Change Management & Reorganization: Action Plan

Subject: Case Studies
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How to Lead the Change Brought On By the Reorganization

The recent changes that occurred in the top management unit in our sales and marketing department will definitely result in restricting of this unit. A number of changes are expected in the management structure and all the concerned stakeholders should be prepared. According to Levasseur (2009), change is one of the most resented yet unavoidable factors within organizational systems. People fear change because they do not know what to expect. They know that the new forces may demand a change in the approach they handle various tasks, but they do not know if they have the capacity to meet the new demands. This is one of the reasons why many people resent change. However, as a leader, I have the obligation of making all the six supervisors and seventy-three employees working in this department accept the change brought about on by the recent reorganization.

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Leading change will require an effective change management model that will make the employees realize that the new approaches do not pose any threat to their jobs or position within the organization. One of the best change management models is Kurt Lewin’s Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze model shown below.

Kurt Lewin Change Theory
Figure 1: Kurt Lewin Change Theory

This model defines the change management process in three main stages. In the first stage of initiating change, the leader will need to make the stakeholders identify the weaknesses which exist in the current system in a process called unfreezing. At this stage, I will make all the employees in this department and other relevant stakeholders understand the reasons why the reorganization cannot be avoided. Also important will be the need to address their fears. As Reiß (2012) notes, when new systems are introduced into an organization, the fear of the unknown among the employees can be so much that it may disorient them in their normal duties. For this reason, it will be necessary to reassure them that they have nothing to fear. It is important to emphasize the fact that the activities at the first stage of unfreezing take place before the actual change is introduced. These activities are meant to prepare the employees for the impending change. They help also help in encouraging the employees to support change instead of resenting it.

Once the employees have understood the need for change, the next step will be to introduce the new system. According to Colletti and Chonko (1997), when introducing change, it is critical that the management involves all the relevant stakeholders, especially the employees. For this reason, I will make the employees be at the center stage of the new system. They will need to own the new system in order to embrace its new features. I also plan to organize regular training for all the supervisors and employees working within the department so that they may understand the dynamism within the industry. They will need to understand how to manage the emerging forces and ways they can remain relevant to this firm. The final stage as defined in this model is to refreeze. Refreezing involves fitting into the newly introduced structures and systems. At this stage, the employees will be expected to be able to work well under the new system.

How to Lead the Supervisors within the Department

According to Levasseur (2009), the mid-managers play a very important role because they are the link between the policymakers and junior employees. They directly supervise how the policies are implemented at various stages. For this reason, the six supervisors in this marketing department must be managed properly in order to achieve the best results. I intend to introduce positive discipline in the workplace using these supervisors. These supervisors will need to be disciplined in their work so that their junior employees may emulate their desirable character in what they do. Transformational leadership principles may be of great help at this stage. Challenging the existing systems is one of the most important principles of the transformational leadership model. These supervisors need to understand that they have a potential that has never been tapped in their lives. One way of challenging their existing capacities will be by introducing positive competition among the supervisors. Each of the six supervisors will be assigned an equal number of employees. They will then be assigned to address different tasks each having a specific measurement. The six teams will then be expected to compete for given trophies or monetary rewards. The team that gives the most impressive performance in their assignments will be given the reward or the trophy.

Certo (2010) warns that organizing competitions within a given department should be done with care. This is so because sometimes the employees may start viewing their peers as a threat instead of partners. These six teams are expected to work as a unit in order to achieve a common goal for their organization. The competition should take this fact into consideration to avoid unnecessary internal wrangles within this department. Each of the supervisors may be assigned managerial functions within the marketing department. I will ensure that sales promotion, public relations, customer care, and marketing research units are assigned to the first five supervisors. The sixth supervisor, who will also act as my deputy, will be responsible for the new markets. According to Colletti and Chonko (1997), the marketing department should always coordinate with the production unit very closely.

Using the new model of the social market, a firm should always produce what the customers desire. The employees in the marketing department are always in constant interaction with the customers. This means that they have knowledge about the customers’ changing tastes and preferences. This knowledge should be shared with the employees in the production department who are directly involved in the production process. For this reason, I intend to introduce a system, in coordination with the head of the production unit, where supervisors in this department will be holding regular briefs with the supervisors in the production department. This will facilitate sharing of knowledge. While the production department will know what they should produce, the employees in the marketing department will have a better knowledge of the products they sell in the market, making it easy to address questions that customers may have when planning to purchase a product.

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According to Paton and McCalman (2008), there are three main levels of organizational planning. The first level is the strategic planning level where the top managers develop the vision and strategic objectives for the organization. The second level is the tactical level where the mid-managers try to find a way of putting the vision into an actionable plan. The last stage is the process where the supervisors develop ways of daily routines of addressing specific tasks. As the head of this department, I will play part in both strategic and tactical levels of planning. However, I will need to help the supervisors in developing effective operational plans to guide their daily activities.

Challenges Expected in Leading a Highly Diversified Department

It is expected that when leading a highly diversified department, some challenges may arise. The diversity may be in the form of age, religion, culture, or race. One of the expected challenges expected in this department is resistance to change. Some of the old employees may not be comfortable with the new strategies that may require a radical change in the operational approach. Any form of resistance to change may be a major hindrance to positive progress within an organization. This challenge can be addressed using appropriate change management models as discussed in the section above. According to Levasseur (2009), cultural beliefs and practices have a major impact on the approach that an employee takes in handling various tasks. When the cultural beliefs of the employees within a department are highly diversified, this may be a challenge, especially when trying to introduce an organizational culture. Changing some of these beliefs may take a lot of time and resources. To address this problem, this department will need to introduce all the employees to rigorous training sessions at regular intervals, most preferably after every two months, which will make them embrace a new common culture within the firm. Another possible challenge may be the resistance to the new leadership. Some of the supervisors may feel more deserving than I to assume this top position in this department. This may make them rebel or become unsupportive. Positive communication may help in solving this problem.

References

Certo, S. C. (2010). Supervision: Concepts and skill-building. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Colletti, J. & Chonko, L. (1997). Change Management Initiatives: Moving Sales Organizations from Obsolescence to High Performance. The Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 17(2), 1-30.

Levasseur, R. (2009). People Skills: Implementing Strategic Goals—A Change Management Perspective. Management Journal 39(4), 370-372.

Paton, R. A., & McCalman, J. (2008). Change Management: A Guide to Effective Implementation. London: Sage Publications.

Reiß, M. (2012). Change management: A balanced and blended approach. Norderstedt: Books on Demand.

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