What Is Strategic evolution?
Strategic evolution in terms of globalization, privatization, mergers & acquisitions and couple of other revolutionary technological advances had impact on organizations around the world. Thus, in dynamic context, business entities need to re-evaluate their objectives and processes that leads to change. The term change in organizational context can be defined as way of altering existing structure, objectives, business procedure or philosophy (By, Burnes and Oswick, 2011). For the sake of vivid clarity in the definition of change, it is transformation of an organization from present status to a desired one. In such fast moving and dynamic era, businesses are required to be embraced change in order to cope with frequent changes in external environmental factors including Political, Economical, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal.
Kotter, (2014) provided that for any organization because without change, entities may fail to obtain competitive advantage. Hence, in order to cope up with change, Change Management is an important concept which is vigorous topic of discussion within the business enterprise (Kotter, 2014). Change management can be defined as a systematic and structured application of knowledge and organizational resources which is a key to success for them for attaining business objectives. From other point of view of Grint, (2005), change management can be considered as a systematic approach that aims to minimize resistance by involving key stakeholders of a company (Grint, 2005). In addition to this, it also seeks to encourage individuals and business enterprises to deal with changes in an effectual manner.
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In order to achieve learning objective of the present report, a case study of McDonald’s has been analyzed using critical reflection on the same. While working with this organization employees and managers often witness change in the organizational process in different phases. Change agents and initiators are involved in driving the organizational change being an important part of top level management of this enterprise. McDonald’s is one of the most known and leading fast-food chain operators across world economies. It was originally incorporated in 1955 and thereafter went public in 1965 (Mujtaba and Patel, 2011). This hamburger fast food chain of restaurant is presently serving around 68 million customers on daily basis in more than 115 countries across 35000 outlets. Even after having such a good reputation in market place company has undergone in the change process due to various challenges faced by it.
There are various reasons due to which change management is required i
In the organizations. Factors which encourage need of organizational change are explained and discussed under the following heads:
Palma and et.al., (2011) in their study revealed that every organization is affected by its environment therefore, crisis in the economic situations can enforce companies to change their way of operating. One of the biggest examples of crisis change is September 2011 which affected many organizations including travel and airlines to change their strategy and working. Recent financial crisis in UK and other parts of world also force companies to make changes in existing business procedures (Palma and et.al., 2011).
It is evident that, businesses adopting advance technology gain First Mover Advantage (FMA) which is significant for their growth. McDonald’s also required to adopt new technology in its operations.
Identification of opportunities
In order to increase competitiveness, businesses seek to identify new opportunities for increasing market share. McDonald’s in recent few years have found opportunity to expand business in emerging markets.
McDonald faced various challenges in the marketplace including sales dropping, experienced less visits, high employee turnover and intense competition. Due to all these reasons, we realized implementation of change management plan within the organization (Foster and et.al., 2000). It was found that there was a need of planned change in identified areas such as cultural change, salary issues, training and development needs of employees.
Considering these school of thoughts to the given business problems in McDonald’s, there were two approaches that could be used by us for change management in the company. These two approaches; Planned Change and The Emergent Change Approaches are selected on the basis of business situations. Major goals of planned change are to improving ability of the organization and changing the behavior of individuals. Therefore, managers decided to go with planned change approach in my organization (Grint, 2005).In order to implement planned change strategy, the contribution of Kurt Lewin three step models is significant. Our organization followed the same pattern of introducing planned change as provided by Kurt Lewin. The three step model is described here under:
Kurt Lewin Change Model
The three step theory of change was coined up by Kurt Lewin during the 1940’s and from that time, the concept of “three step” remains very relevant in contemporary era also. The three steps described in the model form a process which is helpful for management to introduce change within the organization (Cole, 2004).Three steps of this model are defined and explained under the following heads:
This is the first step of change management in which the forces which strive to maintain status quo are reduced/eliminated. In this first step, we presented a provocative problem/issue for making people recognize the need for change in McDonald’s in order to search for new solutions. However, it is not possible to involve all people actively and make them fully aware of the problem. But continue efforts from my side enabled the situations favorable for change in the organization.
In this step of change process, new behaviors, attitudes, values and structures in the organization are developed. This is the actual critical step because various barriers can be witnessed by management. This was a situation of confusion among employees as we were moving from the old ways of operating to doing new things to gain competitive edge.
This is the final step provided by Kurt Lewin for driving the change within the organization which involves adaptation of new system, processes. This is also known as refreezing because stability becomes the concern once change is implemented within the organization (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2013).However, there are various criticisms of this model because most of the modern models of planned change consider explicitly of steps and consider reinforcement. Nonetheless, the model of Kurt Lewin was useful for formulating a process of change for individuals which is quite easy to understand/learn.
Resistance To Change
This is another important area which should be covered while discussing change management at workplace. One of the most crucial parts of change management is resistance to change which were witnessed at workplace while pursuing my career objectives. It can be defined as an act of opposing or struggling with modifications in altering status quo in the organization. It is evident that managing resistance to change is a challenging task. In this regard, the Mungo’s Broadway case study can be quoted. Here, St. Mungo’s and Broadway are two non profit making organizations which work for “society’s most vulnerable people”. According to By, Burnes and Oswick, (2011) it is often witnessed in transformation process where workers do not like change. Although resistance to change is obvious thing but it affects productivity, employment relationships and quality in the organization (By, Burnes and Oswick, 2011).
During the change process of McDonald’s, I also witnessed resistance of employees including my team members. My personal and professional experience says that workers may resist changing in a single organization due to multiple reasons. All these reasons are discussed under the following heads:
Fear of failure
Employee resistance to change is most likely to be rooted in fear due to feeling of employees of being unsecured. Mujtaba and Patel, (2011) concluded in their research that managers may find that previous process or status quo is more secure and favorable for their job therefore, they resist undergoing in the change process. They may also feel that their behavior may cease them to achieve career objectives (Mujtaba and Patel, 2011).
There were some employees who were very close minded in the organization when company proposed changed. Employees become reluctant to change because of their attitude of not taking challenges.
Loss of control
Managers discussed employees regarding their problem and reached on a conclusion that they were so familiar with existing structure and processes. There was a possibility that they might lose control over existing work environment therefore, they resisted change in McDonald’s.
Unwillingness to learn
It was observed the behavior of employees and investigated why there were certain individual barriers to change. My professional experience outlines a big issues i.e. unwillingness to learn new software, processes in the organization. Palma and et.al., (2011) investigated and explored in their research on change management that McDonald’s is a global entity which is affected by frequent changes in global business environment which arise the need of change. But employees feel that they know all they should know which becomes a major reason of resistance to change (Palma and et.al., 2011).
Concern about support system
Workforce in McDonald’s was mostly concern about organizational strategic change management process because they felt that it would back them up during struggling times. It was explored the fact during the work that employees resisted change because they believed that the change in the organizational structure might shake their confidence in their support system (Lee, 2015).
From the personal standpoint of Burnes, Wend and By, (2014) these are the major factors which affected employee resistance in McDonald’s. Thus, it is a normal to experience employee resistance if change is initiated in any organization (Burnes, Wend and By, 2014). Furthermore, it is important to identify the sources and reasons to resistance in order to eliminate the same. From theoretical point of view in the research of Davis and et.al., (2013), resistance to change is negative for change management. But my personal reflection on the case study of McDonald’s says that employee resistance is actually healthy (Davis and et.al., 2013).It should not be reacted defensively but actively because it assures that assumptions of management are correct and forces management to clarify what is being done so that resistant factors can be converted into driving factors. In this regard, there are certain theories which can be described to understand the concept in better manner.
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This theory was coined up with the introduction of series of exploratory and confirmatory analysis by which validity to resistance was measured and Resistance to Change (RTC) scale was established. The study of Kotter, (2014) in this context has been carried out in order to understand various personalities and dispositional resistance in order to avoid RTC. This theory entails that personality traits in employees does have a strong impact on the attention of organizational phenomenon. Thus, the RTC scale is designed to measure the factors of personality which significantly influence resistance to change. The identified factors in this context are listed below:
- Routing seeking
- Emotional reaction to imposed change
- Short term focus
- Cognitive rigidity (Kotter, 2014).
The theory states that reaction of individuals can be moderated whether it is positive or negative and the same was experienced by me while managing the change in McDonald’s.
The depth of intervention
According to Matthey and Regner, (2011) the theory provides that the depth of individual intervention can be key factors which determine whether an intervention will be effective or not. Thus, this factor is related to the extent to which major areas of personality are focus of change occasions in the organization. The theory defines four depth levels of interventions including shallow level, the deep level, the deeper level and the deepest level (Matthey and Regner, 2011). Different types of change events have been categorized in the theory which asserts that change in organizational structure is very obvious therefore; it is put into the category of shallow level of intervention. On the other hand, the deep level can be associated with working environments of employees including role analysis and job design (Hill, Jones and Schilling, 2014).
In the similar fashion, categories for the deeper level have also been identified which are conflict resolution and examination of personality. Lastly, the deepest level has high level of intervention with personalities at job which is related to fundamental aspects of individual personality and life & career planning.
The theory of cognitive dissonance provides the basis for change management in practical context. Cognitive dissonance can be defined as a situation which involves conflicting beliefs, behavior and attitude of individuals at workplace. In other words, the term ‘cognitive dissonance’ can be defined as a feeling of discomfort which comes from holding alternative conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time (Chabrak and Craig, 2013). In this regard contribution of McLeod, (2014) was significant as he investigated some cases of cognitive dissonance in the organizations as workers knew that change was essential for organization’s success but they still resisted the same due to certain conflicting thoughts (McLeod, 2014)
The psychological contract
It can be defined as a set of expectations which are exchanged between various parties in organization including managers and various employees. The contracts in the employment relationships are often tacit or implicit which tend to be invisible, unspoken or partially vocalized. Additionally, there can be different types of contracts at work including transactional and relational. Based on these theories, Matthey and Regner, (2011) revealed that the best ways to overcome employee resistance which is listed below:
- Involving interested parties in the planning process of implementing change and incorporating their suggestions
- Defining the need for change in the company by communicating the strategic decision
- Not allowing any room for employees to return on status quo (Matthey and Regner, 2011).
- Implementing training and development programs
In this framework, communication is another important element in change management as clear communication is helpful in getting the job done actively by employees. However, my perception was quite different from modern managers as it is often witnessed that workforce may be reluctant to implement change. Nonetheless, with effective communication, employees can be convinced to understand the reason of change. Thus, in the initial level of organizational communication, the awareness is spread and further planning is done with the interested people for implementing the change (Quinn and et.al., 2012). The same was implemented by me in the change management process of above cited food chain organization.
Training For Change Management
In this step, various activities and roadmaps of change are sponsored by business leaders in order to pursue the plans. The event of sponsorship involves visible and active inclusion of senior business leaders and people at strategic position. With their involvement, the plan for training was designed in McDonald’s. In order to build knowledge about change certain skills are required by employees. Foster and et.al., (2000) also realized training needs to implement the change for workforce. However, ineffective communication may lead to failure of entire plan of change management (Foster and et.al., 2000).
As previously discussed, resistance management is quite obvious in the process of change management for which managers are required to understand the reasons of resistance. Resistance management is a component of change management process in any organization for which various methods can be used by managers or people at strategic position (Boje, 2012). However, it cannot be seen as an element because resistance management can be never ending process.
Feedback analysis and recognizing success
Once resistance is managed, change can be easily managed by removing the confusion due to movement of status quo to desired one. It is also important to note here that for making the process workable and effective; employee feedback can be taken so that issues can be resolved in the process of change management (Kalla, 2005). Feedback analysis only is not enough but recognition of success is the evidence that change management process is completed.
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The three major areas of change management include need of change, resistance to change and management of the same. The study reveals that, change management emphasizes the “people/employee side” and target leadership/management in all discussed areas. Additionally, it can also be said that traditional theories have been significant in modern era as well due to their relevance to change management in practical world. In this report, case study of McDonald’s has been discussed and analyzed which provides that employee resistance is more likely to happen in organizations but it should be considered healthy for managers to initiate change in an effectual manner. Conclusively, it can be stated that an organization can successfully recognize the change if it manages to engage, communicate and influence people.
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- Chabrak, N. and Craig, R., 2013. Student imaginings, cognitive dissonance and critical thinking.Critical Perspectives on Accounting.24(2). pp. 91-104.
- Foster, A.C. and et.al., 2000. The data grid: Towards an architecture for the distributed management and analysis of large scientific datasets.Journal of network and computer applications.23(3). pp. 187-200.
- Kalla, H. K. 2005. Integrated internal communications: a multidisciplinary perspective.Corporate Communications: An International Journal. 10(4). pp. 302-314.