«Enhancing Organizational Morale in the Navy Field» - Free Essay Paper

Enhancing Organizational Morale in the Navy Field

Striving to increase knowledge about the ways and mechanisms of conducting an innovative change through improving organizational morale, it is appropriate to refer to the previous studies in this field. Oeij et al. (2012) point to the fact that workplace technologies on something new is positively related to quantitative and qualitative organizational performance as well as to the worker’s stress ratio and employee commitment. These findings resonate with the working environment where the innovative shift is being implemented. Specifically, the obtained data accentuate the appropriateness of enhancing organizational morale that is interwoven with employee commitment. Simultaneously, they imply that the process of innovative change is stressful for workers. Therefore, a leader should understand that the employees’ desire to omit stress will be a source of obstacles. Anticipating the plausible barriers, one should point to two most common adverse outcomes such as change resistance and staff burnout. Striving to successfully incorporate a shift (the improved organizational morale in the Navy) managerial staff should learn leadership and planning innovation strategies and anticipate the plausible negative outcomes that may interfere with accomplishing the set goals.  

Purpose of the Study

To assure a successful implementation of change, this paper aims at detecting and discussing the core peculiarities of the innovative leadership style. Besides, it will study the ways to increase the organizational morale in the Navy field. In this respect, the research will investigate some barriers to shift and destructive innovation. To achieve its purpose, this essay requires exploring various credible academic sources that highlight the topics of the innovative change and leadership as well as organizational morale and culture of the US Navy. 

Analysis and Discussion

The Obstacles that Impede the Acceptance of Innovation

Staff Burnout

Staff burnout is a significant obstacle that prevents an effective adaptation towards innovative changes. Scholars suggest that this issue is positively related to the low employee morale (Lee, Scheunemann, Hall, & Payne, 2012). Moreover, it complicates the process of effective communication between a leader and a worker and implies an increased gap between the organizational culture and the employee morale. This phenomenon is defined as “a condition of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment that can occur among individuals who work with people in some capacity” (Lee et al., 2012, p. 1). Undoubtedly, this emotional condition is highly undesirable. The reason is that it decreases the productivity of an employee who experiences burnout. Besides, being assembled into one entity, the staff is at risk of becoming infected with one’s emotional exhaustion. This process inevitably causes the general deterioration of the working process.

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In contrast, the indicator of the low plausibility of burnout is a high level of staff morale. This quality is described as “the degree to which an employee feels good about his/her work and work environment” (Lee et al., 2012, p. 5). In this respect, one can rightfully suggest that the general organizational morale is comprised of the staff morale of every worker. Furthermore, it underlies the essence of organization, which predefines how it is viewed by stakeholders, by this, determining the degree of success. Therefore, improving organizational morale is an effective way to increase its excellence.

Comprehending the seriousness of staff burnout, it is necessary to find the reasons that stipulate its occurrence. First and foremost, a managerial team should take into account the construction of communication, the proper level of workers’ involvement, and the adequate assessment of staff’s attitude. The failure to achieve these tasks is positively connected with the development of burnouts. In particular, the insufficient communication between leaders and their team is a factor that begets emotional disturbances. To make the matter worse, since it is related to the low organizational morale and, respectfully, general organizational culture, these aspects are also deteriorated due to a poor communication. In these conditions, the innovative change, including an approach towards increasing organizational morale is either impossible or low-effective. Thus, staff burnout is a strong issue that must be anticipated or eliminated at its origin. The reason is that it may further grow into a bigger problem.

To improve communicative skills, one should consider such aspects as the appropriateness of “message, the method of delivery, the timing, and the importance of information shared with various parts of the organization” (Hodges, 2007). What is more, it is known that the appropriate communication is expected to become an important remedy of leadership, including change management. Hence, it is necessary to consider that interaction presumes the proper level of involvement. For instance, scrutinizing the techniques of enhancing organizational morale, a leader should comprehend the following fact. If his/her team or particular members are not properly involved in the process, they will impede the acceptance of a shift. It happens because people are the agents of culture; and the change in organizational manners requires the shift of individuals. Therefore, they should be involved enough to be capable of embracing the innovation and conducting the tangible difference of the working environment.

Apart from a fruitful communication and strong involvement of workers, managers should estimate the readiness of their staff for a change and constructing an appropriate plan of actions. In this regard, it is necessary to detect the individuals who are most likely to resist the shift and identify the reasons why they are more reistant than the rest of a team. Besides, it is appropriate to find the agents of innovation; whereas, leaders are such factors, there can be other individuals in organizations that can assist in change management. Moreover, to such shift mediators one can attribute unanimated objects as it will be discussed with a practical example in the sections below.

Change Resistance

Change resistance is partially related with staff burnout. However, it also can be observed in the reactions of rather enthusiastic workers. This phenomenon can be attributed to self-imposed barriers. Resistance to a shift has several reasons. In a case when it is linked with employees’ emotional exhaustion, it is the indicator of “organizational defensive routine” (Euchner 2013, p. 10). This term suggests that people tend to protect their habitual environment because when it is changed it possesses the new challenges and threats their physical and mental conditions. Thus, while perceiving the change as dangerous agenda individuals tend to defend the settled ways of performance.

Furthermore, there are other causes of change resistance. For example, due to the poor communication and level of involvement (as it has been discussed above) employees do not understand the value and appropriateness of imposed innovations. Besides, they may experience success in the current environment. They do not want to lose what they have in a favor of some promised intangible and dubious perspectives. Leaders should comprehend that all these rationales are natural reactions. The detection and analysis of barriers is a proper way towards developing the appropriate leadership qualities and strategies towards the successful accomplishment of change management.

The Remedies and Strategies towards Increasing Organizational Morale

Acknowledging the Strategy

Leading a change begins with comprehending its topicality. In this regard, innovative leadership is a remedy to incorporate the novelties that are beneficial for a certain organization. Moreover, it is in compliance with its external and internal environment. To succeed with this task, a leader should understand that there are two different approaches towards innovations. These are such as innovative strategies in managing the staff and preparing employees for embracing the change in technologies, manufacturing, and other aspects of working process. In terms of enhancing organizational morale in the Navy, it is natural to suggest that this goal refers to the second kind of innovation: leading to innovative shift.

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Preparing staff for innovations comprises a lot of practical ways aimed at achieving this goal. There are many strategies towards change management. One of the most famous ones is  “Kurt Lewin's 3-Stage Model of Change” (Bourda, 2013, p. 6). This model presumes that a change occurs in three stages. The author calls these phases: unfreeze, change, and refreeze (Bourda, 2013, p. 6). The unfreeze stage includes accessing the level of the staff’s readiness for shift, finding the proper time, and approach to articulate the tasks, estimating stakeholders’ reactions, and expecting adverse responses. The second change stage presumes that leaders must help the staff embrace innovation, increase confidence, and gain experience in their successful maintenance of work competencies. Once this objective is accomplished, the third refreeze phase begins. It serves to customize the changes to a degree when the novelty is not perceived as such anymore (Bourda, 2013). Lewin’s Unfreeze-Change-Freeze model will be used below to develop some practical approaches towards enhancing organizational morale in the Navy.

Defining Leadership Skills Compatible with Change

To be able to inspire the staff for a change the process requires strong inner power and charisma. People must be willing to follow their chief. The reason is that the communicated innovation is understandable and advantageous for their careers as well due to the leader’s inspiring personality. Apart from charisma, scholars emphasize that “managing change requires a leadership team with project management, communication, and analytical skills with a high degree of result orientation” (Bourda, 2013, p. 16). Specifically, it is necessary to understand that the enhancement of organizational morale should be aligned with and subordinated to the general organizational vision and culture. The next section discusses in detail the process of planning innovation.

Planning Innovation

After realizing that a change should be implemented, a managerial staff needs to anticipate all possible impacts, which the novelty itself and the process of shift will have on all involved parties. In other words, planning innovation requires following the next steps:

  1. Find the proper ways to communicate the reasons for this change to workers.
  2. Detect the agents of change for each innovative direction suggested by the goal to advance organizational morale.
  3. Identify all stakeholders, assess their needs and expectations, anticipate their reactions, and develop the appropriate communicative strategies.
  4. Construct the plan of actions for change agents.
  5. Decide the time, place, and ways to deliver the shifts to all involved parties.
  6. Estimate the effect of changes on employees and the working environment.
  7. Plan the actions directed at correcting/reinforcing the values of change.
  8. Monitor people’s activities in the new conditions with the purpose to assure an adequate perception and adjustment to the implemented shift.
  9. Develop a plan that can help the resistant employees overcome their emotional barriers, gain confidence, and increase competence.
  10. Develop training programs aimed at improving professional skills of the staff in terms of the implemented change.
  11. Define the indicators of success in order to enhance the effectiveness of monitoring the workers’ excellence and communicate this information to the personnel (Bourda, 2013, p. 14).

Anticipating Disruptive Innovation

The scholar, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, proposes the model of innovative change, known as the Change Curve. It consists of 4 stages; these are “status quo, disruption, exploration, rebuilding” (Bourda, 2013, p. 7). Analyzing the names of phases, it becomes clear that the curve is the shift from the negative perception (resistance) to acceptance. This model implies that the first two stages are the most threatening ones in terms of producing a failure. Therefore, one can deduce that disruptive innovation occurs when the incorrect managers’ actions assist the shift at their initial phases or predefine the lack of its development. In such circumstances, the corresponding reactions of the staff include fear, anger, denial, and other similar emotional conditions. To avoid the emergence of disruptive innovation, it is necessary to follow the above-discussed steps of planning the shift, which is especially important at both unfreeze and change phases.

Recommendations for Strengthening Organizational Morale in the Navy

To begin with, it is critical to emphasize that organizational morale should be aligned with organizational culture. In this respect, the present vision of the Navy being publicly articulated by Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, is the following one as

to fight and win, we need a force that draws from the broadest talent pools, values health and fitness, attracts and retains innovative thinkers, provides flexible career paths, and prioritizes merit over tenure (Department of the Navy, 2015).

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The necessity to meet the demands of the contemporary external environment is supposed to lessen the likelihood of staff burnout. However, the implemented enhancement of organizational morale supported by organizational culture can evoke change resistance. Therefore, it is appropriate to create a plan of the appropriate change management.

Unfreeze

  1. Detect the reasons of change. In particular, one should refer to Mabus’ statement that, “we must evolve to meet the needs of the future battle space and the needs of our people” (Department of the Navy, 2015).
  2. Identify the agents of change, such Office of Talent Optimization at USNA (September 2015). Besides, there are unanimated factors, which are assembled in Navy fitness initiatives (2016-2017), for instance, fat-control programs, fitness programs, one uniform, and others (Department of the Navy, 2015).
  3. Construct the schedule for the agents of change.
  4. Inform the staff about the mediators of shift and corresponding plan of actions with an emphasis on innovation importance and topicality.

Change

  1. Involve the staff into fitness-related initiatives. For instance, the relevant approaches are conducting fitness sport-checks and increasing the number of gym hours (Department of the Navy, 2015).
  2. Keep the records of the employees’ performance, which helps monitoring the success of the implemented innovation.
  3. Collect and compare data with the purpose to identify possible barriers, the level of change acceptance, and anticipate the development of disruptive innovation.
  4. Develop the initiatives aimed at increasing the staff’s adaptability to change. For example, the Department of the Navy (2015) proposes Outstanding Fitness Award for those ones who perform at an outstanding level over 3 consecutive cycles”. Apart from the system of reward, there is a healthy dietary program Fuel to Fight (Department of the Navy, 2015), which is aimed at improving health conditions and increase the fitness-related accomplishments.

Freeze

  1. Overcome change resistance and other emotional barriers. This goal includes one uniform initiative, anti-sexual harassment programs, educational assistance, assistance for mothers-to-be, and female employees with children. Specifically, it is proposed to “extended child development center hours and extend maternity leave” (Department of the Navy, 2015).
  2. Define the measurements of effectiveness of implemented programs.

Conclusion

This research investigates plausible barriers towards innovative change. In addition, it explores the strategies and remedies that can reinforce the process of change management facilitating the leaders’ tasks. The obtained data are assimilated and analyzed through the lens of their practical implementation, particularly, enhancing organizational morale in the Navy. The findings highlight that there are several obstacles to any shift, such as staff burnout and resistance to it. Simultaneously, improper leadership that is manifested through poor communicative, analytical and planning skills is a strong factor that intensifies the adverse effects of discussed barriers. Moreover, constructing the model of change, a manager should refer to Lewin's Unfreeze-Change-Freeze approach. Besides, anticipating the emergence of disruptive innovation, one should consider the Curve Change Model developed by Kübler-Ross. It implies that a failure is more likely to occur at the initial stages of innovation. Moreover, this research reveals a detailed plan of actions of an innovative leader that is provided by experts. Furthermore, this study connects organizational culture of the Navy with the staff morale. The acquired data are synthesized into a plan of actions that provide a guide for leaders who operate in the Navy and want to conduct some innovative change by improving organizational morale of employees.

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