Elizabeth Kübler-Ross refers to five stages that everyone goes through, when someone or something valuable is lost. The change process resulting from the implementation of any new business model, environment contains a similar pattern of behavior (loss of stability, predictability, routine, security, etc.), which may eventually leads , not only to adaptation attempts but in some cases to the conscious acceptance of the new conditions, environment of work and business. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The typical process of individual change includes [with reference to Marchewka]:
- Negation (Denial) – employees and managers „colliding” with a new system, in general which is unknown to them, experience a shock. It is a state of disbelief, stopping and attempting to quickly understand the new situation at the same time. The most popular statements are: „Are you sure that we will work with this new system (implicitly „bad” one)?”; „This is definitely not the final decision;” „This is probably just another rumor or a big joke.”
Anger – employees are making first, “rational” assessments of the new situation, trying to respond, primarily, emotionally through statements such as: „The old system is much better, so should why we work with a new one?”; „Who ever made that (stupid – it goes without saying) decision?”; „There is no way, we will work in this system”; „Has anyone ever asked us for our opinion?”
Bargaining – awareness of the irreversibility of the change becomes a fact. Employees are still trying to adapt to the new situation by developing the most favorable relationships with the new model, the working system. There are opinions like: „There must be a way to go around over this system”; „It will be better to get along with the head of the project”; „Good, I will work longer but only for an additional salary”; „Maybe it’s worthwhile to sign up for the additional training offered by the company, instead of just performing regular duties.”
Depression – Employees start to understand that the change is irreversible, but also it is extremely painful and arduous from the point of view of previous working experience. This means an entire new attitude: „It has never been so bad”; „Maybe it’s a good idea to look for another job;” „No one can learn this system well;” „By the way, it does not make any sense”.
Acceptance – Depression does not last forever. However, some employees, usually with considerable support of people constructively involved in the implementation process, are also slowly begin to notice the positive sides of the change resulting from having a new system. The key success factor leading to final and positive acceptance is undoubtedly the time. It allows all interest groups to better understanding the system, to learn how to use new procedures, technology or acquire the needed knowledge. The dominant statement will be: „It is not that bad”; „Everything can be learned”; „It is so simple – everyone can do it”; „I know how to work with the system even better, faster, more conveniently, more efficiently.”
The Coronavirus crisis means irreversible change. Nothing will be the same… What is your turn? What is your decision? What is your attitude?