Nowadays, people want to achieve the best results in all their activities, starting from education when first responsibilities occur, continuing with developing their business and ending with retirement details. Despite the belief that people are free to control their actions and decisions, it is sometimes impossible to understand that all of them are actually dependent on change. Remembering the words by Heraclitus that nothing is constant but change, one should learn all the aspects of this process.
In organisations, change management is a crucial task that involves not only leaders but managers and employees of different levels. There are many successful and failed cases when companies apply changes, follow models and theories, and set goals to achieve some improvement. Hewlett-Packard (HP), BMW, BBVA Banking Company, General Motors, or Apple can be examples of how change is organised. However, the nature of change is complex, and its drivers, as well as outcomes, are hard to recognise and predict.
In a world that is full of competitions, technological advances, and globalisation-related outcomes, change turns out to be an obligatory step. New methods of work, approach to cooperating with clients, and access to resources have to be introduced regularly to survive in the chosen business sphere. According to Akingbola, Rogers, and Baluch, change is unceasing in many companies, so the awareness of internal and external environments, as well as change recognition, planning, and adaptation, has to be promoted. Readiness for change is a key factor in its implementation, but an understanding of the essence of change should not be ignored. The nature of organisational change lies in specific alterations that can be observed in the business environment.
Some good examples of change are introduced by HP Company and its decision to merge with Compaq or BMW and its customer relationship marketing (CRM). In the case of BMW, a new product was offered and resulted in new marketing campaigns and recommendations. It was a developmental change that was planned and enhanced the existing marketing aspects of the company. Managers followed Lewin’s model to promote a need for a new product (unfreeze), develop and advertise this product (freeze), and introduce new services and marketing campaigns on the basis of the product (refreeze).
The HP-Compaq merger was directed to improve the financial situation in both companies and control taxes that challenged the IT industry. This transformational change was a radical decision and required a considerable shift in the assumptions and attitudes of both companies. Change touched the companies’ structures, processes, and cultures, and positive results, including new product lines and market share, were achieved. The authors of this change followed Kotter’s model, where the creation of a team, vision, and strategy is supported by the discussion of short-term wins, gains, and changes in organisational culture.
Every change within the business context is characterised by the presence of certain drivers. Many researchers like Whelan-Berry et al. developed the definitions of drivers and introduced them as activities, behaviours, or events that facilitate a change implementation process. As a rule, drivers are different pressures of internal or external nature due to which an organisation make a decision to defend, react, exploit, or ignored. Drivers that are originated from the outside environment are called external, and they are frequent. They may be divided into general (influence not one company only but a number of companies), industrial (challenge a particular industry), and specific (change the work of one department only).
In the case of BMW, the company was motivated by internal industrial drivers in order to stay competitive, not to lose its clients, and earn benefits. HP and Compaq had to consider change as a solution to their problems rooted in general external factors like high taxes, globalisation, and rapid technological progress. Industry-specific drivers like the emergence of new entrants and technological disruption influenced the decision of BBVA to implement transformations and stay competitive. External drivers are usually easy to predict and recognise in the business world. However, their consequences will hardly remain the same for each company, and it is a task for organisations or their specific departments to investigate the external environment and offer some ideas. Political, social, technological, and legal factors affect everyone in a specific way, and change is a common outcome in a working process.
At the same time, change may be caused by certain internal factors. The main challenge is to recognise the line between external and internal impact because an internal problem of a poor client database is actually rooted in external economic change. Internal drivers usually include weak leadership, the lack of human resources, low customer satisfaction, or poorly developed organisational structure. In this case, many companies fail to recognise a problem as soon as it occurs, and much time and certain efforts have to be spent. Change must be properly planned and analysed to understand what aspects of work should be touched, what human shifts are required, and what outcomes are expected. Although the need for change caused by internal factors is hard to identify, it is easier for a company to implement it and achieve positive results compared to change driven by external factors.
Discussing the nature and the role of change in an organisation, one should understand that this process cannot be ignored. Every individual or a group of people must experience change from time to time to meet new standards, consider the worth of growth and development, or just be competitive. In some cases, change is imposed and makes people work hard to identify and promote it. Sometimes, companies plan their change for years to succeed in their industries or win the market. Depending on either external or internal drivers, change is organised by a leader, a manager, or a team. All the participants understand the goals of change, consider the existing vision, and think about the expected outcomes. It is normal not to be ready for change, but it is wrong to neglect its importance due to the lack of knowledge or experience. Each case used in this discussion proves that change may be different and cover various sectors and people. The only constant requirement for all organisations is to prove the need for change and accept it using a relevant model.