"Toto, I’ve got a feeling that we’re not in Kansas any more."
Dorothy, Wizard of Oz
Over the past few decades, large-scale organizational change has become a way of life in American business. Many organizational changes, however, have failed to deliver promises of increased productivity and morale, decreased costs, decreased waste , and increased customer satisfaction. A common theme among these failures is a lack of understanding of the power of the collective human system to obstruct the progress of initiatives. The result has been to reinforce fear, defensiveness, and cynicism among workers toward change efforts (Dooley, 1998).
Failure of an organizational change for businesses has both short term and long term consequences. Direct short term implications to a failure of an effective organizational change means that objectives are not achieved and resources, including money, time and people, are wasted. Indirectly, morale suffers, job security is threatened and confidence in leadership diminishes. Over the long haul, a failure of change means that business strategies are not accomplished, resistance to change increases and the organization’s survival is threatened (Wakulczyk, 1995).
It is normal for people to feel resistant to change and today’s new technology, new tools, and new applications mean big change. Not everyone reacts to change the same way. Some people are always looking for better, more efficient ways of doing things. Others long for the good old days of clearly defined jobs and responsibilities.
Some people want to get moving with whatever is new right away. Still others fight any change that conflicts in any way with their values or threatens the welfare of anyone around them.
Emotions will fluctuate during change. Once a change has been announced, usually the first reaction people have is to meet the change with a sense of shock. They ask themselves, "Where did this come from?", "What is going on?", "I didn’t know anything about this!", or "This isn’t what I agreed to!" (Department of Defense, __ ).
After the shock of the new situation has passed, most people, if they view the change as a negative impact on their personal situation, become very angry. They may begin to talk about the new situation in very negative terms, such as, "It won’t work!" or "I’m not going to support this!" This anger, if not addressed, may lead to some workers actually trying to sabotage the change process. A person going through this phase will make up excuses why they should not be held accountable for anything that goes wrong with the organization as a result of the change such as "Don’t blame me if it doesn’t work!" Once workers have accepted the change as real and that it is going to happen, they begin to rationalize their role in the new situation (Department of Defense, ___ ).
Productivity will also fluctuate during change. Productivity, at a given level before change, will drop during the period...