External forces for change are quite a number. To start with, there is the force of political change. It is possible that the political atmosphere in which the organization is operating has taken a different turn after maybe an election or political upheaval. If a volatile political environment comes up, it will force the organization to shift its operations in major ways so as to ensure that the welfare of the members of the organization is not put in jeopardy.
Usually, the management finds the best way to operate in the prevailing political circumstances without causing problems for the political establishment, a situation that can lead to unnecessary and unproductive friction. Some intolerant regimes can also rise to power and in the same manner it is the duty of the organization to ensure that it has the best operational policy that can enable it run its affairs without getting into conflicts with such a regime.
Leaving that a side, the issue of globalization is a major external factor that has triggered change in so many firms in the current operational climate for both profit and non-profit making organizations. The rate at which the world is being reduced to a small village is very high and any organization that does not adopt new systems that can make it competitive in the current highly globalized world will find itself in the woods. Some have described globalization as internationalization but whichever way it is defined it refers to the taking up of a world format in operations.
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Globalization accounts for many of the changes that have taken place in organizations around the world more than any other factor. Companies in China are now in open competition with American and British companies as well as companies from other parts of the world. In such an atmosphere, the only way to ensure that the organization survives is by adopting the best operational methods (Kanter, 1992). Far from the above, changes in social values can also trigger changes within an organization or company.
If the environment in which the organization operates becomes a verse to a particular product or service which is the primary product or service of the company or organization, then a problem arises. If for example most people living close to a beer producing factory decide to stop taking beer for religious reasons, it means that the beer being produced by the factory will miss a market. In such a case, the factory will be required to take up new lines of production so as to ensure that it does not die. A reduction in the market can also lead to such changes as retrenchment or downsizing of the workforce.
In addition to the above, it is probable that economic forces outside the organization can make it change its operational character. Hard economic circumstances such as a recession or a depression will obviously affect the way the organization carries out its functions. It is possible that hard economic conditions will make the organization experience problems in the area of paying its workers and investing in new research. Good economic ,conditions on the other hand will make the firm or organization become more bold and carry out developmental changes so as to increase the profit margin of the firm.
Some organizations find it so hard to operate during hard times till they close shop. Apart from the bove, the desire to gain a competitive edge against other companies or organizations that are producing similar goods or offering the same services can act as a strong force for change in an organization. If a certain company is producing a commodity that another company is producing, the company will be under pressure to take up new ways of producing the same good so that its quality is superior compared to what is being produced by the comptetiro.
In such a case, the way in which the company has always operated will have to shift so as to allow for the change that is meant give the product the superior quality. Thus competition or the desire to have the competitive edge by companies or organizations can be a forceful agent for change in organizations. For example companies that deal with the production of soft drinks are always changing their means of production so as to outdo their competitors in this line of production. This has kept them changing their means of operation. The last force for change in organizations is technological development.
The pace at which the world of technology is moving forward is so high and with it, it is taking so many areas of life. It is so influential that if a company or an organization is to remain relevant and competitive in the world of business, it has to embrace technology. It therefore becomes automatic that if new technological services appear in the market, an organization is going to change its way of operation so as take up the new technological services with an aim of remaining not only relevant but also competent. Therefore technological progress is a powerful agent for change in an organization.
Internal forces for change Internal forces for change in an organization on the other hand are leadership and management style that comes in under values. The leadership which in most cases is in form of chief executive officers can be dynamic such that after a particular way of doing things fails to work, he comes up with the proposal that a new method is designed. This way, change is ushered into the organization. Also, the management style as determined by the values of the organization may be flexible enough to allow for the introduction of new ways of doing things.
If this is the prevailing situation in any company, the chances of change taking place are always high. Besides the above, the nature of the work force is another force that can easily trigger change in an organization. If the workforce of an organization is young and innovative, it is possible that at some point it is going to come up new and daring ways of doing things. These new ways of doing things are what we classify as change. On the other hand an old and conservative workforce will always cling to the old time tested ways of dealing with issues at the workplace and the end result is a situation whereby no change is taking place.
The nature of the workforce is therefore a force for change in organizations. Another important factor which acts a force for change is the organizational culture. It is worthy noting that some organizations have fixed ways of doing things and no amount of pressure can make them take up new ways of handling these things. In this case, the organization finds it very hard to welcome change. Some organizations have a flexible culture that allows for the adusjustment of the way things are done so as to ensure that only the best methods are employed in doing things.
Such cultures in organizations assist in ensuring that change is able to take pace within the organization. Thus flexible cultures are a force for change within organizations. Tools for managing change In handling change within an organization, a number of tools are needed. It is not an easy job to handle change in organizations and even the most highly trained managers and business leaders have encountered problems in dealing with change at the work place. These tools that are needed in handling change include a clear change strategy, a power base for the people implementing the change, and appropriate managerial behavior.
A clear change strategy means that the best methods are prepared so as to be applied when the elements of the change are being implemented in the organization. Different reactions will emerge from different members of the organization as far as change is concerned and handling them in the right manner will make the change agenda be successful. Force or coercion will be required for some people, rational persuasion will be appropriate for others while shared powers may work perfectly with others.
Under the issue of being in possession of the right power base in the implementation of the change agenda, it simply means that the people handling the change work hard to build a broad coalition that can act as a reference point of support, a reservoir of experience, a source of collective legitimacy and a source of group confidence. The element of recognizing the best agents of change among the employees and rebuking the detractors will also work in coming up with a successful change agenda for an organization.
Far from the above, appropriate leadership behavior is needed by people in authority such as managers who are directly in charge of handling the change. These attributes of adequate behavior include the ability to empower other employees in the organization, the ability to participate in a group process without any problem, the willingness to come up with participative decisions, the ability to issue commands when necessary and go ahead to make unilateral decisions, and the ability to apply rational and thoughtful persuasion in convincing the others to embrace the ideas you are giving them.
Carryimg out projects meant to show the others what to expect and call for testimonies from experts is also crucial in the composition of managerial behavior (Kanter, 1992).. Other tools that are always vital in implementing any change agenda include communication, the ability to remain focused, accepting the inevitability of change, and remaining optimistic. Communication is important since it is only through clear communication that any aspect of the change program can be understood by the members of the organization and carried out as required.
In fact, the success of any piece of work in an organization rises and falls with communication. Any time the communication is good, the outcome is always good and any time communication fails, the results are as bad as possible. So it is necessary that communication be as good as possible. Remaining focused will keep the message unchanged and the vital parts will be intact till the time of implementation. Accepting the inevitability of change will foster confidence in the success of the process and optimism will make the people implementing the change program carry it out to its conclusive end.
If the expectation for anything being done is that it is going to fail, it is possible that the people doing it will lose heart and stop doing it along the way. But the expectation of success will make them work hard and ensure that it is finished with the hope of seeing it functioning. Another tool that is equally vital in dealing with change is the possession of a clear understanding of the change management principles. They include the creation of support so as to ensure that you are not alone. This is similar to the element of creating a power base.
There is also planning which is done through drawing plans and doing all the required organization, seeking sponsorship which entails the inclusion of the people who make decisons, the element of measurement whose function is to measure the effectiveness by looking at the time taken ant the resources consumed against the produced results and engagement of all the people involved in the process. These principles will come in handy in ensuring that the change process is accorded the required attention and handling so that it can succeed.
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