HL ONLY 1.8 Change and the Management of Change
HL Causes of Change

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Change is a normal part of the events that occur in a company. The challenges of ensuring that the change does not negatively affect the business or that the positive changes are maximized to the advantage of the business are what this section examines.

Changes can be in the form of:

  • Technological Trends. Developments in technology are rapid and can challenge business operations and products. In order to ensure that the latest and most competitive trends are adopted a business must keep its finger of the pulse.

  • Laws. As government shifts in its views in response to social demands, new laws can quickly shift the ground upon which a business has been firmly planted. A good example is environmental and or tax related laws.

  • Economic Trends. The business cycle directly affects consumer demand thereby will cause shifts in the company. If severe, these shifts may result in employees being losing jobs.

  • Employment changes. When an employee is dismissed from employment, the effects of the dismissal can be perceived as either positive or negative. In the event that the dismissal is negatively received, this implies that the management must ensure that the lines of communication are used effectively enough to lower the negative impact of this event through the management of change.

Change is therefore any event or series of events that deviates from the natural day-to-day affairs of life in a business and must be engaged to ensure minimum impact.external image aninew.gif

HL only Explain the causes of change and factors causing resistance to change.

Resistance to change would come from any stakeholder that feels threatened by the change. This especially applies to employees who upon seeing their colleague dismissed may worry that their own jobs are in danger, or might react in support of their colleague.

Change could also come in the form of a company relocated to a new region or country. The affected stakeholders, particularly employees may also in this instance resist the relocation or transfer for obvious reasons.

HL Resistance to change

Resistance to change can be driven by inaccurate information, fear, psychological trauma such as fear and uncertainty of the future.

It is also possible that the business culture is such that it is entrenched in tradition and thereby resists any change that is contrary to the values of the business. This inflexibility is an impediment to any beneficial changes in strategic planning involving change.

HL only Examine the dynamic nature of organizations and the relative importance of driving and restraining forces.

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Driving Forces

Driving forces are those forces that will impact upon a situation in a company that will push towards a particular direction and outcome; these forces seek to bring about change by putting pressure on the key decision makers to act in a certain manner. An example of a driving force is employees seeking higher salaries, or seeking other changes that will fundamentally impact the business.

Restraining Forces

Restraining forces are forces that act in opposition of the driving forces. These therefore are resistant to the changes sought and can represent a negative or resistant attitude. As opposed to the above examples, the management may resist increases in salary. A decision or equilibrium is reached when a shift occurs either in favor of the driving or restraining forces that prevail.

HL Modelling change
HL Lewin’s force field analysis

Kurt Lewin said that "An issue is held in balance by the interaction of two opposing sets of forces - those seeking to promote change (driving forces) and those attempting to maintain the status quo (restraining forces)". In this respect it is understandable that models are used to simplify more complex events through visual representations.

HL Lewin’s force field analysis

Kurt Zadek Lewin was a psychologist who provides us with a model for looking at the factors (forces) that determine a particular decision or situation.

These driving and restraining forces will act as follows:

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The present state represents the status quo or social equilibrium. When attractive changes are willed, and these will always present themselves, the forces for change become strong.

Change is achieved through a weakening of the restraining forces and a strengthening of the driving forces.
Therefore, according to Lewin, if the Driving forces are stronger, the equilibrium or status quo will change.
HL Strategies to reduce the impact of change and resistance to change

The strategies for reducing the impact of change and resistance begin with an analysis to:

  • Determine the balance of decision-making power

  • Identifying those for or against a decision

  • Identifying stakeholders and

  • Determining how best to influence stakeholders

The Lewin model allows for a clearer understanding on how change is taking place and how best to monitor and influence the factors of change.

torch.gifReflection Point

You were the CEO of a major corporation whose strategic plan is to relocate its corporate headquarters to a new country. What are the Change Management considerations that you have to take into account and how would you go about implementing change?