Question 1- HR Policy and Procedures
Organizational change is constant as a result of changes influenced by micro and macro-environmental factors. Some of these factors include consumer needs, technology, and competition in the target market. Change inevitably forces an organization to adjust processes and systems to capitalize on emerging opportunities. Yet a study by CIPD 2016) revealed that less than 60% of organizations meet state change management objectives. Fortunately, a study by Jose-Luis (2013) revealed that the HR policy and procedure provide essential support to ensure the successful implementation of change in an organizational context.
The HR policy and procedures are a set of principles and rules of conduct that guide and govern interpersonal relationships between employees. The HR policy statement outlines guidelines for a wide range of staff welfare issues concerning the organization. In the context of organizational change, the HR policy should include provisions that allow re-thinking organizational design to bring about change. The provisions also should support the deployment of new processes (Cogin, Ju, & Lee, 2016). When implementing change, the HR policy provides leadership and direction for the employees by guaranteeing to retain the integrity of the organizational culture. The integrity of the organizational culture is guaranteed by ensuring that the employees are respected and valued throughout the change management process. Respect in this context entails candid discussions with the staff about potential impacts of the proposed change. The employees are informed about how the change will impact their welfare in the workplace. Besides respect, the HR policy should demonstrate recognition of the value of the staff in the change management process. Notably, highlight the role of the employees as well as their individual and collective contribution to the change process.
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The HR policy should also clearly indicate the role of the employees in delivering the proposed change. The employees play an important role in the implementation of the proposed change; thus, it is important to define their contribution clearly. The employees provide the required human resources to achieve the objectives of the proposed change (Phillips & Gully, 2013). Therefore, it is important to define clearly the role played by the staff to actuate the desired change. Capturing this role in the HR policy formalizes the input of the staff in addition to recognizing the staff as essential change agents.
The HR procedures define how human resources are deployed to implement the proposed change. Procedures in this context refer to the ways or protocols that must be followed to align individual and collective input with organizational change requirements (Aaker & McLoughlin, 2013). The procedures include provisions that define the duties and responsibilities of employees across all the levels of the organization. This prevents overlap of duties and responsibilities from preventing confusion and conflicts. Each employee is appraised about their role and how they are expected to perform to support the change process.
Question 2 – Resistance to Change
Resistance to change in the organizational context is inevitable and a major concern for people leading change. Traditionally, resistance to change has been perceived as something to be overcome. The assumption behind this notion is that resistance to change is an opposing force that must be overcome (Jose-Luis, 2013). However, emerging evidence from research studies and independent company surveys indicate that resistance is a response to change and should be perceived as a positive force. A positive force because it reveals the underlying issues that are likely to undermine proper implementation. A change elicits different reactions from the stakeholders of the organization, depending on the perceived impact. Therefore, it is essential to treat resistance as a response to underlying issues that require attention
Different stakeholders will resist change in the organizational context for different reasons. Employees will undoubtedly resist change if it poses a threat to job security. For instance, a change that is likely to lead to employee redundancy will elicit a negative response. Resistance in this context is attributed to the apparent threat to job security. For most of the employees, job security is a critical issue. Thus, efforts should be made to address this concern (Kumar & Sharma, 2019). On the other hand, investors are likely to resist change if it poses a threat to their investment. The suppliers also fear to lose their contracts while the customers may be concerned about the quality or price of the end product. Each stakeholder presents resistance to protect personal interests in the organization. Therefore, resistance to change is a revelation of pending issues that require the attention of the management.
Treating resistance as a positive force provides opportunities to address underlying organizational issues. According to Tarba, Cooper, Sarala, and Ahammad (2016), change exposes faults lurking in the organizational context. Process and resource deficiencies are revealed by the requirements of the proposed change. For instance, failure to address staff welfare issues is exposed through resistance by the employees attributed to job insecurity. The issue would have otherwise been left unattended. Therefore, the management should seek to understand the issues affecting each stakeholder in relation to the proposed change. Resistance should be perceived as a positive force that reveals organizational faults that require attention to improve organization cohesion and harmony.
Question 3 – Cultural Compatibility in Merger and Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions are used in today’s globalized economy to enable organizations to eliminate competition, enter new markets, or acquire essential resources to establish a sustainable competitive advantage. Irrespective of the strategic need for mergers and acquisitions, it is imperative to assess cultural compatibility (Tarba, Cooper, Sarala, & Ahammad, 2016). Every organization has a culture that defines the philosophy, expectations, and values that guide the behavior of the stakeholders. It is expressed through interpersonal interactions, inner workings, stakeholder self-image, and future expectations. Therefore, a thorough assessment of the target organization designated for acquisition or merger is essential to evaluate cultural compatibility. The internal processes, as well as the organizational culture, should have similar characteristics. Evidence from research studies indicates that cultural incompatibility is one of the main reasons mergers and acquisitions fail (Javed, Anas, Abbas, & Khan, 2017). Therefore, assessing cultural compatibility is essential to avoid culture shock, which undermines assimilation efforts after finalizing the merger or acquisition.
Cultural due diligence is the holistic approach to investigating and evaluating the impact of corporate culture in mergers and acquisitions. Successful mergers and acquisitions demand a holistic view of the corporate culture at the initial stages coupled with a strong focus on people-related issues (Coffey, Garrow, & Holbeche, 2012). Conducting cultural due diligence provides opportunities to evaluate and understand the behavioral norms as well as the underlying assumption about how the target organization works. The process helps to identify risks posed by incompatible corporate culture issues. Performing cultural due diligence helps to foster transparency and clarity.
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One of the ways to conduct cultural due diligence is interviewing key staff, influencers, key decision-makers, and leaders serving in various capacities in the target organization. Interviews should be scheduled at the initial stages of the merger or acquisition to ascertain cultural compatibility before proceeding further. A representative from the company requests permission and seek employees’ consent to conduct the interviews (Kumar & Sharma, 2019). Where possible, the interviews should be conducted at a neutral location outside the workplace to avoid the influence of the rest of the staff. Conducting interviews with key individuals in the target organization will reveal people-related issues as well as the corporate culture.
The representative focuses on the issues that the individuals value regarding the company’s culture. The interview should also delve into the weaknesses of the corporate culture in addition to how decisions are made at each level of management (Cogin, Ju, & Lee, 2016). In addition, probe the organizational structure of the company as well as the leadership styles of the management. The insights will help to ascertain whether the leadership style and decision-making approaches match that of the parent company.
Interviews should be supplemented with secondary research using information published about the company. Interviews may not reveal the truth because the individuals selected may be coached to give the desired narrative (Aaker & McLoughlin, 2013). Therefore, it is essential to countercheck the information collected through interviews with secondary sources of information such as news articles, industry reports, and online reviews. The information will provide additional insights that will inform the decision-making process.
Question 4 – Survivor Syndrome
Survivor syndrome is a feeling of betrayal caused by the breach of the psychological contract that every employee has with their employer. The syndrome affects the survivors of the merger and acquisition process that rendered some of the colleagues redundant (Javed, Anas, Abbas, & Khan, 2017). Despite surviving the mass lay-off, the remaining employees are anxious and constantly worry about job security. They face the dilemma of either staying or leaving to avoid fate, which befell his/her colleagues. As a result, the motivation, loyalty, morale, productivity, and job satisfaction of the survivors declines significantly.
The most affected group of employees are the middle management staff who experience drastic changes in job and career development opportunities. A research conducted by Cogin, Ju, and Lee (2016) revealed that middle management staff becomes risk-averse in their decision making post-acquisition. The managers are less willing to work hard to achieve organizational goals following redundancies. The change in behavior is attributed to the loss of the psychological contract they had with their former employer. Before the acquisition, the managers had developed a sense of belonging and trust based on the psychological bond established with the employer. Essentially, they trusted their employer to provide career growth and development opportunities in exchange for unconditional loyalty. The acquisition process shatters this bond and creates fear among the managers causing anxiety and stress due to eroded job security.
The management of the acquiring company can help the staff to overcome the survivor syndrome by guaranteeing job security. One of the ways to guarantee job security to the survivors of the acquisition process is by offering permanent employment contracts. The contract should include a clause that guarantees permanent employment for the remaining employees (Coffey, Garrow, & Holbeche, 2012). The clause is essential to guarantee the employees they won’t be laid off like their colleagues. Besides guaranteeing permanent employment, it is essential to include training and career development provisions, particularly for the middle-level managers. Training should be provided according to the development needs of each employee. Therefore, the training and development program should be tailored to match the unique learning and development needs of each employee.
Training and development should be accompanied by a merit-based promotion strategy to ensure every qualified employee has an equal opportunity to advance to senior management. A merit-based promotion strategy will also help to avoid discrimination in the workplace as every employee will have an equal chance to develop the skills and ascend to the senior management level (Kumar & Sharma, 2019). Also, compensation should commensurate the skill-level of each employee, and their contribution to the achievement of goals and objectives.
Skills of Change Agents
Change agents are insiders or outsiders who help organizations to transform by responding appropriately to changes in the business environment. Change agents pose a skill set that enables them to mediate and influence change in an organizational context. Typically, change agents have excellent people skills that enable them to influence the behavior of key stakeholders of the organization (Javed, Anas, Abbas, & Khan, 2017). They can effectively communicate with each stakeholder to let them understand what is expected from them when implementing the proposed change. Such individuals plan one-on-one or group meetings with various stakeholders to disseminate relevant information about the change progress. Besides excellent communication skills, change agents also excel in delegation and leadership. They can plan and delegate duties to individuals by matching talents with appropriate responsibilities.
Emotional intelligence is also an essential skill for change agents. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand how emotions and feelings influence a person’s behavior in an organizational context (Coffey, Garrow, & Holbeche, 2012). Therefore, change agents must understand the feelings elicited or triggered by the proposed change and corresponding impact on the behavior of the employees. Understanding the innate feelings of the employees allows the change agent to provide a positive influence to enhance motivation, morale, and commitment to change.
Change agents can either be insiders or outsiders appointed to lead change. External change agents are essential when the influence of the stakeholders is excellent. External agents can be impartial when leading change in an organizational context where some of the stakeholders can significantly influence the outcome of the change process in their favor. An external change agent is required in such a situation to neutralize the influence of the dominant stakeholders (Jose-Luis, 2013). The agent is guided by reason and logic rather than allegiance to any of the stakeholders. Also, external change agents are essential when the proposed change requires a unique set of skills and knowledge to implement. For instance, deploying Artificial Intelligence to optimize production processes requires an external agent with in-depth knowledge about the new technology. However, internal change agents are better when the proposed change involves the exchange or transfer of intellectual property. An external change agent could leak the information to rival competitors because they have no loyalty to the company. Also, an insider is more appropriate when the proposed change requires leadership and management post-implementation. The change agent can help to provide guidance and direction after implementing the proposed change to retain and sustain the benefits. In this context, HR is the most appropriate internal change agent due to his or her proximity to both the senior management and the subordinate staff.
Aaker, D. A., & McLoughlin, D. (2013). Strategic market management: global perspectives. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.
Coffey, J., Garrow, V., & Holbeche, L. (2012). Reaping the Benefits of Mergers and Acquisitions. New York: Routledge.
Cogin, J. A., Ju, L., & Lee, I. (2016). Controlling healthcare professionals: how human resource management influences job attitudes and operational efficiency. Human Resource Health, 14(55), 12-26.
Javed, A., Anas, m., Abbas, m., & Khan, A. i. (2017). Flexible Human Resource Management And Firm Innovativeness: The Mediating Role Of Innovative Work Behavior. Journal of Human Resource Management, 20(1), 31-41.
Jose-Luis, H.-O. (2013). The changing environment: implications for human resource management. International Journal of Manpower, 34(8), 12-33.
Kumar, V., & Sharma, P. (2019). An insight into mergers and acquisitions: a growth perspective. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan.
Phillips, J. M., & Gully, S. M. (2013). Human resource management. Mason, Ohio: South-Western Centage Learning.
Tarba, S. Y., Cooper, S. C., Sarala, R. M., & Ahammad, M. F. (2016). Mergers and Acquisitions in Practice. London: Taylor & Francis.