Conditions for Success (or) Steps in Introducing Change Successfully or Overcoming Resistance to Change

The following steps should be taken by the management to introduce the change successfully or to overcome the resistance to change by the people who are likely to be effected by the change :

1. Consultation with the Employees : There should be an advance explanation to and consultation with the employees concerned and the union representatives. The consultation should take place well in advance and a full discussion should be allowed to consider the competitive conditions and other reasons that made the change necessary. Management should explain the benefits that are likely to occur as a result of change and also how benefits are intended to be shared between the organization and individuals. While discussing the change, any reasonable modification in the proposed change should be considered favorably.

2. Two-Way Communication should be Strengthened : Free flow of information and communication must be maintained. If a two-way traffic is not maintained, negative attitudes created during resistance will persist. It is a time, when two-way communication is most needed to get change accepted. Communications are generally disrupted during the period of change due to resistance by workers. Management must take special care not only to maintain but also to intensify communication in times of change. If for some reasons, the communication lines are broken, the mounting hostility can be lessened through 'grip sessions' with small groups of people in which different levels can develop a new understanding. Even though a change affects only one or two persons in a group, the whole group must be informed about the change so that the group feels secure and maintains a co-operative attitude.

3. Advance Planning : An advance planning is necessary for introducing the change. Introduction of change should be by evolution and not by revolution. Gradual introduction will help the management in having thorough advance discussion with employees and union representatives. The change should be so introduced that the interests of people and groups may be least affected.

4. Change should be Timely : Changes should be introduced at proper time, if possible to coincide with the periods of expanding business activities in the firm and in the community, so that displaced workers of one job can be easily adjusted to other jobs in the firm without loss of seniority or may be absorbed in some other firms in the society.

5. Taking Union Leaders into Confidence : Management is regarded as the instigator of change and unions are regarded as the forestallers of change. It would be prudent for the management to take labour leaders into confidence so that they can convince their followers about the need and utility of change. It does not guarantee that there will be no opposition because sometimes workers do not succumb to union pressures.

6. Integration of Three Dimensions of Change : Change has three dimensions-logical dimension, psychological dimension and sociological dimension. Logical dimension is based on technical evidence of economics and science. The evidence should be presented to employees so that they can understand the technical and economic reasons for change. Psychological dimension reveals that the change is logical in terms of human values and feelings in the situation. The sociological dimension states that the change is logical in terms social values. All these three dimensions should be properly and carefully treated if employees are prepared to accept the change enthusiastically. It is a recognized fact that inspite of best efforts, full support can not be gained for every change because people are significantly different and cannot be expected to support to each change. The management duty is to provide a climate in which people feel that they should support more changes.

7. Group-force : Most organizational change focuses on the group. A worker's behaviour is influenced by the group to which he belongs. So a group can be used as a medium for introducing change as well as the target of the proposed change. Groups are also change agents and stimulate their members to accept change. The power of a group to induce change in its members' behaviour largely depends upon the attachment of person to the group. The more attractive the group is to each member, the greater its influence can be for that person. Influence is further increased if members with top prestige in the group support the change.

It is necessary to remember that the change should not disrupt the social system any more than is necessary. The social system is the hard core of opposition to change.

8. Participation and Involvement : Individuals will find it difficult to resist the changes in which they participated. Prior to making a change, all those persons who are going to be affected by the change, can be brought into the decision making process. Their doubts and objections should be removed to win their co-operation. Getting opinions out in the open, so that they are looked at and evaluated is an important trust building task. This involvement of the workers can overcome resistance, obtain personal commitment and increase the quality of the change decisions. But this method may lead to a lot of time consumption as well as it may be a potential for poor solutions.

9. Facilitation and Support : Change agents can offer facilitation and supportive efforts to overcome resistance. Facilitative support means removing physical barriers in implementing change by providing appropriate training, tools, machinery etc.

Supportive efforts include listening, providing guidance, allowing time off after a difficult period and providing emotional support. Emotional support is provided by showing personal concern to the employees during periods of stress and strain allowing time off after a difficult period. The drawback of this method is that it is time consuming and expensive and its implementation offers no assurance of success.

10. Negotiation and Agreement : Negotiation and agreement technique is used when costs and benefits must be balanced for the benefit of all concerned parties. If people or groups are losing something significant in the change and if they have enough power to resist strongly, with the help of unions, a manager might use a negotiation strategy. Negotiations before implementation can make the change go much more smoothly, even in the later stages if some problems arise, the negotiated agreement can be referred to.

11. Manipulation and Co-optation : This method is used in the situation, where other methods are not working or are not available. Managers can resort to manipulation of information, resources and favors to overcome resistance. Or they can resort to co-optation which means to co-opt an individual, perhaps a key person within a group, by giving him a desirable role in designing or carrying out the change process. This technique has some doubtful ethics and it may also backfire in some cases.

12. Coercion : Managers may resort to coercion if all other methods fail or for some reason are inappropriate. Coercion may be in the form of explicit or implicit threats involving loss of jobs, lack of promotion and the like. Managers sometimes dismiss or transfer employees who stand in the way of change. Coercion can seriously affect employees attitudes and have adverse consequences in the long run.

13. Other Steps for Gaining Support : Some other measures may be taken in gaining support from the workers for the proposed change. Such steps may be summarized as below :

C) Employee should be protected at all levels, from economic loss from change. The manage should guarantee workers against reduced earnings feared by the change. Employees should be persuaded to have a training at employer's cost in new skills necessary

(ii) adapt the change. The use of labour saving appliances should be avoided until to normal lab turnover can absorb displaced workers.

(iii) Seniority rights, opportunities for promotions and other benefits enjoyed by the workers show be properly safe-guarded.

(iv) Grievance system should be so framed as to give the employee a feeling of security a difference about benefits will be fairly resolved.

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