Understanding the Impact of Change Management

There is always an impact of change management whenever any new thing is introduced into the management system. This means that when there is change management in an organization, people are usually asked to take on uncomfortable or unfamiliar new roles. In this case, life can become less controllable and less predictable. The individual standing and status is affected in one way or another as those who were considered professionals now become learners, just like anyone else in the same organization.

Understanding the Impact of Change Management

By discussing and examining an organizational management change in light of how it affects individuals and how they will react can help in providing valuable insights into all risks associated with non-acceptance, resistance, fear, poor morale, turnover and among other things. While the project group can actually take a preliminary pass on that, any participation by affected employees from various organizational levels can offer a more realistic perspective and valuable input in the mitigation strategies.

How Does Change Management Affect An Organization?

Organizational structures, also known as the organizational constructs have the potential to derail or support an organizational change. The organizational structures define the hierarchy of the company, (who is in charge of certain department, who responds to a particular issue), the levels of authority, responsibilities and the agreed upon roles.

In addition, the organizational structures also define who makes certain decisions, and at times, defines the channels of making those critical decisions. These structures exist at several levels; within various departments, across the company, and in the form of temporary groups such as task forces, committees and project teams.

Moreover, the structure of an organizational structure itself can have various risks such as conflicting functional approaches or objectives, different standards and toolset, or different reporting relationships may also cause great risk to a project. This can be true if the project team members they do not come from one organization where the interaction among them may result in financial or contractual implications for a single part against the other.

Generally, any project is subject to risks associated with the organizational structures. Loss of priority or sponsorship because of changes in the processes of decision-making, leadership changes, and the commitments renewal from reorganized functional departments can all introduce some risks in the project.

Additionally, the project team structure itself can also be the source of some risks in any project. Any weak matrix team in a company should consider all risks associated with negotiating for scarce resources and priorities with functional managers. On the other hand, dedicated project teams or experts should try to manage the risks related to staying attached to and consistent with the flow of direction of other departments of the company.

Types of Risks Associated With Organizational Change Management

However, there is evidence that there are basically two types of risks specifically related to organizational change. These include the impact of organizational changes on the way are structured as well as interact with others and secondly, how well the defined project fits or integrates into a bigger organization.

When a project is believed to affect an organizational structure, the strategy of your change management should consider any possibility of socio-political implications of the proposed changes. These changes are usually perceived by individuals or an organization within it as a possible threat to control, power, status, influence, resources (including money and people), or even access. Great concerns may arise about any dynamics of all interactions between different organizations based on either a desire or experiences on preserving the status quo. Both the emotional and rational the reactions may manifest in either case, as a vehement objection to withdrawal of the project support.

What may look like straightforward decisions at the beginning of the project is what is going to be done, can become complex negotiations, which are escalated up to the highest levels of an organization. In some environments, even little changes to the responsibilities or composition of any organization may need a huge amount of resources and time to document and redefine the detailed process as well as the interactions of reconstituted teams.

While some companies become adept at creating these changes, there are those who are very resistant and may need extra time to completely design, document and even review before they will relinquish or accept those responsibilities. In addition, contracts may need to be terminated or renegotiated especially in the efforts where a company cross-corporate boundaries.

Implementation Activities In Light Of Impact of Change Management

Once the scope and nature of potential organizational changes have carefully been identified and well understood, it’s necessary, assuming that the right activities required to address the change requirements of a project can be effectively executed. However, those project groups unfamiliar with or sensitive to those activities may find themselves highly challenged in determining how best the organizational changes needed to be executed for a successful project implementation.

Luckily, there are some approaches, which may be used in combination or individually to address these changes. They are as follows:

Commitment and Communication

It is good to have a good communication across various departments in an organization. This should also be extended when new changes are involved. Proper communication from the highest department in the hierarchy of a company showing commitment and support is very important and most effective, especially when the rationale as well as urgency for the change management is clearly defined. A two-way communication between the affected organizations and the project team is also an important and necessary component for successful change.

Phasing and Chunking 

Another critical strategy for mitigating risk usually associated with any organizational changes is gradually introducing these changes either by dividing a bigger project into chunks or simply phases or by phasing in changes within a project. From the perspective of organizational change, the incremental approach has several benefits.

To start with, smaller changes only cause few disruptions that in turn may minimize the amount of individual and organizational resistance. Secondly, smaller efforts may also be seen as highly achievable. Thus encouraging great support and buy-in right from the impacted organizations. Thirdly, lessons learned in advance regarding to the organization and how exactly it reacts to those changes that can be integrated into new efforts. Lastly, organizations and individuals involved in earlier changes can be asked to help in spreading the effort to others.

Conclusively, it is true to say that the impact of change management involves the entire organization and proper planning and reorganization should be highly considered.

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Christopher Smith
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.
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