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Managing Organisational Change Essay

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Updated: Feb 23rd, 2022

Organisations are under pressure to adopt new technologies and revise their strategy to remain competitive and sustainable. The decision to use planned or emergent approaches to transformation or change depends on the firm’s context. The time available for implementation is also essential when planning (Kunisch et al. 1006). Business research scholars continue to develop theoretical paradigms that enterprises can use during the transition. For instance, the four-quadrant framework by Burnes is useful when deciding on the governance and modification process. The model serves to address leadership, organisational remodification and management concurrently. This paper aims to apply the framework in addressing changes in a private fire protection contract company which goes by the name FirePro Limited.

Contextual Discussion of the Organisation

FirePro is a fictitious, London-based private enterprise which was founded by John Smith in 2009. The primary mission of the company is to provide fire safety services to business institutions and residential areas. FirePro’s vision is to empower people by offering the knowledge they need to adopt fire safety measures. Key values are safety, corporate social responsibility, integrity and reliability. Mr. Smith is currently the chief executive officer and board chairman. The next in the hierarchy are five directors who head different departments. The leadership also includes ten managers and their deputies.

Over the past decade, the company has grown from having ten employees to five hundred full-time workers. Most of these workers are Caucasians who have no experience in operating global enterprises. Also, the company has a large client base throughout the United Kingdom. The services that the company provides for its clients include training on safety measures, installing equipment such as extinguishers and alarms in buildings and emergency response. Since the declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company has been facing challenges in providing essential services to its clients. There has been a decrease in revenues over the past six months and some workers are on forced leave. The company’s sustainability is at stake.

The aforementioned changes have decreased the morale of the employees, not to mention the company’s incapacitation. The board of directors made a proposal to start seeking contracts to provide virtual services to their customers using video conferencing technologies. Training will be upscaled to include international clients who want to learn how to make their homes and institutions safe. After consulting with other corporations with experience in online services, the board agreed that it would be viable. A few challenges, such as employees’ competencies to provide virtual training and working with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds, call for a strategic change.

Critical Discussion and Application of the Framework

The model below is useful in determining the form of management or leadership that will have the best result if applied for a specific change. Each of the four quadrants represents different scenarios that may be needed in modification of an organisation. Transformation involves trying a different outcome, while change is concerned with improvements from the current to desirable state. In both cases, the influence of internal and external factors is considered in the remodel process. Also, during the reconstruction process, deliberations are made to understand the impediments as well as methods of dealing effectively with issues. Large companies are likely to have policies and procedures to address unprecedented challenges (Taylor 103). However, FirePro has no written policy which outlines processes that can be followed in emergent changes such as the impact of Covid-19. The framework in figure 1 will provide different scenarios and their expected consequences.

Showing the framework for management, leadeship and change
Figure 1: Showing the framework for management, leadeship and change

Quadrant 1: Slow Transformation

The first quadrant represents a situation in which the change affects the entire organisation. The implication is that all stakeholders participate in the remodelling process. The firm creates a new culture that aligns with the adjustments made. Given the large-scale nature of this remodelling, a transformational leadership approach is needed. The advantage of the emergent system is that it deals with remodification which is continuous and incremental (Burnes 525). The other consideration when selecting Q1 is the extent to which external factors can influence the decision-making process.

FirePro Limited can choose this slow transformation method for tackling cultural changes. Penetrating the global market requires innovation of policies, strategies and human operations that embrace diversification and inclusion. Human resource managers will have to modify the company’s outlook by employing people from other ethnic backgrounds. For example, when penetrating the market in Mexico or Brazil, it is prudent to hire a regional director from these countries. Consequentially, both the organisation’s culture and structure will change, as is often the case in quadrant 1. The firm will now include overseas directors and managers who should be given orientation on operating in the company. The value statement and vision of the FirePro may also need some adjustment.

Quadrant 2: Rapid Transformation

The second quadrant also represents a situation in which the change in an organisation requires largescale adjustment of structure. This method is often used when a sound system in the past is no longer suitable due to a turbulent environment in the present (Burnes 526). The primary focus is on technological enhancement, unlike the previous, which focuses on people. The company may need to buy new machinery or upgrade the existing ones to achieve sustainability or reach an upper competitive niche. Financial investments in the digitalisation process will also be disbursed in making employees tech-savvy

Applying the rapid transformation to FirePro, the focus is given to new technologies for offering online training and other services. The company will need more computers, laptops or tablets to conduct video conferences. When budgeting, considerations should also be made on Internet connectivity for the employees involved in virtual services and social media marketing. It should be noted that the government has put restrictions such as the lockdown and limitations on social gatherings. A negative implication for FirePro is that its workers cannot use Wi-Fi in the office as it was the case before the pandemic.

Quadrant 3: Slow Change

This method has better application in localised and small changes needed in firms. (Burnes 526). An adjustment may be made in just a small part of the organisation. For example, only one department may have a challenge that needs to be addressed. In such cases, department managers take the initiative to realise the desired outcome. Although the modification is slow and takes place on a small scale, the entire firm can still feel its impact.

The application area for FirePro in this quadrant will focus on introducing technology on a small scale while maintaining their other services. For instance, the company may choose to purchase a few laptops for clients with online training contracts. The manager in charge of technologies can then evaluate if Internet training has better returns. Based on the demand and the profit that additional computers will bring to the company decision will be made to continue the remodelling process slowly.

Quadrant 4: Rapid Change

Typical characteristics here are localisation modifications in a small group of people in the company. Managers are responsible for causing such adjustments that influence the values and culture of the firm. For example, only the sales and marketing department employees may need to change their organisational behaviour to attract a different client segment. Given that the focus is on just a few people, achieving the desired outcome will occur rapidly. Other workers may feel indirect effects of the modification.

FirePro can apply the principles of this fourth quadrant in addressing the turbulent work environment brought about by Covid-19. The company can choose to train a few workers on positive organisational culture and inclusivity. It is crucial to ensure that workers who participate in the amendments know their role. The company may not need to change its mission or value statement since the redesign involves few people who can form their unique code of conduct.

Commentary on Application of the Framework to FirePro

Proponents of the business framework carry out significant research to develop fundamental principles, procedures and explanations for a specific phenomenon. The framework is, thus, reliable and has high efficacy. Overall, the four-quadrant model provides multiple angles of addressing turbulent moments in an organisation. The model is also holistic in that it addresses leadership, change and management. FirePro will find it useful in their difficult situation. Strategies of management thinking such as process mapping, analysis, standardisation and documentation are necessary when applying any model (Taylor 102).

Commentary FirePro Choosing Small-scale Transformation and Change

The four-quadrant model offers two methods (third and fourth quadrants) for FirePro to choose for a small-scale change. The selection of the localised strategy minimises the risk of failures as it has lesser modifications. The leader, Mr. Smith, can quickly come up with a contingency plan in case of failure. The practicality of the approach is also effortless because it is cost-effective if it is about the technology addition of some machines. Likewise, dealing with a few people during the process of change is easy.

FirePro needs to realise that its finances are low after the losses resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Investing on a small scale will help work with available funds hence no unnecessary training will be needed. The demoralisation of employees on forced leave also makes it reasonable to only work with few people. FirePro can, thus, combine methods in Q3 and Q4 (see figure 1) with ease. For an organisation amid the pandemic, precautions should be taken lest the company losses everything.

Commentary FirePro Choosing Large-scale Transformation and Change

Alterations that impact the entire firm represent quadrant 1(cultural) and quadrant 2 (technology). The modification affects the whole company. As a result, the company needs a significant amount of money for implementation. Also, the successful transformation will require the cooperation of all stakeholders, especially employees and managers. Achieving such alteration when people are in the lockdown is a considerable risk. Resistance from some individuals may render all the efforts futile. Organisation-wide changes are not appropriate given the circumstances of FirePro Company as they require more resources and agreement. The other drawback is that the timeframe for the execution is longer.

Conclusion

Decision-making for leaders and managers of organisations is an essential skill in difficult moments. FirePro Limited faces a considerable challenge that calls for immediate modification. Using Burnes’ framework for change, there are four methods that the company can choose from to achieve growth or transformation. From the discussion and commentary, it is evident that the most suitable approach to take is small-scale remodelling. The rationale is that the company is already facing financial challenges and some workers have lost their morale; hence the execution process will be more challenging if any large changes are undertaken.

Works Cited

Burnes, Bernerd. Managing Change. 7th ed., Pearson, 2017.

Kunisch, Sven, et al. “Time in Strategic Change Research” Academy of Management Annals, vol. 11, no. 2, 2017, pp. 1005-1064.

Taylor, Frederick W. The Principles of Scientific Management. Cosimo Classics, 2016.

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