This management case consultation involves a company that is seeking to expand its operation. The case company was established as a manufacturing firm. The sales indicate that the company managed to increase its revenue from $1 million to $100 million. However, the firm is still using antique technologies and the top management is the supreme decision body. The workers are not given the opportunity to be innovative. Therefore, the case analysis includes the evaluation of the need for change and how the company could transform from a traditional firm into a learning organization. at the same time, the change management consultancy incorporates several change management frameworks and how they apply in this company. The author has covered the Woolner's 5-stage and Senge's 5 disciplines. The paper also includes how the case company could become a leaning organization using Balogun and Hope-Hailey's model. the application of action research model, innovation strategies for change and transition, Kotter's 8-step model on the change process, and the five pillars of sustainable change have also been covered. The purpose of including these models is to provide a multidimensional perspective of the transformation and the realignment that the company needs.
The Need for Change
Organizations have been analyzed based on how they progress in terms of structure and strategy from the time they are established to the period when they exhibit growth, decline, or to some extent their collapse. The process of that a firm undergoes from its inception is called a life cycle. Scholars have developed an organizational life cycle model to assess the changes and progress made by corporate firms (Lester, Parnell, & Carraher, 2003). Such evaluations have been used to diagnose and transform their performance and growth. Most literature indicates that companies, irrespective of the industry, could be analyzed based on a five-stage life cycle model. The postulated stages include the existence, survival, growth or success, renewal, and decline. Each of these stages is characterized by specific performance, structure, and strategy elements that could be used to determine the needs for change.
The case company was established as a manufacturing firm, which marked the beginning of its operations. The existence of the company depended on the number of customers who continually purchased their products. The balance between the revenue and the cumulative costs resulted in profits, which in most cases is ploughed back into the capital during the initial stages. On the other hand, for the company to survive, it required an increase in revenue and with a corresponding decline in or sustainability of the cost of operation (Parnell & Carraher, 2002). During the early stages of the company's existence, the company could have focused on the business viability by evaluating the moves of their competitors and the changes in the external environment. Such a vital consideration was essential for the company to advance its strategy and structure to align with growth needs. While scholars have postulated that at this level the primary objective is to make effective decisions, it is at this level that a business is required to enact and create their internal environment that will continuously support growth, competitiveness, and profitability.
Based on the case company's recent performance, it is clear that the decisions at the initial and survival stages were focused on growth. The sales indicate that the company managed to increase its revenue from $1 million to $100 million. At this level of growth and success, the company needs to revitalize its managerial approach to sustain the rate of revenue growth. An increase in sales is associated with an increase in demand. Since the company is a manufacturing firm, the main objective is to consider how the production will meet market needs. However, the issue of quality cannot be ignored. Therefore, since the company is at this stage, several issues relating to sustaining its growth are to be met to enhance the level of competitive advantage. Increased production calls for the quality guarantee, improved workforce, and incorporation of technology (Parnell & Singer, 2001). The case company still rely on antique technologies to manage its operation. On the other hand, workplace management does not allow innovation and employee participation in change management. Such a limitation indicates how the firm needs total culture transformation to enhance employee contribution towards innovation. In fact, this is central to sustaining the current increase in sales as well as market growth. Failure to meet the essential requirement to support further growth could lead to a decline in performance, which lead to the fourth and fifth stages of the cycle.
It is important to note that apart from technical issues and poor employee management culture, there is a possibility of other underlying challenges. For example, for the management to prevent workers from sharing and practicing innovative ideas, then it is an indicator of a possible structure and strategy disparity and skewness (Parnell & Singer, 2001). On the other hand, overdependence on antique technology implies the lack of proper leadership that inspires change and progress. Therefore, these drawbacks are critical for a firm in the third stage of the cycle because it increases the operational and performance risks in the long-run. The company could plunge into a declining stage or forced to revitalize its performance through structural adjustments. Based on the above circumstances that warrant significant changes, the case company requires a strategy evaluation that will improve its long-term and sustainable strategy and competitive advantage. Collaboration, teamwork, innovation, leadership, and cultural development are some of the key factors that the company needs to consider when undertaking a change process (Parnell & Singer, 2001). Failure to focus on these essential dimensions could lead to increased cost of operation, declining competitive advantage, loss of market control, and poor performance and teamwork level among workers.
Learning Organizations, Woolner's 5-Stage, and Senge's 5 Disciplines
Corporate firms could be classified as a learning or a traditional organization. The criteria for classification depend on key factors such as the manner in which the direction of the organization is determined and how the ideas are formulated and implemented. Other factors included to assess whether a company is under a learning or traditional classification is how conflict is resolved and the nature of strategic thinking taking place. In traditional organizations, top management is the key decision body (Keenan et al., 2015). The leadership makes every decision and the rest of the team only comes in as implementors. The management expects every employee to adhere to their work profile and cease to interfere with the duties of other people. In traditional organizations, conflict is majorly resolved through power influence. Moreover, all the vision, innovation, motivations, and punishment are executed by the management. On the other hand, a learning organization is the total opposite of the traditional ones. Such organizations encourage shared vision, which is nurtured and supported by the top management. Organizations exhibiting learning characteristics ensure that there is a multi-level idea formulation where all departments and workers are included. Employees are encouraged to focus on their jobs but should understand how their work jurisdiction and scope impact other workers. Moreover, such firms are associated with a high level of collaboration, teamwork, innovation, idea diversity, participation, and shared vision and values (Keenan et al., 2015). Employees are free to integrate with their leaders to improve performance and implementation of strategies.
Woolner, Lowy, and Redding (1995) developed the Woolner's 5-stage model, which is used to determine the stages that a company undergoes before becoming a learning organization. the scholars stated that an organization undergoes five major transitions: forming, developing, maturing, adapting, and learning. Each of these stages is characterized by specific managerial approaches. The forming stage entails the initiatives and measures that dominate start-ups, where the organization learns through trials. Firms at developing stage experience solidification of their business models and structure and they learning through proactive and formal occurrences. Companies at the maturing stage understand employee needs and focus on how the workers could inspire further growth. Organizations at the fourth stage, which is the adapting level, have included learning as part of their strategic approach to management of the affairs of the business. The fifth stage involves a more advanced approach to learning (Woolner, Lowy, & Redding, 1995). In this case, it becomes a daily practice and component of each execution undertaken.
A critical evaluation of the case company indicates that the manufacturing firm is a transition from a forming stage to a developing stage. The intermediate position between the first and the second stages is viable for this company because it is experiencing the characteristics of the two stages. The firm is yet to solidify its performance in terms of growth and market control or expansion. At the same time, they have not yet embraced learning through employee-management collaboration. Since the company is already registering an increase in revenue, it implies that they have attained the desired product design and branding. However, the firm has not yet set up measures that support proactive learning, which is a key element of the organization in the developing stage. Therefore, the company is not yet fully qualified to classified as being at the developmental stage but at the same time, they have outgrown the forming stage. Based on this scenario, one can only conclude that based on Woolner's 5-stage of learning in organizations, the case company is in a transition zone from a forming organization to a developing one (Woolner, Lowy, & Redding, 1995).
Woolner's 5-stage evaluation has indicated that the case company needs to transform from a traditional organization into a learning organization. One of the key models that could be used by a company to become a learning organization is Senge's 5 disciplines. The five disciplines as proposed by Senge include mental models, personal mastery, shared vision, system learning, and team learning. The case company could use this model to assess the internal limitations as well as the measures to be undertaken to transform its operation. The company should allow their employees to share their skills and innovative ideas, which could be incorporated into the strategic implementation of the organization. Senge (1990) pointed out that personal mastery is central to organizational transformation. That is, companies can only learn through competent and experienced individuals who understand the v...
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