Explain possible human effects of innovation and change upon people and teams in an organisation

For an organisation to develop, grow and be a market leader then they must be constantly pursuing innovation and change within the organisation. This however has effect upon teams and people, impacting on them in multiple ways.

Effects of change within teams can be – restructuring teams, forming of a new team or department, the decision to hire a new manager or additional team members. Also, staff reductions within teams which will lead to people losing their jobs or simply changing the way in which work is being done, are all common effects of change. The human effects of all this is confusion, tension and fear within the team members.  These will have a negative effect upon innovation and change, as the lack of understanding of the change process will trigger these human effects. These effects can stimulate individuals within the team to display signs of anger and aggression towards managers and colleagues. This anger and aggression can be intimidating to others, which can cause anxiety and stress for them. Individual’s anger and aggression may turn into vandalism, they will purposely try to disrupt any innovation and change from happening.

Managers trying to deal with all these effects may feel Helplessness and despair as they try to juggle different corresponding human emotions within their team. If these emotions are not managed appropriately and in a timely fashion the organisation may see an increase in staff turnover, increased employee complaints, Poor performance/productivity, and increased ill-health.

Teams can react to these changes negatively and divides employees and managers. People deal with change differently, how it is handled can strengthen, weaken or stabilise a team. People react to change in many different ways and for very individual reasons. This can directly impact the dynamic and efficiency of a team.

For individuals changes can create anxiety and uncertainty which can inspire deterioration in many of their attitudes to their work and to the organisation. Individuals who suffer from anxiety often worry excessively. Anxiety not only affects the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves, but can lead to physical symptoms as well. It is important that as a manager I look out for changes in a person’s behaviour and try to identify anxiety.

There are numerous signs and symptoms of anxiety, these include excessive, ongoing worry and tension, an unrealistic view of problems, restlessness or a feeling of being edgy, irritability, muscle tension/aches, headaches, sweating, difficulty concentrating, nausea\butterflies, the need to use the toilet frequently, tiredness, fidgeting, and trouble sleeping.

The effects of anxiety on innovation and change are poor decisions made by individuals which have a knock-on affect for everyone. Individuals find that their anxiety dominates their thinking and interferes with daily functioning, feeling completely overwhelmed by their feelings. They struggle with adjusting to any new changes and may disseminate their poor behavioural reactions among colleagues, which can increasingly have detrimental effects upon innovation and change in the organisation.

But behavioural reactions to change can be different depending on the individual. Some people thrive on change, they embrace new products and procedures. They are usually the innovator, the ones that initiate the change activity within a team and challenge the existing state of affairs. While others are optimists who are not bothered by change, their enthusiasm and creative solutions to handling change keeps everyone motivated during instability situations.

On the other end of the spectrum there are people who resist change and need time to prepare. They are concerned with the effects of change, seek to maintain the high standards regardless of the changes going on around them.

Over time, routine sets in and the employees start to feel comfortable not only with their job security but also with each other. When a change is introduced, employees often resist it and the status quo becomes disrupted.

Some employees will fear the loss of their job due to change and this can motivate them to work harder to prove themselves worthy. Others who repelled the change may feel their only option is to find a job elsewhere and end up quitting.

Some employees who’ve developed expertise in the old way of doing things can see their positions severely undermined by change. This can cause stress and resistance to change. Those who struggle with change may become less productive and overly cautious.

Where stress is not controlled the individual and organisation suffers. Stress can affect individuals in a number of ways- Physically, Sleep disturbances, headaches – Emotionally, irritable, anxiety, depression.

So as a manager I should be looking out for Behavioural signs as a result of these, such as poor punctuality, loss of concentration, lack of motivation, loss of memory, poor decision making, fatigue/tiredness and avoiding communication.

This stress can affect change and innovation within the organisation and nurture a negative attitude which can be contagious and adversely affect the moods and attitudes of other employees. As a result, you may see increased employee complaints, Poor performance/productivity, increased ill-health, accidents and incidents reports.

Change can also affect individuals financially, either by team restructures meaning that they get less money due to overtime no longer required or the change itself can mean that additional overtime is available, and employees can benefit from this.

Change can positively and negatively affect an individual’s loyalty and trust in the organisation, affecting job attitudes, job satisfaction and organisational attitudes. It can foster people and a team’s lack of confidence in the management team to effectively communicate the effects of change, the reasons for it and the ultimate goal in the organisation.

An organisation that handles change ineffectively may find that, once the resistance to change settles down, key employees have left the company due to the change.

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