Forces for Organizational Change

Change is inevitable in the life of an individual or organisation. In  today’s business world, most of the organisations are facing a dynamic and  changing business environment. They should either change or die, there is no  third alternative. Organisations that learn and cope with change will thrive and  flourish and others who fail to do so will be wiped out. The major forces which  make the changes not only desirable but inevitable are technological, economic,  political, social, legal, international and labor market environments. Recent  surveys of some major organisations around the world have shown that all  successful organisations are continuously interacting with the environment and  making changes in their structural design or philosophy or policies or strategies  as the need be.

Forces for Organizational Change

There are a number of factors both internal and external which affect  organisational functioning. Any change in these factors necessitates changes in  an organisation. The more important factors are as follows:

1. External Forces for  Organizational Change

External environment affects the organisations both directly and  indirectly. The organisations do not have any control over the variables in such  an environment. Accordingly, the organisation cannot change the environment  but must change themselves to align with the environment. A few of these  factors are:

  1. Technology: Technology is the major external force which calls for change.  The adoption of new technology such as computers, telecommunication systems  and flexible manufacturing operations have profound impact on the  organisations that adopt them.  The substitution of computer control for direct supervision, is resulting  in wider spans of control for managers and flatter organisations. Sophisticated  information technology is also making organisations more responsive. Both the  organisations and their employees will have to become more adaptable. Many  jobs will be reshaped. Individuals who do routine, specialized and narrow jobs  will be replaced by workers who can perform multiple in decision making.  Managements will have to increase their investment in training and education of  the employees because employees skills are becoming obsolete more quickly. Japanese firms have progressed rapidly because they are very fast in adopting  new technological innovations.
  2. Marketing Conditions: Marketing conditions are no more static. They are in  the process of rapid change as the needs, desires and expectations of the  customers change rapidly and frequently. Moreover, there is tough competition  in the market as the market is flooded with new products and innovations  everyday. New methods of advertising are used to influence the customers.  Today the concept of consumerism has gained considerable importance and  thus, the consumers are treated as the kings.  Moreover, the competition today has some significant new twists. Most  markets will soon be international because of decreasing transportation and  communication costs and the increasing export orientation of business. The  global economy will make sure that competitors are likely to come across the  ocean as well as from across town. Successful organisations will be those who  can change in response to the competition. Organisations that are not ready for  these new sources of competition in the next decade may not exist for long.
  3. Social Changes: Social and cultural environment also suggest some changes  that the organisations have to adjust for. There are a lot of social changes due to  spread of education, knowledge and a lot of government efforts. Social equality  e.g. equal opportunities to women, equal pay for equal work, has posed new  challenges for the management. The management has to follow certain social  norms in shaping its employment, marketing and other policies.
  4. Political Forces: Political environment within and outside the country have  an important impact on business especially the transnational corporations. The  interference of the government in business has increased tremendously in most  of the countries. The corporate sector is regulated by a lot of laws and  regulations. The organisations do not have any control over the political and  legal forces, but they have to adapt to meet the pressure of these forces.  In our country, the economic policy has liberalized the economy to  a large extent. Many of the regulatory laws have been amended to reduce the  interference of the Government in business. An organisation is also affected by  the world politics. Some of the changes in the world politics which have affected  business all over the world are e.g. the reunification of Germany, Iraq’s invasion  of Kuwait, the break of Soviet Union etc.

2. Internal Forces for  Organizational Change

Internal forces for organizational change  are too many and it is very difficult to list them  comprehensively. However, major internal causes are explained as follows:

  1. Nature of the Work Force: The nature of work force has changed over a  passage of time. Different work values have been expressed by different  generations. Workers who are in the age group of 50 plus value loyalty to their  employers. Workers in their mid thirties to mid forties are loyal to themselves  only. The youngest generation of workers is loyal to their careers.  The profile of the workforce is also changing fast. The new generation  of workers have better educational qualifications, they place greater emphasis on  human values and question authority of managers. Then behavior has also  become very complex and leading them towards organisational goals is a  challenge for the managers. The employee turnover is also very high which  again puts strain on the management. The work force is changing, with a rapid  increase in the percentage of women employees, which in turn means, more dual  career couples. Organisations have to modify transfer and promotion policies as  well as make child care and elder care available, in order to respond to the needs  of two career couple.
  2. Change in Managerial Personnel: Change in managerial personnel is  another force which brings about change in organisation. Old managers are  replaced by new managers which is necessitated because of promotion,  retirement, transfer or dismissal. Each managers brings his own ideas and way  of working in the organisation. The informal relationships change because of  changes in managerial personnel. Sometimes, even though there is no change in  personnel, but their attitudes change. As a result, the organisation has to change  accordingly.  Changes in the organisation are more fast when top executives change.  Change in top executives will lead to important changes in the organisation in  terms of organisation design, allocation of work to individuals, delegation of  authority, installation of controls etc. All these changes will be necessitated  because every top executive will have his own style and he will like to use his  own ideas and philosophies.
  3. Deficiencies in Existing Management Structure: Sometimes changes are  necessary because of some deficiencies in the existing organisational structure,  arrangement and processes. These deficiencies may be in the form of  unmanageable span of management, larger number of managerial levels, lack of  coordination among various departments, obstacles in communication,  multiplicity of committees, lack of uniformity in policy decisions, lack of  cooperation between line and staff and so on. However, the need for change in  such cases goes un-recognised until some major crisis occurs.
  4. To Avoid Developing Inertia: In many cases, organisational changes take  place just to avoid developing inertia or inflexibility. Conscious managers take  into account this view that organisation should be dynamic because any single  method is not the best tool of management every time. Thus, changes are  incorporated so that the personnel develop liking for change and there is no  unnecessary resistance when major changes in the organisation are brought  about.

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