Business — Banking — Management — Marketing & Sales

Banks and their human resources: an analysis of the present situation in the c.i.s. banks, concerning people

Category: Bank Management

A model for the understanding of reactions to change

Let us start by some universal observations, showing, first, a conceptual frame that is currently used in western enterprises to deal with the difficulties of change.

Then we shall present our perception of the characteristics of the C.I.S. banks that can facilitate or hinder the needed changes.

Quick and sudden breaks run into the nature of civilisations which, being built on continuity of values and tradition (concerning education, authority, family, social life, etc.), are usually conservative. Thus, major changes are always difficult to endure and require personalities that will remain positive in front of the frustration that result unavoidably of changes («to change is to give up»).

General models can help understanding in advance what could be the main difficulties to overcome.

For instance, at an individual level, three « spontaneous » behaviours can be found when looking at the way people react to something (in this case a change) that is disturbing what they are used to do (and which is, therefore, percieved by them as an agression):


Many other reactions can be observed. But these are the most often found. They are not very positive. The question is how to develop more constructive approaches.

Other models describe what is happening when one faces a need to change. Reactions often follow the same spontaneous process:

Kubler-Ross’ model: Our own experience:
— Refuse — Irritation and opposition (blaming)
— Criticize the others — Rebellion and conflict
— Self-depreciation — Depression and attempt of running away
— Impossibility of doing anything — Try to argument and limitate the change
— Acceptance — Resignation
— Implementation of the transition — Agreement and integration

These two descriptions are very much alike. They can be used to illustrate the changes processes and their difficulties.

They could also help identifying how to accelerate the change processes

We can say, thus, that two main factors are to be taken into consideration:

— the characteristics of the people involved in the changes,

— their culture, as influenced by the society in which they have been raised and the organisation in which they work.

So, let us try now to identify how the characteristics of individuals and of organisations make change easy or difficult.

We will then describe how these characteristics apply to C.I.S. banks:

the behaviours that can be expected from their staff, when facing changes,

the behaviour of the managers which, in turn, will influence the behaviours of the staff,

the way the staff is treated, due to the Human Resources Management that is in use.

Individual characteristics of Human Resources that facitate or limit the ability to change easily:

Favorable aspects: Hindrances:
explicit and precise definition and good understanding of what is expected, disturbances of previous strong involvements

(conservative attachments)

optimism and personal ambition for progress and success sustained by perseverance (sustain effort) low tolerance for ambiguity
previous experiences of change (staff is used to adapt to frequent modifications) intertia of the previous habits and routines: do inherited stereotypes of thinking prevail?
easy contacts with others and cooperation in team works misunderstanding of the (hidden) purposes and usefulness of the challenges (or scepticism)
consciousness of the necessity to change lack of perception or the personal interest to change (compared to the required efforts),
curiosity and open-minded spirit fear of dangers: what could happen (uncertainty), loosing something* (even relationship with friends) or not being able to overcome the anticipated difficulties, etc.
high level of aptitudes for listening, studying complex situations, imagination, autonomy, etc. insufficient skills (knowledge’s, experiences or aptitudes) of the staff,
wide culture and diversity of competencies affective or emotional difficulties to deal with ambiguous or contradictory contexts (stress)
past achievements having induced a dynamic of success (self-esteem) and internal security diversified experiences

* increase of work load, changing working time to hours that are not so easy for one’s private life, loosing part of one’s salary or some employment security, etc.

Any individual that has characteristics registered in the left column and who does not correspond with the criteria listed in the right column has chances to be able to support changes successfully. And the opposite is usually true also.

Characteristics of cultures and organisations that facilitate or obstruct changes:

Positive Negative
General agrement on explicitly defined overall common objectives, priorities and values Low interest for prevision and prospective (changes are usually perceived as simple events or followed by status quo restoration)
Demanding and ambitious challenges Strategy focused on following the innovators to limitate the risks
Clear diffrenciation betwen top management’s strategic orientations and actual freedom of operational choices at the middle management level (who has actually a large freedom of initiative) Common will to protect the image of past successes and the acquired positions and importance devoted to the respect of customs
Openness to outside changes (and communications from elsewhere) Strict limitation of the available means
Easy contacts (even between different levels of the hierarchy) and circulation of informations in all directions Centralised structure with strictly separated functions
Freedom of expression Detailed and rigid rules and formalised procedures
Acceptance of contradictory opinions or, even, of conflicts before decisions are definitely taken Organisation that never changes
High value of assertiveness Hierarchical structure and autocratic relationship
that encourages mobility and give rapid recognition to those (including young people) who bring ideas and results Authoritative management who thinks that issuing directives is sufficient for successful implementation
Favorable attitudes concerning training Decisions made after cautious hesitations (neither easy acceptance of pilot tests, nor right to make any error)
Periodic feed-back to everybody upon what he or she has achieved Huge dificulties to come back and reconsider previous choices
Acceptance of non conformist behaviours Detailed controls of nearly everything done


Look at the major characteristics of your organisation (or your project’s conditions) and give one point to each of the cases of this board where is written a sentence with which you would globally agree. Then summarize the total of your answers per column. You should then have a clear picture of what facilitates and what could slow down the changes in such a context. You will just have to complete this in trying to identify solutions to the main negative factors that you will have identified along this project.

Let us, now, try to imagine how things are presently going on in the C.I.S. banks and how it could influence or make difficuult the implementation of the required changes.

We would like, now, to describe the perception that western consultants often have of the C.I.S. banks’ present situation, their abilities and weaknesses that will oppose to the necessary changes or make them easier. This should be considered as, somehow, a suggested synthetic description of the characteristics of C.I.S. banks’ staff, to show their limits and dangers in dealing with changes.

We shall analyse these in the three parts concerning the characteristics of people, of managers and of Human Resources Management.

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