The Impact of Environmental Change on Management Practices

The Impact of Environmental Change on Management Practices


On many occasions, organizations may experience unplanned change influenced by both internal and external environmental factors. Organizations, however, can respond to such unplanned change by analyzing and making changes dependent on external and internal environmental factors. Identifying what internal and external environmental factors mean for any organization plays an essential role in ensuring that the business flourishes and withstands the impacts of unplanned change.  Today, organizational changes are constantly continuous, and each change comes with many difficulties that most leaders and managers need to be alert concerning the environmental changes (Butt, Naaranoja & Savolainen, 2016). It is important to note that unplanned change results from unforeseen occurrences and manifests within an organization, and it is taking place chaotically and in a spontaneous and unplanned manner. External factors often cause unanticipated change outside the organization’s control, including competition, weather changes, economic and market fluctuations.

According to Shaw (2018), crisis management entails preparation, mitigation, response, and recovery from unplanned emergency incidents. Organizational crises here entail the unexpected, unprecedented, spontaneous, and unscheduled. In the occurrence of such unexpected change, the general public expects leaders to have written plan responses to consult and offer regular planned updates amid crisis response (Shaw, 2018). In Managing unplanned organizational change, it is essential to note that processes involved in the organizational change are always planned through assessment and gathering of current information concerning organizational operations and utilizing results of that particular assessment to create a vision of how to encourage and increase productivity.

There exist theories that help in understanding how crisis management may result in unplanned change. First is change management theories. Organizations experience three stages during change, including the present, transition, and future state. This theory suggested by Mayhew can be integrated easily with a three-stage theory of change developed by Kurt Lewin (Shaw, 2018). This theory focuses on changing the behaviors and attitudes of group members due to the change initiated. Therefore, a human processual theory is applied in crisis management, which handles human aspects concerning organizational characteristics. Lewin’s theory suggests a cycle of unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. Lewin suggests that unfreezing is initiated by presenting new information that triggers employees to see and create the need for change (Shaw, 2018). This makes the organization unfreeze, making it ready to conform to changes that are features of crisis response.

Modifying organizational norms is a complex process for every organization member, from the top leadership to the employees in the lowest organizational levels. Typical organization leaders may experience difficulties in unfreezing the vision that guides the process. Therefore, the process of reducing or modifying norms requires both mental practices of seeing different paths towards achieving the organizational goals and the physical exercise of gathering organizational employees towards the pathway of change (Shaw, 2018). To guide members of the organization, leaders must be willing to take part in mental practices of leaving norms and instead consider revised paths to help accomplish organizational goals and missions. Besides, according to Lewin’s theory, leads must be willing to implement and make decisions and take actions that can bring the organization from the unfreezing face. The leadership competencies needed here include risk-taking, effective communication, and under pressure decision-making in addressing unplanned change.  There is a need for innovative and sound decisions during such times, mainly decisions involving some amount of risk. However, decisions that may affect the status and processes of the organization must be communicated to stakeholders, including clients, employees, and constituents, as early as possible (Shaw, 2018). It is essential to understand that employees find it challenging to adapt to organizational changes in its strategies and processes.

It is important to note that unpredictability is one of the essential characteristics of change. On the occurrence of change, some organizations adapt effectively more than others. The organizational development field is based on the aspect that change is inevitable. Besides, a plan plays an essential role in managing organizational change (Smither, Houston & McIntire, 2016). Again, it helps organizations to become more effective and competitive. The practitioners of organizational development (OD) utilize practical tools and theoretical assumptions to assist organizations in preparing for the future or addressing challenges.

OD practitioners can use typical interventions as a technique to initiate change. Interventions may include teams, individual workers, workgroups, departments, and organizations, among others. At a personal level, talented workers can be promoted to be managers, developing their communication skills. Workgroups may lead to daily conflicts and misunderstandings among employees from different backgrounds. An OD consultant can help restore the workplace climate (Smither, Houston & McIntire, 2016). The building teams help with accountability, increasing productivity and morale. Merging departments also help in promoting organizational effectiveness through ream building.

Modifying or changing an organization’s culture is one of organizational development practitioners’ complex challenges (Smither, Houston & McIntire, 2016). Employees learn the rules that guide the culture of the organization via organizational socialization. This refers to the process by which new employees learn the correct way of behaving in the workplace. The appropriate form of initiating and learning a new culture is by asking questions, manipulating the conversation to obtain further information, trying out new behaviors, and observing other people’s behaviors. According to Smither, Houston, and McIntire (2016), the planned change increases the organization’s effectiveness and requires changing the organization’s structure. It is vital to use intentional change as it incorporates cultural factors. Today, organizational leaders are facing challenges created by globalization about organizational structure. In addressing unplanned change issues, there exists classical and new organizational development. Classical OD is based on positivism, focuses on the identification of some organizational problems. Besides, problems are solved by additional interventions and diagnostic methods. Here, change comes only by changing the behavior. On the other hand, new OD is based on social constructivism (Smither, Houston & McIntire, 2016). There are variations in the interpretation of organizational issues among individuals. Problems are solved through dialogue among the members of the organization. With new OD, change is initiated through communication.

According to Cameron and Green (2019), leaders can respond to unplanned change using leadership styles and skills. Goleman is one of the theorists whose work helps leaders at any stage initiate the process of change. Goleman’s work recognizes six leadership styles that leaders can use in a given situation. These six leadership styles result from a different kind of emotional intelligence. The coercive style can be used when crises arise. It is crucial when urgent changes are needed. However, it should be integrated with other leadership styles for long-term positive results (Cameron & Green, 2019).  The overuse of this style may, however, lead to adverse effects like mistrust and stress. Authoritative or visionary leadership style is relevant when the turnaround is needed, and the leader is enthusiastic and credible.

On the other hand, the affiliative style helps in restoring broken relationships and building trust. It is important when employees are experiencing difficulties in the change process. When the employees know much about the situation more than the management, there is a need to use a democratic style (Cameron & Green, 2019). This is because they can come up with plans and ideas, and this increases productivity. However, this approach is not appropriate to inexperienced employees as they may fail to deliver. Pacesetting is another style effective when dealing with a competent team that does not produce long-term positive results when isolated. Lastly, the coaching style is used for individuals who need to acquire knowledge and skills as part of the change. These styles help leaders in creating self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and social skills competencies.

Annotated Bibliography

Shaw, M. (2018). Unplanned change and crisis managementGlobal encyclopedia of public administration, public policy, and governance. Springer.

This peer-reviewed article outlines and explains the causes of unplanned organizational change and the prevention and management of such crises. This article focuses on the underlying factors behind the unexpected change. The article also suggests the change management theories that can help in addressing unplanned change. It indicates that the management practices and skills that can respond to unanticipated change can be internal or external. For instance, decision-making under pressure, ensuring effective communication, and taking risks are leadership competency characteristics that can help address unplanned change in an organization.

Besides, Shaw emphasizes that there is a need to make innovative and informed decisions during crisis management. In most cases, these decisions may involve risks, and therefore, it is vital to tell the organization’s stakeholders. The article employs Mayhew’s and Kurt Lewin’s theory to develop how unplanned organizational change can be effectively addressed. Unanticipated events unfreeze the procedural and operational norms of the organization. This makes it relevant for leaders to implement more effective approaches. The changes may be directive and unplanned since the organizational leaders initiate them, but they can save the organization from harm.

Smither, R., Houston, J., & McIntire, S. (2016). Organization development: Strategies for changing environments. Routledge.

This article explains organizational development (OD) as a practice and a theory of initiating planned change into organizations. The OD professionals use interventions to create change. The article suggests that interventions can manifest at different levels, including individual, team, department, organization, or workgroup. These interventions are directed towards stimulating the effectiveness of the organization. The efforts by OD professionals are also helpful to the development of organizational employees. This theory is firmly established in social sciences and emphasizes the relationship between people in an organization. When OD interventions are implemented successfully, both the behavior of management and workers will change. Change management practice is distinct from OD as it focuses and emphasizes business solutions and not solutions that involve employee participation.

The article suggests that for organizations to stay competitive, they need to assess their operation behaviors, recognize problems on the horizon and change the way such challenges are addressed. The organizational culture that emerged in the late 19th century has helped in the development of OD. The vital elements of organizational culture include norms, roles, and organizational socialization. Theorists suggest that human resource, reward systems, and strategy development is increasingly essential for OD professionals. Other OD interventions include collaborating with human resource practitioners, encouraging management styles, and team building. OD is a social science that has a defined set of values. One of the values is that people are the fundamental aspect of organizational success. The OD professionals believe that our workers are subject to change and that individual growth is essential. Besides, they think that personal values, emotions, and interpersonal relationships are vital to its success. Lastly, organizational development is about practical communication skills based on humanistic psychology.

Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2019). Making sense of change management: A complete guide to the models, tools, and techniques of organizational change. Kogan Page Publishers.

This article discusses the leadership skills and styles that can be used to initiate change. There exist different change metaphors that influence the assumptions made by good leaders. Organizations in the 21st century are various, and the rate of change is faster. This has paved the way for the emergence of new ideas on where leaders should focus more. This means that they should reduce their vision and increase connectivity. The article also evaluates Daniel Goleman’s leadership styles. Leaders are free to select the appropriate leadership style when an unplanned change occurs. Besides, they must take into account the long-term consequences and necessary success conditions.

Cameron and Green also outline the emotional intelligence competencies that every successful leader requires. Such competencies involve both internal and external leadership elements. These tools and techniques can play an important role when unplanned change occurs. For leaders to initiate change, they must be self-aware and courageous. They need to take the right actions at the right time. However, leaders cannot achieve this alone. There must be a team with well-defined roles committed who are available on a long-term basis, not just for kick-off.

Ways in Which Internal and External Factors Cause Change in Workplace Behavior

From the above peer-reviewed articles, there are ways in which internal and external factors bring change in the workplace. The internal environment involves the company’s culture, employees, managers, money, and resources. As discussed above, the external factors that influence change in an organization include the economy, competition from other organizations, government policy, politics, customers, and suppliers (Wroblewski, 2018). Lack of leadership affects management and leadership at the workplace (Van Woerkum et al., 2017). It hinders the administration from setting the organization’s tone, demonstrating respect and exclusion of some employees. The environmental factors include weather and global climate changes.

All these unplanned changes affect the behavior of employees in one way or another. For instance, employees may increase the rate of absenteeism, reduced production, and lack of commitment in their places of specialization. Disrespect at the workplace influences behavior of employees as some may go around circulating rumors, excluding others from getting the information. It crosses the line and causes harassment when it becomes habitual. Unplanned change makes mainly affects employees. For instance, their quality of work decreases, they spent less time at work, poor job performance, and reduced commitment (Blake, 2016). Lack of proper communication, bias, and preconceived beliefs lead to jumping to conclusions. There is a connection between contemporary writers and the main theoretical perspectives. From the early fathers of management, contemporary writers build that change is inevitable (Blake, 2016). Besides, when planned or unexpected change occurs, there is a need to communicate effectively, make decisions under pressure, and take risks for the organization’s sake.



The research from the above articles provides a basis for how managers and leaders can respond to unplanned change. Besides, Shaw suggests that business management theories can be used to address unanticipated change. There are various management styles and skills that leaders can apply whenever changes occur in an organization. In most cases, leaders need to be competent in a way to communicate effectively, take risky decisions and apply theories in an informed manner. I believe Lewin’s approach can help any organization that is experiencing a crisis. This is because it shapes the attitude and behavior of employees. Another aspect to note is that unplanned change majorly affects employees.

Besides, organizational development encompasses tools and techniques that can help in managing the change process. It provides interventions that encourage the effectiveness of the business. It calls the need for OD practitioners to come in and engage employees in every activity. To support this, I believe that focusing on interpersonal relationships, emotions, and personal values can help initiate change and bring success to the organization. In any change process, Daniel Goleman provides several leadership styles that leaders can select from in relation to the situation they experience. With modern organizations, these help in dealing with complications that occur in structures of power whereby skilled workers are management by leaders who are not competent. For instance, it helps create a team project that gathers members of finance departments, research and development, and marketing. It helps generate distinction and power and how to address hierarchical leadership in organizations.

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