Resistance to change is a global phenomenon involving variables and indices that influences decision making, critical construct and assertions relevant to several thematic studies. For the purpose of this research work, analysis will be geared towards identifying reasons for employees resistance to change, interventory mechanisms that strengthens resistance via eliciting communication channels of promoting an inclusive decision making process. The hypothesis is targeted at correctional means of ensuring that the output to productivity is measured in a positive scale that will harness other factors towards an effective socio-organisational stability. The case study focusses on Owen Cheetham and other legal and paralegal partners. Identify reasons for resisting change to an open plan office, barriers to communication and sources of social power that defines effective leadership.
Social Psychology and Perspectives to Human Development are fast gaining ground in Conflict and Peacebuilding strategies and policies. The ethology on human development studies by scholars are needful premise of creating a pathway that will serve as influencers in determining a frame work that will define an effective interrelations as expected within any organisational roles and responsibilities assigned (Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). Pathways of building human developments within a workplace such as in the case of this Legal firm begins by identifying reasons for resistance and piffering while determining an effective tactical influencing strategies that can be adopted by this partners and employees in proffering solutions to the existing organisational conflicts. Several arguments are put forward in this research with supporting literatures in proffering solutions to the resolutions required in this case study.
Reasons the law firm employees are resisting change are as follows:
Consequently, the senior legal partner could adopt a leader-member exchange theory with the aim of minimizing resistance(Grean Novak & Sommerkamp,1982). The theory enhances reward systems by a superior officer on his subordinates ranging from support, understanding and implicit bearing relationship. It is expected that this approach will be required from Owen Cheetham and Jack Wynne as a means to an end in minimizing the resistance from their staffers who refuted keying into changing to an open plan office. Resistance to the Open plan project came from the inability of the partnership’s management to manage information necessary for effective communication. Communication is vital to an organization it is how it coordinates its activities to achieve set goals. The main facets of communication process include coordination, transmission of information and sharing of emotions and feelings.
Effective communication helps people grasp issues, build rapport with co-workers and achieve shared consensus. The open plan project failed to observe this process, first, the transmission was ineffective, via email; one of the many shortcomings for such a channel is the economy on detailsThe plan was executed without staff input, which later generated frictions and conflict, including not addressing the cultural differences between the staff, the senior partners felt the décor was too modern and the relaxation facility excessive, the female staff Mai Ling felt her personal space and privacy has been compromised, the order staff either thought the location inconvenient for their daily experience with shopping and café expensive, Brian Taloana complained that privacy was effectively compromised to the extent it affected productivity. The solution are critically analysed as follows: Staff must be allowed to make inputs and coordinate with the management in executing the plan. The channel must be direct, detailed and involve all parties for genuine and effective decisions that eliminates frictions of any kind. Effective communication is important for the development of an organization. It is something which helps the managers to perform the basic functions of management- Planning, Organizing, Motivating and Controlling. Communication skills whether written or oral form the basis of any business activity.
On the discourse regarding the rejection of the Open Plan office there are series of faux pas committed by the management, these are failures/barriers to communicate properly with the staff, including;Filtering, Selective perception, Emotional disconnect, workplace gossipFiltering is the distortion or withholding of information to manage another person’s perception. In this case the information about the move to a new office were conveyed via email one month before the move. The staff had no input in the arrangement and layouts of the new office, there was a disconnect between the reasons for the move from the management and the reception by the staff. Some of these reasons did not resonate with the staff because it failed to address their convenience, self esteem needs, cultural considerations, gender differences. Selective perception can be referred to as assumptions based on personal needs. Cathy thought that an open plan office with modern décor will appeal to staff and colleagues but it ended up causing dissatisfaction and friction amongst them.
Emotional Disconnect which plays a large role in defining an individual’s well being and his or her capacity for productivity. For Mai Ling proximity in the open plan excessive it intruded on her personal space and time, Candy found the new location was far from shops and cafes expensive; Brian experienced constant intrusion on his work that earned him unending irritation. Work place the informal gossip network known as the grapevine is a lifeline for many employees seeking information about their company (Kurland & Pelled, 2000). Researchers found that gossip is an inevitable part of organizational communication comprising roughly 70% of all communications (Crampton 1998). Employees trust their peers as sources of information, but because of the informal nature of grapevine inaccuracies and incorrect information are easily disseminated among members of an organization. This was one of the difficulties in the open plan project because of low staff participation and subsequent conflicts that reflected. Any factor that impedes the exchange of information between a sender and receiver is a barrier to communication. Such includes, Differing perception, prejudice(assumptions), level of emotional intelligence, values/beliefs and culture/language differences. It takes an acquisition of skills to communicate effectively. With such skills, conflicts of disputes that might arise can be avoided.
In addition, effective communication, builds and sustains relationships. To develop the ability to work with others impartially is a skill, same goes for communication, it requires building understanding, improving interactions and establishing proper contact. From the case study, among the legal team, only a female legal officer was employed who happened to be a daughter of Jack Wynne (a senior legal partner). This will certainly generate an assumption of overbearing influence from Cathy has she was depicted as the custodian of the idea on need for an open plan office. In addition, most of the paralegals are whites, giving a perception of preference to culture and language. The outcome of the aforementioned variables/factors will be reflected in the interrelations existing among the employees. Dale Carnegie sets records straight on this, it takes both parties coming together to effecting an appropriate method to closing the existing relationship gaps by adopting proximity with presence, contiguity with contact and familiarity with feelings. It is important to analyze and clarify ideas before communicating it accordingly. The use of consultation, follow up and communication supporting actions are viable feedback mechanism that is goal oriented. Capacity of the senior partners to influence others is termed social power. French and Raven literatures classified the sources of social power on the bases of legitimate, reward, coercive, expert, referent. In 1996, Estavor Robbin’s added to this classification, informational and rational persuasion. Summarily, these bases of social power can either be positional or personal. According to Fiedler, the effectiveness of a leader depends on varied situations. In examing the concept of situation, the following factors should be considered:
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