The impact of rapid organisational change at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM).
Change is a process that affects everyone and businesses differently and it is constantly happening, whether it be planned or unplanned. The planned change of Mission Directed Work Teams (MDWT) at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) was implemented from 01 July 2005, and its continuous improvement and mission orientation effect on employees and the performance of the company were vital to improved business success and growth. The effect of change on organisations can be assessed by people's attitudes and outlooks. In the global world of business, companies that cannot adapt to change or implement planned change successfully will be heading for disaster and failure. The ability to react to change and implement change timeously and effectively will determine the difference between success and failure. Change management therefore plays a crucial role in today's fast-paced world of business, and is a vital skill for any manager that wants to succeed beyond expectations. This dissertation describes and evaluates the process of change at RBM during the implementation of MDWT and the change management approach that was adopted. Kurt Lewin's Force Field Analysis (Misselhorn, 2005), semi-structured interviews and statistical analyses showed that MDWT impacted positively on employee attitudes and short-term financial performance, but the management of the change process was short-circuited in a few critical areas and needs to be addressed, especially with regards to involvement of the relevant stakeholders, training requirements and change reinforcement. Although organisations need to adapt to their environment, they tend to feel comfortable operating within the structure, policies and procedures which have been formulated to deal with a range of possible situations. To ensure operational effectiveness, organisations often set up defences against change and prefer to concentrate on the routine things they perform well. It is important, therefore, for management to understand the reasons for, and the nature of, resistance to change and to adopt a clearly defined strategy for the initiation of change. Change management requires maintaining the balance of the socio-technical system that influences the behaviour and attitudes of individuals and groups, and thereby the level of performance and effectiveness within organisations. Successfully managing change is therefore clearly essential for continued economic performance and competitiveness in the tough world of business. It is therefore important that change be managed, because if the pressure to change is ignored, it will eventually become a destructive force that will put the survival of the business in jeopardy.