Retrospective Analysis of a Change in the Psychiatric ICU

The result is always a function of how change is managed. There are several change management theories that have been proposed and almost all theories concur, that the success and failure of any change are related to the people factor. It is largely the emotional reactions of people involved in the change process that needs to be managed. Partnership, participation and commitment of staff responsible to implement new processes become critical, else any plan is likely to fail. Change management also emphasizes that people’s fears need to be managed and trust needs to be built hence communication becomes critical. Researchers have highlighted that involving staff in the planning of change, facilitating communication between departments and backing of senior management can go a long way in ensuring desired outcomes.Any new idea or change in existing practise is often met with resistance by people who are involved in such transformations. Disruption in expectation is considered as loss of control (cited by, Brück, 2002). Resistance could be higher if people are not given clarity on the goals of new processes and the benefits that one hopes to achieve by implementing the change (Doppler and Lauterburg, 2000). The reaction is triggered by the psychological need for security and predictability. Fear of the unknown holds people back from embracing any change in process or structure. As noted by (Block, 1981, p. 113), “typical forms of resistance, or bettersymptoms of resistance, besides the most obvious form of attacking, are Silence, debating unimportant things, staying away, coming too late to meetings, flooding with detail, intrigues, rumours etc…”.This can be counter-productive as has been proven by Kotter (1995) who shows that two-thirds of the changes end in failure.