Health care organizations technology change
Health care organizations technology change
Table of Contents
Introduction : Theories of Organizational Change
Life Cycle Theory
Comparison and Contrast of Theories
Theories Correlation to Health Care Technology Change
Health care organizations technology change
Models of organizational change are important or necessary to understand especially because of the technological changes that are taking place day after day in organizations. Organizational change theories are helpful especially in the assessment of change at the level at which leaders view their organizations. Theories can indicate or show why change happens that is the driving forces of change. In addition, they can reveal how change will occur in terms of the stages, process characteristics, timing, and scale (Nebojsa, 2006). They also show what will happen when change takes place that is the content of change, its outcomes, as well as, the ways that can be used to measure organizational change. Each change model reflects a distinct type of ideology that has its own assumptions on the nature of individuals and social organizations. For instance, whether or not individuals can change easily or whether they have rigid identities. A majority of organizational change theories address the concept of determinism. This is concerned with the concept of whether the change is beyond the capability of individuals to shape or manage. In this case, selecting a model is not a random choice (Sugarman, 2007). Rather, it is an ideological choice. Therefore, assumptions made by individuals that concern change are also assumptions on the nature of people and reality. It is thus crucial to review the multidisciplinary studies on change as some of the ideas have not been used in higher levels of learning. In addition, each theory facilitates in the understanding of distinct and varied aspects of change (Nebojsa, 2006). This essay is, therefore, concerned with three main types of organizational change theories and how they apply to the health care technology change. The three main theories that will be assessed are evolutionary theory, teleological theory, and life cycle theory. Comparisons between the theories will also be done to better comprehend how they apply to organizational change especially in the healthcare organizations.
Life Cycle Theory
Life cycle theory refers to organizations as organisms, which go through a form of natural development. In this case, an organization is born, can grow, harvests, and also dies. Organizations can, however, renew themselves in the final stage as it will be discussed in the comparison section. Organizations develop fundamentally by being aware of its identity, being in touch with its roots, as well as, recognizing its intrinsic possibilities. The life cycle or developmental theory is concerned with systematic individual change (Bodie, 2003). Change happens because it is a natural progression, which cannot be altered or stopped. Life cycle theory focuses on stages that are not more predetermined. This implies that change takes place because people within organizations adapt to its life cycle.
Teleological theory refers to organizations as auto-creative entities. The source of change according to the theory is in the aspiration or dissatisfaction of people who are involved, which causes them to develop or set objectives and goals and dedicate their energy to attain the set goals(O’Grady, 2008). According to this theory, the future is specifically and consciously developed by the individual organization from the outside. The theory assumes that organizations are adaptive and purposeful. According to this theory, therefore, change takes place because organizational managers and leaders, change agents, and other people involved in organizational processes see the need of change. The main aspects of the process of change are planning, evaluation or assessment, incentives, and rewards, leadership, stakeholder analysis and reengineering, strategy, scanning, reengineering, and restructuring (Sharples, 2010). At the core of the process is the leader who is charged with the responsibility of aligning goals, models, sets expectations, engages, communicates, and rewards.
Evolutionary theory, on the other hand, refers to the change in the survival for the fittest. This theory holds that organizations that are best capable of adapting to their environment are better equipped to attract resources that are scarce including finances, clients, personnel, and raw materials. This facilitates the growth and survival of the organizations while the organizations that are less adaptive languish (Maryanski, 2005). According to this theory, change depends on situational variables, circumstances, and the environment of each organization. Evolutionary theory focuses on the incapability of the organization to plan and respond to the change process, as well as, their tendency to manage change as it happens. The main focus is on a slow process instead of discrete activities (Maryanski, 2005). According to this theory, change occurs because the environment requires change for survival. Adaptation can be anticipatory or proactive. The main concepts of the theory are systems, openness, evolution, homeostasis, and interactivity between the organization and the environment, which will be discussed later in the theory comparison section.
Comparison and Contrast of Theories
This theory is composed of two main models, the social evolutionary and biological models. There are also other minor models that have developed from the theory including resource dependence, adaptation, systems theory, contingency, self organization, and systems theory. The biological models focus on a stream of mutations that are gradually shaped by influences of the environment. According to this theory, change depends on situational variables, circumstances, and the environment of each organization (Maryanski, 2005). There are social systems that are interdependent, diversified, and complex that evolve naturally over time. However, evolution us deterministic and individuals have an insignificant effect on the direction and nature of the process of change. Evolutionary theory focuses on the incapability of the organization to plan and respond to the change process, as well as, their tendency to manage change as it happens. The main focus is on a slow process instead of discrete activities. According to this theory, change occurs because the environment requires change for survival. Adaptation can be anticipatory or proactive (Mitchell, 2006). The presuppositions in the theory are managers having the capability of influencing adaptability and managers having the ability to be proactive and anticipate changes within the environment.
The main concepts of the theory are systems, openness, evolution (that has already been discussed), homeostasis, and interactivity between the organization and the environment. Systems represent how organizations are seen as interrelated and interdependent structures. This means that altering one part of the structure has implications for the other components or parts. Interaction is the same as systems as it focuses on the linked nature of organizational activities (Mitchell, 2006). Change is, therefore, conceptualized as reaching all organizational parts rather than being isolated based on the notions of interactivity and systems. Openness is described as the association between the external and internal transformation and has a tendency to characterize the concept of change as strongly dependent on external features of the environment. Systems that are open depict interdependence between external and internal environments. Homeostasis as a concept refers to the capability or the self-regulation ability of maintaining a stable state by consistently seeking a balance between the environment and system.
According to this theory, self-organizing and self-producing organisms are a major change metaphor. The process of change is reactive and unplanned. Processes, in this case, include developing sensors, as well as, identifying organizational fitness. The result of change according to the theory is mostly new organizing principles or organizational structures. Leaders of the environment scan the environment in order to discover new developments and create new units. According to the evolutionary theory, leaders make choices of adapting to the environment (O’Grady, 2008). Therefore, there is an interdependent association between the organization and the environment. The analytical focus is, thus on transactions that happen as part of the interdependence association. This is according to the resource dependence model of the theory that differs from the natural selection model that focuses on leaders as active agents who are capable of responding to the environment and change (Burnes, 2011). The theory assumes that organizations need to depend on external resources as they are not self-sustaining. In addition, organizations depend on other organizations, and this leads to a political and inter-organizational view.
Evolutionary theory is of significant benefits that should not be underestimated. Demonstrating the effect of environment and context on change was a fundamental perspective in the scientific management theory that explored organizations as entities that are self-contained. The theory assists in describing the change as unplanned. The process of re-conceptualizing organizations as systems is essential in advancing the thinking of the concept of change and establishing new perspectives to change (O’Grady, 2008). Another benefit attached with the theory is the powerful scientific research tradition, which is not a feature of a majority of theories.
There are, however, a number of concerns that have brought about chaos on the ability of the theory to describe organizational change. Critics of the theory hold that it does not acknowledge organizations as social phenomena, thus leading to their failure to offer required assumptions on the psychology of humans, work organization, and the manner in which organizations fit into society. There is little reflection on human agency including strategic creativity and choices (Markus & Robey, 2008). The theory’s extreme deterministic nature, as well as, over focus on the effect of the environment is viewed as problematic. In addition, it is hard to directly connect variables of the environment and organizational change that controls all other factors. Thus, the theory ignores crucial informal and indirect variables, while also disregarding the difficulty of the life of the organization by paying attention on a few factors in the internal and external environment like the size and resources of the organization (Mitchell, 2006). Environmental constraints and turbulence have received so much focus, and the truth that the factors can be manipulated instead of being adapted is not sufficiently discussed.
This theory is also referred to as scientific management, rational or planned change theory. Organizational development, strategic planning, and adaptive approaches are found under the teleological theory. Teleological theory developed simultaneously with the evolutionary perspective of organizational change. The theory assumes that organizations are adaptive and purposeful. According to this theory, therefore, change takes place because organizational managers and leaders, change agents, and other people involved in organizational processes see the need of change. The change process is linear and rational just as is the case with the evolutionary theory (O’Grady, 2008). Individual managers, however, are more instrumental to the change process. Features of decisions of internal organization motivate change. In this case, the external environment does not contribute to the process of change. Teleological theory reflects intentionality and is subjective. The main aspects of the process of change are planning, evaluation or assessment, incentives, and rewards, leadership, stakeholder analysis and reengineering, strategy, scanning, reengineering, and restructuring. At the core of the process is the leader who is charged with the responsibility of aligning goals, models, sets expectations, engages, communicates, and rewards. Human creativity and strategic choices are also outlined. The processes of forming goals, Implementation or adoption, assessment, and alteration depending on experience are a continuing process. In addition to the management techniques, there is also collaborative definition of culture, individual in-depth interventions, and large group engagement processes that are highlighted (Sharples, 2010). The result of the process of change is like that of the evolutionary theory. The outcome is new organizing principles or structures. In this theory, the leader is the main focus who is a human model and at the center is the change agent, applying the tools of scientific management.
The most known strategy in teleological theory is the organizational development that continues to be developed even today. Organizational development addresses first order change. In addition, it does not challenge present organizational perspectives. The concept begins by diagnosing the challenges in the organization on a continual basis and seeks to establish solutions. Objectives for addressing the change are set and still there is a strong cultural emphasis on attitudes, norms, and organizational values. There are a lot of group meetings that are conducted in order to assist in changing the initiative, developing momentum, and overcoming resistance (O’Grady, 2008). The individual variables which inhibit the process of change are a main focus. In addition, an assessment of challenges and obstacles is also carried out. Organizations proceed through different phases, and in this case, leaders are charged with the role of effectively managing the change from one constant phase to another. Change is a structured, homogenous, and step by step process.
Within the theory, there is the continuous quality improvement or total quality management, scientific management approach that evolved from researches on how to improve the U.S manufacturing sector businesses that were struggling to compete with companies from Japan. This approach presupposes that change is avoided because institutions depend on long standing traditions, values, and practices. In this case, most organizations are concerned with pursuing quality, but do not focus on examining the hindrances that prevent the change required to create quality including embedded values and cultural or structural obstacles. To challenge the hindrances to change, there are some principles that have been established especially for leaders who develop a new, quality culture (Sharples, 2010). These principles include developing and focusing on the mission, vision, and outcomes of the institutions, supportive and creative leadership, retraining people on a continual basis or even adopting systematic individual development, delegating decision making, ensuring collaboration, making data-driven decisions that are based on facts and proactively planning change. For instance, quality professionals have noted to use scientific management techniques and measurements to change individual philosophies and develop a new cultural organization.
The reengineering process is focused on changing organizational structure aspects as the key to developing change. The role of the leader is to develop and evaluate the organizational structures, as well as, to reflect on ways to structure distinctively. A key management tool is the mapping processes that help in the reengineering process that involves meeting of cross-functional teams for an extended time to explain and develop a process from start to the end (Burnes, 2011). All departments involved note the processes of other functional areas in order to establish ways to collectively alter the processes. Advancements in technology, retained employees, new products, among other changes are enhanced by leaders who develop a technology office, offer new office of human resources, and reduce the number of offices that are charged with certain functions.
This approach sees leaders and change agents as the main focus of the process of change. People in organizations are mostly unimportant and receive little attention. The theory involves people in the organization in the change process through an emphasis on collaboration and use of teams. Even though the theory is widening its focus, teleological and evolutionary theory put less emphasis on people in the organization as active members (Burnes, 2011). Activities for developing change are organized by organizational leaders who are involved in the process of planning, analyzing, and assessment. In this case, the activities are exceptionally crucial in the theories especially because of the assumption that organizational managers are the vital aspect of facilitating change.
The benefits associated with teleological theory are significant. Strategies for categorizing and analyzing the change processes, either generative or adaptive have been established. In addition, the major role of staff development and collaboration are essential concepts which have transformed the understanding of the importance of the process of change. The focus on the role of individual and people attitudes to the process of change is clearly understood especially when it comes to resistance to change process by organizational members (Markus & Robey, 2008). Identifying the need for change for an organization is essential in enabling the survival and prosperity of an organization even in what would have been termed as difficult times.
The theory, however, does not go without criticism. The major criticisms of the theory are related to the extremely linear and rational process of change, which is described in the theory, as well as, its models. For instance, some researchers argue that the theory lacks required information on the significance of social cognition and culture (Burnes, 2011. Second, there is the overemphasis on human thoughts, decisions, and creativity. This is in contrast with evolutionary theory that establishes that people have the capability of creating problems instead of assisting in the process of change itself. In addition, research has revealed that organizations are in most cases irrational, environments change without predictability, events occur spontaneously; control is illusory, and the ability of leaders to change is not real rather it is more attributed (Markus & Robey, 2008). Also, there is a presupposed plasticity among individuals. In this case, managers have the ability to change the environment and individuals can respond. The theory also assumes that organizations exist in constant points and that its managers can transform or lead the organization from one stable state to another. Some researchers have noted that the model is not able to address transformation or radical change.
Another criticism that has been laid down is that the theory is methodological in nature. Researchers who support this ideology hold that only a few of studies on the theory explores the concept of change contextually (Markus & Robey, 2008). This implies that the theory ignores the content of change, the need for change, as well as, the politics involved in the change process. It has been established that the advice that is given from generic prescriptions is not applied appropriately and frequently creates ‘problems.
Life Cycle Theory
This theory has many assumptions of the evolutionary theory in relation to a system approach and adaptation that will be discussed later. However, this theory differs with the evolutionary theory in that it is less objective and focuses on the importance of individuals in the process of change and also seeing changes that happen within peoples’ lifecycles and the organizations created by these people. The life cycle or developmental theory is concerned with systematic individual change (Bodie, 2003). The theory emerged from researches of child development and is concerned with stages of the growth of organization, its maturity, and decline. A number of researchers view this theory as a branch of evolutionary theory that is concerned with the human development instead of the broad biological perspectives of human beings. In this case, change is viewed as a component of a stage and is rational and progressive. The researchers hold that organizations grow, and then mature before going through the stages of revival and decline in the end. Change does not happen because individuals want or see the need for change. Rather, it happens because it is a natural progression, which cannot be altered or stopped. Life cycle theory focuses on stages that are not more predetermined (Nadeau & Casselman, 2008).
Change takes place because people within organizations adapt to its life cycle. This theory holds that the management assists the other organizational members to grow through motivational and training techniques. Within this theory, the environment is threatening and ambiguous (Nadeau & Casselman, 2008). To adapt to this type of environment, processes consists of communication, training and development, and other structure which facilitate organizational growth. The result within the process of change is the creation of a new organizational identity (Bodie, 2003). In this case, identify is emphasized strongly as a reason that individuals within organizations resist change. Life cycle theory is beneficial as it focuses on an aspect of change that was previously missing. This is the fact that organizations go through distinct stages and phases. A majority of previous theories treated organizations as varying, in type in terms of size, sector, and other differentiating characteristics rather than in terms of development. Paying attention to change over time has proven to be empirically sound in a variety of studies. In addition, the emphasis on the individuals throughout the organization is a crucial movement from focusing on the environment or leaders (Sugarman, 2007). Also, the significance of training has proven crucial to many efforts of change and other change theories which joined assumptions of several theories and adopted principles about training. For instance, most of the propositions of other models are untested or are not held up within studies. Therefore, the contributions are unknown.
Most of the life cycle theory literature is conceptual instead of empirical. In this case, therefore, the efficacy of the theory is not well established. Another issue is the excessively deterministic character of the theory since the nature of organizational change, as well as, its stages is predetermined. A number of theorists hold that the decline of organizations can be avoided as only birth and maturity of organizations exist. In addition, the theory holds that managers can hasten, abort, or even slow down particular stages, and this implies less determinism and more human agency (Nebojsa, 2006). A number of studies on the theory by researchers have established that organizations did not progress through the stages in the sequence that was proposed. Some scholars have argued for the significance of the idea of stages because it allows participants of the organization to be responsive to changes, as well as, to view them as natural. Life cycle theory is sill an essential organizational change model in today’s organizations.
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