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Sustainability and the need for change: Organizational change and transformational Report

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Updated: May 5th, 2019

Introduction

Researchers first began to toy with the idea of sustainability due to the environmental pressures associated with the world’s ever growing population (Millar et al. 489). The population’s expansion has forced nations to make infrastructural and social adjustments to accommodate the growing numbers.

These adjustments are more significant when viewed with respect to natural resources, such as crude oil and coal, which are non-renewable in nature. Increased numbers have meant that over the decades they have continued to attract greater demand. Initially, technological advancements were lauded for making it possible for multitudes to access these resources. However, the same technology resulted in over exploitation of these very resources.

The net result has been that the exploitation of the natural resources is such that their availability for future generations is increasingly under threat. Herein, the concept of sustainable development raises, whereby present advancements in exploitation should be done with the interest of safeguarding the same resources’ availability for future generations (Millar et al. 490). Based on the importance of sustainability, this paper looks at how the concept affects organizational changes and transformations in commerce.

Importance of Sustainability

Over the years, sustainability in economics has greatly evolved to include commercial activities. Sustainable development now widely involves management practices that are governing how organizations tackle their daily issues. These issues are in the form of personal, commercial and political nature and are the ones that may hamper long term sustainable commercial growth (Millar et al. 493). An example of such an issue is poverty.

According to the fact of how businesses are run, commerce functions are such that more money generates more money. If the trend of the rich continuing to get richer is not checked, the effect is that more persons in the middle class will keep on feeling the pressure of the spending power of an increasingly stronger upper class. The situation becomes worse when the poor are involved, as the unique challenges that they face mean that they continue becoming even more disenfranchised.

The issue of poverty has thus forced many organizations to look into ways in which their practices can help to transform the lives of the communities in which they operate. This corporate-social responsibility and transformation in vision are done with the hope of empowering communities. From this empowerment, companies eventually reap the benefits of an increasingly skilled labor force and increased spending power for their products by the community in the future.

The need for changes in traditional management methods that sustainability brought to organizations was a great deterrent to the concept. The reasoning behind the laxity by firms to jump into the sustainability bandwagon was mainly due to the additional costs related to transformation.

However, due to the increased competition from the globalization of commerce, many organizations face increasing difficulties to remain profitable in their own economies. In order to increase competitive advantage, the concept of sustainable development in business is now being viewed as an investment.

The future reward of this investment, many CEOs believe, is such that those companies that make sustainability a lynchpin of their vision will be more competitive and better placed to benefit economically. According to a study by the UN, 93% of CEOs interviewed believe that sustainability is fundamental for future success of their organizations and that in 15 years time; sustainability will be a default part in company strategies (Millar et al. 490).

The challenge of implementing sustainability’s measures in organization lies squarely on the leadership and management of an organization. This is due to the fact that management is responsible for setting up a company’s targets and priorities (Millar et al. 494). Despite the fact that many business leaders accept the significance of sustainability in their practice, the statement that they view its future goal means that many may not necessarily prioritize sustainability.

The problem with this is that organizations will continue to put off sustainability in favor of short term goals and in the end sustainability just remains a well-written business plan. To ensure that this situation does not happen, the implementation of a sustainability program should commence as soon as the management adopts the program.

This will enable the process to gradually grow on the entire organization and become easily integrated to the operations of the firm. The organizational change influences employee perception and ultimately leads to smoother implementation over time.

A reliable way of successful implementation of sustainability is to go beyond merely changing employee’s perception and also bring about changes to the leadership. Management ought to encourage responsible leadership in the sustainability program by entrusting its employees with additional authority and power (Millar et al. 491).

This can be achieved by adaptation of a consultative approach during the drawing up of a sustainability plan, allocation of resources for the program and general decision making. Through such measures, the introduction of a sustainability program is not viewed as a management initiative but rather as a process owned by the entire organization.

For providing this, certain organizational aspects, such as the vision and mission of the firm, have to be changed. It may look like a trivial matter but in the long run, any far reaching changes that are introduced to an organization have to be linked with a firm’s future plans if the comprehensive changes are to lead to further success.

Once sustainability is adopted, the organization as a whole ought to be committed to the program. Commitment is an important aspect that should be present in a firm once a sustainability initiative has been prioritized (Millar et al. 495). The importance of commitment comes into play especially in the initial implementation phases when teething troubles arise.

Apart from the operational aspects, the management has to be utterly committed due to the fact that during the commencement of the program, profitability of the firm may become affected. This is the make or break period during which a business has to evaluate its priorities and decide what line of action suits them better. If the management team views short term profitability as their main motivation, then inevitably any plans of sustainability that they hope to implement are doomed to fail long before they are in place.

Conclusion

The evolution of sustainability into a major part of business and strategic planning was a timely act especially with the increased globalization of commerce. By drawing its origins in environmental issues, sustainability has shown that an organization’s competitive advantage is a treasured resource for any firm.

In case organizations are willing to remain relevant in the future and attain continued growth, measures should be taken to ensure that they maintain or even improve this competitive advantage. Therefore, sustainability becomes the answer, whereby organizations include sustainable development practices in their policies and visions.

Implementation of sustainability plans should thereafter commence gradually with the aid of the staff helping the management and leadership. Significant sacrifices might be required in order to the implementation of the initiative to become successful. An organization should be content to make the necessary sacrifices unless sustainability does not rank very high in their list of priorities.

Works Cited

Millar, Carla et al. “Sustainability and the need for change: Organizational change and transformational vision.”Journal of Organizational Change Management, 25.4 (2012): pp. 489-500. Print.

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IvyPanda. "Sustainability and the need for change: Organizational change and transformational." May 5, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sustainability-and-the-need-for-change-organizational-change-and-transformational-report/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Sustainability and the need for change: Organizational change and transformational." May 5, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sustainability-and-the-need-for-change-organizational-change-and-transformational-report/.

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