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The main challenge that Alpha Mills faces is the process of organizational change, in a context of external crisis (downturn in the palm oil international market). To understand the process that Alpha Mills is suffering is necessary to understand the following points:
The organizational culture
The process of organizational change: the resistance to change.
The role of the leader in the process of organizational change
According to Robbin, organizational culture represents a common perception held by the organization's members. It can be defined as a system of shared meaning held by members that distinguishes the organizations from other organizations.
The research indicates that there is also a strong impact of the national culture and even of the religion on organizational culture. Due to the strength relationship between religion and culture it is useful to have some insight into how people of different cultures view the world around them. Provided that in Malaysia approximately 60% of the population is muslin for the purpose of this case we will refer just the features of the Islam.
The religion of Islam is based on the writings of the Holy Koran, all Muslims pledge total obedience to Allah (a single god). Affliction and misfortune are the lessons from which all Muslims learn submission to god's will. As a consequence a control of the society by few selected people seems to be a feature of this society.
The process of Organizational Change
Indeed, the rapidity of social, economic and technological changes demand the organizations to be perpetually changing as a natural response to factors such as globalization, technological change, increased competition, and changing markets.
In this context, organizations need to change to adapt to external or internal developments, but achieving effective change is very problematical. According to Kanter, Stein, and Jick (1992) change is so difficult that it is a miracle if it occurs successfully.
One major barrier to change is resistance of people in organizations (Bennebroek Gravenhorst, Werkman, & Boonstra, 2003; Heller, Pusic, Strauss, & Wilpert, 1998). Resistance is commonly considered to be a standard or even natural reaction to organizational change.
The Resistance to change
Indeed, when change comes into view, fear and resistance to change follow - often despite its obvious benefits.
According to Kotter and Schlesinger (1972) people fight against change because they:
Fear to lose something they value, or
Don't understand the change and its implications, or
Don't think that the change makes sense, or
Find it difficult to cope with either the level or pace of the change.
Resistance emerges when there is a threat to something, the individual values. The threat may be real or it may be just a perception. It may arise from a genuine understanding of the change or from misunderstanding, or even almost total ignorance about it.
Alpha mills employees resist change as their sense of purpose, sense of personal integrity and consistency, and sense of mastery went against them (Moran & Brightman, 2000).
Many causes of resistance exist. Watson (1969) discusses preference for stability, habit, persistence, selective perception and retention, conservatism, tradition, self-distrust, and insecurity. Whereas, at the individual level the psychological factors such as resentment, frustration, fear, feelings of failure, and low motivation is the reason for resistance to change (Coch & French, 1948). The preliminary theory of resistance to change is primarily a motivational problem, which obstructs learning new skills required by a change (Coch & French, 1948).
The human behaviour within an organization involves the interrelationship between people which is achieved with the process through which people send information to others and receive information through them, this process can be define as communication (Greenberg.J,1999).
To achieve a successful communication in a global environment, there are four step to take into account (JR.Goodall. H.L, Goodall.S, Schiefelbein.J, 2010):
Step1: Choosing a communication strategy or goal
This step involves conducting a complete assessment of the following:
What are the audience needs and expectations?
What are they hoping to achieve?
Do they need any more information, assurance, direction or assistance?
Do they expect any solutions or guidance?
Likely communication outcomes-means what are the outcomes an audience can expect?
Criteria to measure success-how can the success be measured or any feedback from the audience?
Step2: Creating the message
Is the process of developing a plan designed to reach a specific audience and carry out the strategies developed in step 1. The main task in this step is to organize how to deliver the message and to what specific audience. The message should follow an organized plan and should be clear to all the audience. Should allow the audience the point of discussion open to the topic (JR.Goodall. H.L et. al.,2010).
Step3: Coordinate with others
Coordinating is the act of bringing together everyone required to successfully deliver and evaluate the success of your message. This step is involved to assemble as much information as it can collect about how the plan, agenda, or position fits within the mission and goals of the organization. Communicate with the members of different teams, departments, supervisor and managers in the organization and take their inputs and feedbacks (JR.Goodall. H.L et. al.,2010).
Step4: Delivering the message
This is the final step of delivery and which is very crucial because in many business situations, the payoff depends on the communication performance. Effective delivery requires the following:
Receiving and evaluating feedback
Incorporating feedback into your delivery
Hence, the four step of effective communication was not to be seen in the Alpha Case and neither the manger Mr. Davison was so clear in communicating its strategy and goal.
Giving workers some control over how they do their jobs has increasingly been recognized as a key way of capturing worker creativity, of developing their skills and ability, of creating a learning experience and of overcoming the problems caused by incessant work demands. The most popular way to empower staff is to give them a quiet space but the next most popular thing for job satisfaction is frequent informal interactions (Sheridan, L. 2009). As these informal interactions were missing from the Alpha Mills and a proper flow of communication were lacking in their organization.
Motivation is getting others to do something because they want to do it. To motivate employees is one of the most important management tasks.Â It comprises the abilities to understandÂ what drives people, to communicate, to involve, to challenge, to encourage, to set an example, to develop andÂ coach, to obtainÂ feedback, and to provide a justÂ reward (Cario.J,1998)
Maslow's hierarchy of needs:
Maslow (1954) proposes a hierarchy of motivational needs. He suggests that there are higher order needs such as self-esteem and self-actualization, and lower order needs such as safety, social and psychological requirements. According to Maslow some needs are greater than others and when the lower order needs are satisfied the higher order needs become more important. It is the drive to satisfy these needs that motivate employees. Maslow's model indicates that fundamental, lower-order needsÂ like safety and physiological necessitiesÂ have to beÂ fulfilledÂ inÂ order toÂ pursue higher-levelÂ of motivation.
The role of the leader in the process of organizational change
When it comes to leading a major change inside an organization it is important for leaders to understand that change process goes through stages, and it is not an automatic outcome. According to Richard L Daft there are eight stages
Establish a sense of urgency that change is really needed.
Â According to Kotter, a "sense of urgency" is necessary to handle organizational changes successfully within an organization, he defines the Sense of urgency as the combination or thoughts, feelings and behaviours, the thoughts are knowledge that great opportunities are there, feelings, the impulse to do something now, and the behaviour the hyper alertness to the current situation.
The fundamental reason we need urgency is because we are facing a changing world and without "sense of urgency" everything slows down, everything is tougher, everything is more frustrated.
Form a power guiding coalition
This stage involves establishing a coalition with enough power to lead the change process and developing a sense of teamwork among the group. In order to achieve the desires outcome, it is necessary to obtain the commitment of the top leader, middle management and low level executes.
Develop compelling vision and strategy
Leaders are responsible for formulating and articulating a compelling vision that will guide the change effort as well as developing the strategy for achieving the vision. Having a picture of highly desirable future motivates people to change.
Communicate the vision widely
At this stage leaders use every means possible to widely communicate the vision and strategy; it implies the coalition of change (formed in stage number 2) should set an example by modelling the new behaviour needed from employees.
Empower employees to act on the vision
This step implies disposing of obstacles to change, which may require revising systems, structures, or procedures that prevent or undermine the change effort.
Generate short term wins
As long as major changes demand time, and a transformation effort loses momentum if there are no short term accomplishments that employees can recognize and celebrate. Therefore, leaders who plan for visible performance improvements, enable them to happen, and celebrate employees who were involved in the improvements.
Keep up the urgency; tackle bigger problems
A successful leader doesn't simply declare victory after small wins and become complacent, he/she builds up on the credibility and momentum achieved by short term wins to tackle bigger problems. Good leaders use courage and perseverance to give employees the energy and power to undertake more difficult issues. This process can involve changing systems, structures and policies: hiring and promoting people who can implement the vision and making sure the personnel has the time, resources and authority they need to pursue the vision.
Make the changes stick.
It is important to highlight that the transformation is not completed until the changes have well established roots. Leaders promote new values, attitudes and behaviours so that employees view the changes as a normal and integral part of how the organization works.
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