Adapting to Change
The mechanical technological driven world of today is moving fast and in this environment change is an inevitable thing because all the ups and downs; failures and successes faced by the people are dependent on the changes occurring in the surrounding environment.
The capabilities of a person to respond towards the changes and adapt them to determine the way of spending of person’s life. In the personal as well as professional life the people have to be well aware of the changes occurring around them so that they can keep them align with those changes. Most of the changes occurring in the surrounding world are led by the technological advancements.
Technology has benefited mankind in form of many tools, devices, and techniques. These new facilities replace the old one and the way of doing certain thing also change with time. Most of the time these advancements and changes bring improvement in the life of the people but in some of the cases people have to give up their traditional values and cultural norms in order to cope up with the changes.
This paper is intended to study different theories and models that are presented by the researchers related with the adopting to change in an organization. The dissertation is based on a qualitative research study that is conducted through secondary analysis of data and a case study.
The case study of a US-based company is presented so that different theories of adapting to change can be studied in the perspective of the company and the evidences could be found about the practical implications of the theories of adapting to change.
Importance of Topic
In the fast-moving world of today ideas came into existence and then they are executed rapidly too, building lot of pressure on the people working in different fields because they have also to adopt the same policy of creating and implementing new and changed ideas from time to time.
The time required for making these changes is often very short but the success of an organization in the highly competitive marketplace of today lies in the fact that how quickly they can respond towards the changes. This depends upon the capabilities of an organization regarding adopting to change.
It is very importance to study that what is the importance of adopting to change in an organization because it is one of the most important issues for the business organization now days and the complete understanding of this issue is essential for individuals as well as organization so that they can manage their existing and design new strategies in this perspective.
Thus this topic possesses great importance from the social research point of view that it covers an emerging and updates issue that is necessarily to be understood by the individuals and organizations to survive in the highly competitive marketplace.
Need and Significance for the Study
There is considerable portion of the literature conducted around the topic and numerous research studies have focused on the models and theories of adapting to change and their practical implication.
This dissertation is continuation of the research work done so far because the topic is gaining more and more importance. As the technologies is rapidly spreading so the need of studying the change in organization is also getting more and more important and the dissertation is aimed at fulfilling the need of further study on this topic.
Statement of Problem
“To study the theories and models of adopting to change in an organization and analyze the case of an organization in the light of the studied literature”
Objective of the Study
The study is aimed t achieving the following objectives
- To understand the concept of adapting to change in an organization from the historical perspective
- To study different theories and models of adopting to change
- To present the case study of an organization regarding the strategies and planning related with adopting to change.
Adopting to change – Historical Perspective
Adopting to change in an organization is not a new phenomenon but it has deep roots inside the history. Lewin (1952) presented a three stage model about adopting to change in an organization. The three stages identified in the model presented by Lewin are “unfreezing, change and refreezing”.
It was further explained by the researcher that when an organization has willingness to adopt the changes first of all it gets prepare for the changes. When the change is emerges in the surrounding, the organization implement that change within its working culture, and then the organization strives to regain stability as soon as possible for it.
All of these steps are taken by the organization with a specific period of time so that organization can get stability and functionality on early basis (Lewin, p459, 1952). As the time passes, the business world show the need for more turbulent and flexible model of adopting to change that can fit well in the uncertain organizational and environmental conditions as well so the early model presented by Lewin became less appropriate and uncommon.
De Jean (1991) and Malone et al (1992) presented another concept of adopting to change that technology is the main factor that bring changes in the environment and while designing the technologies it is the key issue that the technology must be easily adoptable by the end users and the people can have the opportunity to customize their existing features using the new technology and at the same time they can also create new applications with the help of newly introduced technology.
In this way the features and adoptability of the technology it self determines the success rate of its acceptability. At the same time, the organizations also have to be aware of the fact that how they can implement change within their existing working patterns and what are the most appropriate ways of integrating new technologies in their traditional system.
In this situation the experience of the organization plays the most significant role in determining the role of the organization in the changing situation. Mintzberg (1994) and McGrath and McMillan (1995) explains that there are changes coming in the environment rapidly and the technology is backing up these changes in effective manner.
In this new scenario there are many organizations that are still unaware of the fact that what is actually going around them because they see all of the things like a game that is entirely new for them and they don’t even know the rules and regulations of playing the game.
This is the main factor that can lead the organization towards greater risk of failure because this show the lack of willingness of the company to get prepare for adopting to change and an organization can not survive in marketplace until and unless it is ready to face the changes.
Adopting to change – Need, Importance and Strategies
Victor Siegle (2006) explains that an organization has to be well aware of the changes occurring all around because the success of an organization largely depends upon the fact that how fast and how adequately they respond towards the changes and make amendments in their strategies to meet the demands of those changes.
These changes could be in form of change in the client’s or customer’s requirements and the organization has to provide the goods or services of the client or customer according to their new requirements.
The organization has to change according to the requirements because “the customer is always right” and of they want to keep their clients and costumers loyal with them they have to assure them that their demands will be met on timely basis and they will get best quality services from the organization.
In this regard it is very important for the organization to know that what are the priorities of their clients or customers and as far as there are some changes occur in their requirement due to any factor, then the organization has to keep an eye on those changes and the management has to be always prepare to react upon these changes accordingly. Only then they can be sure about the successful relations
In this context there is great responsibility lies upon the shoulders of the high officials and management. They have to develop such strategies and organizational culture in the company that the staff and their working patterns can easily adjust with the upcoming changes.
All of this has to be done while remaining within the boundaries of the schedules, budgets, people, and deadlines. For better management of adopting to change it is essential to create a synergistic nature of the organization means that different teams should be created to perform different type of business activities separately and whenever there is any change required in the production of good and service, the people concerned with that particular part of the work will be contacted and asked to make changes in their work.
In this way the entire production process or company strategies does not face any set back or major delay. This is necessarily to be done by the management because they have no option to say “No” to the client or customers asking for change. This will not effect the reputation and credibility of the organization but also the sales and revenue of the company will be badly affected.
However it doesn’t means that the organization must be ready and go for adopting each and every change occurring in the surrounding world but there is great need of effective management of adopting to change strategies and planning because unmanaged change can create lots of problem for the organization in terms of increate in the potential of causing disruption to projects already in progress that might lead to the mediocre end product, missed deadlines and budgets.
All these factors will ultimately contribute towards the deterioration of the relationship of the organization with their client or customer. So there are some key steps that must be followed by an organization in the process of change management so that they can be in better position for adopting to change.
For example they have to assure that the new or changes policies will be integrate in to the original or existing policies and working pattern of the organization so that the employees can cope up with these changes easily.
The cost and time involved in the production process should be kept in consideration by the management while implementing a change so that the budget and deadline could be managed effectively.
At the same time, it is equally importance that the management must choose from the emerging changes that which one is beneficial for the organization and which will harm it. This will help the company is getting well prepared for adopting to change in the organization.
Jacowski (2006) explains that the overall success of an organization is greatly dependent on the change adoptability capabilities of the organization. The researcher explains that adopting to change in an organization requires lot of time, dedication, money and effective planning.
It is very essential to manage the change properly because changes can take the organization towards improved productivity, efficient employee’s performance, superior quality of good and services produces and a better bottom line.
In case of failure of the organization in adopting the change there is a great risk that the relationship of the company with its client or customers will be harm, there will be frustration generate in the employees, and the over all productivity and quality of the organization will be badly effected.
In order to avoid the dangers of mismanaged change, it is very importance for an organization to get ready for adopting the change with all its planning and strategies. First of all the change must be added to the company’s function in a practical and meaningful way, otherwise there is no chance that the change will be accepted and successfully implemented in the organization.
Thus the management has the major responsibility to choose that what change is necessary for the organization and above all what are the implications of that change within the existing working culture of the company. The management has to keep an eye on the time matter also to decide and when and in which aspects of the business, the organization will welcome the changes and what are the aspects and policies that will be remained undisturbed by any of the changes.
For the better management of adopting to change in the organization it is a crucial matter that the people associated with the change management must be aware of all the problems and issues associated with the adoption to change sin the organization and they must have adequate work done on the lines that “who will be taking on the change, who will best know how the change will work, and how it can be utilized”.
In addition to this it is equally important that there must be trust worthy relationship between the management and the employees so that the employees can be motivated to work in efficient manner in the changes environment also and they must be mentally prepare to face the changes adopted and implemented by the organization.
It is importance to have trust based relation in the organization to get prepare for adopting to change because in case of lack of trust, the employees will resist strongly towards the implemented changes and it will become even more difficult for the management to implement the changes within the organization.
Moreover the management should also have deep understanding of the employees issues so that they can know that what changes will be welcome by the employees and what changes will be resisted. In this regard the management must have effective communication link with its people so that there could be good understanding of their reservations and concerns.
Theories and Models
Gallivan at al (1994) adaptation to change in an organization requires hard work of many years because it is not something that can occur immediately. The researchers explain that to get prepares for adopting any change, it is very necessary that the management of the organization must assure the flow of concise, readable and to the point information to the employees.
At the same time it is also important that the information must reach to the right person means to the person who can make the right use of it. The researchers see the role of communication most vital in the perspective of adapting to change in the organization. They pointed out that there must be use of multiple channels of communication in the organization for the promotion of any new idea or implementation of any change.
The management is recommended that there must be good communication links built with the employees so that the management can effectively demonstrate the decision of the management regarding the implementation and adaptation of any new change. The role of management is very crucial at this stage because there is a broad spectrum of skills required to lead to effective management of innovation and change within an organization.
There must be programs, workshops, meetings and gatherings arranged by the management with the employees so that both the management and the employees can better understand the perspective of each other. In addition to this the management must also produce and provide some material in form of hard copy or soft copy to the employees.
This material can explain the perspective of the employees in detail and can inform the employees many such things that can not be demonstrated orally.
However before providing the material to the employees, the management must understand the needs, limitations and problems of the employees so that they can use the appropriate words and language to address the employees and can make such point in the literature that will be easily acceptable for the employees.
Kwon and Zmud (1997) explains that adopting to change in an organization is not an easy issue because in many organizations there is great possibility that the employees with resist change and talk about remaining sticking on the same traditional means of doing their work.
He further explains that there are some main reasons due to which the employees within an organization can resist for change and these are the challenges for the management if they want to develop a culture in the organization open towards changes.
An important reason why the employees resist the change in ambiguity that people are unclear about the details of the emerging change and they have certain questions in their mind that what would be the effect of the change over their job position and working patterns.
This unclear image led towards the resistance in the employees regarding the change.
Another important reason is lack of proper communication links between the management and the employees. When the employees are not properly informed by the management neither there is any consultancy done with the employees but the change in imposed on the employees as an order, then there is a generally unlikeness and unwillingness in adopting any change.
On the other hand if the employees are well informed about the change and the policies are discussed in details then thy can meet higher levels of job satisfaction than uninformed workers. This is because people like to know and they have the right to know that what is going all around them and what are the decisions that are taking place related with their work and positions.
A change in my life that has been for better
Ten years ago, I married my beautiful wife and that was one of the best things that could ever happen to me. Marriage completely changed my life for the better and I am grateful for that.
When I first came to the United States at the age of 14, with no parents with me except one sister I was alone. Overwhelming with her own responsibilities, my sister could not care for me, so I had to care for myself. That is one of the reasons why I was married at an early age of 22. Married to my wife changed me for better in many ways.
Firstly, as my wife she cares for me in way which my mother would. For example, she washes my clothes for me, cooks for me and most basic things that my mother would have done for me in a regular basis.
As a custom in my culture, when a man choosing a wife, she must be able to do everything that a mother would do for a son and more, such as prepare a good meal for the husband, make sure that he has clean clothes and be a shoulder for him to cry on if he need to. Another thing a mother would do is to give advice when needed.
Secondly, she loves me, because of her love I know what love is. I never knew real love before I met my wife. I never thought that I would be able to love or trust someone. She shows me that I was able to love and that completely changed my life certainly for the better.
I feel free now that I know that someone loves and cares for me. She gives me hope to forward in life. She made me feel like all things are possible for me. That’s alone making me want to leave.
Finally, her companionship is also as important. Since were married I am never by myself except in school or unless we are at work. We have never spent a week away from each other. That is how much we love being together. She makes me feel safe when I am with her. I can remember vividly, we were having a conversation, and then she told me “you know Man, I am your protector, I was sent by God to protect you”.
I also believe that being married saves me from many diseases out there. Without being married, I probably would date as many women possible until I find the right one. Because now that I am married, I have to stay with one woman therefore, that saves me.
Marriage could have both negative and positive effects on one’s life, but for me marriage was positively changed my life. I never imagine my life to be better except through marriage.
A Life Changing Moment
I have always perceived my life to be that of the ordinary. I am a man who lived a simple life, and had simple dreams to look up to. Everything changed when I met my girlfriend, HER NAME.
She was the most extraordinary woman I have ever met. From her aura, down to the little details about her personality, one may witness the exceeding confidence she exhibits all throughout her life. She has carefully planned her life the way she wanted it to be.
GIRLFRIEND’S NAME was simple yet lovable. She would do the things that could make her happy above anything else. She never allowed people to look down on her and prevent her from doing the things that she loved the most. I could say that GIRLFRIEND’S NAME had the most impact on me. She encouraged me to set goals and strive hard to be the best that I can be. Through her hard work and dedication, I was inspired to do the same thing.
My girlfriend’s great influence in my life made me determined to study and acquire a degree in college. Although we have only been together for seven months, I felt the great impact she had in my life. Regardless of how big and complicated things were, NAME OF GIRLFRIEND always had enough reasons to smile and continue on with life.
I started to be more cautious of my actions, and at the same time view life in a more positive way. Once she told me, “Honey, why not try doing something big? It would make you feel a lot better if you were happy with the things that you did, other than do something to appease others.”
Although said in the most insignificant way, these were the words that stuck in my mind all the time. Every time I would feel bad about myself, I would try to recall these fond memories with my girlfriend. Then I feel a sense of security, making me forget about my problems more and just give my best and move forward.
A major change or decision in your life
Since my early childhood I was a kid without confidence and would want to occupy the lowest places in any public or family get together, I had believed and looked at myself as a failure, a stammer, one who is not worth of any good things in life.
I would appreciate other children and admire the way they looked and played their performances in school and their ability to express themselves fluently. I was my parents only child and taken longer that usual to learn how to talk and even after I learnt how to talk I would stammer.
My stammering made life impossible for me for I chose to be silent most of the times than talk and get embarrassed; my mother had tried to show me that it was okay but I would hear none of her consolations. I infact hated myself; I always avoided seeing my image at the mirror, for I always saw a failure.
My life became so hard and I started contemplating on how I would drop out of school, this was at the age of 9. My worst moments in school would when our teacher could ask us to read in class a person at time a paragraph from a text.
I could try to open my mouth but before the first word got out I would be shaking with fear and shame. I came up with a plan that any day I knew we would have those lessons in class I would wake up and start crying before leaving my bed so that my mother would think I am sick, and I would end up going to school late or missing the whole day.
My doctor must have noted this trait and one day when I was taken to him as I had claimed to have a headache, he examined me and then told my mother to excuse us and this become my turning point!
He took so much time with me and I just found myself opening up to him but with a lot of crying, I had never shared my fears and attitude to any one not even my mother.
He held me and talked to me, he assured me that the situation would go if only I was willing to start having a different look at things, he gave a magazine and asked me read aloud, I tried but still…., he encouraged me, he gave me the opportunity to repeat the hard words, he made me believe I could do it, that I could do better, that the power of change was right within me, that he had handled cases more complicated than mine and was successful because the victims were ready for a change.
He gave me a mirror and asked me to tell myself that I am the best, the cutest, that I will reach the highest possible there is. Honestly by the time I was leaving the room I was smiling to myself, I could look at my image and notice the beautiful eyes, smile and see the white well arranged teeth! I could not believe it.
Although he talked to my Mother and they agreed that I should be going to him so that he can see if am improving once every week, he made my whole life change.
I become interested in reading any material that came my way, trying to pronounce those hard and long looking words, tried to say a word which someone on the television would pronounce with a little more effort, when I went wrong I could simply smile and get to the mirror and assure myself that next time I will say it well.
I started performing so well in school and I couldn’t believe it, I started mixing well with other children, I stopped comparing myself with any one, I had understood and believed that I am uniquely me. I have come to know that I would have hindered my talent in English and Literature from growing because as it is this is my best area.
Being a Change Agent
This paper will outline the concept of change agent. It will give us a brief description of what a change agent is. It will discuss the concept in detail further. In the first few pages, we discuss what basically a change agent is and what are the theories and concepts behind it. Later on, we discuss change agents with reference to the procurement process. The role that change agents play in the business environment has become very important in the past few years. Companies adopt and adapt to change often and to help them initiate the process and implement it completely we have change agents.
Introduction A change agent is someone who can change an individual’s or organization’s ability and enable them to achieve higher levels of outcome and help them move up the needs hierarchy. (Stevenson, 2008) A change agent is, “a person who leads a change project or business-wide initiative by defining, researching, planning, building business support and carefully selecting volunteers to be part of a change team. Change Agents must have the conviction to state the facts based on data, even if the consequences are associated with unpleasantness. ” (Six Sigma Dictionary, 2003)
A change agent has to see the future and over look the present because if he starts to think of the present then he will not be able to bring about the changes that he wants. The vision leads the agent to act a certain way and perform certain activities and functions. Bringing about a change is not simple; it requires a lot of hard work. Hard work is not the only thing that can initiate and implement the change, the agent needs to be passionate about the change and believe in the vision. His passion will ultimately lead the others around him to be passionate and the change to be successful. (Stevenson, 2008)
As we all know that motivation is one of the key factors for anything to be successful. Nobody else can motivate the change agent, he needs to motivate himself. He needs to be strong individual who can overlook the comments of others and be misunderstood and not appreciated and still do his job. Most important of all these things is that the change agent needs to be able to understand people and their needs. Without the people it is impossible for the change to be successful, the change agent should not forget them in the process of bringing about a change, because otherwise the change will be useless. (Stevenson, 2008)
In today’s world change agents are a common phenomenon, businesses frequently have to redesign business operations to stay up-to-date and enhance their position in the business world by having a comparative advantage, the latest technology and business process. To enable this to happen in their company, the management hires change agents. The change agent analyzes the company and its operations and then develops a vision as to where he wants to see the company. Then he sees what the basic requirements for the change are, training for the employees, re-layering for the organization, new system, investment and many other things. (Hugos, 2008)
Once all this has been established, the change process starts, the time period can vary according to the type of change and the extent to which the change is taking place within the organization. During this time period, the change agent interacts with all the people and helps them adapt to the new system and overcome any problems that they might be facing. Once the system has been implemented, the change agent also judges the successful rate of the change. If there has been a productivity increase and a generally better environment than the change has been successful otherwise another theory or method may have to be used for the change.
(Hugos, 2008) People resist change, they do not like it when outsiders come and change something in their territory. They feel uncomfortable as the environment changes because they had become used to the previous environment and even though it had some shortcomings, it was their haven. That is why change agents are treated badly and are not liked by the employees of the organization because they think he will change their territory which will change the way things are done and maybe the layout of the office. The change agent will enter their comfort zone and distort it. (Hugos, 2008)
The first thing that the change agent needs to do is to get to know the people around him and especially those that are involved in the change process. The agent needs to talk to them and see what they want. He needs to make sure that these employees are comfortable around him and understand the change process and are willing to support him. The best way to get to know the employees and get them to talk to you is to get down working with them. The second thing that the change agent needs to do is take the information he finds during this time very seriously. Things he will learn here are the basic reasons for the change.
This information will help in developing the vision later. The third and last thing that will happen and will be consequence of the first two steps will be that the employees will start to trust the agent and will open up to him. (Hugos, 2008) Up till now we have talked about how change agents need to maintain a relationship with the target group. We will now discuss who the target groups are. The target groups are the people on which the change will be implemented. In these include, the employees whose attitude, feelings, beliefs, values, and perceptions might need to be changed.
Then there are groups or organizations, whose size, composition, structure of authority, hierarchies, communication styles and channels, and many other things may need to be changed. Another category is the community, in which change might be needed within the inter-group relations that exist on the basis of ethnicity, race, gender, class, religion etc. and finally there is the society as a whole. Change in the society will be on a very large scale, such as globalization, urbanization, modernization, a change in policies and international relations, the environment, agriculture, education and much more. (Hugos, 2008)
The categories of change agents are the directors of a company, administrators, political parties or supporters, the financial backers, volunteers, employees, technical and professional people such as lawyers, sociologists, scientists etc. the types of change strategy that the change agent will adopt will depend on the situation and the type of change that is required, in some ways it will also depend on the relationship between the agent and the target of change. (Hugos, 2008) Change Strategies Then type of change that is needed and the way the change will be implemented is known as the change strategy.
There are four strategies that a change agent can follow: empirical-rational strategies, normative/re-educative strategies, power/coercive strategies, and environmental-adaptive strategy. (UNCW, 2008) The empirical-rational strategy is used when the relationship between the target and the agent is unequal on some levels but on the other levels the inequality does not exist. This strategy is used so that the inequality can be reversed. The strategy is most effective when the targets of change are individuals and not groups and organizations.
The aim of this strategy is to provide the targets with the information; it assumes that the targets are rational beings that can use this information to gain knowledge and make the best decision possible from the information that is available to them. (UNCW, 2008) The normative/re-educative strategy is used when the agent wants to convince the target. It is not a battle or a debate where the agent wants to defeat the target but the agent wants the target to understand his point of view and finally agree with him. In this strategy the target is brought face to face with the changed ideas and views.
They are persuaded to adopt these new values and internalize them so that they become part of the group and are something that the group does unconsciously. To make people believe and accept these values, the emotional and the rational appeal are used. They can either be convinced with scientific facts and figured or can be convinced emotionally. The targets of such a strategy are organizations, groups and the communities. (UNCW, 2008) The third strategy is the power/coercive strategy. This strategy will only work when the target is dependent on the agent such as in the case of children.
In this strategy there is the use of power, money and authority. The targets may be bribed to follow the change or otherwise face the consequences. The authority in this case may or may not be legitimate. The agents in this case want to be ahead of the target and want to defeat them. It can also be that the agents may be oppressed by the target and will eventually revolt against the target, there have been such cases in history but they have been on a very large scale, for example; the French Revolution. (UNCW, 2008) The fourth strategy of change is the environmental-adaptive strategy.
In this strategy the people are not immediately transferred into the new environment, it is a gradual process. The new organization is created and the employees are made to go through a transition phase. In this the targets will be upset with the change but will quickly adapt to the new environment. (Nickols, 2006) The Change Process The way the change is brought about or the processes that the change is brought about in are known as the change process and there are a few methods for doing this. Each will be discussed individually in the following paragraphs. The basic process of change is the unfreezing, changing and refreezing process.
The things that need to be changed will be unlearnt by the employees; they will then learn the new way of doing things or can come up with their own way of doing the job. The best method will then be learned by all the employees. The method will then be refrozen, by learning it. Another process of change is by solving a problem and finding a problem. The thing that needs to be changed is referred to as the problem. The change agent needs to move the target from the state of problem to the solved state. This has to be done in an orderly and disciplined fashion. When this is achieved the problem is solved.
This is basically known as the planned change model. (Nickols, 2006) When the change agent is trying to solve the problem he is basically looking for the solution thus, the problem solving part comes when a course of action is looked for to solve the problem. The problem finding part is when the action or thing that needs changing is being found. In this the change agent is finding the thing that is causing the problem and that which will eventually need to be changed. Thus, the problem is first found and then solved in a systematic manner. Some questions need to be answered about the problem.
The first thing that needs to be understood is that how the problem has occurred so that such situations can be avoided in the future. (Nickols, 2006) Another thing that needs to be analyzed is that what has caused the problem, so that that can also be solved. The problem has occurred because of a reason and that reason needs to be found and analyzed. There must be something that is lacking in the current situation, and to solve the problem the change agent needs to know these things so that in the solved situation these things are not present. (Nickols, 2006) Conclusion
A change agent does not require a specialized set of skills, there is no professional degree needed to be a change agent. There are only a few things that an individual needs to be aware of and know how to manipulate. He needs to be aware of the people around him, but this he needs to limit. If he becomes too aware it can hinder his job or if he completely not aware then he will not be able to implement the change successfully. A change agent needs to know what the situation is and after careful analysis he should be able to solve it in his mind before actually solving it in real life because otherwise it might just end up as a disaster.
One thing we can conclude from the paper is that the process of forming a relationship with the target is of extreme importance and that without the support of the people involved the change agent cannot achieve his goal. The whole process of will be useless. References 1. Dennis Stevenson (2008). What is a Change Agent? Retrieved on August 24, 2008, http://it. toolbox. com/blogs/original-thinking/what-is-a-change-agent-23764 2. Fred Nickols (2006). Change Management 101: A Primer, Retrieved on August 24, 2008, http://home.
att. net/~nickols/change. htm 3. Mike Hugos (2008). How to become a Change Agent, Retrieved on August 24, 2008, http://www. cio. com/article/13091/How_to_Become_a_Change_Agent? page=3 4. Six Sigma Dictionary (2003). Change Agent, Retrieved on August 24, 2008, http://www. isixsigma. com/dictionary/Change_Agent-393. htm 5. University of New Carolina Wilmington (2008). Social Change Strategies. Retrieved on August 24, 2008, http://people. uncw. edu/pricej/teaching/socialchange/Social%20Change%20Strategies. htm
Change the World by Changing Poverty
Poverty affects many people “with over three billion living on less than two dollars and fifty cents a day” (Shah). The majority of the parents living in poverty are unable to provide for themselves and let alone able to feed their children, send them to school, get them the medical attention they need, or even provide them with shelter (“What is Poverty? ”). Since parents can not properly provide for their kids, it causes “twenty-two thousand children to die each day due to poverty”. South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are the areas most affected by poverty even though it is in every continent, country, and city around the world (Shah).
This large poverty problem is a global issue that could be changed into a much smaller one, or even an inexistent problem, by implementing a few different solutions. One way to end poverty is by investing in children. This means to mainly focus on their education, especially when they’re young. Boteach talks about how President Obama has an idea to create a “universal pre-K that would provide millions of parents with a quality, reliable place for their children to thrive, enabling them to work more or steadier hours to bring additional income into the family, as well as create greater economic opportunity for their children in the long term”.
In doing this, it would help these children obtain a proper education that can lower poverty at a high rate since children are the ones most affected by it. With the correct education they can grow up and learn to live a life of non-poverty unlike their parents who may have not of had the chance to obtain a proper education (Boteach). Children living in poverty are unable to control their life. They’re vulnerable because they’re at the will of others and they sometimes demean themselves to make ends meet (“Invest in Services”). So they deserve to be invested in for their future and their well being.
Investing in children can reduce the poverty rate in tomorrow’s world. Another way to end poverty would be to make a world-wide minimum wage law. Why? People live in poverty mostly because they can not make enough money to support themselves or their family. Very rarely is it because people are lazy or don’t have a job (Shah). Why is there still so many people living in poverty if they have jobs? Poverty is mainly caused by too low of minimum wages because “the leading cause of hunger and homelessness is low-paying jobs” (“Universal Living Wage”).
Most countries do already have a minimum wage, but they are usually not high enough to support a family in today’s world. The United States is a good example of this because “under current law, a full-time worker with two children earning the minimum wage will still raise his or her family in poverty” (Boteach). This is unacceptable because most employers will pay their workers minimum wage if they can get away with it. And anyone working deserves to not have to live in poverty no matter where they live or what job they do. So there needs to be a world-wide, minimum wage law made.
It needs to state that every country has to make a high enough minimum wage that would not allow anyone to live in poverty if they worked a normal forty-hour week. They need to be able to afford essential clothing, nutrition, utilities, medical care, and shelter (“Universal Living Wage”). So making a world-wide minimum wage law would help reduce poverty. Making sure everyone has access to the proper energy is another solution to end poverty. The people living in third-world countries that are poverty stricken, is mainly due to not having access to energy needed to live day in and day out.
Without them having access to the proper electricity they have to work much harder in their lives because they do not have access to running water, lights, heat, refrigeration, air-conditioning, plumbing, stoves, and many other things that most people take for granted. They also struggle not having the proper energy because it affects their ability to get a decent education or earn a nice living or even just trying to keep themselves healthy is an everyday struggle for them.
It is physically impossible and too expensive to make sure every square inch of this earth and everyone has access to electricity though. So the solution would be to work with communities to develop renewable energy technologies. These technologies would use natural resources such as water, wind, sun and wastes so they could work in even the smallest or most remote communities and not cost very much to build or maintain (“Powerful Solutions to Poverty”). Making sure everyone has access to the proper energy needed to live life easily would really help reduce poverty.
Investing in children would help end poverty in tomorrow’s world. If children were given the chance to get a proper education it would create a greater economic opportunity for everyone in the long term. For example, “every year that we keep children in poverty, it costs our nation, United States, half a trillion dollars in lost productivity, poorer health and increased crime,” so if children got a proper education, it would boost the economy, raise health, end a lot of crime and reduce the costs by trillions (“Ending Child Poverty”).
It would also lead to outcomes such as better high school graduation rates, higher worker productivity, and lower rates of violent crime that revenue seven dollars in savings for every one dollar invested upfront in children’s early education (Boteach). This is a realistic solution because The Early Learning Challenge Fund is investing one billion dollars per year in challenge grants to build high-quality early learning systems for children from birth through age five (“Investing in Early Childhood to Reduce Child Poverty”).
Investing in children’s education from an early age can help reduce poverty to a lower rate. Making a world-wide minimum wage law would reduce poverty drastically. If they raised the minimum wages and indexed them to the cost of living, it would increase the wages of millions of low-wage workers, and create demand in the economy for goods and services as workers spend their increased wages in local businesses (Boteach). For example, if the United States were to raise “the minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour” then that “would inject about four hundred and fifty billion dollars into the economy each year”.
It would give more purchasing power to many poor and lower/middle class Americans, so therefore stimulate buying, producing, and hiring. Also, the Economic Policy Institute has done studies that prove raising the minimum wage to fifteen dollars would benefit sixty-four percent of the workforce, eighty-one million people, and therefore their families would no longer have to live in poverty and then they would be able to buy more clothing, new cars, and food from the nation’s businesses (Hanauer). Imagine if every country made a minimum wage and made it high enough to do the same as if it would for the United States.
Every country’s economy would be booming and many people could live a better life therefore benefiting the countries in several ways. People would no longer need to use tax payer programs such as food stamps or Medicaid, and then the countries could use that tax money to get out of debt or for other reasons. The United States alone could save a lot of money and get out of some debt since “according to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government spent three hundred sixteen billion dollars on programs designed to help the poor in 2012” (Hanauer).
This is a realistic solution to poverty. Many minimum wage paying jobs are employed by franchises that make billions of dollars a year and still pay their workers nothing. These franchises and companies can and should have to pay their workers a higher minimum wage. Businesses would be responsible to pay the increase to their workers but it is their responsibility to employ and pay them fairly. Making a high, world-wide minimum wage law would help end poverty. Making sure everyone has access to the proper energy is a good solution to end poverty.
Having the proper energy resources is important to any area because a “modern energy supply is foundational for economic development” (Pielke). This is a very realistic solution. In most poverty stricken areas it is impossible to get electricity. So the solution is to work with communities to develop renewable energy technologies. The organization Practical Action is a charity that does just this. They are funded completely by donations and have worked with poor women, men, and children all over the world helping make their lives better.
So if they got enough donations, they could end poverty in many third world countries that don’t have the access to electricity. They could do this because of their renewable energy technologies that they invent, build, and distribute. They are always looking for ways to better their inventions and ways to help out the people more (“Powerful Solutions to Poverty”). Giving everyone access to the proper energy they need can reduce poverty rates. Poverty is a sad thing because it affects every part of these people’s life.
It affects their health, learning, jobs, raising their families, and just everyday activities that should be simple. That is why there is a great need to do something to end poverty. Whether the world works together to invest in children and their education, or to make a high, world-wide minimum wage, or to make sure everyone has access to proper energy, the world will have less poverty. Everyone needs to stand and work together to make these solutions work. If everyone acts on them all, we could end poverty completely, so take a stand today and end the suffering for millions of adults and children all over the globe.