The Core Challenges of Managing Change in the Workplace Today

I am writing this article in order to identify how change is managed in business, given today’s economic downturn. In order to do this I am going to compare the experiences of a manager in a large business, which is faced with challenges and change nearly everyday.
This will give me an insight into the real challenges of a manager and how these compare to the examples given in the literature that is written around this topic. I have also chosen this topic, as it is appropriate for the module I study and I have to complete such research in order to further me in this module.Change is ‘an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another. ’ (Worldnetweb – change definition) Although change does cause challenges which are difficult to overcome and can have negative outcomes as well as positive ones, ‘organizational success requires integrating both change and stability’ and ‘some cultures warn that organizations must change or dies’ therefore suggesting that ‘stability breeds complacency. ’ (Paula J. Caproni – Page 284) An expansion on change is change management, which is the part that the managers of companies are in control of.This management of the change is the process that prevents problems and deals with the challenges faced.
Change management is ‘an integral part of all managerial work that copes with the changing patterns of resource input and knowledge available to work organizations and the shifting demands made upon them by the parties with which they deal, and initiates changes that manager perceive to be in their interests or the interests of those who employ them. ’ (Tony Watson – Page 448) A challenge is ‘a demanding or simulating situation. (Worldnetweb – challenge definition) Challenges are a struggle for someone like a manager to deal with but are something that someone in such power becomes used to as they occur so often in a working environment. Sometimes challenges can be seen as beneficial as managers thrive on the completion of them. For example, according to psychologist Mihay Csikszentmihalyi ‘We are more likely to feel engaged in a task if it requires skill that stretch out abilities yet are still within our reach. (Paula J. Caproni – Page 395) I believe the challenges of change within a business to be and an important topic as the handling of such challenges is what makes a good or bad manager.

A manager who can efficiently sort out the challenges faced by a business and can draw positives from the results of the change that has occurred is a manager who is useful for the business and who can drive them to success.Studying in depth into some of the changes that occur within a business an the challenges that arise and how they are dealt with gives an insight into how badly or poorly managers deal with situations and can be used as a case study for managers to take note and incorporate the good techniques and prevent the bad ones. Some changes that come about in a business can be difficult to just enforce, therefore creating challenges for the manager in charge.The key challenges that arose from my research were, the laying off of long serving members of staff, the adjustment of staff to new technology, the litigation involved with splitting with a joint venture and also the struggle of the economic downturn on a market which has particularly struggled, the housing market. For the first scenario the manager took the decision to lay off the workers, although they were long standing, as this was what was best for the business in the current downturn of the economic climate.The positives of the actions of the manager are that they looked at the overall positive not the individual negative therefore benefiting the company. The process of reducing the workforce in a business is one that takes strong leadership and a great deal of thought.
‘The leaders of structural changes must implement a process that ensures equity and due consideration to employees. ’ (Garg, Rajiv Kumar, Singh, T P – Dec 2002) This example being similar to that of the manager I interviewed whereby the selection of who should be told to leave and who shouldn’t rests solely on their shoulders and it’s a decision that takes a strong character.Weakness in the leader can result in the wrong decision being made, for example selecting close friendship employees to stay on rather than a more capable worker. Secondly the introduction of new IT technology brought about challenges as some of the older more longer standing members of staff were used to the training for the old software. This was dealt with well by instead of employing more staff and getting rid of the less capable staff, the manage decided to mix up the work teams so that experience was mixed with inexperience, allowing on the job training to occur from employee to employee.The journal of managing change (Harding P, 2004) states that ‘ for change to be effective it needs to be implemented at all levels; embedded in the culture of the organization. To keep colleagues with you on this they need to be motivated and you need to understand what motivates them.
’ This is linked to the challenge this manager experienced as they had to implement a new IT system across the whole of the company whether people wanted it or not and in order to make sure they worked with it and kept their work rates up they had to make sure they were motivated to understand the technology.As mentioned before this was done by integration of teams which will have helped to motivate staff as on the job training is usually successful in these situations. Another challenge for the manager was the split with a joint venture in which the joint venture decided to take legal action against the process of the split. This can cause major problems within the business if the process wasn’t taken out correctly.The manager has learnt from this experience and the challenges it presented, that before legal binding with someone they should be researched thoroughly deciding whether they are right for the venture required and has similar goals to themselves. ‘In joint ventures the interfirm relationship between the parents plays an important role. Van der Meer-Kooistra and Vosselman (2000) argue that in addition to transaction characteristics, it is the characteristics of the co-operating parties which shape control.
In a joint venture there are four important relational characteristics: parental differences, information asymmetry, trust, and bargaining power. ’ (Pieter E. Kamminga – Jan 2007) These four points relate to the challenge of the manager as they struggled when splitting with a joint venture. This was down to a lack of trust, differences in views and bad information on the type of business the joint venture were. It is mistakes like this that will train the manager for the future and therefore improve the businesses potential at getting a more suitable joint venture.Challenges regularly occur when working to a deadline on a major project and this was apparent when the manager had to deal with the process of the purchase of a large competitor and the deadline work involved so that the transaction went through smoothly. In this instance a team had to be made and this team had to effective and efficient in order to complete before the deadline but make sure they were accurate and precise with the work they did.
This team had to be managed and put together through a selection process, in order to make sure the task was carried out correctly.This is a prime example of what was once said by Dwight D Eisenhower, ‘Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. ’ (Thinkexist. com – quotes) This quote relates to this real life example as the change and leadership that occurred was something that both the manager and the employees wanted to do, as the manager wanted the task complete in order to better the business and the workers were incentivized by the bonus that was available for successful completion on time. This motion of both parties wanting to make something happen can improve efficiency and quality dramatically.Finally the challenge which has been present throughout all the other challenges discussed and has also been one of the main factors affecting decisions made is the challenge of dealing with the current downfall in the economic climate, which has hit the housing market harder than most. This has been a challenge for the manager as they have had to adjust targets accordingly as customers have less incentives to purchase houses in the current climate, they have also had to keep staff happy as the downturn has caused loss of jobs and therefore a fall in morale.
Financial and economic collapses in 2007-2008 and 1929-1930 followed unprecedented residential mortgage credit expansions. Industry suffered from declining expenditures on housing and durable goods, and income fell when production and employment declined. ’ (Vernon L. Smith and Steven Gjerstad – Jan 2010) This is the result of the economic crisis that occurred whereby housing was one of the hardest hit industries. This put extreme strain on the workforce and the managers themselves, as they had to incorporate skills that weren’t necessary before hand.All of the changes above that the manager had to go about sorting and controlling came about because of a business trying to better itself and improve its current ways. The changes were therefore highly affected throughout by the economic crisis and the effects it had on businesses.
Budgets had to be reassessed, jobs had to be taken into consideration and downsizing in some departments had to be done. All of these in order to keep costs low, profits high and make sure the business survived. Most of these decisions have to be made by the manager as they have control of the different teams, including the finance and the HR.From the challenges that the manager has gone through I have been able to come to the conclusion about what the manager has done well and what could be improved in certain situations. Concluding the first situation, what the manager did well was that he decided who was made redundant based upon their ability to the job rather than whom they liked or were close to. This therefore meant the sacking of people he was friendly with but in order to make the decision and change beneficial this had to be done.This therefore suggests that the manager has the businesses long-term success in mind and shows a strong character.
The second challenge was also dealt with well as the manager incorporated change with as little detrimental effect as possible. Instead of spending more money on training or having to get rid of the staff that couldn’t use the technology, the teams of people was mixed and training took part this way for no cost. In this certain circumstance this was highly beneficial as the staff that were unable to use the technology were the long-standing taff that had greater knowledge and experience of the industry and other pieces of older technology. With the next challenge the manager openly admitted that they had made a mistake when entering into joint venture with a company that weren’t suitable to be joined with them. This problem came about due to lack of research into the business and this meant, as described by the manager ‘acrimonious split. ’ In the future the manager should set a team to research the business thoroughly throughout its past and also how it markets itself.Also a face-to-face meeting would allow the manager to get a realistic opinion on what their morals and ethics are around business and customers.
The fourth challenge that was discussed by the manager was the merging with a large competitor and the process of leading up to it, assessing if the takeover was going to be beneficial or detrimental. This was done well on the face of things as it was said that the team was selected and offered a bonus based on performance, both of which are high motivators.However the fact that some people were picked and some people weren’t picked could have a damaging effect on the people who weren’t as they feel below fellow workers, on the other hand it could motivate them more as they may be determined to prove their ability to the manager. Finally the final challenge which overall as the main challenge as it was one that ran throughout the others, this was the economic crisis/downturn that occurred worldwide but more importantly nationally. The manager’s positives and negatives are hard to measure in this case, as currently it is an ongoing problem.The best way to asses how well they have done is looking at the over all results of the other challenges as most of these have been done in the current economic climate, so have had to shape their changes round that. The high experience and educational background allowed the manager to be able to quickly assess the economic situation and come up with solutions to the ongoing problems it creates.
ReferencesChange definition – http://wordnetweb. princeton. edu/perl/webwn? s=change Caproni, Paula J (2005) – Management skills for everyday life 2nd edition: Why change is important (Page 284)Harding, P. – Managing change 2004 (http://www. oursouthwest.
com/SusBus/mggchange. pdf) James M. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner – Encouraging the heart (http://media. iley. com/product_data/excerpt/40/07879418/0787941840-1. pdf)C.
Dean Pielstick – The Transforming Leader: A Meta-Ethnographic Analysis (http://www. ila-net. org/Publications/Proceedings/1998/Pielstick. pdf)

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