Human beings are generally anxious about the future. Sometimes they are afraid because they do not know what the future holds for them. This is the basis for resistance to change. In most cases, employees prefer the status quo; things to remain the way they are (Graetz & Smith, 2005). Therefore, managers are called upon to implement wise steps in introducing change. There are no exact ways of change management but experts have come up with the basic approaches to the subject. This essay seeks to outline some of the approaches that have been proposed for effective change management.
Change management is generally viewed as the control of the process of introducing new things in an organization. According to Gustin (2007), change is inevitable. However, if it is not well controlled, there is likely to be massive resistance leading to non-achievement of the intended organizational goals. In whatever context, change management is seen to comprise of three essential elements: the influence of the manager, the operational environment and a support system. An influential manager is able to coerce employees to accept change and also foster an environment of openness. Above all, there must be a system that supports monitors and evaluates the change process. This is generally agreed as a general approach to change management. Moreover, Gustin (2007) proposes a three-component approach that constitutes communication of the intended change, discussion of the change and involving employees.
More specifically, Friday and Friday (2003) proposed what they called ‘planned change approach’ to change management. This is seen as a major shift from traditional management systems in which changes just occurred to the new wave of management and in which change is strategically planned, implemented and evaluated. According to Friday and Friday (2003), “The lack of a “planned change-corporate diversity strategy” is quite likely to inhibit managing diversity from becoming systemic to an organization's culture and its way of doing business, thus tending to disallow the potential benefits of diversity to be maximized” (p. 863). In other words, what the two authors contend is the fact that managers should be proactive and not reactive to the effects of change introduction. By merging Gustin’s and Fridays’ view, it means that in a diverse environment, change should be cautiously introduced by first involving the employees, then communicating clearly and lastly, supporting the change.
With the emergence of internet and development of the communications technology, many companies have become learning organizations. This means that in one respect, they require the employees to always acquaint themselves with the ever changing technologies. According to Zmud and Cox (1979), the best change management approach to apply in a MIS-bound organization is education approach. According to them, it only through education approach that employees are able to know more about the changing trends in technology and work.
Business world creates unavoidable changes; therefore, there is a need for managers to cushion their organizations from the negative impacts of introduced change. There are many approaches to change management. For instance, the planned change approach suggests that change managers should be proactive and not reactive while the education approach suggests that learning organizations must always train its employees on the ever developing technologies. Moreover, this must be done including clear communication, employees’ involvement and with a setup support system.