Change management has always been a complex and sensitive issue. Part of the complexity is because of the lack of trust between the parties involved. Change implies people have to abandon their comfort zone. An ineffectively managed change scenario is causing human resource issues at WA Police Communications Center.
The leadership seems to be enforcing change. They have clearly failed to apply the standard change management process which emphasizes a lot on creating a buy-in from staff in the organization. Also traditional change management theory (as propagated by Linda Anderson) says that the result of change must not be uncertain to the employees as this will create panic. Yet this is exactly what is happening at WA Police Communications.
By getting a human resource specialist on board and conducting a study, the WA Police Communications is showing signs of improvement. The emphasis is now to slow the pace of the change. The organization must now plan to use transitional change as opposed to transformational change. This will help the organization avoid chaos.
The Change Scenario at WA Police Communications
The change scenario at WA Police Communications Centre is more complex because of multiple changes taking place simultaneously. Here are the groups that are trying to bring about change as well as their objectives:
- The management has been compelled to receive complaints about badly handled emergency calls. Since these calls can have life and death consequences for the citizens, management wants to standardize the procedure to reduce any errors and mishaps.
- Employees want to change the top down authority structure that the management at WA Police Communications Centre uses
- Employees want to instill a new culture where they are appreciated for the good work that they do. They want to receive positive feedback too
- The consultant is trying to change this Management vs. Employee tussle and make it a win-win scenario for both the parties. She is trying to help the organization effectively manage change
In every change management endeavor there are at least two forces at play viz. the forces pushing for change and the forces resisting change. Here is a snapshot of these forces at play in the WA Police Communications Centre
Forces Driving Change:
- Productivity Issues: The productivity of the workers has fallen too. This can be attributed to the increasing hours of sick leave that the employees have been claiming year on year. This is costing the management money and therefore must have drawn their attention towards the need for change.
- Adverse Incidents: Management is also trying to bring about standardization. This will change the way in which operators have been taking calls for many years now. The need for this change was felt when incidents were reported where badly managed emergency calls created problems for the citizens.
- Centralized Power: The management is used to authoritative style of functioning. The WA Police Communications Centre has functioned in the same manner for years. The newly appointed leader feels that police services cannot be changed to a democracy. Thus the management is holding up against the demands of workers for increased span of control.
- Tradition: The WA Police Communications Centre has an organizational culture which produces stress. Achievements are seldom recognized but faults are quickly pounced on. Changing cultural factors takes time and is the most difficult to achieve. For this reason, the management at WA Police Communications Centre is resisting change.
Lewis change model
The WA Police Communications Centre is a clear case of mismanaged change management. Both groups have the same objective. Therefore, a win-win scenario already exists. It does not even have to be worked out. It is just that neither group has created a significant buy-in amongst the other. The issue has therefore degenerated into an ego-tussle. However, with the findings of the study being clear, each group is likely to be more receptive to the valid demands of the other.
Identify and discuss the problems at WA Police Communications using the structural, political and cultural perspectives
The WA Police Communications Center is an organization that can use the Bolman Deal framework effectively. There is a need for looking at the organization through various lenses and identifying the issues at hand. Many of these issues may involve a trade-off between one perspective and another. For instance the company may have to relax its policies and procedure to make the organization more people friendly.
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