To survive and prosper, businesses need to be able to change and adapt to internal and external environmental pressures, but there are issues around managing the process of change.

 

Read the text and then do the exercises.

When you first read the text, don't worry about the numbers in brackets.  You will fill in the gaps in Exercise 1.

A change for the better?

In the world of business, change is inevitable.  Nobody would seriously argue with that, especially at a time when IT developments are sweeping through all areas of work and changing how things are done and who does them.  But when change does come, not everybody agrees on what it means.  How you view change depends on [1] in the organisation, and managers and employees usually have very different perspectives.

If you’re [2], your focus is on results, and you’ll see the change as the best way to realise them.  They are more aware of the business’ overall goals, the financial state of the company and its position with regard to competitors and market share.

When [3] consider introducing change, they ask questions such as, ‘How quickly can it be implemented?’, ‘How will it benefit the company?’, ‘What investment is required?’, ‘How cost effective is the change?’ and ‘How will it affect our customers?’  Since they are usually the advocates of change, managers tend to be more enthusiastic about it.

If you’re [4], however, your focus is more on the immediate task of getting the job done.  They seldom have time to consider how their work fits into the overall scheme of things; they don’t share the broader perspective of the company directors.  Because they are often skilled and experienced in their work, or because they are placed on the frontline dealing with customers on a daily basis, they look at change from a personal perspective.

The questions [5] ask are, ‘How will this effect the quality of my work?’, ‘How much time will it take for me to adapt?’, ‘What’s wrong with the way we’ve always done things?’ and, ultimately, ‘What’s in it for me?’  Since employees are the ones who have to put the change into action, they are usually less enthusiastic about it.

With such different [6] about change within the organisation, it’s not surprising that innovation often fails.  Planned changes need to be carefully thought out and managed.  If not, morale will suffer as people feel that they are being forced to change against their will.   There will surely be resistance, and some highly valued members of staff may even decide it’s time to leave. 

All of this can eventually have a negative effect on productivity and efficiency.  Management will have to admit defeat and drop the change, or risk losing [7] to the competition…and then another great idea bites the dust.

Task 1

Comprehension:  select the most appropriate words for the gaps in the text.

Exercise

Task 2

Look at some useful words connected with business and change management.   Match each word with the correct definition.

Exercise

Task 3

Detailed comprehension:  complete the sentences so that they agree with the views in the article.

Exercise

Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

Hello, Team!
I think you've mixed something up with the tasks.
In the prepation task I have to fill in the gaps. But how can I fill in the gaps without reading the text?
Moreover, there is an instruction before the text, where is written, that we have to fill in the Exercise 1.

Hi Yshc,

Yes, you're absolutely right. I'll correct that shortly. Sorry for the confusion and thanks for taking the time to point this out to us!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

If you’re [2], your focus is on results, and you’ll see the change as the best way to realise them. They are more aware of the business’ overall goals, the financial state of the company and its position with regard to competitors and market share.
What does " They" word in this paragraph refer to? Thank you very much.

Hell Vinh Nguyen,

'They' here refers to 'managers'. The answer to question 2 is 'manager' and this sentence describes managers in general, using the plural for general reference. You could replace 'They' with 'Managers' or with 'These'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Yes, I understand. Because "Manager" is singular but "They" is plural, it makes me confusing. Thank you for your help!

Hello British Council,
Hello Kirk,
In task 2, between funding and investment, l could not able to match the correct answer. I thought the money provided for a project is the money for investment in project. Money to help a business to succeed is a sort of funding to help succeed.
Could you able to help me too in that case?
Thanks,
Pearl

Hello Pearl,

Have you looked up 'funding' and 'investment' in the dictionary? 'funding' is more general and 'investment' suggests that one expects to profit, i.e. to make more money due to the investment. Projects often get 'funding' or at least try to.

That seems to me to be roughly what the exercise indicates, but if it's still not clear to you, please let me know.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Learn English team,
Are you sure that the sentence "All of this can eventually have a negative affect... "is correct?
I may be wrong - and in this case please let me know -, but "affect" is a verb; when it is noun it has another meaning.
Isn't is "effect" rather - or: "impact"?
Thank you
Best regards,
Kati

Hello lantoska,

Thank you very much for spotting this and pointing it out for us! We check our texts carefully before we publish them but some mistakes inevitably slip though and it is very helpful to have eagle-eyed users who can spot them for us.

 

Thanks again and best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

in this line: "The questions [5] ask are, ‘How will this effect the quality of my work?’," why the verb effect is used instead of affect?

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