Managing Change

3.1 Introduction
‘Change’ is any alteration in the business and work environment; for example, change in consumer tastes, change in production methods, change in markets or products sold, or change in how employees perform their tasks. It could also be a change to the way things are perceived, or new ways of dealing with problems.

The rapidly increasing pace of change threatens to overwhelm many businesses. Adapting to change forced by the external environment is never easy for a business.

While change may be the most daunting challenge confronting management, the rewards are great for those who are prepared to accept the challenge and not only react to change but also initiate and manage it.

As profitable opportunities can arise from change, it must be considered a fundamental aspect of an organisation’s strategic planning. The ability to manage and, in many cases, embrace and adapt to change will increasingly determine a company’s competitive advantage and survival.

Successful managers are those who anticipate and adjust to changing circumstances rather than being passively ‘swept along’ or, worse still, being unprepared. Such people are proactive rather than reactive.

The crucial management issue is how to manage change to make it as productive as possible, using it to renew and strengthen the business. However, to be constructive as possible, change must occur at a pace at which it can be absorbed and integrated by the organisation.

3.2 Nature and sources of change in business
Businesses must keep responding to the never-ending pressure for change. The forces driving change come from both outside (external) and within (internal) the business.

External change stems from the changing nature of markets and increased competition. It is also produced by economic, geographic, social, legal, political and technological developments. The forces are being experienced across all levels of business.

Internal change from identifying new...