Successful Change Initiative Vs Failed Change Initiative

This paper locates and discusses a scholarly article that describes a successful change initiative and a failed change initiative within an organization. Compare and contrast the implementation theories used for the change events discussed in the two articles. Provide a summation of what could have been done to make the failed initiative a success.

Successful Change at General Motors

The successful change article reviews a successful change initiative in General Motors (GM). According to the article GM was established in 1908 and became the largest motor manufacturing company in the globe in 1920. Since then the company dominated the motor industry until when Toyota Japan emerged and disturbed the company profitability particularly in the Northern American market in the late 90s. GM started experiencing sales decline in 2001 and faced a bankruptcy threat in 2009, an experience that triggered the need for change and restructuring. According to the article, change does not just happen, but it is mostly triggered by forces that give an organization the reason for the change.

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In GM change was triggered by external forces that include competition from Total Japan and internal forces that prompted the need for cost management by reducing high expenses such as wage costs. The article notes that GM was by then paying $74 per hour while Toyota was paying $44 per hour which was quite expensive and was highly fueled by an agreement with trade union (Khan & Hashim, 2014). Having identified reasons for change, the company had to decide on the forms of change to be adopted. The main selected areas included cost change, cultural change, structural change, and process change. The change took place in steps with the first step being cost management. This involved lowering the cost of some brands and reducing workers’ pay.  The company changed its culture by eliminating two board teams that were being consulted in the decision-making process, as a way of speeding up the decision-making process.

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The company also changed the culture to enhance employees’ efficiency and accountability as a way of making workers more responsible. The GM change encountered a number of challenges that included trade union resistance to wages cut and reducing of capacity level, and reduction in workers satisfaction in cultural change as it adopted a top-down approach rather than a down-up approach. The company addressed this by empowering workers by introducing down top approach in tailoring. Despite the challenges the company managed to reduce its workers by over 50% and attained a good outcome in cultural change, by creating a culture where workers are more aware of their responsibility and are highly accountable. Workers are also highly empowered to offer improved productivity (Khan & Hashim, 2014).    

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Failed Change Initiative at Saudi Telecommunication Company

The failed change initiative article analyses a change situation in Saudi Telecommunication Company (STC) that was established in 1998. STC was operating in the most dynamic industry in the world. In this regard, the company felt the need to change constantly to keep its activities aligned with changes in the market. However, the realization of the need to change does not guarantee the ability to successfully manage the change process. The article does not clearly discuss the process of change in the STC. However, it clearly notes that the change processes failed to give the anticipated outcome. A survey conducted by the researchers clearly indicated that some of the reasons for failures included lack of effective change management team, lack of planning and change resources, lack of communication, and poor support by the management of the company (Franklin & Aguenza, 2016). The company was also said to have experienced strong resistance to change from its 17000 workers. Some of the reasons identified for this strong resistance included lack of clarity, imposing change by force, fear for the future state, various changes taking place simultaneously, and workers status quo. A number of workers also cited a lack of understanding of the change reason as another aspect that initiated resistance (Franklin & Aguenza, 2016).  

Comparison of the Implementation Theories Used for Change Events

Khan and Hashim (2014) used two implementation theories that included Lewins three steps change model involving unfreezing, movement and refreezing. The article points out the importance of making necessary changes during the movement stage after unfreezing the status quo in the organization to defeat or eliminate the pressure of group conformity and individual resistance. The refreezing process was meant to make the adopted changes permanent in the organization, and stabilizing change measures through restraining forces and balancing driving. The other implementation theory exercised in this article is Kotters eight-step plan which include creating a sense of urgency and reason a change is required, creating adequate power to lead the change, generating new vision that direct the change and strategies for attaining the vision, vision communication, empowering others to act on the vision, short-term rewards, progressive improvement and adjustments where necessary, and change reinforcement. The two theories played a great role in enhancing the change success in the GM (Khan & Hashim, 2014).

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On the contrary, Franklin and Aguenza (2016) article did not have any change implementation theories. The article only discusses different types of changes but does not clearly identify the type of change employed in STC, unless all forms of change were affected simultaneously. Although the article supports the presence of resistance to change just like in Khan and Hashim (2014), it does not give any clear measures or strategies to be employed to overcome this resistance. The change process in STC was characterized by a number of loopholes from how it was planned and how it was conducted. There is a clear lack of plan and proper change management in the company. It is also clear that employees were not effectively involved in the process, making it hard to overcome change resistance.

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Making Failure Initiative a Success

Some of the measures that can be employed to enhance the change process in STC can include the use of the two change implementation theories adopted in GM. The use of Lewins three steps change model and Kotters eight-step plan will help in preparing the group for change and successful implementation of change. Lewins three steps change model will assist in eliminating the status quo, which is the main reason for resistance. Kotter’s eight-step plan will ensure that the organization is only engaged in the change process after workers understand the need for change and the urgency involved. It also ensures that the organization has a strong team to lead change which includes influential individuals who believe in the change. The plan offers clear guidance on the change process, the motivation of stakeholders involved, and effective communication which are some of the things that lacked in the STC changes (Khan & Hashim, 2014).

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