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Changes in a Brick-and-Mortar and Virtual Organizations Expository Essay


The essay is a critical examination of organizational change in a brick-and-mortar and virtual organization.

It has been brought forth that change is the only constant thing on earth; for that matter in the world of business, organizations that do not change will be forced out of business since they will loss competitive advantage to their rivals (Brews & Tucci, 2004).

However, one major problem is how to manage the change itself. Studies have shown that adopting change without having in place suitable mechanisms to manage the same may jeopardize organization prosperity.

According to Hughes, 2007, a brick-and-mortar organization refers to businesses that have physical address and customers can have a face-face contact with the business employees while carrying out business transaction.

On the other hand, virtual organizations are business entities that carryout their business activities on-line or through the internet.

Ideally, virtual organization refers to network of independent firms which have come together either in the short term or long-term to provide customers with products or services that are of high quality. Organizational change refer to bigger changes and not smaller one faced by an organization.

The changes or transformation include changing mission statement, restructuring, re-engineering and merging among other. The concept has been heightened by globalization propelled by technological advancement (Les, 2001).

Management of change in a brick-and-mortar and virtual organization

Although the two organizations are very different from each other, there are a number of similarities when it comes to managing change.

This includes fostering cooperation, trust as well as empowering workers. With this approach, it is evident that the organizations know that the way to go is to build trust by empowering as well as involving everybody (Hughes, 2007).

Additionally both use education programs aimed at ensuring that employees are aware of what they are expected to do in the face of change.

In both, the issue of building team work is a challenge since in a brick-and-mortar organization resistance can be seen while in virtual organization where individuals do not see each other physically brings a challenge in building trust.

On the other hand, the differences include; decentralization vs. centralization. Although a brick-and-mortar organization tries to embrace centralization, when compared to virtual organization, the later is much more centralized than the former (Lumpkin & Dess, 2004).

It is worth to note that geographical distance in virtual organization does not impede change management. However, it negatively impact on a brick-and-mortar organization.

Another big difference is in terms of how technology is used; in virtual organization, technology is extensively used to convey and share information (Miner et al., 2001).

This typically happens without the relevant parties meeting physically. However, in most cases, brick-and-mortar organization mainly communicates through face to face or through memos.

Leadership and change criteria applicable to both brick-and-mortar organizations

According to Hughes, 2007 leadership and change goes hand in hand; it is the former that dictates the direction in which the desired change will take. The ability to effectively communicate the desire to change is one major criteria needed to successfully go through change.

Being able to share the information about change, the steps to be taken and the ultimate look of the organization after the change will help in preparing workers support the entire project. This will only be realized after thorough consultation has been made leading to consensus.

Additionally, appreciating the importance of team work is also important as it will make everybody feel on they are on board (Lumpkin & Dess, 2004).

It has been shown that when leaders are in the forefront leading by example, showing optimism, care and concern the followers are made to accept change and toe the line (Curado, 2006).

Similarly, where humor is exhibited workers feel they are loved, cared for and hence will enjoy being with their leaders in times of challenges since they will have developed positive attitude towards change.

Another important change criterion involves having programs in place that will help train and educate workers on how best to cope with the change. More importantly, monitoring and evaluating change is also a vital change criterion.

Appropriate organizational structure for the two organizations

As suggested by Miner et al. 2001, organizational structure is what helps them achieve their preset goals and objectives. It is worth noting that each and every organization has distinct kind of organizational structure. In my opinion, a network structure will work well for a virtual organization.

This will accommodate the strategy of outsourcing tasks that are specialized aimed at producing high quality products and services. Additionally, this type of structure is best in cutting down operational costs as well as maintains a smaller number of workers.

On the other hand, a matrix structure will be appropriate for a brick-and-mortar organization. The structure combines line and functional structures. With this type of structure it is evident that formation of a team from functional as well as line departments is possible.

The structure works well in tying together varied talents and at the same time counter the lack of certain talent within a team (Curado, 2006). Having in mind that brick-and-mortar organization will need to grow in an expected and an unpredicted environment, this structure will help it attain such growth.

Role of leadership in enabling change

Leadership has been defined as a process whereby an individual can influence thoughts, ideas and actions of others in achieving a set of preset goals, tasks, duties and responsibilities (Miner et al., 2001). For that matter, these individuals are in a better place to enable change through various ways.

One major way is for them to act as agent of change. With this they catalyze their followers to adopt change and see it as a necessity for the survival of the organization. Additionally, leaders can create an environment in which the employees will feel comfortable when change comes.

For instance, good leaders ensure his/her employees that they will not loss their jobs, things will be done more efficiently and effectively; and if there are chances of losing jobs the same is communicated in he best way possible.

As suggested by Lumpkin & Dess, 2004 effective communication coupled with rational and timely decision making are other attributes that leaders have which enable change within an organization.

With regards to effective communication, employees will be aware of the steps that will be taken and ultimately the outlook after change. In most cases, a good leader will actively indulge his/her followers before making any decision.

Similarly, building trust with followers, empowering them has been noted to create an environment in which change adoption will not be a bigger problem.

More importantly, being active in coming up with implementation as well as monitoring programs is a plus for leaders to enable change in their organization (Brews & Tucci, 2004).

Change communication

It is worth to note from the onset that effective sharing of information is of paramount significance in any organization and more so when it comes to change. Where dialogue and well thought language is used, there will be an understanding between and among the relevant stakeholders.

Sharing of information with the employees from the onset helps in preparing them for change. It is at this stage that the language used by those in authority matters (Kirkman et al., 2004).

When the language used seems to be authoritative and commanding, there are minimal chances of change to be adopted successfully. Considering a democratic environment, people will be provided with an opportunity to air their views with regards to the proposed change.

It is worth noting that when these views are listened to and actively sifted, there are chances of the followers feeling that they are part of the team propelling change (Les, 2001). The major advantage of this is that the entire project will be owned by everybody and chances of resisting change will be minimal.

Additionally when the parties dialogue, the decisions arrived at will be informed hence a success if well implemented. It is also important to use a respectful language however assertive one might be. This brings with it the advantage of team work.

Approaches to sustain change

There are a number of approaches that when adopted and put into practice, they will help sustain organizational change. One such approach is initiating a culture of organizational learning.

A learning organization has been thought of as a company which endeavors in facilitating the learning of its workers aimed at transforming the whole organization. According to Senge, 1994 the concept helps organization maintain higher levels of innovation and creativity hence being competitive.

Similarly, a learning organization better places itself in responding to external factors hence maintaining competitive advantage. Similarly, learning organization when it comes to issue pertaining to changes is at an advantage as they can adopt change quickly and successfully.

In situations where the relationship between the organization and their relevant stakeholders are analyzed, a learning organization makes it to be people-centered firm. Additionally, Camarinha-Matos et al. 2005 noted that there is need to have in place counseling program.

This is essential especially for employees who will be negatively affected by the fear of unknown about change. A continuous effort aimed at developing an environment in which change is seen as part of live and competitive advantage for the organization will go an extra mile in ensuring that change is sustained.

On the same note, having strategies that will help curb resistance to change for instance effective communication will also help sustain change within an organization.

More importantly, delegation of duties that will empower employees in decision making with regards to the project will indeed create a system in which majority are in full support of change (Maiese, 2003).

Performance and organizational data

It has been noted that without analyzing the impacts of change, then the entire process of organizational change is incomplete.

This analysis will help the organization know whether the adopted change was a success and pointing out areas of concerns that need to be improved. There are a number of performance metrics or indicators that can be collected and analyzed (Yeo, 2005).

For instance, going through the sales record and generally the financial record, it can be possible to collect data that will paint a picture on how the adopted change impacted on the organization. It is important to note that this will have succinct meaning when considered over a longer period of time.

Through interviews as well as questionnaires, it can be possible to collect data with regards to such performance indicators as commitment of leaders, efficiency and effectiveness of organization operation and more so effectiveness in term of information sharing (Taylor, 1911).


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Camarinha-Matos, L. et al. (2005). Virtual Organizations: Systems and Practices. New York, NY: Springer.

Curado, C. (2006). Organizational Learning and Organizational Design. The Learning Organization, 13(1): 25-48.

Hughes, M. (2007). The Tools and Techniques of Change Management. Journal of Change Management, 7(1): 37-49.

Kirkman, B. et al. (2004). The Impact of Team Empowerment on Virtual Team Performance: The Moderating Role of Face-to-Face Interaction. Academy of Management Journal, 47(2): 175–192.

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Yeo, R. (2005). Revisiting the Roots of Learning Organization: A synthesis of the Learning Organization Literature. The Learning Organization, 12(4): 368-373.

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IvyPanda. "Changes in a Brick-and-Mortar and Virtual Organizations." August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/organizational-change-7/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Changes in a Brick-and-Mortar and Virtual Organizations." August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/organizational-change-7/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Changes in a Brick-and-Mortar and Virtual Organizations'. 20 August.

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