By Brenald Chinyowa
In the current dynamic business environment constituted by economic elasticity and an ever changing technological climate, exacerbated by the trade globalization, a transition or change is inevitable in any organisations as they is a need to continually refocus your strategy or gain competitive advantage in the current environment, and this makes change a necessity. Transition or Change is largely viewed as an alteration from the current state to a desire state, introducing a new management system, change of machinery or strategy resembles change. Many organisations change interventions are associated with failure, and many are afraid to execute change in their organisations as a result of the possible negative outcomes which change is likely to bring. There are daunting statistics of failed change interventions in the industry but in the midst of such a record, some organisations has made it, therefore the fundamental linchpin of this discussion is to show how to assess or see if your organisation is read for change, that is readiness for change, as it is probable that organisational un readiness to execute change contribute largely to the failure of the change intervention.
The organisation has to undertake a Change Readiness Assessment (CRA) which is a process which allows the company to determine the potential commitment and acceptance to the effect of the success of the planned change. It will allow the organisation to understand how people will respond to the change. It also helps to identify, Who will own the change, how will they provide the leadership to effectively manage the change, What potential resistance to the change may be experienced, What potential barriers will affect the implementation of the change, What change strategy or methods will be used when implementing the change to promote ownership?.
Organizational readiness for change is a multi-level, multi-faceted construct. At organizational level, readiness for change refers to organizational members' shared resolve to implement a change (change commitment) and shared belief in their collective capability to do so (change efficacy). Organizational readiness for change varies as a function of how many organizational members value the change and how favorably they appraise three key determinants of implementation capability: task demands, resource availability, and situational factors. When organizational readiness for change is high, organizational members are more likely to initiate change, exert greater effort, exhibit greater persistence, and display more cooperative behavior.
If we drawing from the social cognitive concept, I would like to propose that for an organisation to assess for its readiness for change they have to look at the change efficacy, that is a function of organizational members' cognitive appraisal of three determinants of change implementation capability: task demands, resource availability, and situational factors, efficacy is a 'comprehensive summary or judgment of perceived capability to perform a task.' In formulating change-efficacy judgments, organizational members acquire, share, assimilate, and integrate information bearing on three questions: do we know what it will take to implement this change effectively; do we have the resources to implement this change effectively; and can we implement this change effectively given the situation we currently face? Implementation capability depends in part on knowing what courses of action are necessary, what kinds of resources are needed, how much time is needed, and how activities should be sequenced.
In addition to gauging knowledge of task demands, organizational members also cognitively appraise the match between task demands and available resources. That is, they assess whether the organization has the human, financial, material, and informational resources necessary to implement the change well.
Finally, they consider situational factors such as, whether sufficient time exists to implement the change well or whether the internal political environment supports implementation. When organizational members share a common, favorable assessment of task demands, resource availability, and situational factors, they share a sense of confidence that collectively they can implement a complex organizational change. In other words, change efficacy is high
Before the introduction of any change you have to look at the Motivational readiness of the departmental leaders and staff members (defined by perceived need and pressure for change) combined with personal attributes (e.g., professional growth, efficacy, influence, and adaptability) in facilitation and implementation of the change. Departmental motivational state is quite important, because if the departmental head is not for the planned change, he might choose to act antagonistically hence leading to failure of the intervention.
You need also to look at Organizational climatic factors (e.g., clarity of mission and goals, staff cohesion, communication, and openness to change) along with institutional resources (physical resources, training levels, and technological usage) as additional components to consider before initiating any change and see if they can support the planned change, because these factors as well can help us gauge the change compatibility in the organisation
Also there is need to focus on the number and quality of staff members available to do the work including their skills and expertise. Managerial coping, professionalism and behavioral change converge on similar dimensions of attitude and functioning, which influence organizational change. That is we have to look at the nature and type of professionalism, or behavioural changes requisites’ of the planned change and compare with the current state and see if the employees will be able to adapt to it.
While some change readiness assessment tools focus on the organization but the majority are very heavily oriented towards individuals. Neither focus on the organisational nor individual will give you a comprehensive analysis of change readiness, but rather it requires you to have the eye of a chameleon which sees all angles, there is need to see beyond the blue sky. You need to go beyond looking at one specific level or point in the system so a ‘zoom in and zoom out’ to other levels and points in the organisation will give you better information. Alongside the levels you will need to assess different dimensions of readiness: attitudes, conditions and resources.
Although it was beyond the scope of this discussion to discuss measurement issues in detail I will just give an outline on how the measuring instrument will be like, an instrument that would best fit the construct of readiness assessment as described above would have the following characteristics:
1. Some means of focusing respondents' attention on a specific impending organizational change, perhaps by including a brief description of the change in the survey instrument and by mentioning the change by name in the instructions for specific item sets.
2. Group-referenced rather than self-referenced items (e.g., items focusing on collective commitment and capabilities rather than personal commitment and capabilities).
3. Items that only capture change commitment or change efficacy, not related constructs, like the antecedent conditions discussed
4. Efficacy items that are tailored to the specific organizational change, yet not so tailored that that the instrument could be used in other circumstances without substantial modification.
If other has failed to do it, it’s not a measure that change is impossible it’s just an indication to take caution when doing it, it’s not a RED robot, but it’s just amber. In sports races they say being first off the starting line is no guarantee of winning, and some say time spend planning is worthy it. Take your time assess your organisation make adjustments in arrears which needs attention before you introduce the change. An Eskimo need a refrigerator to keep things from freezing. “Work hard to discover what makes a dog bark excitedly, not just yawn”
Brenald Chinyowa writes on his own capacity, for comments inbox to firstname.lastname@example.org (0777 897 586) 0715 764 862. Blog: profbrenald.blogspot.com or follow him on Facebook: Professor-Brenald Chinyowa. Feel free to contact him for free advice & consultation on any HR related issues in your Organisation, Also for strategic conferencing facilitation all free of charge.