The Need for Change in Departments
Today, the rapid pace at which the business environment is changing demands a regular restructure in the departments. Going by the concept of systems thinking, the performance of a single unit in an organization affects the success of the entire organization. The need for the departments to change is mainly driven by the need to close the performance gaps experienced in organizations due to poor performance of different departments. The introduction of new technology is also a factor that encourages departments to embrace changes, in efforts to operate more efficiently. There are instances where the departments change in response to the variation in customers’ wants and preferences. Apart from the clients, the other parties that may influence changes in departments include the government, especially in situations where it introduces new business regulations. The actions by competing firms may also influence changes in departments in efforts to ensure that the company’s products and services are most preferred by the companies.
Change is among the strategic moves that organizations adopt to compete effectively in the market. One of the departments that need change in EasyCruise Company is the marketing department, as a way of ensuring that its communication with the clients meets optimal production. The company operates in the tourism industry, where it has operated for more than a decade. However, since the company’s inception in 2004 there have been a lot of changes in the tourism industry yet the operations of the company have not changed. The high demand for travel services in the industry has led to an increase in the number of firms operating in the industry, making it necessary for the company to change its strategic tactics. Among the departments that have a great influence in the company’s productivity is marketing as it is involved in communication of the company’s valuable products to the potential and existing market. With the rise in the number of firms operating in the industry, it is crucial for the marketing department to be more aggressive in communicating to the clients. The marketing approach used by the company needs to be restructured and this calls for a change in the whole department. This study discusses the need for change in the marketing department by applying strategic management principles to effectively plan and implement the changes.
Models of strategic change
Change management model by Kurt Lewin
According to the theorist, organizational change does not occur within a single phase as it takes time for the whole organization to adopt change. The amount of time required to for an organization to fully adopt change varies depending on factors such as the type of leadership and financial resources that an organization has. The model is referred to as the three-step approach because the change process undergoes three main phases. Unfreezing is the first phase that involves motivating the employees to embrace changes that may occur in the company. The phase is characterized by employee resistance to change and this may affect the performance of the whole organization if the employees are not motivated to embrace change. The second phase is called the transition stage where the real change takes place after the initiation. The success of companies in achieving strategic change in this phase is determined by the type of leadership that is adopted. Refreezing is the final phase, where the employees operate under the new guidelines.
7-S model by McKinsey
For effective change to be achieved, there are certain factors or conditions that must be available. The approach proposes the use of both rational and emotional components to ensure that change is embraced in the company. Through the model, managers are able to diagnose any problems in the organization before they adversely affect its performance and take the necessary changes. The model divides an organization into the hard and the soft segments, with each of them appealing to different variables. The hard segments represent organizational challenges that are easier to identify and manage relative to the soft elements. To succeed in organizational change, the model proposes that the company strategies, structures and systems should relate to the hard elements. The soft elements influence the style of leadership, skills and staff. There are also the shared values that encourage the employees to work towards organizational success by embracing change. Although the soft segments are the hardest to identify and manage, they have the greatest impact on organizational success.
8-Step change model by Kotter
The changes on organizations are implemented by the workforce, but this is only possible after they are convinced of the urgent need to change according to the 8-step change model. The first step proposed by the model is the creation of an urgent need to adopt change, which is initiated by the leaders. The management then selects a team among the employees that is dedicated to effecting change in the organization. The team helps in the formulation of vision for change to motivate the employees to work hard in the organization. Through the change vision, the leaders and the change team are able to communicate the need for organizational change effectively. The company them empowers the employees with the skills necessary to adopt change such as technical training to enable them to use any new equipment that may be used. The leaders then formulate short-term goals to determine the effectiveness of the change process. Consistency is then ensured in the company to help create a culture that embraces the current organizational changes. Lastly, the change becomes permanent as it is embedded in the company’s culture. By following the eight steps, it is possible for a company to implement organizational changes effectively.
All the three models are mainly concerned with ensuring that the implementation of change in the organization is done effectively with minimal resistance. However, they differ in the approaches that they suggest. For the 3-step model, change is mainly determined by the ability of the leaders to encourage the employees to embrace it. This is not the case in Kotter’s model that stresses on the need to have employees initiate change by themselves, under the guidance of a team dedicated to change. For the 7-S model, the success of organizational change is mainly determined by the soft elements that include the style of leadership employed, skills of the employees and their motivation towards work.
Relevance of the models
In the current economy, the performance of the EasyCruise Company’s marketing department needs to be improved by applying any of the strategic change models. The 3-steps model is relevant due to its comprehensive approach to organizational change. The model allows organizations to address the primary causes of change resistance that are identified in the unfreezing phase. The 7-S model is also relevant as it provides a guide on the variables that should be developed to enhance competitive advantage, including employee skills and motivation and leadership style. Kotter’s model is also relevant to the changes needed by the company’s marketing department as it helps in effecting change within the shortest time possible. This is because the approach emphasizes on the creation of urgency of change so that employees embrace it quickly.
The value of using the strategic change models
Each of the strategic change models has a unique advantage that makes it possible for change to be effectively effected in an institution. For the 3-step model, the main advantage is the simplicity in application or implementation in the company. This makes it easy for the managers to apply the method effectively with minimal chances of employee resistance. The 7-S model is beneficial to the organization because it allows for the identification of the organizational challenges and this enhances a deeper understanding of the company. The model also leads to effective adoption of change because it integrates all the different parts of the organization in a unified manner. For the Kotter’s model, the company benefits from the easy transition of change because the main objective of the approach is on preparation of the employees to accept change.
The need for strategic change in organizations
There is a need for the EasyCruise Company’s marketing department to change the current mode of communication to ensure that it reaches as many consumers as possible. The department has been using traditional modes of communication such as television and radio to reach out to the market, but they are not effective as before because the consumers have switched to other mediums such as the social media. There is thus a need for the department to respond to the changing demands of the consumers. The other factor that necessitates the need for the department to change is the increased competition, which makes it necessary for the company to be more aggressive in marketing its products. There is also a need for the department to change the approach it has towards the consumers as there is a wide diversity of consumers in the tourism industry. The attraction and retention of the diverse consumers’ needs the marketing department to change the approach it has towards communicating value to the clients.
Factors driving the need for strategic change
The advancement in technology is among the factors that necessitate change for the marketing department. The department needs to adopt technology such as development of the current website to enhance the communication between the company and the clients. Conversion optimization is among the strategies that can be used to enhance communication between the company and the clients. The department thus needs to change the technical skills of the employees to suit the new changes in marketing technology. Stiff competition is the other factor that drives need for strategic change in the organization. The number of firms in the tourism industry has risen, leading to intensified competition and hence the need for the department to be more aggressive in marketing using means such as billboards and social media. Further, the department needs to conduct research in various areas such as the variation in consumer tastes and preferences to inform product development initiatives.
The resource implications of the organization not responding to strategic change
The failure of the company to respond to strategic changes has a negative implication on the financial resources of the company. Currently, the company has a stable cash flow but it is set to decline with changes in the tourism industry today. If the company fails to adopt change, it is likely to have reduced cash inflow and this affects the profitability due to decreased demand of its services by the clients. The failure to adopt changes in the company also has negative implications on the quality of services provided by the employees. The adoption of new methods of operation equips employees with new skills needed to become more efficient in their work. The physical resources such as vehicles and buildings are unlikely to increase if the company does not embrace change in the marketing department. To acquire new equipment and other physical properties, the company needs a lot of investment and this is only possible if it adopts the necessary changes to survive in the highly competitive tourism industry.
Involvement of stakeholders in the planning of change
For organizational change to be fully implemented, it is crucial for the stakeholders to be involved in the change process. The stakeholders have different influence in organizational success depending on their input in the activities of the company. To effectively create a system where the stakeholders contribute much to change planning, it is crucial to segment the different stakeholders. The managers and the employees are the most influential in organizational change thus should be involved in co-creating change initiatives. The co-creation phase entails planning the real change needed in the organization based on the internal and external conditions of the company. The external stakeholders such as the customers are involved in testing the changes, while the shareholders have a role of selling the change. Selling involve training initiatives that the shareholders may support financially.
Change management strategy with stakeholders
The development of strategies to encourage stakeholders in change management is mainly determined by their contribution to the organization. The company should prioritize the needs of the stakeholders that have high power of influence in the organization such as employees and the shareholders and should be managed closely. Minimum effort and resources should be used to manage the stakeholders that have low power and influence in the company such as the suppliers. These stakeholders should also be informed about the change initiatives in the company through the established communication channels to influence their contribution to organizational change.
Evaluation of the systems used to involve stakeholders in the planning of change
One of the factors used in evaluating the effectiveness of the involvement of stakeholders in planning change is the feedback provided to the stakeholders. The feedback shows the level of understanding that the parties have on the status of the organization. The other factor that indicates the effectiveness of stakeholders in planning change is the timely disclosure of accurate information that is readily available and structured in a way that facilitates efficient engagement.
Strategy for managing resistance to change
Resistance to change is among the factors that influence organizational success in effecting change. One of the ways that the EasyCruise Company can use to promote change management in organizations is the involvement of primary stakeholders in the decision-making process. By involving the stakeholders in the decision-making process, the company ensures that the proposed changes are initiated by the parties involved. The other factor that minimizes resistance to change is clear communication of the strategic decisions. The change should only be made on the necessary areas that must be changed to impact organizational success; otherwise there should be no change. The other way to mitigate resistance to change is defining flexibility into the change process to allow people assimilate new behaviors effectively. The company should also communicate the positive attributes of adopting the organizational change.
Appropriate change models
The most suitable change model for EasyCruise Company’s marketing department is one that enables the employees to adopt change with minimal resistance within a short duration. Currently, the company needs to adopt new technology in communicating the company products to the potential and existing clients. To effectively do this, it needs to adopt Kotter’s model as it easy to implement and it addresses the changes effectively. The model allows the company to empower teams to accept change as a matter of urgency. Using the change agents in the company, it will be easier to formulate the vision for change and implement it comfortably. The appropriateness of the model is also due to the fact that it enhances the communication of importance of organizational change thus minimizing resistance to change by employees. The model also identifies the skills that the employees should be equipped with to perform their duties effectively. This is an important aspect for the EasyCruise Company’s marketing department as it will enhance the development of capabilities of employees to accommodate the changes in the company. The 8-step model focuses on creating a company culture that embraces change, thus it is effective in strategic change management.
Plan to implement the change model
To ensure that the marketing department embraces modern technology in communicating with the clients entails effective implementation of the strategic change approach developed by Kotter. The department leaders need to communicate the urgency of adopting change in the organization by holding discussions on matters such as the rising competition in the tourism industry. The leaders then need to select a coalition or a change champion team to help formulate the vision for change. The team helps identify the direction that the company needs to adopt in order to ensure that change is effectively implemented in the company. There should be open communication channels in the organization to help communicate the change vision and short-term goals for the change initiative. To ensure that the change is embedded in the company’s culture, the department leaders need to deal with the likely situations that may lead to resistance to change by the employees. Some of the barriers that are likely to affect the extent to which the marketing department employees accept change include low employee morale due to the inability to apply the new marketing technology in their work.
Measures for monitoring progress
The company needs to ensure that the changes adopted by the marketing department are effective. To evaluate this effectiveness, it will be crucial to use measures such as the number of sales generated in the company. One of the objectives of adopting technology in the company is increasing the market share and this is indicated by the volume of sales generated by the company within a given timeframe. The other means that can be used to determine the effectiveness of applying the strategic change model in the company is the nature of feedback received from the stakeholders such as the employees and the customers. A high number of complaints from the employees indicate that the change effort is not fully implemented. Similarly, a low rate of complaints from the stakeholders indicates successful implementation of the resources. The degree of involvement by the major stakeholders in the company can also be used to indicate the effectiveness of the strategic change model. High involvement of the stakeholders involves parties such as employees where they ensure the change of the entire marketing department.
The company may also conduct both physical and online surveys to indicate the response of the parties involved in change. The survey should encourage the respondents to express their opinions on hoe the change impacts their satisfaction. The primary objective of the company is to increase the productivity of the marketing department through improved technology. The ability of the employees to apply technology in marketing will be an indication of successful implementation of the strategic change model. The 8-step mode proposes the need to develop the capability of the employees to enable them adopt the new changes. The other measure that can be used to determine the effectiveness of the strategic change model is the morale of employees. Effective implementation of the strategic change model increases employees’ willingness to work.