Motorola, the Next Generation of Change Management

Subject: Management
Pages: 16
Words: 2493
Reading time:
9 min
Study level: PhD


Change management is a multifaceted discipline that affects the life of individuals, groups, organizations, societies and nations. With the continuous increases in technological development coupled with competition, individuals and organizations need to adapt to new efficient ways of operations so as to effectively and efficiently execute their duties. This change requires that individuals, institutions and businesses transform their work culture and skills. Change management is a process that involves different phases. To change from a given conventional practice, one has to plan to usher in a new paradigm of the approach of a given task or culture. This is done to ensure that the change process is smooth and does not negatively affect the targeted population. Phase one of this transformational process involves preparation for change. During preparation for change, a number of requirements are necessary, these include; preparation of the people for change, assessment of the impact of change to the people, and the strategy development on the best way to ensure that people adjust and adapt fast to the change. The second phase involves managing change which necessitates that detailed planning is done to ensure that all the aspects of change management are included and their actual date and resource requirements are put into consideration. In addition to this, the analysis of resistance to change management and implementation is necessary. Finally, change management requires reinforcing change by data gathering, correlation action, rewards and recognition. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the aspect of change management as practiced by Motorola.

Motorola has over the years embraced change in business which is part of its weapon to remain efficient and competitive in the market (Hayes, 2007). Change is a vivid feature of Motorola’s legacy which was introduced by Paul Galvin. Galvin holds onto the belief that continuous change is necessary for the success and survival of the company. “While our product lines have grown, evolved and multiplied, the people values on which Motorola was founded have remained constant; chief among these is a constant respect for people” (Bush, 2003). Motorola, Inc. was launched in 1928 under the name of Galvin manufacturing company and later changed to Motorola. The company’s earliest product was alternating current inverter and automobile radios. Later, the firm was renamed Motorola and has grown over the years from a modest start and evolved into a big multinational corporation.

The growth of the company has seen it develop its size and product portfolio over the years. The company has extended its product portfolio to include phonographs, television sets, transistors, and semiconductor components. With the increased portfolio and growth in markets in different regions, the company had to departmentalize its operations and specialization. These departments included; the semiconductor sector which specialized in the manufacturing of microprocessors, memory chips and integrated circuits. The second department was the communication sector which dealt with two-way radio, paging devices and cellular telephone. The third department was the information system sector which specifically dealt with integrated data transmission and data processing systems. Lastly, the fourth department was that of automobile and industrial electronics sector which dealt in electronic engine controls, electronic appliances and research in satellite technology.

The growth of Motorola came up with a number of changes in its operating system. To ensure that this change is quickly and efficiently embraced by both the management and the workforce, the company had to employ a number of strategies to help in change management. As the company grew in size, its operation system became complex which not only required technical solutions but also changes in strategies towards achieving the desired objectives. It is in this light that the company has to cope with change and change management so as to compete effectively in the market.

In 1983, the company was undergoing a series of problems that needed practical solutions. This year, the company had just come out of a recession in the semiconductor sector. This time Motorola’s profit fell down by a record 16% (Bush, 2003).To regain itself and effectively and compete in the market, the company had to adopt changes in its operations on manufacturing, management, marketing and distribution. Motorola had stiff competition from TI and Intel although these two companies were hard hit by the recession recording a drop of 49% and 72% respectively (Hayes, 2007). The company’s Chief executive at this time was Galvin. Under his management, Galvin noted that a rapid expansion was a good sign to the company turn around but he had to cope with the managerial challenges that this growth came along with as well as structural challenges. Galvin employed several strategies in his managerial style to ensure that he sought solutions to emerging problems from the workers. Towards this, it is noted that he could walk in the hall of the organization not only inspect the work but also to seek the opinions of the general workforce.

Process of Change Management in Motorola

According to Morrison and Morrison (1998), Organizational change management is a crucial managerial process that needs to be handled with care. To successfully achieve change management in an organization, people should be fully involved (Cameron and Green, 2004). Motorola Company like any other competitive company requires developing and embracing change; thus, requiring change management strategies. In its efforts to manage change, the company employed the John Hayes model of change management. In this model, change management is a process that involves several interventions for its effectiveness and success. Furthermore, in the application of the Hayes model, a company or an individual has to follow laid down phases of change management.

In the first phase of change management, there is the process of preparing for change which in turn involves preparation, assessment and strategy development. This phase is clearly depicted in Motorola Company. Available literature points out that Galvin was not only equitable but also an accessible manager. This aspect of him being easy to access made him interact with many workers and managers. This attribute has been observed to be necessary for implementation and change management strategy. Galvin prepared Motorola employees for change by giving a detailed and mind provocative speech on leadership. This speech invited a lot of reactions among the employees and managers alike.

Managing Change in Motorola

This phase involves detailed planning for the change process. In the process of planning, a clear analysis of resource allocation, process and way of change implementation, and timing is done. It also involves resistance management which is necessary for change management under which all strategies are employed to ensure that the management and the entire workforce embrace the change as theirs. This kind of ownership is an indicator of readiness within a company to adopt change. This phase depicts itself vividly when Galvin is reported to have attacked cultures that promoted rivalry in the internal affairs of the company. Towards that, he encouraged all workforce to engage themselves as a team. Roth, (2003), illustrates that teamwork spirit is one aspect of change management that is required for the success of the kind of change being implemented in the company.

Reinforcing change

To reinforce change in a company a number of strategies are necessary (Bush, 2003). These strategies are geared towards ensuring that change introduced in the company is embraced and everyone is adapting to the change in a convincing way. In Motorola Company, it was very difficult to change a culture that had had its roots entrenched in the operation system. This kind of rigidity became a stumbling block to the change process (Anderson and Anderson, 2001). Galvin gradually started teaching managers the best techniques and ways of change management. He managed to spread his point across by organizing company meetings where he gave motivational speeches on leadership and management. The fact that he could be accessed clearly demonstrates that he broke the long chain of bureaucracy which normally is an impediment to change and change management.

To ensure change management within the company was properly reinforced, management opted to listen to employees on the best strategies to use in change implementation and change management. The company used corrective action and rewards to employees to create a wind of motivation among them to not only drive them along the desired path of change but also to appreciate their contribution to the growth of the company. In this line, it is necessary for top management to fully coordinate with all the other departmental heads in ensuring that they work as a team. Cameron and Green (2004) illustrate that:

“Intensive collaborative process is critical for change management. It deepens the analysis and frames it in a way that can be heard and used by the organization. Equally important, it increases the knowledge and skills of change agents within the organization so that they can move the change process forward independently. Central to this method is the challenging assumptions and questioning ways of thinking require a relational context; that is, the movement toward change occurs through growth-fostering interactions characterized by mutuality, reciprocity and fluid expertise Thus, it is up to us as managers to create mutuality in all our interactions, whether with individuals, workgroups or the management team.”

Teamwork in change management is one aspect that not speeds the change implementation process but also makes the employees work towards one goal. “In 1970s, Motorola developed the participative management program as a means of enhancing productivity and employees’ involvement in the firm” (Hayes, 2007). This program of involvement of employees and top management in the affairs of the company impacted positively on the company’s growth and development. This strategy improved the efficiency in communication among the employees and management. In this regard, the success of any change and its management is pegged on proper and effective communication channels at all company levels.

In the analysis of change management within Motorola, a number of factors contributed to poor results and drastic loss in the market share. This pushed the giant company into restructuring and undertaking various forms of changes. The longer production cycle, too many and unnecessary management structures, and inflexible decision-making systems had pushed Galvin into instituting change in management. The top management team has a role to sponsor activities that are geared towards educating the other managers on the role and importance of the change. This involves the active participation of all the managers.

Communication in change management

According to Cook, Macaulay and Coldicott, (2004), communication is a very powerful tool in change implementation and change management. Effective communication in an organization should address all components that are the audience, the content of the message and the timing of the message. Motorola employed an effective mode of communication which made it easy to share ideas and opinions. This is one strategy that had impacted positively to the continuous growth of the company.

Change management theory

According to Kotter (2010), “There are approaches developed by Kotter and Schlesinger to prevent or minimize employee resistance to change”. The strategies are remedies to four main resistance factors which include; misunderstanding, self-interest, low tolerance for change, and employee disagreement. Motorola through its chief executive officer, Galvin, demonstrated forms of application of Kotter’s principles in his management style.

Kotter’s 8 step change model and theories are evidenced in the operational culture of Motorola.

The 8 Principles in change management

  1. Demonstration of increase in urgency levels and talks into consideration the role of taking an active part in people’s motivation. This principle is evidenced in Motorola Company. Mr. Galvin gave his leadership speech without a wide consultation which depicted how argent change and change management was to the effective performance of the company.
  2. Building a guiding team which involves putting the right people in positions. These people should have the right commitment level and the right mix of skills. Right people make the right team that not only works together but also drives the company towards a given desired direction. In their continuous strive for success, Motorola has over the period lived to this principle.
  3. Right vision- the team should have the right vision and strategy. This is important in teamwork and the principle of collective responsibility in the company. Vision defines the company’s future aims and to ensure the aims and objectives are fulfilled, the team should strive to formulate a vision that is practical and achievable.
  4. Communication involves communicating simple strategies. In relation to Motorola Company, Galvin applied this communication buy-in principle in trying to explain the need for change in the operation of Motorola. This is depicted in his speech on leadership and training he organized for the managers
  5. The empowerment action-this principle highlights the need to remove obstacles that impede smooth and effective communication in the company. This enables the flow of constructive feedback and calls for support among the entire team in an organization. The creation of short-term win-short team wins boosts the company’s morale and speed of action. It is broken down success into small and manageable sizes within a specific period of time(Kotter’s, 2010)
  6. Don’t let up principle- this foster and encourage determination among the employees and the management. Once a change is initiated, it is good to see it through. This encourages the team members in the company to believe in the future success of the company. This kind of principle is evidenced in the Galvin way of operation. He never gave up in his efforts to explain change and change management to the other team members in Motorola Company.
  7. Make change stick – this aspect of change management involves reinforcing the value of success. This is done through several interventions which include bringing a new crop of employees who are experienced and better equipped to be part of the change and change management in the company. These interventions are geared towards weaving and turning change into the company culture.

A table showing Change management Action Plan

Motorola Change Management Action Plan
What Needs Changing in Motorola? YES NO
The Structure, policies, practices, attitudes in the company ο ο
Are the People? ο ο
Is the decision-making? ο ο
Are the rewards people get? ο ο
Who are the key stakeholders in Motorola? YES NO
Are they ready for this change? ο ο
Are they capable of driving the change? ο ο
Who will take key roles? YES NO
Is it clear who is doing what, when? ο ο
Have you allocated resources to the change? YES NO
How much money? ο ο
How much time? ο ο
How many people? ο ο


Motorola is one of the companies which have survived the wave of market competition and economic recession through strategically positioning themselves to accept and embrace continuous change in their work culture. In this period of stiff competition and advanced technological development, change is the pivotal point of success. It is, therefore, necessary for companies not only to embrace change but also weave it to form their culture through better change management strategies. With stiff competition from a giant company like Nokia in mobile phone manufacturing, Motorola should speed up its innovation to compete well in the market.


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Bush, T. 2003, Theories of educational leadership and management, Sage.

Cameron, E. and Green, M. 2004, Making sense of change management: a complete guide to the models, tools & techniques of organizational change, Kogan Page.

Cook, S, Macaulay, S, and Coldicott, H. 2004, Change management excellence: using the four intelligences for successful organizational change, Kogan Page.

Hayes, J. 2007, “The Theory and Practice of Change Management”, 2nd Ed, Palgrave Macmillan.

Kotter, 2010, Kotter’s Eight Step Change Model. Global Literacy Foundation. Web.

Morrison, K. and Morrison, R.B. 1998, Management theories for educational change, Sage.

Roth, W.F, 2003, The roots and future of management theory: a systems perspective, CRC Press.