Change Management deals with the implementation of change within an organisation in a systematic and planned manner. The main objective of Change Management is to: reduce the probability of change implementation failure; reduce resistance to change; and obtain maximum benefit from the implementation.
To understand Change Management it is essential to understand the concept of change. ?We must always change, renew, and rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden,? said Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. And change applies not only to individuals but to organisations as well. Change is inevitable and is imperative for the success of a firm. An organisation needs to change constantly, adapting to changing external circumstances, otherwise they risk becoming obsolete.
However, the introduction of changes is not a laughing matter. It is human psychology to resist change. There can be several reasons for resistance to change in an organisation: the uncertainty involved; inefficient communication of the changes needed; lack of courage; lack of the necessary skills; lack of communication of the purpose of the change; lack of support and motivation on the part of the management. This is one of the areas where Change Management plays a significant role.
According to Wikipedia, Change Management is ?a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organisations from a current state to a desired future state.? Individual and organisational Change Management refers to the process of understanding and implementing changes at the level of singular staff members and groups of individuals respectively.
Individual Change Management and organisational Change Management are the two major aspects of the processes of Change Management. Experts have come up with several models for Change Management at both these levels. Lewin developed a 3-stage model for individual Change Management, called the Unfreeze-Change-Re-freeze model. In the first stage, Unfreezing, an attempt is made to unfreeze or question existing beliefs, policies and procedures, and realising the need for change. In the second stage, Change, the necessary changes are implemented. The third stage, Re-freezing, attempts to re-freeze or create acceptance for the recently incorporated changes, to replace the old beliefs with new ones.
Hughes also uses a similar 3-stage approach in his model for individual Change Management. The 3 stages developed by him are Exit, Transit and Entry. According to Judson, the implementation of change includes 5 major steps: analysis of the existing situation and determining the changes to be made; providing information about the required changes; motivation and creating awareness and acceptance for the changes; actual implementation of the changes; evaluation of the changed situation, making modifications wherever necessary, and replacing the old system with the new one.
Similarly, the Change Management formula developed by Prosci, known as the ADKAR Model, also uses 5 steps. As per this model, the steps in Change Management are: Awareness of the necessity for change; creating Desire for the changes needed; sharing Knowledge on how the changes would be implemented; creating Ability for changes to be implemented; and Reinforcement for maintaining the changes in the long run.
Regarding organisational Change Management, the theory of Donald Sch?n is quite well known. He said organisations usually have the tendency of being closed to change, and do not accept change easily. However, if firms develop themselves as learning organisations all staff would be constantly learning, changing and growing and thus change would be easier to implement.
In conclusion, Change Management benefits both businesses and individuals alike. The process takes time and effort but the results are beneficial for every one involved. Change Management is an on-going process and the effectiveness of the process can be increased when individual and organisational methods are used in conjunction with each other.
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