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Organizational Change Management Coursework Sample

Change is a constant and a dynamic process that is inevitable in organizations, specifically for the achievement of goals and objectives. Business growth is characterized by frequent adjustments and restructuring with the aim of achieving a certain level of efficiency (Sisk 2001).  In order to remain competitive, organizations adapt and change with the prevailing trends. Change in an organization is actually a process that requires strategic implementation and coordination of resources in order to adapt. While organizations seek to increase their competitiveness or improve organizational performance, change has to take place. Organizations implement the change process in order to increase efficiency of doing business and to effectively adjust in accordance with current trends and market needs.  Change is an all-inclusive process that encompasses ideas, people, models, and organization of resources (Graetz and Smith 2010).

Change management is the crucial process of managing the implementation of organizational change and new business processes, including the culture of the organization (Senior and Swailes 2010).  Middle-level management in an organization is usually accountable to the top management, and it is responsible for facilitating communication between the two. Middle-level managers are responsible for people management as well as executing teams of employees to work effectively and efficiently.  Middle-level managers are convenient in an organization because they mediate the employees and the top-level management in the implementation of the major business processes (Sharyn and Nerina 2006). These managers are also in charge of assessing the readiness of the organization and the employees in accepting, facilitating, and enabling changes.

Role of middle-level managers in supporting change

First and foremost, there are several strategies for managing change. These strategies include environment-adaptive, power-coercive, normative-re-educative, and empirical-rational. Change in an organization might imply restructuring, introduction of new business process or technology, downsizing, redesigning of roles, or reorganization of resources (Marginson 2009).  Usually humans have the tendency to resist change, and in an organizational setting, the employees are more likely to be reluctant to adjust. A middle-level manager plays a critical role in supporting organizational change. One of the most important factors to consider, while managing strategic change in the organization, is to understand the nature of change (Graetz and Smith 2010). In middle-level management, understanding the nature of change determines the coordination of strategic and operational processes in addition to organizational resources or teams of employees in order to achieve the desired impacts. Secondly, the degree of employee resistance and the understanding of the target audience help a middle-level manager to make an informed selection of the type of change strategy to implement in the organization (Graetz and Smith 2010). Thirdly, the timeframe needed to implement change is also an essential consideration a manager should make in order to ensure a smooth transition while taking care of organizational goals and objectives. Some of the ways a middle-level manager can support strategic change include communication, managing costs of change, time management when implementing change, aligning new and existing resources with organization structure.

Communication: Change can be either from the top or from the bottom of an organizational hierarchy. Managers as intermediaries synthesize and interpret information regarding change for both the senior management and the employees.  As mentioned previously, managers have the responsibility of assessing the degree of resistance to change, and that information is crucial in determining the type of communication to use in the organization.  The employees have the right to information regarding imminent or future change in the structure and design of the organization in order for them to give their opinions and preferences (Sharyn and Nerina 2006). Information such as customer feedback, performance, and financial details are some of the key data used to propagate the need and urgency of change. At the same time, communicating to the senior management is important because the feedback and suggestions made facilitate change efforts in a more strategic approach (Marginson 2009). In most cases, the type of communication also follows the leadership style of the management (Senior and Swailes 2010). For a smooth transition of change in an organization, prior information and dialogue should be encouraged. In addition, change efforts are usually successful because of the team spirit in organizations that value their employees and their contributions. At the same time, the organization is greatly dependent on the employees mainly because of their skills directs the type of communication and the change processes.

Managing costs of change: Change in the technical aspects of organizations usually involves a certain cost in order to implement, and managers play a role in ensuring cost effectiveness in the process of managing it. Changing the organizational structure and design requires investment in terms of capital reorganization and, sometimes, installation of new systems. While managers assume the role of project management, activities such as compensation, promotion, recruitment, and design will imply costs and a clear procedure of managing costs while considering the financial health of the organization (Senior and Swailes 2010). Costs of change can also affect the human resources of the organization. For example, downsizing can imply job cuts, and in the process, qualified or skilled employees are dismissed from the organization (Conway and Monks 2011). Middle-level managers take the responsibility of coordinating the remaining group of employees and teams for effective performance and implementing the new structures.

Time management when implementing change: The urgency and need for change determines the timeframe available for implementing it. For middle managers, it is important to be conscious of time and use the right strategy to execute plans of organizational change. According to Sugarman (2001), the nature of change determines the amount of time required to implement it and the suitable strategic management. Middle managers, including supervisors, keep track of changes with due monitoring and evaluation of performance with respect to the available time for smooth and effective change.

Aligning existing and new resources with organizational structure: It is important to assess the goals and objectives of the organization in addition to the available resources. For effective performance and improvement within an organization, resources are required to be aligned with the business structure and the associated strategies. At the same time, change in a business model or design of the organization should also be concerned with alignment with the existing resources, and middle managers are crucial to the change management process (Ahearne, Lam, and Kraus 2013). In that process, managers are crucial to the development of a framework for managing change and its effects on the people and the structure.

Role of middle managers in resisting change

As noted earlier, people have the tendency to resist change and maintain the status quo. While middle managers can support strategic change in organizations, they can also be a source of resistance. Resistance to change usually involves making excuses for postponement, mobilizing employees to resist change through informal communication, blaming change for business failure, withholding key information from senior management of employees, and trying to maintain the existing state of affairs.  However, resistance to change by middle managers, concerning either change from below or top, depends on both their behavior and the senior management (Conway and Monks 2011). Resistance to change can result from the senior management in a case where middle managers might feel pressured with work, especially when the work is additional to what is already expected of them (McCann, Morris and Hassard 2008).  Therefore, change efforts that lead to additional work for the middle managers are most likely to be resisted. Change should involve all people and should not be imposed on them. In such cases, managers will tend to resist change that is pressured onto them either externally or from the senior management (Sisk 2001). As for the role of middle managers, their character, competence and style of organizational leadership can make them resistant to change. First, failure of inclusion in decision making by senior management regarding organizational change usually makes middle managers resistant to change. An organizational style of leadership that is not engaging is usually taken as coercion, and managers usually withstand it. The skills and competence of middle managers can be a source of their resistance to change. The reason for this tendency is that it is important to understand the nature and complexity of change as well as the right measures of organizational change management (Balogun 2003). A manager that does not understand change and its impact on the organization is likely to resist it, citing uncertainty and usually blames the change for business failure (Herzing & Jimmieson 2006).

References

Ahearne, M., Lam, S. and Kraus, F. 2013. Performance Impact of Middle Managers’ Adaptive Strategy Implementation: The Role of Social Capital. Strategic Management Journal., 35(1), pp. 68-87.
Balogun, J., 2003. From blaming the middle to harnessing its potential: creating change intermediaries. British Journal of Management, 14(1), pp. 69-83.
Conway, E. And Monks. K. 2011. Change from Below: The Role of Middle Managers in Mediating Paradoxical Change. Human Resource Management Journal, 21(2): pp.190 203.
Graetz, F. and Smith, A. 2010. Managing Organizational Change: A Philosophies of Change Approach. Journal of Change Management, 10(2), pp.135-154.
Herzing, S.E., & Jimmieson N.L., 2006. Middle Managers’ Uncertainty Management during Organizational Change. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 27(8), pp. 628-645.
Marginson, D. 2009. Value Systems as a Mechanism for Organizational Change. Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, 5(1), pp. 7-34.
McCann, L., Morris, J. and Hassard, J. (2008) “Normalized Intensity: The New Labour Process of Middle Management.” Journal of Management Studies, 45(2): pp. 343-371.
Senior, B. and Swailes, S. 2010 Organizational Change. 4th Ed, Harlow: FT Prentice Hall
Sharyn E. Herzig and Nerina L. Jimmieson. 2006. “Middle managers’ uncertainty management during organizational change”, Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 27 (8): pp. 628 – 645.
Sisk, D. 2001. Creative Leadership: A Study of Middle Managers, Senior Level Managers and CEOs. Gifted Education International, 15(3), pp. 281-290.
Sugarman, B. 2001. A learning-based approach to organizational change. Organizational Dynamics, 30(1), pp. 62-76.

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