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Organisational change can be defined as "the movement of an organisation from its current state to some future and hopefully more effective state". (Pierce, Gardner, & Dunham, 2002, p.628) Organisational change does not happen suddenly; it takes place when the forces encouraging change become more dominant than those resisting change. (Pierce, Gardner, & Dunham, 2002) Marks & Spencer developed a new business strategy which created a process of change in the whole organisation. Another good example is Corus which integrated a continuous improvement into its system in order to build small changes into work practice. (See appendix).
Forces to Change:
Nowadays, it is the era of technological change. A technology-induced change is what we bombarded with. A variety of technologies employed almost by all organisations to produce their goods and services. Significant improvements in technologies persistently force organisations to change. When organisations develop their own new technologies is a form of technological change arising from internal sources. Technological change can also arise from external sources in the form of getting new technologies from other research laboratories. Despite of the source, changes in technology can plant the seeds for changes in management practice and organisational design. (Pierce, Gardner, & Dunham, 2002)
Another strong force for change is the general public. Sometimes just by shifting their interest for products. Organisations must continually shift their marketing, sometimes their image, and constantly the way to do business, in order to respond to the changing public tastes. The increased concern for health and physical fitness by society, for instance, has caused products containing less salt, fewer calories, lower cholesterol, and less saturated fat, to be marketed by various food industries. At other times social pressures go beyond representing what is desirable and identify what is acceptable. (Pierce, Gardner, & Dunham, 2002) Corus for instance put the customer needs at the heart of the business in their continuous improvement. (See Appendix)
Moreover, it is essential to consider the needs and values of organisation members are recognised by managers. Workers nowadays lean towards the quality of life alternatives more than financial awards. Therefore, there is an introduction of flexible working hours, the compressed work week, and onsite childcare facilities. An extremely strong force driving organisational change can be changes in employees' needs and values. (Pierce, Gardner, & Dunham, 2002)
A combination of the forces driving to change operates interdependently. (Pierce, Gardner, & Dunham, 2002) the forces lead Marks & Spencer to change included; strong competition characterised the UK's retailing industry in the latest years, in addition to that customers are aware of where and how they want to shop which made it difficult for retailers to survive. While the forces lead Corus to change includes market competition, and economic difficulty. (See appendix)
Major Types of Organisational Change:
Generally, organisational change is about significant change in the organisation, for instance adding a major new product or service. This is opposite to smaller changes such as adopting new computer procedure. It is helpful to think about change in various dimensions because it can appear as vague phenomena. (Authenticity Consulting, 2009)
Organisation-wide Versus Subsystem Change
A major restructuring, collaboration or "rightsizing" can be an example of organisation-wide change. Generally, organisations take it to develop a different level in their lifecycle, for instance, going from a highly reactive, entrepreneurial organisation to a more stable and planned development one. While a change in a subsystem might include addition or elimination of a product or service, or reorganisation of a definite department. (Authenticity Consulting, 2009) The change in Mark & Spenser involved refocusing the business upon the basics "business value", which is considered to be an organisation- wide change. Corus is considered to have an organisation wide change. (See appendix)
Transformational Versus Incremental Change
Changing an organisation's structure and culture from the traditional top-down, hierarchical structure to a large amount of self-directing teams is an example of transformational (radical or, fundamental) change. While continuous improvement such as quality management process to increase efficiencies is an example of incremental change. (Authenticity Consulting, 2009) Marks & Spenser changed is considered to be transformational one as it changed into a more flat organisational structure. Also Corus change was a transformational one where they had to change the organisation culture. (See appendix)
Unplanned Versus Planned Change
The occurrence of a major, sudden surprise to the organisation, which causes its members to respond in a highly reactive and disorganised manner, is considered to be unplanned change. For instance, CEO suddenly leaves the organisation. While planned change happens when leaders in the organisation identify the need for a major change and proactively organise a plan to achieve the change. (Authenticity Consulting, 2009) In Corus it was a planned change which involved a continuous improvement. (See Appendix)
Relationship between Organisation Development and Planned Change:
Organisation development (OD) can be defined as "an effort planned, organisation-wide, and managed from the top, to increase organisation effectiveness and health through planned interventions in the organisation's "processes," using behavioral-science knowledge". (Beckhard, (n.d.), p.3)
Planned change is what OD is concerned with; change is to be anticipated, planned, and intentionally designed rather than approached in a crisis mode of operation. (Alkaya & Hepaktan, 2003) The emphasis in OD is placed on the use of change agents, who produce a self directed change through the collaboration with organisation member. OD change agents seek to improve the capacity and motivation of those inside the organisation to learn, improve, and change by their own efforts in the future. (Alkaya & Hepaktan, 2003)
Steps of Planned Change:
A logical step-by step approach is needed to be created when managers and organisation execute to planned change in order to achieve the objectives. Planned change forces managers to pursue an eight-step process for successful implementations, which is demonstrated in the graph (Cliffs, 2009) http://media.wiley.com/Lux/36/8836.nfg001.jpg
The seventh step is implementing the plan. The plan is put into operation after all the questions have been answered. The initial excitement can dissolve in the face of daily problems, after the change begun. Managers can maintain the drive for change by providing resources, developing new competencies and skills, reinforcing new behaviours, and building a support system for those initiating the change. (Cliffs, 2009) Corus is in the implementation process (See Appendix).
What is Learning Organisation?
There is an old saying: ``the only constant is change''. If change takes place on a daily basis, how can we drive it under our control instead of being chased by it? A change in the organisational culture might be a result in the long run if organisational change happens. Learning organisation is a typical example where people are eager to try out new ideas and distinguish that failure is a crucial element of success. (Ho, 1999) Corus is a good example where they had to change the culture of the company which meant that employees faced challenges of changing their behaviour and the way they work. (See Appendix)
Learning organisation is defined by Peter Senge as "â€¦ a place where people continually expand their capacity to create results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free and where people are continually learning how to learn". (Nagwekar, (n.d.), p.1)An example of a learning organisation company is Corus. (See Appendix)
A learning organisation such as Corus involves the following characteristics; Organisation Culture that encourages innovation, organisation structure emphasises on teamwork and empowerment, and new skills and ideas are encourage by leaders (See Appendix)
From Change to a learning organisation:
According to Senge (1992), one of the most significant theorists on introducing a successful organisational change in the modern times is using the framework of the learning organisation. Through the learning organisation, he emphasises the need for organisations and employees to learn and constantly enhance their skills and abilities. So, they move beyond simply adapting to new challenges and into the area of generative learning. Senge identifies the essential disciplines of the learning organisation as (Jordan, (n.d.));
Personal Mastery, which means that personal capacity, is expanded through individual learning to create results that he most desire. (Nagwekar, (n.d.))
Mental Model; this involves each individual reflecting upon, persistently clarifying, as well as improving his inner pictures of the world, and seeing how they influence personal actions and decisions. (Nagwekar, (n.d.))
Shared Vision, this involves individuals building a sense of commitment within certain workgroups, the developing images of shared and desired futures, as well as supporting the future journey by developing principles and guiding practices. (Nagwekar, (n.d.)) Corus for instance had a shared best practice, and shared standard approaches. (See Appendix)
Team Learning, which involves enabling groups of people to develop intelligence through relevant thinking skills as well as developing a superior ability than the sum of individual members' talents. (Nagwekar, (n.d.)) Corus employees work in a teamwork structure. (See Appendix)
Lastly, Systems Thinking which helps managers and employees alike to understand how to effectively change systems, and to act more in harmony with the larger processes of the natural and economic world. (Nagwekar, (n.d.)) Corus members have common languages and tools in order to describe and understand the forces and interrelationships that shape system behaviour. (See Appendix)
Organisational Change through individual learning:
When business environment is filled up with rapid change, incremental changes created by the organisations do not stand up to the demands of such instability. Flexibility and adaptability are extremely crucial for organisations in order to survive and prosper in such conditions. The commitment of employees must be tapped by organisation at all levels as well as tapping the learning potential of individuals at all the levels. Organisations have to learn by the individuals who work for the organisation. Only individuals can lead to the three stages in the organisational learning process which are sensing the change in the environment, understanding the effect of such a change in the organisation and responding to change. Therefore, answering the question of whether an organisation is a learning organisation or not depends on the commitment of the individuals. (Learning Organisations, (n.d.)) Corus is just a perfect example where the company's members are eager to develop new skills and ideas which enabled step by step improvement. (See Appendix)
An idealistic model for coping with organisational change is learning organisation. (Strakey & Redding as cited in Plessis, Plessis, & Millett, 1999). This approach "engages employees' hearts and minds in a continuous, harmonious, productive change, designed to achieve results they genuinely care about, and that the organisations stakeholders want" (Nayak, Garvin, Maira & Bragar as cited in Plessis, Plessis, & Millett, 1999 , p.73). The learning organization process set individual creativity free, and promotes collective learning which is essential for encouraging, and developing innovation and rapid responsiveness to global competition (Millet as cited in Plessis, Plessis, & Millett, 1999). Briefly, as learning is planned, systematic and in alignment with the organisation's strategic goals, learning organisation is considered to be constantly getting 'smarter'. (Plessis, Plessis, & Millett, 1999)
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