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A business management system's primary goal is to handle workflow by optimizing, reporting, assisting, and overseeing business processes. Formal business models that are well-designed make such management easier by offering detailed descriptions of organization processes as the basis for computerized implementation, verification, and analysis. Most companies find numerous errors when planning for transition programs. These attempts also fail due to a lack of careful planning (Sinha & Hemant 558). One of the most important mistakes that most organizations make is isolating the reform plan from the rest of the organization. This paper seeks to unravel Leavitt’s Diamond and Layered models concerning the “Managing a Global Team: Greg James at Sun Microsystems, Inc. (A)” case study.
It is almost impractical to implement or execute a change initiative without it affecting other individuals, departments or processes, intentionally or otherwise (Wigand 1259). Therefore, being informed about the effects that change brings on the whole or part of the organization and strategizing accordingly, is essential for the initiative to be successful. The Leavitt’s System Model, developed in 1995, is a mechanism for evaluating the organizational effects a change initiative will have. The model proposes that there are four components in any regulatory system. These include the people component, tasks, the organization chart and lastly technology. According to Smith (24), to employ the model actually, it is important first to understand what each of these components does in the organization before analyzing how changing them will affect the organizational process.
The people component comprises of all the employees in the organization. However, when employing this model, people are not viewed as managers, accountants or receptionists. Instead emphasis is on their skills, knowledge, productivity and efficiency. Therefore, when changing tasks, structure, and technology, Greg should have tapped into the available global talent, trained or educated his employees to enable them to familiarize themselves with the new system, job responsibilities and duties (Sinha & Hemant 558).
Furthermore, the Indian team not only believed that they got second-class treatment with respect to the larger team but also felt down played by the larger team and as a result, this led to interpersonal conflicts. On the one hand, the France team was displeased that their counterpart in the US were getting paid a salary 30% higher, even though they were as qualified as the US team. On the other hand, the HS Holding’s servers went down because there was a misunderstanding between the UAE, Indian and the US teams in regards to how to handle the queue and what it should do.
Tasks and goals constitute the major components. That is to say, how things are done, and what the change initiative hopes to achieve. Again, it is important to focus on the qualitative features of the goals and tasks rather than on the actual goals and task. This can be achieved by looking at the benefits and relevance of the tasks and the productivity and yield of the goals (Smith 30). Therefore, changing organizational workforce means modifying the goals or tasks to optimize the use of their knowledge and skills. The Indian team complained that they had excessively long days that began at dawn and ended a few hours to midnight, after the conference calls. Moreover, they were only called to clean up when there were problems rather than being assigned important projects like the other teams.
When changing the organizational structure, such as shifting from a hierarchical to a flat setup, it is important to understand the how the effects will affect the tasks, people, and technology. Likewise, changing technology requires changes in personnel and the structure (Wigand 1264). Since this not only affects the hierarchical organizational structure, but also organizational communicational patterns, the relationships, and the coordination between different employees, departments and management levels (Wigand 1266). When Greg was forming the international team, he should have researched on the different countries’ cultures, customs and beliefs before introducing the open work program, which had been a success in the US.
For instance, when HS Holdings was wrongly put on the queue for resolution, the Indian team could not reach anyone from the US team in time to give instructions on how to rectify the situation. Moreover, the Indian used the wrong weekdays’ protocols to communicate rather than the weekend ones. Putting into question how responsibility and authority flow within an organization. Therefore, replacing employees with more qualified and skilled ones or training existing employees will mean less supervision. On the other hand, changing tasks will imply changing organizational goals and as a result change of the organizational structure. While changes in technology, such as automation or computerization, will require overhauling the organization structure to profit the new technology upgrade (Sinha & Hemant 564). For instance, after working at Santa Clara for seven years, Rahul Ashok moved to Mumbai in order to take up a leadership position.
The technology component facilitates or aids the employees in performing their duties. Organizations have become very competitive. Therefore, constant technological upgrades are a necessity in a bid to command a competitive edge. Changes in technology will mean hiring or training the existing employees. Changes in organizational tasks usually lead to changes in technology to cater for the new goals (Smith 28). Changing organizational structure also means technological changes to support and maintain the new structure.
On the Layered model, the primary purpose of a business design is to plan on how to optimize resources to achieve maximum results. A layered model used to visualize the relations between various organizational protocols, portrays the operations of all protocols transpiring within each layer and their interactions with the upper and lower layers (Wigand 1259). Therefore, classification of business applications is based on the disposition of the issues they address, the rate of change, as well as the uniqueness of the solution. For example, the Pace-Layered Application Strategy categorizes functions according to the pace of which they require to change. The pace layers are further grouped into systems of records, differentiation, and innovation (Rosemann 79).
The systems of records are home-grown legacy systems or established packaged applications that facilitate core transactions as well as managing the critical master data of an organization. The change rate is small since the processes are already ordinary to the most teams, subject matter to regular requirements and they are already well-established (Rosemann 78). They have a life cycle of over ten years. An example is the HS Holdings’ online banking system which involved three technologies. They included the software, provides the Sun Inc. and the hardware and storage that was provided by several other companies.
The systems of differentiation are applications that support unique industry-specific capabilities or central processes. They have a life cycle of one to around three years. However, they require frequent reconfiguration to accommodate the changing customer requirements and business practices (Smith 38). An example of this system is the TIC system integration, which was responsible for integrating HS Holdings’ 3 technology suppliers.
Systems of innovation are the new applications, which are developed on an ad-hoc foundation to address the new organizational opportunities and requirements (Smith 29). These are short-term projects, with a life cycle of zero to one year, using consumer-grade technologies and outside or departmental resources. An example of this is the TIC ongoing IT support and the Sun’s 24x7 software premium contract.
Greg’s business system is the Leavitt’s Diamond Model. His international trade is arranged hierarchically with him as the leader, then the regional managers, followed by the department managers, project managers, application support managers and the field support engineers. The advantage of this business system is that it is simple, but it captures the complex relationship between the different factors involved (Rosemann 78). It can also be used to combine interdisciplinary issues. On the other hand, its main limitation is that time, in this model, is not handled.
In conclusion revamping, restructuring, and re-engineering workplaces in the current competitive world seem to be initiating one change strategy after another. However, most of these change initiatives end up failing, as most people view change as a segregated process. This is where the Leavitt’s Diamond and the Layered Models become useful. Therefore, the main question Greg should ask himself is how change initiatives affect his international team and organization to deliver globally given the significant differences in development methods, orientation, skills and culture.
Green, Peter and Michael Rosemann. Business Systems Analysis with Ontologies. IGI Global, 2005, pp.78-86
Sinha, Atish P. and Hemant Jain. "Reusing Business Components and Objects for Modeling Business Systems: The Influence of Decomposition Characteristics and Analyst Experience." The Journal of Systems & Software, vol. 131, 01 Sept. 2017, pp. 550-569.
Smith, Douglass P. "Egovernment Initiatives Case Study: New Models for Success." International Journal of Applied Management & Technology, vol. 15, no. 1, Jan. 2016, pp. 21-40
Wigand, D. L. "Building on Leavitt's Diamond Model of Organizations: The Organizational Interaction Diamond Model and the Impact of Information Technology on Structure, People, and Tasks." Proceedings of the Americas Conference on Information Systems, vol. 2, 2007, pp. 1259-1267
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