The business landscape of the 21st century is characterized by rapid change brought about due to technological, economic, political and social changes. It is no longer the case that the managers and employees of firms in this decade can look forward to more of the same every year. In fact, the pace of change is so rapid and the degree of obsolescence if organizations resist change is so brutal that the only way out for many firms is to change or perish. In this context, it becomes critical that organizations develop the capabilities to adapt and steer change in their advantage.
The role of senior managers becomes crucial in driving through change and ensuring that firms are well placed with respect to their competitors. However, it is the case that in many organizations, senior managers actively resist change and in fact thwart change initiatives due to a variety of reasons which would be explored in subsequent sections. This essay examines the barriers to change by senior managers and discusses approaches to mitigate such resistance. The essay begins with a discussion n the role of senior managers as barriers to change and then outlines some approaches on how to get the senior managers on board for change.
It goes without saying that he who rejects change is the architect of decay and the only human institution that rejects progress is the cemetery. With this axiom in mind, it is critical to understand that unless change is actively embraced, organizations in the 21st century risk obsolescence.
To resist change is as basic as human nature and hence the change managers must adopt an inclusive approach that considers the personality clashes and the ego tussles. It is often the case that in large organizations, there tend to be power centres and fiefdoms and hence the issue of organizational change must address the group dynamics as well as the individual behavioural characteristics.
Only by an understanding of the means by which managers can be brought on board can there be a foundation for suitable approaches. The approaches include a combination of pressure tactics and coordination instead of competition and cooption as well as cooperation. Change agents must realize that wherever possible, they must deal with consensual decision making and if that is not possible, they must walk the talk and be firm in their approach. Managers at all levels have a tendency to resist change and in the high stakes game of change management, it is the ones that can articulate and communicate the change in a clear and coherent manner who succeed.
In conclusion, change is the only constant in business and the landscape of the 21st century is littered with companies that have not adapted to the changing times. Hence, organizations must and should embrace change and the approaches discussed in this paper are part of the solution.