Managing Organizational Change RESIT Assignment
QUESTION: Critically evaluate the implementation of a specific case of organizational change. Building on this, reflect on what you can personally learn from this case analysis about organizational change and suggest how you might benefit from these insights in the future
In not only business but also different aspects of lives, change is an indispensable part. According to Ramosaj et al (2014), customers demand and the external market has always been changing, and if a particular business enterprise cannot adjust with the market, it will face a huge challenge in maintaining its operation (Mosadeghrad and Ansarian, 2014).
In fact, the world has witnessed a number of cases in which large companies have failed and gone bankrupt because they did not change their operation to satisfy new demands of customers.
For instance, according to Abdou and Hussein (2020), Nokia is the most striking example of a large multi-enterprises, which failed due to lack of change and innovation. To be more specific, Nokia’s leaders put a number of trust in the brand reputation for selling mobile phones, and they believed there would not be any brand that could overcome Nokia at this time whether they should innovate Nokia’s products or not.
As a consequence, when technology gradually developed, the Nokia brand collapsed because it could not catch up with smartphones such as Iphone or Samsung later on.
The case of Nokia is also in line with the research of Venus et al (2019) in which the authors supposed that businesses must change their strategy, vision and products constantly over the time, otherwise they will fail when competing in the industry.
In 2019, during my internship period, I had a chance to work in Base company, which specialising in offering technological solutions and managing methods for different types of businesses in Viet Nam. The business organization is located in district 3, Ho Chi minh city and it is still expanding its presence to different locations throughout the country.
The company was established in 2016 and has achieved a number of positive outcomes since then (Base.vn, 2020), and I do believe that this triumph process may come from, for the most part, the successful change of Base. To be more specific, in the beginning of operation, Base only offered business solutions based on some traditional approaches.
However, after three years, realizing the potential of technological development, the company has added technological features to the company’s products, which has been the smartest move of the company’s leaders ever.
Fortunately, I was the one, who has witnessed all of these changing process, and I do believe that the company’s managers have applied Lewin’s three stages of change (1949) to drive the success for the changing process of the company, and this progress will be discussed and outlined in the next part of the paper.
II. MAIN BODY
1. THE CONCEPT OF LEWIN’S THREE PHASES OF CHANGE
In the model of Lewin, the author proposed that a particular process of change will occur through three steps, and they are unfreezing, changing and refreezing. To be more specific, in the first stage of the model, the firm is encouraged to form a perception of change, in other words, the company must create a feeling for employees, staff, stakeholders and shareholders that change is likely to be essential and important in the stage.
In the second phase of the Lewin model, the change process will happen and progress, the various approaches must be used to unsure the flow of change in this stage. Finally, Lewin (1949) believed that when the changing process has been done, it must be framed into the culture of the company, otherwise the involved people are likely to revert to previous behaviour, which is also the refreezing phase of Lewin model.
Based on the research of Hussain et al (2018), the model of Lewin is quite ubiquitous around the globe, and thanks to this model, a number of business organizations have successfully changed their operation and become successful in the market, Netflix is considered as the most dominant instance of a well-known company using the model of Lewin (1949) for changing (Kobiruzzaman, 2021).
2. THE CONTEXT OF CHANGE
When being established in 2016, Base only focused on offering enterprise solutions in which these methods will help companies manage and control different business aspects such as finance, data, information, etc more effectively. However, the solution of Base, at that time, only developed in traditional and old-fashioned methods, which was not totally appreciated and effective.
Realizing this problem, the CEO of the company, who is Hung Pham, believed technology would be the optimal solution for upgrading products of the company, and therefore, he started to change the internal operation of the company in order to innovate Base’s product at that time.
The process of change has witnessed a number of difficulty and obstacles, however, being an experienced and skillful leader, Hung has driven the change successfully, and this process will be meticulously illustrated below.
3. THE CHANGING PROCESS OF BASE
According to Lewin (1949), the business organization should form the perception or awareness about the necessity of change into the company. People, who are involved in the firm including shareholders, stakeholders and workers must be all perceived towards the change.
Based on the research of Schulz-Knappe et al (2019), right communication must be selected and delivered smartly in order to eliminate all of the negative problems including threats, resistance to change, and unexpected problems that may arise during the process.
Therefore, the CEO of the company has used SWOT analysis to illustrate the strength as well as the opportunity that the firm can get after the changing process when applying technology into a company’s products. Gurel (2017) supposed that the SWOT analysis is considered to be effective to analyse different aspects of a particular strategy or a situation for the company, and this analysis of Base’s CEO will be outlined as the following table.
In this stage, change is supposed to occur and the process must be ensured to develop gradually (Lewin, 1949). According to Rudnev (2020), changing stages will put a number of strain on the company and involve people such as misunderstanding of general strategy, lack of motivation, team conflicts and so on. Therefore, to respond to these issues, the company must have suitable strategy, and the CEO of Base has adapted some well-known knowledge to deal with these hardships.
According to Kiitam et al (2016), conflict is strongly related to the change process, which means that the possibility of team conflicts is strongly high when companies start to change their operations. It was also the case at Base at that time, since many of my colleagues started to disagree or resist with the general strategy about change of the company.
Luo and Lu (2020) supposed that team conflict can be also the main reason for deteriorating the outcome of a firm’s internal change process, if the company does not have any timely intervention. Therefore, understanding the problems, the CEO of Base decided to solve the problems. At the beginning, he analyzed the situation first in which he believed the type of conflict that Base was facing was organizational conflict, which is quite popular when working in a team.
Omisore and Abiodan (2014) defined organizational conflict is the disagreement related to vision and mindset amongst workers, groups or even companies. After understanding the problem, he proposed two solutions for the urgent issue at that time. Firstly, he assumed team conflict can be solved, or at least mitigated, if workers are led by appropriate leadership style, and he believed transformation leaders would be suitable to his companies.
According to Korejan and Shahbazi (2018), transformation leaders are those generating their own great experience or knowledge to motivate others for increasing productivity and performance. Hence, Base’s CEO assigned some managers, whose styles are transformational, to manage some teams, which had higher possibility of occurring conflict.
Secondly, based on the research of Tsai and Chi (2015), creating win-win deals is taken into account as the optimal approach for reducing the level of conflict in a team. Therefore, Base’s top managers also had some meetings with the workers to discuss the benefits that the company would offer after the changing process. And by doing these activities, the company was able to solve all of the unexpected conflicts at that time, thereby increasing the progress of change again.
In terms of the misunderstanding of general strategy, or the lack of cohesion in the learning process, the CEO of Base has applied the Kolb learning cycle to concrete the learning process about change for its staff. Wang and Sun (2012) also supposed that the process of change of a particular company will be effective when people are educated and learnt in an efficient way.
To explain clearly, the framework of Kolb totally has four steps which are experience, reflecting, thinking and action, and involved people were asked to apply this cycle weekly to understand the strengths as well as weaknesses of themselves during the change process. From this point, staff of Base were able to develop themselves everyday, which is the prerequisite for the successful change process later on.
When it comes to lack of motivation, the company used Maslow hierarchy of needs (1954) to raise the encouragement of each staff working in the firm at that time. Based on the research of Shahrawat (2017), the theory of Maslow is extremely effective in motivating and increasing productivity of workers, and this framework has been employed by many large enterprises around the globe. To be more specific, the hierarchy totally has four needs in which these needs must be satisfied before employees reach their own self-actualization.
This also means that employees will be able to maximize their performance when their needs are fulfilled (Bridgman et al, 2017). From this point, the CEO of Base spent a huge amount of money to invest in his human resource and satisfied the requirements or needs of his employees as much as possible. For instance, the company started to supply foods and beverages in the morning and at lunch to fulfill the needs of psychology.
After that, health or different insurances were supplied to accomplish the needs of safety. Regarding love and belonging needs, the CEO proactively created a friendly working environment in which Base’s staff would have a chance to join intimate meetings or parties at the end of every month to concret the relationship between each other.
Finally, every contribution of staff will be highly appreciated and awarded to fulfill the need of esteem. And when these needs were satisfied, staff of Base were strongly motivated once again, and their performance started to increase, which shortened the time of changing process.
When all of the problems were solved and strategies were implemented at that time, Base has successfully transformed the company operation and products with technology as a core. According to Torlak (2016), after the changing process, setting the change into company culture is strongly important to reinforce positive behaviour of staff, which is also the refreezing stage of Lewin framework.
Refreezing stage is indispensable in the changing process, but it has to have some suitable strategy to put the change into the company’s culture or norms (James and Frank, 2015). And based on the research of Milikic (2017), there are two approaches that can be used to sustain the change in the company, and they are creating rewards systems and reinforcing leadership styles.
And with the well-experienced leader as Hung Pham, he also applied these techniques to drive success for the refreezing stage. To be more specific, in terms of leadership, the company started to recruit experienced managers or leaders, who have big five traits including openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Novikova (2013) supposed leaders have these traits are likely to generate more performance and productivity for teamwork or even a company as a whole.
And when it comes to the reward system, the CEO of the company has set the rewards every month in order to motivate functional conflict within the company. According to Khushk (2020), functional conflict is a positive conflict which encourages healthy competition amongst others, thereby increasing better outcomes for the company.
Hence, this activity of Base’ s Ceo not only motivates the behaviour of staff but also increases the productivity of the whole organization. And after several years, the change has been set into the culture and norm of the company, which indicates the fact that the company has finally changed successfully after a tough time.
4. LESSON LEARNT FROM THE CASE AND INDICATION FOR FUTURE CAREER
Being engaged in the company during the change process, I have learned a number of valuable experiences and knowledge, which will greatly benefit my future career.
A.THE IMPORTANCE OF LEADERSHIP ON CHANGE PROCESS
In fact, under no circumstance should people underestimate the role of leadership on the process of change of a particular company. Domfeh et al (2016) emphasized that leaders are strongly important to the behaviour as well as the performance of each person working in the company.
This is because there will be a number of expected problems that may occur, and these issues can be solve effectively if each team is managed by a well-experienced and suitable leader. More than this, I also know there are various types of leadership in business, and in order to figure out whether a particular team fits with which type of leadership, it is essential to research and identify the working style of this team.
This is also in line with the idea of Tewari et al (2019) in which the author supposed that suitable leadership must fit with the working style of the group. And the level of success of a company’s change will be increased if each firm’s team is well-managed by appropriate managers or leaders.
From this point, it is also important to me to equip myself with some specific skills for leaders. For example, I should learn how to equip myself with the big five traits of leadership in order to drive my team to become more productive and effective if I have a chance to be a manager in the future.
B.THE IMPORTANCE OF MOTIVATION ON CHANGE
As mentioned in the case study, it is clear that the successful change of Base may come from the choosing of suitable channels to motivate employees within the company. Morgan and Zeffane (2003) believed that employees tend to be discouraged through time, especially when the time of change is considerably long. Hence, without any strategy of motivation, the progress of the company will gradually decrease taking a heavy toll on the change process of the firm.
Therefore, I have learnt that Maslow hierarchy of needs can be a useful theory to motivate workers or staff when applying. More than this, by learning some valuable subjects such as principle of management, organizational behavior, I also know other frameworks that can apply for encouraging working behavior of the company such as Mcclelland’s need, Argyris theory and so on. After graduating, I have an intention to study deeper for a short course about employee’s motivation or emotion in order to understand more about people’ needs and feelings as well as know how to respond with their behavior.
C.THE IMPORTANCE OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE OR HUMAN SKILL ON CHANGE
One important aspect of the success of Base’s change process is the ability of understanding people’ emotion, in other words, the human skill of Base’s managers. Based on the research of Webb (2011), emotional intelligence is becoming important in all fields of business nowadays, and Ugoani (2017) also supposed that the mentioned skill is also necessary in changing processes. Hence, I will constantly improve my emotional and human skills gradually for becoming effective in my future workplace, especially when change happens.
Thanks to my time working at Base, I have equipped myself with a great amount of knowledge and important experience about the change process as well as some essential solutions when unexpected situations arise. More than this, I have also acknowledged that change is seemingly indispensable in any type of business nowadays, and without innovation or change, a particular company will be surely left behind in the industry.
Additionally, by studying managing organizational change at Top Up year at International University, I have also learnt numerous theoretical frameworks and valuable knowledge about not only business administration but also how to prepare when change is likely to occur in life and in work. In the future, if I am faced with any situation related to a changing process, these knowledge and experience will surely help me gain better outcomes.
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