happens” to them.

3.) A clearly defined vision of the end result enables all the people to define the most efficient path for accomplishing the results

For me these particular principles speak volumes of what is needed in managing change and as such I will attempt give you the reader a short overview of why I believe this are so and will try to convince you of the accuracy of my choice.

First and foremost the principle of changing the system in order change the individual is derived from my own belief that in one way or another people tend to conform their mannerisms to the way a particular organizational structure works. Though it may not be immediately apparent facets such as work culture and internal company rules and regulations work in a manner in which an individual perceives what he should so and how he should do it.

While such a factor is important in creating consistency and getting exactly what the company requires out of an employee often such systems enforce a certain mindset on individuals resulting in them being maladaptive to sudden changes in the way they used to do things. It is based on this that in order to change the way in which a employee acts, thinks and expresses ideas it is important to first change the system in which he/she operates in order to bring about the desired change needed (Schraeder & Jordan, 2011).

Secondly, the concept of people fearing change is well known psychological concept that is deeply embedded in the fact that humans are essentially creatures of habit. People prefer doing things a certain way, they like having routines and they enjoy a life where they follow the simple logic of “if they do this they get that” (Van der Merwe, 2009). When a certain inexplicable change is introduced into a person’s routine three possible things may occur, either:

a.) They adapt to this new change

b.) They resist to the change that is being induced

c.) They attempt to adapt yet fail at doing so.

For organizations in the midst of change the latter two responses are the most troubling since this may result in several groups of individuals either resisting the change or being unable to adapt properly, both of which would adversely affect the company.

Going back to the first principle mentioned, it is important to take note of the fact that in order to prevent the fear of change what is needed is to gradually change the system in which a person works up to the point that they are able to accept the change as it happens.

The second principle compliments the first in that it addresses the unsaid point that since people fear change it is often hard to change the individual. Thus in order to change a person it is necessary to gradually change the mindset they operate with in order to facilitate effective change with little adverse effects (Van der Merwe, 2009).

The last principle chosen is related to the action of having people know what is needed change and thus having them choose the direction in which the change would be best implemented.

While this paper has so far shown that people fear change, are often resistant to it and that in order to change a person it is necessary to change the system they work in what wasn’t mentioned was the fact that people are often resistant to outside change yet when the change comes from within, in that they see the necessity of change, employees often respond positively towards change and actually work towards it.

In the case of the third principle by a supplying a clearly defined vision of what is needed to change instead of forcing the change, employees actually become more amenable to the necessity of change and become less resistant, more encouraging and actually contribute their own thoughts and views as to what other changes could be accomplished.

Techniques to Manage Change

There are 3 techniques that I would like to elaborate on that I believe are important in managing change and are consistent with the principles I chose

Changing Employee Mindsets

One of the first techniques necessary in managing change is to change the way in which employees think about the way in which they work. As mentioned in the discussion regarding the 1st principle it is often the case that employees develop a certain mindset regarding work which makes them far less apt to change when the need arises.

It is based on this that what is needed is slowly change internal company policies and workplace culture so as to make it more amenable to the desired change rather than implement it all at once. This conforms with the first principle of change chosen in which a person is changed via a change in the system that they work.

Implementing a workplace culture of open communication

In the second principle chosen it was elaborated that people tend to fear change, while this is true the fact remains that there are actually method of mitigating this. One of them is implementing a workplace culture of open communication, by doing so not only can employee fears be addressed and taking into account when implementing change within the organization but it can be used as way in which to dampen the unforeseen and adverse effects the might happen should change be implemented.

Establish Goals/Purpose driven work

In their study examining employee performance it was discovered by Bishop (2011) that it is often the case that employees work better and adapt to change faster if there is a given goal or rather their work is driven by a specific purpose. Taking the third principle chosen into consideration it can be assumed that by creating a defined vision by which employees can work towards not only would this result in a smooth transition during change but can actually result in improved employee performance as well.

Reference List

Bishop, M. (2011). Raising the Bar on Performance-Driven Leadership. T+D, 65(7), 38. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Schraeder, M., & Jordan, M. (2011). Managing Performance. Journal for Quality & Participation, 34(2), 4-10. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Van der Merwe, S. P. (2009). Determinants of family employee work performance and compensation in family businesses. South African Journal of Business Management, 40(1), 51. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.


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