Stanley Black & Decker Change Process Proposal


            The external environment such as competition and internal environment such as work design can have great impact on the organizational bottom line. The influence of these external and internal factors can create more pressure on organization, necessitating the need for change. While organizations may undergo change due to external pressures such as changes in technology, an organization may plan its own change though analysis of internal environment such as work design, compensation strategies and organizational structure with the aim of creating an efficient and effective system. In response to the growing need for planned change, organization development (OD) was developed to facilitate planned change processes.

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            According to (Burke, & Noumair, 2014), organization development (OD) is a process that occurs throughout the organization for collection of data, diagnosis, action planning, intervention and evaluation with the purpose of enhancing congruence in organizational structure, people, groups and process/strategy, development of renewing capacity and creation of new organizational solutions. Organization planned change models can take the form of incremental/quantum, can be done in underorganized/over organized organizational structure or in domestic or international settings, with the help of change models such as Lewin’s change model (Cummings, & Worley, 2014). The paper outlines a change plan for Stanley Black & Decker Inc.

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Organizational Background

            Stanley Black & Decker is a provider of tools and storage, electronic security systems and engineering fastening tools. The company has a consistent track record of making profits. Established in 1843, the company’s main goal is provision of tools and services which improves the everyday life, making it easy and enjoyable. The opportunity of working in the organization under contract afforded me with the chance to get management experience.

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            According to (Cummings, & Worley, 2014), the systems theory of organization development views organizations as systems. Organizations can be considered as open systems, which interact with environment taking inputs and producing outputs, which are returned into the environment as feedback. As open systems, organization consists of individuals, groups and departments, which takes inputs from external environment and transforms them using technical and social processes. Stanley Black & Decker is committed to customer value creation through its Stanley Fulfillment System (SFS). The company achieves this through an interaction between its supply chains, sales and operation and workforce involvement.

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            Since its establishment in 1843, the company has been successful in meeting its client expectations. The company provides good remuneration and benefits to its workforce. In the last three years, the company underwent restructuring in its management. Although the aim of the restructuring process was aimed at increasing efficiency and ability to meet client expectations in the wake of the competitive environment and difficult economic climate, the process created an inefficient management. The new management is conservative, unwilling to change and provide little guidance to the workforce.

The Need for Change

            Stanley Black & Decker has a diverse workforce with various departments and people working together to meet client needs. The supply chain department coordinates sourcing and purchase of key components used in manufacture of components. The manufacturing plant section ensures client orders are produced in required standards and in time. The accounting department receives and processes client orders, while the sales and marketing department performs market research and marketing of the company products. The top management that consists of the chief executive officer and the board members coordinate the activities of all departments. The departmental heads are in charge of employees and report to the company chief executive officer, who report to the company board of directors.

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            The work experience in Stanley Black & Decker afforded an opportunity of examining the work processes, organizational structure and organization culture, which informed the need for change in the company. According to (Cummings, & Worley, 2014, p. 152) the needs and dynamics of the change situation are important in crafting an effective program for guiding the change process. The author further points that the success of change is influenced by two contingencies; the ones related to change and the competency of the change practitioner. The contingencies are core to successful process intervention in organization development process as they influence the success of the chosen intervention in addition to determining the choice of the organization development change model.

            Accordingly, the work experience in Stanley Black & Decker allowed for the identification of a number of contingencies in the change situation. The observations made revealed individual differences and organization factors that make organizational development (OD) in the company an inevitable process. There was lack of clear guidelines on individual roles, with departmental heads performing major functions. The organizational management retained most of major decisions, where departmental employees would require approval from their seniors for simple tasks such as processing new and urgent customer needs. For example, in the accounting department, the head must approve all acquisitions even simple acquisitions such as extra paper roles. The organizational factors observed included a bureaucratic form of organization style, which delayed decision making processes. Most employees felt frustrated for playing reduced roles in making even simple decisions. In addition, the management reiterated the need for protocol while making any requests. These factors created organization-wide frustration among employees and had an impact of reducing efficiency due to complex decision making processes and lack of employee autonomy. Although the remuneration was good, most employees were concerned with their reduced roles, which created general lack of work motivation.

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            In any change process, there is need for organizational assessment to determine whether change process will be success or a failure. According to (Weiner, 2009), several factors have been determined by organizational development change experts as critical to change process. These include organization readiness for change, capability of organization to change, cultural influence and the competency of the change practitioner. The organizational development process in Stanley Black & Decker must ensure its success through competent practitioner, creation of sufficient readiness for change, development of good change culture and creation of good capabilities to enable effective implementation of the process.

            The concept of readiness for change as employed in change process is multi-faceted and multi-level construct. According to (Weiner, 2009) the organizational readiness for change refers to the resolve among the workforce to implement change process. When the shared commitment for change is high, the ability of members to initiate change will be high and more effort will be exerted on the change process, leading to successful change initiatives.  Low shared commitment for change precedes low resolve for initiation of the change process. The author points that failure to establish enough readiness for change is often the main reason why more than half of change processes fail to achieve the desired outcomes.

            Organizational readiness alone is not enough to facilitate successful change intervention. According to (Cummings, & Worley, 2014) in addition to having the right culture and commitment for change, the level of knowledge, skills, experience and resources are critical for successful execution of change intervention. In order for process change success in Stanley Black & Decker, there is need for determination of the presence of skills and knowledge among the company individuals. Change planning and implementation is a complex process which requires appropriate skills, knowledge and experience (Eaton, 2010). Having appropriate knowledge and skills is important in overcoming planning and implementation challenges such resistance to change process, poorly designed change vision and ineffective communication of change initiatives.

According to (Eaton, 2010) most change process initiatives fail if they lack leading coalitions who possess the desired skills and levels of expertise to lead the change process. The change team must be led by a professional practitioner, who can be internal or sourced from outside. (Cummings, & Worley, 2014) has identified several competencies that change practitioner must possess. Change practitioner must have the ability to get knowledge and skills used, possess self-awareness and knowledge of the change process. The practitioner must assess the expertise and experience against the requirements needed for the process change.

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The execution of a planned change process such as the one proposed for Stanley Black & Decker can be a complex task. Although contingencies might have been identified and a competent OD practitioner entrusted to lead the change process, some obstacles may arise. It is important that challenges related to implantation of change process be outlined. This will help in designing a successful change plan. Through his extensive research and experience, Kotter has identified several factors that can hinder successful change process (Kotter, 2009). Among them include ineffective communication of need for change, lack of guiding coalition, lack of change vision, announcing change too soon, failure to provide short-term gains and resistance to change. It is important that change process practitioner for the proposed Stanley Black & Decker change process to ensure that these factors are incorporated in the change process to ensure effective change process.

Recommendations for Proposed Solution

Initiate confrontational meetings to identify problems, action targets and begin working on them. The recent restructuring in Stanley Black & Decker led to management that was reluctant on employee needs. Most of the top employees under the new management in the company are conservative and do not want to embrace any changes. The use of confrontational meetings is designed to address the disconnect between the management and the company employees. Stanley Black & Decker organizational structure is that of an over-organized system, where the top management exercise most of the decision making process. The decision making process is highly bureaucratic, with highly defined roles and task orientation. This model of organizational structure has created general lack of motivation among the organization employees and poor workplace relationships with their departmental heads.

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A representative group that consists of members from the production, sales and marketing, accounting, supply chain, operations and quality assurance will be chosen. Two groups will be formed, which will consist of the groups with senior managers and those with subordinate staff. Depending on the current sizes of the departments, the suggested optimal number employees will be fourteen for the subordinates, creating three subordinate groups and seven for two manager’s group. Once the groups have been formed, the members will be given tasks in the company hall to identify the problem areas in their workplace area.

The success of the confrontational meeting will depend on the competence of the organizational development practitioner. (Baldegger, 2012) asserts the need for organizational development practitioner to be listening, understanding and full of empathy. It is for these competencies that the practitioner will move from group to group encouraging the members to identify problem, assisting them and encouraging open contributions. The practitioner will then convene the groups in a common place, where he/she will give them time to present their problems. This will foster sharing of information and possible solutions to the problems. Once this is done, the groups will retreat in newly created groups to ponder on possible solutions to the identified organizational problems. The new groups will be involved in development of action plans based on problems identified in the first group meetings for management action.

The success of any process change initiative hinges on several factors, which include the availability of sufficient resource allocation and the management commitment to the process. The scale of problem in Stanley Black & Decker is even more complex making the change process in the company a taunting task. Defusing the organizational structure and fostering interdepartmental and employee relationships in the company requires management commitment and enough resource allocation for successful completion of the process. The company management must show its commitment by channeling adequate funds for the employee training while also showing flexibility for the new changes by proving emotional support. The company top management, together with departmental head can provide great impetus in the process by becoming champions of the process. They should actively involve themselves and encourage the junior employees through support and communication about the project needs and objectives. 

In addition to ensuring the presence of organization-wide support and commitment to the change process in Stanley Black & Decker, there is need for inclusivity in the change team. Kotter reiterates the importance of powerful guiding coalition in the change process (Kotter, 2009). According to the author, under the leadership of change leader, there is need for a team to be formed to oversee the change process. The coalition members must be skilled and influential to oversee the change process. The change process in Stanley Black & Decker will be led by an experienced organization development practitioner with the help of a team from the company. The change team will consist of the human resources and development manager, the departmental heads and the company chief executive officer.

In addition to confrontational meetings, there is need for use of feedback and questionnaires. Sometimes the confrontational meetings may not capture all the organizational problems. For example, some issues could be sensitive to be discussed by the organization members for fear of victimization. The use of survey feedback and questionnaires help in getting feedback on organizational areas that need further training. Finally, there is need for evaluation and feedback to determine areas of more help and need. In addition, the change implementation team should offer continuous help, guidance and empathy to the organization employees in ensuring the new initiatives are embedded as new organizational culture.

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