Assignment 2 of the course LRNT525 – Leading Change in Digital Learning asked students to focus on how planning, communication, and leadership are utilized when an organization implements change and provide a visual diagram along with a textual synthesis explaining how change was addressed by leaders in a digital learning environment.
By conducting individual interviews with three professional colleagues, each of whom are in different industries, my goal was to identify how an organization, its leaders, and its staff members were aligned when a change initiative was being implemented. Due to the proprietary nature of the discussions with my colleagues and with assignment protocol to post to a public blog, I allowed for some anonymity and have indicated the interviewees as follows:
- Colleague “MC” is a Human Resources Manager for an Internet Service Provider. The organization recently implemented an online safety and workplace training environment.
- Colleague “TP” is a Pilot Supervisor for a Regional Canadian Airline. The organization implemented a rotating online training curriculum to replace a portion of the annual pilot training requirements.
- Colleague “CK” is an Online Instructor for a mid-sized public Ontario College. The organization was expanding outside its core in-class course offerings and developed a digital citizenship course that was to be a flagship for drawing in additional revenue.
The three colleagues were asked the following prompts:
- Describe an organizational change related to digital learning that was recently implemented.
- What role did leadership play and what were some important steps that leadership took within the process?
- What challenges did the organization need to overcome? How did members of the organization react to those challenges?
- What were the key factors that led to the organizational change either being successful or unsuccessful?
- Thinking back, how would you describe the organizations readiness for change?
Organizational readiness refers to the psychological, behavioural, and structural state of an organization and its members to implement organizational change (Wiener, 2009) and is considered a critical component to the successful implementation of change.
The following chart (Exhibit A) is a hybrid of the Organizational Readiness to Change Assessment (S. Khan et al, nd) that measures:
- Individual Psychological (Attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions held by individual staff members regarding the change.)
- Individual Structural (Staff members knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform activities and roles related to the change.)
- Organizational Psychological (Extent to which members of an organization are seen to work together to achieve change implementation.)
- Organizational Structural (Resources, communication channels, and policies required to support change implementation.)
Based on the dialogue and answers from my colleague interviews, Exhibit A attempts to pinpoint where the organization is identified within the context of organizational readiness.
Interestingly, all three colleagues indicated that the management coordinating their respective projects utilized a transactional, top-down approach to initiating the change (N. Khan, 2017) yet only colleague CK’s organization failed to implement the change successfully. The defining factor to a successful change for colleague MC and TP seemed to stem from their respective organizations taking into account the Individual Psychological and Individual Structural components to readiness rather than just the Organizational Psychological and Organizational Structural that CK’s organization solely focused on.
Al-Haddad and Koutner (2015) indicate that there are three key aspects required for comprehensive change and that “proper alignment between content, people, and process is what leads to successful change” (p. 7). The alignment for successful change can be brought upon by developing a strategy that incorporates facilitative, informational, attitudinal, and political aspects (Biech, 2007). After reviewing the results of my external interview scan, the two successful organizational changes seemed to blend those strategies together better than the unsuccessful organization and therefore helps me to be aware of what is required for when I am involved myself in any future organizational changes.
Al-Haddad, S., & Kotnour, T. (2015). Integrating the organizational change literature: a model for successful change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 28(2), 234–262. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-11-2013-0215
Biech, E. (2007). Models for Change. Thriving through change: A leader’s practical guide to change mastery. ASTD Press. Retrieved from http://library.books24x7.com.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/toc.aspx?bookid=22651
Khan, N. (2017). Adaptive or Transactional Leadership in Current Higher Education: A Brief Comparison. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(3), 178-183.
Khan, S., Timmings, C., Moore, J. E., Marquez, C., Pyka, K., Gheihman, G., & Straus, S. E. (n.d.). Ready, Set, Change! A readiness for change decision support tool. Retrieved February 23, 2018, from http://readiness.knowledgetranslation.ca/
Weiner, B. J. (2009). A theory of organizational readiness for change. Implementation Science, 4. https://doi.org/10.1186/1748-5908-4-67