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Discussion Question:

In the fast-moving, ever-changing, technological era that we are living in, change is not only necessary in today’s work environment, but it is also inevitable. There are many reasons why managers seek to implement change. One reason managers introduce change is to increase profitability and company share prices by improving productivity (Palmer, Dunford, & Buchanan, 2017). Another reason is that to increase shareholder value, you must also increase an organization’s capacity to adapt. When making a significant organizational change that requires a fundamental shift in how people think and act, the consequences of that change stretches the organization’s resources as well as their capabilities (Woodward & Hendry, 2004).

One barrier that organizations may face is the employee’s ability to adapt and cope with change. When people have been subjected to change, or are experiencing uncertainty in their work environment, they may reach the limits of their ability to respond to and absorb change (Woodward & Hendry, 2004). Change is not something that can be done successfully without a lot of careful planning and forethought, and a person’s capacity to absorb and respond to change should always be taken into consideration. In Johnson’s story, “Who Moved My Cheese,” we can see that “Hem” was not responsive to change because he felt comfortable where he was and was afraid of the unknown. Haw, on the other hand, realized that he had been held captive by his own fear, and was able to move past it (Johnson, n.d.). When people are faced with uncertainty, they will cling to what they know and stay where they feel comfortable. This lack-of adaptability could hinder the change process if not addressed. To inspire motivation, managers need to find common ground. According to the Arbinger Institute, the biggest lever for change is the way we see and regard our connections with and obligations to others (Arbinger Institute, 2016). Changing the way we see our obligations to others means that to successfully implement change, managers need to have a more inclusive mindset.

In the clip “This Use to Be Us,” Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum speak of challenges that face our world today. These challenges include globalization, the revolution of information technology, national debt, and annual deficits, and our reliance on fossil fuels and the effects fossil fuels have on the environment (Friedman & Mandelbaum, 2011). These challenges all pose significant threats to the United States and the future of the United States. Addressing them will require change on a grand scale. It requires a change in our political system, changes in our workforce, change in our laws and regulations, and change in our day-to-day activities. Just as external forces are putting pressure on the United States government to implement change, they are also putting pressure on our managers for organizational change. According to our text, change is often forced on organizations through formally mandated laws and regulations (Palmer, Dunford, & Buchanan, 2017). Other external and internal pressures to change may not be addressed without such laws and regulations in place. For example, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was put into place to force corporations to incorporate and follow strict accounting rules to address fraudulent accounting practices.

Change can also be motivated through personal convictions such as religious beliefs, or a person’s morals or character. A great example of this is in the story of Ernestine Shepard. Ernestine Shepard is an 80-year-old bodybuilder who made a decision to change her life through a healthy diet and regular exercise. In the clip “The Remarkable Story of Ernestine Shepard,” Ernestine talks about her sister and the influence her sister had on her life and her decision to become the person she is today. In the clip, Ernestine stated that her sister came to her one day and said that they should strive to be in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest bodybuilders (Ernestine Shepard, 2014). Her drive to change came from a promise that she made to her sister before she passed away.

What I took away from these videos is that change is inevitable, and once we accept that, we can live better and more productive lives. Something else I took away from these videos is that fear is the biggest deterrent of change. Change is scary, and the uncertainty of change can hinder our progress, but if we can move past our fears, we can discover something great!

References

Arbinger Institute. (2016). The Outward Mindset: Seeing Beyond Ourselves. Oakland: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Ernestine Shepard. (2014, February 4). The Remarkable Story of Ernestine Shepard. Retrieved from Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na6yl8yIZUI (Links to an external site.)

Friedman, T., & Mandelbaum, M. (2011, September 28). That Used To Be Us. Retrieved from Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97PLZ2a7A4Y&t=214s (Links to an external site.)

Johnson, D. S. (n.d.). Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life. Retrieved from Contraboli: http://www.contraboli.ro/stuff/docs/whomovedmycheese.pdf (Links to an external site.)

Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Buchanan, D. A. (2017). Managing Organizational Change. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Woodward, S., & Hendry, C. (2004). Leading and Coping With Change. Journal of Change Management, 155-183.

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