A change is aimed at improving an organization by making small alterations to the organizational structure, job roles or the systems within the organization. It is a result of either opportunities or problems that a company or organization may be going through. Changes are often complex in nature. Therefore they call for proper management if successful change process is to be achieved. Various models have been developed to guide towards planning for change, implementing change and sustaining it.
The organizational life cycle model acknowledges that a company is in the process of growth and that it shifts to different stages during which the company requires alterations in various areas in order to accommodate each growth stage. The growth stages that this model acknowledges include start-up, growth, maturity stage and subsequent decline and revival which are dependent on the nature of the organization (Eisenbach et al, 2009). In each growth stage, different opportunities as well as threats are experienced. With time, both the management processes as well as the structure of the organization require changes in order to conform to each growth phase. The manufacturing company in this scenario is in transition phase and hence undergoing the different growth phases. The top-down management approach which was efficient at the start-up phase is no longer effective within the growth phase which has seen increment in the number of workers as well as the sales. At the start-up phase, the organizational structure is often simple and usually according to the organizational life cycle model, authority is best when it’s from the top of hierarchy (Tsang, 2007). At the growth phase, as in the case of this manufacturing company, the management process calls for a different approach. The growth is efficient when collaboration is taken into consideration; that is team work is encouraged, educational programs are incorporated and formal systems are simplified. There is therefore a need for change in the manufacturing company.
Distinctions between traditional and learning organization exists. In the traditional organization the company’s vision and the formulation of ideas is often determined by the top management. The implementation is what is done by the rest of the employees. Contrary, there is a shared vision in the case of learning organization. The top management only ensures the development and success of the vision. The formulation and implementation of ideas in the case of a learning organization is done at each level within the company (Garvin, 1993). In a learning organization, in the event that a conflict ensues, resolution is done by incorporating diverse views unlike in traditional organization where power is used in resolving conflicts. In the case of a learning organization where a shared vision is created, employees are often geared towards commitment and therefore cultivate a self-drive where they work best without being pushed. Motivation is self-driven unlike in the traditional organization where motivation is boosted via rewards or punishment. With self-motivation, each employee assumes responsibility for their jobs taking consideration of the link between their duties and those of other employees within the learning organization. In the traditional organization, employees are only mindful of their jobs without necessarily taking into consideration how the duties of others are linked to theirs within the organization. The manufacturing company currently lies within the third stage of Woolner’s five stage model (Laiken, 2001). This is with regard to the increased sales that the company is generating and the increment in the employees which already places it within the category of a mature organization.
Senge points out five crucial disciplines that ensure a learning organization. When an organization engages these five disciplines, then solutions to problems that it is facing are addressed. Integration of all these principles achieves tools for change (Senge, 2007). The manufacturing company in this scenario is within the traditional organization. Being in the maturity stage following the growth changes, a change into a learning organization is inevitable. This change is necessitated by incorporation Senge’s five disciplines. First, the organization ought to allow the sharing of personal ideas and visions by the employees and thereafter come up with a common identity which creates a shared vision. A shared vision characterizes a learning organization. Secondly, the manufacturing company can expand its employees’ capacity in making informed choices through clarifying their individual visions and cultivating patience. This is the discipline of personal mastery and it helps in building intrinsic motivation. Thirdly, the manufacturing company can ensure a learning organization by reflecting on the mental models that its workers hold. Since individuals tent to act in accordance with the mental pictures that they hold, it is important for an organization to keep on discussing and taking into consideration these mental pictures as a way of getting people to accrue greater abilities in order to best govern their actions (Senge, 2007). The other way is creating a room for discussions and sharing ideas which collectively achieve team learning.
Balogun and Hailey’s model recognizes the complexity associated with change and thus the reason why change designs should be sensitive of the context. The model therefore aids in understanding the nature of change to be applied. With regard to this model, adaptation would be the best method in taking the manufacturing company to a learning organization. Adaptation is a change which in undertaking it, it realigns the organizational operations and its implementation occurs in steps (Balogun, 2008). The current culture can accommodate it. The action research model is essential in the change process. It is collaborative in approach in that it allows all involved individuals to identify underlying problems and come up with solutions. This boosts the success of the change process. The manufacturing company can achieve this by first by analyzing the issues surrounding the company in a bid to identify the need for the change. With the underlying problem of the rapid growth within the company, then the workers can bring out their personal ideas on how to address this change and eventually come up with a common solution to the problem. Action based research model’s focus is delivering from the information accrued. This is key in coming up with appropriate interventions which are sustainable in the long run (Zuber-Skerritt, 2003). The next step is evaluating the change. This involves assessing the impact of change from a traditional organization to a learning organization. The last step is stabilizing the change in the event that a positive impact is accrued. This is often achievable owing to the fact that each individual was involved in the change process.
Two innovation strategies that would be recommended foe the manufacturing company include incremental innovation and disruptive innovation strategies. The manufacturing company would be incorporated by making use of the existing technology in a bid to increase the value rendered to customers (Laiken, 2001). For example, rebranding its products would increase value to the existing market. Kotler’s eight step model can find its application the change process of the manufacturing company. Once vital step is creating urgency which can be done through the identification of possible threats of the traditional organization and pointing out its effect on the future. Another step is the creation of a vision towards change which can be achieved by examining the values central towards the transition from traditional to a learning organization and coming up with a clear strategy on how to implement the vision. Another step is taking action towards getting rid of any barriers likely to hinder the change process. Lastly is anchoring the changes in the company’s culture (Eisenbach et al, 2009). This is done by recognizing the changes in all areas and incorporating these change ideas in the event that new people are hired.
The five pillars of a sustainable change include; leadership, culture, strategy, systems and structure (Palmer et al, 2016). Leadership could be applied in ensuring the success of a vision within the change process. Culture is applied in ensuring the sustainability of the change process. The strategy is applied in achieving a standardized system of educating workers. The structure is key since the activities and jobs performed by every worker as well as the ideologies are key in the overall role of the company. The system is what ensures that the learning organization is implemented to success.
In conclusion, an organization is always in the process of growth. In each growth phase, alterations or changes are essential. One key change is within the organizational structure and the managerial process. In the start-up phase, top down management approach which is a characteristic of the traditional organization is often effective. However, with every growth step that the organization goes through this becomes inefficient with time and as a result a learning organization becomes necessary. This is a growth process which is essential for the company and therefore calls for a systemic approach if success is to be achieved.
Balogun, J., & Hailey, V. H. (2008). Exploring strategic change. Pearson Education.
Eisenbach, R., Watson, K., & Pillai, R. (2009). Transformational leadership in the context of organizational change. Journal of organizational change management, 12(2), 80-89.
Garvin, D. A. (1993). Building a learning organization (Vol. 71, No. 4, pp. 78-91). July-August: Harvard Business Review.
Laiken, M. E. (2001). Models of Organizational Learning: Paradoxes and Best Practices in the Post Industrial Workplace.
Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Akin, G. (2016). Managing organizational change. McGraw-Hill Education.
Senge, P. M. (1997). The fifth discipline. Measuring Business Excellence, 1(3), 46-51.
Tsang, E. W. (2007). Organizational learning and the learning organization: a dichotomy between descriptive and prescriptive research. Human relations, 50(1), 73-89.
Zuber-Skerritt, O. (2003). Introduction: New directions in action research. In New directions in action research (pp. 12-17). Routledge.
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