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That Heal Medical Facility was tasked with the responsibility to find a solution to the elevated expenditure for overtime payments made to staff members, which was putting a strain on the budget of the institution. She determined that there were adjustments that were needed to be made to the organizational culture in order for this issue to be properly addressed.
The implementation of the changes was met with resistance due to the same organizational culture that she identified. This was quite possibly because the Organizational Culture was a set of shared assumptions that guide what happens in organizations by defining appropriate behavior for various situations (Ravasi & Schultz, 2006). These assumptions are shared, not to mention the fact that they are benefitting financially from the current system, it means that those opposing would do so in unity.
The Manager decided that the solution can be found in acquiring a biometric time clock. Essentially, she was suggesting that she disbelieved the records of timed being kept by the front door personnel who were responsible to log the arrival and departure times of employees. Having an electronic means of control or recording eliminates the possibility of collusion among the workers and is an objective and accurate record keeper. It was quite possible that the front door personnel work in tandem with other workers by allowing them to log extra time and then they shared the overtime paid.
The directive from the Board of Directors called for the full compliance of utilizing the biometric time clock by the majority of employees (save those in top management). According to the “Handbook of Polices” for The Hands That Heal Medical Facility, page 35 (1) states that “All members of staff must utilize the time keeping mechanism in place to ensure the proper monitoring of employee working hours.” However, the General Medicine Doctors and Specialists have out rightly refused to comply with scanning in their regular working hours in addition to their overtime hours. This posed a conflict with the Human Resource and Finance Sections of the institution as there is no clear record of the actual hours worked by an employee.
According to the organogram of the institution appended to this paper, employees’ working hours must be verified by the respective Heads of Sections. That is, the Nursing Supervisor certifies hours for the Nurses and Auxiliary staff, the Hospital Administrator certifies the hours for Drivers, Maintenance Unit and Security Officers, and the Medical Chief of Staff certifies the hours for the Medical Officers, Lab Supervisor, Radiographer. Further to the certification of hours by the respective heads of sections, the claim forms should then be forwarded to the Human Resource Department for a second certification. Thereafter, the forms are submitted to the Hospital Manager for her approval. The approval of the Hospital Manager is integral, because this approval is the clearance that the Financial Controller requires for the processing of payments.
The last payroll cycle for the month of March 2018, the Hospital Manager made it explicitly clear in the Overtime Log books for the Medical Officers and Specialists that effort has to be shown by the concerned officers to use the biometric fingerprint scanner for the coming month’s overtime, otherwise the hours claimed as overtime for the coming month will not be processed. Again there was non-compliance for the month’s overtime claims. Therefore, the decision was taken not to accept the overtime hours claimed.
“After living with their dysfunctional behavior for so many years (a sunk cost if ever there was one), people become invested in defending their dysfunctions rather than changing them.” — Marshall Goldsmith Mojo. The implementation of change is met with resistance because any action that is out of the norm takes individuals out of their comfort zone and it is this uncertainty that forces individuals to resist change. When this is coupled with the fact that adhering to the change would have significant negative financial impacts, this resistance is amplified.
There are five individual sources for resistance to change these are: habit, security, economic factors, fear of the unknown and selective processing. Robbins, S. & Judge, G.R. (2017) 14th edition. These will be examined in more depth to see how they apply to this situation.
A habit is developed when the intricacies of life forces one to rely on programmed responses also known as habit. When a change to this routine is introduced our human instinct prompts us to respond in our accustomed ways which is portrayed as deviant behavior and becomes the reason for resistance. When the habit is shared by several persons within any organization, it then becomes a part of the organizational culture of that group of individuals.
In the situation being looked at, the majority of the workers were already in the habit of having their time logged by their human coworkers. Resisting to the change to an electronic means of recording their arrival and departure to work strongly suggests that they were not actually logging those hours that they had been claiming overtime on. If they were, then it would not matter what was used to log their times; the hours worked would still remain the same. The habit, therefore, was that they worked as a unit to gain undeserved additional income. Using an electronic monitoring system removed the security they had that they would be able to continue their scheme of stealing from the company.
Employees with a high need for security are likely to resist change because it threatens their feelings of safety and forces them out of their comfort zone. In most instances security would refer to issue such as job security, or security of conditions of service. If management would attempt to implement certain policies or regulations that the staff members deem threatening to their job security, conditions of service, benefits and so on, then management will experience severe opposition to any change that is considered threat. In this instance, the security that is at risk is that of the additional income that they were all enjoying using the overtime scheme. There is no way to determine exactly how much the officers would stand to lose in additional elicit income. But it is clear that whatever it is, they are not willing to surrender it to Management.
It can be arguably stated that it is not only losing this additional income that the members of staff are afraid of; they are also afraid of what other possible measures Management may put into force that would be detrimental to their status quo. This fear of the unknown is indeed very powerful because they are unaware of what Management’s mindset may be. In their frame of mind, they are considering the possibility that if Management applies the first change, it will be the first in the line of other changes, albeit they may not be introduced immediately but are still in the pipeline. One’s fear for the unknown creates ambiguity and not being open and accepting of the new unfamiliar. This causes the staff to at times reject changes even though they are to their benefit. They decide what sections of the changes they want to process and what sections they simply prefer to ignore because they are not in their favor. This referred to as selective information processing.
To keep one’s perception intact, the use of selective information processing is most predominant. Selective information processing is the deliberate selection of hearing what they want to hear, ignoring the information that challenges the perception of their reality. The workers in this issue decided to accept the logging of the time for their regular hours but ignored it for their overtime/extra hours. Therefore, it is not because they did not understand the instructions why they did not adhere to them. They made a choice as to what part of the rule they would comply with, and the other part which impacted on the logging of their overtime hours was simply overlooked.
Of the five individual sources for resistance listed, the sources that best fit the resistance to change at “The Hands That Heal Medical Facility” by the medical officers are “habit” and “selective information processing”. The Medical Officers and Specialists at the facility have developed the habit of not using the biometric scanner mainly due to their ego created by their having a certain status due to their areas of specialty and the role that they play at the facility.
Secondly, selective information and their perception of position within the facility, caused them to feel that they are superior to the other employees and that they are to be exempted from complying with the regulations. The Medical Officers and Specialists consciously chose to adhere only to the section of the new rules that did not affect them adversely.
The Human Resource Manager’s primary responsibility is to implement and supervise the facility’s policies / regulations which are mandatory for every employee. In addition to those, the responsibilities of employee relations and payroll management are also key factors in the enactment of the institution’s policy to better monitor employee working hours and ensure compliance by all employees. The Human Resource Manager has to be aware of the various forces at play in the organization and why resistance is coming from certain sectors.
The feedback from informal meetings with the Medical Specialists revealed that they made it explicitly clear that in times of emergency the extra steps they would have to take to go to the present location of the scanner causes great inconvenience when the primary focus is saving a life or lives especially in an obstetrics / gynecology crisis when minutes and seconds are the critical factors that determine life or death. However, the overall consensus of the other Medical Officers is that they should be exempted due to their professional role and that they are not a part of the support staff of the facility.
The Medical Officers and Specialists basically attempted to use to the “class” difference within the organization to justify why they should not comply. In essence they are saying that the time logging should only be applied to the Administrative Staff and not the Technical Staff. This is another aspect of organizational culture that managers have to contend with. Oftentimes, there will be a group of workers who, due to their roles or positions, believe themselves to be in a separate category from the regular workers and not everything that applies to the “regular” worker should apply to them.
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