Change Management: Nature and Characteristics

Meaning and Definition of Change Management

Change management is structured approach to shifting/ transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. It is an organizational process aimed at empowering employees to accept and embrace changes in their current business environment in project management, change management refers to a project management process where changes to a project are formally introduced and approved.

The change is one of the most critical aspect of effective management. It is the coping process of moving from the present state to a desired state that individuals, groups and organizations undertake in response to various internal and external factors that alter current realities.

According to Kostka and Monch___” Change management means to plan, to initiate, to realize, to reflect and to stabilize fundamental and far-reaching change process. Change management aims on a mid-term to long-term basis at effective changes of behaviour patterns and abilities in order to optimize process and communication structures. For this an integrative approach of the re-organization is necessary”.

According to Gabler___” Change management is the strategy of planned and systematic change, which is achieved by the influence of the organizational structure, corporate culture and individual behaviour, under the greatest possible participation of the employees”.

Nature/ Characteristics of Change Management

  1. Change Disturbs Old Equilibrium: When change occurs in any part of the organization, it disturbs the old equilibrium necessitating the development of a new equilibrium. The type of new equilibrium depends on the degree of change and its impact on the organization.
  2. Change Affects Whole Organization: Any change may affect the whole organization; some parts of the organization may be affected more, other less; some parts are affected directly, others indirectly.
  3. Change is a Continuous process: Organizational change is a continuous process. However, some change which are of minor type may be absorbed by the existing equilibrium; others, which are major ones may require special change efforts.
  4. Change may be Reactive or Proactive: When change is brought about due to the pressure of external forces, it is called reactive change. Proactive change is initiated by the management on its own to increase organizational effectiveness.
  5. Change is Perceptual and Behaviour: It is a way of thinking and a set of behaviours to enact that thinking.
  6. Change is Natural, as is Death: IT is the rule, not the exception,Slow change, which does not characterize many contemporary organizations, seems easier to adjust than rapid change, Which we often equate with disruption.
  7. Change may be planned or Unplanned: Planned change is deliberately shaped by those within an organization, Unplanned change is prompted by force outside an organization, whose response is reactive rather than proactive.

Principles of Change Management

Adopting these principles in both spirit and practice will enhance significantly your chances of success. These principles are:

  1. Sponsorship: The change program has the visible support of key decision-makers throughout the organization and resources are committed to the program.
  2. Planning: Planning is conducted methodically before program implementation and committed to writing. Plans are agreed with major stakeholders and objectives, resources, roles and risks are clarified.
  3. Measurement: Program objectives are stated in measurable terms and program progress is monitored and communicated to major stakeholders.
  4. Engagement: Stakeholders are engaged in genuine two-way dialogue in an atmosphere of openness, mutual respect and trust.
  5. Support Structures: Program implementers and change recipients are given the resources and supporting systems they require during and after change implementation.