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Implementation of Change Management
Change is indeed fundamental in life. The reality of complexity and volatility in the environment (external or internal) is that organizations and individuals are constantly under pressure to change in one form or another. Change can be fast or slow, perceptible or imperceptible, minor or substantial.
Vecchio (2006) argues conclusively that all organizations (profit or non-profit, military or insurgent corporations) have no choice but to withstand environmental (internal and external) pressures. This is a compelling case for “change or die” (Vecchio, 2006:365).
Pressure to change can be overt or implicit. Managers are expected to anticipate and guide the process of change so that organizations benefit from it. Infact Pantea (Second) from Aard University, Romania suggests that the basis of Lewin’s change process model is that the change process ultimately involves learning experiences as well as the desirability of abandoning “current attitudes, behaviors or organizational practices”.
The forces of change can sometimes be daunting and can include changing economic conditions, changing consumer preferences, technological and scientific factors, globalization and competition, and last but not least, changes in the legal landscape.
Responding to the forces of change may require strategic or operational change. Strategic change is organizational wide and related to organizational transformation. While strategic change has a long-term focus, operational change has an immediate impact on the performance of a part of the organization. Operational change focuses on elements such as new systems, procedures, structures or technology. Organizational change can be static (Lewin’s model) or dynamic (Continuous Change Process Model).
Managing change requires strategic thinking and planning, good implementation and stakeholder consultation. The desired change must be realistic, achievable and realistic.
Lewin’s view of the change process provides a tool or model to identify the need for change, implement it, and monitor it. (Lewin, 1951). Armstrong (2006) identifies several models of change, including those of Bechard (1969), Turley (1979), Quinn (1980), and Bandura (1986).
Lewin’s process model of planned change has the following assumption:
1. The change process involves new learning as well as a paradigm shift from current attitudes, behaviors and organizational practices.
2. The emergence of change is due to the presence of motivation for change. This is crucial in the process of change.
3. People are central to organizational change. Whatever change is desired at the end of the day, the target of change is individuals.
4. The expediency of the goals of the change, no matter how intense, does not exclude the existence of resistance to the changes.
5. If change is to be effective, new behaviors, attitudes, and organizational practices must be reinforced.
Lewin’s planned model of change includes three stages described as freezing, changing, and refreezing. During the freezing stage, awareness of changes is needed. The balance that supports existing practices, behaviors and attitudes must change.
Data collection may be necessary at this stage for further analysis so that the need for change is evident to all. In the changing stage, the goal is to transform people, structure, tasks and technologies, as stated in Vecchio (2006: 373). The refreeze stage requires evaluating the results in order to make the necessary changes.
New responses can be developed based on new information received. Reecho (2006:374) identified forces of resistance to change that include: employee desires for security, satisfaction with the status quo, narrow power to change, group inertia, threatened expertise, threatened power, and changes in resource allocation.
CHANGE MANAGEMENT AT ADESHINA ADELEKE AND COMPANY
Adeshina Adeleke & Company is a group of professionals specializing in property services, a one line firm headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. Adeshina Adeleke and Company have branches in Abuja and Porthacourt, Nigeria and have developed competencies in Agency, Valuation and Facilities Management.
It has a diversified yet cohesive workforce. Its workforce is diverse in terms of gender and ethnic groups. The company has a flat and yet optimally centralized structure. At the top of the structure is the chief consultant who is the executive director.
Heads of subdivisions/branches are subordinate to him. It has a strong and strategic alliance culture. In terms of strategic grouping, the firm belongs to the small and medium business group and operates in the services segment of the property industry.
Adeshina Adeleke and company are affected by the forces of change, both in a systematic and unsystematic sense. The current economic downturn is having a major impact on the Nigerian economy, resulting in a lack of liquidity in the real estate market. The effect of illiquidity is the high inventory of properties for sale and rent in Adeshina Adeleke Property Bulletin.
Sales and rentals are down and are consistent in the quarter. Sales teams were not meeting their goals. The result of the performance variance analysis led to the need for strategic and operational changes on the part of the firm. As a firm, we were caught off guard because the scenario we found ourselves in was never anticipated.
Management felt the need to increase sales and profitability as well as move the firm through a necessary transformation. Although at that time we were neither guided nor constrained by any model of desired change management, it would be useful to analyze Lewin’s planned change process to analyze the change management process of Adeshina Adeleke and company.
To begin the freeze phase, the firm’s leadership created an awareness of the need for change, first among management employees and then among sales teams. The results of three months’ work were discussed and analyzed at the management meeting.
Management as a whole was created to understand the emerging pattern and sensitize the need for a turnaround. Management personnel were subsequently assigned to meet with sales teams and middle managers to educate them on the firm’s plight and the need to develop a sense of urgency for change.
After a consensus was reached on the need for change, a committee of management and personnel was formed to study the firm’s situation in depth in order to propose solutions. The committee’s recommendation includes the following:
• Extensive consultation with the ranks to sell the change to the majority of employees, especially influential individuals who can form a coalition to resist the change. It is important that such groups cooperate in the process of change.
• Members of the sales team will be sent for training to acquire further skills in the field of marketing, especially sales during economic downturns.
• The Abuja Branch Manager will be replaced by the Portacourt Branch Manager making waves in Porthacourt.
• A third of the sales force should work on a commission basis to reduce overhead, especially during the transition period.
• That networking and cold calling should take a decisive place before the media campaign
• Our media campaign must continue.
• The interventionist or change agent must be empowered to lead the change.
The committee’s report was accepted and an HR practitioner was appointed to lead the change. Suffice it to say that we are still in the evolving stages of the project. Sales staff are trained and receive training both outside and in the factory. Consultations are underway to move to commission-based states.
The committee reviews our business process and value chain activities to eliminate non-productive activities. A study of the contribution of strategic business units is also considered in order to make decisions on their relevance.
The performances of our strategic group members are studied with curiosity. Our IT department is looking for an opportunity to massively deploy e-commerce solutions for increased performance.
The firm has not yet passed the refreeze stage, rather it is still in the transition stage. Time will tell whether these measures are worth the hurdle and whether new knowledge will follow.
I think that the change project provides an opportunity to further analyze and make decisions on data from all aspects of the firm and element. It seems that the change project tends to be financial rather than the human element that ultimately drives change.
1. Armstrong, M., (2006) Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, 10th Edition, Kogan Page. London.
2. Bandura, A, (1986) The Social Limits of Thought and Action, Prentice-Hall, Eaglewood Cliff, NJ. In Armstrong, M., (2006) A Handbook Of Human Resource Management Practice, 10th Ed, Kogan Page. London.
3. Beckhard, R,. (1969) Organization Development: Strategy and Models, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA.
4. Lewin, K (1951) Field Theory in Social Science, Harper & Row, New York. In Armstrong, M., (2006) A Handbook Of Human Resource Management Practice, 10th Ed, Kogan Page. London
5. Pantea, MIIVV (nd) “Managing Change In Organizations. Aard University, Arad, Romania.
6. Quinn, JB, (1980) “Managing Strategic Change”, Sloane Management Review, 11(4/5), pp 3-30. In Armstrong, M., (2006) A Handbook Of Human Resource Management Practice, 10th Ed, Kogan Page. London
7. Thurley, K (1979) Supervision: A reappraisal, Heinemann, London. In Armstrong, M., (2006) A Handbook Of Human Resource Management Practice, 10th Ed, Kogan Page. London.
8. Vecchio, RP (2006). Organizational behavior: basic concepts. 6th Edition, Thomson Southwest
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