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Organisational Change - Reflective Analysis

                                                                                             

Organisational Change

Introduction

The word of ‘change’ might be uncomfortable for some people but it won’t also be wrong to say that a major part of the world accepts changes in several settings including personal life, organisation, society and ideas. When it comes to organisational change, changing the environment is important because it allows the organisation to explore various hidden competencies and also helps in adapting to the competitive and nerve wrecking global business environment (Amankwah-Amoah, 2016). Changing the organisation or building an environment that is adaptable to change flourishes the cognitive systems and promotes logical reasoning. It is widely believed that organisational change whether it’s planned, unexpected, emergent, or cultural, tend to bring higher productivity at the organisation and also ensure sustainable performance (Lozano, et al., 2016).

This work is based on a reflective analysis of three themes including planned change, culture change and emergent change at an organisation. The aim of this reflective analysis is to explore what I learnt from the lectures and seminars attended. According to (Williams & Woolliams, 2012), reflective practices is not only necessary to repeat what is learnt in the past but also helps in enhancing the learning development for a longer term. The work will examine all three themes one by one and will discuss how the lecture/seminar helped in my learnings and insights.

Planned Change

The first theme that I am selecting to reflect on is planned or directed change. This is an organisational change that is directed at the top and the steps or approaches of change are already decided. I chose this them to reflect on because the concepts covered in the lecture intrigued me and I also gathered some valuable insights. That’s why I thought that reflecting on this will help me explore many other aspects of organisational change as well. The lecture was very interesting and covered planned change by incorporating other concepts e.g. styles and approaches to change and its models. I was able to connect the learnings with other lectures that covered reasons and triggers for change.

In the lecture, I learned that when the change is already planned, every step of the change is roughly decided and the organisation is ready to embrace it; it’s called a planned change. The information was delivered impressively and covered a variety of related topics. Although I was already familiar with some of the aspects covered in the lectures, the way various aspects were knitted to each other was helping a lot to make these concepts make perfect sense. After analysing the lecture and gathering my learnings, I developed the insight that planned change is like a self-regulated change that occurs at any organisation. Although the process might be facilitated by other factors to exclude the chances of uncertainties, most of the change is already directed and pre-decided (Crawford, 2013).

When the lecture started and primary details on planned change were shared, the first question that came up in my mind was that how a large organisation can plan a huge change and make it through the transformation process. But this aspect was discussed later on when it was mentioned that the change is handled by the top management of the organisation and the decision making process that is the most crucial stage of the entire process is directed by the that management team (Mayers & Wiggins, 2012). The idea led me to the connection of planned change to top-down approach in which anything is started from the top and then penetrates into the other parts of the system. I believe this way of decision making is reasonable because the whole idea of bringing a change in the organisation is mostly brought up by the top management. This is true because they are the ones who decide how the organisation is going to respond to the changing business environment. In that situation, their decision making plays a vibrant role in the implementation of change (Alketbi & Gardiner, 2014).

Something that really intrigued me about the theme was how this type of change is integrated with approaches of change and reflects them in every step of its implantation. For instance, the two approaches of change are development and consultative. In development approach, the change is constant and is adjusted in accordance with the external environment while consultative change is a bit more flexible and needs constant feedback throughout the change implementation to see if everything is going into the right direction (Sminia & Nistelrooij, 2006). I drew an inference that planned change has a flavour of both development and consultative change in it.

Because planned change implementation is directed from the top considering the outer environment, it is obvious that the change strategy is subject to adjustments because the outer environment does not always remain the same. That’s why I believe that planned change has a consultative approach and the management needs to constantly focus on the environment to see if the plan is working exactly the way it should and look for improvements (Burnes & Cooke, 2013). Moreover, what makes me think that there is also a development transition approach to planned change that incremental adjustments are always required to make things work and in the case of planned change implementation, the external scenario plays a vital role in that development approach (Vincent, 2006).

Because the lecture also covered the Lewin’s Force Field Model (Figure 1 in the appendix), I decided to apply it on planned change to see how it translates itself in the context of the model and get a better insight of the plausible connection. As the model talks about driving forces that promote change and restraining forces, I believe that planed change is capable enough to handle the hurdles and stay strong against the restraining forces. Using the model, it can be made sure that the hurdles are pre-defined and solutions are designed before these hurdles even emerge (Cummings & Worley, 2014). Moreover, the model also enables the organisation to transfer knowledge within various departments of the organisation and helps incorporate planning and progressive evaluation that makes the change implementation even more effective (Cronshaw & McCulloch, 2008).

Culture Change

The topic of culture change was especially important for me because I, myself have always been interested in the topic of culture and enjoyed to see how culture is integrated into our real lives and business practices. After the lecture, I realised that cultural change and debates about it were not always part of the business practices and they emerged after the globalisation era took over the entire world. It has been argued by analysts that cultural change in the organisation does not only mean to incorporate people from various backgrounds and talk about diversity more often; it is more of an ideological change and intellectual perspectives that might even lead to temporary conflicts (Bae, et al., 2012).

In the lecture, several definitions of culture were shared and I also tried to see how many cultures do I live in and what type of cultural differences I witness and experiences every day. I learned that cultural difference is associated with different values, beliefs and assumptions of individuals and groups and the reason for the importance of culture in an organisational context is that it controls the way we think about various business aspects (Jones, 2010). I believe that it is totally right because the way we think matters a lot in our personal and professional relationships and decisions.

Something that really struck my mind during the lecture was the idea of objective and objective culture and the way how they translate into an organisational context. As subjective culture is more about perceptions and beliefs of people about the social environment unlike objective culture that is about superficial aspects of language, ecology or symbols, I believe that in an organisational perspective, subjective culture plays the role of backbone and can also form future polices of any organisation. Several other concepts of culture including the history of emergence were also discussed.

As the lecture went into the depth of culture, my interest in the subject also got keener into the idea of culture in organisational aspect. The idea that the concept of organisational culture is taken for granted and there is no concrete answer to this question was justified because I believe that in this fast-paced business environment, it is difficult to determine what kind of culture is best for the business (Poole & Ven, 2004). Moreover, it should also be noted that there is not a standard type of culture that can be applied to all kinds of companies, countries and societies and this what makes culture so interesting.

 

After researching about culture change at an organisation, I realised that this change provides organisations a scope to expand and prosper in their own domain and organisations also use it as a tool for growth and power in the business field. Take the example of Google for instance. This huge company is known for its cultural diversity and also promotes it more than anyone else in the field. But critically thinking, the attempt of Google to promote cultural diversity at the organisation does not certainly mean that organisation supports all kinds of culture change and as the change of perceptions and beliefs is my focus and interest in cultural change at any organisation, I think the example of Google might not be the last one.

The concept of cultural capital in the context of the organisation is very strong to magnify the importance of culture change. In an organisational context, cultural capital and culture itself have a two-way relationship and tend to influence each other; culture affects cultural capital and vice versa. It is also believed that cultural capital is flexible and over a specific span of time, it has the ability to get influenced by the capital and change its forms to fit into the organisational culture. For instance, a person joins a company when he is against using mobile phones so much because of its health hazards. But after he joins a tech company that makes mobile phones or is involved in any other related channel, the attitude, perceptions and values of that place make him start feeling positive about mobile phones. Apart from an organisational context, this idea applies in any walk of life.

According to the theory of comfort zone, all members of an organisation try to form a mutual understanding. This formal understanding is expected to bring peace, harmony and higher productivity at the organisation. Interconnecting this theory to culture change, I believe that both theories try to do almost the same; comfort zone idea is about setting up a space that is comfortable for the employees while culture change is also about changes of perception and ideas that might raise some questions in the beginning but their main purpose is to make the organisation more productive by engaging various ideas and converging them in one place. Moreover, it should be noted that whether its comfort zone, culture change or any other change, I believe that these changes play a vibrant role in the structure and formation of any organisation and also pave the way for future aspirations for the organisation (Zollo & Winter, 2002).

Emergent Change

When I got to know that this lecture is going to be about emergent change, I instantly developed an interest in this topic because the name of the change was very intriguing itself. After listening to the word, I made a sketch in my mind that this is going to be something divergent than other changes like culture or planned changed and I have to say; I was not disappointed. The way the concept of emergent change was discussed in the lecture was interesting and I got to know that any organisational setting is prone to changes that might not be in anyone’s control. The idea makes sense because unexpected events always occur in organisations that might also affect their business practices (Burns, 2004).

The unpredictable turbulence in the environment of any organisation can be of any nature. This is true because these changes occur unexpectedly and can, in turn, demand further changes in the business environment as well. For instance, as a result of emergent change, the organisations might have to bring further incremental or continuous changes to cope with the change but the situational differences as a result of emergent changes are mostly incremental and whenever an emergent change occurs at an organisation, the organisation gets on its journey of a strategic drift that is well-needed for re-align the new situation with the purposes and mission of the organisation (Burns, 2005).

The lecture led me to the inference that emergent changes, although a little uncomfortable at the spur of the moment might provide the organisation with a chance to make some small or sudden changes. Without the emergent change, the organisation might never be able to realise what flaws it has in its organisational structure and these emergent changes provide the organisation with a whole new perspective on its business practices (Carlsen, 2006).

It was interesting how the idea of emergent change is linked to the incremental and continuous adjustments in the organisation. After a little more research, I realised that emergent change is not just a one-time change; it also helps in other change management practice of the organisation. This is a convincing argument because emergent change opens up new ways of thinking for an organisation and thus leads to conclusions that the organisation might not be able to reach in other circumstances. After attending the lecture about emergent change, I have started to believe that this change makes alterations in the beliefs of the organisation by making it realise that not every situation is under its control and as a result of a decision, all the interconnected events that come afterwards are not in a predictable linear form and changes have breakdowns and disruptions in their flow.

I totally agree with the idea that emergent change has the most important role for the top management and decision makers of the organisation. The idea is convincing in an organisational context because decision makers of the organisation are always looking for gaps in their decisions and policies. When an unexpected emergent change occurs at an organisation, the management is able to look for those loopholes in their policies and might reach to a whole new and unexpected decision. I believe that emergent change is easily applicable in the real world. The idea was also supported by (Stacey, 2005), who mentioned in his study due to the changing environment across the world, business frameworks are on the verge of changing at all moments that might question their stability.

An example of emergent change might be when a business firm is operating in an economy and is doing very well. After observing its growth and potential for success, other domestic companies or even foreign ones start entering the market and emerge. The sudden entrance might be only because of the growth rate of the existing firm or government policies might also support the entrance by allowing foreign firms to start their business in the domestic market. As a result of this sudden and unexpected entrance of other firms, existing firm has to adapt to the change these firms bring in the business environment and has to make discrete changes into its business policies (Bandura, 2007).

I believe that the emergent change required by the existing firm in the example above can come in any shape and form; the company might have to adopt to technological change, change its pricing policy, bring some cultural change, or bring a combination of multi-dimensional changes. Hence, there is a chain of events and changes that come after the emergent and unexpected change and the organisation has to adapt to it as quickly as possible (Esain, et al., 2008). This lecture provided me with a deeper insight about how the activities and decisions of an organisation can be driven by emergent changes. I also believe that this idea is highly and widely applicable in the real business environment in this era of globalisation.    

Conclusion

In the all-time changing business environment, expected and unexpected change common and have become part of the deal in any business. This work was based on three major types of organisational changes including planned, cultural and emergent change. In the lectures related to planned changes, I learned that this is the change organised and initiated by the top management that is also pre-planned according to the business scenario. I liked the way how the concepts of planned change were integrated with examples and related theories. The idea is also similar to the top-down approach in which the change is channelised by the top management and gradually penetrates into the organisational structure. 

The concept of cultural change was very interesting for me because I personally really like how culture is integrated into our society. Culture change in an organisation has something bigger than just color, race or origin; it also involves changes in ideas, ideology, values and perceptions. In this globalised era, cultural change is also important because it allows the organisation to explore various concepts and ideas and get to decisions that might not be approachable in a non-cultural environment. I realised that culture change is the matter of survival for any organisation.

Emergent change is the unpredictable change that occurs at any organisation. After attending the lecture and doing some more research, I developed the thinking that emergent change provides the organisation with the chance to look into matters that it might not be able to do in normal circumstances and might also form discrete policies and changes that might not be possible otherwise. For instance, if new firms enter a market, the already existent firms would have to change in their technology, pricing or supply policies. Due to the emergent change, organisations can look for loopholes in their system and flourish the ability to adapt to the changing environments.     

 

 

 

 

References

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