There arevarious organisational structures in which roles, power and responsabiltiy areassigned and managed differently, depending on the objectives and strategiesadopted by the organisation itself.We find threemain structures: Hierarchical – this structure follows a pyramidal system where authority is clearly defined.
An advantage of this structure is that employees can be highly motivated by the prospect of promotion and/or specialising in an area of experise. However, the issues that can raise are numerous with, for example, a usually longer process in adopting change and decision making. We can also observe negative relationship between co-workers and departments. Functional – this structure creates different areas of business within the organisation, such as administration, human resources, etc. The main advantage of this structure is that workers are skilled in their field and can focus on one area of work at a time thus improving productivity.
However, closed communication may happen resulting in poor co-ordination between the different departments. Flat – In this structure, there are no management levels. Communication levels and relationship between different roles appear to positive and simple in these organisational structures.
On the other hand, clear structure may be more difficult to sustain if the organisation grows. At WhitchurchHigh School, we operate between a hierarchical and functional structure. Ourorganisation is divided in teaching and non-teaching staff, with differentdepartments to fit all areas of expertise we offer. Departments sometimes havetwo or three levels of management which means communication with members of theSenior Leadership Team is not necessarily direct nor quick for all.
In an organisationlike ours, where change is key to successfully improve achievements on a yeralybasis, a change management model like J.P Kotter’s seems to be relevant. Thefollowing 8 steps were developped to maintain consistent change:- Establish a sense of emergency: All staff need to recognise the need forchange otherwise little will be done. The sense of urgency has the ability tomotivate staff into understanding its importance. However, this is verydifficult to achieve as everyone needs to be on board for a successful changeimplementation.
– Form a guiding coalition: a leading team or individual needs to take chargein order to role model the attitude towards the change.- Develop a vision and strategy: allowingstaff to see the steps of a clearly defined plan will help with regarding as amore manageable and achievable change.- Communicate the vision: this isparticularly important if the strategy and vision are shared regularly withemplyees. It acts as a reminder but also shows consistency at management level.Staff can see everyone is involved.- Remove obstacles: addressingissues and ensuring mitigation where necessary will motivate employees. Byremoving the obstacles to their work, they are allowed to move forward and feelempowered.
This can prove difficult if risks are not reviewed and acted onregularly.- Plan and create short term wins: staffwill enjoy the sense of success when achieving short term aims. This willmotivate them to achieve the end goal.- Consolidate gains: looking back atthe success, the organisaton has to ensure all gains are built on so that it progressesand continues its improvement.- Anchor the culture: the changeneeds to be adopted, implemented and embedded in the core beliefs and system ofthe organisation. Such a model is benefitial to typical hierarchical organisation sincethe require leaders to take charge. It also seems a simple model which offers aclear guidance with steps and successes along he way which motivates allemployeed. However, this model offers little room for co-creation andparticipation from all is limited.
Employeed are exepected to ‘do’ rather than ‘think’.This can lead to frustration for some. More importantly, if the chagne is notsuccessful in the seventh and eighth steps then, a sense of failure and havingwork for nothing might appear.
Another popular change management model is the Kubler-Ross Five Stagemodel also called the Change Curve. Based on the process of grieving, thismodel encompasses well employees’ feelings as they go through the process ofchange and can be used as a prediction tool to assess future performanceswithin an organisation. The five steps were defined:- Denial:following the announcement of the need for change, staff might act shocked orconfused by it, sometimes avoiding to talk about it completely. Information is vital here: by informing in details andcommunicating regularly, enployees’s confidence will improve and eventuallyhelp them accept the need for change.- Anger:high anxiety might occur, where employees feel trapped by the process of changes. Often, they start questionning their own ability inachieving the change.
Resentment might also develop because change implieshaving to do things differently, when employees might have felt comfortable intheir old ways. This might resultin outbursts of frustration.- Depression:staff might develop a sense of helplessness where they see the change asunachievable and too big a task.
– Bargaining:employees will be looking to share their struggles with others and discuss. This is an opportunity for training and trying new ideas. – Acceptance:staff are ready to explore the new options and move forward.If this model allows us to develop an effective communication strategyby having an excellent view of an individual’s feelings throughout the process,it is difficult to adapt for a group of people. Its principle is that a changeis effectively always negative, however each individual reacts differently tothe need for change.Having evaluated thesetwo change management models, we can clearly see that a model will work at itsbest if adapted to the organisational structure. In the context of WhitchurchHigh School for example, the Kotter model seems to fit well as it is meant tobe implemented from the top down.
However, each of thesemodels show that in any type of organisation we need to ensure everyone is engaged,informed, supported and rewarded about the change so that is succeeds.