Perceptions: A Critical Factor in Transformational Change Management – Lessons from the Department of Correctional Services of South Africa
AbstractThere is growing recognition globally that the current organisational change management methodologies and practices are ineffective. This admission is based on the fact that change efforts implemented in organisations do not produce the desired results in terms of set change objectives. This assertion is evidenced by the dismal success rate in the implementation of organisational change initiatives. Empirical studies conducted previously by authors such as Hattingh (2004), Balogun and Hope Hailey (2004), Bregman (2009), Lotich (2011), and Choi and Ruona (2011) have confirmed that there is indeed a high failure rate in the implementation of organisational change efforts. The high failure rate that organisations record is attributed to managers’ neglect of the elements and dynamics of change, which constitute the human dimension of change. People’s perceptions of change form part of the dynamics of change which need to be seriously addressed if success in the implementation of organisational change efforts is to be attained. Empirical studies that seek to validate the claim that perceptions play a critical role in shaping people’s attitudes towards change and consequently their responses to change in terms of their reactions and resistance to change, have somehow been very limited. This is what this study sought to do – to investigate, establish, explore and understand the role that perceptions play in influencing people’s attitudes towards change, thereby influencing the status of change in terms of success or failure. The undertaking of the study on perceptions was to ensure that managers understand the influence that perceptions have on people’s attitudes towards change. The researcher conducted a literature study in order to contextualise the role of perceptions in influencing people’s attitudes within the offender correctional environment in the Department of Correctional Services of South Africa. Two survey questionnaires, one for correctional officials and the other for offenders, were utilised for purposes of collecting data. The results of the study revealed that perceptions play a significant role in shaping people’s attitudes towards change and consequently their reactions to and experiences of change.
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