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Managing Change, Stress and Innovation

Principles of Management

By Mutahir AhsanPublished about a year ago 4 min read

What is Change?

• An alteration of an organization’s environment, structure, technology or people.

• Structure (From Mechanistic to Organic)

• Technology (Working Methods and Processes)

• People (Attitudes, Perceptions, Behavior and Expectations)

• Handling change is an Integral part of very manager’s job.

Sources of Change:

1. External Forces

I. Government Laws and Regulations.

II. Technology.

III. Economic Changes.

2. Internal Forces

I. Redefine and Modify Strategy.

II. Structural Changes.

III. Empowering employees.

Manager as Change Agent:

A person who initiates and assumes the responsibility for managing a change in an organization.

• Change Agent can be any manager or even a non-manager.

• Internal managers will be more thoughtful because they must live with the consequences of their actions.

Two Views of the Change Process:

1. Calm Waters:

A description of traditional practices in and theories about organizations that likens the organization to a large ship making a predictable trip across a calm sea and experiencing an occasional storm.

Three step description of the change process:

I. The driving forces.

II. The restraining forces.

III. Two approaches combined.

2. White-Water Rapids:

A description of the organization as a small raft navigating a raging river.

• Disruptions in the status quo are not occasional and temporary.

• Managers face constant change, bordering on chaos.

• The must change and continuously improving method.

Entrepreneurs handle Change:

• Entrepreneurs need to be alert to problems and opportunities that may create the need to change.

• Entrepreneurs recognize the need for change.

• Entrepreneurs recognize the critical role they play in stimulating and implementing change.

• Entrepreneurs explain change and encourage change efforts by supporting, explaining, getting employees excited about the change.

• Entrepreneurs guide the actual change process as changes in strategy, technology, products, structure or people are implemented.

Organizational Change and Member Resistance

People Resist Change:

• Fear of losing something of value.

• Fear of the unknown.

• Belief that change is not good for the organization.

Techniques for Reducing Resistance to Organizational Change:

• Education and Communication

• Participation

• Facilitation and Support

• Negotiation

• Manipulation and Co-optation

• Coercion

Making Changes in the Organization

• Changing the Structure; alteration in authority relationships, job design, degree of centralization. These structural components give employees the authority and means to implement process improvement.

• Changing the Technology; the way work is processed or the methods and equipment used. The organization must provide employees with skills training in problem solving, decision making and team building and they must be able to analyze and act on data.

• Changes in People; employee attitudes, behaviors, expectations and perceptions.

Implement Planned Changes:

Organization Development: An activity designed to facilitate planned, long-term organization-wide change that focuses on the attitudes and values of organizational members; essentially an effort to change an organization’s culture.

Persons involved in OD efforts acknowledge that change can create stress for employees.

Typical OD Techniques:

1. Survey Feedback: A method designed to assess employee attitudes about and perceptions of the change they are encountering.

2. Process Consultation: Outside consultants help managers to perceive, understand, and act on process elements with which they must deal. These elements include workflow, formal communications channels.

3. Team-Building: An activity that helps work groups set goals, develop positive interpersonal relationships, and clarify the roles and responsibilities of each team member.

4. Intergroup Development: An activity that attempts to make several work groups become more cohesive.

Stress: The Aftermath of Organizational Change

What is Stress?

A dynamic condition in which an individual is confronted with an opportunity, constraint, or demand related to what they desires and for which outcome is perceived to be both uncertain and important. Stress is a complex issue.

• Stress can be positive and negative.

Karoshi: A Japanese term that refers to a sudden death caused by overworking.

Causes of Stress: (Stressors)

• Stress can be Personal and Organizational

• Personal Stress; Family Matters and Financial Problem.

• Organizational Stress; Role Conflicts, Role Overload and Role Ambiguity.

Role Conflicts: Work expectations that are hard to satisfy.

Role Overload: Having more work to accomplish than time permits.

Role Ambiguity: When role expectations are not clearly understood.

Employees’ personalities have an effect in how susceptible they are to Stress.

 Personality A: People who have a chronic sense of urgency and an excessive competitive drive.

 Personality B: People who are relaxed and easygoing and accept change easily.

Symptoms of Stress

• Physiological: Increased heart and breathing rates, increased blood pressure, headaches and risk of heart attacks.

• Psychological: Increased tension and anxiety, boredom – leading to decrease in productivity.

• Behavioral: Changes in eating habits, rapid speech or sleep disorders.

Reduction in Stress

• Employees are properly matched to their jobs.

• Redesigning jobs to ease work overload-related stressors.

• Involvement and participation helps lessen stress.

• Companies offer Employee Assistance and Wellness Programs.

• Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Programs offered by organizations to help their employees overcome personal and health-related problems.

• Wellness Program: Program offered by organizations to help their employees prevent health problems.

Innovation

The process of taking a creative idea and turning it into a useful product, service or method of operation.

• Organizations must continually innovate new products and services to compete successfully.

Creativity: The ability to produce novel and useful ideas.

What is Involved in Innovation?

1. Perception: The way of seeing things; seeing things from a unique perspective.

2. Incubation: Employees collect massive amounts of data that are stored, retrieved, studied, reshaped and molded into something new.

3. Inspiration: The moment when all of the efforts successfully come together.

4. Innovation: Taking the Inspiration and turning it into a useful product, service or way of doing things.

How do Structural Variables affect Innovation?

• Organic structures positively influence innovation; they have less work specialization and fewer rules and are more decentralized than mechanistic structures.

• Easy availability of plentiful resources is a key building block for innovation.

• Frequent inter-unit communication helps to break down possible barriers to innovation by facilitating interaction across departmental lines.

How does an Organization’s Culture affect Innovation?

• Acceptance of Ambiguity.

• Tolerance of the Impractical.

• Low External Controls.

• Tolerance of Risk.

• Tolerance of Conflict.

• Focus on Ends rather than on Means.

• Open Systems Focus.

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    MAWritten by Mutahir Ahsan

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