WORKING IN HEALTHFebruary 21, 2019 Off All,
Description Organisational change can be defined as a process where an organisation reviews and modifies its structure, resulting into a change in its processes, strategies and procedures (Waddell and Naudé, 2016). Organisational changes are usually carried out to enhance the organisation’s effectiveness or are triggered by internal or external changes such as economic and trading conditions, legislation, policy shift, relocation among others. Although change in organisations is inevitable, it is important that the health and well-being of employees is regarded throughout all the stages of change as they are the are the ones most affected by change and without the right perceptions, organisational change cannot be effective. In Charles Hardy’s view, change impacts the entire hierarchy of an organisation (Endersby and Cronin, 2011). Handy’s Model of Organisational Culture states that the administration, leaders and employees have a system of shared assumptions that are influential on how change is introduced, implemented and managed. Moreover, the model classes organisational culture into four different types i.e power, role, task and person culture (Endersby and Cronin, 2011). However, Burman and Evans (2008) argue different cultures have different effects on organisational change and vice versa. For instance, power and task are perceived to be more influential in an organisation going through major restructure. To illustrate, an organisation with a power culture employs decision-making processes undertaken by only the organisations leaders and a few designated individuals which consequently result in quick decision-making in times of need. On the other hand, organisations with a power culture approach often have an employee-centred approach which can be beneficial in the decision making regarding the factors the affect the health and well-being of employees. Similarly, organisations employing the task culture often have better working environments since teams are formed within the organisation to address solve problems, perform various task or brain storm ideas regarding their working environment. When managed correctly, task culture creates an equilibrium within the workplace as power shifts among employees depending on their personalities and skills which consequently increases creativity and productive in a work place. According to Ferrie et al., (1998), change has various impacts on the health and wellbeing of employees. For example, numerous NHS staff who were affected by the 1% pay cap or the proposed programme to transform the health service by closing some hospitals were reported to suffer from chronic work stress (Rimmer, 2017). As explained by Robbins and Judge (2016), organisational change can trigger a physiological stress response among employees which in turn affects their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. To illustrate, George (2016) reveals that the changes made towards the NHS have led to change-related stress among its employees as they have been reported to feel cynical and negative towards their colleagues leading to several work-life conflicts. Furthermore, employees facing change are reported to smoke more regularly during the workday than they did before the proposed changes. Besides change-related stress, Lukas et al. (2007) reveal that change impacts the attitudes of employees and affects their general daily work experience. Employees anticipating change often experience lower levels of work engagement as characterised by low levels of energy, being inactive and feeling dissatisfied. Consequently, the well-being of employees is affected which can result in them seeking employment outside the organisation. According to Nadler and Tushman (1990), leaders promote change in an organisation by shedding light on the need to have new strategies, processes and procedures in the organisation. Nonetheless, a leader of an organisation going through major restructure, requires effective skills, abilities and knowledge regarding organisational change to influence change whilst ensuring the needs of shareholders are met and maintaining good employee health and wellbeing. With leaders being the role models in an organisation, Baesu & Bejinaru (2014) state that they must be able to exhibit behaviours and attitudes that exemplify the importance of adopting the changes and additionally communicate information that clears up in gaps in employee knowledge that could potentially hinder change implementation among the employees. To be good role models, Mullins and Christy (2010) suggest that effective leaders need to possess the right personal values, such as being easily flexible and adjustable to change, which will enable them to steward others. To elaborate, leaders need to have stewardship skills and emotional intelligence to influence employees to embrace change. Furthermore, since leaders have access to the organisation’s resources and are involved in decision making, an effective leader should manipulate resources and decisions to ensure that the health and well-being of employees is not affected. According to Rosen (2014), leaders follow various styles and strategies to implement change in an organisation. However, their styles and strategies differ due the challenges presented in the ever-changing work settings. Therefore, leaders who utilise the appropriate styles and strategies can control the resistance put forth by employees against change. To achieve successful organisational transformation whilst maintaining good employee health and wellbeing, an effective leader must have a good understanding of the effective styles and strategies of change implementation and the factors that will impact the health and well-being of employees (Bryant, 2003). Although, Fernandez and Rainey (2006) state that the health and well-being of employees is influenced by the employee’s perceptions of the underlying motivations of the organisation’s changes and the probability of their success, leaders must also have the ability to influence employees to follow and adapt to change, thus maintaining good employee health and well-being during organisational change. According to Taylor (2012), leadership styles are a vital element during transitioning as the chances of having a successful transition are influenced by the leader’s ability to be transformational and charismatic. Due the different circumstances and the revolving motives of change, an effective leader needs to utilise various leadership styles and strategies to ensure successful transformation.