A Change Project in a Local Government Agency in New Zealand
The case study highlights the element of communication and its role in the process of change. This scenario is depicted by a local government agency within New Zealand. The process of change was led by a team with two individuals. The change was intended to introduce compulsory reviews by peers for all the advice papers and create various pre-developed tools. Communication of this change process was critical to the government agency. While resistance occurred initially, the process of communication turned the situation around. The staff felt involved in the process and demonstrated a greater desire to participate. The change introduced considerable progress as the results showed improvement four months later (Dawson et al., 2017).
Questions and Answers
What does this case study tell us about communication and change?
Based on the case study, communication determines or influences the success or failure of change. Communication is about connecting with the people who will be affected and have the potential to influence the change (SHRM, 2022). Communication brings people together and creates a commitment and synergy that should lead to the expected vision (Kotter, 2009. This way, change becomes easy to implement as people demonstrate greater cooperation. The Agent’s decision to obtain the staff’s opinions regarding the intended change was a wise step that led to tremendous success. Staff felt incorporated in the process and demonstrated greater collaboration.
Identify reasons for resistance and evaluate the appropriateness of the responses made.
The resistance occurred because the senior staff in the policy team felt threatened and attacked. The senior staff had already been using the skills and capabilities that had been collected over the years (Dawson et al., 2017). This situation led to a buildup of tension, and the team put up resistance, which caused delays. The decision to involve individuals who were experienced in change management was appropriate because they would know how to manage such resistance. In addition, the nonpartisan position of the Agent made decision-making more objective and easier.
What were the strengths and weaknesses of the approach adopted by Agent, and what would you have done differently?
The Agent chose to obtain information through an anonymous survey, engage employees through training and workshops, and involve them actively in the change process (Dawson et al., 2017). This decision offered advantages because it established a concrete and objective need for change that would be communicated to the stakeholders. It also led to collaboration from the staff members, thus reducing resistance. The only weakness is that it consumes more time and resources, delaying the change process further. However, I would have taken the same approach because cooperation and conviction from other stakeholders are essential for successful change management (NCVO, 2020).
Do you feel Acres was right to disband the change team after the annual review?
Acres was right to disband the change team after the annual review because the implementation process was already complete. The Agent’s approach to driving the change already had all employees on board, making it easy for them to now partake in its reinforcement in the organization. Retaining the team would have no specific benefits for the organization. The primary responsibility was to set up procedures and cultures that ensure the change is ingrained into the organizations’ activities and culture (Dawson et al., 2017).
Is this a collaborative approach to change? Discuss.
This can be termed as a collaborative approach to change because it involves the main stakeholders in the process of change. It gives the stakeholders an opportunity not only to understand the change but also to get involved actively. This reduces resistance and increases the opportunity for successful management (Dawson et al., 2017).
Communication from the case study is a critical aspect of change. It informs the stakeholders about the necessity for change, the process, and the benefits. The communication process also helps the team obtain opinions from external and internal stakeholders. The change management team’s decision to communicate allows them to gain an understanding of the type of obstacles they are likely to experience, as well as the community’s expectations (SHRM, 2022).
Collaboration during change implementation is critical for success. Through collaboration, an organization can achieve various milestones with minimal resistance (Dawson et al., 2017). To achieve cooperation, it is critical to make employees feel that they are part of the process. Making them feel like agents of change is key to ensuring they conduct activities that push for success.
Engagement and involvement
Change managers who communicate to stakeholders and take them through the process of understanding the process face minimal resistance. The stakeholders show collaboration because they are involved and engaged in the process (SHRM, 2022). Their understanding of the intended change is manifested in their willingness to adopt active roles and responsibilities.
The process of identifying each of these critical aspects was guided by their impact on the government agency’s process of change. Communication in the case study sets a significant precedent for the management of the change. Through communication, the Agent gets the employees to understand the process and accept it through active involvement. In addition, communication yields additional practices, such as training, to ensure that any doubts that could lead to resistance are eliminated.
Collaboration played a critical role as well, leading to successful change management. The employees took part in the process of change. The collaboration was yielded through initial communication. ‘These workshops not only enabled the Agent to gather information about the key issues faced by staff, but it also provided important opportunities for generating ideas and establishing more inclusive conversations. By doing this, staff was made to feel part of designing the solution, of being a collaborative participant in the change’ (Dawson et al., 2017). The collaboration process yields idea generation, which leads to engagement and involvement. The level of engagement and involvement in the case study signifies the acceptance of the employees and other stakeholders. As demonstrated, the ability to share their opinions and take an active role in problem-solving is highly appreciated.
The main solutions that are evident in the case study include the incorporation of communication in the change management process. The Agent includes communication in the process to reduce the level of resistance, an aspect that was not initially included. However, its inclusion yields more than intended. The employees are happy not only to cooperate with the implementation of change but also to feel appreciated as agents of change. The sharing of information leads to the identification of solutions, which are much needed during the change process. ‘Change was no longer seen as something that was being done and communicated to them, but instead, there was the acknowledgment of the role of staff in generating ideas and informing the process and outcomes of change. Taken as a whole, the workshops received good attendance, and staff who attended were highly appreciative of the project’s undertaking and supported this collaborative approach to change’ (Dawson et al., 2017). As the employees explain, the involvement in problem-solving made the change more than just an activity that they watched occur from outside. Instead, they were right in the middle of the process.
The change process is challenging for every organization. The role that communication plays in the process is undermined. Very few managers understand the importance of communication with stakeholders and the benefits that are obtained from the process. Communication not only leads to the understanding of the change. Instead, it incorporates the stakeholders into the process. In addition, it leads to the elimination of doubts, fears, and uncertainties that are associated with the change. Further, change managers who choose this option minimize resistance and create partners instead of just followers. Employees appreciate the engagement in the change process because it affirms their importance to the process. Their active involvement and engagement bear more cooperation.
Failure to take them through the process before implementation leads to feelings of lack of attachment or commitment whatsoever. Based on these insights, the change process is likely to be successful and yield the intended goals. Furthermore, through communication, engagement, and involvement of stakeholders, the change managers transfer the leadership and management of the process to the internal stakeholders. This allows them to constantly improve the process because they understand it and have been part of the problem-solving process. This is empowering and increases an organization’s chances to improve its services and products through innovation. Therefore, it is possible to use communication as a resistance management tool.
Dawson, P., & Andriopoulos, C. (2017). Managing Change, Creativity & Innovation. Sage.
Kotter, J. P. (2009). Four Ways to Increase the Urgency Needed for Change. Harvard Business Review.
NCVO. (2020). Involving stakeholders in change.
SHRM. (2022). Managing Organizational Change. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/
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