Sources of Resistance to Change in the Ajax Minerals Exercise
According to the information provided, Ajax is a mining company based in US and has of late been facing resistance from a number of quarters. Such resistance is mainly from the management itself and the workers. For example, the management is reluctant to make changes in the way it conducts its activities despite the fact that there has been a lot of competition in the market. This is because it does not know how the workers will respond. The uncertainty in response has been occasioned by the fact that in the past, the said workers have resisted on any proposed change in the management. The second source of resistance is as a result of poor management-run relations in the company. Workers have the feeling that whenever the management proposes any changes, such changes are likely to affect them adversely, and they could include a pay cut or even a layoff. This explains why they disdain such a change because the effects are likely to be draconian on their side.
How the management dealt with the resistance:
Ajax management felt that this could not continue forever. Something had to be done because the resistance would not allow the company to go forward. Some initiatives were therefore necessary. As part of the initiatives, the management decided to meet the workers every week during the so-called interactive sessions. During these interactive sessions, the management would allow each worker a chance to speak their minds out concerning what they felt was not done in the right way. The management would also seize the opportunity to explain why the change was the only way to go, considering the status of the company and the inability to go forward in such a situation. Examples of companies that had also been in the same situation but as a result of the change they registered big progress were also given. Workers were also allowed to access the company financial records and rate its performance and predict on possible scenarios regarding the company’s future. The company, therefore, hopes that these initiatives will enable the company goes forward.
Sources of resistance in the Perrier Case
Perrier was a company that manufacturers mineral water. However, all is not well in the company because of a lot of resistance from the employees of the company. Due to tough times in the market and want for reorganization in the company, the company management has already entered into talks with Nestle Company in an attempt to be absorbed by the said company. This has been necessitated by need for organizational performance by the company. However, this has not been received well by the employees because they do not know how the proposed change will affect them. This because the proposed chance may necessitate the need for new skilled which they do not have, or even lead to a reduction in salary, rewards, status benefits and interest. This has been aggravated by the fact that the company management never communicates with the management in the right way that they should communicate with them.
The company has also not informed the employees about the most likely changes that may be occasioned by the proposed absorption of the company by Nestle Company and how their rights and interests in the company are likely to be affected. This has led to a lot of resistance from the said employees. Worse still, the employees belong to a trade union going by the name CGT. The union has posed threats of resistance to the company, and the company has, therefore, not been able to develop in any way. The company is, therefore, at a standstill.
Following this, it has been suggested that the company improves on the way it communicates with its employees because most of the resistance has been occasioned by failure of the company to communicate with the employees concerning the proposed changes to the company and how it is likely to affect them. Had the company communicated as it has been suggested, chances are that the employees would not have resisted the said changes. Moreover, it has been suggested that the company management improves on its negotiation skills with its employees. In a negotiation, there is always a win-win situation. No party should lose to the other. Put in this context, the management should have come with a viable alternative to the employees in case there is a merger with the proposed company. Communication is paramount for the management because, without it, the employees will obviously join hands to oppose the attempt by the management to impose any changes to the company that are likely to affect their statuses as employees.
Comparison between the approaches taken by the management in both cases
Ajax Company opted to include its employees in interactive sessions where they would be given an opportunity to speak out to the management and also for the management to hear from them. However, Perrier chose to improve on its communication strategies with the employees, negotiation with the employees and increase their participation in the company’s decision making. Both companies took strategies that best fitted their scenarios so no one company can be said to have taken a better approach in imposing change to the company. It all depended on the nature of the resistance and the best way for the management to approach its work force. The management in both cases made use of viable approaches that at long last ensured that the change was imposed.
Some adjustments that Ajax management can make to improve its change strategy
It is trite law that strategy follows structure (Schlesinger 2006). This is to mean that any change in structure that the company management must be followed by a change in strategy. It is, therefore, important that the management considers making subsequent and appropriate changes in their strategies of change whenever they change the structure of their company. In the case of Ajax, the proposed change in the structure of the company must be followed by an appropriate change in the strategy of change. Without a change in strategy, the workers will be reluctant to adapt the change. The initiatives taken by the management are commendable. The decision to incorporate the workers in interactive sessions and an open book approach will ensure that the workers are constructively engaged in the management process and, therefore, feel part of the company.
However, there are other approaches that the management could adopt. Harold Wilson opines that the person who is reluctant to change is said to be the main architect to decay. In most instances, workers resist to change of strategies in their companies due to lack of trust in the management. This lack of trust may be occasioned by the previous conduct of the management. In the case of Ajax, for example, the workers are reluctant because the management had in the past been cutting their pay and also laying some of them off. They are, therefore, disdaining the same may happen if they allow the company to change its strategies. In such a case, Ajax must build trust in its workers to assure them that any proposed change will be done bona fide and uberima fidei and therefore there is no cause for alarm (Harold L. Sirkin 2005). This could be done by holding regular meetings with the workers and enhancing its downward communication models.
The manner in which Ajax management team communicates with its employees should also be looked at. This because it matters a lot. A management that has established models of downward communication with its workers will be successful in its operations. The converse is also true. The company should, therefore, ensure that the models and channels that it employs in communicating with the workers are convenient and that they allow for immediate feedback. This way, the company management, will be able to know what the workers think about the management. After getting the feedback, the management must ensure that they respond to any issues raised therein accordingly and promptly. This is because the issues raised might require an immediate response from the management and any delay may occasion restlessness on the part of the employees.
Finally, Ajax management needs to invest a lot of time and finances in engaging its stakeholders in dialogues. Stakeholders include its workers, its creditors, its suppliers, its debtors, and its shareholders, who play a very big role in ensuring that the company is on the right track. This can only be done by seeking their views before making any decision regarding the affairs of the company. This will ensure that no late grievances which could hamper the progress of the company are raised. Consultation will also ensure that the stakeholders are not resistant to any proposed change because they have been consulted beforehand. Stakeholders may be consulted in regular stakeholder meetings intended to seek their views. Such meetings must be held as planned and should neither be delayed nor cancelled. This will boost the morale of all the stakeholders, and they will never be reluctant to any future change in strategy.
Some possible adjustments to Perrier Company
John Potter and Leonard Schlesinger have suggested a number of approaches that the management of a company may adopt when it appears that the employees are resistant to change. Some of those approaches are peaceful while others are coercive (Schlesinger 2006). First of all, the management should try and diagnose the cause of such resistance, and this could be as a result of misunderstanding or lack of trust on the part of the management or low tolerance from the employees that may have been occasioned by the acts of the management too. The step that follows should be to find ways of dealing with the resistance. This could be through improvement of the manner in which the company management communicates with its employees or conducting education to the employees that is aimed at letting them know what is at stake for them in case of the proposed change.
The other way in which the management can deal with the resistance could be by negotiating with the employees to find ways of reaching a consensus and an amicable solution. Additionally, employees can be coerced to agree on the proposed change through issuing threats to them, transferring them or even firing them for the sake of the company.
Harold L. Sirkin, Perry Keenan, and Alan Jackson. "The Hard Side of Change Management." havard Business Review, 2005.
Schlesinger, P. John Kotter and Leonard A. "Choosing Strategies For Change." Havard Business School Publishing Corporation, 2006.