Bringing changes in the Individual Behaviour Patterns Within An Organisation !
The change agents are those elements that are responsible for bringing about the change in the individual behaviour patterns. This is the most important type of change since other types of changes such as in strategy, structure or process can always be introduced simply by the management and most often these changes are accepted by the workers.
Image Source: d223wx6eb72vcz.cloudfront.net
Also because behaviour is highly complex phenomenon, it may require a number of strategies to make desirable changes in human behaviour. These change agents may either be the initiators of changes or serve as catalysts for such change. Four types of change agents have been identified.
i) Outside pressures:
These are pressures from the external environment and are directed towards change in the entire organization.
These may be in the form of government intervention if there are serious quality or safety defects. The government may also get involved if there are labour strikes for long periods of time or mass demonstrations against the organization.
For example in America, the government has ordered a recall of many automobiles when some safety defects have been discovered. Similarly, health inspectors have closed down many restaurants where health and safety violations were discovered in food and cleanliness.
ii) Internal organizational development:
This can come slowly through and within the organization itself. This may include redefinement of goals as well as participative goal setting. Such development can be achieved through management by objectives (MBO), work redesign, team development and so on.
iii) Individual change:
This change is the modification of behaviour within the individual where personal goals may be better served in the changed environment of the organization. For example, in a government job, if a person who is habitually late coming to work without any obvious repercussions or reprimands might change his behaviour if the organization starts taking notice of such tardiness in a negative way.
iv) Changes from central management:
The organizational changes may come from the top management who may be convinced about its necessity and may direct the structural, strategic or technological changes that would be beneficial to the organization and its members.
There have been a number of change agents that have been at work in changing the organizational processes and structures. In America, for example, Ralph Nader, a consumer advocate has been responsible for many changes in the area of quality and safety of many products and specially in the automobiles.
In addition, such forces as the women’s liberation movement, strong labour unions and specific federal and state laws and regulations have brought about numerous changes that have affected the work ethics of the organization and work roles of their members.
Similarly, in India where the bureaucratic structure is deeply embedded in the organizational system, changes are being brought about by government regulations and by social pressures to give more freedom to the workers, to bring about equal opportunity for employment for all, irrespective of religion or gender and to keep pace with the changing world in technological development and processes.