Organizational Change Essay
1. How do evolutionary change and revolutionary change differ?
Evolutionary change is gradual, incremental, and narrowly focused and does not involve drastic or sudden altering of the basic nature of the organization’s strategy or structure. Whereas revolutionary change is rapid, dramatic, and broadly focused in order to quickly and decisively find new ways to be effective.
2. What is a business process, and why is reengineering a popular instrument of change today?
A business process is any activity that cuts across functional boundaries. It is the ability of people and groups to act in a cross-functional way that is the vital factor in determining how quickly goods and services are delivered to customers or that promotes high quality or low costs.
Reengineering is a popular instrument of change today because managers focus on the business process and not just the organization’s functions by going back to the basics and pulling apart each step in the work process to identify a better way to coordinate and integrate the activities necessary to provide customers with foods and services.
3. Why is restructuring sometimes necessary for reengineering to take place?
Restructuring is necessary sometimes for reengineering to take place because there is a high probability that in order for the reengineering to be successful there will need to be a more efficient organizational structure which generally results in layoff of or transferring employees to be absorbed elsewhere in the organization.
4. What are the main steps in action research?
The five main steps in action research are diagnosing the organization, determining the desired future state, implementing action, evaluation the action, and institutionalizing action research.
5. What is organizational development, and what is its goal?
Organizational development is a series of techniques and methods that managers can use in their action research program to increase the adaptability of their organization.
The goal of organizational development is to improve organizational effectiveness and to help people in organizations reach their potential and realize their goals and objectives.
1. Discuss the resistance to change at the organization and individual levels that you will likely encounter.
At the organizational level there may be a resistance because there could be concerns that the company may be cutting too deep and could be trading short-term gains from cost savings for long-term losses due to lost opportunities. From the individual level there will most likely be resistance from the stand point that employees are scared they may lose their jobs due to the cuts or that their workload will increase dramatically in order to fulfill the work that was previously performed by the lost employees.
2. How will you manage the change process to behave ethically to those employees who will be terminated, and to those who will be reassigned to new jobs and face a new organizational culture?
To behave ethically during the change process I would need to do everything possible to reduce resistance. This would include education and communication, participation and empowerment, facilitation, bargaining and negotiation, manipulation, and as a last resort use coercion. I would also use team building exercises to help the reassigned employees adapt to the change and possibly set up some sort of a transition assistance program to help the terminated employees find employment elsewhere.
1. How does Six Sigma work? What are the steps that companies must take to implement such a TQM program?
Six Sigma works by first training a group of employees on the Six Sigma process; then those trained employees become a team with the purpose of developing new ideas or programs that will improve customer responsiveness and then they find new procedures and processes that will implement the mew programs most effectively.
I think that the steps a company must take to implement any TQM program is much the same as the five main steps in action research; diagnosing the organization, determining the desired future state, implementing action, evaluation the action, and institutionalizing action research. Along with training the team and using Lewin’s three-step change process.
2. In what ways can Six Sigma bring about types of change that improve an organization’s competitive advantage?
The Six Sigma process can improve an organization’s competitive advantage in many ways. It can streamline processes to save time and money, it can generate a restructure, it could find ways to improve employee working conditions which could improve productivity, or it could even generate potential new programs or products to increase customer satification.
1. What factors influence the number of organizations that are founded in a population? How can pursuing a specialist strategy increase a company’s chance of survival?
The factors that influence the number of organizations that are founded in a population are population ecology theory, population of organizations, environmental niches, and population density.
A company’s chance of survival can be increased by using a specialist strategy because they would focus their activities in one niche which would enable them to develop core competences and allow them to outperform generalist in that niche
2. How does r-strategy differ from K-strategy? How does a specialist strategy differ from a generalist strategy? Use companies in the fast-food industry to provide an example of each strategy.
The difference between r-strategy and K-strategy is that r-strategy is a strategy used by organizations that enter a new environment early gaining first-mover advantage and first pick of the environmental resources. K-strategy is used by organizations entering the environment late but they get the advantage of the uncertainty has been removed from the environment and should already know the correct way to compete with the dominate organizations that followed the r-strategy.
The specialist strategy concentrates the organizations competences and skills to compete for resources in a single niche where a generalist strategy uses well-developed competences to compete for resources in many or all niches in an environment.
An example of r-strategy in the fast-food industry would be McDonalds, a K-strategy example might be Subway who also could be an example of a specialist strategy, and a generalist strategy could be something like Piccadilly or Morrison’s Cafeterias.
3. Why do organizations grow? What major crisis is an organization likely to encounter as it grows?
Organizations grow to allow them to increase their division of labor and specialization in order to develop a competitive advantage.
The four major crises that an organization is likely to encounter as it grows are crisis of leadership, crisis of autonomy, crisis of control, and the crisis of red tape.
4. Why do organizations decline? What steps can top management take to halt decline and restore organizational growth?
Organizations decline because they fail to anticipate, recognize, avoid, neutralize, or adapt to external or internal pressures that threaten their long-term survival. They can also decline if the organization grows too fast or too much and pass the point that maximizes their effectiveness.
The steps top management can take to halt decline and restore organizational growth are; (a) to continually analyze the organization’s structure to pinpoint any sources of inertia that may have emerged as the organization has grown and differentiated, (b) to continually analyze the environment and the niches that the organization occupies to identify changes in the amount or distribution of resources, (c) to realize that because the management is part of the organization it may be difficult for them to identify internal or external problems, (d) to keep in mind that they have a duty to the stakeholders to maximize the chances of the organization’s survival and success, and (e) they need to be prepared to step aside and relinquish control if new leadership is required.
5. What is organizational inertia? List some sources of inertia in a company like IBM or GM.
Organizational inertia is the forces inside an organization that make it resistant to change.
Some sources of inertia that you may see in a company like IBM or GM would be (a) management teams pursuing their own goals at the expense of shareholders, customers, and other stakeholders, (b) managers limiting autonomy by establishing a tall hierarchy so that subordinates have less authority, or (c) the environment becomes poorer, and increased competition for resources threatens the existing organization.
1. What kind of ethical code should an organization create to try to prevent the selfish managerial behaviors that can contribute to inertia?
To prevent the selfish managerial behaviors that can contribute to inertia an organization should create an ethical code that addresses social, professional, and individual ethics. It should cover the importance of displaying and exercising the moral rules and behaviors that will encourage growth and reorganization within the organization.
2. How can an organization use ethics to encourage managers to maintain a risk-taking attitude that benefits all stakeholders?
An organization can encourage managers to maintain a risk-taking attitude by using ethics to create a positive atmosphere that encourages managers to pursue new projects and new ideas without the fear of losing their authority, control, or position if the project or idea fails. Basically the organizational ethics should clearly state that it encouraged to think outside the box in order to maximize the organizations effectiveness and that this type of thinking or behavior will be considered non retribution.
1. Relate Microsoft’s problems with its control and evaluation systems to each of the stages of growth in Greiner’s model.
In stage one Microsoft seemed to concentrate on innovation and entrepreneurship which follows suit with Greiner. I did not see any indication of a leadership crisis in stage one.
In stage two I would also say they followed suit with Greiner’s model because they seemed to create an organization structure and culture that allowed them to meet their effectiveness goals while the company was still growing.
Stage three is where Microsoft’s problems started when they decided to reward individual employees for the contributions with bonuses and stock options verses rewarding teams for their performance. This started the decline in team performance and changed the culture of the organization.
I did not see relevant information in the case analysis pertaining to stage four and five although I am sure that Microsoft is seeing some problems with centralized control from the top management and decentralized control at the functional level. They may even be going through some organizational changes to increase or improve their product teams and matrix structure.
2. Microsoft today is most likely in the growth through collaboration stage. How do you recommend it changes its structure, culture, and control systems to solve its problems at this stage?
They should move to a matrix structure and improve the way they are using their product teams so that they can inspire more spontaneity form management, increase the speed that they develop new products, improve their ability to respond to customer needs, and mostly I think they need to reevaluate their performance rating system since that seems to be a driving factor with the decline in effectiveness.
1. What are the critical differences between the rational and the Carnegie approaches to decision making? What are the critical differences between the incrementalist and the garbage-can models? Which models best describe how decision making takes place in (a) a fast-food restaurant and (b) the research and development laboratory of a major drug company?
The rational model of decision making assumes that all the information needed for a manager to make a decision is available, that the decision making process is costless, that all managers think alike and their values do affect their choices, that every possible alternative choice is available and analyzed by the manager, that once the decision is chosen that it was by unanimous agreement, and that the chosen solution will always the best possible decision for the organization. The Carnegie approach states that managers will have limited information available to them to make decisions, that there is a cost involved in the decision process, that the managers values do affect their decisions, that there is a limited range of alternatives available to the manager, that the solutions is chosen by compromise, bargaining, and accommodation, and finally that the chosen solution will be satisfactory to meet the needs of the organization.
The incrementalist model is where managers select alternatives that are only slightly different from choices made in the past in an attempt to minimize the possibility of the manager making a mistake. Eventually the entire organization may get to a completely new course of action, but it will take time as they muddle-through the process. The garbage-can model is an unstructured process taken to the extreme. With this model the manager starts the decision making process from the solution side and not from the problem side. The manager would have a set of solutions they want to employ and will likely create or seek out problems in order to use the solutions.
I think a fast-food restaurant would use the incrementalist model and research and development laboratory of a major drug company would most likely want to use the rational model but would more than likely use the Carnegie model.
2. What is organizational learning? In what ways can managers promote the development of organizational learning by acting at various levels in the organization? By using knowledge management?
Organizational learning is the process through which managers seek to improve organization members’ desire and ability to understand and manage the organization and its environment so they make decisions that continuously raise organizational effectiveness.
By acting at various levels in the organization the managers can facilitate the learning of new skills, rules, norms, and values so individuals can increase their own personal abilities and help build the organization’s core competences. They can encourage learning by promoting the use of various kinds of groups so that employees can share or pool their skills and abilities to solve problems. They can create an ongoing mental model that all organizational members can use to frame problems or opportunities and that binds them to the organization and they can determine how learning occurs at the interorganizational level so that employees can improve their effectiveness by imitation each other’s distinctive competences.
By using knowledge management managers can ensure employee access to the collection of standardized organization best practices, rules, and standard operating procedures which could result in major gains in technical efficiency and allow the organization to better manage its environment. They could also design an information system to show employees who in the organization might possess the knowledge they might need or who might have already confronted a similar problem in the past.
3. How can knowledge management promote organizational learning? What determines which kind of knowledge management system a company should adopt?
Knowledge management can promote organizational learning by increasing the level of integration inside an organization, among people, functions, and divisions. It can also speed learning and decision making which could result in a higher success rate for the organization.
The system of knowledge management a company should adopt is determined by how much employees rely on knowhow, insight, and judgment to make decisions and whether it is suitable for the product that is provided is standardized so that best practices can continually be discovered and entered into a knowledge management system.
4. How do cognitive biases affect organizational learning and the quality of decision making? What can be done to reduce their negative impact?
Cognitive biases can affect organizational learning and the quality of decision making by causing a state of discomfort or anxiety in the way a person feels when there is an inconsistency between their beliefs and actions which could cause a manager to adopt a flawed solution, they could lead managers to overestimate the extent to which they can control a situation because they have the skills and abilities needed to manage uncertainty and complexity, they might deceive people into assuming that extreme instances of a phenomenon are more prevalent that they really are, or they may lead a manager to form a judgment based on small and unrepresentative samples. Some other effects could be allowing managers to justify and reinforce their own preferences and values by attributing them to others, lead managers to interpret events in such a way the their actions appear in the most favorable light, or lead managers to remain committed to a losing course of action and to refuse to admit they have made a mistake.
Some of the things that can be done to reduce their negative impact of cognitive biases are to implement strategies for organizational learning, increase the breadth and diversity of the top-management team, use devil’s advocacy and dialectical inquiry, use game theory, and develop a collateral organizational structure.
1. Discuss how the various cognitive biases can lead managers to behave unethically. Do you see any theme or pattern in how these biases operate on ethics?
Because the various cognitive biases are normally something generated internally from within the person there can many personal values attached to the biases. The problem is that sometimes a person’s values may conflict with the organizations ethical stance. When this happens it can cause managers to lose their ability to see problems or situations clearly and could enable the manager to make an unethical decision.
The pattern or theme that I see with biases on unethical behavior is that if the organizational does not take a proactive stance to deal with the possible cognitive biases of its employees then the risk of unethical behavior will increase.
2. Which kinds of techniques or tools discussed in this chapter, for example, a knowledge management system, can be best used to combat the problem of cognitive biases?
One of the things or techniques an organization could use to combat the problem of cognitive biases is to rely on the principles of the learning organization. The organization could this environment to proactively discuss things like adaptive and inert cultures and ensure that the employees understand the organizations rules, norms and values.
1. Given the pattern of changes your organization has made to its strategy and structure over time, which of the decision-making models best characterizes the way it makes decisions?
The incrementalist decision-making model is the one that I would say best characterizes the way my organization makes decisions.
2. At what hierarchical level does responsibility for nonprogrammed decision making seem to lie in your organization? What problems do you see with the way your company makes decisions?
What can I say to this other than I am in the military, so it depends on the what the problem is and what the surrounding circumstances are to figure out what level has the responsibility to make the decision. Most of the time this works out very well however sometimes little things end up going too high up in the chain of command for a decision that could have been made at the first or second level in the supervisory chain of command.
3. Characterize your organization’s ability to learn over time. Evaluate its capacity to adapt itself to and modify the environment.
I believe that my organization has a tremendous capability to learn over time and I also believe that if we could not adapt ourselves and modify our environment that we would not be able to support the most powerful Air Force in the world.
4. Can you pinpoint any cognitive biases that may have affected the way managers made decisions or influenced their choice of strategy or structure? What was the effect of the cognitive biases?
Cognitive dissonance is the bias that I would say influenced one of my old bosses decisions the most. This ended up restructuring our flight which later caused problems and need to be corrected after the boss the replaced.