“Change is nothing new and a simple fact of life. Some people actively thrive on new challenges and constant change, while others prefer the comfort of the status quo and strongly resist any change. It is all down to the personality of the individual and there is little management can do about resistance to change.” (Mullins 2010: 753)
“Change is the only constant” – Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher
Change is the only entity that never changes. It is present continuously throughout life in a dynamic way. It is considered as a necessity to come out of the comfort zone and to grow and develop. Be it an organisation or personal life, change is inevitable. It is necessary to change ourselves and our perspective along with the changing world to have a stable and successful life. In spite of the importance of change, there are a good number of people who resist the change. And the resistance can be due to various reasons. As per the statement of Mullins, the resistance to the change as well as the acceptance to change depends on the individual who is exposed to the change. It totally depends on the perception of an individual. But when it comes to an organisation level, it is the role of the management and the managers to help the employees overcome the resistance. It is the duty of the management to take initiative to resolve the problem of resistance.
Why do changes occur at the organisation level? Or why is a change necessary in a already established organisation?? The answers to these questions are very simple. Change is unchangeable which means the surrounding keeps changing. We have to be up to date with the fast paced world in order to maintain our standards. The changes can be due to various reasons such as challenges in growth especially in the global market, challenges in strategy, technological challenges, etc (Cipd.co.uk, 2015). These are changes that are compelling and a must accept changes. These changes help in the evolution of the company in all aspects. When change has such good benefits, why is there resistance created?
A change is beneficial on the broader perspective when the organisation is considered as a whole. But the resistance rises from the reaction to the change from the employees (Cipd.co.uk, 2015). The resistance to change can be categorised into two:
- Resistance to the process of change
- Resistance to the content of change
It is the responsibility of the management to differentiate between the resistances and then clear it off. The major reasons to resistance can be any of the following: poor communication, fear of the new, self interest, feeling excluded, lack of faith, technological reasons, etc. Employees can resist the change due to two major reasons, one being the unawareness of the change and the second being personal fear. The first type of resistance can be cleared by providing necessary explanations about the outcomes of the change and can be given training on the particular technique. Whereas the second type of resistance is more psychological where the employee has to understand himself about the change and cooperate. “Habits die hard”, says an old proverb. Therefore adapting to new changes also can take time.
There is another perspective for the resistance from the employees. The management or the manager should not overlook the resistance from the employees because it is the employee who knows in depth the working of the organisation. Therefore the employees have a better understanding whether the change is going to be a success or it is risky at the time. In such a situation it is highly necessary for the management to listen and consider the employees reaction to the change.
On the whole, change management is very essential in the entire organisation. Good or bad, it depends on how well the situation is handled. A change can be beneficial or a total flop depending on each and every individual’s effort in implying the change. Therefore, the managers need to know to manage the change.
The change management can be better understood through models designed by management gurus such as the Kotter’s 8 step change model and the Lewin’s change management model.
Kotter’s 8 step model:
Kotter introduced and described a 8 step model for explaining change management in his 1995 book “Leading Change”. The 8 steps include the following:
- Create urgency
- Form a powerful coalition
- Create a vision for change
- Communicate the change
- Remove obstacles
- Create short term wins
- Build on the change and
- Anchor the changes in corporate culture.
This model is easy and step by step which helps in easy transition. But the drawback of this model is that is takes a great deal of time and the steps cannot be skipped (Mindtools.com, 2015).
Lewin’s change management model:
Kurt Lewin in the 1950’s devised the Lewin’s change management model which has the following three steps for the change management.
- Unfreeze: this step involves preparing the organisation to accept change is required by breaking down the present status quo. The key for this is developing a compelling message to show why the existing method does not work anymore.
- Change: people to begin to resolve their uncertainty and look for new methods. People take time to embrace new change.
- Refreeze: when the employees accept the change, the organisation backs to normal. Outward signs of refreeze include the designing of organisation charts and describing the work description to all the employees. The refreezing also involves celebrating the success to motivate the employees.
This model is the easiest way to understand and is followed by most of the organisation till date. According to this model, this is not an overnight process and also time and communication is considered the 2 key factors for success. There is no major drawback in this model and can be followed for all organisations for managing change (Change-management.com, 2015).
With regard to education industry, change is a very crucial factor. Change is necessary in all the fields including technology, education system and the method of training students, etc. New methods are to be introduced for the welfare of the students. New methods need to be devised to teach students and also new technology improvements needs to be considered for the betterment of the students. As an educational director, it is the responsibility of them to train the teachers in an efficient way and therefore benefit the students. The resistance from teachers may be due to lack of skills on the new technology, which can be improved by training them in the necessary techniques and improving their skills.
In the modern information age, change is inevitable. As knowledge is continuously increasing it is necessary to keep up to date with the fast paced world. Thus it is the need for the managers and the management to make sure that the employees understands the importance of change and also it is important to understand and solve the crisis created by resistances created in the work area.
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