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Challenges in Change Management Essay

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Challenges in Change Management

            Organisations often need to adapt to the continuously changing business environment so that they can maintain a competitive edge and meet the needs of consumers. In order to remain competitive, organisations have to constantly evolve and make necessary changes to it process. The main project that will be focused on in the paper is the integration of new technology into a firm while assessing the change management challenges that accompany implementing this change. Integration of new technology can offer advantages to a company and at the same time present numerous challenges that require proper management to realise positive outcomes. Tidd and Bessant (2020) state that challenges usually arise during this process when companies try to introduce new technology without appropriate management. Therefore, this paper will help to describe the challenges of managing integration of new technology as well as the effect it may have on the organisation’s stakeholders.

            Implementing initiatives of organisational change normally present challenges especial for long-term care. Implementation of a quality improvement program known as INTERACT (Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers) was meant to enhance acute changes management and limit unnecessary Emergency Room (ER) visits as well as nursing home residents’ hospitalisations in UK; this project will illustrate the challenges of change in the healthcare business.    

            Technology is considered to be one of the main drivers of competition because it plays a major role in structural change and formulating new strategies and opportunities. Similarly, new technology offers several advantages like sustainable competitive advantage, labour costs, and lower production (Tidd and Bessant, 2020). As a result, it increases value to services and products and overall enhances business processes (Tidd and Bessant, 2020). Asnawi et al. (2014) argue that the advantages that arise from new technology cannot be experienced by companies if they exhibit low utilisation by intended users.

Tidd and Bessant (2020) suggest that when new technologies are being introduced, the change has to be accepted among the employees and this is usually influenced by the manner in which they perceive the effect of new applications on their job performance. At the same time, Vakola and Petrou (2018) made the assumption that challenges in implementation of such projects depends on its acceptance and the existing technology use within the company. The main focus of this paper is to highlight the challenges that influence acceptance of the new technology so that the manner in which end-users influence the introduction of technology can be understood.  

            There are several aspects that need to be considered when introducing new technology in a company. It is essential to note that transforming employee mannerisms is a crucial objective and at the same time employees cannot be forced with change overnight. Therefore, the workforce has to be provided with a context in which the change will occur so that they can realise why it is needed (Hayes, 2018). The staff may find it hard to accept utilisation of new technology and this may make them harder to manage. According to Hornstein (2015), when change is introduced into company, there are chances of disruptions in the behaviours or patterns that may lead to loss of continuity, familiar relationships, and replace familiar social structures (Imran et al., 2016).

            Integrating new technology may be intimidating for the workforce especially because they have normalised the way they already do things. Adopting new technology will mean that job responsibilities will change, work load will increase, and personnel and training will need to be increased. Hence, technology changes can influence the organisation’s politics (Appelbaum et al., 2012). Staff that have specialised abilities and skills can feel threatened by change because it could undermine the competence of their jobs. Integrating new technology potentially affects behaviour patterns and relationships within the workforce.

            Resistance of the quality improvement project originated from several directions as well as a collection of stakeholders. For instance, some change agents reported that they had to ‘push’ the workforce to utilise the new tools. At the same time, some staff expressed concern over liability issues while some were not confident in the ability of their colleagues to effectively utilise the new technology to conduct accurate evaluations. Furthermore, some consumers failed to support implementation of the new technology because they believed it would limit the services that they were already receiving.

            Technology change alters employees’ behaviour which triggers their resistance to change because it is something that they are not familiar with. Such human discomfort is majorly based on their fear of the unknown or loss. Langley et al. (2013) found that the employees’ fear of uncertainty surpasses the actual change because these fears block them from realising the advantages of change for the organisations and for them. In order to aid in managing change effectively as well as limit resistance to change, companies need to possess a mechanism to control and introduce the change so that morale issues can be avoided.

            Jacobs et al. (2013) equated resistance to change to barriers that arise from organisational politics, challenges to institutional practices, inappropriate power use, and issues with institutional practices, inappropriate timing, lack of understanding, incorrect information, inadequate resources, and employee suspicions. Most times, resistance to change leads to negative forces which can present itself in different forms. Such inflexibility affects individual behaviour which means change intention invoke natural resistance in individuals.

Figure 1: Challenges to Integrating New Technology

            Bojesson and Fundin (2020) found that many people often work on one project which means that none of them understand who they should communicate with to get sufficient information about the project. It is important to note that prior to a project, there should be training and proper communication so that the workforce can familiarise themselves with the newly introduced technology; failure to adhere to these aspects can lead to challenges in implementing the change. Furthermore, Vakola and Petrou (2018) add that absence of training, supervision and unclear definitions of roles required to accomplish the project may result in ineffective communication which eventually affects the staff performance.

            Theoretical perspectives on organisational change as well as on innovation recommend that the degree of management support for the implementation of new technology can shape the implementation practices and policies of an organisation and the imminent implementation climate. Hayes (2018) stated that if top management supports the change effort, the requires commitment and resources to ensure the change will be made available. Nonetheless, the top management has major control on the perceptions of employees, hence, if they express any negative assumptions regarding the change it can lead to negative outcomes.

            The consequences of introducing new technologies are termed as risks. When the risk is individualised, an employee accepts the responsibility of experiencing the negative outcomes that might occur. Appelbaum et al. (2012) insist that organisations that dismiss probabilities of resistance can fail to offer strong justifications for change which can assist the workforce to accept the change being implemented and risk problems whenever future changes need to be implemented. Implementation of the quality improvement project (INTERACT) had its risks assessed and the impact that was determined was positive. Despite the fact that most technology implementation projects are met with immense resistance, this resistance can lead to formation of common interest among staff which can help build a workforce that is more cohesive (Jacobs et al., 2013).

            Bateh et al. (2013) found that there are instances in which resistance is perceived as a positive force especially when change is taking place. Since resistance is a type of conflict, it can enhance and strengthen the decision making quality and lead to implementation of the decisions. When INTERACT was being implemented, there was immense resistance from the employees and this triggered top management to rethink the changes that it was making by including rigorous training for the staff; this was not considered before. Therefore, there is a high probability of perceiving resistance to change positively rather than negatively because employees may assist management in decision making so that implementation of change can be more effective. Authentically, a positive effect can arise from a presumably negative behaviour.

            Bojesson and Fundin (2020) indicated that the current business environment is globalised and internationalised which means that the change management cross-cultural factors should not be ignored. Competitors can influence change through introduction of new aspects that can prove to be a threat to the business operations of a company. For instance, as indicated in the case study, the healthcare operations need to be improved and more facilities are adopting use of technologies in order to gain a competitive edge. Hence, use of INTERACT can be detrimental to the services the healthcare facility offers customers/patients which will give it a competitive advantage. Tidd and Bessant (2020), however, insist that implementation of change should not solely rely on the business competitors but rather finding a way of offering customers a unique factor that justifies the need for change in the facility. Consideration of such an aspect can lead to the successful implementation of change.

            In order to implement technological change successfully, there are a number of areas which should be addressed effectively. Internal conflict challenges have to be managed. Therefore, when considering integration of new technology, communication and employee training have to be planned and considered through a detailed implementation plan, open communication between management and workforce, and a rigorous training plan (Asnawi et al., 2014).

            According to Appelbaum et al. (2012), the most common challenges in change management include staff turnover, employee resistance, and communication breakdown. A leader has to have strategies for handling such obstacles by using the situation to address employee concerns from a personal level and facilitate proper communication. Hornstein (2015) stated that in order for change to be successful, the attitudes, behaviours, and values of the employees need to shift. When implementing use of INTERACT in the company, it was an emotional process for the workforce because they experienced immense uncertainty which reduced their productivity and somehow paralysed the healthcare facility. However, it is important to note that resistance is a natural human reaction that occurs depending on the personality of an individual, competing commitments, forces derived from the workforce, the environmental context of an organisation, and the nature of change.

            It is important to note that value management is also crucial to apply at a strategic level of change implementation in order to understand the strategic decisions as well as the business benefits of the change. The INTERACT project was in line with the strategy of the organisation to improve customer service and the management confirmed that the strategies could be achieved. Satisfying the stakeholder’s needs was a challenge as well as the proper allocation of resources so that value of the new technology could be understood; this increased formulation of obstacles to change. Bojesson and Fundin (2020) suggest that value management needs to be used to provoke and destabilise ambiguity so that innovation and creativity can be triggered among employees and within an organisation.

            Organisations normally instigate projects so that they can accomplish change and obtain perceived value (address an issue, improve performance, or benefit from an opportunity). Data shows that there is a compelling correlation between the effectiveness of change management and success of a project in terms of staying on budget and on schedule, as well as meeting objectives (Hornstein, 2015). For instance, the INTERACT project introduced a solution to customer service and it had an impact on over 100 employees, therefore, its success (success is equated to the accomplishment of expected value) is linked to the employees who accept the change and adopt the new solution.

            In conclusion, technology is considered to be one of the main drivers of competition because it plays a major role in structural change and formulating new strategies and opportunities. Similarly, new technology offers several advantages like sustainable competitive advantage, labour costs, and lower production (Tidd and Bessant, 2020). As a result, it increases value to services and products and overall enhances business processes (Tidd and Bessant, 2020). Asnawi et al. (2014) argue that the advantages that arise from new technology cannot be experienced by companies if they exhibit low utilisation by intended users. Therefore, assessing the challenges to change management can help companies restructure their strategies effectively so that probability of successful implementation of a project can be realised.

References

Appelbaum, S. H., Habashy, S., Malo, J. L., & Shafiq, H. (2012). Emerald Article: Back to the future: revisiting Kotter’s 1996 change model. Journal of Management Development31(8), 764-782.

Asnawi, N.H., Yunus, N.H. and Abd Razak, N., 2014. Assessing emotional intelligence factors and commitment towards organisational change. International Journal of Social Science and Humanity4(1), p.5.

Bateh, J., Castaneda, M.E. and Farah, J.E., 2013. Employee resistance to organisational change. International Journal of Management & Information Systems (IJMIS)17(2), pp.113-116.

Bojesson, C. and Fundin, A., 2020. Exploring microfoundations of dynamic capabilities–challenges, barriers and enablers of organisational change. Journal of Organisational Change Management, 34(1) 0953-4814.

Hayes, J., 2018. The theory and practice of change management. London, United Kingdom: Palgrave.

Hornstein, H.A., 2015. The integration of project management and organisational change management is now a necessity. International Journal of Project Management33(2), pp.291-298.

Imran, M.K., Rehman, C.A., Aslam, U. and Bilal, A.R., 2016. What’s organisation knowledge management strategy for successful change implementation? Journal of Organisational Change Management, 9(7), 1097-1117.

Jacobs, G., Van Witteloostuijn, A. and Christe‐Zeyse, J., 2013. A theoretical framework of organisational change. Journal of organisational change management, 26(5), 772-792.

Langley, A.N.N., Smallman, C., Tsoukas, H. and Van de Ven, A.H., 2013. Process studies of change in organisation and management: Unveiling temporality, activity, and flow. Academy of management journal56(1), pp.1-13.

Tidd, J. and Bessant, J.R., 2020. Managing innovation: integrating technological, market and organisational change. John Wiley & Sons.

Vakola, M. and Petrou, P., 2018. An overview of the impact of organisational change on individuals and organisations. Organisational change: Psychological effects and strategies for coping. Oxfordshire, England, UK: Routledge.

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