The process of implementing new ideas and processes within an organization is very challenging compared to coming up with new ideas. Change implementation involves different stakeholders that must be willing to agree with the new changes (Daft, 2009). The different stakeholders within an organization must, first of all, understand the new changes and agree with them before actual implementation takes place. Dealing with people who are opposed to change is one of the greatest challenges of change implementation. Managers face divisional, functional, and individual obstacles in implementing change (Daft, 2009). Implementing change across functional boundaries is one of the most difficult tasks for change managers. This paper will highlight some of the divisional, functional, and individual obstacles that a manager implementing new practices in an outpatient mental health facility is likely to face. The various challenges of redesigning work across functional boundaries will also be highlighted in this discussion.
The managers and supervisors in different departments and units can be an obstacle to organizational change if their power and autonomy are not well defined when it comes to redesigning processes (Daft, 2009). The conflicts that arise due to power struggles affect the change capabilities of an organization. The success of every department depends on how to change information is transferred across organizational boundaries. Ineffective diffusion of change knowledge is a change implementation obstacle (Spector, 2007). Lack of trust and openness among employees within a particular unit does not provide a good environment for reengineering systems and processes. It is very costly to implement organizational change, and failure by the top leadership to sponsor change is one of the major obstacles to change implementation. Lack of commitment from sponsors is normally caused by weak sponsor coalitions and conflicting interests within the organization (Spector, 2007). Poor sponsorship can end up delaying change programs within an organization.
Employees within an organization can be the greatest obstacle to change if they happen to resist all the change initiatives (Spector, 2007). There are quite a several reasons why employees may resist change. To begin with, many employees fear losing their jobs because of organizational change. Employees like taking control of processes, and some change initiatives may deny them that opportunity. The other reason why employees may resist change is a lack of understanding of the change objectives (Spector, 2007). Employees are major stakeholders in change implementation, and their failure to support change can be a major obstacle in implementing organizational change. The people in charge of implementing organizational change should come up with proactive measures to deal with change resistance (Daft, 2009).
It is very hard to implement organizational change if it interferes with the operational objectives of middle managers (Daft, 2009). Middle managers can be an obstacle to organizational change if the change initiatives have a negative impact on their daily operations. This is a functional obstacle that needs to be dealt with during the initial stages of change implementation. Middle managers can be the biggest hurdle because they are the ones in charge of training, communication, and resistance management (Daft, 2009). Middle managers are very influential within an organization and can easily incite other employees to resist change. Successful change implementation requires proper planning and adequate knowledge of how to manage change. Managers can have brilliant ideas, but a lack of change management knowledge can turn out to be a functional obstacle (Spector, 2007).
Organizational change objectives and goals should be well defined for the effective implementation of change (Spector, 2007). Failure to define the change goals and objectives can be a barrier to implementing change within an organization. All the performance standards should be clearly outlined before the process of implementing change begins. The organizational structure can be an obstacle to change implementation. A hierarchical structure is not suitable for implementing change because of cross-functional boundaries (Spector, 2007). Fear and anxiety among employees is another obstacle in the implementation of organizational change. A section of employees may be skeptical about the possible benefits of reengineering the way of doing things within an organization. The organizational culture within an organization can be a very big obstacle to change. The new systems and practices can be completely different from the way employees are used to doing things (Daft, 2009). The cultural issues that might arise during change implementation may turn out to be obstacles. Managers need the support of employees in implementing change. Financial and moral support from sponsors and other stakeholders are very critical in the successful implementation of organizational change (Daft, 2009).
In conclusion, the process of implementing organizational change is very challenging because many obstacles need to be overcome. Redesigning work across functional boundaries may lead to a conflict of interests that may affect the process of change implementation in a negative way (Daft, 2009). The fight for power and autonomy is among the major challenges facing change implementation across functional boundaries. Each functional unit within an organization has different goals and objectives, and all the change initiatives should be aligned to those objectives (Daft, 2009). Organizations should come up with competent change management teams that can effectively deal with all the obstacles in implementing organizational change.