2014 – Solved Question Paper | Organisational Behaviour and Theory | Previous Year – Masters of Commerce (M.Com) | Dibrugarh University

2014 – Solved Question Paper | Organisational Behaviour and Theory | Previous Year – Masters of Commerce (M.Com) | Dibrugarh University



Course: 102

(Organizational Behaviour and Theory)

Full Marks: 80

Time: 3 hours

The figures in the margin indicate full marks for the questions.

1(a) What is the system approach to organisation? What are the components involved in systems analysis?

-> The systems approach as an organised unitary whole composed of two or more interdependent parts, components or sub-systems and defined by identifiable boundaries from its environmental subsystem. More simply, a system may be referred as units composed of several interdependent parts. The systems approach may be denoted as a grouping of parts and not simply an agglomeration of individual parts. Though each part performs its own functions yet they work towards a common goal. The behaviour of the entity is a joint function of the behaviours of the individual parts and their interactions. For instance, a human body may be regarded as a system, consisting of several sub-systems, such as circulatory, reproductive digestive, nervous systems, etc. Even though each sub-system performs a different and distinguished function, they depend on each other. Similarly, an organisation is composed of a number of sub-systems of sub-systems such as internal organisation, technological, psychological, structural, and managerial and environment etc. which are constantly changing and evolving. A change in one may affect the other.

From the analysis of foregoing definition and discussion following characteristics of a system emerge:

(a) Interdependence of parts: A system approach has several parts. Each part is dynamic and affects all other parts. They are interrelated and interdependent. Interdependence of different parts is a must in an organisation as a system because of the division of labour, specialisation, sharing of limited resources, scheduling of activities, etc. The work of the organisation is divided into various departments, sub-departments and so on, assigning each unit an independent specialised task, which on integration culminates into the accomplishment of overall organisational goals. These parts are interconnected in such a way that a change in one part may affect the other part and in this way, the whole organisation.

(b) A system is composed of several sub-systems: A system is composed of several sub-systems. For example, in a manufacturing organisation, total manufacturing is one system, within which may exist a complete production system which again may contain an inventory control system. Conversely, a system or sub-system may form part or container of another system. For example, an individual who may be a part of one system may also be a part or container for another physiological system.

(c) Every system has its own norms: Every system may be distinguished from other systems approach in terms of objectives, processes, roles, structures, and norms of conduct. So, every system is unique if anything happens in the organisation, we regard it as an outcome of a particular system and we locate the fault in the system.

(d) Systems are open: Almost all systems approach is open. Open system imports certain factors process them and export them to the environment. Organisation is also an open system. It imports matter, energy and information, from its environments, transforms or converts them into a usable product or useful service and exports that product or service to the environment. This process of importing, transforming and exporting goes on indefinitely. Though the organisation exports, they do not import all but retain some energy within themselves for survival and growth. As they are open, they are to absorb shocks and influences from the environment and those that are flexible respond to adapt themselves to the environment situation.

(e) Systems influence and are influenced by other systems: As systems are open, they influence other systems approach in the environment depending upon its strengths and capacities in relation to other systems. Obviously, the influence of environment, in most cases is greater than the systems approach over impact on the environment.

(b) Outline Taylors scientific management and examine its relevance to management in the present day business.

-> Scientific management concept is one of the principles of management and is also known as classical theory. This principle is propounded by Fredrick Winslow Taylor (F.W Taylor) – the father of management. Taylor advocated that principles of scientific management could succeed only if there was ‘complete mental revolution’. Rather than management and workers having conflict with each other over sharing of organisational profits, mental revolution aimed at fusion of interests of labour and management.

It calls for a complete change in the outlook of management and workers towards each other. Both management and workers should have complete understanding of the quantity and quality of work to be achieved within a given time period and try to achieve that target.

Managers should plan, organise, lead and control organisational operations and workers should execute them to secure maximum efficiency. Both should, thus, try to increase production and share their interests of maximum profits and maximum wages.

Taylor advocated mental revolution on the part of both the employers and employees. He said,”… in its essence, scientific management involves a complete mental revolution on the part of the working men engaged in any particular establishment or industry—a complete mental revolution on the part of these men as to their duties toward their work, toward their fellowmen, and toward their employers. And it involves the equal complete mental revolution on the part of those on the managements’ side—the foreman, the superintendent, the owner of the business, the board of directors—a complete mental revolution on their part as to their duties toward their fellow workers in the management, toward their workmen, and toward all of their daily problems. And without this complete mental revolution on both sides scientific management does not exist. That is the essence of scientific management—this great mental revolution.”

Significance of Scientific Management:

Taylor’s theory has the following positive attributes:

1. Better management- This theory gained wide popularity in the managerial world, in both business and non-business organisations. It introduced better management through scientific methods such as work study, incentive plans, rest hours etc.

2. Optimum allocation of resources- Scientific management eliminates wasteful time and motions in performing various activities. It introduced time and motion studies to increase contribution to organisational goals. He discovered workers’ true capacity and provided ‘a fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage’.

3. Scientific approach- It emphasised on scientific selection, education and development of workers so that problem-solving is not based on random decision-making. It advocated selection on the basis of job requirements. Selection of right person for the right job is the basis of this theory. Training methods are also scientifically designed to develop workers to perform the jobs they are best suited for.

4. Work specialisation- He identified planning and execution as two distinct jobs. People responsible for planning and execution belong to separate departments. Instructions are given by foremen specialised in their areas. This results in smooth business operations.

5. Mental revolution- He advocated mental revolution on the part of both employers and employees. This revolution changed the attitude of management and workers towards their work.

6. Productivity- Better management and optimum allocation of resources result in high productivity, high profits and high wages. It, thus, improves economic performance of both management and workers.

7. Harmonious relationships- Since management and workers cooperate with each other; relationship between the two tends to be harmonious. It reduces interpersonal conflicts and promotes unity of action.

8. Improved standards of living- Improved profits and wages improve the living standards of managers and workers.

9. Industrial prosperity- High productivity, profits and wages promote industrial peace. This promotes industrial prosperity and image in international markets.

10. Incentive for high production- Rather than treating all workers at par, the theory rewards efficient workers (those who produce more than the standard output) by paying them a higher rate and lower rate to inefficient workers (those who produce less than the standard output). This motivates workers to increase efficiency in order to make financial gains.

11. Job satisfaction- Scientific methods, order in the areas of production planning, analysis of costs, wage systems, rest pauses etc. are used to promote job satisfaction amongst workers.

Limitations of Scientific Management:

1. Over-emphasis on economic needs- Taylor focused only on physical and economic needs of workers. He overlooked the importance of social and ego needs that affect their behaviour. Taylor viewed workers as mere factors of production and not human beings with social and emotional ties.

2. Loss of jobs- His theory was opposed by workers and labour unions as they felt that scientific ways would increase production but reduce the work force. Workers believed that if they adopted Taylor’s work methods, they would lose their jobs.

Efficient methods of production will lead to same work being performed by lesser number of workers. The possible threat of lay offs made workers and union suspicious about adopting scientific methods of production. They increasingly felt they would lose their jobs if they adopted the scientific methods.

3. Monotony- Focus on scientific ways of performing the job (standardisation), task planning etc. can make work monotonous as workers work along pre-defined lines of action and lose interest in jobs. The work becomes so routinized that workers do not use their initiative and creativity in performing better.

4. Discrimination amongst workers- Differential wage rate system distinguishes between efficient and inefficient workers on the basis of standard output. It leads to conflicts amongst workers, promotes labour resentment and increases labour absenteeism.

5. Narrow view- It has a narrow view of management which focuses on efficiency at the shop level. Management of the whole organisation is not taken into account.

6. No best way of doing work- Though scientific management advocated ‘best way’ of doing the job, there can never be the best way of doing any work. New concepts and theories develop and open ways for better management techniques.

7. Opposition by trade unions- Scientific wage rate systems and incentive plans leave very little or no scope to bargain with management for better wage structure. Trade unions, thus, oppose this theory.

8. Unsuitable for small firms- Scientific management theory is unsuitable for small firms because of their inability to invest huge funds in developing scientific methods of production. Small firms are, thus, deprived of the benefits of scientific management.

9. Irrational- Increase in wages is linked with increase in output. Factors like innovativeness, creativity, participation in decision-making processes is altogether ignored. It promotes workers to become producing machines rather than important organs of the organisation.

As against the criticisms, it is asserted that Taylor never overlooked these facts. Instead, the very idea of scientific management was to select the right worker for the right job so that workers get satisfaction of performing the job they are best suited for.

Taylor’s ideas are practiced in the modern management world. His work on scientific management replaced the ‘Rule of Thumb’ and brought order and logic in production planning, analysis of costs, wage system etc. which are vital elements of the modern management. However, though scientific management is widely used, it is not universally applicable to all organisations.

2(b) Define the term “span of management”. How would you determine the optimum span in a given situation?

-> The Span of Management refers to the number of subordinates who can be managed efficiently by a superior. Simply, the manager having the group of subordinates who report him directly is called as the span of management.

The Span of Management has two implications:

1. Influences the complexities of the individual manager’s job

2. Determine the shape or configuration of the Organization

The span of management is related to the horizontal levels of the organization structure. There is a wide and a narrow span of management. With the wider span, there will be less hierarchical levels, and thus, the organizational structure would be flatter. Whereas, with the narrow span, the hierarchical levels increase, hence the organizational structure would be tall.

Both these organizational structures have their advantages and the disadvantages. But however the tall organizational structure imposes more challenges:

§ Since the span is narrow, which means less number of subordinates under one superior, requires more managers to be employed in the organization. Thus, it would be very expensive in terms of the salaries to be paid to each senior.

§ With more levels in the hierarchy, the communication suffers drastically. It takes a lot of time to reach the appropriate points, and hence the actions get delayed.

§ Lack of coordination and control because the operating staff is far away from the top management.

The major advantage of using this structure is that the cross communication gets facilitated, i.e., operative staff communicating with the top management. Also, the chance of promotion increases with the availability of several job positions.

In the case of a flatter organizational structure, where the span is wide leads to a more complex supervisory relationship between the manager and the subordinate. It will be very difficult for a superior to manage a large number of subordinates at a time and also may not listen to all efficiently.

However, the benefit of using the wider span of management is that the number of managers gets reduced in the hierarchy, and thus, the expense in terms of remuneration is saved. Also, the subordinates feel relaxed and develop their independent spirits in a free work environment, where the strict supervision is absent.

9 Main factors which determine the optimum span of Management in Organisations

1. Ability of Executives:

The supervisory ability of executives is composed of the capacity to comprehend problems quickly, to get along well with people and to command respect and loyalty from subordinates. In addition, the communicative skill, decision making, leadership ability and controlling power are important determinants of the supervisory ability.

Accordingly, executives differ from one another in their ability to supervise others. When the ability is high, a large number of subordinates can be supervised. In contrast, the poor ability results in limiting the span of supervision.

2. Capacity of Subordinates:

Efficient and trained subordinates can discharge their duties satisfactorily without much help and direction from the superior. In such a case, the span may be larger because a superior will be required to devote less time in managing them. Similarly, changes in subordinates make a span narrower.

3. Nature of Work:

When the work involves routine and repeated efforts or where the executive manages similar functions, the executive becomes well versed with jobs and can handle a larger number of subordinates. On the contrary, activities and functions, with a degree of variability and probably of more complex nature, increase interrelationships and consume more time of the executive to dispose them off. This type of case warrants a fewer number of persons to be handled by the supervisor.

4. Time required to be spent on Supervision:

Every manager spends part of his time in contacting/attending persons, in doing administrative job of planning and policy making and looking after some other processes. These functions are not directly related to the guidance of the subordinates. Hence, the span to a great extent varies on the availability of time for supervision.

5. Delegation of Authority:

Ambiguous or inadequate authority delegation consumes disproportionate time of the manager in counselling and guidance of the subordinates. Where subordinates are delegated with a clearly defined authority, sufficient to carry out the assigned duties provided they are trained enough, they would, considerably, reduce the time and attention of the senior, thus helping to increase the span of the executive.

6. Degree of Decentralization:

An executive operating under decentralized set up is relieved of much of the burden of making programmed decisions and can afford to supervise relatively a larger number of subordinates.

Where functions are geographically separated, supervision of components and personnel becomes more difficult and time consuming. The manager must spend considerable time in visiting the separate units and make use of more time- consuming formal means of communication. Geographic continuity of functions supervised by the manager, therefore, operates to reduce his span of control.

7. Use of Objective Standards:

Reviewing the performance of subordinates can either be done by personal observation or through the use of objective standards. In the latter case, a manager is saved of many time-consuming relationships and can concentrate on points of strategic importance, thus widening his span of supervision.

8. Territorial Continuity of Functions Supervised:

Where functions are geographically separated, supervision of components and personnel becomes more difficult and time consuming. The manager must spend considerable time in visiting the separate units and make use of more time- consuming formal means of communication. Geographic continuity of functions supervised by the manager, therefore, operates to reduce his span of control.

9. Availability of Staff Assistance:

When an organization is equipped with staff services, subordinates, as a result, gain much of their guidance on methods, schedules and personnel problems from staff experts and, thus, require fewer contacts with line managers. The manager normally gets involved when the staffs fail to run the show. Thus, the provision of staff assistance helps the executives to supervise a large number of subordinates.

3(a) Bring out the roles of groups in an organisation. Substantiate the claims that group task influences group performance and satisfaction.

-> A group is a collection of individuals who interact with each other such that one person’s actions have an impact on the others.

In other words, a group is defined as two or more individuals, interacting and interdependent, who have come together to achieve particular objectives.

In organizations, most work is done within groups.

Groups where people get along, feel die desire to contribute to the team, and are capable of coordinating their efforts may have high-performance levels. Group can be defined as a collection of individuals who have regular contact and frequent interaction, mutual influence, the common feeling of camaraderie, and who work together to achieve a common set of goals.

The definition of a group can be given by some other simple ways like:

§ Several people or things that are together or in the same place.

§ Several people who are connected by some shared activity, interest, or quality.

§ Several individuals assembled or having some unifying relationship.

§ A set of people who meet or do something together because they share the same purpose or ideas.

The term group can be defined in several different ways, depending on the perspective that is taken.

A comprehensive definition would say that is a group exists in an organization, its members:

§ Are motivated to join.

§ Perceive the group as a unified unit of interacting with people.

§ Contribute in various amounts to the group processes (that is, some people contribute more time or energy to the group than do others).

§ Reach agreements and have disagreements through various forms of interaction.

Roles of Groups in an organisation are:

1. Filling in Gaps in Manager’s Abilities:

Informal organisation may act to fill in gaps in a manager’s abilities. For example, if a manager is weak in planning, one of his subordinates may help him informally in such a situation.

2. Solving work problems:

Informal organisation helps in solving the work problems of members. It allows sharing job knowledge and taking decisions which affect a number of jobs.

3. Better coordination:

Informal groups evolve short-cuts and eliminate red tapism. They facilitate smooth flow of information and quick decision-making. All these ensure better coordination among various individuals and departments.

4. Channel of Communication:

Informal groups act to fill up the communication gaps which might arise in the organisation. Informal communication cuts across the hierarchical and departmental boundaries and transmits information with greater speed.

Management can use informal channels to share information with the workers and get their reaction to management’s proposals. Informal communication can be of great use to organisation, if it is handled by the management properly.

5. Restraint on Managers:

Informal groups do not allow the managers to cross their limits. They restrict them from getting unlimited power and from using their power injudiciously.

6. Better relations:

A manager can build better relations with his subordinates through informal contacts. He can consult the informal leaders and seek their cooperation in getting the things done from the workers.

7. Norms of Behaviour:

Informal groups develop certain norms of behaviour which differentiate between good and bad conduct and between legitimate and illegitimate activities. These bring discipline and order among the employees of the organisation.

8. Developing Future Executives:

Informal groups recognise talented workers as their leaders. Such leaders can be picked by the management to fill vacancies at the junior executive level in the future.

Influences of group structure on group performance and satisfaction are:

Group structure emerges in the storming and forming stages. The structure affects member’s behaviour and influences group performance. There are seven aspects of group structure:

1. Roles- Roles are behaviour patterns expected of an individual in s given position in a social unit. For example, a boy has the role of a student while at school, but is in the role of a sibling or son at home. In a group too, group members are expected to do certain tasks because of their role in the group. A group member may be required to have multiple roles if the group size is small.

2. Norms- Norms are standards or expectations that are shared and accepted by group members.

Norms may be set on work timings, taking time off, output levels, response times or anything unique to the group. For example, a group may have the norm of a 10 minute review of each member’s tasks at the end of the day.

3. Conformity- Group members face a subtle pressure to conform to group norms. As group members, they feel the need of inclusion and belonging to avoid being the “odd one out.” Conformity influences individual opinions, which may be suppressed in order to agree with the majority, a phenomenon known as groupthink.

4. Status systems- This is an individual’s place, position or rank within a group. It creates hierarchies in the group structure, which all members accept. For instance, in a group having a group leader, a project coordinator, designers and draftsmen, the hierarchy is clearly defined by the roles. Acceptance of one’s status is essential for group satisfaction.

5. Group size- The size of the group should ideally be related to the size of the project. Tedious time-consuming tasks such as data collection will finish faster with a larger group size. However, data analysis can be accomplished with a smaller group. When the group is large, tracking an individual member’s contribution is difficult, unless the output is measurable. Conflicts arise between group members if all members do not work efficiently. This affects group performance and satisfaction.

6. Group cohesiveness- Cohesiveness is the closeness and cooperation with which members work as a unit in order to accomplish the group’s goals. The more cohesive a group, the more effective it is in completing the task on hand. Internal disagreements should ideally be cleared by the storming and norming stages, so that the group can function effectively.

7. Leadership- This is the most important aspects. Good leadership gives direction to the group’s efforts, permits innovation and mid-course corrections and takes responsibility for the group. Group members are satisfied and can focus on their roles. This increases group performance.

4(a) Distinguish between hygiene factors and motivation factors. What is the significance of Herzberg’s theory in actual life?

-> The two factors theory states that there exist some factors that are responsible for job satisfaction in the workplace whereas some factors cause dissatisfaction in the workplace.

Distinguish between hygiene factors and motivation factors are:

Hygiene Factors

Motivation Factors

1. Hygiene factors are the factors that are related to the job and are essentials at workplace.

1. Motivation factors motivate employees to improve performance.

2. Hygiene factors are absents at the workplace then it lead to the dissatisfaction of employees.

2. Motivational factors are important for performing a job and are called satisfiers.

3. Hygiene factors include pay, fringe benefits, working conditions etc.

3. Motivation factors include recognition, sense of achievement, promotional and growth opportunities etc.

4. They are called maintenance factors.

4. They are called motivational factors.

5. Their presence does not motivate the workers.

5. Their presence acts as satisfiers and, therefore, motivates the workers to perform better.

6. They are related to job context.

6. They are related to job content.

7. Their absent acts as dissatisfies.

7. Their absence does not motivate the workers.

8. Example- salary, bonus, working conditions etc.

8. Example- achievements, recognition, personal growth etc.

Herzberg’s motivation theory is one of the content theories of motivation. This attempt to explain the factors that motivate individuals through identifying and satisfying their individual needs, desires and the aims pursued to satisfy these desires.

This theory of motivation is known as a two factor content theory. It is based upon the deceptively simple idea that motivation can be dichotomised into hygiene factors and motivation factors and is often referred to as a ‘two need system’.

These two separate ‘needs’ are the need to avoid unpleasantness and discomfort and, at the other end of the motivational scale, the need for personal development. A shortage of the factors that positively encourage employees (the motivating factors) will cause employees to focus on other, non-job related ‘hygiene’ factors.

The most important part of this theory of motivation is that the main motivating factors are not in the environment but in the intrinsic value and satisfaction gained from the job itself. It follows therefore that to motivate an individual, a job itself must be challenging, have scope for enrichment and be of interest to the jobholder. Motivators (sometimes called ‘satisfiers’) are those factors directly concerned with the satisfaction gained from a job, such as:

· the sense of achievement and the intrinsic value obtained from the job itself

  • the level of recognition by both colleagues and management
  • the level of responsibility
  • opportunities for advancement and
  • the status provided

Motivators lead to satisfaction because of the need for growth and a sense of self-achievement.

A lack of motivators leads to over-concentration on hygiene factors, which are those negative factors which can be seen and therefore form the basis of complaint and concern. Hygiene factors (often referred to as maintenance factors) lead to dissatisfaction with a job because of the need to avoid unpleasantness.

They are referred to as hygiene factors because they can be avoided or prevented by the use of ‘hygienic’ methods. The important fact to remember is that attention to these hygiene factors prevents dissatisfaction but does not necessarily provide positive motivation.

Hygiene factors are also often referred to as ‘dissatisfies’. They are concerned with factors associated with the job itself but are not directly a part of it. Typically, this is salary, although other factors which will often act as dissatisfies include:

  • perceived differences with others
  • job security
  • working conditions
  • the quality of management
  • organisational policy
  • administration
  • interpersonal relations

Understanding Herzberg’s theory recognises the intrinsic satisfaction that can be obtained from the work itself. It draws attention to job design and makes managers aware that problems of motivation may not necessarily be directly associated with the work. Problems can often be external to the job.

(b) Point out, in brief, some behavioural implications of control. Suggest some suitable measures to minimize behavioural dysfunctions of control.

-> Managers must recognize several behavioural implications in the process of control and its implementation. Although an effective control system should aid in employee motivation, it can also have negative effects on employee morale and performance.

These negative effects can be seen in situations where managers exert excessive control over other people and their activities. This can be considered as misuse of power by the employees and this in turn would negatively affect their morale.

Accordingly, control system should be made as fair and as meaningful as possible and must be clearly communicated to all employees. It will be easier for the employees to accept control if they had participated in the formulation of the control system and process of implementation.

In addition, timely feedback and objective and realistic appraisal will get positive worker response. The control system and performance evaluation must be consistent with organizational goals, policies and culture.

A performance appraisal based only upon departmental variables, such as output or percentage of waste may induce workers to give less importance to such organizational goals as safety, equipment maintenance and so on. Hence, cohesion of all aspects is necessary for an effective control system.

Some of the behavioural implications of control are as follows:

1. Control affects individual freedom. Hence, it is common for individuals to resist certain controls if such controls put constraints on their freedom.

2. Control carries certain status and power implications. For example, a quality control inspector may carry more power than a line supervisor and this may be resented.

3. When controls are based upon subjective and personal judgements as against quantified performance, standards and appraisals, these may create interpersonal or intergroup conflicts within the organization.

4. Excessive number of controls may limit flexibility and creativity.

This may lead to low levels of employee satisfaction and personal development.

5. Controls may influence the generation of invalid and inaccurate information. For example, if the top management habitually reduces budget requests when reviewing them (a control activity), then the lower management, when proposing a new budget or a new project may overstate the cost of resources needed. Similarly, managers may set objectives lower than what are attainable so that a higher output will look better at performance appraisal time.

6. Control can be resented by employees if they have no control over the situation. For example, if a professor’s performance is appraised over the number of publication of books and research articles, but he is not afforded the freedom of time to do so because of heavy teaching loads and excessive committee work, then it can result in frustration which may be detrimental to the entire control system. Similarly, a manager will become highly frustrated if his performance evaluation is based upon profits achieved by his department but he does not have the authority and control to make operational changes such as hiring and firing of workers.

7. The control system must be synchronized to create a balance among all affecting and inter-connected variables. The standards should complement each other and not contradict each other. For example, a control system which emphasizes increased sales as well as reduction in advertising expenditure at the same time may seem contradictory to the marketing manager and thus may be frustrating for him.

Some suitable measures to minimize behavioural dysfunctions of control:

Once events take a wrong turn, it becomes difficult to correct the situation. It is vicious circle and breaking it is a problem. Burack notes how difficulties is recognizing or correcting behavioural dysfunctional in control systems may arise.

· It becomes difficult to details apparently unconventional behaviour. As human behaviour is unpredictable, at times, there are unexpected response from people. Such behaviours are difficult to be analysed.

· There is generally a time lapse between initiation of control and the surfacing of negative results. If negative reactions were immediate, they could easily be linked with certain management behaviours. Slow reactions after long time elapses are difficult to be related to a particular management behaviour.

· Many a time organizational procedures or information systems are not able to sense or isolate factors which have caused the situation.

· Sometimes the nature of change is such that the deterioration of organizational health, relationships, performance, etc., takes place only slowly and it becomes difficult to notice its occurrence. The process of deterioration, perhaps, might have set in the early stages itself, but its impact is not noticeable and is felt only after a long time.

5(a) Why is organisational change often resisted by individuals and groups within the organisation? How can such resistance be prevented or overcome?

-> With the exponential growth of computer processing in this Information Age and its impact on an ever evolving global economy, change is now the normal state of business.

Despite the presence of change all around us, organizational change does not come easy , however. In fact, many organizations fail to make the changes that are necessary for their survival.

Senior sponsors of organizational change often blame implementation failures on employee and middle manager resistance to change. At times, this is true. More often, however, senior leaders and managers over-estimate how much change they can force on the organization. Some also do not understand how difficult it is to lead and implement change effectively.

In practice, there are 8 common reasons why individuals and groups of organization resist change:

(1) Loss of status or job security in the organization

It is not our nature to make changes that we view as harmful to our current situation. In an organizational setting, this means employees, peers, and managers will resist administrative and technological changes that result in their role being eliminated or reduced. From their perspective, your change is harmful to their place in the organization!

Forcing a change on others has its place. Over time, however, when this is the only approach that you use to make change, you’ll find that your change results suffer. If you overuse this approach, you will harm your effectiveness over the long term as others will find direct and indirect ways to resist you. Without a thoughtful change strategy to address resistance to change, you will trigger strong resistance and organizational turnover.

(2) Poorly aligned (non-reinforcing) reward systems

There is a common business saying that managers get what they reward. Organizational stakeholders will resist change when they do not see any rewards.

When working with managers, I will ask them, where is the reward to employees for implementing your change?

Without a reward, there is no motivation for your team to support your change over the long term. This often means that organizational reward systems must be altered in some way to support the change that you want to implement. The change does not have to always be major or costly. Intrinsic rewards are very powerful motivators in the workplace that are non-monetary.

(3) Surprise and fear of the unknown

The less your team members know about the change and its impact on them, the more fearful they will become. Leading change also requires not springing surprises on the organization! Your organization needs to be prepared for the change.

In the absence of continuing two-way communication with you, grapevine rumours fill the void and sabotage the change effort. In fact, ongoing communication is one of your most critical tools for handling resistance to change. But, it’s not just telling! The neglected part of two-way communication — listening — is just as powerful.

(4) Peer pressure.

Whether we are introverted or extroverted, we are still social creatures. Organizational stakeholders will resist change to protect the interests of a group.

You might see this among some of your team members who feel compelled to resist your change to protect their co-workers. If you’re a senior executive or middle manager, your managers who report to you may resist your change effort to protect their work groups.

As the psychologist Abraham Maslow discussed, the need to belong to a group is a powerful need in the workplace. If your change effort threatens these workplace social bonds, some of your team members may resist your change effort.

(5) Climate of mistrust

Meaningful organizational change does not occur in a climate of mistrust. Trust, involves faith in the intentions and behaviour of others. Mutual mistrust will doom an otherwise well-conceived change initiative to failure.

If you are trying to implement your change effort in an environment where most of the people working with you mistrust each other, you’ll have limited success. You’ll need to spend some time rebuilding trust if you want better results from your change effort.

(6) Organizational politics

Some resist change as a political strategy to “prove” that the decision is wrong. They may also resist showing that the person leading the change is not up to the task. Others may resist because they will lose some power in the organizational. In these instances, these individuals are committed to seeing the change effort fail.

Sometimes when I work with managers they become frustrated with the political resistance that they encounter from others. Political obstacles are frustrating when you are trying to implement needed change. My advice to you is to acknowledge what you are feeling and then take positive steps to counter the organizational resistance you are facing.

(7) Fear of failure

Sweeping changes on the job can cause your team members to doubt their capabilities to perform their duties. What is known is comfortable! Your team members may be resisting these changes because they are worried that they cannot adapt to new work requirements.

Fear is a powerful motivator that can harden people’s intent to resist your efforts to implement change. If you want your change effort to be successful, you’ll need to help your team member’s move beyond these fears .

(8) Faulty Implementation Approach (Lack of tact or poor timing)

Sometimes it is not what a leader does, but it is how s/he does it that creates resistance to change! Undue resistance can occur because changes are introduced in an insensitive manner or at an awkward time.

In other words, people may agree with the change that you want to implement but they may not agree with how you are going about making the change .

For any significant organizational change effort to be effective, you’ll need a thoughtful strategy and a thoughtful implementation approach to address these barriers.

Overcoming Resistance:

Overcome opposition

Regardless of how well companies manage a change, there is always going to be resistance. Companies should engage those who are opposed to a change. By doing this, they can actively see what their concerns are and possibly alleviate the problem in a timely manner. By allowing employees time to give their input, it assures them that they are part of a team that actually cares about its employees.

Communicating both early and often is necessary when trying to convey anything to employees. There should be a constant conversation between the C-Suite and the general employees on what is happening day to day, and for what is to come in the future. The best piece of advice that a company can take in this regard is to be truthful, straightforward, and timely with big changes in the workplace. Company-wide emails and intranets are great tools to utilize and this allows for employees to ask questions and stay informed.

An explanation for why the change is needed is always a good idea. By helping employees better understand why a change is important for the company, it’s easier to get them on board with the change, and it can also encourage them to become an advocate for change. With this, an explanation of “what’s in it for me?” helps employees see the big picture and the benefits of the change, instead of only giving them a narrow view of what is to happen in the near future. Innovation and improvement are two things that are occurring on a daily basis. With new ideas and suggestions there are always ways to improve as a company, whether it be changing the outlook on an assignment, or changing the way the office dynamic is on a day-to-day basis. Regardless of what it is, there are always ways to improve, and this could really affect how employees look at change management in the workplace.

Effectively engage employees

Listen, listen, and listen. If there is another piece advice that a company should take, it’s to receive and respond to the feedback that is provided by the employees. They are the ones making sure that all the clients are happy and that all the work gets done, so keeping them in the loop is vital. Ask employees probing questions: Is the change working? What can we do to make it work better? Do employees have any questions or concerns? These are all great questions to ask, but if feedback is going to be collected, it actually needs to be read and utilized. Leveraging an employee engagement survey is a great first step . These answers can be used to change the plan accordingly, and show employees that their ideas and concerns are being heard.

Understanding that no two employees are the same is another important tactic to use when trying to understand the employee’s concern. Being able to realize that there are going to be many different reasons for opposition depending on the person is pertinent, because then managers can tailor ways to work out these problems.

Implement change in several stages

Change doesn’t happen all at once. Companies should first prepare for the change, then take action on the change and make a plan for managing the change, and third, support the change and assure that all is going as planned.

Communicate change effectively

The best way that you as an employer can communicate change is to explicitly tell employees what is going on. Using a blend of formal and informal communication allows you to ensure that all employees receive the news about the change in some way or another. With all the communication outlets such as email, company intranets, town halls, and face-to-face meetings, the message is going to get across the company. Employing several different ways to communicate change helps explain the vision, goals and expectations for what needs to happen and why.

(b) Discuss in detail the various channels of communication which are generally used in modern business enterprises.

-> Communication is defined as the transfer of information, idea, understanding or feelings among people. It is the exchange of message between people for the purpose of achieving common meanings. Unless common meetings are shared, managers find it extremely difficult to influence others. Communication is the way of reacting to others by transmitting ideas, facts, thoughts, feelings and values. Their goal is to have the receiver understand the message as it was intended. When communication is effective, it provides a bridge of meaning between the two people so that they can each share what they feel and know. Communication between two persons can help them to overcome misunderstanding if any between them.

Communication always involve at least two people- a sender and a receiver. One person cannot communicate. For example, a lone there is nobody to hear him. Communication is what, the receiver understands, not what the sender says.

Various channels of communication which are generally used in modern business enterprises are:-

When looking at all the possible communication channels, we can segment them into two main groups:

  • Communication channels by formality
  • Communication channels by means of communication

There are three different communications channels based on formality: formal, informal and unofficial.

1. Formal communication channels

Formal communication includes exchange of information such as the goals, policies and procedures of an organization.

Some of the most common examples of formal communication include company business plans, strategy, goals, annual reports, agreements, company-wide communications, board presentations etc.

2. Informal communication channels

Informal communication channels are also used to deliver official business messages but in a more relaxed way.

Some examples of informal communication include conversations at work addressing various issues that team members may have, lunch time conversations and continuous collaboration among team members.

3. Unofficial communication channels

In addition to official communication channels, there is also an unofficial mode of communication. Unofficial communication includes employee communication outside of work environment on topics not related to work.

Communication channels by means of communication

Besides formality, communication channels can be divided by mean. In other words, the way and tools employees use to communicate with each other.

Let’s take a look into the 3 main means of communication in the workplace.

1. Digital communication channels

Electronic means of communication include various online tools that employees use to stay connected with each other.

Today, digital communication channels are the most popular and most used channels in the workplace.

Some of the examples include email, internal communication platforms, employee collaboration software and intranets.

2. Face-to-face communication

Even though electronic means of conversation in the workplace are taking over, face-to-face communication is still extremely important.

This mean is much more personal, and it has more human touch into it.

3. Written communication

This type of communication is almost completely dead within organizations. However, written communication is still necessary when important policies, letters, memos, manuals, notices and announcements are being communicated to the employees.

12 Digital Internal Communication Channels

Digital communication channels are now the most popular and the most productive means of communication within workplaces.

Let’s take a look into the list of online communication channels used in most organizations:

1. Intranet

Intranets are one of the most used channels for internal communication. They are designed to keep employees informed about what is happening in the company and some of them do a good job ensuring more employee engagement.

Since they have been in the market for decades now, organizations that like to “play it safe” are still prone to implementing intranets into their organizations.

However, intranets serve as content repositories. Ideally, you would like to provide your employees with fresh and relevant content that helps them keep up with the company news, which you can’t do with a static communication channel such as an Intranet.

What’s more, only 13% of employees use their Intranet on a daily basis. In fact, low usage rates with intranets are the biggest challenge for internal combs teams and organizations that rely on them as their primary internal communication channel.

2. Emails

In the business world, emails are probably still the most popular means of communication in the workplace . However, should they be the primary internal communication channel?

Within enterprise companies, there is still an enormous flow of critical information delivered through email. Some of them are more important than others, some require immediate attention and others don’t.

Lots of productivity and inability to instantly focus on what really matters are the two main reasons why internal communications departments are now replacing email with more modern communication solutions.

In addition, emails focus on individual conversations while organizations are more and more focusing on teamwork and easy collaboration. Unfortunately, this is hard to achieve through emails.

3. Project management tools

Even though one would not consider them as communication channels, project management tools do enable better team collaboration.

Project management tools let employees create and assign tasks to team members, organized into ‘boards’.

Using such tools, employees can create actionable tasks in one click. A calendar view allows employees to schedule tasks in advance and to see upcoming deadlines at a glance.

Even though project management solutions have revolutionized the way employee collaboration and project management works, they are certainly not a replacement for internal communications solutions.

Moreover, 29% of employees say that poor internal communication is the reason for projects to fail.

They are simply not designed to keep employees informed about the happenings within the organization; neither have they ensured easy access to company-wide information. Therefore, one should not use them as the primary internal communication channel.

Tools to consider: Asana , Monday , Trello .

4. Employee newsletters

Employee newsletters, if done right, can be a great way to inform your employees about what is going on within the company.

Employee newsletters, with a little bit of creativity, can be a great way to engage your employees and keep them up-to-date with information that is relevant to them and their interests.

You can send company updates, share CEO’s messages to employees, introduce new hires, celebrate big wins or announce important events.

However, newsletters are sent through emails. As mentioned earlier, emails can be pretty inefficient way to communicate with employees as they are hard to prioritize.

What’s more, communicating with your employees through email newsletters doesn’t allow you to personalize the information you share with them. With standardized newsletters, you can’t tailor the information you share with your employees based on their roles within the organization.

5. Private messaging software

Private messaging software solutions became extremely popular and they are now used in most organizations.

Indeed, they enable team discussions all while making it easy for employees to have private discussions with their colleagues on a daily basis.

However, private messaging apps have some limits:

1. They don’t enhance conversations around specific pieces of content.
2. Even though private messaging apps encourage team communication, they don’t enable organizational communication. For example, they don’t help you inform the whole workplace on important company updates, key business trends, or internal processes employees need to know.
Private messaging apps are great for team chats, but they won’t help you communicate company-wide information with your entire workforce.

Tools to consider: Slack , Microsoft Teams .

6. Document sharing software

Besides causing frustration among employees, employers are still not aware of the real cost of extensive information search .

Exactly this is the reason why document sharing tools are developed; to structure and organize important documents so that employees can access them in seconds.

However, implementing this type of software is just the first step toward great internal commas. These software’s allow you to store key documents, but they don’t help you share the right documents or information with your employees when they need it .

Tools to consider: Google Drive , Dropbox , OneDrive .

7. Video conferencing software

Every company today has video conferencing software in place. This is not surprising as we live in the world where we don’t have to be physically together to work successfully as a team.

Video conferencing software solutions enable us to connect our remote employees on a more personal level than just via messaging apps.

In addition, they are one of the most popular ways to reduce travel times and other related business costs.

Video conferencing solutions, however, are made to ease conversations among teams, not to drive ongoing company conversations, updates and engagement on the company-wide level.

Therefore, they are never used as the primary communication channel to keep all employees informed and up-to-date.

Tools to consider: Zoom , Google Hangouts , Lifesize .

8. Internal podcasts

Studies from LinkedIn show that 42% of people between the ages of 18-34 listen to podcasts at least once a week. When done right, employers can leverage the rise of podcasts to effectively communicate with their employees.

Because of this communication channel’s storytelling capabilities, they have become one of the preferred methods for younger generations to take in information.

With podcasts, however, it is important to recognize that this type of communication is largely one-way. Therefore, podcasts are most effective when they’re part of an integrated internal communications plan , combined with a more complete digital workplace communication solution.

Tools to consider: Simple cast , Storyboard , UStudio .

9. Internal company blogs

We see many organizations starting an internal company blog. This is a great idea to encourage both employees and leaders to generate content employees want to read.

These blogs can cover a variety of topics related to internal or external company happenings.

Some of the topics include company-wide event announcements, big changes such as digital transformation projects or mergers and acquisitions , employee related stories, company achievements and milestones and many others.

For example, Google’s rework is a great example of a blog where they cover organizational values that they wish their employees to adopt.

Even though the company’s internal blog may be a form of creating interesting content to employees, we need to make sure that the content is actually consumed by employees.

It is normal that some employees are more engaged than others. Some will actually go to your internal blog and read what is up there. Some, however, are not so engaged and will expect YOU to deliver relevant information right to their fingertips.

10. Employee feedback software

Even though employee feedback software solutions may not fall directly under an internal communication channel, they should be considered as one of the digital means for internal communication.

Feedback is an extremely important factor of every employee’s lifecycle, and it is a great way to spread positivity in the workplace .

Even though investments into these tools may not fall under the overall corporate communication strategies, they certainly optimize collaboration and build trust among employees .

Tools to consider: 15Five , OfficeVibe , TinyPulse .

11. Internal social media

Internal social media as an internal communication channel has been emerging in the past few years.

The main reason why internal communicators implement these solutions is to achieve long-term organizational goals, including higher employee engagement .

Utilizing internal social media enhances knowledge sharing, collaboration, and communication between employees and management.

12. Employee survey solutions

The best way to continuously improve your business is by asking your employees for their opinions and thoughts.

Employee survey software enable companies to easily gather valuable data on their employees and make improvements accordingly.

Even though surveys do not enable two-way conversations and don’t ensure easy access to important information, they are extremely useful to understand how your employees feel.

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