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Change management is an important business activity that is performed by businesses in order to ensure the successful accomplishment of their business goals. Change management is concerned with altering the ways in which the existing processes are carried out so that the new ways of doing things will help in the successful and positive attainment of organisational goals for which all the employees are striving. However, an important factor with respect to performing change management within organisation is mainly with respect to nature that the change agents are required to adopt. As for example, the change agents can adopt a rational view while performing change, or they can be emotional about it. However, the main concern with the change management is to achieve overall improvement in the existing organisational processes.
This essay is therefore aimed at analysing the proposition that the organisational change would be achieved more effectively if people were rational rather than emotional about it. In performing the analysis, the essay therefore focuses on rational thinking in adopting change and it will then analyse the impact of emotional thinking in performing change. Based on the analysis, appropriate conclusion will be reached regarding the effectiveness of change management.
Change Management-Rational or Emotional
Change management is an important organisational activity and it requires efficient decision making on the part of change agents. This is mainly because an inefficient change process would adversely impact the performance of the entire organisation. Further, change is usually a very complex process, and it requires adequate level of resources to be utilised by the organisation performing change. Hence, an important factor that is to be assumed in performing change at such a larger level within organisation is that of rationality. As per the rational view, the decision maker has the perfect understanding of the decision problem, which allows the decision maker in selecting the better course of actions so that the attainment of major goals from the change management process can be possible. The rational view therefore implies that the change agent is fully aware of the situation at hand and the entire change management process as carried out. The better understanding of the situation allows for better decision making and thereby, the better attainment of results (Singh and Waddell, 2004).
This rational process is being considered by the cognitive theorists of change management and as per this rational theory to change management, the process of change is being given due effect by the professionals by way of considering and balancing the advantages and disadvantages of different alternatives so that higher overall success can be achieved within it. It is highly essential that the positive as well as negative aspects should be adequately considered before giving due effect to any change management process within organisation, and the rational view supports this proposition which leads to its consideration in performing change management within organisation. The rational change management decisions are mainly based on facts and figures which lead to their higher accuracy in performing the change process in a positive manner. Thus, the basis of rational decisions is therefore classified as facts, information, and understanding of decision making problem (Grol, Wensing, Eccles and Davis, 2013).
The rational decisions are taken in a sequential manner which leads to their higher credibility in achieving success in the change management process. The primary steps that are being involved in undertaking rational decision are:
- Identifying the situation and its definition.
- Alternative identification.
- Evaluation of alternatives
- Selection of the best possible alternative.
- Implementation of the chosen alternative.
- Follow up and the further evaluation of the effectiveness of the alternative.
This particular process to rational decision making indicates that the change agent satisfies himself/herself completely before undertaking any decision for change management. This particular approach to change therefore entitles with the opportunity of achieving higher level of success in the change initiative as undertaken within organisation (Griffin, 2013). Although, the decisions made rationally are considered as highly effective in giving the change process a success, yet the existing literature indicates that the role of emotional decision is also important in allowing for achieving success in the change management process. A study as conducted by Liu and Perrewe (2005) is aimed at analysing the role of emotions in performing organisational change, and the conduct of the study revealed that change agents have to play a crucial role in dealing with emotions on the part of change recipients. The change as implemented within organisation is often a cause of frustration, anger and fear within the employees, and this particular aspect to change can be efficiently dealt in through applying emotional thinking by the change agents (Liu and Perrewe, 2005).
However, the findings of the study suggest that it is highly difficult to manage and understand the emotions of change recipients during the change process. As a result, there are various models and frameworks that are offered in the existing literature on the change process and it is identified that the inability to appropriately manage the content and intensity of emotions is the major reason for the failure of majority of the change programs. The role of emotions is significantly higher especially during the post performance of change because emotions are crucial in influencing the thinking of employees and influencing them in accepting the change as introduced. The success of a change management process is dependent on the extent to which it is positively accepted by the organisational employees, and emotional decisions have a crucial role to play in motivating employees in positively accepting to change (Liu and Perrewe, 2005).
Contrary to this, the decisions based on emotions are not given adequate importance in respect to change management process and this is mainly because the emotional decisions are mainly based on judgments, intent, opinion, and conclusion formed about a particular process. Judgments form the basis for intended strategies in respect to emotional change management process and there are higher probability that the decisions taken on the basis of own judgments may be incorrect. The decision based on emotions has certain problems and this leads to their ineffectiveness with respect to change management process as implemented within organisation. As for instance, the perception of individuals with respect to external world gets affected because of emotions.
The individual that displays positive emotions is likely to perceive the external world as positive, and contrary to this, individual showing negative emotions tend to perceive the external world as negative. This indicates that the entrepreneurs with positive emotions are likely to perceive a broader range of stimuli as compared to the entrepreneurs with negative emotions (Carsrud and Brännback, 2009). Thus, the performance of change management process within organisation through the emotional state of mind may affect the change process depending on the moods of the change agents. This implies that a positive state of mind of the change agent will result into the positive accomplishment of change, and vice versa. Since, change process as identified above involves higher resources and as it is a time consuming process, an organisation cannot afford to achieve ineffectiveness in its implementation. This is an important reason for which the rational decisions are highly preferred over the emotional decisions in performing change management within organisation.
Emotions are often viewed as important cause of problems during the implementation of change management process. They are not regarded as an expression of underlying difficulties which has been crucial in performing the successful implementation of change. This indicates that a proper management of emotions is essential in order to perform the successful implementation of change. However, the efficient management of emotions will likely to entitle success in the change management process as carried out. In performing change, the entire processes get restructured and there is a need for right people at the right roles and with right capabilities to ensure success in it. In addition to this, it is also essential that there should be adequate commitment and morale on the part of employees that have to perform over the changed processes, and this can be positively attained through emotions.
Emotions are likely to play a significant role in allowing the change process to achieve success provided they are managed in an efficient way. The changes as made within an organisation mostly involve everyone in such transition process which could be middle managers, HR managers, employees, and they may experience transitions as equally emotional. Emotions can be both the drivers of change as well as consequences of change. However, since emotions emanates from inside an individual, they may differ from individual to individual and they thereby leads to differences in the opinion over the change management process as carried out within organisation. However, an efficient change requires agreement among all the change agents so that the process can be leaded towards a particular goal of attaining success in it (Kiefer, 2002).
As per the traditional understanding, emotions can play an important role in making the employees to adapt to organisational change as introduced. The changes as introduced by change agents as a part of change management process can achieve success in it provided that induce the employees to accept to such change. Employees can be made to adapt to such change through emotions, and they can be motivated to learn new strategies so that the refined goals as a result of change can therefore be positively accomplished. The adaptive behaviour of employees is driven by their emotions as asserted by Klarner, Todnem and Diefenbach (2011) and thus, rational decisions in performing change management would not be highly effective. It is essential that the employees should be made adoptive to the changes as introduced by the change agents so that the main goals behind performing the change can be positively accomplished (Klarner, Todnem and Diefenbach, 2011).
The analysis above indicates about the change management process as implemented within organisation through considering the rational view and the emotional view, and the performance of the analysis revealed that the rational view involves sequential steps or a critical understanding of the process of change before its actual implementation. However, the emotional viewpoint is identified as a barrier in the process of successful implementation of change because they do not express the underlying difficulties associated with the change management process. Apart from this, the effectiveness of the rational decision in performing the change management is also identified from the fact that emotion plays a crucial role in making rational decisions. As per a study, Wong (2001) clarifies that emotions play a role in rational decision making and they thereby enhances the change management process as undertake on the basis of rational decision making process.
A critical analysis of the proposition that organisational change would be accomplished in a more efficient manner when people are rational rather than emotional about it is performed. The performance of the analysis revealed that the above proposition is true to the certain extent only. This is mainly because the rational decisions are identified as crucial as any change management process should be based on facts and proper understanding of the problem in hand. But the role of emotional decision making has also been identified as crucial from the analysis as performed in the study. This is mainly because the emotions have a critical role to play in achieving adaptive behaviour among employees which is highly crucial once the changes are implemented. This is because, the introduction of change management process leads to complete transition to the existing organisational processes and thereby in achieving success in it, it is essential that the employees should be adoptive to such changes rather than resisting against them. As a result, the emotions have a crucial role to play in motivating employees to become adaptive to the changes as introduced by management.
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