Management of Change

The introduction of a new information system is likely to result in organisational change that must be planned and managed. The change will encompass both the processes by which the organisation carries out its purpose and the structure of the organisation. It may even affect the nature of the business itself by extending the scope of the organisation. An example of this would be a supplier of goods using improved information systems to manage aspects of customer stock control and re-ordering.

A badly managed introduction could result in a system that was technologically successful but which was organisationally a failure because the people who need to use it had been alienated.

An information system should improve speed, service and quality but in order to achieve these goals the management will need to re-organise work flows, eliminate paper intensive and repetitive tasks. Some tasks will be combined to eliminate the number of steps involved in carrying out the overall function of the organisation.

To achieve this, individual roles may need to be re-defined, upsetting an existing balance of power and a consequent loss of status. Certain jobs may need to be eliminated leading to fears of redundancy or redeployment. Changes to the organisational structure may include:

Responsibility Individual employees may have greater or less responsibility in the new system. Middle managers may find some of the decisions that they previously made now delegated to a lower level. Without proper planning these changes may result in dissatisfaction from losers of power and increased wage demands from gainers. Management will need to introduce the changes sensitively and ensure that everyone is aware of the new organisational structure.
Work Pattern Greater telecommuting or part time work may be introduced. Hot desking where several employees share one desk. More flexible work hours or increased job sharing. This may make it more difficult to manage the work force unless proper control and monitoring is planned into the new system.
Work Practice The way in which the organisation functions will change. Some tasks will be combined or automated and the standard procedures used to carry out other functions will be redefined for the new system. Unless employees are involved in and aware of the changes then the result will be chaos. Changes in work practice will need management to provide training.
Work Conditions The work environment will change. Management will be responsible for ensuring that health and safety requirement is met in terms of workstations and lighting. Noise level may be a problem.
Social Conditions Employees may suffer from a loss of social interaction which may adversely affect performance – possibly by reducing the opportunity for informal movement of information through the system. Management can build in opportunities for this by having social areas with coffee machines and allowing regular breaks.