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In the recent past, globalization has caused rapid changes to the contemporary business environments characterised by technological advancements, increased stakeholders' expectations and stiff competition. Consequently, efficient change management is at the core of any business Institution to thrive and survive in the current competitive and constantly evolving business environment. In this case, change management refers to the process of constantly renewing the corporation’s direction at the strategic and the operational level in the bid to manage the ever-changing business environments. Various theories and approaches such as Kotter's theory, Lewin change management, and ADKAR theories which explains the nature of modern business change management are currently available to the business practitioners and academics. This paper delves into evaluating organisation’s change management as well as applying the concept to the management scenario of the Apple Company.
Change, technological expertise, and innovation are common perceptions when it comes to the business institution's change. In this respect, various theorists have developed enormous models aimed at solving the present challenges associated with the change management to enhance the organisational structures. In the last decades, all business organisations ranging from agricultural, tourism, food and beverages, telecommunication and other sectors have had to gradually adopt new institutional concepts with the aim of enhancing their organisation’s performance. As a result, the practice has predisposed many corporations to a plethora of changes to counter the ever-increasing challenges engendered by the evolving markets as well as the new competitors. However, managing change remains a formidable challenge to many business organisations, and for this reason, it becomes necessary to develop strategies aimed at change management.
Usually, there are three major types of innovations that can occur in an organisation which includes process, service or product and strategy innovation with their impacts varying with the degree of newness. Process innovation has become a significant topic with the increasing emphasis on quality of the services and products that different organisation offers. In light of this, Doppelt (2017, p. 145) puts forward the concept of radical re-engineering on the ground that for the corporations to attain the utmost effectiveness and efficiency, there is a need of adopting a fundamental process aimed at re-engineering the structure of the institution as well as the company's strategies. Notably, the assertion of the radical re-engineering appears plausible since; many corporations have since then embarked on process re-engineering efforts.
Product and service innovation focuses on enhancing the quality and functionality of the existing consumer products and services. In other words, the impetus for the drastic service and product change is to create new products and services tailored to meet the specific needs of the consumers. Currently, most product lifecycle has increasingly become shorter necessitating the manufacturers to develop new products at a fast rate than their competitor. For this reason, it becomes a matter of urgency for the business organisations to put more focus on new product manufacturing while upholding and enhancing the feature and the functionality of the existing product. However, the innovation process of the products and services can lead to discontinuous products and services if not correctly implemented. Therefore, corporation administrators should incorporate it with the process innovation to avoid the risk of discontinuous product and service development.
With the increased technological upheaval and globalization effects, there is the need for business organisations to develop new strategy innovations. In this case, the current changes in the business environments are unfavourable to the industry incumbent while on the other side they are suitable to the organisation's revolutionaries. Strategy innovation involves revolutionisation of the business organisation management strategies which includes redefining of the market space, drastically reconceiving products and services as well as redrawing the organisation's boundaries (Appelbaum et al., 2012, p. 765). Besides, strategy innovation requires the employees in an organisation to build up an entirely new set of skills and expertise to cope with the changing business environment. In other words, strategy innovation calls for learning of new approaches to dealing with challenges resulting from the changing business environment.
The accelerators of organisation change encompass economic, social, and political environments that can affect the operations of the business institutions. In this respect, when there is a change in the business environment, the organisation must implement changes necessary for preserving the legitimacy of the organisation in efficient way. One of the most significant driving forces of the organisation change involves the dramatic transition of the developed nations from an industrial to an information economy. Therefore, with the current trend of digitalisation, the managers should implement new strategies to redesign their companies. For instance, the managers should acquire more scientific knowledge, change the professional roles of the employees in addition to exploring more technological advancements.
Notably, cost reduction is also a significant driver of organisational innovation in the essence that most companies have an aspiration of promoting their brand image as well as promoting their corporation image. Other significant accelerators of the organisation change include increased competition, escalated consumers expectations concerning the quality of the products and the services and institution and societal need for sustainable development. Besides, the changing economy, increased pressure for accountability and strict business operation regulations contributes to organisational changes. Notably, there has been an increased availability of the advanced technology in the business sector for the provision of goods and services. For these reasons, most of the business organisations have undergone various structural changes in the bid to keep up with the increasing competition concerning the use of these technologies.
The presence of innovation accelerators does not always translate to innovation in a business organisation since change is difficult and especially that associated with radical and irregular innovation. Various obstacles resulting from the individuals in a business institution, organisation, business environment as well as the processes of the corporations affects organisation innovation. For instance, lack of the ability of the business organisation to adequately absorb apply new knowledge essential for developing new ideas is a significant hindrance to the organisation innovation (Crawford, Rutter & Thelwall, 2003, p. 176). On the other hand, lack of the relevant skills and expertise by the employees can pose a significant obstacle to the organisation innovation since the individuals working in the organisations will not have the appropriate skills to keep up with the advanced technology. Importantly, obstacles hindering innovation at the environmental level have significantly affected organisation change, and for this reason, they have received greater attention as compared to other obstacles in the different levels. In this case, these factors comprise the level of competition, geographical location, regulatory measures, consumer and stakeholder engagement, customer preference as well as the community culture. Additionally, the managers should always be on the lookout on various aspects affecting organisation innovation at the project level by giving room for new ideas and as well as preserving criticism at a later point in the project.
Critical Appraisal of the change management theories
Lewin’s Change Management Model
Kurt Lewin's three steps change management model is considered by many as a primary strategy for managing change in any business organisation. The model has received criticism from various scholars in the essence that Lewin oversimplified the change process (Hayes, 2018, p. 90). However, despite the criticism, it is apparent that the model has the foundational significance and for that reason, many organisation scholars have refuted the dissenters of the theory. In this case, business organisations that effectively manage this change thrive while those that do not adopt coherent strategies have continued to struggle for survival in the ever-changing business environment. In this light of this, Kurt Lewin developed a change management theory in the year 1951, and since then, the model has remained the cornerstone for understanding as well as managing of the institutional changes and innovations. Lewin’s theory is commonly recognised as the unfreeze- Change-Refreeze process of change management. That is, in an attempt to explain the institution change, Lewin used the three steps while employing the analogy of changes that take place in an ice block.
First Phase: Unfreezing
The phase is presumably one of the critical point of organisation change that most business organisations find themselves today. Lewin's theory asserts that the first step of change management involves unfreezing both the status quo and the current situation of a business organisation. In this case, unfreezing is at the core of overcoming the obstacles associated with individual resistance as well as group conventionality. In this model, Kurt Lewin puts forward three methods necessary for the process of unfreezing process (Burnes, 2004, p. 1001). The first method involves raising the compelling forces that change the behaviour of the business organisations and individuals away from the current organisation situation or the status quo. The next method requires minimisation of the effects restraining the movement of the organisation from the current equilibrium state. Finally, the third process is generally a combination of the first two steps aimed at effectively managing organisational change..
Notably, unfreezing stage is supposedly the most significant phase of the process of change in a business organisation. Precisely, the stage mainly focuses on the ability of the business organisation to be prepared for the speculated change. In this case, both the administrators and the company employees must recognise that change is paramount and therefore they should express preparedness of shifting from their existing status quo (Burnes, 2004, p. 1000). It is worthwhile noting that, if a company shows the need for change, their employees, as well as other associates, will have increased motivation for change. However, based on this theory, before commencing with the process of change, it is necessary to weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of the expected results and only proceed if the pro outnumbers the number of cons. To that end, the analysis of the cons and cons of the change translates to what Lewin denoted as the Force Field Analysis.
The concept of Lewin's theory is therefore of the essence of change management because it guides the business organisations on the considerations that they need to make such as the environmental influencers when making changes. In this case, if the factors for change outweigh the factors against the change, then the organisation can progress to make the changes. Nevertheless, if it is vice versa, it means that there is low motivation for a change and any attempt to make the innovation might lead the organisation in the wrong direction. Therefore, it is apparent that the unfreezing phase of Lewin’s model is of relevance to managing change in a business organisation since it plays a pivotal role in preparing both the department as well as the entire business organisation in acquiring the motivation for change.
Second Phase: Change
The second phase requires the company to change their behaviour by moving from their existing situation and the status quo. Precisely, the step needs the organisation to shift to the new level of the equilibrium. The step requires the managers to implement various actions aimed at achieving the new balance. For instance, the manager should convince the staff that the existing situation is not of benefit to them as well as the organisation and therefore encourage them to have a different perception of the organisation change. Also, there is the need for the business administrators to work closely with the employees as well as influential leaders to efficiently attain the expected change.
From the change or transition phase, the business organisation can develop the changes and the innovations required by the business organisation. In this model, Kurt Lewin puts it rather clear that a change involves a process s opposed to being an event (Burnes, 2004, p. 998). In another word, the process is what is termed as a change or a transition. Notably, most business organisations are reluctant to change mainly because of the unfounded fears associated with the corporation transition. For this reason, the stage is more difficult as compared to the other phases and therefore it requires the managers to have a coherent understanding of the speculated change and also pass this knowledge to the employees.
Based on the Lewin’s theory, the transition stage requires the managers to provide the necessary support to their employees which can be in the form of mentoring, coaching, or training. Importantly, organisation administrators should also assure the employees that mistakes are part of the transition. It is therefore compelling to affirm that the transition stage of the Lewin's model is of the essence in the management of the change in an organisation because it allows the managers to act as role models thereby giving the employees to participate in the process of change. Besides, the model is of relevance because it will enable the individuals to have a comprehensive understanding of the proposed change and benefits. Therefore, business organisations should ensure that there is effective communication to maintain focus necessary for the change process.
Third Phase: Freezing
The final stage of Lewin's model involves adopting approaches effective for sustaining the organisation changes for a considerably longer time. Notably, failure of the organisation to implement this step could lead to their employees reverting to the old situation thereby making the change to be short-lived. In other words, the freezing stage is significant because it allows the business corporation to stabilise the new status quo by establishing a balance between the accelerating and restraining forces. For instance, the managers can strengthen new patterns and institutionalise them by employing various business legislation.
From this theory, it is evident that the freezing stage plays a crucial role in formulating stability for the changes made. Notably, it may take some time for the individuals working in a business organisation to fully adapt to the new norms, but with time, they become more used to the change and the new routines. However, there exists criticism in most cases that the process of organisation change does not allow for the freezing change. Besides, the idea of freezing stage appears absurd since it does not necessarily fit with the contemporary notion of change as it is usually characterised by a constant and disorderly process thereby requiring greater flexibility (Carter, E., 2008, p. 20). It is necessary for the business managers to modify the last stage of Lewin’s model in a more flexible way instead of perceiving it as a rigid, frozen block. Therefore, it appears to conclude that Lewin's theory illustrates and also addresses the effects of forces that can either accelerate or restrain organisation change.
Currently, business organisations are operating in a rapidly changing environment whereby new initiatives, technological advancement, and the stiff competition are necessitating the corporations to undergo some changes to remain relevant. However, the change process is not always natural, and many managers lack the necessary knowledge concerning the delivering of change. In this respect, John Kotter puts forward a change management theory which mainly focuses on the process of delivering change to attain the organisation's goals (Pollack, 2015, p. 58). In his approach, Kotter introduces an eight-step change process which firms can undertake to provide change effectively.
First Step: Create a Sense of Urgency
Usually, in their rush to make changes, many firms tend to overlook this stage and thereby it predisposes many companies to making mistakes at the very beginning of the change process. However, for the company to successfully deliver change, all the teams involved must develop a sense of urgency of the need for change which in effect sparks the motivation. In this regard, this step in Kotter's model is of relevance o the contemporary businesses since it allows the managers to implement various approaches before carrying out the change process (Pollack, 2015, p. 58). For instance, the manager should carefully identify impending threats in addition to formulating scenario indicating the effects of change in the future. Identify opportunities that the organisation should explore during the change process. Hold open discussions with the organisation staff to involve all parties participating in the change process actively. Finally, based on this theory, the organisation should involve external stakeholders such as influential leaders and their customers to reinforce their argument for a change.
Second Step: Form a Powerful Coalition
For the business organisation to execute the process of change successfully, various parties involved should work closely together as a team. In this case, bringing together the right combination of individuals with different power is of the essence in leading a change initiative. In this respect, the parties involved should, therefore, build up trust on one another for the team to operate efficiently (Todnem, 2005, p. 372). Thus, for the alliance to function well, it should have enough power on board, they should be in possession of the relevant expertise, the company should uphold credibility, and finally, the organisation should have enough leaders who are in a better position of steering the change process.
Third Step: Creating a Change Vision
In this step, the company should create a sensible vision for change. In this respect, the vision created should display the need for change which should be accompanied by a practical strategy. Therefore, in this step, the manager should identify the critical values for change as well creating strategies that the company will implement in carrying out the change process.
Fourth Step: Communicate the Vision
Once the organisation has successfully developed the strategy and the vision, the manager should effectively communicate it to all the participants as the primary guiding point for the change process. Notably, the company should carefully use the available platform's communication to the target group while ensuring that there is the efficient utilisation of the available resources.
Fifth Step: Act on the Vision
Notably, to realise this step, the management should focus on removing the obstacles that might affect the strategies and the implementation of the change process. In retrospect, the organisation administrators should actively encourage the employees to take a calculated risk and get over their comfort zone to embrace the company's visions and strategies. Therefore, the step is of relevance for change management as it allows the organisation to put in place framework for change while continually being on the lookout for the barriers that might affect the change process strategy.
Sixth Step: Develop Short-Term Wins
In most cases, the process of change is not easy, and at times for a company to achieve their vision, it may take a longer time than expected. For this reason, the step is of significance in change management since it allows the firm to set a sequence of achievable short-term goals thereby ensuring that the staff members remain motivated throughout the change process (Todnem, 2005, p. 375). Besides, the step allows the management to identify the improvements that they need to undertake in the process of achieving their vision which can also be reviewed periodically.
Seventh Step: Build on the Change
The step calls for continued improvement of the work process aimed a delivering change to ensure that the company will be in apposition of attaining their vision. Mainly, the step involves enhancement of the practice of human resource hiring, promotion methods as well as individual development. Therefore, in this step, the management should put more emphasis on analysing the drawbacks that may be present in the change process while bringing in the idea of continuous improvement.
Eighth Step: Institutionalise New Strategy
After achieving the expected change, management should then focus on institutionalising the new change to provide a long-lasting solution. In this case, the management should strive to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of the day to day operations of the company.
Jeff Hiatt, the founder of Prosci Company, introduced the ADKAR model. The model comprises five elements which form the building block of the change process. The first step is awareness which states that a change can only take place if the individuals working in the organisation understand the need for change and the benefits associated with the change. On the other hand, the second element involves desire which states that after the individuals working in an organisation are aware of the change they should then develop a desire of endorsing the change. However, in most instances, this stage is always challenging since the corporation might have a narrow control of the employees’ choice. Knowledge is the third element of the ADKAR model (Hiatt &Creasey, 2003, p. 54). After being aware and developing a desire for change, individuals acquire the knowledge and expertise necessary for the change process. In other words, the organisation should facilitate the employees in learning new skills and knowledge required for the change process. Next, after having participated in several pieces of training, the staff members of the company should acquire the ability to practice and attain the expected change. Therefore, to achieve this element, it is necessary for the employers to offer adequate coaching and training as well as continually receiving and giving the feedback to the employees (Prosci, Worley & Mohrman, 2014, p. 222). Finally, the last element involves enforcement which advocates that the management should make the change as part of the organisational structure to sustain the innovation.
It is apparent that the model advocates that does not happen instantly but instead, it involves a process. Notably, the model is easy to follow as it creates a new way o perceiving change. Besides, it allows the change process to take place one step at a time thereby minimising the chances of errors.
Case Scenario of Apple Company
Apple was established in the year 1976 as the first technology company with a primary aim of providing personal computers instead of the larger computers (Cuadrado &Dueñas, 2012, p. 164). As the first company dealing with personal computers, the company strived in making the computers to be readily accessible to the average consumers. For this reason, the company has attained a strong market orientation mainly because of basing their decisions on the customer’s preferences and needs. In the bid outperform their competitors, Apple Company has had to make various innovative changes to the hardware, software, and internet offerings which can be attributed to the change management models. By the year 2016, Apple had established a market share of 15% of the international technological market (Thomke &Feinberg, 2012, p. 75). Therefore, it is apparent that the company have effectively adopted the change management model to make various changes such as the innovation of the iPad.
Application of Lewin' model is displayed in the way the management of The Apple company have managed various innovation and changes thereby putting the organisation in a leading position. For instance, based on this model, the company has been able to penetrate in a larger market as compared to their competitor through the building of trust with the customers as well as the staff members of the company (Afuah, 2004, p. 176). Also, Lewin model has provided the required tools to the company necessary for sensitising their employers on the need for innovating new software, hardware, and internet offerings, and for this reason, Apple company has acquired a better position as compared to their competitors.
From the change management theories, ADKAR model appears to be the standard management strategy for the Apple Corporation. Notably, many companies use this model since it is easy to apply when compared to the other models. For this reason, the company has adopted the easy to use model in various when making various innovative changes. For instance, while using this model, Apple Company has been able to identify any problem that could arise during the process of change and therefore address the challenge at an early stage. Besides, the model has enabled the company to put more emphasis on the result-oriented approaches consequently increasing the company's probability of success (McGraw, 2010, p. 245). In this respect, one of the competitive, innovative strategies that the company has implemented is e development of the high-end technologies comprising of hardware and software and other technological service soft wares that efficiently interact within the ecosystem.
Through the use of the Kotter's model, Apple Company has been able to adequately take a holistic plan necessary for seeing the organisation change. In this respect, the management of the company has been able to attain the human connection within the organisation. In other words, one of the strategies that Apple Corporation implement is upholding a good communication approach to their employees thereby reducing misunderstanding and lack of confidence among the staff members (Kennerley &Neely, 2003, p. 228). Therefore, based on this theory, Apple Company has expertly maintained a good staff culture by formulating strategies for effective communication. Thus, by preserving a favourable staff culture, the company has been able to provide value to their customers through upholding operational, location, and product excellence thereby enabling the company to penetrate in the international market.
Faced with challenges on global competition, limited resources as well as high expectations on the product and services outcome, most organisations have appreciated the need for effective management of their business operations. For this reason, an improvement in the organisation management is necessary for the corporation to remain relevant in the market. In this case, the managers should focus on various approaches which can guarantee an enhancement in the institutional performance. For instance, the improvement focuses on leadership, staff members participation, change process improvement as well as putting more focus on the customers' expectations and preference.
In most cases, the main hindrance to excellent organisation performance is the resistance to change. Notably, in most instances, resistant to change usually results from several forces such as unfounded fears and for this reason, there is no practical solution available for regulating change. In this case, extensive participation of the employees at all levels of business operations will play a pivotal role in enhancing the organisation performance (Kennerley &Neely, 2003, p. 225). Also, there is the need of the corporate managers to have the relevant expertise of managing organisation change by taking into considerations of the external and internal factors affecting the process of change.
To conclude, globalization has led to a rapid change in the business environment such as advancement in technology, increased competition in the global market as well as an increase in the consumer's expectations. For these reasons, change is a pervasive issue and has affected many organisations in various ways. Most companies lack a comprehensive strategy for dealing with this change effectively. However, companies such as Apple that have been able to manage these changes have acquired a competitive advantage over their rivals. Organisation scholars have put forward theories such as Lewin's, Kotter's, and ADKAR model which have attempted to explain the process as well as the management of change. Managers should acquire the relevant skill and expertise to enhance the performance of the business organisations. Therefore, the administration should have a better understanding of the management theories and also apply their concepts in the management of the business organisations.
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