Organizations change to ensure that they can either react to an upcoming transformation in their industry or as a way of ensuring that they are ahead of their competitors. Changes are essential in corporations as they promote the elimination of systems that are not useful or profitable in the company and the development of more useful structures. Some of the common aspects that firms change include culture, technologies, relationships between workers and leaders, leadership techniques used, operation systems or the way work is performed in a company and policies that define the working conditions of employees. Organizations must adapt to the constant changes in the market to enable their success because modern companies are highly dynamic and adaptive to change. While changes in organizations occur due to rational reasons, some employees resist them because of unwilling to adapt to the changes, making it essential for organization leaders to implement techniques of heaping their workers deal with the transition and manage it.
Reasons for Change
Numerous reasons prompt companies to implement changes in their practice. an example of these is external factors and their effects on a firm. national or global crises, such as the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, is one of the external factors that can influence the implementation of changes in organizations. Some of the changes that have been influenced by the Coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. include mass layoffs and the risk of closure of some of the businesses. The first people to lose their jobs in the U.S. were workers in restaurants, malls, and hotels (Morath & Torry, 2020). for instance, approximately 25% of Marriott’s 7,300 hotels located across the globe were temporarily closed in March and April due to the travel bans and social distancing rules put in place to curb the spread of the virus (Oliver, 2020). The hotel chain then anticipated more closure and diminished revenue per room, which further affected their ability to retain their employees. The company laid off 115,000 employees, working in positions like bartending, clerical, sales, catering, and housekeeping (Saunders, 2020). Like Marriott International, other companies also had to lay off their employees to reduce their losses.
Technological advances in the industry can also promote organizational change. For instance, the introduction of electronic health records (EHR) in the healthcare sector promoted the adoption of EHR in healthcare facilities across the globe to eradicate the use of paper documentation, which was associated with an increased likelihood of prescription errors and misplacement of patients’ documents. The adoption of EHR systems in healthcare facilities allows healthcare practitioners to combine patients’ history, examination, medical decisions, care plans, laboratory results, and follow-up details in a single file and makes it easy to retrieve the data or transfer it to another healthcare practitioner. Aside from the risk of errors and misplacement of patients’ the change from paper documentation to EHR systems in many organizations has been promoted by the need to maintain their competitiveness and promote positive patient outcomes. For instance, in 2015, Banner Health introduced a new EHR system that could be used across all their healthcare facilities to ensure that the organization was highly consolidated and centralized and promote the easy transfer of patient data between the healthcare facilities (Monegain, 2015). Such technological changes promote organizations’ competitiveness in their market.
Internal factors, including hiring leaders or managers, altering the organization’s culture, and the introduction of new policies, also can lead to changes. Alternations in organizational leadership often lead to changes in the operation approaches as leaders have different visions and goals for a company. New leaders are likely to introduce programs or initiatives aimed at achieving the company’s goals (Hao & Yazdanifard, 2015). For instance, in May 2018, Fox News appointed a new CEO, Suzanne Scott, after the previous CEO was accused of sexual harassment. Reports on Suzanne Scott’s leadership have revealed her involvement in developing several initiatives to promote women at Fox News. A recent study conducted on media channels showed that Fox News online had more women bylines than other competing companies like Huffing Post and CNN, which suggested that Fox News online was better at gender parity than CNN and Huffing Post (Fonda, Morgan, & Steinem, 2017). The report suggests that the leadership changes contributed to the transformation in the organizational culture at Fox and the company’s consideration for female writers.
Resistance to Change
Resistance to change in organizations can be caused by people’s perception of the phenomenon and the complex processes that they would be required to undergo before adapting to the alterations. The introduction of new technologies or work processes can contribute to resistance to change, especially among older employees who might face challenges learning about the functions and techniques required to operate the new system. The challenges related to cognitive rigidity and reluctance to give up old ways of doing things are usually promoted by the personal characteristics of the employees. Fear of the unknown and lack of training or educational background related to the new systems adopted by a firm can also contribute to resistance to change as people might view the move as a technique to replace them or force them into early retirement. For instance, in healthcare, the introduction of new technologies places pressure on healthcare practitioners to learn about their applications. Those who fail to obtain such training may worry about their job security (Radzi & Othman, 2016). A combination of these factors can contribute to resistance to the new technologies or operating systems.
Resistance to change in corporations can be caused by alterations of the daily operations in a firm and elimination of reward systems. Implementation of changes related to daily operations in the organization during this period can inflict fear and confusion among employees and promote mistrust among managers, leaders, and employees (Nicola, et al., 2020). The current global pandemic is projected to affect many businesses, a factor that might push organization leaders to make several changes and affect employees’ work. Resistance to change during this pandemic can also be associated with the elimination of reward systems, through the subjection of employees to unpaid leave. The economic challenges faced by companies in industries like hospitality and tourism can lead employers to subject their employees to reduced pay for their work or unpaid leave. In the US, the number of employees without paid sick leave is approximately 517,000 at McDonald’s, 347,000 at Walmart, 151,000 at Target, 83,000 at Domino’s, 165,000 at Burger King, and 189,000 at Kroger (NY Times, 2020). The lack of paid leave among such employees can promote resistance to changes associated with alterations in the organization’s operations during a pandemic.
Dealing with or managing change in the organization, which is done through training and provision of support structures, is essential in ensuring that implemented changes are successful or achieve their intended goals. Changes related to alterations in the organization’s operations and processes can be managed by offering employees adequate training on the new techniques or technologies that they would be required to use. For instance, in the adoption of EHR systems, training healthcare practitioners on proper utilization of the technology could promote the quality of services offered by the facility. The training can be administered through self-paced online modules to ensure that each individual learns at their own pace or through a planned physical training session within the organization. When changes applied to entail laying off workers, offering employees a support system to help them with the transition is important in helping them navigate the situation (Hao & Yazdanifard, 2015). Training employees during the introduction of new systems and offering them support systems to help them deal with changes can significantly reduce resistance.
Organization leaders can also deal with change using effective communication. Communication is an essential leadership skill that leaders and managers should utilize in managing change in their organizations. Communicating with employees and explaining to them the issues affecting the organization and the changes that need to be implemented can promote their willingness to accept the change and support their leaders or managers in ensuring that the changes are successful. Employees might also offer better ideas and share their opinions regarding the intended change if effective communication techniques are applied (Hao & Yazdanifard, 2015). Communication promotes compliance among employees thus should be used as a strategic tool in managing change.
Organizational change is essential in promoting progress in corporations or helping companies deal with challenges affecting their performance. Some of the factors that contribute to changes in firms include the introduction of new leaders, new technology, or working processes and economic challenges affecting companies like those occurring during national and global crises. While these changes are important, resistance can occur when people’s opinions about them differ or when their welfare is not considered. Nevertheless, leaders interested in facilitating effective change in organizations can manage change effectively to ensure that it is accepted.
Fonda, J., Morgan, R., & Steinem, G. (2017). The status of women in the U.S media 2017. Women Media Center. https://www.womensmediacenter.com/assets/site/reports/10c550d19ef9f3688f_mlbres2jd.pdf
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Monegain, B. (2015, September 15). Banner health goes for one EHR for all. Healthcare IT News. https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/banner-health-goes-one-ehr-all
Morath, E., & Torry, H. (2020, April 14). The Second round of coronavirus layoffs has begun. few are safe. The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-second-round-of-coronavirus-layoffs-has-begun-no-one-is-safe-11586872387
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Oliver, D. (2020, April 14). About 25% of Marriott hotels shuttered worldwide due to coronavirus. USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/hotels/2020/04/14/coronavirus-marriott-hotels-closed-worldwide/2989610001/
Radzi, N. I., & Othman, R. (2016). Resistance to change: the moderating effects of leader-member exchange and role breadth self-efficacy. Journal of Advanced Management Science, 4(1), 1-5. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/5f8b/4c3cd03421e04f20d3cb98aee745c4d58216.pdf.
Saunders, J. (2020, June 3). Marriott hotel in Atlanta makes permanent layoffs, closes floors. Atlanta Business Chronicle. https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2020/06/03/marriott-atlanta-northeast-lays-off-107.html