Strategic Change Management Essay
Unit Title: Managing Change in Organisations
Change management can be defined as "the process of continually renewing an organization's direction, structure and capabilities to serve the ever changing needs of external and internal customers" (Moran and Brighton, 2001). Similarly, Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with change, both from the perspective of an organization and on the individual level. Furthermore, it has at least three different aspects: adapting to change, controlling change, and effecting change.
Change is inevitable; the only thing that remains constant in today's fast changing world is change itself. Modern business world is open, competition level is of cut-throat and technological along with environmental development is beyond prediction. These all leads to the changes so undoubtedly change management need to be well considered by any organisation to be marked as the successful one.
The organisation I have chosen to study for the purpose of this assignment is Marks and Spencer (M&S), one of the most iconic and widely recognized British chain stores in the UK with over 600 shops located throughout the country and 240 worldwide including over 219 franchise businesses, operating in 34 countries with over 75000 employees. Its business includes food groceries, clothing retail and home products.
In this assignment I would explore the background to change affecting my organisation M&S, develop systems for understanding and involving others in the process of change and plan to implement models for ensuring ongoing change in M&S.
1.0 Background to change in Marks and Spencer
1.1 Background to change that exists in today's economy
There could be so many factors that initiate change in the organisation like M&S. These are the catalyst issues that have made the organisation consider the need for change. This could be internal or external or both. Here are some factors listed below:
Some Internal driving Factors
Human Resource: It is the most powerful weapon for any organisation to get success but still they are not constant and keep changing, this leads the change in the organisation. In M&S, there are few cases where it has to make some structural changes due to the some executive label labour turnover.
Corporate strategy: This is also could be termed as managerial decision factor for change. Even in M&S, some big changes have taken place due to the some new or reviewed strategies passed by the executive board.
Cultural Factor: Sometimes the organisation realises there is a shift or evolution in values and business culture. M&S followed this change into some branches at the country other than Western Europe.
Labour Union: Sometimes the labour union makes demand to the management in favour of the employees and management has to compromise with the employees and this leads to some changes. M&S has also made some few minor changes in its history when demanded to make employees more motivated and loyal.
Some External driving factors
Technological Development: When a company realises its operations are inadequate in relation to the current technological environment, the changes takes place. It is for all organisations today and M&S is not the exceptional case here.
Regulatory constraints: All organisations work in certain country or part or country where it will follow the legislations adapted by the authorized regulatory body there. Like others, M&S also follows the legislations accordingly to the country where it operates.
Globalization: It may be one of the strongest forces of change. Today's organisations are wide open and since globalization is gearing up the changes through out the world M&S also has gone into so many changes in order to survive in this tough competitive business world.
Political climate: Sometimes organisations have to accept changes accordingly to how political movement has developed in that place where it has to operate. M&S has done some structural changes in some eastern European countries few years before due to this reason.
1.2 Strengths and weaknesses of Bureaucratic organisations
Bureau is French word for desk, or by extension an office that means bureaucracy represents a rule through the desk or office. German political economist and scientist, Max Weber (1864-1920) believes bureaucracy is the division of labour applied to administration. Bureaucratic organisation normally adopts a tall structure and possesses a certain degree of standardization. They are better suited for more complex or larger scale organizations. There are clearly defined hierarchies. Almost all government organisations are bureaucratic in nature.There is no organisation in the world which has no sign or presence of bureaucracy at all. At least some functional unit or some division follows bureaucracy within the so called organic organisations. Though M&S is a private organisation, it has followed bureaucracy in many functional units. M&S has followed bureaucracy due to its strength that comes with it but there are some weaknesses also stuck together with it. Some of these strength and weaknesses are mentioned below.
Accountability: This is one of the most powerful strength of bureaucratic organisations. Most of the government control organisations are bureaucratic because they have to be accountable. There are very well defined rights and responsibilities in M&S.
Effective control: Since there are well defined hierarchy and processes to follow also were well defined, effective control mechanism can be found in M&S and it is the sign of bureaucratic organisation and also a powerful feature.
Discipline: Discipline is more evident in bureaucratic organisation in comparison to the organic organisations and since discipline is key factor to success, M&S always try to follow it in its operation.
Less confusion: There is well defined hierarchy in the bureaucratic organisations so that any process, crucial decision making processes follows the predetermined path and no confusion will be there. M&S also follows the well defined hierarchy.
Work delay: Due to the hard rules and regulations, any process will follow the predetermined path and fulfil all formalities. This leads to the delay of work in Marks and Spencer.
Resistance towards change: These organisations are normally reluctant towards the change due to its tall and well defined structure and huge rules and regulations. Changes are taking place fast but these organisations will take long step to make any decision towards change and as a result they always remain behind. There are some few occasions where management took a bit long time to make decision in M&S about new trend and lost competitive advantages.
Monotonous work routines: Since boundaries are so well defined in these organisations, employees will not go beyond defined authority keeping them away from new things to learn and do. It makes them monotonous and unproductive.
Unsuitable for complex organisation: Today's organisations are highly complex and diversified, so the bureaucratic structure looks to be to general and inefficient to tackle the modern problems which needs quick response and reactions as well. There are so many business units in M&S which are very complex in design and bureaucracy does not fit there.
1.3 Alternative forms of organisational development
Modern organizations operate in a rapidly changing environment. Consequently, one of the most important assets for an organization to live and get sustainable competitive advantage is the ability to manage the change accordingly. Organizational development is defined as "a system-wide application of behavioural science knowledge to the planned development and reinforcement of organizational strategies, structures, and processes for improving an organization's effectiveness." (Cummings and Worley, 1997)
As in case of M&S, it has also found adapted few forms of organisational development as follows:
Learning Organisation: It is an Organisation where people at all levels, individuals and collectively, are continually increasing their capacity to produce results they really care about. Systems thinking, personnel mastery, mental models, shared vision and team learning is some key disciplines of learning organisation. M&S has followed this approach thoroughly; it always welcomes learning at any stage and any level.
Total Quality Management (TQM): TQM is a people-dependent process as it to be most beneficial, people in the organization need to work together. TQM is a set of management practices throughout the organization, geared to ensure the organization consistently meets or exceeds customer requirements. TQM places strong focus on process measurement and controls as means of continuous improvement. M&S believes in team work, it always emphasizes for new innovation, quality control and upgrade.
Kaizen: It is a Japanese word and it simply means "improvement". The strategy of Kaizen calls for never-ending efforts for improvement involving everyone in the organization - managers and workers alike.It does care small improvements as it believes in the fact that small improvements leads to the major changes. M&S strongly believes in Kaizen concept so that it has established so many feedback mechanisms just to get valuable feedbacks from its customers and M&S applies those suggestions for better performance and this process never ends in M&S.
Six Sigma: Six Sigma at many organizations simply means a measure of quality that strives for near perfection. It is a disciplined and data-driven approach originally developed by Motorola, USA in 1981. Six Sigma is a business management strategy for eliminating defects (driving towards six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit) in any process -- from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service. M&S implies measurement-based strategy that focuses on process improvement and variation reduction through the application of Six Sigma improvement projects. Many believe that Six Sigma is the best method found yet for quality control and enhancement.
Business Process Re-engineering (BPR): Business Process Reengineering is a discipline in which extensive research has been done and numerous methodologies churned out. It is an approach aiming at improvements by means of elevating efficiency and effectiveness of the business process that exist within and across organizations. The key to BPR is for organizations to look at their business processes from a "clean slate" perspective and determine how they can best construct these processes to improve how they conduct business. M&S applies it specially in designing function.
2.0 System development for understanding and involving others in the process of change
2.1 Systems development to involve appropriate stakeholders in the introduction of change in M&S
System is an integration of different parts or elements to function combine to get an outcome. It has a definite boundary. The chain of input, process and output takes place in the system. It may contain many sub-systems.
Stakeholders can be a person, group, organization or system that either are interested in or affected by organizations action. Key stakeholders in a M&S includes management board, creditors, customers, employees, government (and its agencies), owners (shareholders), suppliers, unions, and the community from which M&S draws its resources. Though all are not included in this assignment as the change that I have chosen does not include all of them.
The change I took in M&S is the change in design or layout in its different stores. M&S management decided to go after customer complain or feedback about its poor display showroom to improve good impacts at its customers or visitors. The new design makes its stores brighter and gives latest look. The stakeholders involved in the change are employee, customers and shareholders.
Following are the systems I will develop to involve them to the change:
Meeting: The various meetings will be called to inform the employees about the change in its design and its potential affect. Meetings are taken place in different branches of M&S and for the manager level employees, it will be discussed in central office to develop some strategies on redesigning to enhance its performance.
Notice board: Notice will be put in the notice board of different branches of M&S to give information about the ongoing changes of redesigning. This idea will be helpful as all of the shop or outlets do not need the change of redesigning. The employees from such shop may send potential customers towards nearby shop where such changes have been made to make good impact.
Post or email: Letters will be poster and email will be sent to the shareholders (owners) of the company mentioning the need of change, its expenses and projected business enhancement due to this change. Letters will be sent to those shareholders who have more shares in M&S or who is in distinct position of the company or had been to such post at the past time. The shareholders union will be also notified by posting letter and email as well.
Advertisement: Bill boards are made, cover pages will be developed for popular magazines and daily newspaper showing the nice pictures of the new design of M&S to let its customers know about the recent changes and to attract them to visit the stores. Some electronic advertisements also will be done to boost up its aim of redesigning.
2.2 Evaluation of the systems
In previous section, I have mention about the development of some systems to involve the appropriate stakeholders to the change I mentioned, these systems have merits and demerits as any other systems do have. My intention will be to utilise its merits at the highest possible level and to try to reduce its demerits while utilizing the mentioned change in M&S. I will describe these attributes one by one below.
* It is simple to execute for all level of employee about on going outlet change
* It is also authentic and lawful. Records are kept in the minutes and all meeting attendees sign in the minute so this can be produced as the evidence at the time and place of need. It really works in the organisation like Marks and Spencer as in case of accidental claim from any of its employee at any regard due to the change occurred
* It is a cheap mean of advertisement for this design change
Some may be not interested and sounds bore for the lower level employees when M&S noticed about on going design restructuring
It may not cover all employees, in the case of M&S where there are too many employees, at once and also either it cannot be executed in office hour or will hamper the business if executed in office time
ii) Notice board
It may be the simplest media of information to notify staffs about the showroom design change being initiated by M&S
No cost to M&S for this advertisement system
It can be done anytime, regardless of time and condition and useful for the busy scheduled organisation like Marks & Spencer
All target groups may not be aware due to its silence nature
Employees, normally middle to lower level employee may ignore it. There are always some notices hanged in the notice board of M&S so they may ignore it unknowingly too
iii) Post or email
It is easy and fast system of information for shareholders of M&S about the design change in its showroom
It is one of the most used and convenient modern system for information relaying
No one can be fully assured that the targeted person has got the email due to different computer software systems
Posted letter may be lost or may reach so late to the destination due to various regions though only little chances are there
Many believes this is the most used and most effective approach of information in this modern fast changing and competitive market
It can target huge mass. Electronic advertisement can cover whole planet at once so it is one of the best media for the organisations like Marks and Spencer to announce its innovative new store look
It is so quick, easy and quality source for relaying information
It is so expensive system; lot of money is needed to advertise electronically and to advertise at famous newspapers
It is not affordable for all organisations, though Marks and Spencer can afford it but it has to manage its fund responsibly for advertisement
3.0 Implementation of models for ongoing change
3.1 Development and adaptation of models for change in M&S
In terms of the described change, I am going to mention two best suited models to Marks and Spencer. These models are Learning Organisations and Kaizen which also have partially described above.
The Learning Organization aims to bring new ideas, debate issues and introduce innovative methods. Many organizations have recognized the commercial significance of learning organization.
"The essence of organisational learning is the organization's ability to use the amazing mental capacity of all its members to create the kind of processes that will improve its own" (Nancy Dixon, 1994)
In the last few years, Marks and Spencer have experienced a succession of changes in management and corporate structure following a massive decline in sales which started in late 1990's before when it used to be unchallenged but now organisations like Asda and Next ( in Clothing) and Tesco (in Foods) has hammered it's leading position hugely. With more than 11 million shoppers a week and about 75000 employees, had no chance to do anything but adopt organisational learning.
The company has changed their marketing mix, dropped and added products, service and customers, downsized and made large numbers of employees redundant and yet they have not found themselves at the point they used to be before, the undisputed king on its business at high street market. One of main reason found out to be poor display structure at its showroom, it needs change. These all shows the need of a scientific based strategy for change management and hence for Marks and Spencer to undertake successful change, facilitation is required to transform the company into a learning organisation, making use of knowledge creation and management.
The word "Kaizen" represents a popular Japanese concept of "continuous improvement" with the main underline philosophy of "Ask not what the organisation can do for you but what you can do for the organisation". A Kaizen group of 10 people or so is formed and they meet frequently within the office hour, consider even the simplest possible improvement, conclusion is directly tabulated to the upper management themselves. This helps management to improve the quality and at the other hand employees feel true involvement which is the basic motivation factor that kaizen believes upon rather than money, machine and methods.
Moreover, Kaizen always emphasizes upon higher level needs of employee like recognition, involvement and self-actualization but management should be very aware of successful implementation of kaizen and healthy work culture. Employees feel more open work culture and upward communication is also encouraged in kaizen, employees are encouraged to look at Kaizens where investments are low or negligible. Kaizen tries to eliminate the root of problem not only the symptoms. Toyota is a hard follower of Kaizen system, it would not be exaggeration if said most of the Japanese companies have been benefited with this system. Upward communication in Marks and Spencer has not been so much developed and they have to think also about little mistakes to improve their quality like mentioned change of design. Hence Kaizen will certainly help M&S on changing in design look along with business improvement yielding the sustainable competitive advantage.
3.2 Implementation of models and outcomes
Though there are so many implementation models developed by the researchers like Kurt Lewin's 3 step model, action research model, Kotter's eight step model, Luecke's seven steps model etc. I will use the first one in M&S for the change management. German-American psychologist Kurt Zadek Lewin proposed a three step theory of unfreeze, change and refreeze.
This is the key step and perhaps the most important step. Unless one will not be ready to change or feel the necessity of change in look of showroom, change process will not be successful; people need to understand how the change in design will benefit them. Organisation needs to challenge existing beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviours and make everyone ready to accept the change. Using learning organisation or kaizen model, M&S easily can get information about its current unsatisfactory status linked with display weankness and its affect on sinking sales volume. Once organisation realises its uncomforted zone then it will be ready to move toward comfort or satisfactory zone.
People then start to do things in the new proposed way to move from uncertain to certainty or satisfactory zone. Change does not take place overnight, it takes time and called transition period. Time and communication are two vital things for successful change, organization should keep belief in itself and should keep people believed through the transition period. Learning, gathering information, group discussion, creating kaizen, making quality circles and implementing innovative ways for make best possible look at its outlet to attract high street customers and others to M&S.
The outward sign of the refreeze is stable organisation, appreciated new look rising brand loyalty, gearing up business indexes and so on. Now M&S will be ready to refreeze. At this point, organisation and employee feel comfortable and confident with new setup. Though change is on going process, employee should not let face another change immediately. Success of the change should be celebrated and M&S should thank everyone involved for their efforts in transition period and helps them believe that future change will be successful.
There are so many outcomes M&S will find after successful implementation of stated change management. First of all it will let M&S a chance to apply the highly appreciated and scientific theory of change management. Moreover, there will be developed a sound culture of practicing these innovative ideas at the future.
In addition, some outcomes are listed below:
- New, shiny and comfortable work environment for employee
- Well, attractive place to visit for customers and potential visitors
- Increase sales probability and profit maximization
- Increased employee loyalty due to their involvement in the process of change
- High involvement, high self-actualisation means high motivation and high productivity for organisation and employee themselves too
- Increasing brand image or a successful organisation
- Happy and satisfy stakeholders etc.
In this assignment, I have mentioned about the change management and necessity of its understanding and successful implementation. I have also touched the topic on bureaucracy along with the alternative forms of organisational development. I have found out one appropriate change in M&S for its betterment and suggested some models to entail along with the implementation model of very famous Kurt Lewin's 3 step model. M&S is struggling today and its aim is to re-capture its posture in the high street market. Hopefully this little work will be somehow helpful for anyone interested in this subject.
Cummings T. G. and Worley C. G. (1997). "Organization Development and Change", Sixth Edition, South-Western Publishing
Dixon, Nancy M.(1999). "The Organisational Learning Cycle - How we can learn collectively", 2nd Edition, Gower House, Hampshire
Moran and Brighton (2001). Class notes by Mr. Ali Tariq
Sharma R. R. (1997). "Change management- Concepts and applications", Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Liminted, New Delhi
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