1. A need of change arises with the advancement of years. A business is likely to face resistance whenever a need of implementing a change rises. This change resistance is just not always from the employees of the organization but also the various shareholders that may not directly be involved in the change management process but, in some way are being affected by the origination’s strategy and towards implementation of change. Anticipating and understanding resistance is a significant part of change management which will also determine the success of changes implemented in an organization .
Management might face a number of challenges in the process of overcoming resistance to change. Changes might require a change in the attitudes of staff and the way things are done which may lead to denial from staff. Changes may also require training and new skills which may be beyond the capabilities of workers resulting in fear of failure and fear of the 'unknown' among employees. This can be a source of demonization and low morale adversely affecting organizational performance. Due to lack of communication, workers might be unsure of how these changes will affect them and may emphasize on the existing system without realizing the need for change. Due to lack of trust between management and workers, employees may not believe in the changes proposed by the managers . It instills in them a fear of ‘loosing’ (Stimpson & Farquharson, 2010). This may lead to conflict and industrial disputes, in extreme cases. Workers tend to stay away from work and may plan to leave the organization. To reduce the impact of resistance it is important that management involve employees at every stage and ask for their suggestions too. Once management gains trust of workers, overcoming resistance to change will be easier and will improve communication links within an organization. Workers will trust management and their fears will overcome. With workers understanding the need of change, an organization will be able to gain flexibility leading to increased competitiveness in the market. In modern times, a flexible business is more likely to reach the scale of success and earn higher profits (Harrington, 2002). Overcoming resistance to change and creation of a learning culture will help an organization to avail the opportunity . It helps an organization to move fast forward in the increasing globalised and fast moving business world.
2. Steve Jackson has been an effective change agent as he was successful to sell his idea at Western to some extent. Steve Jackson emphasized on the positive aspects of introducing BSO at Western and involved all Western’s professionals, who would be affected by the change along with the support of his seniors, at the decision making stage. He adopted a democratic approach and gave importance to what others think about the change. Change was not imposed but all professionals were given a chance to test BSO themselves. This way everyone believed in the proposed system the same way as Jackson. With detailed discussions and greater communication, Jackson was able to gain staff support. However exception includes resistance faced by Jackson from Mike Barnett who refused to accept the fact that BSO is the right choice for Western and has missed no chance to kill the BSO project. This may hinder the success of BSO at Western.
3. Although Jackson has made all efforts to gain support of his superiors and engineers who would be using BSO at Western. However while having discussion with BSO executives regarding projected costs and product specifications, Jackson could have planned more training sessions for professionals who will be using BSO due to its complicated nature. This would have boosted team confidence as well as confidence of Jackson. Mike Barnett had been complaining about BSO being a wrong choice as it will slow down the system due to additional work. Additional training, communication and coaching would have enable Jackson to convince Barnett towards BSO. Secondly emphasis was on the advantages of BSO rather than why Western must use BSO. The only reason given by Jackson is that BSO is also used by Western’s major competitors. Jackson should have emphasized on the current position and future aims of Western and why is the change necessary.
4. Barnett has refused to accept the change and is not ready to give a thought towards Jackson’s proposal. One of the reasons behind this resistance is lack of communication and trust between Mike Barnett and Steve Jackson. Despite of working together in the past, Barnett still thinks that Jackson is incompetent and is unlikely to believe in any change brought by him. Due to his negative perception towards Jackson, Barnet ignores the fact that BSO has better capabilities than the current software and is not willing to attend any meetings regarding the change. Due to this mistrust and negative attitude of Barnett, Jackson failed to communicate successfully with him and Barnett kept ignoring his messages. However Jackson tried to encourage Barnett’s involvement by sending him personalized email message but still didn’t get a positive response. While Barnett appearing in Jackson’s office, failed to listen to Jackson effectively. He was not willing to agree with Jackson at all. Communication broke down between Jackson and Barnett due to attitudes and perceptions acting as barrier to effective communication.
5. Jackson must gain confidence of Barnett and improve his personal relations with him. As he’s leading the change, Barnett must believe in Jackson’s intellectual ability and trust Jackson so that he is able to see the possibilities of the new system proposed by him and try the software as all other professionals did. Jackson must stay connected with Barnett and try to identify the reasons why Barnett thinks this way about him. With greater communication Jackson must first clear all misconceptions Barnett has about him and then convince him towards the change. Jackson must value the opinion of Barnett and try to clear his view about BSO through formal or informal meetings with Barnett.
6. Three lessons I learned from this case are as follows
- It is important to make others believe in changes rather than believing ourselves only and imposing it on others. Imposition of changes always leads to greater resistance rather than support.
- Poor relations, perceptions and attitudes may lead to interpersonal communication barriers
- Overcoming resistance is very important or else new system, changes and procedures will lead to failure no matter how beneficial changes are. For this, barriers and hindrances to change should be accurately identified and the change management process should occur at an organizational level to successfully implement change.
David, T. (2004, October). Resistance to Change: Management's Responsibility. Leading Today.
Harrington, H. (2002, September). Managing Resistance to Change. Quality Digest.
Stimpson, P., & Farquharson, A. (2010). Cambridge International AS and ALevel Business Studies. Cambridge University Press.