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UNCW MSA 516 - Change management in Process Change

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J OURNAL O NLINE1FEATUREChange is said to be the only permanent situation in lifebut, surprisingly, it is one decision that managementfinds difficult to make and implement—and when achange is made, it is often one of the most resisted decisionsby employees. However, change is inevitable; therefore, to beeffective, management must anticipate and prepare for it. Challenges of ChangeChange is a departure from an existing process or way ofdoing something, to a new process or a different way of doingthe same thing. A process change can be an amendment toexisting processes, an introduction of a new process or both.For example, a manual system can be redefined or automated,or an automated system can be upgraded, complemented orreplaced entirely with new packages. These changes are alsoknown as business process reengineering (BPR). Changes in any form are intended to better the organizationover the short term and/or long term. However, no matter howmarketable change ideas are, they can be frustratedpurposefully or inadvertently if they are not well managedduring all stages. Poor management often causes the hugeinvestments in the change process and the high expectationsthat come with the ideas to turn to huge disappointments.Some changes are introduced with fanfare, but not longafter commencement of their implementation, they meetimpediments that would have been avoidable or surmountableif they had been identified and managed promptly in the earlystages. Instances abound where organizations’ accounts remainirreconcilable due to process automation, system upgrade orintroduction of entirely new packages. There is no doubt thatsuch a process change at the point of conception, evaluationand/or implementation requires a great deal of financialresources and management time and leads to highexpectations. Therefore, any failure can be disastrous. Toprevent such a failure, attention should be given to changemanagement at all stages.Change Management DefinedChange management can be defined as the process ofplanning, organizing, coordinating and controlling thecompositions of the environment, internal and external, toensure that the process changes are implemented according toapproved plans and the overall objectives of introducing thechanges are achieved with as little disruption as possible. It may be impossible to effect change without anyinconvenience to the existing processes and processors. Ineffect, change management is intended to prevent disruptionsand any other deliberate or inadvertent acts that wouldfrustrate the process change, and to resolve any disruptionsand their causes promptly. In a nutshell, change management helps ensure thatpredetermined objectives of introducing the process change areachieved, and it also helps prevent and resolve:• Conflicts • Service disruption • Culture clashes • Other problems associated with process changeChange management is not restricted to one level ofmanagement; instead, it cuts across the lower, middle and toplevels of management, depending on the circumstances and thelevel of authority at each level.Understanding the Process of ChangeIn describing the psychology of change, the publicationField Theory in Social Science1identifies three stages ofprocess change: unfreezing (overcoming inertia anddismantling the existing mindset), implementation (when thechange occurs—typically a period of confusion) and refreezing(the new mindset is crystallizing and a comfort level isreturning at previous levels).Change must be realistic and attainable. The cooperation ofall stakeholders is a matter of necessity. Instead of forcing achange, it is better to ensure that a reasonable number ofstakeholders buy into the change and the process of effectingthe change. Criticism should be encouraged from theproponents and opponents of the change and should beobjectively analyzed.Every change process should begin with asking at least fourbasic questions: 1. What needs to be changed? Change should not beintroduced into the system just for the sake of it. Changescan be induced from within the organization or outside of it.In either case, the question of what to change is critical. Thequestion is best answered when the limitations of the presentprocess are identified. The answer to this question should beable to address why the change is necessary.2. To what should it be changed? It is one thing to know thatthere is a need to effect changes in the present system, butanother critical question is to what it should be changed.Change cannot be justified if the organization does notknow of a better alternative to the current system/process.The proposed change must offer better benefits to thesystem than the current system does.3. How should this change happen? This question is asrelevant as the first two questions. Some laudable processchanges (that successfully answer the first two questions)end as disasters, and all the management time andinvestments are wasted because the question of how to makethe change happen was not properly addressed. Whateverapproach is adopted to effect the change must address theChange Management in Process ChangeBy Ezekiel Oseni, CISA, ACA, ACIP, ACSJ OURNAL O NLINE2issue of how to ensure no or minimal disruption to thesystem and must effect the change at a minimal cost.4. How can the change be sustained? This question may bethe most critical of the four. The question, if properlyanswered, justifies the wisdom behind the change. The threeprevious questions might be answered correctly, but if thequestion of how to sustain the change is not well addressed,all the efforts are merely a waste in the long run. This is thestage where many process changes face turbulent stormsand, when they fail, it is said they were “not able to standthe test of time.”Stages of Process ChangeThe three stages of effecting process change arepreimplementation, implementation and postimplementation. Pre-implementation Stage This stage can be summarized into three parts: 1. Conception of change idea—This stage is where the needfor process change is realized. The need for change may bedue to an inadequacy in the present system; the need toreduce cost; the desire to improve service delivery, succeedagainst competition or enhance technology (proactivechange); or the need to comply with governmental orregulatory directives (reactive/compliance change).2. Evaluation of the idea—Alternatives are identified andevaluated against predetermined criteria in this phase.


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