Leading Change Essay
Introduction. Description of Organization
Good Sport is a fitness equipments manufacturer which sells its products to residential houses, clubs and hotels. The company was founded by a basketball star Jason Poole 15 years ago in Florida. The current CEO of the company has been able to drive the company forward with improvements in the performance of sales, production, and research and development departments. The company was able to sell its products to hospitals in huge quantities. As a result the company is now expanding to the neighboring states also.
The company has a typical organizational structure where the different teams are led by team managers, who are led by the senior managers. Vice presidents lead the senior managers and the vice presidents are supervised by the CEO. This company follows a functional structure which is a type of organizational structure (Price, 2007). The organization is divided into different parts and each part split has a different function. There is a clear line of command in the organization as the team managers only report to the senior manager, the senior manager reports to the vice presidents and so on. If the employees need to suggest any change, the only way will be to report to the team manager, who will in turn inform the suggestion to the senior manager.
Latest trends have to be considered by the fitness manufacturers while designing, and manufacturing the fitness equipments. In an environment like this, managers play essential roles in the floating of new ideas and processes. The manager also has the job of influencing the workers to accept the changes being made. The workers in the department adopt an informal attitude within the department; most colleague meetings are scheduled outside the office. The individuals prefer to work individually and there is not much support for the ideas of the subordinates. The employees dislike being dictated by others and are keen to acquire support for their personal ideas. The employees have the understanding that the customer is king and only those products are developed which everyone agrees that the product will be liked by the customers.
The culture and structure are related to an extent but are not completely compatible. The structure of the organization implies that there is limited interaction of the employees with the higher level management. The colleagues within a department enjoy meetings outside the office, but the meeting does not include the senior managers or the team managers. Therefore there is a culture in the departments to avoid the higher people in the authority in informal meetings. This is related to the functional structure of the organization as the structure of the organization does not allow the higher management and the employees to have informal communication.
In the functional structure, the managers take most of the decisions and changes are implemented without the consultation of the employees (Price, 2007). In the organization Good Sport also, the employees are not involved in the initiation of new ideas and innovation, the managers float new ideas and product designs. In this organization also, there is a culture of implementing new ideas and processes without the consultation of employees. The employees are influenced to accept the changes decided by the management. In a functional structure, the managers have to take steps carefully because the structure is prone to interdepartmental conflicts (Price, 2007). There is a communication barrier in the organization Good Sport also as the managers do not the relevant departments from the beginning.
The culture and the structure of the organization are not compatible because of which the organization has to face many difficulties. There is a disliking of being dictated by the others in the department but the structure of the team implies a clear chain of command. The team manager has the power to dictate the team members, assign responsibilities and specify tasks to individuals. This is an incompatibility between the organizational structure and the culture in the organization. Another compatibility issue between the structure and culture is the culture of preference of working individually among the employees. The structure is prone to departmental conflicts as there is no communication between the departments until very necessary. Each department follows their own goals; therefore there is no integration of goals among the departments. This is incompatible with the culture of the informal culture at the organization where the preference of the employees is not to be dictated by anyone else. The culture prevalent in the organization is development of new products through innovation and new ideas. The organization structure does not support this innovation as the employees are not involved in the initiation of new ideas and innovation.
Power Structures and Politics
There is a lot of politics in the organizations Good Sport. For example, the sales department opposed the development of the new products that was designed by Frazier because the sales department felt that the product requires a lot of concept selling which made their task difficult. It can be implied here that the sales department has declined to work for the organizational goals in pursuit of their individual agendas. The decisions of the other department’s management can be influenced by offering trade of benefits or favors and by bringing the higher management on your side. The favors of higher management can be gained in the organization, through which individual department’s goals can be fulfilled. Prior to making some requests, if the favors of CEO are gained, the department can be politically strong in the organization. Managers use many tactics in the organization to achieve their departmental goals. Soft tactics like rational persuasion and inspiration appeals in the organization. Promotions of the employees are discouraged in the organization who is working diligently. This is because the managers have a hard time accepting the fact that their subordinate has now become their peer.
There is a clear chain of command from the top level to the lower level hierarchy. The higher level management is more powerful as it has more authority over the people in the lower hierarchy. The departments in Good Sport work for their own goals and there is no integration between the departments. The higher the individual is in the organizational hierarchy, the higher is the influencing power of that individual. From the simulation, it is evident that even if the lower management and employees are in the opposition, but if higher management of the department is not in opposition, the whole department will be influenced by the decisions of the higher management. A manager can have power over the other department if the president or the higher management is in favor of the manager of the other department. Trade favors have a high impact on the power of the individual. Extension support to other ideas also makes the individual more powerful in the hierarchy. Consumer surveys are a big resource to collect more power in the organization. If the customer survey implies positive demand, the decisions of the organizational members can be influenced.
These power structures and high level of politics in the organization are evidently the result of the functional organizational structure and the prevalent culture in the organization. There is a culture of believing that the customer is the king, therefore any decisions that are made in consideration with the customers are highly valuable. Tools like customer survey and feedback are a source of power in the organization. The structure implies that the higher management has control over the lower levels in the organizational hierarchy. This results in more influence of the higher management of the decisions within the department. Therefore, if an individual is able to gain the favor of the higher management of another department, he has power over that department.
There is a culture of disliking of interference from other departments and most of the people prefer to work individually. Therefore, to gain the support of the employees and to suggest changes in the processes of other department, a department has to play tactics over that department. This results in the politics that are prevalent in the organization and the main reason is the boundaries and the communication gap between the departments. The power structures and the politics prevalent in the organization are the determinants of culture in the organization. This is because the chain of command from the higher level to the lower level makes the employees more influenced by corporate icons. The employees are only willing to accept the orders of the higher management of their own department and any influence or suggestions from other departments are not appreciated. There is centralization of power in the organization because of which the employees do not get the chance of giving their inputs and ideas. The employees like to work independently without anyone’s suggestion or interference. Therefore, if the input from other department is inquired, the power of the inquirer decreases. The power structure and the politics in the organization are hence the determinant of the organizational culture.
If individual inputs were invited from the employees from other departments, this would have had a positive impact on the power of the research and development department. This is because both the departments, sales and production workers, do not like to work in collaboration with others. If they were approached individually, it would have been more influencing. Both these departments also do not like interference from other departments, therefore is the higher management of the departments were involved in influencing the workers, the research and development would have been more powerful. More informal communication with the peers and the CEO will surely resolve politics in the power structures.
The employees working in the organization and the higher management are incapable of accepting change in Good Sport. This is because of the culture of the organization that has been prevalent because of the politics and power structures. There is a huge communication gap in the organization because of which the lower level employees are uninformed of the decisions being taken by the managers in the higher hierarchy. The employees are not interested in accepting the orders from any peers and from other departments. Once the change is implemented, there could be heavy resistance from the employees and even the peers. This resistance could damage the change badly and the change could also be reversed with the resistance. Before implementing strategies to reduce the resistance offered by the employees, the impacted groups of employees should be identified and the level of impact should also be predicted.
Change is always opposed and condemned by the individuals in the organization. One of the main strategies to win over the resistance to change is to offer rewards to the employees. The use of reward management helps the higher authority to gain the favors of the employees who are resisting change. The employees who are correctly aligning their way of working with the change implemented should be rewarded. This will encourage other employees to also accept change and align their tasks with the implemented change. Both the monetary rewards and nonmonetary rewards should be used to boost the morale of the employees and to make them accept the change. Monetary awards would include cash awards, check payments, overtime and permanent increase in basic salary (The Business Research Lab, 2006).
Non-monetary awards should include trophies, increased facilities, free trip tickets and meal vouchers (The Business Research Lab, 2006). Resistance to change could also be reduced through conducting workshops or seminars. These seminars should demonstrate the personal benefits the employees would get once they accept the change. The employees should be made aware of the improvement that their careers will have because of the change that is implemented. They should be sent for training programs for the change that is being implemented. This would make them more confident in facing the change that is being implemented. The training programs would allow the employees to gain a better understanding of the change. Each employee should be given the reasons for the change to overcome the resistance. They should be taught about the need for the particular change for the betterment of the organization and the employees themselves.
One of the most important strategies to overcome the resistance to change is the involvement of the employees and other departments’ subordinates, peers and seniors since the beginning of the change process. The culture of the organization is also in alignment as most of the people like to get involved in the change process since the beginning of the process. Implementing the change in processes is the only way in the organization because of the organizational structure. The organizational structure does not allow open communication of the employees and the higher management. Therefore the team managers should be informed about the decision of change that the company is about to take. These team managers should convey this message to their teams and input from employees should be taken from their team managers. Involvement of the staff since the beginning of the change project will ensure the minimal resistance from them afterwards. This way the employees will feel more important and they will have a feel of belonging towards the change project. The employees should be informed about each step that is being taken by the organization in implementing the change. The bottom-line is that the change should never be implemented in one go throughout the organization. The process of change should be s step by step process which is favored by the employees as well as the seniors.
Leadership Style for Success
The leadership style that should be used is Laissez- Faire style of leadership (Essortment, 2009), if a major change initiative has to be taken. In this style of leadership, the manager provides no direction or may be a little to the employees (Essortment, 2009). The employees have freedom as much as they want and they are able to implement change in their processes according to the way they want. Employees get all the power and authority they need to determine their own goals, design their own tasks and resolve problems on their own.
The employees in the organization do not like to be dictated by anyone. Therefore this style of leadership is the most effective one for Good Sport. The employees at Good Sport want to work individually and do not feel insecure about the unavailability of the manager. There is high level of communication between the immediate manager of the employees and the employees, therefore the manager will be able to provide feedback to the employees to let them know about their performance. The managers in Good Sport understand their roles and responsibilities and are not expecting the employees to provide cover for their tasks.
The employees at Good Sport want to work independently and are eager to win support for their initiatives and ideas. Therefore the Laissez- Faire style of leadership is the most effective leadership style for implementing change in an organization like Good Sport. This is because this style of leadership allows the employees to have satisfaction in their work and gives incentive to the employees to do their tasks successfully on their own.
Autocratic leadership style cannot be used here because employees will become resentful once the change is implemented on them (Essortment, 2009). The employees do not like to be dictated by others therefore they would not like if they are dictated to change the processes. The employees expect their managers to hear their suggestions which are another reason for not incorporating the autocratic leadership style (Essortment, 2009). This style of leadership is mostly used when there is a time constraint. In the question we do not have any time constraint therefore we consider having enough time for change.
Bureaucratic leadership style also will not be effective as is this style, the manager acts as a police officer to enforce the rules (Essortment, 2009). But the employees in Good Sport do not like to be dictated by other and prefer working independently. The employees are required to be innovative and bring in new ideas in Good Sport; therefore this style of management will not work in a huge change initiative. Work habits of the employees are hard to break in the organization that we are discussing (Essortment, 2009), whereas the bureaucratic leadership style requires changing the habits of employees by implementing procedures.
Democratic leadership style will also be ineffective as the business cannot afford mistakes at this crucial change initiative (Essortment, 2009). Any mistakes in this major change initiative would cost the company unbearable costs.
To manage the workers, their input will have to be taken and their suggestions be implemented. Only then they will feel motivated and feel that they are heard in the organization. To keep the functional structure of the organization and the culture intact, there will be vertical communication with the immediate manager. Informal horizontal communication should also be encouraged so that the culture of not listening to any other department is abolished. The senior managers and the vice presidents should be given more authority and collaborations of the departments for projects should be encouraged. Integration of the goals of the different departments would allow the alignment of organizational goals with that of the individuals.
For enhancing the performance of the employees, goals of the different teams should be aligned. When the team members are working in collaboration for accomplishment of tasks, the probability of getting involved in conflicts will be minimized automatically (The Personality Development Workbook, 2008). Even if a conflict occurs, both the parties should be heard to. The higher manager should be able to resolve the conflicts by implementing his own decision which is neutral to both the parties (The Personality Development Workbook, 2008).
Price, A. (2007). Human Resource Management in a Business Context. Third Edition.
The Business Research Lab. (2006). Rewards Management. Retrieved November 2, 2009, from http://www.busreslab.com/
The Personality Development Workbook. (2008). Effective Conflict Management Methods.
Retrieved November 2, 2009, from http://www.gayathrimoosad.com/effective-conflictmanagement-methods.html
Essortment. (2009). Styles of Leadership. Retrieved November 2, 2009, from http://www.essortment.com/all/leadershipstyle_rrnq.htm