Concept of Change Management
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Introduction to Management
The report presented below briefly defines the concept of management of change and its considerable effect on overall organizational structure and culture. Changes occur within an organization with consideration to technology used, people involved or strategies and policies followed. The concept of organizational change is also referred as reorganizing or restructuring. Uniliver is a multinational organization co-headquartered in UK, that has been leading the consumer goods market since long back (Kotter, 2008). Considering the scenario of cited company, impacts of factors imposing a need for change with respect to various elements of business environment have been included in the study work applying two theoretical perspective such as ontologies and world views. Uniliver has well aligned with the change process required to be carried out as demanded by the era of globalization and expansion of scope of international business. Lastly, the frameworks in consideration of organization's restructuring also considers problem-centric and dialogue approaches to change.
1 Organizational change and theoretical perspectives
Any change that occurs within an organisation and has a considerable impact on its overall performance is defined as a major factor leading change. Change management concept denotes various theoretical approaches that could be applied by the cited organization to resolve number of issues. Organization structure consists of specific culture and list of strategies are framed accordingly. Any major factor that drives a change in organisation structure has a considerable effect on company's policies, marketing plan and technology used in manufacturing process. Stage theory of change management is a concept that includes four main stages to be followed as a procedure to align with organizational change (Anderson and Anderson, 2010). There are series of steps that are to be followed by an organization to align the operational and managerial activities with new process. New process would include providing training to employees to understand new methods and procedure required to be carried out for completion of task assigned. First of all, risk management department and research department analyses various threats and risks that could slower down company's progress. Secondly, the extent of impact of issue identified is measured by analysing its considerable impact on strengthening company's position. If these changes indicate positive impacts, the same are denoted to modify the strategies and policies accordingly. At last, the organisation follows institutionalisation process wherein changes identified at initial stage are now recognized as a part of organizational environment. Kurt Lewin's change model is another world renowned approach of change management philosophy. Lewin identified three main levels of aligning with change, that includes freezing, changing and unfreezing. Freezing is the initial stage of procedure of change management wherein, an organization analyses a need to identify factors that imply a compulsion indirectly, forcing the company to bring a change in its structure (Paton and McCalman, 2008). Thereby, moving ahead in the flow, to design criteria for required behaviour to be adopted to bring the change into implementation. At last, policies and activities performed to align with a change, becomes a norm that is to be followed by each individual working in an organization in accordance with objectives and goals to be attained. Organizational changes are with respect to strategies, policies, plan, procedure, culture and activities followed. For designing new processes in aligning with same, requires an organization to follow specific procedure of steps included in Stage theory. On the other hand , Lewin's theory indicates how a particular change is accepted and implemented by the organization to achieve better results as compared to its rivals.
a) Brief overview of Organization
Uniliver is a British-Dutch oriented organization operating in internal business environment. The headquarters are located in London, United Kingdom (Heller and Zavaleta, 2009). It has successfully attained a prominent position in the consumer goods and home care products market. The cited organization has been providing wide range of products including food, refreshments, home care and personnel care products in almost 190 countries. After emergence of era of rapid globalization, the cited entity has diversified its product ranges including products made out of oils and fats to expanded business scope with wide operations over the globe. It has not only established production units over the globe but has also developed research and development centres in various countries including China, India, United states and Netherlands, etc. Uniliver has its origin long back during 1930 after merger of Margarine Unie and Lever Brothers. With consideration to the given concept, Uniliver has addressed various issues arising on account of increasing number of new entrants by bringing in required modifications in its organizational structure and cultural environment. Uniliver PLC is an important constituent of London Stock Exchange. Uniliver's largest selling brands include Dove, Lux, Lipton, Vaseline, etc (Bilton, 2007). The cited organization aligned with reorganization with a goal to cut the number of brands from 1600 to just 400 to reduce the overall cost incurred to sustain these brands in the market.
b) Describing a change
International business environment and the factors prevailing there in, have provided a broader base for expansion to the organization cited. The task of sustaining in international market and maintaining a unique position in the market is an extreme complex task. The cited organization has to face number of threats and challenges originating from the factors prevailing in the industry. Company has decided to align with regional business groups orientation to withstand against competition from Proctor and Gamble and Nestle (Cole-Lewis and Kershaw, 2010). Below mentioned are two major changes taking place to align with new orientation adopted by the cited organization:
Strategic Change: Strategies framed for marketing needs to be modified to develop an appropriate organizational structure in accordance with new managerial approach adopted by the organization. Marketing strategies have imposed a need to unite similar product manufacturing companies within specific regional market. For example, Uniliver's detergent department in UK would be responsible for developing a common market in the region wherein there would be a single manufacturing and distribution department focusing on supplying the product within entire specific region. Moreover, specific product would be distributed over entire regional area, following similar pattern of distribution.
Change in cultural environment: As the company is on the path of rapid expansion, it needs to develop new set of policies to accept cultural diversity in a broader sense with respect to protection of interest of various stakeholders (O'Flynn, 2007).
c) Relevance to organizational change
As mentioned above, it is very clear that Uniliver's path of achieving success and a unique position in the market has not been simple. The cited entity had to undergo various changes that directly or indirectly impacted list of activities carried out within various departments. Managing a change led by external factors prevailing in industrial environment is a complex task. None consideration or avoidance of factors requiring change within organizational structure could lead to adverse effects that might further lead to organizational failure. This section includes determining relevance of changes occurring with that of theories of change management mentioned in the section above. Considering the change in strategic management, it requires to follow a flow of procedure including list of steps as consisted in stage theory of change management (Stanleigh, 2008). For bringing in required changes in strategies, the cited organization analyses the market condition and draws recommendations explaining the need to bring a change in strategies followed. After that, these changes are considered for listing out various benefits that could be obtained by the cited company. Initially procedures followed are then modified in accordance with new strategy adopted, thus establishing new norms signifying specific working pattern for various employees to produce goods accordingly to satisfy market demand. Change in cultural behaviour has relevance to lewin's change model wherein cited company designs new policies to provide equal opportunities to all the employees to sustain them for a longer period of time. New policies designed are then brought into implementation to design a pattern of new cultural environment to be followed.
a) SWOT Analysis
SWOT is an abbreviation for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats. The analysis is a tool utilised as a concept of management to undertake research for listing out company's strengths and weaknesses. Uniliver is an organization having wide scope of activities divided into functional departments managed by respective senior executive. Company's core competence determine its strengths whereas areas within which company is lacking behind as compared to various competitors is defined as weaknesses (Pahl-Wostl, 2007). The company cited in the report has acquired third largest position in international market by applying available resources effectively in appropriate manner. To keep a check on how effectively these resources are applied, the cited firm carriers out procedure to analyse factors prevailing within organization and affecting internal environment of various subsidiary companies of Uniliver operating in different markets within different industries. The cited company has divided its structure into food, detergent , personal care and home care products, each having own definite structure for successfully performing in respective industries.
b) Benefits and drawbacks of using SWOT analysis
SWOT analysis conducted in above section, determine a need for change to be accepted by the cited company, to expand its scope of operations in international business environment. With increased competition and number of new entrants in the market, Uniliver needs to understand the importance of studying internal factors prevailing within organizational environment and there considerable impact on different managerial and operational aspects (Trkman, 2010). It has been observed that various companies possess different perspective with respect to determining list of benefits and drawbacks obtained after undertaking examination of organizational environment. List of benefits and drawbacks of SWOT analysis conducted with consideration to Uniliver have been mentioned below:
Objective perspective: Objective perspective of cited organization is constructed after analysing the importance of achieving a leading position in the market. Benefits to be obtained from SWOT analysis include concentrating on acquiring maximum market share utilizing available resources effectively as indicated. Cited company's weakness might be highlighted due to which , it would be facing problems in applying strategies effectively to attain objectives listed in mission statement. Opportunities would determine which activities could be performed by the cited entity, to attain various objectives. Threats would determine risk factors that would arise in future and thereby enable the cited firm to effectively plan for risk management. On the other hand, there are few drawbacks of SWOT analysis such as, it does not include the fact that certain elements are not under control of management leading to failure in attainment of objective (Holt and et.al., 2007).
Social constructionist perspective: List of benefits obtained with context to social perspective determines the importance of promoting moral standards and belief in the society of which the cited organization is a part of. Weaknesses determined under SWOT analysis detects the reason due to which, the cited organization is not able to build a positive image among its customers. Opportunities can be listed out by finding out which areas of society can be considered to achieve better results, by taking sponsorship of various charity campaigns. Threats might occur in future on account of increasing societal issues, which would be ascertained in advance. On the other hand, factors prevailing within regional area of an economy are not considered in internal analysis and this would provide incomplete information regarding factors influencing morals and beliefs of most of the people (Carraher, Buckley and Carraher, 2008).
a) Key conceptualisations of role of change management
A change agent is an individual from outside or inside the organization who is to helps an organization for transforming itself by focusing on business effectiveness, improvement and development. It usually focuses his efforts on the effect of changing technologies and organizational structure. The key objective of change agent is to focus on the people within the organization and interact with them. Unilever is the third largest consumer goods company in the world. This company has focused on sustainable growth rather than profit margin. The main role of change agent in Uniliver to serve this organizations as a counsellor and trainer. The agent meets with employee and management to aware them how the Unilever operates and they also involves in process of evaluating the organisation's structure, financial status and use of latest technology. For the process of evaluations in the Uniliver the change agent listen the idea of employees as well as management though (Trkman, P., 2010). And provide authentic recommendations that focus on the benefits of the organization. There are three competencies to become an effective change agent:
Clear vision: A change agent must have a clear vision to communicate clearly with others. In the Uniliver change agent are specially trained for the purpose to explain there productive ideas in front of its management and its employee. A better communication skill can easily convince and implement the ideas that are very important for the organization. The change agent of the Uniliver play an important role to implement the goals and vision of the organization smoothly with the help of there productive ideas. The change agent of Uniliver always make it understand to employees and management authority about the transforming ideas which need changes for time to time and changing latest technology. They also make there employee aware about the changing marketing strategy and competitiveness (Holt and et.al., 2007).
Sensitivity and Maturity: A change management must also be sensitive and mature enough to be aware of own motivations. A change agent never implement there ideas only by discussing from one side. They first inform about the information or changing technology to there employee and management. They also deeply investigate the market requirement and their needs and always try to implement these things with consent of their employee and management.
Authenticity: A change management must be authentic. It must act in accordance with the role and responsibility to promote organizational objective. In Uniliver each step of change agent is directly or indirectly related to the goals and objectives of the organization. The change agent of Uniliver implement ideas by following all the government rules and regulation. They always take care about the authenticity of the ideas which they are going to launch in the organization (Carraher, S.M., Buckley, M.R. and Carraher, C.E., 2008).
The change agent can be of two types i.e. internal or external to the organization. In Unilever, change agent play implement the transforming ideas on change in the business.
Internal change agent: Internal change agent usually the employer such as HR professional, senior executive, team leader or any other employee who has mastered in organization development. This types of change agent are appointed by the organization to look after the change process. The role of internal change agent usually focus on internal working mechanism of the Uniliver by performing their job while setting in the organization.
External change agent: External agents are working for the Uniliver but only during the change process of an organization. These are consultant who are working for the organization but not permanently. They work only when some technologies ideas. External change agents in the company do not control thinks directly but they interact with the Uniliver and impact on the performance. These individuals are allied with an outsider entity who impact or make the decision smooth in suitable direction (Plowman and et.al., 2007).
a) Definition of problem centric and dialogue approach to change
Various approaches have been included in modern concept of management, that focus mainly to define number of factors prevailing within and outside an organization. The cited organization has been following problem centric and dialogue approach to address different issues arising on account of changes occurring within an organization. Each of these approaches are explained in detail below along with determining appropriate theoretical conceptualization that underpins each :
Problem centric approach: This approach of change management focuses mainly on determining list of problems faced by cited organization and major reasons lying behind occurrence of such problems (Plowman and et.al., 2007). Uniliver has well applied the concept of problem centric approach to identify areas that require problem resolution by following steps included in Stage theory. Application of this approach, requires creating an environment that consists of real life situation. Personnel is confronted with practical situation , that arises on regular basis and provided with opportunity to express set of skills possessed by him. An individual under training campaign is expected to provide appropriate resolution for the issue. For enhancing skills and abilities of personnel under training, he must be provided with practical situation to analyse how efficiently he deals with the problems with consideration to department in which he might be required to work with. With increasing competency among individuals, it has become difficult to select appropriate candidate for specific job. However, the task can be simplified by exploiting benefits of problem-centric approach. List of benefits and drawbacks of problem-centric approach are as below:
- It is also referred to as student oriented approach wherein, focus is laid upon digging below surface to provide complete knowledge for list of issues that could emerge when an individual is assigned with the task of completing specific job (Weber, Reichert and Rinderle-Ma, 2008).
- This approach tends to transfer the knowledge resources possessed by individual for helping the organization to deal effectively with support of human resource, who have already been provided with practical training for dealing with various issues and thus avoid wastage of time. Cost savings can be attained as there would be no requirement of assistance of senior executive for providing training and thus complete the task before time.
- An individual who is under training procedure, obtains and gathers knowledge from the campaign undertaken. After acquiring required knowledge he executes the same for delivering quality service to the organization (O'Flynn, J., 2007).
Creating an environment for including real life elements into the training session requires lots of expense to be incurred to build practical scenario wherein an individual's personality will be accessed.
Dialogic approach: Another effective approach, that is an important part of change management is dialogic approach. The internal structure of cited organization is such that it appreciates recommendations and ideology of various employees working at different levels. Lewin's model of change can be applied to implement a change with respect to strategical or cultural aspects. It so happens many times within cultural environment of Uniliver, wherein it is ascertained by top level management that present strategies and policies followed by various individuals are no longer appropriate to carry out procedural activities and operational tasks. Uniliver has been following dialogic approach, by appreciating recommendations of various stakeholders and gathering opinion and suggesstion from experts who can provide guidelines for designing resolution structure. Benefits include attaining best solutions and save maximum time by directly bringing in changes recommended. On the other hand, there are certain limitations too. Difference of opinion among stakeholders arises with respect to specific problem, thereby creating an environment of confusion and complexities. (Millar, Stephenson and Stephens, 2007).
Thus, it can be concluded here that changes occur on regular basis, that needs to be considered to avoid any unusual impact on overall performance of the organization. Therefore, Change management requires skilled and experienced personnels who can efficiently manage with dealing various factors that lead an organization to bring required modifications within organizational structure and cultural environment. The cited organization has list of opportunities to exploit for acquiring wider market base along with attracting potential customers. Various theoretical approaches, developed by management experts as mentioned in the report determine the procedure that can be followed by the cited organization to undergo any change and obtain number of benefits by fixing up a permanent position in different industries of which it is a part. The report has well considered the role of changing agent in making the procedure of change management as an effective one to successfully attain list of objectives and goals.
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