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Bayer is a multinational corporation with a history of over 150 years. Life science is a primary concern of the company. Once in its history, the company experienced a crisis at one of the plants which were passed due to sound management. The company changed ownership three times for seven months. The work was reduced more than twice during that period. The company was working at a loss. Then the task of the management was to return the company to the market and make it competitive again. The involvement of employees and HR made the changes possible and fruitful.
Changes at Bayer
According to Gibson, Ivancevich, Donnelly, & Konoposke (2012), the changes occurring at Bayer can be identified as empowerment. It dealt more with empowering individuals. The employees were suggested to answer some open-ended questions. Their analysis was supposed to reveal what was going on at the plant. They aimed to figure out the reasons why people leave the plant or continue working there. The feedback was analyzed, and it brought about thirty problems to deal with. Considering a generic typology of organizational change suggested by Kinicki & Fugate (2015), Bayer plant was experiencing innovative change. It was mainly addressing the treatment of employees and their participation in the process of change. The processes at Bayer’s plan also have the features of incremental change (Benn, Dunphy, & Griffits, 2014).
Employee Resistance to Change
Employee resistance to change is a common part of any company transformation process. Gibson et al. (2012) single out four major reasons for employee resistance to change. They are parochial self-interest, misunderstanding, and lack of trust, different assessments, and a low tolerance for change. In the case of Bayer, there were some reasons combined. First of all, self-interest was present. Employees were satisfied with the bonus system they had and were afraid to lose it. Secondly, misunderstanding and lack of trust were also involved. The company changed ownership three times within a short period. As a result, new management came. It is evident that at the initial stage of changes the workers did not know what to expect and did not favor changes. The new management realized that not only the business component of the company was changing. They had to consider hopes, fears, and dreams of the people working for the company. The efficient way is to involve employees in the process of change to see their reactions and make alterations in the case of necessity. The management should be aware that resistance is a normal process. It can be effectively managed if identified correctly (Cameron & Green, 2015).
Lessons to Learn
One of the positive lessons that should be remembered from Bayer changes is the involvement of employees. Often the transformation process of the company is conducted on the management level, and the workers are only informed of the results. It is not an efficient approach since employees know the working process from inside and may have ideas on its improvement. In respect of workers, communication is crucial. The employees need to be informed of the projects, the performance, and the plans. Thus the electronic newsletter introduces at the plant can be an example to follow. Besides, the workers shared their ideas about the possible reasons for past failures and the possible improvements to avoid their repetition in the future. Here the lesson to learn is that the employees of a plant work there much longer than the new managers and listening to them may increase the effectiveness. Another good idea implemented by Bayer is the consumer’s care division. A company can be competitive and profitable only when it has consumers. The negative lesson from the changes at Bayer is the loss of workforce. A fast thoughtless start of changes process led to employees’ uncertainty and resulted in staff reduction from 800 to 360 people within a year.
Organizational Behavior in the Process of Change
Organizational change is a complicated process touching financial, social, and psychological aspects. The concepts of organizational behavior should be implied to make this process past faster and with fewer losses. Change management involves the knowledge of change agents. Depending on the agent, internal, external, or mixed, a strategy of change management is developed. It is important to include resistance to change as one of the factors. It can be reduced through listening, investigation, and understanding of its causes (Gibson et al., 2012). Besides, a systematic approach can be used in the process of managing change. It should consider the forces for change, affect its outcomes, detect the problem, choose the solution, consider the conditions, implement the method, and make necessary alterations after its evaluation. It should also be considered that any change is stress (Kinicki & Fugate, 2015). Thus, stress management techniques are necessary.
In most cases, organizational change is a step forward to a more efficient work. Despite the problems that may arise, it is important to treat it positively. A change should be planned and discussed with the employees. It is necessary to provide adjustments in the change process since the practical implementation may differ from the theory. Finally, after probation and modification, the change process will give the desired results.
Benn, S., Dunphy, D., & Griffiths. A. (2014). Organizational change for corporate sustainability. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2015). Making sense of change management: A complete guide to the models, tools and techniques of organizational change. (3rd ed.). London, UK: Kogan Page.
Gibson, J.L., Ivancevich, J.M., Donnelly, J.H., & Konoposke, R. (2012). Organizations: behavior, structure, processes. (14th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Kinicki, A., & Fugate, M. (2015). Organizational behavior: A practical, problem-solving approach. Burr Ridge, IL: McGraw-Hill.