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Why do Organizational Change Initiatives Often Fail - Research Paper Example

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Change is imperative and change in an organization can occur during mergers/acquisitions, during expansion and growth, during downsizing and during restructuring or implementation of new technology (Stanleigh, 2008). …
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Why do Organizational Change Initiatives Often Fail
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Download file to see previous pages How to change may differ across organizations but change is essential for progress or as Abrahamson (2004) calls it “creative destruction”. Without pain no change is possible and the justification for change is “change or perish”. Change could involve a process, technology or public process. Research indicates that almost 56-70 percent of mergers and acquisitions fail to achieve the intended objectives while 90 percent of culture change initiatives fail (Atkinson, 2005). If the change objectives are not achieved, the organization should strive to evaluate the causes of failure. Once the causes can be identified it may be possible to apply change management procedure to achieve the change objectives. Consequences of change failure can be disastrous. Change failures not only result in waste of resources but when changes fail people go cynical and lose motivation to work. Failure in managing change can lead to preconceptions and perceptions that can have a demoralizing effect on employees. The causes of failures that have emerged include shortcomings in change leadership, insufficient attention given to the complexities in the change process, or repetitive change syndrome resulting in initiative overload, change chaos and cynicism. Failures could also occur due to lack of clear compelling statement or vision, or when there is no definite plan or directives, no goals and programs, no methods or deadlines. Speeding up the change process could lead to errors that could be devastating. Management may also fail to recognize that adjustment to change could take time. Various tools have been suggested to manage change effectively the most important suggestion being that change requires effective leadership; it requires more than just managing change. This should be a visionary leadership where the vision is effectively communicated to the people concerned. Empowerment is another effective tool to obtain the intended outcome in the change process as empowerment helps eliminate the obstacles while it also reduces the alienated feeling that employees develop. However, a practicing manager needs to ensure that the stakeholders are involved in the change process from the very beginning. No sense of urgency should be transmitted as this could end up in change chaos. Communication should be honest and be able to generate trust and confidence. Short-term wins should be created as it is an effective tool in receiving cooperation for furthering the process of change. This research was conducted to synthesize the varied perspectives on change leadership and change models that could help an organization to achieve the change objectives. The research will review the top reasons for change initiative failure and how they can be remedied. Various change models of renowned scholars such as Kotter, Lewin, Bridges and Abrahamson have been reviewed and evaluated. 2. Literature Review 2.1 Causes of failure in the change process 2.1.1 Resistance to change Manifestation of resistance Employee resistance to change can be exhibited or communicated in a number of ways, the employees could express cynicism or they may not be “open” to change or “not ready” for change (Peccei, Giangreco & Sebastiano, 2011). The resistance to change manifests itself mainly through low-engagement in pro-change behaviors. There can even be more active anti-change behaviors as when people speak out in public against the change or when they undermine its implementation. Resistance is often displayed passively and covertly, asserts Atkinson. If they were displayed in a forthright manner it would have been possible to deal with them logically. Some times staff may attend a change project and display approval but underneath this external facade they nurture ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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