Many organizations strive to embrace the concept of organizational change (Oswick, Grant, Michelson and Wailes 394). Despite the fact that organizational change is seen as the main way of improving performance of organizations, this management paradigm is constrained by many issues.
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One of the aspects identified as a barrier to organizational change concerns management of change in organizations. While organizational change is often a desirable activity that can transform organizations, sustaining change is a challenging affair to organizational leadership.
This has been noted by many researchers in the field of organizational management. It is easy to plan and introduce change in organizations. However, implementing and enforcing the change is quite difficult because of the changes in organizational environment. The external and internal organizational environments generate forces that work against the full realization of change objectives.
The change objectives are represented in the change programs and projects that are introduced in the organization. The failures of these programs are pointers to the general failure in the “change mission” of organizations (Bates and Bloch 29-32).
The complexity of managing change in organizations emanates from the fact that the change may necessitate a total restructuring of organizational units or departments. This may not be receptive to all members of the organization. This means that organizational norms, procedures, work processes and even the cultural aspects of management used in the organization may need a total overhaul.
Furthermore, the organizations may be required to identify and acquire new skills that will help in enforcing change and increasing the competitiveness of the organization. In most cases, change is a continuous process. Therefore, there is a likelihood of losing pace and focus on change enforcement is important. Organizational change is treated as a competency that the organization should have (Macadam 33-40).
Most organizations fail while implementing change or witness mal-activities during the implementation process. This is because they find it hard to run all the activities appertaining to change programs. Change programs need progressive reviews that meant to check how the organization is coping with change programs.
These reviews should be conducted in a consistent and regular manner to keep the change projects on check. This is a strenuous exercise that is prone to ignorance from the management.
While these change programs are in progress, most managers often make assumptions that these programs are running well, and they overlook the aspect of review and assessment. The result is that small flaws in implementation grow only to be discovered when they have reached stages where they cannot be easily contained (Tikkanen and Pölönen 5-25).
While many models of managing change in organizations prevail, the hard question to answer is why organizational leadership finds it difficult to implement change in a comprehensive manner. Organizational leaders are the main ambassadors of change in organizations and must show active but not passive support to change programs.
They should show full support and commitment to implementing change failure as it becomes hard to achieve success in sustenance of change programs within the organization. Change starts with the top management of organizations.
If inconsistencies are seen in the top management of organizations, flops become eminent in the enforcement of the change. In general, change management in organizations can be affected by many factors among them perception, emotional barriers, culture, environmental barriers and cognitive barriers (Schwarz and Shulman 829-846).
Change initiatives also interfere with the other strategic plans of the organization formulated earlier. In such cases, the organization may end up achieving the objectives in the change projects and fail to achieve other goals. The overall outcome of organizational change programs will be represented by lack of achievement of all goals of the firm (Oswick, Grant, Michelson and Wailes 394).
The problem of change management and implementation in Coca-Cola and Toyota Motors Corporation
Coca-Cola and Toyota Motors Corporation are big firms with extended operations across the entire globe. While change remains relevant in keeping these firms at par with the competition that exists in the international market, challenges cannot be wished away in implementing and enforcing change.
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Change management in these organizations becomes complicated by the fact that these firms have great and extensive network of operation. A lot of diversity lies in the huge clientele of these firms, thereby making it difficult to have uniformity in the projects being implemented by the firm.
Change can hardly attain a uniformed acceptance in different regions of operation by these companies because each region has unique aspects that define the business and organizational environment. These firms have staffs and stakeholders that are spread all over the continent. Therefore, it becomes difficult to communicate change to the stakeholders in an effective manner (DuBrin 293).
The Coca-Cola Company embraces change in the sense that the company has been making several brand innovation. This is done to enable the company beat the competition that is prevailing in the beverage and soft drinks industry. Many new marketing initiatives are introduced at short intervals making it a challenge to implement these initiatives to the latter.
In addition, the company operates in an industry that is subjected to a high competition. This subjects the organizational leadership to pressures that end up affecting the effecting of change. Additionally, owing to the expansiveness of the organization, it is quite difficult to communicate change to the stakeholders of the organization in a comprehensive manner.
All these point to the fact that change is elusive in organizations, but managing change remains to be a great challenge to firms. This is because of the complexity of change implementation that originate from both people and structures of the firm (Kingstone 347 – 348).
Toyota Company embraces change because it is a company that is dependent on technical production. While the company manages to come up with competitive innovations, the implementation of these initiatives remains to bother the company. This problem is facilitated by the notion that the implementation of new technologies and systems has to be done with organizational staffs.
It becomes complicated for the firm to communicate and enforce new technologies. This is because new technologies involve few staffs. Resentments to the use of the innovations are also common.
This is because the management of these companies fails to attach the total value to these innovations. An example is the observed failure of the company to communicate the benefits of adopting new technologies to organizational staffs (Kondratpara. 2-5).
How Coca-Cola and Toyota are dealing with the problem of managing change
Focus on managerial leadership in strategizing and implementing change
Managing change has many challenges. Therefore, many organizations have been seeking to establish measures to ensure that change programs attain success. Coca-Cola and Toyota companies have resorted to strategize a change. This comes after the realization that strategic leadership plays a great role in the implementation of change in organizations.
Coca Cola and Toyota have resorted to strengthening managerial leadership in the sense that they give their top management the main mandate of embracing change. Change ideas do not always emanate from the top leadership of the organization. However, when change ideas are hatched, they are left to be digested by the top leadership of these organizations who set the initiatives of adopting and implementing change.
The change initiatives patented to the organization by allowing them be rolled and overseen by the chief executive officers. This helps in elimination or minimizing the divergent perceptions that often hinder the enforcement of the change.
New programs and projects are always rolled by the top executives of these companies who set and explain the mission, objectives, and benefits of these programs to the firm (Mills 11).
Change programs should not be implemented in a haphazard manner. Strategic leadership used in these companies ensures that the entire organizational environment becomes aware of the new projects or programs. This is done through training and explanation of change initiatives to all stakeholders of the organization.
This ensures that change remains active and that change programs gain acceptance hence full participation of all organizational members. Information about expected changes prepares the organization for change.
In this case, the organization is helped to minimize possible frictions that arise from resistance or hitches to implementation of change. Disruptions and alterations to the normal operations or cultures of these firms are communicated and to a large extent accepted by stakeholders.
Through communication, the possible disruptions that are likely to be born out of the new programs are appropriately identified. In this regard, organizational stakeholders get prepared for these disruptions. They are not caught by surprise when the change strategies are being implemented (Schwarz and Shulman 829-846).
Breaking change in multinationals
Coca-Cola and Toyota have many subsidiaries situated in different regions around the world. Therefore, these organizations have realized that change cannot be enforced blankly across all the subsidiaries. The vision and change objectives are communicated to the managers of the subsidiaries who interpret and implement them according to the environment where the subsidiaries are located.
Most change initiatives in these firms aim at positioning these firms by raising their competitiveness relative to other firms in the international market. Therefore, most changes directly touch on the products of these companies. These changes revolve around improving and differentiating company brands.
For instance, Coca-Cola has been venturing into the manufacture of energy drinks as part of its diversification strategies (DuBrin 293). On the other hand, the Toyota Company has been working on producing a big range of cars to meet the divergent needs of customers. However, these activities are implemented basing on the assessment of the business location where the companies are located.
Different destinations have differing factors, both internal and external, which determine the adoption of these new initiatives. In this case, the global leadership teams of these firms delegate the responsibility of interpreting and implementing change to the national managers where the firms have subsidiaries.
These managers are thought to be having a good understanding of the trends and the culture that may affect the enforcement of change (Mills 9).
Change programs have to be developed by paying attention to both internal and external culture of firms because these cultures have both direct and indirect effect on change. The firms have to have a historical background of the location of the firm as it portrays a picture of how change will be managed.
The Coca-Cola and Toyota Motors Companies give some level of autonomy to the managers heading subsidiaries so that they can identify aspects that require change. In most cases, the need for change originated from the environment.
The local managers can thus easily detect aspects of change as they manifest in the environment of the firm. Change programs mostly fail in spite of good strategies or adoption of best implementation models because they are imposed on organizational stakeholders (Kondratpara. 3).
Research as a pace setter for organizational change implementation
A comprehensive research on the need for new projects and programs in the organization is critical to organizational change management. Coca-Cola invests a lot of money in doing a research that helps them in detecting places where change is imminent in organizations.
These researches guide the company in coming up with initiatives and they are coded as change projects in the organization. The lean production system utilized in the Toyota Motors Company is also highly depended on the research. The adoption of innovative technologies and development drive for the company utilizes research (Kondrat, para. 3).
The company identifies how new technologies can be best applied to the entire firm. This is done by assessing and equipping the firm in readiness for the use of these new systems of production. Therefore, comprehensive research that is accompanied by continuous monitoring, assessments, and evaluation comes out as a precursor to effective implementation of change in Toyota and Coca-Cola.
Continuous monitoring and assessment leading to adjustment of new projects is important in change implementation because the business environment is not static. Changes in the environment are common, and if they occur at times when change programs are being implemented, they are likely to cause devastations to full implementation of change.
Linking organization change programs to corporate social benefits
Change must be accompanied with corporate social benefits to the environment in which the business is located. More often than not, change management becomes difficult due to resistance to change. Resistance to change in firms comes as a result of many factors. Among the factors that make people resist change is the failure of people to attach value to change projects thinking that they cannot derive benefits from change.
The Coca-Cola Company is one of the most proactive companies in corporate activities. The company ensures that its change projects are accompanied by a corporate social activity. In fact, the company rolls most of its change projects through corporate social events.
The people benefit from the corporate activities whereby they easily remember the change initiatives of the company. The Toyota Motors Corporation also does this through the organization of motor sporting events and promotions (Griffin and Moorhead 519).
It is evident that organizational change is one of the mechanisms that are used by organization in enhancing competitiveness. If fully implemented, change programs often bring positive outcomes for firms. However, research indicates that the full realization of change in firms is hard because of the many challenges that bar the full implementation of change programs.
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