Framework for Institutionalizing Successful Change Programs

Institutionalizing successful change programs involves reinforcing them through feedback, rewards, and training.

Institutionalization framework identifies organization characteristics, intervention characteristics, institutionalization process and indicators of institutionalization.

Organizational and intervention characteristics affect different institutionalization processes operating in organizations.

These processes, in turn, affect various indicators of institutionalization. You will also find that the organization characteristics can influence intervention characteristics.

For example, organizations having strong and militant trade unions may have trouble gaining internal support for change interventions.

Framework for Institutionalizing Successful Change Programs

The subsequent sections -will explain the components of the institutionalization framework.

Component 1 ~ Organization Characteristics

First component of the institutionalization framework is organization characteristics. The characteristics include congruence, the stability of environment & technology, and unionization.

Congruence is the degree to which a change intervention is perceived as being in harmony with the organization’s managerial philosophy, strategy and structure, current environment and other changes taking place. The more an intervention is congruent with these dimensions, the more is the probability of institutionalization.

Stability of environment & technology involves the degree to which the organization’s environment and technology are changing.

Unless the change target is buffered from these changes or unless the changes are directly dealt with by the change program, it may be difficult to achieve long-term stability of the intervention.

Unionization can affect the institutionalization of changes. If the changes affect union contract issues, diffusions of change interventions may be difficult in such an unionized setting.

Component 2: Intervention Characteristics

The five intervention characteristics such as goal specificity, programmability, level of change target, internal support, and the sponsor can affect the institutionalization process in different ways.

Goal specificity involves the extent to which intervention goals are specific rather than broad. The specificity of goals facilitates direct socializing activities and operationalizing new behaviors.

Programmability involves the degree to which the changes can be programmed. This means that different characteristics of the intervention are clearly specified in advance, thus facilitating socialization, commitment, and reward allocation.

Level of change target concerns the extent to which change target is the total organization, rather than a department or small workgroup. Targeting the entire organization (the macro view) facilitates institutionalization by promoting a consensus across organizational departments.

But targeting larger system can also hinder institutionalization due to political resistance because of ‘not invented here’ syndrome.

Internal support refers to the degree to which there is an internal support system to guide the change process. Internal support can be provided by both the internal and external consultants who can help to gain commitment to the changes.

Finally, institutionalization requires the presence of a powerful sponsor who can initiate, allocate and legitimize resources for .the’ intervention.

Component 3: Institutionalization Processes

Institutionalization process elements operate in organizations. They are Socialization, commitment, reward, allocation, diffusion, sensing, and calibration. These can directly affect the degree to which interventions are institutionalized.

Socialization concerns the transformation of information about beliefs, preferences, norms, and values with respect to the change intervention. continual process of socialization is necessary to promote the persistence of the change program.

Commitment binds people to behaviors associated with the intervention. It includes an initial commitment to the program as well as recommitment over time. Reward allocation involves linking rewards to the new behaviors required by the intervention.

Organizational rewards can enhance the persistence of interventions through motivating employees. Diffusion refers to the process of transferring interventions from one system to another.

Diffusion facilitates institutionalization by providing a wider organizational base to support new behaviors. Sensing and calibration involve detecting deviations from desired intervention behaviors and taking corrective action.

Component 4 ~ Indicators of Institutionalization

You can use five indicators to assess the extent of institutionalization of change The extent to which these indicators are present or absent indicates the degree of institutionalization:

Indicator 1 – Knowledge

Knowledge involves the extent to which employees have knowledge of the behaviors associated with an intervention. It is concerned with whether they know enough to perform the behaviors and to reorganize the consequences of that performance

Indicator 2 – Performance

Performance is concerned with the degree to which intervention behaviors are actually performed by employees.

It may be measured by counting the proportion of relevant people performing the behaviors. Another measure of performance is the frequency with which the new behaviors, are performed.

Indicator 3 – Preference

Preference involves the degree to which employees privately accept organizational changes. Private acceptance is usually reflected in people’s positive attitudes toward changes. It can be measured by the direction and intensity of these attitudes across the employees receiving the intervention.

For example, a questionnaire assessing employees’ perceptions of a ‘one-stop service’ program in a ministry might show that most employees have a strong positive attitude toward going the extra mile for the clients (service recipients).

Indicator 4 – Normative Consensus

Normative Consensus focuses on the extent to which people agree about the appropriateness of the organizational changes. This indicator of institutionalization reflects the extent to which planned changes have become part of the normative structure of the organization.

Indicator 5 – Value Consensus

Value Consensus is concerned with social consensus on values relevant to the organizational changes. Values are beliefs about how people ought or ought not to behave.

For example, a ‘job enrichment’ program is based on values promoting employee self-control and responsibility.

Different behaviors associated with job enrichment, such as making decisions, performing a variety of tasks and analyzing feedback, would persist to the Extent that employees widely share values of self-control and responsibility.

A change intervention is fully institutionalized only when all these five indicators are present. Institutionalization of change requires diffusion of success cases. Find out the success cases and put about it. Motivate the employees’ changing efforts and share the success experience.

For the furtherance of institutionalization, you need to change rules in your organization, change the evaluation systems, and change the work processes.