Part A. The Need for Change
The organization needs change, from a traditional to a learning organization that allows the input of employees. Considering the systems contingency model, which is guided by the belief that no single best method or model theorizes organizational effectiveness, the organization can adopt other leadership management methods (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2015). Primarily, the top-down management approach might not be effective in managing the growing organization. For this reason, the growing organization should no longer use a top-down approach, which is also referred to as autocratic leadership. In this approach, the top management reaches independent conclusions in managing the company and does not include ideas of other employees. Since the number of employees has reached 500, using a top-down approach may appear dictatorial, which is not good for the manufacturing company.
The systems contingency model incorporates environmental contingency and subordinate contingency factors, augmented by the leader to provide viable outcomes (Hitt et al., 2015). Regarding environmental factors, the model advocates for an effective task structure and formal authority system. As such, instead of having just the top management making decisions, the model supports for incorporating ideas and decisions from other employees, in accordance with their experience and perceived ability. The model also does not disregard the input of the leaders, rather, the leader or top management is supportive to other employees and also directs and participates in the decision-making process to achieve favorable outcomes of increased satisfaction and performance, which will be of benefit to the manufacturing company (Hitt et al., 2015). As such, using this model, the most appropriate leadership style is participative leadership, which supports the phases of the systems contingency model, which are input, transformation, and output. As such, the most effective change is adopting a participatory approach in leadership, thereby transforming the company, which will result in positive outcomes, such as increased profitability, performance, and satisfaction among employees.
Part B. Differences Between a Learning Organization and a Traditional Organization
Woolner suggested five stages that an organization should pass before it achieves its goal of becoming a learning organization, which are the forming organization, the developing organization, the mature organization, the adapting organization, and lastly, the learning organization. The manufacturing company is in the forming organization stage. According to Hitt et al. (2015), the stage is characterized by the commencement of solidification of the business products and models that can subsequently start to set up formal and proactive learning with outsiders. Essentially, the company has hired me as a change manager, which signifies that they recognize the need for learning, which is also a characteristic of Woolners second stage, the developing organization.
Senges five disciplines include shared vision, systems thinking, personal mastery, team learning, and mental models (Hitt et al., 2015). The manufacturing company can make good use of shared vision by incorporating other employees decisions and working as a team. The top management can also capitalize on creating company values, vision, as well as a mission, which will guide the company personnel towards a common goal. They have to agree on mutual targets, improvement strategies, as well as goal-setting. The company can also use mental models that establish common values, beliefs, as well as assumptions and mindsets that determine the way people act and think within the organization. It can also be achieved by challenging the assumptions of others and thus, build a shared understanding. Personal mastery is achieved by self-awareness of individual employees and can be achieved by allowing them to challenge themselves to enhance the relationship and interactions in and outside of the teams. Team learning allows the employees to think together by sharing skills, knowledge, insights, and experience so that they can do work together and better. Systems thinking will allow the employees to analyses situations, problems, and events, and come up with viable courses of action and solutions or change options.
Part C: Type of Change and the Rate of Change
For the companys change process to be successful, the efforts should fit within the context of the organization. The company belongs to the evolution quadrant in Balogun and Hope-Haileys model. Essentially, the evolution quadrant advocates for transformational change, which should be implemented gradually via inter-related initiatives (Hitt et al., 2015). Also, it is likely to be a proactive change, which is undertaken with the participation of the need for futuristic change. There needs to be the participation of the other employees in the decision-making process, an aspect that was not incorporated before. As such, this transformation should include changing the culture of the organization, from a top-down approach to participatory or democratic approach. For this reason, the change cannot be handled within the paradigm that exists within the company. Besides, incremental change can take time to be fully implemented, but the results are different once completed. In essence, the change should not be abrupt. Instead, it should be slow to allow both the top management and the employees to adapt to the new change, and thus, this would not overwhelm them while adopting the changes. The type of change is transformative because it entails switching from a top-down leadership style where ideas and decisions of employees are not considered to a participatory style where they are incorporated in decision making, and thus, the company can accumulate ideas based on the input of each employee.
Part D: Four Steps of the Action Research Model
The action research model has four cycles, that consist of four steps- planning, acting, observing, and reflecting (Hitt et al., 2015). At the planning stage, it entails identifying the problem, usually by gathering data, including the likelihood that the planned action will work (Hitt et al., 2015). As such, the plan should be flexible enough to adapt to instances of unforeseen effects, as well as constraints. It also entails taking into account the risks that are involved. In the case, it involves coming up with a plan that will entail the implementation of a participatory approach instead of a top-down leadership model. The action step entails putting the idea of a participatory leadership or bottom-up approach into action by following practical judgments and decisions while improving the situation. As such, it involves actual implementation of the participatory approach in the company. The third step, observation, entails documenting the effects of the action and ensuring that the desired effects are attained, and in that case, the company should see whether the participatory approach is working, usually by looking whether it positively impacts the profitability and worker productivity. The last step, reflection, will allow the company personnel to evaluate the desirability of the change and developing a vivid picture on how the change will impact the organization, as well as looking into areas of improvement.
Part E: Innovation Strategies
Considering the case, the most effective innovation strategies are exploration and cooperation. Exploration will allow the leaders and employees to be creative, thereby allowing them to come up with ideas and decisions that can be incorporated in the company (Hitt et al., 2015). It also allows for the incorporation of a bottom-up approach and incubating ideas, thereby allowing for more employee participation. The cooperation strategy, on the other hand, allows for the inclusion of horizontal coordination mechanisms, as well as partners and customers (Hitt et al., 2015). In adopting the strategy, ideas can move from lower levels of the organization to the top executives.
From the two strategies, the recommended one is cooperation, which allows for the contribution of ideas by the employees. It also allows for internal contests, which solicits the involvement of employees in the innovation process. It also allows for incubation of ideas, and the organization can make use of the best ideas, thereby increasing employee productivity and profitability.
Part F: Kotters 8-Step Model
The recommended four steps for the change process are: create a sense of urgency, enable action by removing barriers, sustain acceleration, and institute change (Hitt et al., 2015). Creating a sense of urgency will create the necessary atmosphere to allow the change process to be implemented faster. In the case, this can be achieved by meetings with employees, as well as informing them of the desired change via emails or even memos. Also, the employees should be informed of the benefits of adopting a bottom-up approach and involving them in making decisions. Enabling action by removing barriers is an essential step as it allows the company top executives to get rid of all processes that will obstruct the change process, and thus, allow it to achieve the desired results. Inefficient processes include the top-down approach that the company adopted before, which needs to be replaced with the bottom-up approach, and this will provide the necessary freedom to work across the organizational silos, thereby generating real impact. The major barrier is the culture, which once eliminated will result in a positive effect. Sustaining acceleration will allow the change process to be faster, especially after the first successes of changing the culture of the organization and replacing it with the new one, which entails allowing for employee participation in decision-making process. The acceleration should be relentless until the desired impact and vision are achieved. Lastly, instituting change is important, which allows for articulation of connections between organizational successes and new behavior, and also making sure that nee habits continue until the old ones are replaced. In essence, this will allow for the new behavior to be achieved, and thus, enabling the desired change to be achieved.
Part G: Five Pillars of Sustainable Change
The five pillars include leadership, strategy, structure, culture, and systems, which are interdependent and interrelated (Hitt et al., 2015). In the given scenario, leadership should be able to welcome ideas from the employees. Leaders should be able to facilitate all the resources for implementing the change, including finances, that will allow for the change institution, such as paying the change manager. Strategy, in the scenario, would be adopting a cooperation strategy, which will allow for the participation of employees in making decisions and eliminating the top-down approach. Structure will entail eliminating the hierarchical structure and replacing it with a horizontal structure where teams and individuals in the same organizational level can work together towards achieving the desired change impact. The culture of the organization has to change where the ideas from employees are not welcomed to a culture whether the input of each employee counts towards the betterment of the company. Lastly, systems pillar will allow for the adoption of the systems contingency model, which entails the introduction of an efficient task structure and formal authority system. Instead of having just the top management making decisions, this system supports for incorporating ideas and decisions from other employees, in accordance with their experience and perceived ability. The model also does not disregard the input of the leaders, rather, the leader or top management is supportive t...
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