Managing Organizational Change: Theories and Approaches

Implementing a change within an organization is not an easy task. Change models, such as Kotter’s Eight Steps, are often viewed as a lifeline for organizations attempting at altering their structure, production or management process. However, unless every single step of Kotter’s Model is followed closely, an organization is most likely to fail. Because of the unwillingness to follow every step of Kotter’s Model, as well as lack of understanding for what makes an efficient change, the leaders of Kodak, McDonald’s, Hewlett-Packard and, partially, IBM, faced a serious crisis.

Consulting Kotter’s model, one is capable of seeing the errors made by Fiorine, a has-been head of the Hewlett-Packard Company, easily. The lack of support from the industry people was the key reason for the change implementation to fail. In other words, the project was doomed from the very first “sense of urgency” stage. In Kodak’s case, though the dissatisfaction of the stakeholders also played a major part in the failure of the company, it was the failure of the company’s leader to remove the obstacles, particularly, the employees’ fear for the future that created the premises for a complete failure.

Finally, considering the problem that McDonald’s faced as the infamous documentary revealed the effects of fast food on human body, one must name the inability of the company to build on the change as the key problem that made the organization’s success impossible. Indeed, since McDonald’s did not display any signs of altering its nature prior to the movie release, its intentions to alter its services were not taken seriously. As far as IBM is concerned, it could be argued that the company could have built up on its change in a more obvious manner, since it would have allowed the company to carry out the transfer to a new principle of management easier and faster (Palmer, Dunford & Alkin, 2009).

As it has been stressed above, most of the aforementioned change processes could have been conducted in a more professional way and with much better results. For example, in the Hewlett-Packard Company case, the introduction of a transformative leadership strategy with the following change in the staff’s motivation could have been advised. The same can be applied to the Kodak’s case; by offering the staff a new standard of organizational behavior and, perhaps, financial incentives, Kodak would have won the game. In McDonald’s situation, a proper competitive strategy could have been suggested as a means to cope with the pressure coming from the opponents and the subsequent rise of the rivals. Speaking of IBM, one must admit that the change process was carried out quite successfully; however, it could have been reasonable to implement a promotion campaign to make for the lack of financial support (McGrath, 2013).

Based on the existing classification, the change image of the HP Company leader could be defined as the one of a Director. Indeed, she attempted at carrying out the required alterations with the help of every single resource at her disposal, at the same time making sure that the staff complies with her decision. As far as Kodak’s case is concerned, the role of an Interpreter could suit the company’s leader, as the latter attempted at interpreting the outcomes of the change rather intensively.

In addition, the fact that the company’s leader realized the inconsistency between the advanced technology and the one that Kodak’s products were based on shows that the leader was ready for reconsidering the meaning of outcomes as an Interpreter should. The owner of McDonald’s, in their turn, displayed the qualities of a Caretaker, since the changes that the organization suffered were the effects of the outside factors rather than the direct influence of the company’s leader. Indeed, the change process was triggered and enhanced by the movie displaying the effects of fast food on human body, as well as the increased rates of competition within the marketplace.

The company leader, in their turn, played a comparatively small part in the process and merely saw the organization through the crisis. Finally, as far as the image of change applicable to the leader of IBM is concerned, the one of a Nurturer should be named as the most obvious choice. Indeed, unlike any other leader, the one that was at the helm of IBM set the priorities straight, locating the issues that needed to be addressed and at the same time fostering the principles of professional and social responsibility within the organization (Gossling, 2011).

Since each of the cases discussed above has a unique obstacle to handle, as well as a specific history, it is essential that the change management strategies should be tailored to suit the needs of each particular case. For instance, in the situation that the Hewlett-Packard Company witnessed, it would be reasonable to revisit the approach suggested by Fiorina. This time, however, it will be imperative that each staff member should understand the necessity for the change and be ready to alter their traditional routine.

Likewise, when carrying out the change process within the IBM, one will have to make sure that every single staff member understands the necessity for the organization to change its current processes. The leader of Kodak, in their turn, will have to conduct the required alterations in a more careful manner and schedule these alterations so that the staff could get used to the innovations within the company’s structure and processes. Addressing the McDonald’s issue, one may suggest that the company’s leader should enhance the competitive spirit among the staff and be more aggressive in its responses to the pressure from adversaries.

Reference List

Gossling, T. (2011). Corporate social responsibility and business performance: Theories and evidence about organizational responsibility. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.

McGrath, R. G. (2013). The end of competitive advantage: How to keep your strategy moving as fast as your business. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

Palmer, I., Dunford, R. & Alkin, G. (2009). Managing organizations change: A multiple perspectives approach. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.