You are on page 1of 10

Lana Roelandts MM320 - external 220032777


Lana Roelandts MM320 - external 220032777 MM320 Assignment 1 2011 In the contemporary global society, change is constant and inevitable and occurring at such a rate that, in order for organisations to survive, they must learn to adapt accordingly to the environment in which they operate. This means initiating some form of internal change program to help combat the potential hardships created by the evolving state of affairs in domestic and global markets. However, change is not always easy. This is particularly true with regards to larger, established organisations that have a set organisation structure, culture and processes. Making alterations to the structure, culture and processes, either minor or major, has the potential to create internal resistance from members within the organisation. These members can be both employees and managers alike. In order to lessen the resistance to change as well as optimise the implementation process of the required change program, it is a very positive strategic move to employ the services of an Organisation Development (OD) practitioner or consultant, as they are professionals in their field with expert knowledge on the required measures to successfully implement change programs in organisations. OD consultants and practitioners possess expert knowledge in the field of OD and can therefore better assist CEOs and other advocates of change within an organisation in assisting with the assessment of the current organisational climate, gathering required organisational data regarding organisation members and their willingness to change, and to then assist the organisation in deciphering the collected data and drawing conclusions and educating managers and other organisation members on a variety of methods that can be implemented for organisational change and continual renewal. One very important aspect of organisational change is that there is no one best fit change program. Each change program that is to be implemented must be tailored to suit the individual

Lana Roelandts MM320 - external 220032777 needs of the organisation in question. This is basically because all organisations and its members are different, and require change programs for different purposes. When an organisation is selecting an OD practitioner or consultant, they have two fundamental options; they can either outsource the change program to an external third party OD practitioner, or they may elect an internal OD practitioner located within the organisation (typically from the human resources department). There are advantages and disadvantages to both types. For instance, internal practitioners may be opted for by top management as they are more trusted in the organisation in comparison to an external practitioner. For example, management may feel uncomfortable with the idea that an external third party will have access to financial information and records, and would feel more comfortable with someone from within the organisation conducting this type of work. An internal practitioner may be considered a more suitable option by top management as, an internal practitioner has more familiarity with the organisation, its members, its structure and its culture. This is particularly important to consider when time is a factor of the change program, because employing an external OD practitioner would be more time consuming as they adapted to and familiarised themselves with the workings of the organisation. Internal OD consultants and practitioners also have disadvantages. The most notable, and perhaps most important is that internal practitioners are too closely involved in the organisation and therefore lack the objectivity that may be required when dealing with certain problems and functions, in comparison to that of external practitioners. Internal practitioners and consultants may also lack the required authority for making important decisions within the organisation, and their position of OD consultant within the organisation may not be identified, particularly when dealing with senior members of the organisation and those in higher ranking managerial positions within the organisation.

Lana Roelandts MM320 - external 220032777 External OD practitioners and consultants have their advantages and disadvantages. A major advantage of an external OD practitioner is, because they are an external third party to the organisation, they have the ability to remain objective when assessing current organisational performance standards and other measures of current organisational performance and effectiveness, perhaps better than internal practitioners who may be too closely involved in the organisation and its problems to maintain an objective view. External practitioners are also able to be more assertive in their role as they do not hold a particular permanent position within the organisation and therefore do not have the concern for being caught up in the organisational politics. This also means that the external consultant will not be involved in any internal power struggle to the extent an internal practitioner may, especially with regards to lower ranked units advising and directing higher positioned members in the organisation. The external consultant is therefore less inclined to worry about stepping on other peoples toes, so to speak.

As stated previously, external consultants also have their pitfalls most notably the lack of insider knowledge regarding organisational culture and already established social networks. This can be disadvantageous as the OD consultant will not be familiar with the way in which members interact with one another and perform assigned work tasks, and it takes time to familiarise with these operations which can costly with regards to both time and money. Both employees and managers within the organisation may be untrusting of an external practitioner conducting a diagnosis of current operations in the organisation. This can lead to inefficiency and other symptoms of resistance from employees, such as absenteeism, and perhaps sabotage of the proposed change program. This is another disadvantage of employing the services of an external OD practitioner. However, it is not uncommon for an organisation to employ the services of both an

Lana Roelandts MM320 - external 220032777 internal and an external OD practitioner and have them work together as a team to bring about the desired change program in the organisation. This is because the internal practitioner has the insider knowledge regarding organisational culture, etc and the external practitioner has the ability to see the organisation from a more objective viewpoint, as well as many other attributes, so that when working together they can maximise the effectiveness of the change program through a combination of their strengths. This is known as the external-internal practitioner team.

When an organisation weighs up the pros and cons of the options of internal and external OD practitioners and consultant, the organisation must also determine which style of OD practitioner would be most beneficial for bringing about organisational change. For instance, would they prefer a practitioner who obeys the organisations ever command, or would they prefer one that works independently and formulates change programs and ideas that differ to those of the organisation, and instead trust the judgment of the practitioner? There are five different styles of OD practitioners. They are the stabiliser style, the cheerleader style, the analyser style, the persuader style and the pathfinder style.

The stabiliser style of OD practitioner is characterised by neither optimising member participation or organisation effectiveness. The stabiliser style is often employed as an organisation survival tactic, opted for by top management, though not really addressing organisational problems. Ultimately, the practitioner has this style forced upon them, and must tow the line with top management. The stabiliser style is often identified with large organisations.

Another consultant style is the cheerleader style. It places emphasis on the satisfaction of organisation members and is chiefly concerned with employee motivation and morale. (Brown, 2011, p.111) The consultant in this situation seeks to develop stable, functional working

Lana Roelandts MM320 - external 220032777 relationships with organisation members and avoid unfavourable and confrontational situations. The assumption in this situation is that if workers are engaged in a more harmonious, then they are more likely to be more productive and efficient. However, this is not always the case.

The analyser style contrasts to the cheerleader style of the OD consultant, as it places emphasis on efficiency, and gives little emphasis to member satisfaction. (Brown, 2011, p.111) This style therefore assumes that rational problem-solving and specialised knowledge are the best ways of developing and implementing solutions to organisational change, though this does not seem to be the case. This is because, in order for change to be successful in the long-term, the change program needs to actively involve organisation members, so as to educate them for the reasons to change and the benefits and opportunities created by organisational change. Without employee support, the risk of failure is much higher.

Yet another OD practitioner style is that of the persuader style. This style is characterised by its focus on the effectiveness and morale aspects of the organisation, yet does not actually attempt to optimise either aspects. This style is used when the practitioner has little power or leverage relative to other participants. (Brown, 2011, p.112) This style may be used by internal practitioners who have been selected for the task, yet lack power and position within the organisation to bring about required changes. Perhaps the most effective OD consultant style is that of thee pathfinder style, as it endeavours to maximise effectiveness and employee satisfaction, and operates on the notion that greater organisational outcomes are attainable through teamwork, and in an environment where employees are an active part of the change program and process. The pathfinder practitioner focuses on six processes essential for effective organisation performance: (1) communication, (2) member roles and functions in groups, (3) group problem solving and decision making, (4) group norms and

Lana Roelandts MM320 - external 220032777 growth, (5) leadership and authority, and (6) intergroup cooperation and competition. (Brown, 2011, p.112)

Despite whichever OD practitioner and practitioner style selected, all practitioners should have certain skills focused on the people-oriented nature of OD (Brown, 2011, p.115) These skills include leadership skills, project management skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, interpersonal skills and personal skills. These skills are crucial for the practitioners dealings with members within the organisation and should not be overlooked.

Perhaps what should be highlighted further is the top management in the organisation and the key role they play as change agents in the organisation. Although OD practitioners are crucial to commence the construction of a change program, management are required to implement and oversee the change program, and ensure its constant renewal in keeping up with further changes in the external environment. In order for management to be successful, they must also have an influential impact upon organisation members. It is important that managers have self identification as a change agent, courage and outspokenness, belief in people, openness to lifelong learning, ability to deal with complexity and uncertainty, and their powerful strategic vision. (Caldwell, 2003, p. 286) Management and OD practitioners should work closely together in implementing the change program to ensure that the organisation and its employees receive the full benefits of the change program.

As stated previously, when implementing a change program a certain degree of resistance from within the organisation is to be expected, especially when the structure, culture and/or processes are to be altered. This resistance can take the form of employees and management alike who feel that their positions or jobs within the organisation are in some way threatened by proposed

Lana Roelandts MM320 - external 220032777 changes. For example, the change program may involve the restructuring of the organisational structure, and managers may lose some of their span of control, and for this reason they are objecting to the changes. Another example is the change program may require relocating employees to different decisions or to intensify their workloads, which can lead to resistance.

In order to offset resistance to change, both OD practitioner and management staff must educate and involve employees in the change program, and provide incentives and benefits to help the transition. These incentives may include such things as financial rewards and bonuses, the opportunity for promotion and career advancement within the organisation, appropriate training, especially if the change program involves the upgrading of technological equipment. Job rotation is another good way of offsetting resistance, as it has the ability to boost morale and offset boredom, and involves the employee in more tasks within the organisation. Resistance to change will also be lessened if the change program is broken down into sections and implemented over a long period of time, as the effect and stress caused by change will be less severe, than if the change was implemented all at once.

In conclusion, change is inevitable and constant. Organisations need to adapt to changing external environments and forces. They can be assisted in this endeavour by Organisation Development practitioners. OD practitioners can be both internal (from within the organisation) or external (a third party to the organisation). OD practitioners must work with top management in diagnosing and formulating effective change strategies, while offsetting the resistance to change that will almost inevitable be felt by some members within the organisation. To lessen the resistance and strive to successfully implement the change strategy over the long-term, it is crucial that organisation management especially, educate and assist members in understanding the change process and all that it entails. Educating through seminars and training practices are effective. Rewards, incentives

Lana Roelandts MM320 - external 220032777 and other benefits are also an important mechanism for change implementation, as they encourage positive behaviour from employees and discourage negative behaviours towards change. Without employee participation in the change process and its decision making, success in unlikely.

Lana Roelandts MM320 - external 220032777 References Brown, D., 2011, An Experiential Approach to Organisational Development, Pearson, 8th Ed., New Jersey Caldwell, R., 2003, Change leaders and change managers: different or complementary?, Leadership & Organisation Development Journal, ProQuest Central