Synergetic Solutions Incorporated (Organizational structure, 2005) is in a situation most successful organizations experience over time. Synergetic Solutions has experienced stagnation in its primary business, systems integration. There are numerous courses of action a company may choose in this situation. One option would be to make no changes and wait for the market to recover. Another option would be to undertake some changes in an effort to counteract the market stagnation.
An overview of the Chief Executive Officer's (CEO) and Chief Operating Officer's (COO) solutions to change within their organization will be provided. An explanation of different change models followed by an in-depth demonstration of Lewin's Force Field Analysis Model for change will be used to show how using thoughtful and well-planned actions can control change within an organization.
An Overview of Change Management Theories
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Change management methodologies reflect the internal structure of an organization; mechanistic organizations tend toward procedural interventions and organic organizations tend toward whole system interventions. According to Newman and Fitzgerald (2001), Lewin's Force Field Analysis model for change and "action research underlie(s) most current OD approaches" (p. 1), but Current practice goes beyond original formulations to emphasize...emergent processes.
Newer action research approaches include 'participatory action research', 'action science', 'action learning', and 'appreciative inquiry', these contemporary approaches might be viewed as extending the action research 'continuum' that ranges more traditional consultant directed linear applications toward increasingly collaborative, systemic, transformational change processes (Newman and Fitzgerald, 2001, p. 1).
Boog, Keuhne and Tromp (2003), echoing the same point of view, characterized action research as having poles, On the one pole, there is action research that is first and foremost meant to mobilize people and resources...for certain pre-established ends which are not further questioned. On the other pole, there is action research that opts for a principally open approach in which it is of vital importance to investigate thoroughly what the actual problem is...that enhances the position of the actors...and increases their skills and possibilities to influence their situation (p. 420).
Appreciative inquiry is one of the later change management methodologies. Appreciative inquiry, says Mellish (1999), Is not a technique; it cannot be applied as a mechanism for change. It cannot be contrived. The approach requires willingness on behalf of the advocate and the client to search systematically for possibilities and potential, and to provide scope for diversity and synergy to coexist in pursuit of collective interest based mutual understanding (p. 5).
Mellish's statement, "synergy to coexist in pursuit of collective interest based in mutual understanding" is recognizable in the other "pole" of change management theory, whole systems theory (p. 5). Manning and Binzagr (1996) wrote that whole systems methodologies are based on six assumptions:
- Organizations are viewed as whole systems. (Synergy)
- Viewing organizations as whole systems requires the creation of dialogue among all organizational stakeholders. (Mutual Understanding)
- Organizations do not exist, but organizing processes and procedures do. (Collective Interests)
- What we perceive as our collective organization reality becomes the organization that is created. (Synergy and Mutual Understanding)
- Individuals within an organization have the capability to self organize and redefine their reality. (Coexist in pursuit of Collective Interests)
- Humanity shares a set of universal values that are inherently 'good' and these values will ultimately influence voluntary collective action. (Synergy to coexist in pursuit of collective interest-based on mutual understanding) (p. 268).
Whole system methodologies, one of which is the whole scale change model, act on the whole system using "processes of information sharing, relationship-building and co-creation of identity" (Arena, 2003, p. 1). The basic assumptions of whole scale change are:
- Living systems identify new potential through information sharing.
- Living systems generate order through relationships. 3
- Living systems organize at a higher level around identity. (Arena, 2003, pp. 2-3)
Synergetic Solutions Inc, Change Management Case Study
Harold Redd, CEO of Synergetic Solutions, decided to venture into a new market, networking solutions, with surprising initial success. The success of the initial foray prompted the CEO to develop a new vision for his company. The newly revamped company would generate 80% of its total revenue from networking solutions. Implementation of the new business paradigm required substantial changes in the company's structure.
Internal and External Drivers of Change Lewin's Force Field Analysis Model of organizational change suggests that certain driving forces "push organizations toward a new state of affairs" (University of Phoenix. (Ed.), 2005, p. 476). These driving forces can be external or internal. Three external drivers of change affecting Synergetic Solutions can be identified: The stagnating systems integration market. This condition drove the CEO of Synergetic Solutions to venture into the networking solutions market.
A positive initial foray into the networking solutions market. This success drove the CEO to train and certify some of his best employees in networking technologies. Competitors trying to entice away employees who had been trained as network architects and solution designers. This drove Synergetic Solutions to take action to try and retain employees, as well as to be prepared for the possible departure of those employees. Three internal drivers of change at Synergetic Solutions include the following: The vision of CEO Harold Redd to try entering the networking solutions market, and then when those efforts were initially successful, his decision to make networking solutions the primary focus of Synergetic Solutions. Harold Redd's vision and actions were the fundamental driving forces in this entire process.
Quarterly growth targets for revenue and employee involvement. These targets drove the employees to try to reach Harold Redd's goals. The need to build employee skill sets and raise pay accordingly. These needs drove the CEO to offer incentives for competency growth and variable pay packages. Organizational Factors Weighed to Assure Successful Change The COO of Synergetic Solutions must weigh several factors to determine the implications on the company if he wants to move the company forward into a "networking design "hothouse" from just a computer trading organization" (Organizational structure, 2005). One factor the COO should weigh is the importance of the project.
The COO should not create a project just to create work for the team or employees. The project must have meaning or there will be resistance by the team for a change that would causes more anxiety than good. The COO also needs to keep in mind what team or person will be best suited for the task weighing the team's or person's skills and talents. Assigning the wrong task to a team or employee could not only lead to failure but resistance by that team or employee to the change. Additionally, the COO should analyze the internal and external forces as described in Lewin's force field analysis model.
These internal and external forces are known as the "driving forces" and "restraining forces" (University of Phoenix. (Ed.), 2005, p. 476-477). "The driving forces in the external environment: information technology, globalization, competition, and demographics" will affect the company (University of Phoenix. (Ed.), 2005, p. 476). The COO also needs to look at the internal driving forces "originate from within the organization, such as competition across divisions of the company" (University of Phoenix. (Ed.), 2005, p. 477). Additionally, The COO needs to examine the restraining forces "commonly called "resistance to change" because they appear as employee behaviors that block the change process" (University of Phoenix. (Ed.), 2005, p. 477).
Lewin's model notes that a company must "unfreeze the current situation, moving to a desired condition, and refreezing the system so that the change remains in this desired state" (University of Phoenix. (Ed.), 2005, p. 477). As Synergetic Solutions moves forward to meet its objective, the COO will need to address the unfreezing aspects of Lewin's model that will create some turmoil with the company. The COO will also need to determine when the company has changed enough to meets current objectives and refreeze the company to provide stability.
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