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Merck & Company Case Study

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Updated: Jul 6th, 2020

The amount of success the change effort produced

Change has become inevitable as the business environment keeps on changing. The main aim of introducing change in an organization is to improve the current way of doing things to secure better performance in the future that is likely to give the organization competitive advantage (Pato and James 15).

The one facilitating change in the organization should ensure that he or she does it in a meaningful manner to ensure that the change process succeeds. In most cases, change is led by the organizational managers and top executives. Merck & Company is a German company that deals with pharmaceuticals.

The company whose most operations were in America in the early 20th century went through numerous business challenges due to the prevailing economic environment in Latin America at the time.

There was need to introduce a number of changes so that the company could cope with the challenges. In addition, there were opportunities for growth when the economic situation started improving in the 1990s, although the growth was viewed to be likely from the international market. Grey Warner was selected as the regional manager of the Latin America subsidiary and he introduced a number of changes.

It is important to measure the amount of success achieved by the change (Carnall 67). One of the changes that were introduced by Warner is the establishment of Myers Briggs personality-type indicator assessment. This was meant to improve communication within the organization.

To measure its success, one would evaluate the changes in how people communicate after the introduction of Myers Briggs assessment tool and compare with how they communicated before it was introduced. If there was a positive improvement, this would mean the change had been successful (Spitzer 201).

The other change that Warner introduced was the 360-degree feedback process. The level of feedback received after the introduction of this process determined its success. Feedback enables the management to come up with strategies to improve the areas that seem to be failing (Paton and James 69).

Finally, the other change introduced by Warner was the Organization Fitness Profiling. The success of this change would be measured by the level of cooperation between the top managers and the lower managers in the management process.

If the managers and employees worked together towards the organizational strategies, this would indicate success of the change. Generally, the overall measure of change success would be improved performance of the organization (Thomas 98).

Cultural differences

In international management, cultural difference is a factor that poses much challenge to organizational managers. There are different people with different cultures and different ways of doing things in the international market. One of the major issues that bar proper execution of roles in the international level is language. People speak different languages, thus communication becomes a problem.

In addition, the different cultures mean that people have different preferences, an issue that may affect international management as well as international business (O’Donovan 126). Prior to the appointment of Grey Warner, cultural issues were being put into consideration but they were not being addressed properly. For instance, managing directors were foreign nationals in the various regions.

It is difficult for a foreign national to manage in a country in which he does not understand its culture and does not understand the language of communication (Minkov and Geert 76). This is because the manager will not be able to effectively communicate with the employees. At the same time, he might not be in a good position to understand the customers’ needs.

To address this issue, Grey Warner, upon his appointment, believed that one of the major points he was supposed to address was to ensure that each country had the right leadership. This would address the cultural issues if each country was assigned a leader who understood its culture.

Sustainability of the Changes

Change is a good thing for any organization. However, it is not always that change will be implemented smoothly. In fact, change is likely to be faced with a host of challenges and resistance. Most people have the tendency to fear the unknown (Doppelt 21). In addition, the change should be implemented in a manner that it will be sustainable.

One of the factors that are important in ensuring change sustainability is to ensure that it is widely accepted among the members of the organization. Therefore, the manager should find ways of overcoming change resistance among the employees and other members (Nicholls 56). In implementing the changes, Warner ensured that the employees are empowered.

This was done through involving employees in changes and decision making. It is an important step in ensuring that the change is widely accepted within the company (Connor 26). Employees and members would show less or no resistance to the change since they were involved in the decisions (Connor and Stephen 50; Vukotich 157).

Another factor that indicates that the change was sustainable is that Warner knew that the change would not be implemented successfully throughout the region if he did it alone. He knew that it was difficult to manage the whole Latin America alone. Therefore, he was open to assistance from other members of the staff who had the ability to help in the transformation.

He employed people who had the technical competence, as well as management value. This is a factor that could help in ensuring sustainable change. Further, he was aware that the process was a difficult one and one that was going to take a number of years before it was successfully implemented. He was, therefore, committed to hard work in order to make the transformation happen (Chick and Paul 120).

What Could Warner Have Done Better

Warner made the best efforts in ensuring that he successfully implemented the changes that could help the organization capitalize on the emerging opportunities owing to the improving economic situation in Latin America. He considered all the possible factors that could lead to unsuccessful implementation of change.

In ensuring that the transformation was successful, Warner put in place a number of internal and external strategies that were to be followed in the organization beyond the 1990s. He also implemented his business values that he thought would be of importance to the company. It is said that there is always a chance to do better.

Therefore, despite that fact that he did the best he could to transform the company, there are a number of things that he could probably have done better.

For instance, he would have considered the business values of other managers and regional directors in implementing his business values. This would have given them a chance to make their contribution and would probably have led to better business values that would be more beneficial.

The second thing that he should have done better is to centralize the process of making some decisions. There are decisions that are viewed to be very crucial to an organization (Helfat 112). Such decisions need experts and people who have better decision making skills since they might have negative impacts if not done correctly.

Works Cited

Carnall, Colin A. Managing Change in Organizations. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.

Chick, Anne, and Paul Micklethwaite. Design for Sustainable Change: How Design and Designers Can Drive the Sustainability Agenda. Lausanne, Switzerland: Ava Publishers, 2011. Print.

Connor, Robin, and Stephen Dovers. Institutional Change for Sustainable Development. Northampton, MA: E. Elgar, 2004. Print.

Doppelt, Bob. Leading Change Toward Sustainability: A Change-Management Guide for Business, Government and Civil Society. Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishers, 2009. Print.

Helfat, Constance E. Dynamic Capabilities: Understanding Strategic Change in Organizations. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub, 2007. Print.

Minkov, Michael, and Geert H. Hofstede. Cultural Differences in a Globalizing World. Bingley: Emerald, 2011. Print.

Nicholls, Alex. Social Entrepreneurship: New Models of Sustainable Social Change. Oxford: OUP Oxford, 2006. Print.

O’Donovan, Gabrielle. The Corporate Culture Handbook: How to Plan, Implement and Measure a Successful Culture Change Programme. Dublin: Liffey Press, 2006. Print.

Paton, Rob, and James McCalman. Change Management: A Guide to Effective Implementation. London: SAGE, 2007. Print.

Spitzer, Dean R. Transforming Performance Measurement: Rethinking the Way We Measure and Drive Organizational Success. New York, NY: American Management Association, 2007. Print.

Thomas, Stephen J. Successfully Managing Change in Organizations: A Users Guide. New York: Industrial Press, 2001. Print.

Vukotich, George. 10 Steps to Successful Change Management. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press, 2011. Print.

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