Management Skill Berde, Csaba Management Skill

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The variables of this formula are the following:

  • D (dissatisfaction): dissatisfaction with the current situation

  • V (vision): vision about what is possible

  • F (first): actual, concrete steps towards implementation of the vision

  • R (resistance): According to Pataki (2004) it also means what it takes to change.

If the product of multiplication of the three factors is higher than the R, the change is possible and feasible. If any of the factors are missing or low, it becomes difficult to overcome the resistance and cost.

The management tasks are clearly assigned to the phases of change process.

  • The equilibrium state should be loosened and destabilized to create change in the steady state. It can be spontaneous, not controlled but it can be consciously managed as well. Either the barriers have to be weakened or the supporting factors have to be strengthened in the case of consciously directed change management.  Usually the steady state can be characterized by stability regarding the literature. However, the destabilizing processes have already started in the background. The destabilization is created either by spontaneous effects or as a result of conscious managerial intervention. The organisation gets from a stable state to an unstable stage in this phase.

  • After loosening, the actual change will be implemented in the temporary state. The riskiest part of the process is the unstable temporary state, which loosing after current stage, destabilized, which is the realization of the change itself. In this phase, the organisation members are confronted with their situation within the organisation, role and their tasks become uncertain; their previously stable, secure environment become unstable. The demand for information is increasing. Everybody wants to know everything. The information ’hunger’ grows especially towards data regarding the future situation and state. Communication problems, conflicts of interest, and other conflicts can surface. The organisation's members have expectations for the changes because of their personality. As soon as they realize that the change also concerns them, they confront the problem of change described above. Resistance will develop that is the resistant against the changes.

  • The results of the changes should be consolidated, namely the change is stabilized through the consolidation and the stable state is established again.

Several reasons for the resistance can be possible, which are divided into two large groups in the literature: personal and organisational.

The personal motivational resistance is originated from the behavioral, cultural and psychological factors. The determined element of the human behavior, and attitude of fear from the new, is namely the so-called ‘individual homeostatic orientation’. The uncertainty means avoidance because of such attachment to the usual state that the sudden change can lead to mental illness (e.g. Rain Man). The organisational culture also stabilizes the structure by the organisational members who are also emotionally committed to the established traditions, events, contacts, ceremonies etc. One of the most important psychological factors is the fear of the unknown, the avoidance of the uncertain and the effort to maintain the status quo, which is otherwise also called homeostatic attitude.

The known, accepted and routine state of organisational life and the actions in them, needs less mental and physical energy than the transformation into the new. Private life and our organisational life are filled up with habits (routines, programmed actions) to moderate the complexity around us. The change involves uncertainty and risk of loss of the already acquired, "guests'" values. The people do consciously and subconsciously attempt to eliminate this risk. The change may threaten the financial interests. The new procedures, or routines, which are different from the previous can create such fear in us that we will not be able to meet the new requirements thus our performance reduces the income dependant on performance.

The resistance is even clearer if the change threatens not only the familiar but also the job itself. The risk of losing a job, the risk of dismissal and livelihood can lead to the strongest resistance: here the full armory of the resistance may apper from blocking the work, to a strike.

Literary sources handle with high priority such characteristics of organisational members (among personal reasons of the resistance) that everyone detects the phenomena of the environment in different ways. The selective perception is essentially a subconscious reaction. We tend to reject those signs, which question the correctness of our behavior and activity. However, we tend to over evaluate those confirming signals that support the correctness of followed behavior. As a result, an assessment may develop that there is really no need to change.

One of the personal reasons of resistance generally known is the so-called ’outsider effect’ which means that ’it was found out by you, so you just do it, it is none of my business’. This same behavior is often observed when external experts participate in the process of change. In these cases, prejudices can often appear against external experts, who make the cooperation with them impossible.

In addition, several other behavioral and attitude forms can be a base of resistance of organisational members. The dogmatism, the convenience and the lack of confidence are against the success of the changes.

Not only is the individual homeostatic oriented: the organisations also strive to maintain its state, which can be also called organisational conservatism. One result of these facts is often that the good-intention managerial ideas turn reversed and they trigger the resistance of parties.

The leaders initiating change and other affected organisational members have several attitudes to change (includes those affected, not initiating leaders). Since the attitude can be traced back to several new forms of information, perception and several emotional identifications with change, these effects can be difficult to overcome even with high awareness.  

Beside personal points, the organisational factors are also important. The most important organisational reason of resistance may be the anxiety to lose power position. The resource-allocation scheme of the organisation is also changed by changes: the number of employees reducing, the proportion of the budget changing, the reduction of previous sources, which often inherent the changes, also violate direct interest. It can also lead to further resistance that the change can result in the questioning of the existing of a certain profession or an organisational department. It can also result further resistance if the stakeholders sense the planned change to be limited. Organisations are interdependent systems where the implemented changes in a department or subsystem affect other organisational department or subsystems. If changes are contrary to the organisational culture, we should take into serious consideration the restraining effect of cultural mediums which are rarely changeable, and only in the long term. Therefore, culture as an organizational factor should not be underestimated in generating resistance.

11.2. ábra - Figure 2.: Change to act (based on Internet 1)

The organisational structure is perhaps one of the strongest organisation braces that operates against resistance. The organisational conservatism is an accepted and well-understood concept among professionals, and researchers dealing with this theme. It is based on a relation network developed within an organisation, which forms between the organisational departments and members during the operation. This network stabilizes the organisation members’ status together with the previously formed professional hierarchy. Therefore, they show very strong resistance effects. Informal agreements occur within all organisations, which were recognised and accepted by organisational members in previous operation. If these agreements change, they become factors generating resistance.

Reviewing the organisational causes of resistance, we should notice that the mentioned factors are precisely those ones, which are also in the focus of the organisational games and political movements. It is no wonder that organisational changes are accompanied by an active power, and political action (Figure 2.).

One of the key questions of change management is how to successfully handle (overcome) the resistance, which appears almost inevitable against change. In particular, it would ease the transformation in the case of the planned changes, and management initiated and directed changes would make the resistance as be low as possible.

Also, it can result that the more smoothly the conversion takes place the more flexible and more efficient the organisation becomes. The larger the degree of resistance the greater the degree of loss rate. In the change process directed by the management there are the possibilities to use conscious managerial techniques (Figure 3.).

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