IC2-1 Aspects of Change

ChangeModule 2 of the TELIC-course has started! The first session is a fact, this time on Innovation and Change (IC2). After the introductions we started off with talking about change. As it is, you can talk about 2 orders of change:

  • First order changes: to improve proficiency and effectiveness in your work, on a more personal level.
  • Second order changes: to change the organization itself, profound changes that will affect (almost) everybody.

Also the type of change can be very different:

  • incremental – discontinuous
  • anticipatory – reactive

Lastly and more importantly, the different frames of looking at change:

  • structural frame (change in the organizational structure)
  • symbolic frame (change in the culture of the organization)
  • political frame (change in power or influence, power structures)
  • human resources frame (change in the inter-personal strategies)

After our session and thinking about it, I found that change is rather comprehensive. Little adjustments in an organization can have huge effects for some people in it. Learning how to cope with change, but also how to implement change is an art in itself. In our society where information and the means by which we access this information, are changing so fast, change management becomes quite essential. In this module I hope to find answers to support people in my organization when change occurs.

Like everybody else, I have encountered change on numerous occasions. I find that change usually is a combination of frames of looking at it. Maybe it’s this that makes change such an intricate development. For instance, a couple of years ago, the institute I work at, decided to implement a learning management system. The LMS was introduced, but only moderately welcomed. Although the system could help in the day-to-day workflow, a lot of my colleagues thought of it as “extra work”. As time progressed, more and more people started working with it, but even now, the LMS isn’t used to its full potential. Personally, I feel that there are better systems out there, but at its core this technological aid, could smoothen our work.

The change implemented was highly structural, I think. A lot of information that was used to be transmitted on paper was now being communicated digitally. Archiving documents too, you had to go and look in the LMS to retrieve certain documents. From a symbolic point of view, the LMS implied a deep change in the culture of our organization. The way of doing things was completely change. Not radically, but gradually non the less. Also the the human resources framework could’ve been taken care of differently. Since there was no real person to fall back upon when in trouble, people just tried and failed a lot to do things digitally. Blaming the technology and telling everybody how awful it was, you could feel a lot of aversion. Had there been somebody who could’ve helped people, from a human point of view, instead of only a technical point of view, things might have gone less troublesome. Today the LMS is still in use, people have accepted it, but still sometimes criticize it. I still feel that the LMS certainly has its value, but in this day and age alternatives should be considered. These in turn will cause change and the inherent resistance, but could also build upon the technological experiences people have gained while working with the current system.

Personally, I think that communication in any kind of change is essential. If you are able to communicate what is about to change and most importantly, why, people tend to show some form of understanding. Taking care of people during and after the change is necessary too. There need to be contact points, people to go to, when you are cooping with change. So, to me, investing in the human resources framework is important. But as mentioned earlier, all the frameworks do work together, so to choose one above the other is always a bad idea, I think.



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