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Changes in the Work Environment

Developing a change plan:

Every stage of the change process raises issues of control. One of the reasons why managers are sometimes reluctant to call in external consultants is the fear that they may be difficult to control. This chapter focuses attention on the issues of control associated with the implementation stage of the change process.

Beckhard and Harris (1987) define the period of time between the identification of the need for change and the achievement of the desired future state as the transition state. Often key phases of this state are unique and different from either the state that exists before the change or the state that will exist after it. For example, if an organization recognizes that it needs to improve the way it manages information and, after exploring a number of possibilities, decides to move to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) integrated information system it will experience a period of transition. There will come a point when the organization continues to rely on the old system while the new one is being developed, installed and debugged. During this period people affected by the change will have to (a) keep the old system going while learning how to work with the new system and (b) develop the work roles and relationships that will have to be in place when the new system is up and running.

It is not unusual for many types of change to disrupt normal work practices and undermine existing systems of management. Nadler (1993) argues that during this period one of the major challenges facing management is one of control. To abandon previous management systems before new ones have been developed can frustrate any attempt to manage the change unless some form of the temporary management system is put in place. Nadler refers to the need for 'transition devices'. These include the appointment of a transition manager; the development of a plan for the period of transition between the old state and the proposed future state; the allocation of specific transition resources such as budgets, time and staff; and the development of feedback mechanisms to facilitate monitoring and control. This chapter highlights seven steps that the change manager can take to help maintain control during the transition state.

Reflect on some of the changes that you have been responsible for managing at work or elsewhere:

1.) Did you have an implementation plan that actually worked?
2.) Why was this?
3.) Could you have done anything to improve the implementation plan?

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1) Did you have an implementation plan that actually worked?

We did have an implementation plan that worked in my office. We started a new system that required each employee to learn a new program which would be effective within 30 days. During the transition period, we required every employee to undertake a training seminar on the new program. The old system remained in place during the 30 days and 30 days after the plan was implemented, so that employees can learn the new system while working hand in ...

Solution Summary

The following posting discusses changes in the work environment. The questions focus on implementation plans.