Building an Inclusive School Culture

Introduction

The management of change revolves around the formulation and implementation of revolutionizing efforts that correspond to the requirements of policy planning, technological systems, and/or new ways of conducting activities in an institution. The process of change can involve activities such as the launching of new product lines, outsourcing of installation services, departmental reorganization, and/or investment in alternative incentive systems with a view of promoting the efficiency of operations in the organization. The driver for organizational change can either be internal or external. The organizational managers have to maintain sensitivity to the transformation drivers to develop robust adjustment actions. The process involves adopting strategic plans in an attempt to align the stakeholders of the organization with the change. The initiation of a successful change implementation process in an organization can pose complex challenges to the supervisors. Due to a need to ensure that the desired change is realized, the leaders have to take charge of the outcomes that can be either direct or indirect. The success, failure, gains, and/or losses that result from change management are highly contingent on the handling of the process. In this regard, the leadership function should inevitably endeavor to scheme the sophisticated design of change to ensure the realization of a successful change process. This paper presents the culture and leadership change management plan that can be adopted to foster proactive teaching and learning collaboration to achieve optimum performance in a school setting.

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Requirements for Successful Change Implementation

Good planning is paramount to the successful implementation of change in any organization. At the outset, a competent project management team is required to ensure the effectiveness of the change process. The importance of having a management plan is to achieve a smooth correlation between the change and the organization. The projected organizational activities must be geared towards achieving the desired goals. A feasible change management plan aligns with the strategies of the organization. In this case, creating an inclusive school culture required the school manager to evoke a positive behavior culture in the school (Hacker, 2015). The school leaders and staff share the responsibility of building, operating and ensuring the long-term appropriateness of this culture. Secondly, there is a need to determine the anticipated effects of the desired change in the organization, its stakeholders, and the business environment. A change management plan enables a leader to evaluate the degree, type, and nature of the effects brought about by the overall transformational process. An inclusive culture that is guided by collaborative leadership creates a suitable working environment since it supports the activities of the teachers, parents, students, and subordinate staff among other stakeholders.

In addition, the plan shows the expected achievements and results of the change process. A change management plan is seen as a layout of the impending transformational activities. It shows the likely outcomes that follow the change process (Le Fevre, 2014). Finally, it provides a concise framework for the implementation process (Le Fevre, 2014). This outline helps in assigning tasks, allocating duties, and fostering adherence to the planned activities.

Change management planning provides the organization with a picture of the anticipated outcomes of the actions they wish to undertake. It provides an opportunity to prepare for the outcomes of the transformation. In addition, the plan helps in determining the worth of the anticipated change. Besides, it provides a basis for making decisions on launching, postponing, or abandoning the transformational process.

Stages of Change Management Plan

Outlining the purpose of the change

An outline answers the question that creates a need for change. Various factors can lead to the quest for transforming organizational activities. The transformational process entails changes in technology, performance, and organizational strategies. The position of the organization guides the need for change at the point of decision-making.

Describing the Nature and Scope of Change Management

The process of transforming an organization can either involve monitoring the change or mechanism control. As a task management process, it focuses on responding to the needs that the organization cannot control. As a control mechanism, it consists of the requirements, standards, processes, and procedures. The scope explains the expected duration of the change management process. At this stage, the leader determines the areas that are likely to be affected by the change such as the outlined roles and responsibilities issued. At this stage, a project manager is chosen to enact the changes as they occur besides making high-level decisions.

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Developing a Change Management TeamA change management team is established to oversee and facilitate communication, receive, and listen to matters affecting the stakeholders of the organization. It makes additional decisions to promote the process by ensuring that it adheres to the scheduled time. The team should consist of qualified people who have innovative and excellent communication skills.

Developing a Communication Channel

Communication is important for any organizational process that is deemed successful. Therefore, the management must develop a robust communication channel to boost the sending of messages and retrieval of feedback from the involved parties. Communication should be frequent and consistent to prove the significance of the change besides addressing the concerns of the individual stakeholders.

Creating an Approach

This step involves defining and adopting a competitive approach that guarantees the breakthrough of the process. The approach should take account of the organizational resources including time, cost, and efficiency. Members should specialize in their areas of expertise in a bid to foster competitive performance at both the individual and organizational levels. At this point, the organization should have various departments to tackle specialized issues. For instance, the public relations department can handle the concerns of the stakeholders in both internal and external contexts. Similarly, the technical department can address the technical issues while the marketing department can deal with customer-related issues. A human resource department should also be developed to handle workforce-related issues.

Implementing the Change

Implementing the change should involve the stakeholders in the process. Apt communication channels play a crucial role in the process of organizational transformation. Breaking the whole process into smaller targets that are easily achievable promotes the implementation of the change. The quick realization of the targets motivates the change management team towards achieving the long-term goal. The leaders of change should ensure that the first targets are successful in an attempt to minimize the impending instances of criticism. The change management team should also ensure that all matters arising from the implementation process are addressed timely and appropriately.

Evaluation of the Change

Continuous assessment of the change project both during and after is vital for the realization of the set objectives. The evaluation enables the change management team to ensure that deviations are minimized. It seeks to ensure the realization of the anticipated outcomes without affecting the organization, customers, and/or other external factors adversely. The fundamental role of evaluation in managing the culture change is to align the anticipated activities with the organizational strategy to minimize any chances of failure.

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Make the Change Permanent

Lastly, change must be adopted permanently without reverting to the abandoned practices. The culture of any organization is hard to change. The transformational process should ensure that the stakeholders of the institution adhere to the newly stipulated behavior (Hall & Hord, 2015). As a result, strict measures must be enforced with a view of making the new culture a component of every aspect of the organization. The new change ought to be part of the organization’s core culture. The change management team should be rewarded by making the new change acknowledged in every aspect of the entire organization (Hacker, 2015). The new change ought to be instilled in the staff to facilitate fast, accurate, and proper utilization of the school resources by avoiding future training.

Challenges Faced in Organizational Transformation

Intangible Aspects of Change Pose a Challenge

According to Hall and Hord (2015), and organizational transformation that features tangible and concrete phenomena such as structures and systems can be easy to comprehend when contemplating change. For instance, the alteration of a reward system for students or the creation of new positions and departments for handling discipline issues are concrete organizational changes that the teachers and students can observe and understand. However, other factors such as the culture and leadership that are deeply embedded in the organization pose challenges to the change process. It is more difficult to initiate a cultural change in organizations than to build a new reward system. The environmental drivers for organizational change include globalization, technology, government legislation, and competition among others. In the event of poor planning, an organization can be caught up by various environmental shifts that can disrupt the change process.

Resistance to Change

One of the common challenges that confront organizational change is the resistance to the new ways of doing things. Organizational transformation involves introducing unknown corporate norms. In this regard, the stakeholders can react to the proposed changes. Some researchers put this reaction into four phases that entail denial, resistance, gradual exploration, and commitment (Hall & Hord, 2015). Resistance is the most critical phase as it determines the degree of adaptability of the individuals and organization to the change. Individuals in the organization experience the change in different ways (Belias & Koustelios, 2014). This premise was adopted by researchers who utilized the individualistic approach in explaining the resistance to change. Numerous corporate change programs have failed to take effect due to strong employee resistance. The change management team ought to give attention to the individual elements regarding the change besides focusing on the technical aspects of the organization. Various researches suggest that once the information about a particular change is delivered, the stakeholders need to be given enough time to tackle their denial. Once the information has been understood, employees experience anger, bargaining, and depression. Managers should provide the support required to enhance the acceptance of the change. This support boosts the employees’ level of commitment (Belias & Koustelios, 2014).

Limited Resources

Organizational transformation requires the deployment of various new resources such as training costs, acquisition of advanced technology, system overhaul, recruitment of new employees, and outsourcing of consultation services among other change management drivers (Belias & Koustelios, 2014). The position of the organization in terms of such resources is a critical factor as it leverages its ability to affect the desired changes (Melville, Bartley, & Weinburgh, 2012). Change managers need to assess the capability of the institution before expanding the resources at the initial stages since the process can get flawed midway.

Sustaining Change

The implemented change needs to be sustained in an attempt to accomplish the new organizational plans. A vast body of literature suggests that the merits of the transformation can be lost due to the abandonment of the newly introduced changes (Melville et al., 2012). In this regard, the change management team ought to consider adopting proactive strategies to sustain the change. Various factors influence the sustainability of organizational change (see the table below).

Factors that influence the sustainability of organizational change 
Figure 1.0: Factors that influence the sustainability of organizational change 

Low Employee Involvement in the Change Process

The success of implementing and sustaining change is contingent on the ability of the organization to integrate human resources into the change process. Employees play a fundamental role in propelling the organization to its success including embracing new change. Every institution should strive to put its human factors first regardless of the goals of the change (Belias & Koustelios, 2014). The failure of managers to encourage employee participation in the change planning can hinder them from accepting it during the implementation process. The change management team must view the employees as crucial elements; hence, they should consider involving the teachers and subordinate staff in the initial planning stages of transforming the school culture. Successful schools actively involve the employees in the change process besides valuing their competence, knowledge, and reflections that form the basis for implementing the educational strategies (Hacker, 2015). Adopting the orthodox management styles where power and autonomy are centered on the top can derail the change processes. A collaborative and more inclusive leadership approach can foster high levels of commitment amongst the teachers; hence, it can promote the realization of the new goals (Malhotra & Hinings, 2015; Barnard & Stoll, 2010). Participatory change is deemed superior to expert-centered change. Therefore, employees should interact with the change initiative.

Fear and Anxiety of Change Managers regarding the Success of the New Changes

According to Belias and Koustelios (2014), managers are sometimes faced with the challenges of initiating change owing to the anticipated organizational failures. When fear and anxiety mount during the change process, they can subject the whole project to jeopardy. The fear stems from the lack of adequate consultation and lack of harmony amongst stakeholder harmony in the entire organization (Malhotra & Hinings, 2015). Authoritative management can easily encounter this problem as the top leaders tend to ensure independent planning. This situation forces the subordinates to implement unfamiliar changes. If the employees fail to develop the willingness to adopt the change, the development of fear can weaken the overall process. Substantial evidence reveals that hierarchical leadership is prone to fear because of low stakeholder involvement and consultation (Malhotra & Hinings, 2015).

Conclusion

This paper has outlined the key stages of robust change management in organizations as well as the challenges that commonly hinder its sustainability. In the wake of numerous shifts in modern organizational activities, new disruptive technologies, changing organizational behavior, and increased competition, organizations must revolutionize their cultures to remain adaptive to the highly competitive environment. To successfully attain this objective, change management is important. The change managers must take the challenges that can hamper the change process into account.

Reference

Barnard, M., & Stoll, N. (2010). Organisational Change Management: A rapid literature review. Web.

Belias, D., & Koustelios, A. (2014). The Impact of Leadership and Change Management Strategy on Organizational Culture. European Scientific Journal, 10(7), 451.

Hacker, S. (2015). Leading Cultural Transformation. Journal for Quality & Participation, 37(4), 13-16.

Hall, G., & Hord, S. (2015). Implementing Change, Patterns, Principles, and Potholes. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Le Fevre, D. (2014). Barriers to Implementing Pedagogical Change: The Role of Teachers’ Perceptions of Risk. Teaching and Teacher Education, 38(1), 56-64.

Malhotra, N., & Hinings, C. (2015). Unpacking Continuity and Change as a Process of Organizational Transformation. Long Range Planning, 48(1), 1-22.

Melville, W., Bartley, A., & Weinburgh, M. (2012). Change Forces: Implementing Change in A Secondary School for the Common Good. Web.

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