What environmental forces drive organization development in your field or industry? What are the steps successful organizations take when responding to change? Have you experienced forces of change in your work environment? How did the changes affect your organization?
According to Kotter and Cohen (2002), organizational development can be impacted by a variety of external factors. The external factors that most greatly influence organizational development in the hospital setting include culture, politics, technology, economy, and the operating environment. Each of these factors are interconnected and leads to a causal sequence of events. Adopting an effective change model with a controlled, multi-step process is an essential step organizations can take to improve success and performance when focusing on development. Integrating broad performance indicators throughout the change model enhances success by helping to identify variables that can be manipulated to drive performance outcomes (Parry et al., 2014).
For the past three years, the hospital environment has been experiencing significant environmental changes as a consequence of the COVID-19 (C19) pandemic. The C19 pandemic led to a sequence of events that altered the operating environment. The operating environment demanded a larger workforce capacity systemically than was currently available to provide adequate care to individuals that had fallen ill to the virus. As a consequence, hospital staff were required to work substantially more hours each week than previously required to maintain permanent employment. This consequence led to a highly stressful work environment. As a repercussion, large volumes of healthcare professionals left their organizations in search of higher wages and better working conditions or retired from the workforce earlier than expected. Although the operating environment has improved, the workforce reduction further exacerbated the stress and workload of the existing workforce creating a vicious cycle still impacting healthcare organizations today.
Kotter, P., & Cohen, D. S. (2002). The heart of change: Real-life stories of how people change their organizations, (pp. 1-35). Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.
Parry, W., Kirsch, C., Carey, P., & Shaw, D. (2014). Empirical development of a model of performance drivers in organizational change projects. Journal of Change Management, 14(1), 99–125.
In healthcare, the greatest environmental cause of recent change has been the pandemic. The pandemic has caused organizations to think outside of standard operating procedure to find a way to safely provide care with a disease process that was unknown at the time. Telehealth became a major industry, saving patients and providers the risk of face-to-face visits (Alghamdi & Alghamdi, 2022). Rapid development of process change was global, with a focus to safely treat patients and families, while keeping the public and the healthcare worker safe (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2023). Changes to reimbursement, the legal aspects of care, as well as the very nature of healthcare, were adopted and continued to change rapidly as new healthcare obstacles were defined.
Successful organizations have developed a change strategy that works well within their walls, my current organization is using Kotter’s eight stages of change. This week’s reading has made me realize the importance of recognizing that there may be projects within projects and all may be at different stages all at one time (Kotter, 1996). Our organization has multiple levels of a merger process with multiple facilities, all of which are being focused to complete a larger purpose and project. It is important to remember that all situations do not fit the same solution, but that the same processes can be used to develop similar results. Communication is always the greatest need in effective change, no matter the stage of the process you are in.
During these processes, the organization has had difficulty with recognizing differences in the people, culture and attitudes of the facilities they are merging with. At times, the awareness has been lacking on both sides of the conversation, creating the potential for misinformation to occur and be reinforced. The efforts made to see and foresee these issues and course correct prior to significant resistance have been successful due to the communication efforts put in place by several individual leaders, serving as examples to the rest of us.
Alghamdi, N. S., & Alghamdi, S. M. (2022). The Role of Digital Technology in Curbing COVID-19. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(14), 8287.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2023). CMS waivers, flexibilities, and the transition forward from the COVID-19 public health emergency. CMS.gov.
Kotter, J., P. (1996). Leading change. Harvard Business Press.