Understanding Change and the Capacity for Change

Assignment 2: Understanding Change and the Capacity for Change
This module taught you about understanding organizational change and recognizing an organization’s change capacity and introduced you to ideas to foster new mind-sets and skill sets to lead/manage change.
For this discussion assignment, consider your understanding of organizational change. Evaluate your mind-set and capacity for change within the context of your current (or previous) professional position and organization or that of an organization with which you are familiar.
Tasks:
Research theories and models of change leadership and organizational change. Use resources from professional literature in your research. Professional literature may include the Argosy University online library resources, relevant textbooks, peer-reviewed journal articles, and websites created by professional organizations, agencies, or institutions (.edu, .org, or .gov).
On the basis of your research and experience, in a minimum of 400 words, respond to the following points:

Evaluate your own understanding of organizational change and explain whether it is the same or different from your readings of the text and researched articles. What is your mind-set and skill set for leading and accepting change?
Evaluate your organization’s capacity for change. Explain how the organization perceives and justifies change. Do you agree with the organization’s viewpoints? Why or why not?

The Process of Change
Change is a normal state for many organizations. In most organizations, change will occur whether it is managed or not. Effective organizational leaders will plan, execute, and evaluate their changes against their desired outcomes.
Change is a part of everyday life. We constantly witness changes in technology, public policies, and lifestyles. Human beings successfully evolve through their various life stages; similarly, organizations go through change at various stages of their development.
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What are the implications of organizational change? How does organizational change affect organizations and leaders?
This course—Leading through and beyond Change—examines organizational change from a leader’s perspective. In the next eight modules, you will learn about:

The process of change
Individual and organizational resistance to change
Different theoretical perspectives on managed change
Leadership challenges in facilitating change
Role of both the leader and the follower in the change process
Ethical dimensions associated with change

Basically, you will delve deeper into the concept of change management and see how it is implemented to achieve desired organizational outcomes.
The discussions, readings, and assignments will prompt you to consider the concepts and ideas presented in this course and analyze them in the context of your own organization.
You will apply theoretical concepts to real-life situations. This learning will be reciprocal, that is, the change concepts will help you understand your organization, and your organizational experiences will help you relate to the theoretical concepts more effectively.
Module 1 Overview

Apply current research on organizational change and reform.
Apply change theories and models to manage change initiatives, recommend process improvements, and effectively overcome change resistance.

As mentioned earlier, we constantly witness changes in everything around us, from technology to public policy to individual lifestyles.
Change is constant and is essential as organizations go through various stages of their development and growth. The questions often become:

What are the implications of organizational change?
How does organizational change affect organizations and leaders?

These questions must also be addressed when considering the implementation of change. After the implementation of change, it is also important to obtain as much feedback as possible to evaluate further needs and requirements in order to continue sustaining the organization.
While organizational change is a part of the natural progression to sustain an organization, ethical concerns must be considered before, during, and after the implementation. Organizational changes can have a major impact on the organization as well as the organization’s internal and external stakeholders.
Because we function within systems, ethical evaluations and the ramifications of change must be of utmost importance. Leaders must not only evaluate the organizational capacity for change but also consider how the changes will reverberate throughout the system.
Increasing productivity and efficiency cannot be the only considerations when making organizational changes. The impact of the changes on the internal and external stakeholders should be considered as the organization will need their support in implementing the changes. Therefore, inclusion of the internal and external stakeholders in the planning and implementation of the changes will be key to the success of the organizational changes.
If left unchecked, unmanaged change can steer the organization in a direction that is unpredictable and incongruent with organizational goals and outcomes. In this course, you will learn more about the importance of proactive and thoughtful change management and its impact on organizational sustainability.

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Organizational Change
Change is an unavoidable reality. It is a fixture of every aspect of the organizational environment. In a nutshell, organizations keep changing.
When you analyze how customers, technology, business environment, and employees change, it is evident that if an organization has to survive and remain viable, it must change.

Change Components
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Understanding Organizational Change
It is important that internal and external stakeholders understand and support any changes within an organization. To that end, leaders need to factor in their internal and external stakeholders’ capacity to understand and support the changes.
The Life Cycle Curve
All organizations, and especially business organizations, must understand the significance of the existence of the life cycle curve in maintaining and sustaining an organization.
To sustain themselves, organizations have to go through processes of innovation and change to avoid the decline in the life cycle curve. Trying to avoid the decline in the curve can be the driving force for change in all organizations. Because of the curve and the rapid changing of activities in such a competitive market for all resources, there is an increasing need for change within all types of organizations.
Strategic Changes
The changes required for sustaining an organization are usually strategic changes. These types of changes are usually developed by organizational leadership, and they are a part of the strategic planning process. Organizational strategic changes are important to sustaining an organization as they take into consideration forces that can influence the direction, vision, mission, and values of the organization.
Strategic changes are broad and long term and therefore can have a significant impact on the long term survival of the organization. For these changes to be implemented in a timely and effective manner, a leader must create a shared vision and help the organization understand the big picture and the details as to why the changes are important.
Basic Changes at the Operational Level
In addition to the strategic changes that are introduced by upper-level leadership, there are basic changes that occur at the operational level that involve mid-level managers, supervisors, and other frontline personnel. To be effectual, all changes must receive support from all levels of management in order to create a smooth implementation and enhance organizational effectiveness.
The leader must communicate the purpose and the benefits as broadly as possible and assist all members of the organization in understanding the link between the changes and the vision, mission, and plans of the organization.
Managing organizational change can often be quite difficult; however, successful implementation can be associated with improved organizational performance.
Capacity for Organizational Change
A lack of organizational and individual capacity for change is a major reason why change initiatives fail. To prevent failure, leaders must evaluate their organization’s capacity and work to correct any areas of weakness. The following are a few common issues that leaders face when implementing organizational change.
Preventing Work Overload
Because most organizations often run at capacity, it is important to understand the ability of an organization to change in order to prevent work overload.
Because of the various demands from internal and external forces, it is important to understand an organization’s capacity for change. The capacity for maintaining an effective and efficient organization must be understood before changes can be implemented.
Leaders must pay attention to capacity requirements of their planned changes and adjust organizational resources to accommodate the extra load. Exceeding capacity can cause stress, accidents, a reduction in quality, and employee turnover. So as not to overload the system, careful resource planning is an important part of the process for the success of any change initiative.
Organizational Culture
The culture of an organization is an amalgamation of many factors. Some of these factors stem from the diverse makeup of the organization’s workforce (i.e., ethnicity, education, experience, gender, skills, physical abilities, etc.) as well as the informal structure and communication channels of the organization. Therefore, an organization’s culture can often have an effect on how and when change is pursued. At times, regardless of an organization’s basic capacity for change, the choice to implement or not to implement change is more influenced by the internal nature or characteristic of its culture rather than by the external environment.
Leadership Styles
Another consideration that organizational leadership needs to be aware of is the importance of developing a sense and understanding of the individual leadership styles of its leaders within the formal organizational structure. For example, the transactional style of leadership is based upon a system of reward and exchange. As such, transactional-style leaders may sometimes focus on the rewards and accept a change process too readily, or propose and push for a change initiative without regard for the organization’s capacity for implementing a successful change.
It would behoove organizational leaders to recognize these instances and avoid situations in which some would benefit, while causing other areas to become less productive because the change implemented went beyond the organization’s capacity for change.
Evaluating the Time Needed for Implementation
Leaders must evaluate the amount of time it takes to implement changes and whether there are enough capacity and resources available for successful implementation.
With this consideration in mind, leaders should take time to develop the capacity for change. By taking the time to develop the capacity for change, the change can be more fully thought out and may have less chance of creating a problem elsewhere within the system. By taking the time needed, the leaders could also garner more support for the change from other members of the organization.
Foster New Mind-Sets and Skill Sets

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When trying to implement change, it is important to foster new mind-sets and help employees develop skills that support the change. Additionally, supervisors with a fixed mind-set may not be open to the change, so extra effort must be spent to help the supervisors understand the change.
Being willing to accept and implement change is crucial to creating a positive mind-set for implementation of change. How can leaders create a positive mind-set? They can do it by leading by example and having a positive attitude toward the required change and by enabling the workers to have more input.
When individuals become too caught up with the change process, a leader may have to redirect their attention to the outcomes of what is to be achieved. Therefore, when dealing with individuals who are distracted from implementation, the leader can refocus them on the tasks they are to complete and help them understand the importance of the tasks.
To enable some of these individuals to move forward, the leader may have to develop systems to help and support these members in understanding their roles in implementing and managing change. While some of these team members may be talented, they need to support the change initiatives and be open to successfully fulfilling their roles in the implementation.
Developing New Skill Sets
The willingness to implement and accept change is normally more about the employees’ mind-sets than their skill sets. The need to foster a change-focused mind-set is something talent management should lead, and it should proactively train employees in the element of effective change.
The office of talent management will often do an excellent job of locating employees with the right talent for certain positions and neglect the importance of continuing to enhance those skill sets during the tenure of the employees. Once a change is required, it is necessary to identify the skill sets that are needed for the change to be successful and then create the mind-set so that the process can be accomplished.
It is the commitment, motivation, knowledge, and skill sets of individuals that really make it possible for an organization to be able to successfully implement change.
Managed Change

Change is ubiquitous in the organizational environment. As individuals, we tend to seek the status quo, which is a characteristic that works in opposition to organizational change.
Attitudes and responses to change permeate the culture of an organization and generate deeply ingrained patterns of behavior. Some members of the organization may have difficulty adopting these behaviors and may need additional support and development to help them cope with the changes.
Organizations now face a dilemma: A viable organization must change to survive and thrive in a turbulent environment, while balancing the very forces and influences that contribute to the turbulence. An organization can respond to the change demands of the internal and external environment by charting a path through change. This newly devised path should allow the organization to tolerate change, while maintaining some level of inherent stability. This type of planned response is known as managed change.
Managed change takes a very methodical and systematic approach to planning, implementing, and following through on change in an organization. Planned change requires a thorough understanding of the organization’s mission, direction, and goals. Additionally, you also have to understand the characteristics and pressures of the environment in which the organization accomplishes its work and the talent it employs to do so.
Managed change employs specific steps and techniques planned in advance to move the organization toward specific change objectives. Typically, a particular management approach or organizational theory provides a theoretical framework for managed change. A well-defined conceptual compass guides the organization toward achievement of the change objectives.
In this course, you will learn about several theoretical approaches to planned change. You will see how these approaches affect the process of organizational change. You will get an opportunity to apply each of these conceptual frameworks for planned change to a variety of activities that will help you appreciate the concept of managed change. You will see the potential of this powerful tool in transforming organizations and keeping them healthy and relevant in the turbulent environments in which they exist and function.
Summary

Through this module’s online lectures and assigned readings, you learned about the meaning of organizational change and the process of change. You examined the concept of change management and delved deeper into the meaning and purpose of managed change.
Here are the key points you covered in this module:

Organizational change is an inevitable part of organizational survival, and it is a universal phenomenon. Therefore, it is important that organizations chart a path to lead through and beyond change and to manage the change process.
To lead and manage change, organizational change capacity must be evaluated, such as work overload, operational and resource capacity, and organizational culture.
To lead through and beyond change, leaders must foster new mind-sets and skill sets, as well as develop and manage their talent pool.

 
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