Organizational Change Plan for Cowboy Bank Inc. - Part 4


2.6 Possible Reactions to the Change Program

This document has mentioned that the change program will affect different personnel differently. Consequently, the reactions will also be varied and require different attention from the management. Change results in uncertainty. Uncertainty often causes fear and irrational behavior. Therefore, Cowboy bank should be ready to deal with different reactions that could affect the implementation of the changes. The reactions identified here are common to several organizations that have undertaken such drastic change and include those foreseen by the leadership team.

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2.6.1 Positive Reactions

a) Acceptance and Ownership by Personnel

The best scenarios for an organization is where employees adopt the new ideology and structure that the management drafts. Taking the Cowboy bank scenario, the employees might all welcome the change program. All the stakeholders not only passively agree to the changes but also actively pursue the achievement of the organization’s goals. This means that personnel relocate without resistance, they accept their new posts, some take up training to adapt to the new situation. This scenario would involve the least amount of resources since the leadership team would not be required to consistently supervise the workers.

However, this scenario suggests a sort of utopia in the bank’s environment. Therefore, it is not likely that it can be fully achieved. All people have personal and professional ambitions that would hinder the achievement of this scenario (Denton, Zeytinoglu & Davies, 2003).

Nonetheless, the organization can achieve something close to this by providing assistance to the personnel in their transition. This might include supporting relocation efforts and paying for adequate training for those undertaking job change. Proper communication of the change program is also essential in the achievement of such a scenario, or close.

b) Swift Transition of employees

A swift transition is desirable for every change program. This involves transition between models without any substantial loss to the organization. This means that the transition goes on with minimum disruption of business (Reason, 2000). Cowboy bank’s swift transition would involve the personnel taking up their new jobs without resistance and being able to efficiently perform at their new tasks.

There are several hindrances to this scenario. Most of them involve the performance of the employees. Due to job change, it would take a while for every employee to settle into their new job. This means that the transition has to allow for adjustment time. The organization can also make the transition smoother by assisting the personnel with relocation and training. Morale boosting is also a factor into the swift transition to the new Cowboy bank model.

2.6.2 Negative Reactions

a) Resistance to Change

This is the highest hindrance to the change program. A substantial number of people do not react well to change (Oreg, 2003). It is safe to assume that Cowboy bank employs a number of rigid employees. This scenario is not only possible but considerably probable. According to Humphreys (2003), many organizations have been used to the top down top down approach in decision making. This is an approach where the leadership team makes all the decisions, even those directly impacting on the personnel and impose them on the employees.

Such an approach increases the likelihood of resistance to change. Failure to consult the employees can have unintended consequences on the whole organization. A scenario where the employees have a collective resistance to change can be catastrophic to the organization. To remedy or avoid such a scenario, the organization should consult the employees on substantial changes. The situation can also be remedied by proper communication of the change program. This ensures that every employee understand the plan. It also allows for enquiries and clarification to personnel.

b) Mass Resignation of Personnel

Perhaps the most catastrophic situation to Cowboy bank would be mass resignation of employees in reaction to the change program. The nature of the lending business is dependent on personnel. During the transition, the employees are expected to continue providing services to customers. In the case where employees take off certainly, the operations of the bank are crippled. Failure to provide services to customers affects revenue collection as well the bank’s reputation.

Such a situation can be caused by various factors that disappoint the employees. It can also be caused by individuals leaving for jobs in other organizations to avoid the consequences of job change. The most crippling reaction would be managers moving to other organizations. This would destabilize the business environment.

Remedying such a situation is difficult. A solution would be if Cowboy bank had a continuous assessment of employees such that it knows which employees are viable for leadership. This way it can make fast promotions that will not compromise the business. A database of available hires is also helpful. It affords the bank a way of making quick hires without compromising on quality of work (Avgerou, 2008).

It should be noted, though, that such a situation is unlikely in the current economic environment. Unless there’s stiff competition for rare skills in the industry, such an occurrence is unlikely (ZHANG & LIAO, 2008).

c) Trade Union Actions

A consistent threat to any executive action is trade union reaction. Laws in many states provide the right for any employee to form and join a trade union. The rights of employees are covered by the labor laws (Guest, 2007). Therefore, a likely scenario in the case of Cowboy bank is resistance from trade unions. Depending on the structure of the change plan, employees under trade unions might go to court to stop such actions. This will considerably slow down the organizational change and in case the courts bar the bank from making the changes, halt the program.

This scenario can be avoided by involving the employees or their union representatives in the discussions leading to the structuring of the change program. However, in the implementation stage, this hindrance can be remedied by involving the employees in negotiations to find a middle ground or something close to it. If the basis for the changes and the change program has fair treatment of the employees, it is unlikely that the organization will lose in court. Also if employees in Cowboy bank are not unionized, this hindrance might be reduced or non-existence.

2.7 Communication Media

The importance of communication in change management cannot be stressed enough. Communication is the factor that determines whether the organizational change program will succeed or fail. Communication networks determine how data streams from top management to low level employees and the other way round. The effectiveness of communication within the organization is determined by a number of factors. Transitions are made considerably easier by effective communication (Ryan & Bernard, 2010). Effective communication ensures information reaches the target audience in good time and in the form it was produced. Effective communication ensures that the level of understanding of various issues within the organization is as high as possible (Baltes, Dickson, Sherman, Bauer, & LaGanke, 2002). Cowboy bank transition period is going to be faced by a number of challenges some of which are as a result of communication failures. This plan, therefore, provides suggestions for appropriate communication media for change management.

According to Daft and Lengel (1984), the more uncertain and ambiguous a task being communicated is, the better the media that suits it. This is referred to as the media richness theory. It describes a communication medium by its capacity to reproduce information sent through it. A simple explanation of the theory is that if the information being communicated is not easily understood by the audience or if it might have adverse effects on the audience, the strongest medium should be used. For instance, it is better to deliver bad news via face-to-face. If that is not possible, teleconferencing is better, followed by telephone call and then text message before finally email. This implementation plan will utilize this theory in proposing the appropriate media for communication during the transition period.

Information about the change program fits into the category of uncertain information. This means that the most effective media of communication ought to be used in communicating the news (Canessa & Riolo, 2003). In the case of Cowboy bank, there are a number of factors to take into account when choosing the media. First, is the type of communication. That is, vertical, horizontal or diagonal communication.

Vertical communication involves superior to junior exchange of information. This type of communication about the change program should be made through multiple media. The first medium is face to face meeting. The leadership team should hold face to face meetings with their immediate juniors. These meetings should be well structured to improve the assimilation of the information. Face to face meetings improve the intimacy and interaction between the parties. This allows the junior managers to draw inspiration from the  leadership team by observing their perceived enthusiasm for the program. The face to face meetings should be coupled with written materials which comprehensively explain the program. This format should trickle down to the lowest level of personnel. That is, these managers should be instructed to hold similar meetings with members of their departments. Vertical communication should also involve the CEO communicating to all the employees via email and in face to face conferences. This improves enthusiasm for the program (Dennis, Fuller, & Valacich, 2008). Diagonal communication should also take the same format as vertical communication, with the relevant managers being present in the meetings.

Horizontal communication within the organization should also involve the use of face to face. This avoids the issue of miscommunication. Nevertheless, this form of communication should also use other comprehensive written media to ensure that there are records of certain communications. Written communication improves accountability within the organization during the transition period (Miller, 2002).

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While choosing communication media, another factor that ought to be deliberated is the significance of the subject of the communication (Jones, Watson, Gardner, & Gallois, 2004). Even though the bank will be in the transitional period, some routine communications will still persist. These routine communications can be done through written communication such as email to reduce the amount of time spent in meetings. If all communications are done face to face, a lot of time would be wasted.

It should be noted from the media suggested above, there is no single media format that fits all situations. The managers should therefore use their expertise to choose the appropriate media for varied situations.

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