The study identified change management practice factors and evaluated its influence on the growth of private business in Nigeria. These were with a view to provide information for management policy makers on change management best practice to achieve needed expansion and contribute to the country’s economic growth. The method of data collection was questionnaire to elicit information on change management practice and perceived private business growth in the study area. Data were analysed using appropriate descriptive and inferential statistics.
The results of the study show that the predictor variables – employee reorientation, product brand name retention, organisation name retention, product delivery evaluation, and effective communication with customers are change management practices employed in Nigerian Private Businesses investigated. Of these change management practices, employee reorientation (mean = 30.2); product brand name retention (mean = 22.80); and organization name retention (mean = 17.7) are widely embraced in private business settings in Nigeria. The results also underscored the significant influence of these change management practice factors on private business growth in the study area; R square = 0.276, P = 0.0000 which shows that 27.6% of the improvement in growth rate in businesses under this study was due to effective change management practices..
Just as ‘change’ is the only permanent thing in humans, so it is in any thriving business organisations. Change takes diverse forms (Balogun and Hope Hailey, 2004; Burnes, 2004; Carnall, 2003). It takes the form of internal reorganization strategies and sometimes the need for change in business organisation may be warranted from the situations from the external business environment. Basically in today’s business orgainsations, change is expedient in order to build a stronger organisational culture, improve employee attitude to work, take charge of an impending or ongoing emergencies, keep up with technological innovation, adjust to new government regulation that affects business, take on new market opportunities as well as improving competing abilities of business organisations. Burnes (2004) opines that change is a constant feature of organisational life either at operational or strategic level. In a nutshell, change in business organisations involves revision or adaptation of the organization to its environments with the sole objective of bringing improvements to business day to day activities.
Based on business architecture, literature reveals quite a number of reactive approaches for effective management of change. These include right sizing operations, cost tradeoffs, management shakeups. This study emphasizes different proactive approaches for effective organization change management. Such approaches will bring about employee training, employee reorientation and redeployment, vision and mission evaluation, far-reaching innovation and new product introduction, social image reposition and identity retention. However, managers should not forget that there would be individuals in their establishments that would resist proposed change initiatives. For instance the workforce may resist change initiative when it occurred to them that the changes planned will affect their comfort at workplace and their job’s security. Workers also resist change because to them it may affect their personal plans and workload. Change could be resisted because of the culture an organisation has built over the years of operation.
On the other hand, organisational growth is the improvement in output and maintenance of organizational wellbeing. A business concern is said to be growing when employees are happy and satisfied for being part of their organisations; as well as when the organisation is able to retain its productive workers. It is also imperative for organisations to maintain their good standing in the public by not only ensuring their products are meeting the promised value, but they should be fulfilling their social responsibilities in the communities where they are sited. Other indices or yardsticks to measure business growth is increase in revenue period by period, as well as evidence of skill acquisition and application by the employees for the betterment of their organisations. Growth in business organisations also occurs when the top management has relentless urge for product development as well as product market development. Private business could be said to have contributed to the economic growth of developed nations. Basil (2005) documented that private businesses are the engine of economic growth.
Realizing the experience of developed economies in relation to the roles played by private businesses in the development and growth of their economies, Nigerian governments exercised concerted efforts to improve private business development and growth. For instance, agencies were created, and laws were also laid down to assist the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises through the length and breadth of the country. Recently, the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Abuja, Nigeria commented that the efforts of Nigerian governments have yielded only 14 percent contributions to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the last 20 years. In other words, the efforts could be said to have rather led to mere proliferation of the sector without a remarkable expansion and growth. The lack of remarkable expansion and growth could be ascribed to possible inability of private business operators to manage and adapt to changes and manage change initiatives effectively. Therefore, these drawbacks call for a generic change management proactive approaches as a process, capable of enhancing an immediate redefinition of each individual role in the organization and the organizations’ roles in the society; hence this study.
Organisational change can be construed as a movement of an organisation from its present profit making position towards a desired future state for improved organizational productivity. The change management literature in the last three decades underscored the relevance of programmes such as Total Quality Management (TQM) and Business Process Reengineering (BPR), Management by Objective (MBO), restructuring which formed a broad body of research. All these were seen not to cater for the processes and outcome side of change. Many recent researches have assessed critically initiatives such as TQM, BRP and MBO on the basis of deficiency in uniqueness, tangibility, strategic approaches and learning among others (Hsu & Sharma, 2008). Certain contemplations by previous researchers on organisational change management advocated that organisations would not perform optimally if they were persistently changing (Rieley and Clarkson, 2001). Rune (2005) argues that the successful management of change is crucial to any organisation in order to survive and succeed in the present highly competitive and continuously evolving business environment.
However, it is important to understand that whatever approach the organisation adopts to implement the proposed change initiatives, detailed understanding of the ‘what’, ’why’ and ‘how’ of the change initiatives must be a part of it (Sharma, 2008). He explained that the ‘why’ includes the management’s and organisational members’ knowledge regarding the ultimate goal for which the change process has been initiated, the reasons behind the need for change, the benefits of change for the department and the organisation or specific performance and morale of the people in general. The ‘what’ of change includes factors such as tangible and intangible results to be expected as outcomes of the change initiatives and the objectives of change process. More precisely, it is to know how much of what and when of the change efforts. The ‘how’ includes the change agents’ ability to design the sequence of the change initiatives, activities and processes and to utilize the organisational members’ competency to move from the current state to the desired state. Sharma (2008) noted that there often exist gaps between the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ creating impediments in the change process. Also, factors such as ‘resistance to change’, ‘slow learning’ and ‘fast forgetting’ must be taken into consideration and dealt with so as to ensure a successful change implementation.
However, organizational managers view resistance as the enemy of change, it is the foe which must be combated if a change effort is to be successful (Schein, 1998). Ansoff (1990) defines resistance in change initiative as a phenomenon that affects the change process, delaying or slowing down its beginning, obstructing or hindering its implementation and increasing its cost. On the other hand, Perren (1996) viewed resistance as positive force to build support for change. Resistance according to this perspective is any conduct that tries to keep the status quo, equivalent to inertia that persists to avoid change (Zaltman and Ducan (1977). In this case, inertia and change are not considered to be undesirable concepts as change always may not be inherently beneficial for organisations.
O’ Conor (1993) identifies causes of resistance as follows – lack of belief that there is serious need for change;
different descriptions for the need for change; no agreement about the need for change; lack of belief that the goal is attainable; no confidence in the manner of change. Mabin et al (2001) documented that resistance to change is caused by individual factors, group factors, and organisational factors. According to him individual factors are simply personality factors and attitudes based on previous experiences of change; group factors are factors related to group cohesiveness, social norms and participation in decision making. He emphasized that organisational factors are threats presented by the unknown, challenges to the status quo, and workload consequences. Therefore, managers should be aware that any change initiative comes with attendant amount of resistance and overreactions to any noticed resistance is harmful to organisation’s progress. Managers should work out ways to gain the supports of all organisational members as well as respecting different views in a bid for the successful implementation and management of organisational change.
This study is anchored on John Kotter’s (1995) Eight Steps Change Model. John Kotter, a Harvard University Professor propounds this model for effective change initiative implementation, outlined eight steps that change agents may follow in effecting fundamental change and in transforming organisations. He signaled that all the steps are essential. According to John Kotter, these steps are establishing a sense of urgency; forming a powerful coalition; creating a vision; communicating the vision; empowering others to act on the vision; planning for and creating short-term wins; consolidating on improvement and producing still more changes; and institutionalizing new approaches.
Although there may not be one best way to manage change particularly when it emanates from external business environment, change will catch business organisation unawares if managers were not proactive enough to envisage need for it. In drawing up a framework to manage change in business organisations, managers should consider success rate of the past strategies employed while implementing change initiatives. Managing change in business organisations requires relentless efforts by firms’ operators to determine where they are now, and where they need to be in the future; as well as how to manage the change initiatives necessary to get there. John Kotters Change Model provides an easy step by step framework for change implementation. The focus is on preparing and accepting change, not actual change; as well as making transition easier. It is relevant to the present study as employees often look forward to their managers to convince them of the urgent need for change to occur through a worthwhile reorientation.
The study employed the survey research design. It enables the researcher to collect information from a large population. Information obtained for this study was generalized for the entire population. The independent variable was organisational change management. It was measured using five organisational change management variables namely: product brand name retention, organization name retention, effective communication with customers, employee reorientation, and product delivery evaluation. The dependent variable was private business organisation growth; and the factors used to measure private business growth in this study were customer retention, revenue growth, employees’ satisfaction and retention, product development, and product market development.
The population of study – 3000 employees was drawn from Private Business Organisations in Southwest Nigeria. In order to determine an adequate sample size for this study, the values of significance level, and effect size were well-thought-out to optimise sampling effort within the constraint of the available resources. Then, Krejcie and Morgan’s (1970) sample size table was applied to decide on the sample size for the study – 320 respondents. Structured questionnaire was used for data collection. The questionnaire was divided into two sections. The first section (SECTION A) elicited information on demographic characteristics of respondents. The second section stimulated information on Change Management Practice (CMP).
In this study, organisational change management was expounded using five predictors namely employee reorientation, product brand name retention, organisation name retention, product delivery evaluation, and effective communication with customers. The analyses show that business managers need to be proactive in managing change as change particularly from external business environment often comes without warning. From this study, It is glaring that not much attention was paid to envisaged change in business environments by business operators. Private business operators still employ reactive approaches to manage change. This finding corroborates the study of Leifer (1989) which concludes that non-equilibrium conditions provide the opportunity for a new organizational order, resulting in an increased ability to manage complexity. Therefore, there is urgent need for industry leaders and business operators to enshrine robust change management strategies as a process identified in this study. Furthermore, the results of the study reveal that private business managers need to intensify efforts in carrying out effective product delivery evaluation as well as effective communication with both the existing and potential customers to achieve much needed business growth objective (public image maintenance/customer retention, employee satisfaction and retention, increased business revenue, product development, and product market development). It was also evidenced that employee constant reorientation significantly influence private business growth as proactive measure to face changes in the business environments.
From this study, it is abundantly clear that change is an ever-present element that affects business organisations. Organisation’s change management calls for practical approaches to meet sudden change in the business environment. For this reason, managers need requisite knowledge to be able to prepare their workforce for future change in their business operations. Reactive measures will not match needed skills to enforce and manage change in business organisations. Businesses should engage their research and development section of their organizations to scan their environment and develop training programmes for the employees. Also, meeting with business customers is necessary for effective communication with them on the likely change the business might implement in the near future. Such meeting with the customers will give room to be part of decision on way forward for the likely change in their operations. Furthermore, business should imbibe good customer relationship management with a view that when change occurs the customers will remain with the business. Therefore, this study recommends the adoption of change management practice such as constant employee reorientation, effective communication with business customers, product delivery evaluation, product brand name retention as well as organisation’s name retention. These are proactive procedures and catalysts capable to bring about effective change management in business organisations as found out in this study. Adopting these procedures will enhance every organizational member as well as business customers to be driven towards getting ready for change and accepting change.