Vision, Change & Anxiety


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The reading highlighted how individuals will personalize the culture based on their own values often asking the question, “Are my values similar to those of others in the organization?” I think this really resonates with the organization’s vision.

In another resource, Palmer, Dunford & Akin (2006) list several definitions of a vision as:
“A clear mental picture of a future goal created jointly by a group for the benefit of other people which is capable of inspiring and motivating those whose support is necessary for its achievement.” (Johnson, 1999:337)
“[A]n ideal that … represents or reflects the shared values to which the organization should aspire.” (Kirkpatrick et al., 2002:139)
“[A] hypothetical cognitive image that pulls together beliefs about ideal ways of doing things and what the future can be.” (Thoms and Greenberger, 1995, cited in Thoms and Greenberger, 1998:4)
“[A] set of idealized goals established by the leader that represent a perspective shared by followers.” (Conger and Kanungo, 1998:156, cited in Berson et al., 2001:55)
“[A] picture or view of the future. Something not yet real, but imagined. What the organization could and should look like. Part analytical and part emotional.” (Thornberry, 1997:28)
“[A]n orientation point that guides a company’s movement in a specific direction. If the vision is realistic and appeals both to the emotions and the intelligence of employees, it can integrate and direct a company.” (Hinterhuber and Popp, 1992:4)
“[T]he shared understanding of what the firm should be and how it must change.” (Shoemaker, 1992:67)
“[A] picture of a destination aspired to, an end state to be achieved via the change. It reflects the larger goal people need to keep in mind while concentrating on concrete daily activities.” (Kanter et al., 1992:509)
“[S]hows the direction change will take and the goal it is to achieve. It is the one stable element in the process and acts as its guiding light from beginning to end amidst the chaos of change.” (Pendlebury et al., 1998:53)
“[A]n ambition about the future, articulated today; it is a process of managing the present from a stretching view of the future.” (Stace and Dunphy, 2001:78)
Using that list of definitions, are there any that resonate more with you than others? Using that list, or your own ideas, what would be your definition of a vision? Does defining it really matter? Why or why not? How do you separate vision from mission, planning, and goals? Is this an important distinction to make? How aligned is vision with these other concepts in your organization?

Palmer, A., Dunford, R., & Akin, G. (2006). Managing Organizational Change: a multiple perspectives approach. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Change & Anxiety

At a personal level, change can arouse considerable anxiety about letting go of the known and moving to an uncertain future. At the organization level, resistance to change can come from three sources. Technical resistance comes from the habit of following common procedures and the consideration of sunk costs invested in the status quo (Cummings & Worley, 2015). Political resistance can arise when organizational changes threaten powerful stakeholders, such as top executive or staff personnel, or call into question the past decisions of leaders (Cummings & Worley, 2015). Organization change often implies a different allocation of already scarce resources, such as capital, training budgets, and talented people. Finally, cultural resistance takes the form of systems and procedures that reinforce the status quo, promoting conformity to existing values, norms, and assumptions about how things should operate. There are at least three major strategies for positively dealing with resistance to change (Cummings & Worley, 2015):
Empathy and support
Participation and involvement

Pick a strategy and elaborate on what specific actions can be done in that area to positively deal with resistance to change. How have you seen this done well? Not so well?

Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2015). Organization development & change (10th ed.). Cengage.

Answer both portions with a minimum of 100 words for each.

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