1.) How might an organization scan its external environment and what are the benefits of undertaking this process?
Scanning occurs in order for an organization to understand the external forces, so as to develop the effective responses that might improve their position in the future. Moreover, they scan to identify opportunities or threats, avoid surprises, improve their long and short-term planning and gain the competitive advantage. For an organization to be able to adapt to its external environment, it needs awareness and sharp interpretation of changes that are taking place.
Environmental scanning is the acquisition and use of information about events, trends and relationships in an organization’s external environment, the knowledge of which would help in planning the management future course of action for the organization.
For an organization to be successful in the present marketplace, it needs to be fully aware not only of its internal environment, consisting of its resources and employees, but it also needs to think of the external factors. These factors, nonetheless, cannot be paused or altered, but one can adjust according to the changes in the economic, social or political pressures. The factors that compose a company’s extremely environment are its competitors, the legal or political system, ecological considerations, technological uplifts and last but not least cultural changes. The question that rises at this point is whether or not the environmental scanning benefits an organization.
The answer to the above question is yes. Companies that implemented environmental scanning systems increased both their profits and revenue growth. What is more, the most significant advantage of environmental scanning is that it prepares the organization for any problems or crises. Scanning can detect changes in the environment which is extremely important, if an organization is to avoid crises management. In addition, changes in the external environment of an organization can suddenly alter organization’s opportunities or resources.
Moreover, gathering competitors’ intelligence, which is the process that organizations use to collect information about their competitors’ future plans and strategies, is also one of the major benefits of environmental scanning. By gathering data and monitoring the competitors’ behavior, an organization can help establish the basis of competitor’s strong and weak points, alongside with future plans and ideas.
Additionally, scanning for social or cultural changes can also help an organization. This happens because the socio-cultural environment encapsulates demand and tastes, which vary with fashion or disposable income. Such change can again provide with both opportunities and threats for particular companies. In order to keep ahead, it is significant to offer innovative ideas before the competitors.
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The politics of a country or a region, or a change of its legislations can also help or harm an organization. Therefore, for an organization to stay afloat, it needs to be aware of all changes that occur in the political and legal system.
Finally, for an organization to move forward, it is essential to keep updating technologically. This, however, is more relevant in cases of businesses that rely heavily on technology and are technologically sensitive.
In conclusion, scanning, ultimately, as information seeking in support of organizational learning will always be much more of an art than a science.
2.) Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a participative approach to the implementation of organization change.
Change in today’s organizations is inevitable, and according to many scholars, it occurs sooner than ever before. The term organizational change usually refers to modifications in organizational structure, goals, technologies and work tasks. However, in the past three decades it can also include changes in attitudes and cultural values.
What is more, change in an organization can affect working conditions, roles, structure, even behaviors. It can be introduced deliberately or arise through external pressure.
Externally driven change is determined by economic conditions, government interventions, political pressures, changes in technology and global competition. Change, nonetheless, can be originated from within an organization, first and foremost because organizations go through the processes of ageing, and strategies for renewal and development are, therefore necessary, at every level. Whatever the case, for organizations to survive, they must be responsive to change and more rapid attitudes of flexibility and dynamism to manage the demands placed upon them.
Furthermore, there are two broad categories of implementation approaches, the participative approach and the unilateral. The unilateral approach is a type of change comparable with the Behavioral Modification model. It is believed to be an attempt to recognize and reduce complex procedures in the organizations to explicit rules, procedures and strategic actions to deal with all possible contingencies. As an approach, the unilateral is based on actions rather than on attitudes. If actions go right then, automatically the attitudes and behaviors go right. It is measured through outward actions and focuses on process design, job redesign, restructuring of authority, communication and work rules.
The participative approach, on the other hand, is the most common one in today’s business environment, is comparable to the organizational development model that focuses on the planned and controlled change of organizations in the desired directions. The techniques that this approach uses are sensitivity training, job-redesign, participation and team building.
Participation is also the means of recognition. It satisfies the need for affiliation and acceptance of the people, which, according to Maslow, is the third need of hierarchy. What is more, people are not motivated by being consulted, but by being included in the act. As a consequence, the correct method of participation breeds both motivation and knowledge valuable for the successful change implementation and enterprise success.
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Without a doubt, participative approach to change increases the stake of ownership of employees. However, that is not the only advantage. To begin with, an increase say in decision-making means there is a stronger feeling of association. The employee feels more responsible and ready to take charge. That can cause working hours to get stressed without compulsion or force from management. As a result, there is an increase in productivity.
Secondly, people are more satisfied with their jobs, when their hard work is being acknowledged and their suggestions are being heard and put into practice. That makes them feel like an integral component of the organization and not as plain worker.
Nevertheless, increased productivity and job satisfaction cannot exist unless there is a high level of motivation in the employee and vice versa. Furthermore, the participative approach improves quality of products or services and reduces costs, since there is less supervision and the costs are controlled automatically.
There is, however, a flip side to everything; and participative method stands no exception to it. Whereas this style of change leads to a better participation of all employees, there are undoubtedly some disadvantages too. For instance, participative method stands for increased participation and when there are too many people involved, the process of change slows down.
Another problem that may occur is that of security. This arises from the fact that too many people are aware of lots of facts and crucial information. Thus, there is a greater chance of information to be leaked out.
In conclusion, the advantages seem to outnumber the disadvantages. However there is no reassurance that an organization should blindly adopt this method of change, and let not forget that every organization is unique, with its own culture and human resources.
3.) Discuss the common causes of resistance to organizational change.
Charles Darwin once said that it is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones who are most responsive to change. This sounds very wise when thinking about today’s marketplace. The ability to manage change is a very important factor in the success of every business.
Organizations tend to change over time in a variety of ways. Typically organizations change in response to the external environment, as well as through the development of competitive strengths within the organization. These factors mentioned before, could be social, legal, economic, political or even technological.
Moreover, there are also the cultural blocks, which mean that a culture may be hostile to change. Nonetheless, there are cognitive blocks which refer to the inability to use the correct information and language. Explaining the process of change is very important to people who are affected by it. Furthermore there are the perceptual blocks comprised ofy people defining problems narrowly, because people can sometimes be unable to see problems from more than one perspective. Finally, there are the environmental blocks which are influenced fundamentally by the managers’ behaviur. When change occurs, employees are more likely to trust change managers, if everybody can become involved in the process.
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Hostility, on the other hand, takes place when individuals or groups of people fail to take on the change initiative or some element of the change program and actively work to disturb it. This so-called resistance to change may take many forms, like strikes, output restrictions, fallen productivity or quality, sabotage of the change process and so on.
Resistance cannot be dismissed or defeated, since it is present at both organizational and individual levels. Change needs to be prepared carefully, with those affected being involved from the very beginning, so as to give them a chance to adjust, but also influence change. What is more, those affected by the need to be provided with some positive benefits or helped to see future advantages, if they are to accept change as a concept.
At an organizational level, resistance is usually a result of the lack of an integrated approach to change. Many change initiatives fail to consider all different aspects that change impacts, the organizational group, as well as the individual.
Additionally, there are identified four broad classes of resistance to change. To begin with the people, as focused resistance is also known as psychological resistance. This resides in individuals due to their psychological differences, such as values, attitudes and perceptions.
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Secondly, there is the system which is focused resistance which arises due to the complexity of new systems that are unfriendly to the user. If those are introduced without the appropriate training, user will be reticent about using them and hold on to what they are used to.
Thirdly, there is the organization’s focused resistance, which occurs because new systems do not match well with the organization’s structure, culture or technology and that acts as an obstacle to the change.
Finally, there is the politics – focused resistance which emerges from the power structures that the organization is laid upon. One should keep in mind that politics and power issues are an inevitable part of everyday working life and, if balance is altered, there can be a great deal of resistance to change
4.) Explain the importance and process of organizational socialization.
Organizational socialization as a term refers to the learning content and process by which an individual adjusts to a specific role in an organization. It is often identified as the primary process by which people adapt to the new jobs and organizational roles. Moreover, organizational socialization is a powerful process that affects an individual’s behavior and helps shape and maintain an organization’s culture.
Building organization socialization is a slow process that starts with relationship building. An important means of successful socialization is forming relationships of newcomers with co-workers and supervisors. These types of relationships help the newcomer by serving as the means of information, advice or even social support and are highly important for the socialization process.
Moreover, newcomers tend to turn to co-workers who act as informal mentors, when seeking advice or career related support. Another way that newcomers have been offered to gain control inside an organization is by the job change negotiation. This type of behavior involves newcomers’ attending to change their job duties or the manner and means by which they carry out their jobs.
What is more, positive farming has also been demonstrated as a proactive tactic used by individuals to adapt to new and uncertain situations. Furthermore, there is the involvement in work-related activities, which is defined as newcomers’ proactive involvement in “extracurricular” activities, and while these activities are work relates, they are, however, not part of his defined role behaviors.
Additionally, social learning theory states that one of the primary ways in which people learn the task of socialization, is through observation and modeling of the behavior of appropriate others. Modeling is an essential way of learning for newcomers’ socialization.
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Nonetheless, successful organizational socialization is very important. This is because it offers the newcomer the job satisfaction, as well as perceptions of success and commitment to the organization. Moreover, it offers durability in the organization and performance proficiency.
In conclusion, organizational socialization leads to positive outcomes for new employees, as well as the organization itself, because with better job performance comes the greater profits.
5.) Discuss the benefits to an organization of a strong organizational culture.
Organizational culture is an essential element in the understanding of organizations. What is more, there is interrelatedness between the culture and other concepts like leadership, structure, motivation, power and strategy.
Culture is said to be the means of finding a way to resolve differences, of helping people work together, often through symbols which work effectively without having to think about them. Organizational culture still relates to a system of shared meaning held by members that distinguish one organization from others. However, this does not always come easily. In fact, the core concept of culture relates to something that most of people recognize from their experience of organization, but at the same time is too elusive to attempt to define it.
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An organizational culture can be either weak or strong. A strong organizational culture is when the majority of the participants hold the same basic beliefs and values, as applied to the organization. People in this group may follow ethical procedures and perceived rules that are basic to the organization, even if those values are not publicly stated by it. The above is extremely valuable for building a team, where all participants have the same goals. Working as a whole to improve efficiency or, possibly, communication with management could be some of the goals. However, a strong culture may discourage change and hold back creativity. Therefore a very strong culture many not be sustainable for a company operating in dynamic environment, requiring frequent changes in its working style.
The benefits, nonetheless, from a strong organizational culture outnumbering its disadvantages. To begin with, the purpose is clearly defined. A company with a good organizational culture is fully aware of its goals and what every individual needs to do in order to get there.
Service is also another benefit from a strong culture, not only to customers, but a sense of service from one employee to the company itself. The employees feel the need to work for the company and see the company succeed.
Furthermore, they know exactly when they can expand and when they cannot. They can look at numbers and instead of giving a glowing report, when it looks like recession to keep the stock up, they can analyze and see that hard times are coming and adjust accordingly.
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In addition, companies with healthy organizational cultures are very adaptable. They are able to roll with both bad and good markets, seize opportunities when they come along and deal fast with the unexpected.
As Tomas Carlyle, a Scottish writer once said: Culture is the process by which a person becomes all that they were created capable of being. The same, one believes, stands for organizations.