Organizational change happens in response to change in the organization’s environment. The change can be from the internal environment such as demands from employees. It can also be change from the external environment such as change in consumer tastes and preferences or government regulation. Therefore, an organization must have flexible systems and structures that can respond swiftly to any change in its environment. A company that is rigid to change in its environment risks being pushed out of business. There are some issues about organizational change which members of the organization must know. These include the importance of change and the challenges of organizational change that are related to resistance to change. This will help them in securing the maximum benefits of organizational change
Importance of organizational change
Change in an organization is very important because it helps the organization to secure many benefits that it cannot achieve if it remains in the same state. Change can help an organization to increase its operational efficiency by reducing its operational costs. An organization can change its way of operation by adopting new technology which will help it cut cost. For instance, an organization can start using computers in functions that were previously done by people. The company will realize a reduction in costs because it will have reduced salary expenses. Change can also help an organization increase its earnings whereby it adopts new products or enters new markets. This means that it identifies new needs in the market which it will seek to satisfy. Therefore, it might change its operations to start producing a different line of products to meet the new needs. As a result, it will be able to increase its earnings by venturing in to new market areas.
Change is also important in fighting competition from rivals in the market. When a new entrant in the market threatens a company’s market the company will need to initiate a change in its strategies. This involves restructuring operations such as dropping product lines that are less profitable. This allows the company to focus its resources on product lines that are more productive. Therefore, operations dealing with the dropped product lines will be stopped. Change can also help a company to effectively anticipate and meet customer needs. A company that is product oriented can change its strategies to be customer focused. This will help the company to identify and meet the specific customer needs.
Challenges of organizational change
Some institutions are characterized by central control of power whereby few individuals at the top make all decisions. Such organizations are often not successful in implementing changes in the organization. The leaders will always try to impose their ideas on the subordinates which lead to failure of the change process. This shows the importance of involving everyone that will be affected by the change in developing and implementing the change. Therefore, if the leaders use force to implement changes they will end up failing. Effective management of resources is also a challenge to organizational change. When an organization is intending to put in place some changes it must ensure that a plan that shows how resources will be used is made. The management must also ensure that those implementing the change stick to the plan. Otherwise, the implementation process might not be completed due to poor management of resources.
Another challenge to organizational change that is associated to the need to overcome resistance is communication. Human beings are inherently opposed to change due to the fear of the unknown. Therefore, any attempts to change operations at the workplace will always face resistance some of which may be groundless. This shows the importance of communication whereby any intended change should be effectively communicated to the members. This includes telling them of the benefits associated with the change, any risks involved and how the risks can be minimized. Therefore, employees are likely to support the changes if they have adequate information. Culture of an organization is another challenge to organizational change. Most organizational changes often change the existing culture within an organization but change in the organizational culture is not always welcomed by the members. This calls for a clear understanding of the culture to determine the effective approach of implementation.
An experience with resistance to change
Windsor Development Inc., a microfinance company is involved in offering financial services to small and medium enterprises and performed most of operations manually. Therefore, management reached a decision to implement some technological changes that would help the company reduce its operation costs and improve efficiency in its services to customers. However, the management did not consult with the employees before reaching the decision. The employees communicated through informal networks on how they would frustrate the change process. They feared that implementation of technology would lead to loss of employment for some of them. Therefore, they threatened to down their tools if the management dared to implement the changes. This led to a standoff in the organization between the management and the employees. The employees saw the change as a threat to their employment but the management saw it as an opportunity for increasing operational efficiency.
Productive measures to address the resistance
The management held a meeting with the employees whereby it explained to them the need to implement those changes and the benefits that would be realized if the changes were implemented successfully. In addition, the CEO directed the departmental managers to develop manuals that would explain in detail the changes which included the people to be affected either positively or negatively. The CEO further promised that any member that will lose his job because of the changes would be compensated fairly. The management also promised to sponsor training on the technology for all employees. This was to help them to be equipped with the necessary skills. The employees therefore embraced the changes, because they now felt valued by the organization.
Organizational change is very important in many ways which include fighting competition, increasing an organization’s earnings and satisfying customer needs. Organizations can also adopt changes that will help it to reduce operation cost which leads to efficiency in operations. However, there are challenges that face an organization in an attempt to implement changes successfully. These challenges are associated with the need to overcome resistance to change. They include misuse of power, effective management of resources, effective communication and organizational culture. Therefore, the management needs to have a clear understanding of these challenges so that it can implement changes successfully. It is also important to address the fears of the employees even if some are ungrounded because will help in securing their support for the changes.
 Krawinkel, Bastian. The Importance of Organizational Learning in Change Processes. Norderstedt: GRIN Verlag, 2008 P. 7-14
 Osborne, Stephen P. and Kerry Brown Osborne, Stephen P. and Brown, Kerry. Managing change and innovation in public service organizations. New York, NY: Routledge, 2005 13-19
 Belasen, Alan T. Leading the learning organization: communication and competencies for managing change. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2000p. 70-79
. Wilson, John P. Human resource development: learning & training for individuals & organizations. London: Kogan Page Publishers, 200555-56
 Ibid p. 54
 Sisaye, Seleshi. Organizational change and development in management control systems: process innovation for internal auditing and management accounting. Oxford: Emerald Group Publishing, 2001. p.85-90
 Osborne, Stephen P. and Kerry Brown. Supra, P. 72-79