Change and Management Essay
Theoretical analyses of the process of change and management of resistance are largely united on the acknowledgement of the factors behind resistance as the first step towards change. According to these theories, nearly all organizations and businesses have structural difficulties related to the attitudes and practices of both the employees and the management. Ignorance about the value of change has been cited as one of the reasons why it sometimes becomes difficult to carry out meaningful processes of change, (Solo, 2000). Another reason that has often been cited as an obstacle to change is the in-built reluctance, on the part of the employees, to accommodate the possibility of change. There is a form of inertia in the status quo which exacts some form of comfort in the traditional organizational structure of the company or business, (Durand, 2006).
About Tesco plc
These two main factors could be analyzed with reference to the phenomenal challenges that have affected Tesco plc at times when the management engaged certain structural adjustment processes. Tesco plc is a general merchandise store, registered as a public limited company based in the United-Kingdom. Tesco plc was founded by Jack Cohen in 1919, (Lewis, 2006). The company, which is based in Cheshunt, trades in groceries, varieties of consumer goods, different forms of financial services, and modern telecom services. Currently, Tesco plc has over five thousand stores situated in different parts of the world, (Mathis & Jackson, 2010). The company is headed by David Reich and Philip Clarke as Chairman and Chief Executive respectively. The company’s annual revenue is estimated at 60.93 billion pounds. Throughout its global network, the company is estimated to hold nearly half a million employees at different levels of its structure.
Over time, Tesco plc has transformed its style of doing business to in ways that mirrored the social, economic, and political realities in the different regions where it maintains a commercial presence and in the different times through which it has operated. The importance of carrying out occasional changes in its structure is defined by the need to keep pace with the external realities and competitions from seasoned and emerging competitors on the market, (Daft, 2010). These forces have varying implications on the performance of the organization, which means that the management must adjust appropriately to shield the firm from all possible diverse influences of the external and internal stimuli of change. The need to shore up profits, maintain a steady and competent work force, reduce the staff turn-over rate, and cut on operational costs have always demanded that the company revises its methods of business to suit new objectives.
Every commercial enterprise must maintain an active desire of exploring new segments of the market and breaking into fresh market niches for the purposes of growth and profitability. Towards such objectives, Tesco plc has carried out innovative practices on its brand images in ways that demanded the wholesale support at all levels of its employees. According to Martin and Fellenz, 2010, one of the most efficient ways to eliminate the resistance of the work force to change is the provision of active processes that guarantee ownership of the employees to undertake the change processes. At the very preliminary stage of the process of change, it is important for the change managers to carry out an extensive sensitization program on the process of change. This program might include the conducting of seminars to explain to the work force the motives and the objectives of change.
Organizational changes should reflect specific benefits for the work force in order to win its support in the implementation of the desired change. According to Dunphy, Griffiths and Benn, (2003), the concept of ownership makes it possible for the workers to develop attitudes and practices that are consistent with the design and dimension of the expected outlook of the organization after the process of change. Surveys have shown that organizations that maintain a horizontal approach towards change are less likely to be met with resistance as compared to those whose change processes are wholly owned and controlled by the management. The import of these surveys is that the devolution methodology is the best approach by which organizations might undertake efficient change mechanisms, (Daft, 2010).
The aspect of devolution generally implies that the constituent departments within the organization are charged with different aspects of the change process. In this manner the workers get a clear insight about the essence and the utility of the change process and undergo a psychological shift that would orientate them towards the merits of the change process. Employee-centered approaches have been known to be efficient in the seamless management of the change process. Durand (2006) suggested the revision of remuneration packages for the employees and the creation of new administrative positions are some of the integral aspects that have been known to engage the interest of employees in the process of change. Other incentives that have the potential of winning the support of the front line workers are the provision for opportunities of upward mobility, the revision of the regimes of allowances, and the inclusion of a wide variety of incentives that target a wider catchment area up to the lowest level of the management.
According to Shilling (2008), transparency about the details of change usually eliminates the aspect of resistance since the workers tend to review the manner in which they engage with the management. A form of honesty and trust develops within the system and ultimately produces a positive impact on the dedication of the workers and their belief in the mission and vision of the organization. The net effect is that they learn to regard themselves are central to the change that takes place within the organization, (Shilling, 2008). Assurances on the company’s stability and the continual evaluation of their levels of satisfaction with the on-going process of change is one way through which managers can ensure some level of continuity of employee support in the process of change. Tesco plc has undergone various changes throughout its existence.
Some of these changes have involved the opening up of new stores in countries and places where the economic culture was essentially different from the British system where it is head-quartered. The opening up of stores in Asia and other regions outside Europe has demanded radical shifts in practices for the purposes of acclimatizing to the new socio-economic and political realities. The workers who have gotten used to the traditional English economic systems have had to undergo processes of change in order to serve in places with decidedly foreign cultural systems. Some of these changes have involved the revision of the management structures to accommodate the expansionist agenda of the company. For instance the entry into financial services demanded a diversification of some of the roles of the current members of staff into the areas of financial management.
These changes begun with elaborate training programs at the preliminary levels. The trainings were aimed at attuning the existing work force to the new responsibilities that came with the provision of financial services. Tesco plc has customarily aimed at maintaining low staff turnover levels. Towards this objective, the company has adopted the policy of ingraining its existing staff into the processes of change instead of relying solely on external experts to carry out these changes. Through regular training, the company has managed to produce an innovative work force in different capacities. These trained workers are usually utilized as the nucleus of change so that they undertake the implementation and the sustaining of the change process. These workers are also charged with the process of guiding the lower cadres of employees within the organizational structure on the merits of change.
Studies have indicated that much of the resistance that is experiences during the implementation stages of change arises out of fear and insecurity among the group. As such, it is important for the process of change to include specific assurance on the members of staff about matters of security, freedom and other considerations that are paramount to their well-being in the organization. In the course of carrying out the desired change in the company, it is important for policy makers to put in place the psychological structures that will help to win the support across the board on the matters of implementation. This process can be achieved through a structured process that will involve a constructive break from the usual routines to create the mental framework among the workers, which will be conducive for the sustainability of the changes that are to be carried out. It is equally important for organizations to include, within their overall policy frameworks, explanations that would prepare the workers about the possibilities of change.
Tesco has faced internal resistance concerned with its programs to open up new stores in different countries. Some employees have expressed their fears that the continued growth of Tesco might expose it to liquidity problems in the events of global financial crises. The understanding within this category of thinkers is that the spreading of the company’s stores in a variety of different places will make it difficult for the firm to consolidate the gains of operating fewer outlets distributed in traditional trading niches. However, the management has offered different opinions instead arguing that the opening up of new stores would help the company to benefit from the combined effects of entrepreneurial diversification. Further the company has sought to assure the frontline staff and those in the ranks of supervisors that the process of change is always consistent with the overall mission and vision of the company which is essentially designed to satisfy both the employees and the clientele. Studies have argued that change processes that are centered on the employees and the clientele is the most appropriate form that would spur higher levels of growth and stability.
Policies designed to obviate conflict in organizational change
Several policies have been suggested with the specific objective of predicting and preventing resistance to manageable levels. Studies have suggested that the best ways to prevent resistance is to tackle it at the earliest stage by studying the possible areas where most of the resistance is very likely to occur, (Daft, 2010). This can be done through a strategic survey of the key places where the change is likely to take place. The determination of the key areas is generally measured the departmental analysis in terms of the impact of the changes on the personnel and the perceived loss of benefits. This stage should then lead to an open dialogue with the concerned employees where the appraisal of the changes is done in an honest manner that would enable the understanding of all the people that would be involved in the planning. Another way of preventing changes at the early stages involves the concept of transparency, (Durand, 2006).
The people involved in the changes should disclose the elements of the changes to the organization in a manner that is not perceived by any of the employees as discrete. Announcements on the company annual year reports, press advertisements, departmental meetings, intranet communications and the use of notice boards can be used to break down elements of the changes and the intentions in a transparent manner that would guarantee some level of appreciation on the part of the employees. Walsh (2009) has shown that people will tend to resist changes when these changes are made in discrete ways that appear to conceal the real intentions of the changes. The resultant feeling is that the changes are essentially designed to serve a select clique of people within the rank of the administration. Listening has been cited as a useful method of obviating dialogue at the work place. The meaning of listening is generally understood to pass over crucial information to the management about the actual and genuine concerns of the employees about the expected changes.
At the stage of listening, the workers get the chance of airing their fears and asking questions about specific guarantees that they would wish retained in the expected dispensation after the changes. Technically, it would not be possible for the management to undertake major revisions of the general plot of the changes but the information supplied by the concerned workers might be useful in reviewing elements of the change that would appear to be in dispute. In the case of Tesco plc, the workers have often resisted the spreading out of the organization to different organizations regions. In response, the organization has always made provision for the reviewing of terms of the organization in a manner that is purely consistent with some of their expectations. The stage of listening also helps the organization to determine the kind of reception that could meet the changes among the clientele, (Walsh, 2009). This is because the front line employees have always been resourceful in providing a crucial link between the concerns of the clientele to the management. Studies have shown that another way to obviate conflict and resistance in the course of implementing change within an organization is to provide opportunities that will engage the people opposed to the changes at the center of implementation. Psychologically, the process of involving the opponents will rid the organization of the negative force to the process of change and provide sufficient synergy into the overall process. Besides, the kind of criticism may prevail but it will transform from destructive criticism towards its constructive form.
The importance of constructive criticism is that the critic is at the center of the system and does not harbor any malicious intent to the system. Providing critics with positions of responsibility ultimately situates them to the center of influence where they will be duty bound to provide their active support to the structure. On this score, such people should be considered for promotions and allowed to perceive of the changes within the company as belonging to entire organization where they have higher stakes that the frontline employees. At the very preliminary stages of the change process, the potential agents of resistance should be placed at positions where they will take part in the decision making process before the entire framework of the plan takes place.
This could be achieved at different levels to incorporate the views of the change agents who may not necessarily take part in the administrative policy formulations of the company. Their counsel and opinion could be sourced through oral and written questionnaires done on the basis of purposive sampling where they must feature as the opinion leaders in whatever categories that they serve. In this manner, the development of the change process is likely to experience less resistance because the potential agent of resistance develops the psychological satisfaction that he was indeed part of the structure that founded the changes.
Alternatively, studies have suggested that a mechanism could be designed to forge a working relationship between the implementers of change and those to be affected by it. The creating of this working framework could be in terms of creating avenues for the two groups to meet during seminars to create awareness on the possible merits of the seminar. The implication of these changes are always in the form of an understanding in form of contractual agreements of a memorandum of understanding between the people charged with the implementation of the changes and the likely victims of some of the agents, (Gill Palmer, 1997). For instance, in times of economic recessions, organizations are forces to review the volume of their employees through structural adjustment programs. These programs are designed to create changes through specific focus on the program through staff layoffs in order to return the organizations to the levels of productivity.
At the initial stages of such changes, many companies put in place several retirement schemes for their staff such that the laid off staff do not suffer significant damage resulting from the impact of the changes, (Shilling, 2008). Some schemes have been designed to guarantee the voluntary retirement of the laid off staff with a negotiated final pay package that could ease their settlement into retirements, (Griffin, 2011). Advisory councils and resource centers are established so as to affect the chances in ways that are consistent with sound human resource management standards. Such services have the effect of retaining the changes within the paradigm of change that human centered so that both the clienteles of the organization and the employees do not suffer significant damage as a result of the changes.
When efficiently managed, the change process can achieve a nature of harmony in which the employees might play the role of explaining to other stakeholders about the merits of the changes, (Buhler, 2002). In essence resistance in the process of change is a normal condition that can be addressed through the creation of sufficient administrative strategies before, during and after the phases of implementation. The key elements that are necessary for a harmonious implementation of change with little resistance includes the establishment of prior transparency mechanisms. The inclusion of the opinion of the agents of resistance at the earliest stage of implementation, the creation of safeguard strategies for employees likely to suffer some degree of discomfort, and devolving the process of change to include all the employees within the organization, (Muller, 2009).
Legal framework for human resource management
The advance into the twenty first century has seen a phenomenal increase in the rate of litigations at the work place often resulting from human resources –related disputes. The legal frameworks that have been developed usually relate with the aspect of maintaining some form of stability between the employers and the employees, (Weisinger, 2001). The rights of the workers have often centered on the issues of work schedules, skill development, and the creation of an ample working environment. Elaborate legal frameworks that seek to shield them against possible injustices that might arise from the work place (Walsh, 2009) generally protect workers.
Some of these work place issues revolve around the suitability of the services offered by the workers versus the terms of payments drawn out of these considerations. Workers have the rights to seek compensation in cases where their terms of service are abridged in manners not consistent with international labor laws. Generally, the workers are at the center of labor. In terms of ideology, the protection of the rights of the workers developed out of the realization that the capitalist economic systems were particularly designed to alienate the worker from his labor (Hiatt & Creasy, 2003). In return, minimum and threshold remuneration regimes were devised with the sole purpose of guaranteeing acceptable terms of payment to the employees. Most countries have devised their legal frameworks for the employee remuneration in terms of varying provisions that cover the three main areas of wage labor, permanent employment, and contractual engagements. Generally, contractual engagements have been designed in ways that presuppose some kind of agreement between the employee and the employer. Both parties have the rights to sue for damages incase the contract if flouted by their partner in the engagement, (Dunphy, Griffiths & Benn, 2003).
The wage labor generally works through the determination of the schedule of workers as measured through hours of work. The labor laws provide for the minimum amount of money that could be paid by within a certain designated time threshold. Precise laws that spell out their rights and privileges during and after their terms with their employers, on the other hand protect permanent employees (Green, 2007). With variations within different legal administrative units, different legal frameworks offer different terms of employment packages to their temporary and permanent staff. There are always clearly marked boundaries regarding the nature of duties that are carried out.
Generally the universal elements of legal frameworks for workers are centered in the manner in which they are employed, the terms of service, the nature and levels of remuneration, and the way of formal disengagement, (Paton, Paton & McCalman, 2008). Sound human rights management systems have often tended to align their principles around these core concerns. The reputation and brand image of a company is, in various ways attached to the manner in which it appropriates matters of human resource management within the appropriate legal frameworks. Generally, international labor laws provide the anchorage on which many human resources practices are based.
Policies of recruitment, staff development and appraisal
Processes of personnel recruitment, development, and appraisal are fundamental to the image articulated by the organization. The concept of human resources management developed out of the realization that it is essential to detach other technical operations of the firm from its human resources management, (Scheer, 2003). The search for the appropriate skill that matches an organization’s requirement, the development of the obtained skill to suit the specific purpose for which it was sought, and the continual checks on the performance of the obtained skill are three stages that determine the ultimate operation of any company. Essentially, many firms outsource the services of human resources management to experts so that they get the most appropriate skills from the market, (Cameron & Green, 2004).
The necessity of developing and appraising of personnel is anchored in the realization that human beings are very distinct from machines by their very nature of being human. The capacity for human beings to produce at their optimum is dependent on a variety of factors that address the human element in the employee. Levels of satisfaction will essentially vary from one work place to the other. Skilled employees who serve in an organization with poor human resources practices will tend to perform at levels significantly lower at than their actual potential (Harvey & Broyles, 2010). Some of the systems that may be necessary to produce positive adjustments of employees include frequent training schedules and open door policies. The ambience of the work place also contributes significantly to the general performance of the employees.