Introduction to Managing Corporate Change

Change in every context is ongoing processes which do take time and does require a constant monitoring. It is all about transformation of the business organization with the continuous influence as well as shaping up the beliefs, values, assumptions and patterns of the people’s behavior that is required for creating the required business environment. At corporate level, the change depends largely on the innovative and unique circumstances that are bringing change in the organization and because of which, most of the companies continuously encounters problems in the areas of leadership, behavior management and timing. This makes it very important to realize that change is one of the most important aspects of the business. This research report takes into consideration the efforts that are put through substantial changes that are also present in the work process of Marks and Spencer which is a public limited company in the area of retails with its headquarters in London, England.

In this report, the evaluation of the approaches used by leaders at the time of changes in Marks and Spencer has been done along with the ways to enhance the quality of leadership for building up the people’s potential within the organization. Also there has been an analysis done to build up recommendations by suggesting the steps that could have been undertaken to enhance the success of cultural changes that will be shown in the end.

A. Nature of change at marks and spencer

Bringing changes in the organizational culture and getting people’s acceptance towards the same is the toughest task to perform for the company. The organizational culture has been shaped a lot in these many years with respect to relation and interaction amongst the participants of the company. Marks and Spencer can also consider the changes in its culture only if the events of certain nature have occurred within the business organization. The corporate culture change initiatives of the company might fall if the company keeps on its changes in wrong direction. Thus Marks and Spencer can take into consideration these tips that are given below to implement the corporate change and culture in an effective way:

  • Company can use a participative approach to ensure in depth and sustainable change.
  • Can appoint opinion leaders. These leaders are the ones whose opinion matters to others and those should be leveraged.
  • The success of the change should be recognized and then should be reinforced as frequently as possible.
  • If the corporate cultural change is effective, then it will bring great change in the people’s mindsets.
  • The top management’s commitment is very important for the success of the change.
  • For the organization to be successful should have its corporate change in alignment with the vision, mission, goals, strategies and the business environment.

Other than this, if looked into the basic nature of change, the companies undertake the steps that are mentioned below to ensure the successful transitions:

Step 1—Assess the need and desire of cultures: In this step, it is very important to gather and analyze the data about the current business culture leading to defining of the desired culture and also identify the gaps within the same. Over here the data can be gathered through observations, interviews, employee surveys, etc.

Step 2—Gathering of the executive inputs: This step undertakes the management of teams off-site with help of which Marks and Spencer can address the results of the need assessment. The outcome of the same is variety of products that might also include standard of success and business philosophies to develop a new culture.

Step 3— Developing an infrastructure for change: After assessment, leaders at Marks and Spencer should identify the system, policies and procedures that needs to be changes or modified to support the new culture. This will add up to the accountability, rewards and selection of the systems.

Step 4—Defining implementation strategy: Once the business infrastructure is set up, then leaders at Marks and Spencer need to define the ways in which new culture can be implemented. At this point of time, organization should make use of committees, action teams, groups and sub sets of leaderships to execute the changes.

Step 5—Training employees and managers: This step consists of training the employees and managers within the organization so as to provide them with all the information that is important to ensure the fact that they are aware and updated of their roles and expectations within new culture.

Step 6—Evaluating the process: This is the final step that is carried out to evaluate the change process and its suitability within the organization. Leaders over here are expected to come up with a mechanism to monitor the progress that has been made through culture change.

B. Role of cutlure in change

The culture of business organization is an example of the shared idea that is created by groups to learn to solve the problems and also communicate the same learning to other members as well. This culture of Marks and Spencer unlike any business organization consists of values and practices that help in informing people about the ways in which they should react at certain events and the situations to get to know better the ways in which work space is designed. The cultural change is required to modify the structure, success criteria and business strategies to attain the business goals and objectives. The roles of culture in Marks and Spencer are as follows:

Becoming responsive to change: Business culture of Marks and Spencer is made of the people who are employed in it. Whenever the organization brings in any change, culture tends to act being responsive and also places the entire set of situation in front of the management. The cultural responses can be both negative and positive and might also at the same time, depend upon the interest of the organizational workforce.

Culture supports change: The organizational culture at Marks and Spencer brings in a great impact on the idea of change so it should be in proper alignment with the cultural dimensions. This well help in bringing effective support of culture and the objective behind bringing the change can also be attained within the standards and business aspects.

It helps in defining situation: Culture at Marks and Spencer provides a definition to the creation of social situation for the company. It also helps in getting to know the processes and methods that are required to be followed for bringing the change in the outlook. Thus it defines the attitude, vision, values and depending on the same, the change structure is developed which further helps in bringing best results from the implementation process.

Provides conventional interpretations: It is the culture which makes people interpret and perceive the set of situations that are taking place within Marks and Spencer. The culture of this organization let people to perceive the new policies or also bring in the organization. It is the culture of the company that provides its employees with a bunch of positive or the negative perceptions.

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Culture provides behavioral patterns: Culture of the company has a great influence on the behavioral patterns and development of understanding of people about the idea of change in Marks and Spencer. Thus it also helps in defining and executing the behavior for accepting or rejecting the conditions or the systems that are being applied in the business.

Culture acts as rigid and dynamic factor: The organizational culture of Marks and Spencer does react to the changes that take place in the organization rigidly as well as dynamically. The dynamic culture of the company includes people those who appreciate changes are quite friendly to the modifications that are taking place in one or more departments. On the other hand, rigid culture takes into consideration the people who are not in favor of change and make efforts to resist the change. Thus the leaders of Marks and Spencer need to address to both of the situations in an effective manner so as to make all the possible changes work in smooth manner.

Thus all these points mentioned above defines the role that culture plays in driving the changes in the company and will also help in gaining coordination within the change implementation process in an effective manner.

C. Diagnosing the changes

For planning the change, managers at Marks and Spencer need to forecast and then diagnose the needs for the same. These managers also can bring into consideration the theory that has been developed by Larry Greiner which is based on development of the organization and is also very helpful in bringing in the change management in an effective manner. The model will also show Marks and Spencer as and when it will grow under the five different stages and at the end of each stage, there will be a mark of crisis that will be calling for change. Marks and Spencer thus can consider the below mentioned five stages for diagnosing the change:

Creativity: The higher authority in the company is the one that dominates at this stage and the responsibility for the development of both market and the product is on the same person. But as and when the organization grows, the management problems start appearing which cannot be handled with the casual or normal communication. The higher authority at this point of time might find it difficult for them because of the unnecessary responsibilities of the management. At this point of time, the conflicts grow and it is also at this spot, the cultural and leadership crisis start appearing. This stage is the one from which the revolutionary process begins.

Direction: At this particular time period, there is a need of a strong manager who is the suitable person for guiding or being part of the higher authorities at Marks and Spencer. In this stage, the newly appointed manager and his selected staff members should be given responsibility that can set up the direction for the activities. At the same time, the lower level supervisors can be treated as functional specialists rather than considering them as autonomous decision makers. Thus the managers at ground level can start demanding more of the self-sufficiency and autonomy and this is the time when revolution begins.

Delegation: This stage creates many problems for the managers who are on the top management level at Marks and Spencer and are also thriving at becoming more directive. They might also find delegation of responsibilities equally difficult. Thus over here the organization might come with certain hesitations and might choose to stick to the centralized techniques. The managers at lower management levels start getting disheartened and might also leave the organization.

When the organization is at this stage, it starts creating a decentralized business structure that might also intensify the enthusiasm at lower management levels. There is also a loss of control from the business operations which can result in development of inappropriate behavior and aggression amongst the ones who are provided the autonomy.

Control: This stage in diagnosing the change is involved in exercising the formal systems to gain better coordination within the top management levels as the point of regulation. The crisis situation that is created over here is of red tapism which occurs very frequently at the time when the organization is loaded with many responsibilities like that of Marks and Spencer.

Collaboration: This is the final stage of the Griener’s model and highlights the grater and impulsive actions of the Marks and Spencer’s management with its teams and other components of interpersonal disparities. In this stage, self discipline takes over the formal actions and this model also showcases the non probability about the stages of revolution.

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Thus to plan the change, a leader or the senior manager at Marks and Spencer should forecast and also diagnose the requirement for bringing in the change. The Greiner’s model of organizational modification and growth will assist the managers in understanding the need for communicating the workforce about the same within the organizational cycle.

D. First-order, incremental change

Managers in this area are the people who make a set of decisions that are highly distinct to the change that appears because of its unplanned nature. Although, these decisions might stand unsaid or might be framed on unconscious assumptions about the organization, but its future and the business environment are the result of the same and are not distinct from the one that first appeared. Assumptions of this kind are the ones that states the directions of the apparently unrelated and the desperate decisions, which might shape up the entire process of change and also bring ‘drift’ rather than bringing in the design. There are different external and internal factors that help in a greater sense to bring in the type of change that is actually required. Marks and Spencer also found out the need for bringing in the ‘first order change’ with the help of analysis of internal as well as external factors like political, economical, competitor’s behavior, values, cultures, etc.

The first order continuous change and incremental change does involve different adjustments in the systems of Marks and Spencer but will also help in maintaining and developing the organization. This change has been designed to support the organizational regularity and orders. Such kind of changes will also allow Marks and Spencer to stay as it is at the time of bringing in the modification at certain critical points within the organization. This retail company is also taking into consideration the important dimensions of the incremental changes which is also known as tuning. This method is concerned with the modifications that are required in adjustments so as to allow a better fit within the business environment and company. Thus considering the culture within the company with regards to the change in Marks and Spencer, the organizational purpose can be change to suit other situations. With the help of first-order, company can also modify and also create a culture which suits the organization’s internal and external environment. This will help the organization to come up with better motivation amongst the workers which will in result lead to effective attainment of business goals and objectives. Thus, the first order change is an effective technique to meet Marks and Spencer’s purpose of bringing cultural change and attain better business results.

E. Methods for change implementation

Organizational change can be defined as a process which helps in ensuring the augmentations within the organization. They are the only factors that are constant within the business, but in reality, there is a great difficulty that the organization faces with respect to the management of the same within the workforce. However, if the organization implements certain methods with help of which they can get speedy implementation of the change process then taking into consideration the chances of failure which will then lower down. Marks and Spencer also needs to focus upon the right things and should make efforts to build up a culture where the change can be accepted by all the members within the organization. This will make the entire process of change implementation easy and quick. The methods for the same that company can follow are as follows:

Feeling of ownership: When employees are on board along with the Marks and Spencer culture change, then they can make all the internal transactions in a smooth manner with complete agreement with all the members within the organization. It will give employees with a feeling that they are the people who are managing the operations individually with the sense of responsibilities. It is the most effective and profitable way of gaining employee’s engagement within the change that has been brought in the company.

Phasing out the changes: Marks and Spencer also needs to understand that the organizational change needs to be implemented in all of its stages and business processes which will help in creating a sense of support for the change from the entire staff. The solution that can be developed for toll rolling out the terms of trials and to go live with the changes is not always recommended as it might lead to creation of confusion as well as the conflicts. In place of any other thing, organization should be keeping small groups of members for taking on the trials and if that works out with the smaller groups can then implement it in the entire business set up. This will provide the employees with a chance to get known to the changes that are being introduced and blends to the situations accordingly.

Communicating changes: If the company lies too much on its staff’s head whenever there is a change which can also develop a misinformation which in return makes the change difficult. So the employees at Marks and Spencer should be provided with a specification for the change in addition to the idea to the extent to which the company gets affected.  So for trying to build fundamental changes without informing the workforce might lead to creation of confusion. Thus the managers in this situation need to tell the employees about everything that goes on in the company and which has direct impact on the employee’s performances.

Getting everyone’s involvement: In order to grip up with the change, the executive and management team need to get lot of engagement and also need to create a sense of motivation within the staff. Even if the managers are not in direct engagement with the change, then in that case, their support within the new plans will help in assisting the staff at more ease. So when the management team shows up the combined support for any initiative, then it gets easier for the employees to accept the change.

F. Vision of change

Marks and Spencer’s vision for the change is to come up with continuous improvements within the retail operations through change. It also involves a start up with the imagination about the company, what the organization will look like if the changes are brought in it and whether it will be in tune with the leadership attributes that are important for bringing in the change culture. This might take a form of revolutions within the internal environment that in return will affect the interests, skills and competencies of the employees as well as act as a motivating factor for enhancing the overall business performance of the employees for attaining the better results for the company. Marks and Spencer’s vision for change also involves the factors that are as mentioned below:

  • Enhance management
  • Improved leadership
  • Enhanced productivity of the employees

REFERENCES

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