Managing Organizational Change During Turbulent Times: A Socio-Psychological Perspective

Managing Organizational Change During Turbulent Times: A Socio-Psychological Perspective

Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-7509-6.ch001
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During an organizational change, the main objective of change management actions is to generate and sustain a change commitment among the change recipients in order to increase the probability of success. This chapter therefore aims to present the antecedents, dynamics, and consequences of organizational change at a psychological and relational level, in a complex, uncertain, ambiguous, and unprecedented context. It focuses in particular on the organizational, interpersonal, and individual factors that favor coping with a turbulent scenario. This chapter shows how to develop organizational reliability, foster knowledge sharing, and adopt appropriate leadership models. Finally, the purpose of the chapter is to highlight the individual factors that favor or, conversely, hinder organizational change.
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The lock-down and other limitations due to the Covid-19 pandemic are a prime example of such a scenario.

A VUCA scenario is itself a source of change, with varying levels of predictability and intensity. Furthermore, the response to this scenario consists of frequent, continuous or discontinuous, radical or incremental organizational changes (Cummings & Worley, 2015; Senior, 2002). Organizations that want to deal with change successfully must therefore prepare for the change, developing management strategies based on reliability. They must also oversee change and its effects at all levels of organizational functioning (cultural, interpersonal, individual). A VUCA scenario therefore poses multiple challenges to changing organizations.

Managing the Impact on Strategy

Change management has been defined as “the process of continually renewing an organization's management, structure, and capabilities to meet the ever-changing needs of external and internal customers” (Moran & Brightman, 2001: 111). According to Burnes (2004), change is an ever-present feature of organizational life, both at an operational and strategic level. Therefore, no organisation should harbour doubt about the importance of its ability to identify where it needs to be in the future and how to manage the changes needed to get there. Consequently, organizational change cannot be separated/it is almost impossible to separate from organizational strategy, or vice versa (Burnes, 2004; Rieley & Clarkson, 2001).

Preparing for Constant Change

Early approaches to organizational change management and theories emerging from that research have suggested that organizations can not be effective or improve performance if they are in a state of constant change (Rieley & Clarkson, 2001). It has been argued that people need routines to be effective, and to be able to improve performance (Luecke, 2003). However, it has more recently been argued that it is vital for organizations that their population is able to effectively undergo constant change (Burnes, 2004; Rieley & Clarkson, 2001). While Luecke (2003) suggests that a state of constant change can become a routine in its own right, Leifer (1989) perceives change as a normal and natural response to internal and environmental conditions.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Change Commitment: This refers to an intention to implement a change that is shared across members of an organization.

Intention To Quit: The desire is to stop working for an organization is what literature refers to as turnover intention or intention to quit (ITQ).

Change Cynicism: This is a construct that has two elements: a pessimistic outlook for successful change and blame placed on “those responsible” for lacking the motivation and/or the ability to effect successful change.

Readiness to Change: The extent to which an individual or individuals are cognitively inclined to accept, embrace, and adopt a particular plans to purposefully alter the status quo.

Change Recipients: An individual or group of people who the organization must influence to initiate change.

Organizational Reliability: The abilities to anticipate and explore potential and occurring hazards, prevent and resolve disruptions, and learn from the problems in order to maintain a proper organizational performance in both normal and abnormal situations.

Change Agent: An individual who promotes and supports a new way of doing something within the company. This can be the use of a new process, the adoption of a new management structure or the transformation of an old business model to a new one.

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