Managing Organizational Change Essay

3310 words - 13 pages

Managing Organizational Change{Insert Date}Managing Organizational Change09/03/2002 2AbstractAs the Greek philosopher Heraclitus (525 - 475BC) pointed out: change alone is unchanging. Nowhere is this more true than in corporate North America.Globalization; quantum leaps in technology; mergers and acquisitions; shiftingmarkets and client demands; and, significant changes in the workforce makechanging to survive a strategic imperative. All organizations need to have agreater reach, be in more places, be aware of regional and cultural differences,and integrate coherent strategies for different markets and communities. (Kanter,1999) Failure to change, to change rapidly enough, or to make the rightchanges, has turned corporate giants into subsidiaries, seemingly overnight.With change having been a constant for over 2500 years, why are businessesstill so bad at managing it? Why do so many change initiatives wither and dieleaving only confusion and mangled processes in their wake?This paper explores some of the reasons corporate change programs fail andoffers some ideas as to how a corporation can institutionalize change to becomea constantly evolving success story.Managing Organizational Change09/03/2002 3Why Organizations ChangeOrganizational change (change at the enterprise-wide level) is provoked by amajor outside driving force that will cause an evolution to the next level in thecorporate life cycle. (McNamara, 2001) In broad terms, either inspiration ordesperation in the face of globalization, consolidation, technology, or legislationforce an organization to change in order to survive. It is rare for a business tocarefully plan and execute organizational change before an external or fiscalreality forces the change. Change is hard work and it is almost always reactive.What can be proactive is how an organization deals with a change situation andhow the organization prepares itself to identify and integrate change on an ongoingbasis.Enterprise-wide change is undertaken as a matter of survival. It is not an optionand it is not a whim. Change carries high costs in terms of human and physicalresources, share prices, stakeholder insecurity, customer dissatisfaction,receivables and cash flow. "The reality is often a painful period of change, duringwhich resistance is high, morale is low, productivity is falling, and confusion isrampant." (Calvello & Seamon, 1995) No organization undertakes this lightly.So, the question is, if the cause is just, the need is clear, the alternativesevaluated, and the path to success communicated so that anyone in theorganization can see that the change is not optional but essential, why does thechange fail? The answer, "Just being right isn't enough: you have to win thehearts and minds of the people who will make the change happen." (Marsh,Managing Organizational Change09/03/2002 42001) There is no disembodied organization that can be changed. Only thepeople within an organization can make planned change a reality by...

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