Change is indeed fundamental in life. The reality of complexity and vagueness in the environment (external or internal) is that organizations and individuals are constantly under pressure to change in one way or another. The change can be fast or slow, perceptible and imperceptible, minor or substantive.
Vecchio (2006) in a tone of finality affirmed that all organizations (be they profit or non-profit, military or multinational corporations) have no choice but to change to keep up with the pressure of the environment (internal and external). It is a blunt case of “change or die” (Vecchio, 2006:365).
Pressures to change may be obvious or implicit. Managers are expected to anticipate and direct the change process so that organizations can benefit from it. In fact, Pantea (nd) from Aard University, Romania, suggests that Lewin’s model of the change process is based on the fact that the change process eventually involves a learning experience, as well as the desirability of abandoning “attitudes, current organizational behaviors or practices.
The forces of change can sometimes be intimidating and can include forecast changes in economic conditions, changes in consumer preferences, technological and scientific factors, globalization and competition, and last but not least, changes in the landscape. legal.
Responding to the forces of change may require a strategic change or an operational change. Strategic change is organizational and has to do with organizational transformation. While strategic change has a long-term focus, operational change has an immediate effect on the work arrangement within a part of the organization. Operational change focuses on elements such as new systems, procedures, structures, or technology. Organizational change can be static (Lewin’s model) or dynamic (continuous change process model).
Change management requires strategic thinking and planning, good implementation, and stakeholder consultation. The desired change must be realistic, achievable and realistic.
Lewin’s vision of the change process provides us with a tool or model to determine the need for change, its implementation and follow-up. (Levin, 1951). Armstrong (2006) identifies a large number of models of change, including those by Bechard (1969), Thurley (1979), Quinn (1980), and Bandura (1986).
Lewin’s Planned Change Process model has the following underlying assumption:
1. The change process involves new learning, as well as a paradigm shift of current organizational attitudes, behaviors, and practices.
2. The occurrence of change is based on the existence of the motivation to change. This is essential in the change process.
3. People are essential for organizational changes. Whatever the type of change desired, at the end of the day it is the individuals who are the target of the change.
4. The desirability of the change goals, however intensive they may be, does not exclude the existence of resistance to change.
5. If the change is to be effective, new behaviors, attitudes, and organizational practices must be reinforced.
Lewin’s model of planned change consisted of three steps described as unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. In the thawing stage, it is necessary to raise awareness to change. The balance that underpins existing practices, behaviors and attitudes must be altered.
Data collection may be necessary at this stage for further analysis so that the need for change is apparent to all. In the change stage, the objective is to transform the people, the structure, the task and the technology as indicated in Vecchio (2006: 373). The refreezing stage requires an evaluation of the result to be carried out with a view to making the necessary modifications.
New answers could be developed based on the new information received. Reecho (2006:374) has identified forces of resistance to change that include: employee desires for security, satisfaction with the status quo, limited force for change, group inertia, threatened experience, threatened power, and changes in resource allocation.
CHANGE MANAGEMENT AT ADESHINA ADELEKE AND COMPANY
Adeshina Adeleke and company, comprised of a group of professionals specializing in real estate services, is a single line company based in Lagos, Nigeria. Adeshina Adeleke and company have branches in Abuja and Porthacourt, Nigeria, and have developed competencies in agency, valuation and facilities management.
It has a diversified and yet cohesive workforce. The diversity of its workforce is in terms of gender and ethnic groups. The company has a flat, yet optimally centralized structure. At the top of the structure is the Principal Consultant, who is the Executive Director.
The units/branch headquarters are subordinated to him. He has a strong culture and a strategic ally. In terms of strategic grouping, the firm is part of the SME group and operates within the services segment of the real estate industry.
Adeshina Adeleke and company are affected by the forces of change in both a systematic and non-systematic sense. The current economic downturn has a great effect on the Nigerian economy resulting in illiquidity in the real estate market. The effect of the lack of liquidity is a high inventory of properties for sale and rent within the Adeshina Adeleke property bulletin.
Sales and rents are down and are flat for a quarter. The result of the performance variance analysis triggered the need for a strategic and operational change on the part of the company. As a company, we were caught off guard as the scenario we found ourselves in was never anticipated.
Management felt the need to increase sales and profitability and also to reposition the company through the necessary transformation. Although at that time we were not guided or constrained by any model in managing desired change, it would be useful to adopt Lewin’s planned change process in order to analyze the change management process of Adeshina Adeleke and company.
To initiate the freeze stage, the company’s leadership created an awareness of the need for change, first among the management staff and then among the sales teams. The three-month performance results were discussed and analyzed at the management meeting.
Management as a whole was made to understand the emerging pattern and sensitized to the need to turn around. Subsequently, an administrative staff was tasked with meeting with sales teams and middle managers to educate them on the state of the company and the need to develop a sense of urgency for change.
Once a consensus was reached on the urgency of the need for change, a management and staff committee was formed to delve into the company’s situation in order to offer solutions. The committee’s recommendation includes the following:
• Broader grassroots consultation to sell the change to the majority of staff, especially influencers who are able to build a coalition to resist the change. It is important that such groups collaborate in the change process.
• Sales team members should be trained to gain more marketing skills, especially sales during the economic downturn.
• The Abuja branch manager will be replaced by the Porthacourt branch manager, who has caused a sensation in Porthacourt.
• One third of the sales team members will work on commission to reduce overhead, especially during the transition period.
• That networking and cold calling should take precedence before the media campaign
• That our media campaign be sustained.
• That an interventionist or change agent should be allowed to lead the change.
The committee’s report was adopted and an HR professional was appointed to lead the change. Suffice it to say that we are still in the project change stage. Sales people are in and out of training both outside and inside the plant. Inquiries are underway as to those who will become commission-based staff.
A committee is investigating our business process and value chain activities with a view to eliminating non-productive activities. The contributions of the strategic business units are also being investigated in order to make decisions about their relevance.
The performance of the members of our strategic group is studied with curiosity. Our IT department is looking into the possibility of a mass implementation of e-commerce solutions for higher performance.
The company has not yet entered the refreeze stage, but is still in transition. Time will tell if these measures are worthwhile and if new insights will result.
I am of the opinion that the change project provides an opportunity to extract data from all aspects and elements of the company for further analysis and decision making. It seems the change project leans more towards finances than the human element that ultimately makes change happen.
1. Armstrong, M., (2006) Human Resource Management Practice Manual, 10th Edition, Kogan Page. London.
2. Bandura, A, (1986) Social limits of thought and action, Prentice-Hall, Eaglewood Cliff, NJ. In Armstrong, M., (2006) Human Resource Management Practice Manual, 10th Edition, Kogan Page. London.
3. Beckhard, R. (1969) Organizational Development: Strategy and Models, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA.
4. Lewin, K (1951) Field Theory in the Social Sciences, Harper & Row, New York. In Armstrong, M., (2006) Human Resource Management Practice Manual, 10th Edition, Kogan Page. London
5. Pantea, MIIVV (nd) “Change Management in Organizations. Aard University, Arad, Romania.
6. Quinn, JB, (1980) “Management of Strategic Change”, Sloane Management Review, 11(4/5), pp 3-30. In Armstrong, M., (2006) Human Resource Management Practice Manual, 10th Edition, Kogan Page. London
7. Thurley, K (1979) Supervision: a reassessment, Heinemann, London. In Armstrong, M., (2006) Human Resource Management Practice Manual, 10th Edition, Kogan Page. London.
8. Vecchio, RP (2006). Organizational Behavior: Basic Concepts. 6th Edition, Thomson South-Western