It means changing the organisation to fully utilise the advantages that such a diverse culture can offer. The second art Of this chapter focuses on the effective management Of diversity in an environment that is increasingly changing in all respects. Managing organisational change Deciding how to change an organisation is a complex matter because change disrupts the status quo and poses a threat to many, prompting some employees to resist attempts to alter work relationships and procedures.
Organisational learning, the process through which managers try to increase the ability of organisational members to understand and appropriately respond to changing conditions, can be an important impetus for change. Organisational change can affect practically all aspects of organisational functioning, including organisation structure, culture, strategies, control systems, and groups and teams, and human resource management systems, as well as critical organisational processes such as communication, motivation, and leadership.
Assessing the need for change Assessing the need for change includes two important activities: recognising that there is a problem and identifying its source. To discover the source of the problem, managers need to look both inside and outside the organisation. Outside the organisation, they must examine how changes in nvironmental forces may be creating opportunities and threats that are affecting internal work relationships. The change process generally begins with a form of assessment of the need for change which describes the organisation’s areas for improvement or a future desired state.
Although the intention may be detailed, it does not generally specify how the changes will occur. These details are part of the subseq uent implementation of the change process. The identification of the need for change may include all, or some, of the following elements: Mission or vision -the organisation’s major strategic urpose, and may be about the current state of the organisation or a foundation for envision the future of the organisation Valued outcomes – descriptions of the desired futures should include specific performance measures.
Valued outcomes can serve as goals of the change process and standards for assessing progress Valued features ”may broadly describe a desired future state or may be a highly specific and linked to particular valued outcomes Deciding on the change to make Once managers have identified the source of the problem, they must decide what they think the organisation’s ideal future state would be and begin ngagement in planning how they are going to attain the organisation’s future state. This step also includes identifying obstacles or sources of resistance to change.
Obstacles to change are found at the corporate, divisional, departmental, and individual levels of the organisation. Corporate-level changes, even seemingly trivial ones, may significantly affect how divisional and departmental managers behave. For this reason, an organisation’s present strategy and structure can be powerful Obstacles to change. Whether a companys culture is adaptive or inert also can facilitate or obstruct change. Organisations with entrepreneurial, flexible cultures are much easier to change that are organisations with more rigid cultures. The same obstacles to change exist at the divisional and departmental levels as well.
Division managers may differ in their attitudes toward changes proposed by top managers, and if their interests and power seem threatened, will resist those changes. Managers at all levels usually fight to protect their power and control over resources. At the individual level, people are often resistant to change because change brings uncertainty and stress. Managers must recognise and take into onsideration potential obstacles that can make change a slow process. Improving communication and empowering employees by inviting them to participate in the planning for change can help to overcome resistance and allay fears.
In addition, managers can sometimes overcome resistance by emphasising group or shared goals such as organisational efficiency and effectiveness. The larger and more complex an organisation, the more complex the change process is. Implementing the Change: Generally managers introduce and manage change from the top down or from the bottom up. Top down-change is implemented quickly. Top managers identify the need for change, decide what to do, and then move quickly to implement the changes throughout the organisation. Bottom-up change is typically more gradual.
Top managers consult with middle and first line managers, and then over time, managers at all levels work to develop a detailed plan for change. A major advantage of bottom-up change is that it can co-opt resistance to change from employees. Evaluating the Change: The last step in the change process is to evaluate how successful the change effort has been in improving organisational performance. Using such easures as market share, profits, or the ability of managers to meet their goals, managers can compare how well an organisation is performing after the change with its performance prior to the change.
Managers also can use benchmarking, which is the comparison of their performance on specific dimensions with the performance of high performing organisations, to decide how successful a change effort has been. Benchmarking is a key tool in total quality management. Managing change: Workforce diversity and the environment One of the most important management issues to emerge over the last 30 ears has been the increasing diversity of the workforce. Diversity: is dissimilarities”differences”among people due to age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, and capabilities/disabilities.
Diversity is a critical issue to organisations for the following reasons: There is a strong ethical imperative in many societies that diverse people receive equal opportunities and be treated fairly and justly Unfair treatment is illegal Effective management of organisational diversity can improve organisational effectiveness. There is substantial evidence that diverse individuals continue o experience unfair treatment in the workplace as a result Of biases, stereotypes, and overt discrimination.
The aging of the population suggests managers need to be vigilant in ensuring that employees are not discriminated against because of age. 30-40% of Australia’s population were set to reach retirement age during the next 3-5 years (2008 statistics) but compared with many other countries, older people in Australia are significantly under-represented in the labour market Gender A recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report shows the pay gap between working men and women is widening. Reasons for this include omen’s responsibilities in their homes and families, employment in part- time work, and workplace discrimination.
Many reasons contribute to the inequality in earnings between men and women overall, including: Women’s responsibility for unpaid caring and work More women work part time in a long hours culture Occupation and industry segregation and undervaluation of women’s work Women have less access to overtime and over-award payments Sex discrimination and sexual harassment Race and ethnicity A migrant background can lead to difficulties in finding employment, whether the individual is skilled or unskilled. Management have much to gain through employing migrants, but it may not be easy or cheap to do so.
Two major issues may be that some migrants lack either everyday English skills or more specialised technical English skills specific to their occupation. Furthermore, Occupational Health and Safety requirements from their home country may differ from those in Australia Religion A key issue for managers when it comes to religious diversity is recognising and being aware of different religions and their beliefs, with particular attention being paid to when religious holidays fall. Legislation in Australia is esigned to make discrimination in the workforce, including discrimination against a person’s religious beliefs, illegal.
Managers should be willing to be flexible in allowing people time off for religious observances, by which means employee loyalty is often enhanced. Government and business organisations in Australia offer workshops on understanding and embracing a multi-faith workplace. Capabilities/ Disabilities Legislation prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to allow the disabled to effectively perform their jobs. However, as managers attempt to implement policies and procedures to comply with such laws, they face a number of interpretation and fairness challenges.
People with disability can bring skills, talents and abilities to any workforce. Sometimes a person with a disability may need a few simple adjustments to the workplace or a piece of special adaptive equipment to allow them to perform a job. However the largest barrier facing many people with a disability is the attitude of others. Socioeconomic background Socioeconomic background typically refers to a combination Of social class and income-related factors. Socioeconomic diversity requires managers to be sensitive and responsible to the needs and concerns of employees who are not as well off as others.
Socioeconomic diversity suggests that managers need to be sensitive and responsible to the needs and concerns of such workers and whenever possible, provide them with opportunities to learn, advance, and make meaningful contributions to the organisation while improving their economic well-being. Sexual orientation For many managers and organisations, fair and equal treatment of gay and lesbian employees is an integral part of doing business ethically. And it is often a requirement of operating legally. But there is also a very sound business rationale”to attract and retain valuable employees.
Shutting out various groups from the recruitment pool would significantly shrink the pool of qualified candidates, lowering the possibility of finding the best person for the job. Critical management roles In each of their managerial roles, managers can either promote the effective management of diversity or derail such efforts; thus, they are critical to this change process. Table 4. 1 (pl 1 8) summarises some of the ways in which anagers can ensure that diversity is effectively managed. By using their formal authority to support diversity, managers can influence other members of the organisation to make the same commitment.
Managerial commitment to diversity legitimises the diversity management efforts of others. Seeing managers express confidence in the abilities and talents of diverse employees causes other organisational members to adopt similar attitudes and helps reduce misconceptions rooted in ignorance or stereotypes. Research suggests that slight differences in treatment of diverse rganisational members based upon race, gender, ethnicity or other irrelevant factors can accumulate to result in major disparities over time.
Therefore, managers must ensure that such disparities do not occur and are not tolerated. Steps in managing diversity effectively Various kinds of barriers arise to managing diversity effectively in an organisation and thereby impede successful change management.. To overcome these barriers and effectively manage diversity, managers (and other organisational members) must possess or develop certain attitudes and values and the skills needed to change other people’s attitudes and values.