Change Management Strategies

Published on 20th September 2010

If it were not for change (alterations in people, structure or technology) a manager’s job would be relatively easy and planning simple. The issue of effective organisational design would also be solved because the environment would be free from uncertainty and need to adapt. Similarly, decision-making would be dramatically streamlined because the outcome of each alternative could be predicted with almost certain accuracy. The manager’s work would be simple if for example, competitors did not introduce new goods and services; customers did not demand new and improved products; governmental regulations were never modified or employees’ needs never changed. However, this is not the case. Change is not only an organisational reality but an integral part of every manager’s job as external and internal forces keep on impinging on the job.

In recent years, the marketplace has affected organisations through severe competition. Companies constantly adapt to changing consumer desires as they develop new products and improve marketing strategies. Governmental laws and regulations are frequent impetus for change. For example, any national health reform legislation enacted undoubtedly brings changes in human resource management policies.

Technology also creates the need for change. Assembly line technology in industries is undergoing dramatic changes as organisations replace human labour with robots. The fluctuations in labour markets force managers to change. For instance, the demand for health care technicians and specialists has made it necessary for companies that need those kinds of employees to change their human resource management activities to attract and retain skilled employees in the areas of greatest need.

Economic changes also affect companies. For instance, recessionary pressure forces companies to become more cost-efficient. Even in robust economy, uncertainties and foreign trade create conditions that may force companies to change.

In addition to external forces referred to above, internal forces also stimulate the need for change. These internal forces originate primarily from the internal operations of the organisation or from the impact of external changes. A redefinition or modification of an organisation’s strategy often introduces a host of changes. In addition, an organisation’s work force is rarely static. Its composition changes in terms of age, education and sex among others. In a stable organisation with an increasing number of older executives for instance, there might be a need to restructure jobs in order to retain younger managers who occupy lower ranks. Employee attitudes such as increased job dissatisfaction may lead to increased absenteeism, more voluntary resignations and even collective job actions. Such incidences often lead to changes in management policies and practices. Read More.

By Dr Isaac Chaneta

Faculty of Commerce

Department of Business Studies, University of Zimbabwe.

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