Photo processing industry as a result of increasing demand, liberalization and advanced technology in the global market context, is faced with tough very time. As a consequence, Herff Jones firm experiences intense competition from other companies that have already embraced technological dimension in their operations. Herff Jones firm thus; experience problems related to high material cost, low productivity and reducing profit margins; henceforth need for change to reduce costs, have a supportive structure, reach majority of customers through online medium to add its competitiveness (Mathieson, 2008). The proposed change project in favor of introducing technology based management of the organization functions is inventible to achieve short term, small scale and long term, large scale changes in benefit of Herff Jones.
The new technology change project at Herff Jones fits short term, small scale and long term large scale change continuum. In short term, small scale it focuses on the immediate needs of the organization to solve the loss of customer’s base by identifying a solution of introduction of online marketing, online support services, online client’s surveys, and digital photo printing. These incentives are useful in the sense that they will address the current threat to Herff Jones business. However, this alone can not guarantee the needed change sustainability. Therefore, the design has to include an appropriate approach to make it a success for long term gains (Beer, 1998). The long term, large scale continuity is in the sense of why, what, how in relation to change application. Therefore, in this case of Herff Jones, new technology adoption has been initiated by external operational environment from photo firms and clients; project is set to achieve multiple company goals; use of outsourcing services to enhance effectiveness; and to a greater extend involves the employees to be able to own, uphold and sustain the change. These measures ensure focus on long term goal achievement since technology is the only way out for Herff Jones.
Appropriate Change model
In regard to the appropriate change model applicable in this case, I propose the social marketing and social psychological theories of change. For instance, social marketing though not apply to change, its structural model construction can be borrowed to explain change management concept (McFarlan, 2004).
Social marketing is based on the principles of marketing focusing on four essentials: development of a product, the promotion of the product, the place, the price (McWhinney, 1992; McFarlan, 2004). The theory’s framework situates Herff Jones Company stakeholders are like potential consumers who are willing to buy into a certain idea on condition that appropriate selling techniques are applied, thus, result to change in behavior. It follows that change management team should plan and structure new technology change well to better market it rather than impose it to avoid a lot of resistance to that change (McWhinney, 1992; McFarlan, 2004).
Social Psychological theory that seek to explain and understand change in perspective of how events and experiences external to a person or social situation and physical environment influence individual’s behavior (McWhinney,1992); can be used also to understand change management of new technology. In this regard, the much emphasis is placed on the social context in which behavior occurs that encompasses attitudes and beliefs, social norms and expectations, social stereotypes, cultural mores, cohesion and group dynamics. Thus, there is need to create an enabling environment to facilitate successful change implementation and focus on individual barriers to introduction of new technology (McFarlan, 2004).
Plan to address the human critical success factors
Organizational success is highly dependant upon placing human function of the business at the center of success strategy. Therefore, in this context there is an urgent need to design a plan to address human critical success factors. This plan aims at aligning Herff Jones employee with change objectives in order to achieve a new ‘customer-centric’ focus (Mathieson, 2008). To achieve this however is not easy task because employees usually are uncertain about their future and fate as a result of new technology adoption by the firm. Therefore, this turns out to the death of predictability on side of employees which need to be turned to strategic advantage by employing communication to motivate, educate and align workforce and all stakeholders to meet new operating realities through adoption of modern technology and not archaic methods.
The plan of addressing the human critical success factors shall include:
v Gauge and understand employee issues
v Consideration of all audiences in change project is crucial to understanding front-line employees
v Focusing on long-term results over short-term gains: By Herff Jones Company positioning and communicating change as an ongoing process before it begins
v Well thought and planned employee communications
v Reinforcement of key messages
v Holding senior management accountable for change process: By investing in top managerial carder’s; show of commitment, listening and incorporating views of employees, time and energy in communicating the progress and goals of change program
v Evaluating current and create new communications channels when appropriate: By use of employee’s informal survey mechanisms and cross-functional focus groups to study the effectiveness of existing vehicles.
v Gathering feedback: through building formal and informal feedback vehicles to elicit employee’s perception and views in relation to change program
Measuring and monitoring the human change elements of the project
According to Carnall (2006), states that projecting success cannot be measured through observation on flourishing sales or consumer’s base, but rather on a measurable change resulting from a cause and effect relationship. Carnall (2006) suggests parameters to be measured in technology change adoption as: program performance through components of output, outcomes and impacts; Program processes such as degree of incorporation, accountability and Participation; Program context components as legal dimension, duty bearers and right holders. However, measuring and monitoring involves checking the four main components in new technological change that shall give overall feedback on the progress and status of change project. These are: process, output, outcome and impacts (Carnall, 2006), which can be represented diagrammatically as below.
Figure1. Levels of measuring and monitoring change
Source: Carnall, C. (2006) “Managing strategic change”: Long Range Planning 19: 109
Contingency strategies for managing resistance to the changes
As Mathieson (2008) acknowledges, no matter how this designed change is beneficial to the workforce and profit to other stakeholders, a portion of this target community will resist change. Generally, resistance to change is caused by different assessment of situation of change, low tolerance to change, misunderstanding of the concept of change and to a greater extend it is usually parochial self interest of the stakeholders. Despite this competing perception and barriers to change, Mathieson (2008), reminds human resources and business practitioners that the objective of a leader in change process is neither to win over employees nor bully employees, but to correct and direct behavior by influencing them to constructive way for individual’s and company benefits. Therefore, there is a need to have an effective and appropriate strategy to manage resistance to change.
Carnall (2006) proposes six principles approach to an effective strategy for managing resistance to change in line with new technology adoption for any given organization; Herff Jones firm included. First, sufficient education, training and communication is highly needed to reduce the impact of unfounded rumors on effects of change in circumstances where there is insufficient information about change. For instance, rumors can come up in this project that most employees or old employees shall loose their jobs to new recruits. Hence, through communication and sufficient training of the employees and all stakeholders it facilitates them to see logic of embracing this new technology. Second, employing input approach to increase participation and involvement of all stakeholders especially employees with their view in change policies design is likely to reduce resistance. McWhinney (1992), note that when people are involved in initiating, planning and implementation of change they own change and as a result it become not only easy to implement, but also difficult to resist.
Third, discussion and agreement strategy that can be applied when a certain group or persons have power to resist adoption of new technology like shareholders, company directors and government. In this case, the strategy entails change team to allow these powerful groups or employees to veto contentious clauses or offer incentives to allow change progress. Alternatively those over resisting can be given incentives to leave the firm early enough using early retirements or buyouts. Fourth strategy involves support and facilitation that is best offered when top management is committed. Thus, managers when they support their workforce go through their fears and anxiety it solves problem of adjustment to new technology and hence minimizes resistance.
The fifth approach is rather unaccepted by many HR practitioners, but it can be of help when going is too tough: manipulation and co-option. Under his strategy change management team identifies individual who are leading and inciting others to resist new technology introduction and give them position in planning team not to contribute, but to appear. However, it is dangerous given that incase such leaders realize they have been tricked can push for resistance further and harder, so it should be applied carefully. The sixth strategy can be used as the last resort; explicit and implicitly coercion whereby manager force the employees to accept to embrace new technology at Herff Jones by clearly stating that resistance to acceptance of new technology can lead to dismissal, non-promotions, job losses and transfers.
However, Beer (1998) cautions that application of these strategies should be well reasoned out, since only specific situations of resistance to change does apply to specific strategies. Furthermore, passive resistance such as worrying and complaining may not necessary need immediate remedy, but can not be ignored. Whereas active resistance in form of organizing others, sabotage and total refusal to participate in change process while offered a chance to need immediate intervention by acknowledging right to opinion while firm on organization goals.
Beer, M. (1998): The critical path for change, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
Carnall, C. (2006) “Managing strategic change”: Long Range Planning 19:107-114.
McFarlan, F. W. (2004), “Information technology changes”. Harvard Business Review 62:99-102.
McWhinney, W. (1992), Paths of Change: Strategic Choices for Organizations and Society: Boston, Sage.
Mathieson, K. (2008), Predicting user intentions: Comparing the technology acceptance model with the theory of planned behavior. Information Systems Research 2(3), 170-189.
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