Principles Of Management And Organisational Behaviour

Principles Of Management And Organisational Behaviour

This course contains the basics of Principles Of Management And Organisational Behaviour

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Principles Of Management And Organisational Behaviour

Organisational Development

The term "Organization Development" (OD) was coined by Richard Beck hard in the mid 1950s, as a response to the need for integrating organizational needs with individual needs. OD came into prominence in the 1960s. OD arose in response to needs.

Organizational development is an intervention strategy that uses group processes to focus on the whole culture of an organization in order to bring about planned change.

According to Harold M. F. Rush, OD "seeks to change beliefs, attitudes, values, structures, and practices so that the organization can better adapt to technology and live with the fast pace of change". It seeks to use behavioural science knowledge to help organization and to adjust more rapidly to change.


Organizational development is an intervention strategy that uses group processes to focus on the whole culture of an organizational development in order to bring about a planned change. It makes heavy uses of laboratory training approaches such as role playing, gaming and sensitivity training. It is important from the points of view of society, customers and workers themselves because overall costs are reduced that may be a result of reduction of wastage of human efforts and machine etc. In addition to that quality of the product improves and more effective organizational climate is developed.

Wendell L. French and Cecil H. Bell Jr., traces the development of OD to the pioneering effort of The National Training Laboratories and Esso Standard Oil Company who began working on the problem of building better organizations and eventually OD evolved from their effort. There are mainly two causes that made OD necessary:

  1. The reward structure on the job did not adequately reinforce conventional training,so it often failed to carry over to the job.
  2. The second cause is the fast pace of change itself, which requires organizations to be extremely effective in order to survive and prosper.

OD attempts to develop the whole organization so that it can respond to change more uniformly and capable. OD is not without its shortfall Beckhard described the dilemma of integrating organizational needs with individual needs in the following words:*


According to Cummings and Worly - Organization Development is "a systematic application of behavioural science knowledge to the planned development and reinforcement of organizational strategies, structures, and processes for improving an organization's effectiveness."

According to Burk and Hornstien "Organization development is a process of planned change - change of an organization's culture from one which avoids an examination of social processes (especially decision making, planning and communication) to one which institutionalizes and legitimizes this examination".

According to Warren Bennis - "Organization development is a response to change, a complex educational strategy intended to change the beliefs, attitudes and structure of organization so that they can better adapt to new technologies, markets and challenges".

American Society for Training and Development, defined OD as, "An effort

  1. planned,
  2. organization wide,
  3. managed from the top, in order to
  4. increase organizational effectiveness and health, through
  5. planned intervention in the organizations "processes" using behavioural science knowledge".

From the above definitions we can say that organization development is an organizational improvement strategy. The term "Organization Development" (OD) may be defined as a technique for bringing change in the entire organization.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s it emerged out of insights from group dynamics and from the theory and practice of planned change. Organization development is about how people and organizations function and how to get them to function better. OD programmes are long-term, planned, sustained efforts. It is based on knowledge from behavioural science disciplines such as psychology, social psychology, sociology, anthropology, systems theory, organizational behaviour, organization theory and management.

The two major goals of OD programmes are:

  1. To improve the functioning of individuals, teams and the total organization, and
  2. To teach organization members how to continuously improve their own functioning.

It is a modern approach to the management of change and the development of human resource. It is an organization wide planned change for improvement through the use of behavioural science techniques. Organizational Development programmes lead to improved organization performance through an improved decision making climate.


The objectives of OD as given by Wendell French are given below:-

  1. To build and enhance interpersonal trust, communication, co-operation and support among all individuals and group through the organization.
  2. To encourage an analytical problem solving approach in a team spirit.
  3. To enhance the sense of belonging of individuals to the organization so that the individual and organizational goals are synchronized.
  4. To extend the process of decision making to the lowest operational level.
  5. To increase personal responsibility for planning and implementing the plan.


The assumptions underlying OD programmes are:

  1. Assumptions of dealing with Individuals: The two basic assumptions about individuals in organizations are:-
    1. Most individuals have drives towards personal growth and development. They want to develop their potential and therefore should be provided with an environment that is both supportive and challenging. In other words, individuals want personal growth and development, which can be attained in a supportive and challenging work situation.
    2. Most people desire to make, and are capable of making, a greater contribution to attain organization goals than most organizational environments permit. The implication of this assumption is that people are experts. Organizations must remove obstacles and barriers and reward success.
  2. Assumptions of dealing with Groups: These assumptions relate to the importance of work teams.
    1. The most psychologically relevant reference groups for most people are the work group. The work group greatly influences feelings of satisfaction and competence. Therefore, individual goals should be integrated with group goals.
    2. Most people interact co-operatively with at least one small reference group.
    3. Work groups are the best way to satisfy social and emotional needs at work.
    4. Therefore, the growth of individual members is facilitated by relationships, which are open, supportive and trusting.

    5. The suppression of feelings adversely affects problem solving personal growth and satisfaction with one's work. Attitudinal and motivational problems in organizations require interactive and transactional solutions. Such problems have the greatest chance of constructive solution if all parties in the system alter their mutual relationship, co-operation is always more effective than conflict.
  3. Assumptions for designing Organizations: These assumptions relate to the importance of designing organizations.
    1. Traditional hierarchical forms of organizations are obsolete. Therefore, experimenting with new organizational structures and new forms of authority is imperative (very important/ essential). Creating cooperative rather than competitive organizational dynamics is a primary task of the organization.
    2. An optimistic, developmental set of assumptions about people is likely to reap rewards beneficial to both the organization and its members. Co-operation is always more beneficial.
    3. People are an organization's most important resource. They are the source of productivity and profits and should be treated with care. An organization can achieve higher productivity only when the individual goals are integrated with organizational goals.

Goals of Organization Development

Edwin B. Flippo has given the following seven specific goals of OD. They are:-

  1. Decision-making on the basis of competence rather than authority.
  2. Creatively resolving conflicts through confrontation designed to replace win-lose situations with win-win types.
  3. Reducing dysfunctional competition and maximizing collaboration.
  4. Increasing commitment and a sense of "ownership" of organizational objectives throughout the work force.
  5. Increasing the degree of interpersonal trust and support.
  6. Creating a climate in which an growth, development and renewal are a natural part of the enterprise's daily operation.
  7. Developing a communication system characterized by mutual openness and condor in solving organizational problems.

The choice depends on the circumstances. Restrictions the managers have to take into account including limits on time and money and lack of skill at implementing a strategy. The choice of a strategy usually results from conferences and discussions involving those who will be most directly affected. The experiences, feelings and perceptions of conference participants help determine if their parts of the organization are ready for change and for OD techniques. The success of OD depends on a high level of receptiveness to change.

Purpose of Organizational Development

The main purpose of OD according to Burton is "to bring about a system of organizational renewal that can effectively cope with environmental changes. In doing so, OD strives to maximize organizational effectiveness as well as individual work satisfaction".

Organizational development is the most comprehensive strategy for intervention. It involves all the activities and levels of management in ongoing problems that respond to external and internal sources. The OD process is cyclic as shown in the figure below:

OD Process Cycle


The different types of OD activities may be divided into the following classification:

  1. For the Individual
  2. OD for two or three people
  3. OD for Teams or Groups
  4. OD for Inter-group Relations
  5. OD for the total organization

OD for the Individual

Sensitivity Training: Sensitivity training was an early and fairly widespread OD technique. The purpose of sensitivity training sessions or T-groups (T for training) is to change the behaviour of the people through unstructured group interactions. In "T" groups, about ten participants are guided by a trained leader to increase their sensitivity and skills in handling interpersonal relationships. Members are brought together in a free and open environment, away from work places, in which participants discuss freely, aided by facilitator. No formal agenda is provided. The role of the facilitator is to create an opportunity for members to express their ideas, beliefs, and attitudes.

The objectives of sensitivity training are to provide the participants with increased awareness of their own behaviour and greater sensitivity to the behaviour of others.

Sensitivity training is less frequently used by organizations nowadays, and participants are usually screened to make sure that they can withstand the anxiety raised by a T group. Precautions are also taken to ensure that attendance is truly voluntary.

OD for Two or Three People

Transactional Analysis (TA): When two people interact with each other there results a social transaction. TA was pioneered by Eric Berne. TA encourages people to recognize the context of their communications. It encourages people to be more open and honest and to address the context of their messages. TA was popularised by Thomas Harris in the 1960s.

Transactional Analysis concentrates on styles and content of communication (transactions or messages) between people. It teaches people to send messages that are clear and responsible.

Transactional analysis attempts to reduce destructive communication habits or "games" in which the intent or full meaning of messages is obscured.

TA has found its acceptance everywhere because of several advantages associated with it.

Eric Berne uses simple day-to-day language to explain the dynamics of personality and its application for human development. His theory has the following components:

Structural Analysis: A personality according to Berne consists of three ego states. He defines an ego state as "a consistent pattern of feeling and experience directly related to a corresponding consistent pattern of behaviour". Berne calls these three ego states as:

Parent, Adult, and Child.

The parent ego-state - is "a set of feelings attitudes and behaviour patterns which resemble those of the parental figure". The parent ego state is authoritative, dogmatic, over protective, controlling, nurturing, critical, and righteous.

The Adult ego-state - is "an autonomous set of feelings, attitudes and behaviour patterns which are adapted to the current reality". The adult is the "thinking" ego state. In dealing with other people the adult state is characterised by fairness and objectivity.

The Child ego-state - is "a set of feelings, attitudes and behaviour patterns which are relics of the individual's own childhood". The child ego state represents the childish, dependent, and immature part of a person's personality.

  1. Transactional Analysis: A transaction is the act of communication or interaction between two people. A transaction starts with a stimulus and ends with a response to the stimulus. Since each individual involved in the transaction has three ego states; the transactions are between the various ego-states.
  2. Depending on the kinds of ego states involved, the interaction can be complimentary, crossed or ulterior.

  3. Complimentary Transactions: These occur when the message sent or the behaviour exhibited by one person's ego state receives the appropriate or expected response from the other person's ego state. Since, these transactions meet the needs and expectations of the initiators, communications flow freely, interactions will continue as inter-personal relations will improve. There is, therefore, no scope for conflict in complimentary transactions. Examples of complimentary transactions are parent-parent, adult-adult, parent-adult, and child-child transactions.
  4. Crossed Transactions: Crossed transactions are the source of much inter-personal conflict in organization. The result can be hurt feelings and frustrations on the part of the parties involved and possible dysfunctional consequences for the organization.
  5. Ulterior Transactions: A message sent may have two targets (ego states). There may be an overt message (open and expressed), but it may also contain a covert message (a hidden one). Transactions with such messages are called ulterior transactions. Ulterior transactions cause much damage to inter-personal relations.
    1. Life-position Analysis: Life position comprises certain deeply ingrained convictions about the worth of the self and others. A person's conviction about himself/herself may either be 'I'm OK' or "I'm not OK'. Similarly he/ she may look at others and think: 'You're OK' or "You're not OK'. Combining these, we have four life positions:
    2. Life Positions

      • "I'm OK, you're OK". This is the healthy position. Organisational Development
      • "I'm OK, you're not OK". This is the paranoid position.
      • I'm not OK, you're OK". This is the depressive position.
      • I'm not OK, you're not OK". This is the futility position.

      Of the four life positions, the ideal one is I am OK, you are OK. Its hows healthy acceptance of self and others. This life position can be learnt. The other life positions are less psychologically mature and less effective. They have potential for interpersonal conflict.

    3. Games Analysis: A game is "a series of ulterior transactions with a gimmick, leading to a well-defined pay-off". Bern's in his book "Games People Play" describes more than 30 games people habitually play.
    4. Script Analysis: Script analysis is detailing of specific life dramas that people compulsively play out. Script analysis is a sophisticated and complex part of TA.

The following four most popular elements in the script apparatus is discussed below:

Pay-off or curse: This is the way the parents tell the child to end its life. According to Berne, the script pay-off will not take effect unless it is accepted by the child.

Stoppers: Stoppers are injunctions or unfair negative commend from the parent.

Counter script: Counter script messages are in the forms of slogans; proverbs for example, work hard. These counter scripts determine the person's style.

Programme: Programme is what the parent teaches the child to do in order to live out the script.

OD for Teams and Groups

In process consultation, a consultant works with organization’s members to help them understand the dynamics of their working relationships in group or team situations. The consultant helps the group members to change the ways they work together and to develop the diagnostic and problem-solving skills they need for more effective problem solving.

Teams: Teams are also known by other terms such as empowered teams, self directed teams and self management teams. Katzenbach and Smith have defined a team as "a small number of people with complimentary skills who are committed to a common purpose, common performance goals, and an approach for which they held themselves mutually accountable". The most common types of teams are work teams, problem solving teams, management teams and virtual teams.

Work teams: Work teams are primarily concerned with the work done by the organization.

Their principal focus is on using the organization's resources effectively.

Problem-solving teams: Problem-solving teams are temporary teams established to attack specific problems in the work place. These teams generally offer recommendations for others to implement. In problem solving teams, members share ideas or offer suggestions on how work processes and methods can be improved.

Management teams: The primary job of management teams is to coach and counsel other teams to be self managing by making decisions within the teams. These teams consist of managers from various areas and coordinate work teams.

Virtual teams: Virtual teams are the teams that may never actually meet together in the same room – their activities take place on the computer via tele-conferencing and other electronic information systems. Virtual teams use computer technology to tie together physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goal.

Groups: A work group is a group that interacts primarily to share information and to make decisions to help each member perform within his or her area of responsibility.

The work group is an even stronger source of satisfaction when members have similar attitudes and values. The work group provides group members with opportunities for interaction with each other.

Team Building: Team building utilizes high-interaction group activities to increase trust and openness among team members. Team building is a process of diagnosing and improving the effectiveness of a work group with particular attention to work procedures and inter-personal relationship within it.

A related approach, analyzes the activities, resource allocations, and relationships of a group or team to improve its effectiveness. This technique can be used, for example, to develop a sense of unity among members of a new committee. Team building can be directed at two different types of teams or working groups: an existing or permanent team made up of a manager and his or her employees, often called a family group; or a new group that either has been formed to solve a specific problem or has been created through a merger or other structural change in the organization, which we will call a special group.

For both kinds of groups, team-building activities aim at diagnosing barriers to effective team performance, improving task accomplishment, improving relationship between team members, and improving processes operative in the team, such as communication and task assignment. The table below summarizes these activities for both family and special groups.

Team Building Activities

Diagnostic meetings may involve the total group or several subgroups and require only a brief time – a day or less – to identify strengths and problem areas. Actual team building requires a subsequent longer meeting, ideally held away from the workplace.

The consultant interviews participants beforehand and organizes the meetings around common themes. The group proceeds to examine the issues, rank them in order of importance, study their underlying dynamics, and decide on a course of action to bring about those changes perceived as necessary. A follow-up meeting at a later time may then evaluate the success of the action steps.

OD for Inter-group Relations

Inter-group development seeks to change the attitudes, stereotypes and perceptions that groups have of each other. Such stereotypes can have an obviously negative impact on the coordinative efforts between the departments. To permit an organization’s managers to assess the health of the organization and set up plans of action for improving it, the confrontation meeting may be used. This is a one-day meeting of all of an organization’s managers in which they discuss problems, analyze the underlying causes, and plan remedial actions. The confrontation meeting is typically used after a major organizational change, such as a merger or the introduction of a new technology.

Although there are several approaches for improving inter-group relations, the most sought after method is problem solving. In this method, each group meets independently to develop lists of its perception of itself, the other group and how it believes the other group perceives it. Differences are clearly articulated, and the groups look for the causes of disparities. Subgroups, with members from each of the conflicting groups, can now be created for further diagnosis and to begin to formulate possible alternative actions that will improve relations.

OD for the Total Organization

OD attempts to develop the whole organization so that it can respond to change effectively.

Change is so abundant in modern society that organizations need all their parts working together in order to solve problems. OD is a comprehensive programme that is intended to assure that all parts of the organization are well coordinated.

The survey feedback technique can be used to improve the operations of the total organization. It involves conducting attitude and other surveys and systematically reporting the results to organization members. Members then determine what actions need to be taken to solve the problems and exploit the opportunities uncovered in the surveys.

Everyone in an organization can participate in survey feedback. The data from the survey feedback is collected through a questionnaire and tabulated. The data so collected then become the springboard for identifying problems and clarifying issues that may be creating difficulties for people.


Another source of individual differences is value. Values exist at a deeper level than attitudes and are more general and basic in nature. We use them to evaluate our own behaviour and that of others. Value is an enduring belief that a specific mode of conducts or end state of existence is personally and socially preferable to the alternative modes of conduct or end states of existence. Once it is internalised it becomes consciously or unconsciously, a standard or criterion for guiding action, for developing and maintaining attitudes toward relevant objects and situation, for justifying one’s own and others’ actions and attitudes for morally judging oneself and others and for comparing oneself with others. Value, therefore, is a standard or yardstick to guide actions, attitudes, evaluations and justifications of the self and others.

Ronald D White and David A Bednar have defined value as a “concept of the desirable, an internalised criterion or standard of evaluation a person possesses. Such concepts and standards are relatively few and determine or guide an individual’s evaluations of the many objects encountered in everyday life”.

Values are tinged with moral flavour, involving an individual’s judgement of what is right, good or desirable. Thus values:

  • Provide standards of competence and morality.
  • Are fewer in number than attitudes.
  • Transcend specific objects, situations or persons.
  • Are relatively permanent and resistant to change, and
  • Are more central to the core of a person.

Individuals learn values as they grow and mature. They may change over the life span of an individual develops a sense of self. Cultures, societies, and organizations shape values.

Importance of Values

Values are important to the study of organizational behaviour because they lay the foundation for the understanding of attitudes and motivation and because they influence out perceptions. Individuals enter an organization with preconceived notions of what “ought” and what “ought not’ to be. For example, If Jeevan enters IG Ferns and Curtains with a view that salary on piece-rate system is right and on time-rate basis is wrong. He is likely to be disappointed if the company allocates salary on time-rate basis. His disappointment is likely to breed his job dissatisfaction. This will, in turn, adversely affect his performance, his attitude and in turn, behaviour would be different if his values are aligned with the company’s reward/pay policy.

Formation of Values

Values are learned and acquired primarily through experiences with people and institutions. Parents, for example, will have substantial influence on their children’s values. A parent’s reaction to everyday events demonstrates what is good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable and important and unimportant. Values are also taught and reinforced in schools, religious organizations, and social groups. As we grow and develop, each source of influence contributes to our definition what is important in life. Cultural mores have influence of the formation of values. Basic convictions of what is good or bad are derived from one’s own culture.

Types of Values

All port and his associates categorized values into six types.

  1. Theoretical: Interested in the discovery of truth through reasoning and systematic thinking.
  2. Economic: Interest in usefulness and practicality, including the accumulation of wealth.
  3. Aesthetic: Interest in beauty, form and artistic harmony.
  4. Social: Interest in people and love as a human relationship.
  5. Political: Interest in graining power and influencing people.
  6. Religious: Interest in unity and understanding the cosmos as a whole

Instrumental and Terminal Values: Rokeach distinguishes between two types of values: Instrumental and Terminal.

Instrumental Value: Instrumental values reflect the means to achieving goals; that is, they represent the acceptable behaviour to be used in achieving some end state.

Instrumental values identified by Rokeach include ambition, honesty, self-sufficiency and courageousness.

Instrumental value refers to a single belief that always takes the form: I believe that such and such a mode of conduct (example Honesty, courage, etc.) is personally and socially preferable in all situations with respect to all objects. An instrumental value is a tool or means for acquiring a terminal value.

Terminal Value: Terminal values, in contrast, represent the goals to be achieved, or the end states of existence. Rokeach identified happiness, love, pleasure, self-respect, and freedom among the terminal values.

Terminal value takes a comparable form: I believe that such and such an end state of existence (example salvation, or world at peace etc.) is personally and socially worth striving for. A terminal value is an ultimate goal in a desired status or outcome.

Work Values: Work values are important because they affect how individuals behave on their jobs in terms of what is right and wrong. The work values most relevant to individuals are: -

  1. Achievement: Achievement is a concern for the advancement of one’s career. This is shown in such behaviours as working hard and seeking opportunities to develop new skills.
  2. Concern for Others: Concern for others reflects caring, compassionate behavior such as encouraging other employees or helping others work on difficult tasks. These behaviours constitute organizational citizenship.
  3. Honesty: Honesty is accurately providing information and refusing to mislead others for personal gain.
  4. Fairness: Fairness emphasizes impartiality and recognises different points of view.


OD interventions are sets of structured activities in which selected organizational units (target groups or individuals) engage in a task or a sequence of tasks with the goals of organizational improvement and individual development. The term organizational development (OD) essentially focuses on techniques or programmes to change people and the nature and quality of interpersonal work relationships. The most popular OD techniques are described in the figure hereunder:

Organizational Development Techniques

The common thread in these techniques is that each seeks to bring about changes in or among organization’s people’s. Some of the O.D interventions are explained below:-

  1. Sensitivity Training: Sensitivity training is also known as laboratory training, encounter groups, and T-groups. It is a method of changing behaviour through unstructured group interaction. If individuals lack awareness of how others perceive them, then the successful T-group can affect more realistic self-perceptions, greater group cohesiveness, and a reduction in dysfunctional interpersonal conflicts.
  2. Survey Feedback: Survey feedback makes use of questionnaires to identify discrepancies among member perceptions and attempts to solve these differences.
  3. Process Consultation: The purpose of process consultation is for an outside consultant to assist a client (usually a manager) to perceive, understand and act upon process events. The consultant gives a client insight into what is going on around him (the client), within him, and between him and other people. The consultant then goes to identify the processes that need improvement.
  4. Team Building: Team building utilizes high-interaction group activities to increase trust and openness among team members. Team building can be applied within groups or at the inter-group level where activities are interdependent.
  5. Contrast of Sensitivity Training and Team Development

  6. Inter-group Development: Inter-group development seeks to change the attitudes, stereotypes, and perceptions that groups have of each other.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of OD: Since OD requires an ongoing, long-term effort to bring about lasting change in an organization’s technology, structure and people, a successful OD programme takes a significant investment of money and time. Both are needed for managers to adequately diagnose the problem, select the strategy, and evaluate the effectiveness of the programme.

Managers can measure the effectiveness by comparing the results of the programme to the goals before it was implemented. Were the goals met? If not, why not? Perhaps they were too rigid and too hard to achieve. Perhaps the problems were inadequately defined, and the inadequate definition resulted in the choice of an inappropriate solution. Perhaps managers tried to institute changes before people were prepared for them. Regardless of the cause, the results of the OD analysis will provide feedback needed for later changes.

OD is an expression of manager’s efforts to stay flexible. Managers recognize that events inside and outside the organization can happen quite suddenly and can create pressure for change. OD provides the personnel and mechanism to deal with change; control its evolution; and direct its impact on organizational structure, technology, and people.

The Future and OD: The environment in which organizations operate is increasingly turbulent in an era if global, national and regional commercial competitiveness. Yesterday’s strategies are not likely to work in tomorrow’s workplaces. Top-down autocratically directed, rigidly hierarchical, fear-generating organizations are giving way to something new. Increasingly, organizations will be flatter, with smaller groups and units. OD will be a major player in assisting organizations to shift to and sustain this new paradigm which proclaims that the most innovative and successful organizations will be those that derive their strength and vitality from adaptable, committed team players. Thus, the OD process should include:

  • Careful tuning in to the perceptions and feelings of people.
  • Creating safe conditions for surfacing perceptions and feelings.
  • Involving people in diagnosing the strengths and weaknesses of their organizations and making action plans for improvement.
  • Using qualified third parties consultants.
  • Redesigning work so that it is more meaningful and motivating.
  • Focusing on team work.


There is nothing permanent expect change. Change is induced by the internal and external forces. Meeting this challenge of change is the primary responsibility of management.

An organization lacking adaptability to change has no future. Adaptability to change is a necessary quality of good management. Modern managers have the responsibility to devise the management practices to meet the new challenges and make use of the opportunities for the growth of the organization.

Nature of Change

The environment of every business unit is influenced by two main factors:

  1. Internal Factors: Internal factors are activities that can be controlled by the management. Internal factors may be sub-divided into six categories:
    • Managerial changes
    • Operational changes
    • Growth changes
    • Plant changes
    • Process changes and
    • Design changes
  2. External Factors: External factors are activities that are uncontrollable. The success of an organization depends upon the adaptability of the firm to these factors.
  3. External changes may be sub-divided into five categories.

    • Economic change
    • Sociological change
    • Governmental change
    • Locational change
    • Technological change.

Change may be warranted either by external stimuli or by an internal need. External change cannot be forecasted and may not be conducive to achieve the corporate goals. External changes are accepted with less resistance. In case of internal changes, the likelihood of resistance of all those affected by the proposed change is more.

Causes for Resistance to Change

Change is an important feature of modern organizations. Significant changes take place every day in social, technological, political and other aspects of modern world. Changes may be perceived by people as threats to their jobs, the size of their incomes, promotion and so on. People strongly resist deprivation of what they possess, whether possession was justified or not in the first place. The important causes for resistance to change are:

  1. Social Causes: People value established inter-personal relationship and their roles as group members. Establishment of new social equations necessitated by acceptance to change may be a painful and slow process. People would not like to experience such changes. Resistance to change develops among people if they believe that such change is likely to mean disruption of existing social relationships with which they are familiar.
  2. Psychological Causes: In course of their working life, people get used to certain routines and ways of doing things. They develop familiarity and a measure of equilibrium with their established routines. A sort of inertia develops which induces them to dis favour changes. Therefore, people tend to behave in a rather conservative manner in relation to some types of changes. Resistance also springs from lack of trust and faith in those who initiate changes and due to inadequate information, knowledge and understanding.
  3. Economic Causes: People meet their physical needs from their salary. They work because they need economic security. They tend to attach highest priority to protection of their jobs and income. If these are threatened by technological and other changes initiated by management, people naturally resist them.
  4. Environmental Causes: Business environment have an impact on the growth of the organization. Change in government policy, entry of rivals in the market etc., will affect the growth of the organization. Many of the environmental factors are uncontrollable and therefore, organizations must visualize them and adapt to the changed circumstances.
  5. Personal Reasons: Employees resist change for a variety of personal reasons.
  6. They are:

    1. The proposed change may lead to greater specialization resulting in boredom.
    2. They may not fully understand the implications of the change.
    3. They may fear that the number of jobs may be reduced resulting in retrenchment.

Planned Organizational Change

Organizational change may be planned well in advance, or it may come as a quick reaction to an unexpected event in the business environment. Organizational change calls for a change in the individual behaviour of the employees. Any organizational change whether introduced through a new structural design or new technology or new training programme, basically attempts to make employees change their behaviour. But behavioural changes are the most difficult and marathon exercise. A commonly accepted model for bringing about change in people was suggested by Kurt Lewen in terms of three-phase process.

The Three Phases in the Changing Process Suggested by Kurt Lewin

  1. Unfreezing: It refers to making individuals aware that the present behaviour is inappropriate, irrelevant, inadequate and hence unsuitable to the changing demands of the present situation. According to Lewing, the first step in the change process is unfreezing, or preparing the situation for change by creating a felt-need for it. It is important to make sure that everyone understands that present behaviours are simply not effective. This action will minimize expressed resistance to the change process. Edgar Schien outlines the following elements which are vitally necessary during this unfreezing phase.
    • The physical removal of the individuals being changed from their accustomed routines, sources of information and social relationships.
    • The undermining and destruction of social support.
    • Demeaning and humiliating experience to help individuals being changed to see their old attitudes or behaviour as unworthy and then to be motivated to change.
    • The consistent linking of reward with willingness to change and to punishment with unwillingness to change
  2. The essence of this unfreezing phase is that the individual is made to realize that his beliefs, feelings and behaviour are no longer appropriate or relevant to the current situation in the organization.

  3. Changing: During the changing phase, the actual change is implemented. It is the phase where new learning occurs. In order to change, it is not enough to sense that the current behaviour is inadequate. The necessary condition is that various alternatives of behaviour must also be made available in order to fill the vacuum created by the unfreezing phase. In the process it is critical for management to carefully identify the new, more effective behaviours to be followed as well as the associated changes in tasks, people, culture, technology and structure. During the changing phase, individuals learn to behave in new ways; the individuals are provided with alternatives out of which they choose the best one. Kelman explains the changing phase in terms of compliance, identification and internalisations.
    • Compliance: Compliance or force occurs when individuals are forced to change either by rewards or by punishment.
    • Internalisation: Internalisation occurs when individuals are forced to encounter a situation that calls for a new behaviour.
    • Identification: It occurs when individuals recognize one among various models provided in the environment that is most suitable to their personality.
  4. The changing process follows good problem diagnoses and careful consideration of appropriate alternatives.

  5. Refreezing: In this stage, the change is stabilized by rewarding appropriate new behaviours. During this phase, individuals internalise the new beliefs, feelings and behaviour learned in the “Changing” phase. It is also necessary that management provides the required resource support for the change. Performance – contingent rewards and positive reinforcement can be used to refreeze the new behaviour so that it is not easily forgotten or abandoned. It is very important for the manager concerned with the introducing change to visualize that the new behaviour is not extinguishable soon.
  6. Management of Change: It is the responsibility of management to handle change in such a way that the employee’s resistance is reduced to the least. Three methods available to management to cause people to accept change are:

    • Alteration in the environmental forces affecting the employees.
    • Alteration in the person’s perception of the forces which surround him.
    • Alteration in the basic value system of the persons involved in the change.

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