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Failure Of Organisational Change Business Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 3348 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Introduction to organizational Change:

Now a day’s change in the organisations is really norm because at the moment organisations are facing many factors which are influenced by both the external and internal environment. As we can see that world is changing at very rapid speed so it is very important for any organisation to adapt the changes to survive in this competitive market (Boston, 2000). It is also very vital for any organisation to full fill the needs of their customers to sustain in modern world so for that particular reason they have to take some bold steps by implementing the changes in their Business models this can be according to the current trend in the market, innovations in technology and customers demands. According to the (Caetano, 1999) for the successful Business it is very important to make changes because it is a demand of time. Organizational change is the process of transformation. It may be cause success or failure (Hage, 1999).

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Importance of change:

Different authors explained the importance of change in different way. Change becomes necessary if organization wants to improve its internal and external functionality (caetano, 1999) and if they do not make changes according to the market demand so it will be very difficult for them to survive (Boston, 2000). If the organizations adopt the changes they can compete with their rivals in effective way (Robbins, 1999). According to the senior and fleming, 2006 there are some internal and external forces which always keep their pressure and this can only be done by making wise organizational changes which can balance these forces otherwise organization cannot be run in long term.

Varieties of change:

This is also the fact that the nature of organisational change is very complex but if we want to know the nature of organisational change we must understand the varieties of change. (Grundy’s ,1993). There are some varieties of change which vary to organization and environment. According to Grundy’s, 1993 it is possible to differentiate the change. The first type of change which he defines is “smooth incremental change” which is also called small changes. The nature of such type change is very slow in the process and is also predictable. Such type of changed occurred during 1950’s to early 1970’s in UK and USA but we could hardly see such type in 1990’s. His second variety of change which he named as “bumpy incremental change” organisations uses such type of change when it changes from both its surroundings and within the organisations. The third variety of change is “discontinuous change” this change only occurs when organisation do rapid changes in strategy, cultures or structure. The best examples can be privatization.

Failure of change:

It is obvious that if there is any change to happen there are certain hurdles or certain forces that resist the change which cause the failure of change in the organisation. Resistance is th major factor in failure of change. There are certain reasons which resist the process of change and make it difficult to implement in the organization. So we should understand the resistance to change, what are the sources and reasons of resistance which cause failure to the change.

Resistance to change:

Resistance to change is always a big obstacle for any organization. The main reason for the failure of change is that it is not well understood by the managers or it is not handled properly (Flower, 1962). Many authors have defined resistance to change in many ways but here are some definitions. According to (zander, 1950) resistance is the “behaviour which is intended to protect an individual from the effects of real or imagined change”. But if we look in the organizational context resistance is well defined by Folger and Skalicki “Employee behaviour that seeks to challenge, disrupt or invert prevailing assumptions, discourses, and power relations”

Sources of Resistance:

There are many sources of resistance but here are some fundamental causes of resistance which leads to the failure of change are described by the kotter and Scheslinger (1979). They are as follow:

Self interest of individuals:


Different interpretations:

Low tolerance for change:

Factors of failure:

Below are some of the reasons that can cause failure to change in any organization. They are as follows:

1: Old Way Is Better Than A New Change:

We all are socially interconnected with each other. We have signed a sort of bond with each other. We follow our ancestors and obey what they have left to us. It means that we all are hard wired and are unable to adopt a new way of life. In an organization, if things changes in a new way will harm the company and will definitely suffer the staff. Another problem is that all the staff is well aware and is running the organization on old practises and beliefs so a new change can harm them emotionally and an old staff may leave the organization as they will feel that there is nothing of their interest. Audience will also suffer with a new change as they are using old way. It is also an injustice for those who set the organization with old topology as the will not bear any new change within an organization (Schuler, 2003).

2: Lack Of Competence:

New change in an organization may degrade the competence of the individual within an organization. Staff can feel that a new change may cause problems to their work and can’t cope up with a new change. This change can be new technology or can be a paper based change so will automatically increase burden on each of an individual with an organization. So a new motivator is required which can boost the morale of the staff and also some new training programs has to be arranged as to cope up with new change. Lots of efforts are required to overcome the barrier of new change in an organization (Schuler, 2003).

3: Overloaded and Overwhelmed:

When a new change is introduced in an organization then lots and lots of work has to be done and the most important thing is the motivation required to set the organization up. Fatigue is the main problem when dealing with a new change. A motivator has to keep his/her fingers crossed and will move all lead his/her staff in a dignified manner. Staff can’t afford a new change as they are overwhelmed within an organization because of daily office work and by working leaps and bounds so a motivator or a person who has brought a change can be well aware of fight-or-flight response (Schuler, 2003).

4: Make Sure New Ideas Are Sound:

It is worthwhile and has to be keep in mind by all of the staff within an organization that new change and an idea invoked is well quite enough and will take the organization to the horizons. Sceptics have to be faced with proper attention because doubts can improve the existing change and can improve a new change (Schuler, 2003).

5: Loss of Status or Quality of Life:

New change can reshuffle the organization a bit. Some staff within an organization will gain status and quality of life and some of them will lose the job. Change cannot be for disadvantages as people will suffer and will lose their job and status as they will not be able to cope up with new change (Schuler, 2003).

6: New Change: A Bad Idea:

It is important not to ignore when people are having objections and have rationale reservations. Sometimes people are not being disobedient or afraid when they resist (Schuler, 2003).

7: Threatening The Notions of Themselves:

Sometime’s a change can harm the person as he/she works to do his/her work manually and new change and machinery changes his way of work. He/she is now more reliable on automatic machines rather than of his/her hands so he/she loses sense of identity. He/she thinks that work in the first place has been lost. People think that automatic machineries though reduced burden of work but also this new change can get right to sense of identity and sense of self as a professional. This result in demonization of work as they were doing work in an old way in an organization and they joined that particular organization because of that old way of doing work but a new change get right’s of sense of individuality and this may lead to quit from an organization (Schuler, 2003).

8: New Change Wants New Role Model:

Creating a new possibility that do not currently exist is the dream of a dreamer. A dreamer is person who can see who can see his/her self a new change agent. But it’s a not an easy job. A board has to be set which through which you can express your ideas and can demonstrate how the new way can work. Model has to be put at front of the board which can show all the changes before implementing that change within an organization. Manager should be role models for their subordinates (Kreitner, 2004) (Schuler, 2003).

9: Risk of Change and Risk of Standing Still:

Moving in the direction which is unknown and feeling that everything will be fine without having proof is a risky job. It is obvious that there is a high rate of risk involve in the change process rather than the standing still because you never know what will be the outcomes of that change. Although changes are according to plans but still it cannot be predicted. It is like ice-berg because if you see the ice-berg very small portion is visible and major part is under the water so no one can predict how much it is under the water (Schuler, 2003).

10: Cost:

Bringing the change in the organization can be very costly process because it changes the overall structure of the organization. Costs such as change the technology, training of employees, hiring new staff. Recruitment costs, selection process its self is the costly procedure. So organization has to make the calculations of all these cost and then they can make any decision of bringing changes in the organization (Schuler, 2003).

11: Uncertainty:

The other reason to resist the change is if organization is thinking to bring the change they are not familiar with the outcomes because the future is uncertain. Because we don’t know what will be the future, lack of information of future events (Curtis and white, 2002).

12: Lack of common goal and information:

This is another reason for the failure of change. If individual goals are different from each other it can also lead to resist the change. Lack of information among the employee’s leads to difference in analysis which turns to resistance (Kotter and Schlesinger, 1979).

13: Motivation as source of resistance:

Motivation is used as positive sense but it low motivation can be a reason for the failure of change. Lack of motivation is also another barrier in the failure of change process. Staff should be well motivated. It can have great impact on the implementation of change ideas (Hultman, 1996). Needs of employees should be well fulfilled otherwise they will resist the change process. If we see the Maslow model of hierarchy of needs (1970) basic needs like food, shelter are also important but if we look in context of organizational life need of self worth and self esteem, job security plays key role in motivation. So managers must take care of these needs that by brining the change in the organization these needs are not affected otherwise employees will resist the change.

How to overcome these barriers:

These barriers can be reduced or eliminated by implementing different organizational models and different strategies.

Organizational models:

Force field theory:

It was constructed by Lewin (1951). In any organisation there are two forces one is drivers and other is resistance. And if these forces are balance no change can occurs in the organisation and this state is known as inertia. If management is keen to bring the change in the organization so the force of change must be greater than the force of resistance (Lewin, 1951). If this theory is implemented in the organization there much chances to bring the change in the organization.

Kurt Lewin three step model:

If management wants to break the state of inertia, so they should consider the three step of Lewin three step model (1951). The very first step is the unfreezing step in which awareness should be created about the change. That what will be the benefits of the change, why the change is necessary for organization etc. The second step is the move, in which management take action to participate all their employees in the process of change. Third and last step of lewin model is refreezing step in which top management finalize the change and is implemented.

Kotters 8 stages (1996): change process can also be handling in much more better way for this particular reason kotter gave his 8 points. Which are as follows:

Establish a sense of urgency

Create the guiding coalition

Developing a vision and strategy

Communicating the change vision

Empowering broad-based action: Getting rid of obstacles

Generating short-term wins

Consolidating gains and producing more change

Institutionalising New approaches in the Culture.

Strategies to overcome these barriers:


Power plays vital role in any kind of organization. This can be use full tool to overcome the resistance because it has the ability to make things happen from which organization can achieve its goals and objectives (Buchanan Huczynski 2004). If person A has the power in the organization so he can influence the other person B and that person will act according to the wishes of person A (Robbins, 2005). This we can see where the unions operate. If union president have the power to influence so he can overcome the issue of resistance. Because workers think that our president is the right person who can raise our wise to top management. So it is very necessary for the managers to give empowering the president of unions.


Leaderships play its major role in the in the resolving any issue within the organization. It can influence the people in the organization in fulfilling its goals (Naylor, 2004). There should be role model in the organization which can influence its decision on the others. Leadership plays effective part in the organization. And it can bring effective changes in the organization (Kennedy, 2000). Nelson mendela is the biggest example of leadership whose leadership and charisma qualities brought change for their people. Addressing the issue of overcoming the resistance is lengthy process and can be resolved by the effective leadership. This is also the fact that people resist the change and they don’t like the most radical changes so in such situation leader is demanded to play its role like just a physician is required to solve the medical problem (Heifetz, 1997)


Employees should work in the form of team without any conflicts because this is the only way in which employees can work together for common objective and values (Morgan, 1986). If management is bringing the change in the organization it is very necessary to take all staff in to the confidence, they should be given briefing on the change process. They should work according to Tuchman’s model for team (Tuckman, 1965). In which he describes that team should work in four stages Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. So they can achieve their goals and objectives in better way.


There should be good communication within the top management and the sub-ordinates. It is duty of top management to brief their sub-ordinates about the changes which are going to make in the organization. They should be participated in the process of decision making. Not only internal staff but also stake holders should be briefed about the changes.


Culture includes norms, values, basic assumptions and artefacts. It’s a kind of social learning. This teaches how to solve the core issues within the organization.

Training Programs:

Training programs should be implemented to overcome failure and should be evaluated over time. By doing this lack of competence of the people can be minimized and fear of losing job by personal can be reduced. By arranging and implementing training programs, staff morale will be raised and they will deliver what is required in an organization (Schuler, 2003.)

Focussing on a change:

Get as much information as you can, and deliver it to the staff very fast so that they would get involved in a change and get along with the things within an organization (Schuler, 2003.)

Change Gives Benefits:

The only way to help people understand is to know how this change can be beneficial to an organization. How this change will give rewards and it does costs. People who brought the change should have clear definition and vision about the change and should focus on what fruitful result will bring this change to an organization. And then these changes should be addressed to all the staff and give confidence to the people who are dealing with this change is that this change will hopefully give larger benefits (Schuler, 2003).


It is very important that employees should trust their mangers in bringing the change. It is obvious that employees will resist the change when they are not informed about the needs, purpose and outcomes of the change (Daft, 2000). There should be relationship of trust between managers and employees otherwise they will resist the change which will lead towards failure.

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Special managerial actions and processes are required to take initiatives for failure of change. Negative effects can be minimized by proper understanding of resistance to change and hence benefits can be achieved by determining the change and its architect. Change needs high rate of participation and intense level communication and role of the leader will be the critical outcome to the resistance of change. Resistance to change is generally higher in premeditated changes than in evolutionary ones. Change is needed in every organization because Organization cannot be survived without a change. There come certain hurdles or barriers to implement the change which can be done by overcoming the culture distances, cost, adopting new model, getting on with new things etc. These are the changes which every organization faces when their upper organizational level means manager or initiator wants to make some change. He/she should be very determined and have very opened prospective for the change. He/she has to face all the resistance to the change because a change can be a failure or a success. After deciding that organization needs a change then his/her foremost duty is to brief the staff and tell them about the change and have to deal with all the consequences. He/she has to make his mind for resist to change. Strategies like teamwork, communication, culture, thinking that change only gives benefits to an organization and proper training programs for the staff have to be announced as to overcome the barriers for change. A good manager always thinks about a positive change in an organization because change is the only thing through which an organization can survive in a market. Every organization is in the run to lead the world but a success goes to those who are determined and implement a change and eliminates discrepancies within an organization so that world is always behind them and this can be achieved by proper planning, and strategies to overcome the failure of change.


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