As a company grows and the market grows or expands, a company may be forced to change. “Recognizing the nature of these forces is one of a manger’s most important tasks.” (George and Jones, 2005 (R.M. Kanter, 1984)) Forces for impediments to change that confront an organization and its managers.
Forces for Change
Impediments to Change
Competitive Forces Organizational Impediments
Power and Conflict
Economic and Political Forces Differences in Functional Orientation
Global Forces Organizational Culture
Demographic and Social Forces Group Impediments
Ethical Forces Groupthink and escalation of commitment
Uncertainty and Insecurity
Selective Perception and Retention
(George and Jones, 2005, Pg 568, Table 18.1)
The table above shows the different types of forces to change a company may face. “Forces inside an organization make it difficult for the organization to change in response to changing conditions in its environment.” (George and Jones, pg 571 (R.M. Kanter, 1989))
In order for a company “To excel in the area of efficiency or quality, an organization must constantly adopt to the latest technology.” (George and Jones, 2005, pg 567) When trying to adopt, companies’ employee’s can resist these changes.
Resistance to Change
In a company’s organization, change for one department may not be good for change for another. A conflict between the two departments can slow down or even prevent change from occurring. Both organizational groups and individuals can resist change. People can tend to resist change because they feel uncertain or are insecure. Changes can also alter the group norm. When the norm has changed, resistance can occur while individual are adapting to the new norm.
1. Unfreeze the organizations from its present state
2. Make the desired type of change
3. Refreeze the organization in a new desired state
(Lewin’s Three-Step Change Process (George and Jones, 2005, figure 18.2))
Lewin’s Force-field Theory of Change is the theory that an organization’s change occurs when forces for change strengthen, resistance to change lessens or both occur simultaneously. (George and Jones, 2005, pg 573). Managers must find a way to increase the forces for change to get an organization to change.
By applying Lewin’s three-step process to change, a manager can guide its employees though change in an organization. “Lewin warns that resistance to change will quickly cause an organization and its members to revert to their old ways of doing things unless the organization actively takes steps to refreeze the organization with the changes in place.” (George and Jones, 2005, pg 581)
As the director of the company you first must determine the future state of the company. Then implement those changes. We can take two approaches to this, Top-down change or bottom-up change. Whereas top-down starts with changes in mangers and bottom-up changes start with employee’s at low levels and gradually rises until it is felt throughout the organization. (George and Jones, 2005, pg 583). Change is easier to start from the bottom-up.
Suggestions to change the group norm
Group norms are informal rules of conduct for behaviors considered important to most group members (George and Jones, 205, pg 324). To get the group to conform to a new group norm it is important to ensure the group members that the new group norms are functional for the organization. One way we can get them to conform is by rewarding the group members when they achieve the organization’s goals. When members are rewarded for their performance, this then becomes a group goal and group norms are developed from it. (George and Jones, 2005, pg 329)
George, J.M. & Jones, G.R. (2005). Understanding & Managing Organization Behavior – A Custom Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Custom Publishing.
R.M. Kanter, The Change Masters: Innovation for Productivity in the American Corporation (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984).
R.M. Kanter, When Giants Learn to Dance: Mastering the Challenges of Strategy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989).