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The purpose of this type of change is to increase productivity by avoiding the pitfalls which were being made in the past. Remedial changes are more targeted and urgent because these focus on problems which are identified. The scope of this type of change is limited and time-bound and it is easy to assess the success or failure of the change strategy.
As businesses become more global and technology-driven, companies must be able to respond to rapid change. To do this, organisations must understand the power of organisational change and its potential for driving progress.
However, the difficulty of enacting effective change management on behalf of business leaders can sometimes emerge as an unfortunate obstacle to successful change. This can be because the right plan has yet to be implemented, or the areas needing organisational change have yet to be identified.
Remedial Changes are Corrective Actions
Remedial change is a change made in response to a performance or culture problem in the organisation. Although these changes may seem punitive to the affected individuals or teams, remedial change is designed to provide constructive feedback, offer support in a difficult situation, or clear out toxic workplace elements before they become bigger issues.
Examples of Remedial Changes
Highly inefficient processes often lead to remedial changes. You might notice that new employees are struggling to learn internal tools and software. As a result, they are running to established employees with questions. Time is wasted, and everyone ends up frustrated.
In this case, the remedial change could include a combination of a user onboarding program for application training, a company wiki or knowledge base for basic company knowledge, and an onboarding handbook with knowledge resources that promote self-guided learning.
Remedial changes begin with an issue and end with a solution.
It seems simple, but since these changes are reactionary, they can often involve some trial and error. Quick action means you won’t have as much time to plan or transition. The strategy comes into play through monitoring the change. The remedial change is only successful if the identified problem has been solved.
More examples of remedial changes:
Dealing with Resistance to Remedial Changes
Many managers underestimate not only the variety of ways people can react to remedial changes, but also the ways they can positively influence specific individuals and groups during a change. And, again because of past experiences, managers sometimes do not have an accurate understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the methods with which they are familiar.
Education and communication
One of the most common ways to overcome resistance to remedial changes is to educate people about it beforehand. Communication of ideas helps people see the need for and the logic of a change. The education process can involve one-on-one discussions, presentations to groups, or memos and reports.
An education and communication program can be ideal when resistance is based on inadequate or inaccurate information and analysis, especially if the initiators need the resisters’ help in implementing the change. But some managers overlook the fact that a program of this sort requires a good relationship between initiators and resisters or that the latter may not believe what they hear. It also requires time and effort, particularly if a lot of people are involved.
Participation and involvement
If the initiators involve the potential resisters in some aspect of the design and implementation of the remedial changes, they can often forestall resistance. With a participative change effort, the initiators listen to the people the change involves and use their advice.
We have found that many managers have quite strong feelings about participation—sometimes positive and sometimes negative. That is, some managers feel that there should always be participation during change efforts, while others feel this is virtually always a mistake. Both attitudes can create problems for a manager, because neither is very realistic.
When change initiators believe they do not have all the information they need to design and implement a change, or when they need the wholehearted commitment of others to do so, involving others makes very good sense. Considerable research has demonstrated that, in general, participation leads to commitment, not merely compliance. In some instances, commitment is needed for the change to be a success. Nevertheless, the participation process does have its drawbacks. Not only can it lead to a poor solution if the process is not carefully managed, but also it can be enormously time consuming. When the change must be made immediately, it can take simply too long to involve others.
Facilitation and support
Another way that managers can deal with potential resistance to remedial changes is by being supportive. This process might include providing training in new skills, or giving employees time off after a demanding period, or simply listening and providing emotional support.
Facilitation and support are most helpful when fear and anxiety lie at the heart of resistance. Seasoned, tough managers often overlook or ignore this kind of resistance, as well as the efficacy of facilitative ways of dealing with it. The basic drawback of this approach is that it can be time consuming and expensive and still fail. If time, money, and patience just are not available, then using supportive methods is not very practical.
Negotiation and agreement
Another way to deal with resistance is to offer incentives to active or potential resisters. For instance, management could give a union a higher wage rate in return for a work rule change; it could increase an individual’s pension benefits in return for an early retirement.
Negotiation is particularly appropriate when it is clear that someone is going to lose out as a result of a change and yet his or her power to resist is significant. Negotiated agreements can be a relatively easy way to avoid major resistance, though, like some other processes, they may become expensive. And once a manager makes it clear that he will negotiate to avoid major resistance, he opens himself up to the possibility of blackmail.
Manipulation and co-optation
In some situations, managers also resort to covert attempts to influence others. Manipulation, in this context, normally involves the very selective use of information and the conscious structuring of events.
One common form of manipulation is co-optation. Co-opting an individual usually involves giving him or her a desirable role in the design or implementation of the change. Co-opting a group involves giving one of its leaders, or someone it respects, a key role in the design or implementation of a change. This is not a form of participation, however, because the initiators do not want the advice of the co-opted, merely his or her endorsement.
Under certain circumstances co-optation can be a relatively inexpensive and easy way to gain an individual’s or a group’s support (cheaper, for example, than negotiation and quicker than participation). Nevertheless, it has its drawbacks. If people feel they are being tricked into not resisting, are not being treated equally, or are being lied to, they may respond very negatively. More than one manager has found that, by his effort to give some subordinate a sense of participation through co-optation, he created more resistance than if he had done nothing. In addition, co-optation can create a different kind of problem if those co-opted use their ability to influence the design and implementation of changes in ways that are not in the best interests of the organisation.
Other forms of manipulation have drawbacks also, sometimes to an even greater degree. Most people are likely to greet what they perceive as covert treatment or lies with a negative response. Furthermore, if a manager develops a reputation as a manipulator, it can undermine his ability to use needed approaches such as education/communication and participation/involvement. At the extreme, it can even ruin his career.
Nevertheless, people do manipulate others successfully—particularly when all other tactics are not feasible or have failed. Having no other alternative, and not enough time to educate, involve, or support people, and without the power or other resources to negotiate, coerce, or co-opt them, managers have resorted to manipulating information channels in order to scare people into thinking there is a crisis coming that they can avoid only by changing.
Explicit and implicit coercion
Finally, managers often deal with resistance coercively. Here they essentially force people to accept a change by explicitly or implicitly threatening them (with the loss of jobs, promotion possibilities, and so forth) or by actually firing or transferring them. As with manipulation, using coercion is a risky process because inevitably people strongly resent forced change. But in situations where speed is essential and where the changes will not be popular, regardless of how they are introduced, coercion may be the manager’s only option.
The most common mistake managers make is to use only one approach or a limited set of them regardless of the situation. A surprisingly large number of managers have this problem. This would include the hard-boiled boss who often coerces people, the people-oriented manager who constantly tries to involve and support his people, the cynical boss who always manipulates and co-opts others, the intellectual manager who relies heavily on education and communication, and the lawyerlike manager who usually tries to negotiate.
Change management is a complex and multifaceted process. It is essential to differentiate between the various types of organisational change to implement the most effective strategy for your organisation. Change management skills are crucial to enabling successful change efforts in business processes, corporate culture, and the status quo.
However, change managers must understand the nuances of every kind of change and its potential implications on staff morale, motivation, and overall company performance. With an appropriate plan, businesses can ensure that personnel changes benefit their organisation and support them in achieving their goals.
Organisations can create effective implementation strategies and manage transitions by understanding the different types of changes. With an effective plan, organisations can confidently embrace change and use it as an integral part of their growth process.
Gestaldt Consultants, Partners and Thought Leaders.
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