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Organizational Change

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Organizational Change
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Abstract
The report looks at the process of change in organizations. It examines the stakeholders and how a change which in this case is downsizing would affect them. The paper also looks at how downsizing affects people with interests in a company, that is to say the stake holders who are adversely affected. The reasons why change in most cases results in these effects is examined. Then the report also looks at the methodology that could be used in the implementing changes in the organization in a managerial level so as to minimize the re-occurrence of the effects that are not good to the business and those with vested interests.
Introduction
There are many ways in which a business can be affected by change. Some examples of changes that are made in the organization include downsizing; changes made in the structure of the organization, and at times even change in processes carried out in the organization. All these changes are usually necessary to enable the organization or business adapt to some of the changes in its operating environment (Kreitner, 2008).
All these can be summarized using one word, ‘restructuring’. It could also be referred to as re-engineering. In order to be successful in today’s competitive world, an organization has to embrace this important aspect in its day to day operations. This change can be for the whole company, or can only involve certain parts of company. Restructuring involves changes in the strategy of the company, the procedures it uses and even the structures or facilities used in achieving particular goals or objectives.
Change in the ownership of a company can come about in different ways. Some of this ways include the divesture and acquisition to another company, or the later which implies that another company coming to be part of the organization. The leadership of the company should be interfered with in some ways. Mostly it is through a reduction in the number of positions between the lower cadre workers and the managers (Kuriger, 2004). All or some aspects of the organization’s culture have to be streamlined in accordance with the new way of doing things in the organization.
For the purpose of success, change process has to touch on all the pillars of the business of a company, or at least those that remain untouched should be in-line with the company’s new ways of undertaking its operations (Lewis, 2011). Some of the basic areas of the business that could be affected by the change process includes, the finances of the company, the assets that it posses, whatever services or products it produces, the way in which it carries out the selling and buying of goods and services, area of business that is considered to be its core, and finally the number and type of employees it has. At one time I was the strategy manager and adviser for a medium sized enterprise in Virginia. The business was all about making cardboard boxes used in storage and transportation services. There was a plant whereby the different/varieties boxes were made before storing them for distribution to different companies and even to domestic users. The company employed a substantial number of people in the small town from which it operated. Majority of these however were from the production and sales department.
Now we as the management, it came to our realization that our company was running out of the competitive edge in market to the competitors because of its large number of employees. Thus as the management, we came up with the strategy aimed at reducing the number of staff members. We examined all the other options including early retirement and leaving on a voluntary basis but still the labor costs were too high. So we settled on this. The laying off of workers required quite a number of things which was to be done with many considerations in mind (Dawson, 2003). Some other measures were also necessary in order to ensure that it is successful and effectiveness for the purpose intended.
To begin with, we had to do a lot of sensitization so to ensure that members of the society around our company did not perceive our intentions negatively. This also had to be done to those employees who were to remain to ensure that their level of productivity did not drop and affect the performance of the company as a result of our actions.
The human resource department was tasked with the responsibility of determining the right wages for every one of those who were to leave the company. They were also asked to determine which positions that was not essential to the organization for consideration in this cost reduction exercise. Even as we carried out all these procedures, we ensured that the employees are made aware of the criteria and the process that we used in carrying the exercise. In this way we were able to minimize accusations from employees of favoritism (Huber, 1995).
As we went about with this cost reduction measures in the company, I noticed a number of things on those that I considered as the stakeholders in the company. The employees who remained in the company for instance, appeared to have some amounts of uncertainty on whether the company was going to close down for good. This impacted negatively on the company, since each month the number of employees who left their positions voluntarily went up so much in comparison to the period before the downsizing. This was not very good for company since the cost of employing new people to replace them impacted negatively on the strategy of reducing costs which had led to downsizing in the first place (Lewis, 2011).
There was also another issue, the top management that was involved in this whole decision, had this feeling of guilt especially when asked now and again why we had laid off some, even though it was the only left option for us to use in changing the company. There was also a substantial amount of money that was used in paying off those who had been retrenched; it took the company some time to get back to their profitability level once again after the exercise had been carried out.
The morale in the company was also low after the downsizing had been done as those considered having the best performers left the company with the perception that the company could be experiencing financial problems. The cost reduction exercise brought about by the laying of some of the workers interfered with some of the clients who received fewer visits from sales people as compared to before; this meant that some of them could not get the supplies they needed in good time because of this (Mills, 2003).
From the experiences that I had while at this cardboard box manufacturing company, I have come to appreciate how tough it is bringing change to a company and keeping the negative effects to the minimum. Neither is choosing the change to be implemented easier. All these are made more difficult, by the scale in which they are to be undertaken in the organization. Organizational Changes that are done on a larger scale for example for the entire organization; for example the retrenchment that was done in this company is much more difficult to control and minimize. There are chances of coming out with some undesirable effects (Mills, 2003).
There are a number of reasons why it may not be straight forward to bring about a change in an organization such as downsizing, and yet not encounter an array of problems. Among the reasons is that initiating a change in a business or an organization is akin to making an individual change his or her lifestyle. It is usually not that easy. There other reason is that people are bound to try and disassociate with what they are not used to, which in this case refers to change.
Another aspect is that change causes an amount of unsurity in the way the company may behave in the future of which most people are not comfortable with. There is usually some level of doubt by many people until they are able to see for themselves the end result of whatever action was done (Kreitner, 2008). However it is important to continue with the implementation of the planned change, for example in this case downsizing until the good side of it becomes visible.
To achieve all this, it is very important that a number of things are not only taken note of, but also implemented. These are a particular way of doing it or process implementation, and the other is a group of people that is to be tasked with the duty of bringing about this change, in the case of the card board company downsizing. This group of individuals that is to be mandated with this responsibility does not have to be dwelling on the subject all their time.
However, the team has to be empowered in bringing about the change that it has been tasked to do. The individuals in the team have to be representative of the areas in which this change is to impact greatly in the company. The amount of work that the individuals in the team need to put in the change initiative has to correspond with the task at hand. For example a very huge change in the company could require the equivalent of a month’s work dedicated to this issue. At times it may be beneficial to include an external consultant; in this way some of the adverse effects especially in new areas of engagement such as downsizing could be greatly reduced (Kreitner, 2008).
Apart from the formation of a team, it is also important that a systematic approach is used. This systematic way of carrying out change in the organization, has got to be in line with the company’s vision. In the case of the cardboard box manufacturing company that I worked for, the vision was to be the leader in the manufacture of card board boxes in Virginia. This vision was being hampered by a bloated staff that was increasing costs and thus reducing competitiveness of the business. Then it is important for a company to know the type of people that they target in the market of their goods or services as it goes on implementing change (Lewis, 2011). What is the best methodology of implementing change in an organization, so as to keep problems associated with this change to the minimum? This entails first of all establishing whether it is necessary for the change to be carried out for the benefit of the organization. In our case the need for downsizing was really crucial for the company to cut down costs. Then there would be the determination of how much of the change is to be done in order to achieve the desired results (Lewis, 2011). For the downsizing case at the card board making company, an estimated number type of employees as well as the type of employees who would require retrenchment would be necessary. The next stage would be envisioning what the change would result in, and how soon it could be undertaken.
The fourth step in the carrying out of change using this methodology pointing out all that has to be done in order for the change that is planned to be considered successful. It is important that conflicts are avoided in this stage as among the processes that are identified critical for this function (Harigopal, 2006). It is also essential to involve some key people in the change process by telling them what they should do in the implementation of the change process.
The leadership in the organization needs to find out these processes and emphasis their importance to the team that is charged with implementing the project (Harigopal, 2006). It is important that the structure of the organization is made to enhance the ability of the changes that are being implemented to achieve their goals.
Anything that appears to be a hindrance related to the organizational structure need to be removed (Harigopal, 2006). In the cardboard box factory, amongst the mistakes that we made were in the area of creating an organizational structure that would enable a reduction in costs which had been the main aim. This however did not happen, since the downsizing concentrated so much on the lower cadre workers, what seemed to go unseen was that some of the senior executives were not all that necessary, yet they were also contributing to the high labor costs.
There is also the need for an organization to establish what it considers to be its own measures of performance as it seeks some changes within itself. An organization however doesn’t have to make this be in terms of its finances as many others do, this only indicates the previous achievement (Harigopal, 2006). What has to be done is the development of important indicators within the organization that can show the performance of the change that it has undertaken to implement. It is important that some tools are used in the assessment of the change that is being implemented. For example, tools that relate to enterprise resource planning especially the software are important when implementing change, the reason being that they initiate a sense of discipline in the implementation process of change.
To wind up the methodology on effective and efficient implementation of organizational change, it is crucial to mention that training of people on how to effect the change and also how it will affect them is important. Finally, it is appropriate that the individuals who take part actively in effecting the change are assured of business rewards. This can be either in money form or in kind (Harigopal, 2006).

Conclusion
In an organization, there is usually the established way of doing things. Changing this and bringing about a difference in the business, and be able to achieve positive results, means carrying out this change in a structured way, that minimizes negative effects to the stakeholders of the organization. This is the duty of the business leaders that does not affect the organization and its stakeholders adversely.

References
Dawson, P. (2003). Understanding organizational change: the contemporary experience of people at work. London: SAGE.
George P. Huber, W. H. (1995). Organizational change and redesign: ideas and insights for improving performance, Issue 1995. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Harigopal, K. (2006). Management of organizational change: leveraging transformation. London: SAGE.
Kreitner, A. K. (2008). Organizational Behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Kuriger, C. C. (2004). Organizational Change: Case Studies in the Real World. New York: Universal-Publishers.
Lewis, L. K. (2011). Organizational Change: Creating Change Through Strategic Communication. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Mills, J. H. (2003). Making sense of organizational change. London: Routledge.

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