Monday, October 22, 2007

Force Field Analysis in TQM

The analysis of the force field involves looking at which driving forces may be strengthened and which restraining forces may be eliminated, mitigated, or counteracted. If it appears that, overall, driving forces are strong enough to move back restraining forces, adoption of TQM would be worth pursuing. The change plan would include tactics designed to move the relevant forces.
It is also important to note and validate any points of resistance which are, in fact, legitimate, such as the limited amount of staff time available for TQM meetings. Klein (cited in Bennis, Benne, & Chin, 1985) encouraged change agents to validate the role of the "defender" of the status quo and respond to legitimate concerns raised. This will allow appropriate adaptations of the TQM process to account for unique organizational circumstances. Sell TQM based on the organization's real needs, note legitimate risks and negatives, and allow improvements in your own procedures. This should enhance your credibility and show your openness to critically looking at the process.
Another way to address resistance is to get all employees on the same side, in alignment towards the same goal. Leadership is the mechanism for this, and specific models known as transformational or visionary leadership (Bennis & Nanus, 1985) are most effective. Research on change implementation (Nutt, cited in Robey, 1991) has identified four methods. The first, "intervention," involves a key executive justifying the need for change, monitoring the process, defining acceptable performance, and demonstrating how improvements can be made. This was found to be more successful than "participation," in which representatives of different interest groups determine the features of the change. Participation was found to be more successful than "persuasion" (experts attempting to sell changes they have devised) or "edict," the least successful. Transformational or visionary leadership, the approach suggested here, is an example of the intervention approach. This would involve a leader articulating a compelling vision of an ideal organization and how TQM would help the vision be actualized. These principles will be discussed in more detail in a later section, as a framework for the change strategy.
A powerful way to decrease resistance to change is to increase the participation of employees in making decisions about various aspects of the process. There are actually two rationales for employee participation (Packard, 1989). The more common reason is to increase employee commitment to the resultant outcomes, as they will feel a greater stake or sense of ownership in what is decided. A second rationale is that employees have a great deal of knowledge and skill relevant to the issue at hand (in this case, increasing quality, identifying problems, and improving work processes), and their input should lead to higher quality decisions. A manager should consider any decision area as a possibility for employee participation, with the understanding that participation is not always appropriate (Vroom and Yetton, 1973). Employees or their representatives may be involved in decision areas ranging from the scope and overall approach of the TQM process to teams engaging in quality analysis and suggestions for improvements. They may also be involved in ancillary areas such as redesign of the organization's structure, information system, or reward system. Involvement of formal employee groups such as unions is a special consideration which may also greatly aid TQM implementation.
A change agent should understand that, overall, change will occur when three factors (dissatisfaction with the status quo, desirability of the proposed change, the practicality of the change) added together are greater than the "cost" of changing (time spent in learning, adapting new roles and procedures, etc.) (Beckhard and Harris, 1987). This is represented in the formula in Exhibit II. Any key group or individual will need a level of dissatisfaction with the status quo, must see a desired improved state, and must believe that the change will have minimal disruption. In other words, the change (TQM) must be seen as responding to real problems and worth the effort or cost in getting there. Conditions favoring change may be created by modifying these variables. The change agent may try to demonstrate how bad things are, or amplify others' feelings of dissatisfaction; and then present a picture of how TQM could solve current problems. The final step of modifying the equation is to convince people that the change process, while it will take time and effort, will not be prohibitively onerous. The organization as a whole and each person will be judging the prospect of TQM from this perspective. A variation of this is the WIIFM principle: "What's in it for me?" To embrace TQM, individuals must be shown how it will be worth it for them.

No comments: