Change Management and Leadership Project

Introduction

Change is inevitable in any organization and it is very important to manage it to ensure that the organization remains on the right course or even improves. The change might be caused either by internal or external factors. The change has to be designed, planned and implemented in the right way for any success to be witnessed. This project focuses on the causes of these changes and the steps to be followed while implementing these changes. This project looks at leadership aspects that must be considered to ensure that such change produces positive results within the organization. The project is aimed at bringing about organizational change in the Honda Motor Company through the introduction of online trade.

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Change within an organization is never easy as it is always opposed at some point. The opposition might be from the leadership, subordinates or in some cases it might be from individuals or entities outside the organization. For change to be realized effectively it has to be well publicized among the workers within that organization and the agents of that change have to be persistent. The project has highlighted the steps that are supposed to be undertaken to implement and manage such change in the Honda Motor Company. The project is geared towards implementing online trade in the Motor Company.

In the project, chats and archival data have been used to showcase the changes and the impact of such changes on the organization. The project has its focus on two major multinational companies, namely; Honda Motor Company and Ericsson. Recommendations have been made on the most appropriate measures and steps to be undertaken to realize change within the organizations. Secondary data, online interviews, telephone surveys, and questionnaires have particularly been used in getting the relevant information and data for the project. The model for change management by Kotter has been used in this analysis. Focus has also been directed to the leadership styles and character/personality required to ensure the effective implementation of the project.

Kotter’s Model on Honda Motor Company

With globalization and technological innovations, there is a need for companies to ensure that they are at per with the changes that occur to ensure efficiency and increase the customer base. There has been a need for the Honda Motor Company to embrace information technology to increase the customer base and reach the untapped markets. The company needs to embrace online trade to cater to the needs of customers from all over the globe. Going by Kotter’s model, the first step in the management of change is the need for the creation of urgency.

In this case, it is quite evident that the world is moving towards being an information technology society. Information technology is being implemented in almost every sector of the local and multinational firms. A high percentage of consumers are shifting towers e-trade hence the need for Honda motor company to embrace e-trade and transform most of its transactions to be online. If such measures are not taken then there is a likelihood of losing a very huge percentage of its clients (Barling 1996:832).

The second stage entails the selection of the guiding team. Several individuals have been selected to make this project a success. The group is composed of highly skilled and professional individuals that can steer the project to its success. The team members include Tom Ross; the project coordinator, Minoru Harada; the I.T. specialist, James Smart; the research personnel, and Anne Gates who is the market specialist. Through their skills in designing, planning, and implementation the project is meant to witness much success. The team has the responsibility of ensuring that the company goes through the appropriate changes to ensure that it puts most of its commercial services online and reach a wider customer range.

The vision and strategy for the change entail embracing e-trade in the operations of the Honda Motor Company. The company has been using the traditional methods of payment like cash, cheque or hire purchase. With technological advancements, the number of clients who have access to the internet has increased hence the need for the company to tap into this market.

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Online payment techniques like the use of credit cards, Moneybookers, wire transfer and PayPal have not been embraced by the company. Most of the potential clients of the company have registered with various social media sites like Facebook and tweeter hence the need for the marketing strategies to target those clients on social media. This will go a long way in enhancing the company’s efficiency and increase its client base (Bass 1985: 20-29).

In the fourth stage which entails the communication of the idea to the people for them to understand and buy into it, it is quite clear that the current market particularly for the motor vehicle industry has been characterized by a lot of competition. The Honda Motor Company, for instance, faces a lot of competition from other motor vehicle companies like Toyota, Mercedes, Ford and Mazda among others. With the introduction of online marketing and purchasing services, it is quite obvious that the company will witness an increase in its sales.

Other industries and companies that have embraced online trade services have witnessed tremendous success and enormous profits. The book industry and various telecommunication companies like Ericsson have for instance embraced the online trade to reach more customers and improve efficiency. By embracing e-trade, the Company will outdo its competitors and be at per with the fast-changing world (Atkinson 1999:340).

Most countries have enacted laws to enhance free trade and online trading will particularly be of great importance to Honda in penetrating such markets and staying ahead of its competitors in the market. Online trade tends to be faster and cheaper given that a whole business transaction can just be completed by a simple click. It is also true that embracing online trade will make purchasing easier and consumers will have a variety of products to choose from.

A buyer will be able to go through all the information on the available vehicles in the Honda stores within a very short time by simply going through the company’s website. A comparison of the quality of products and their prices will become easier. By embracing e-trade, it will be easier to consolidate the information about the company’s products from all its stores around the world as such information will be availed on the website (Bryman1987:13-19).

The fifth step involves the empowering of other people for them to be able to act. Tom Ross who is the project coordinator has the responsibility of ensuring that each member takes up his/her duties and does everything in his/her capacity to accomplish the assigned tasks. Minoru Harada the I.T. specialist has the responsibility of ensuring that all the Company’s stores avail their information concerning their stocks and the prices. Once this information is availed it will be placed on the company’s website. The I.T. specialist has also been bestowed with the responsibility of installing the appropriate software that would help in enabling online transactions by credit card, wire transfer, Moneybookers and PayPal (Burns 1978:300).

James Smart who is the research personnel is supposed to coordinate research activities and ensure that the appropriate information for the project is availed. He is supposed to advise the existing and potential costumers about the current online services, the requirements, and the purchasing procedure.

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He is supposed to get information from the consumer about their opinion to ensure that their needs are appropriately catered for. He is supposed to compare this model of online purchasing with others that have worked in other companies to ensure the success of the project. The market specialist, on the other hand, has the responsibility of finding the target markets especially the online groups. She has to advertise the Honda products on social media, by email and other internet avenues like Skype and Google traders to reach many clients (Euske 1980:36-42).

In the production of ‘short-term wins,’0. the team has the responsibility of trying out the project to the first 100 clients and if it turns out to be successful, then the project shall be implemented within the country and beyond. The first 100 clients will mainly be from within the country and after success; the project will be rolled out to serve all the braches of the company across the globe. A shipment arrangement will be made to enable easy transportation of the company’s products to the clients without any problem. The project shall be implemented in phases from country to country than from one continent to the other until the entire target markets are reached (Burger 1979:200).

The seventh stage entails; ‘not letting up.’ The team that has been selected to implement this project is determined to bring this project to its completion. Obstacles are expected although this will not hinder the project from rolled out to all the branches across the globe. The challenges might be from within or outside the organization. There are some for instance in the marketing department who feel that their marketing jobs might be lost with the introduction of online marketing. This group is bound to object to the implementation of this project.

The last stage entails the creation of a new culture. The project aims at creating an Information Technology culture within the company. The company has been doing most of the transactions manually. Computers within the organization, for instance, have mainly been used in the calculations and storage of data but not for marketing or carrying out the transaction. With the implementation of this project, they will play a very active role in marketing and carrying out business transactions. The employees will have to be trained to effectively handle their new tasks. Marketers will have to embrace the new marketing strategy where clients on social media and those from far countries have to be targeted. In such a case, one might not need to meet the client.

Teamwork is very important for the success of any project and that is why the team is committed to working as a unit to achieve its goals. Democracy is also very significant. Every opinion of the team members is seriously analyzed without any prejudice. Everyone is treated as being unique and his/her perspective of the project can be very important in ensuring the success of the project. The shareholders and employees are to be consulted and be convinced to buy into the idea instead of having to be forced to take up an idea that they do not support. All these steps will be systematically followed to ensure that the company embraces the desired change.

Methodology

In this project, several methods have been used in the collection, analysis, and representation of data. During the market research, for instance, the methods used in the collection of data include online interviews, telephone surveys, and questionnaires. In the online interview method, various customers and potential customers for the Honda Motor Company will be interviewed through video conferencing as well as social media. Some of the questions for the online interview include;

  1. What is your opinion concerning online purchasing?
  2. Would you be willing to embrace it?
  3. Have you ever used online purchasing for other products? If so, how do you perceive the service?

Telephone surveys will also be carried out particularly targeting the management teams for the Company’s branches all over the world. The aim will be to find out their opinion concerning the e-trade project and how they think the customers in their respective countries will perceive the idea. Some of the questions asked during the survey include;

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  1. What is your take as a member of the management team on online trade?
  2. How do you think the customers will respond to the online purchasing idea?

Questionnaires are also meant to be used in the project. They are supposed to target the employees of Ericsson Company which is one of the companies that have embraced online trade. They will be asked how they have managed to witness success in the method. They will also be required to answer several questions concerning some of the challenges that they face. The questions to be asked therefore include;

  1. How did you manage to implement the online trading system which such great success in the performance as well as the results?
  2. What leadership style did you adapt during the implementation of the project?
  3. What are some of the challenges that you have witnessed in the implementation and operation of this system?

Data Analysis

The data collected concerning the leadership styles, performance and the commitment of the subordinates will be analyzed using the descriptive statistics and graphs.

Budget for the Project

COST
ADDITIONAL COMPUTERS $400,000
ADDITIONAL SATELLITE DISHES AND OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES $500,000
APPROPRIATE SOFTWARE $40,000
CALL CENTER’S BUDGET $600,000
TRANSPORT SERVICES $200,000
MARKETING BUDGET $415,000
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT BUDGET $679,000
CONSUMER ADVERTISING $70,000
DEALER PROMOTIONS $45,000
DEALER CATALOGS $90,000
TOTAL $3,039,000

Through proper planning and implementation, the project is supposed to be accomplished according to the stipulated time, with its cost falling within the given budget. The project is meant to be of quality and effective in terms of performance.

Comparison to Ericsson

Ericsson is one of the multinationals that have successfully implemented online trade with much success. Before then, the company was using manual ways while carrying out transactions. In most cases, the buyer had to travel to their respective stores so as get the company’s accessories. The company had to go through an organizational change to implement the online trading system. The Ericsson Company had to come up with a team that was supposed to carry out the designing, planning, and implementation of that particular change. There was a need to increase its capacity in service delivery and efficiency.

With the introduction of online purchasing, it had to undergo much organizational change at the management as well as the human resource level. Before the inception of this project, there was significant resistance particularly from the quarters and individuals who felt that their jobs were at stake. The team that was steering this change, however, had to convince the people about the significance of such a project and how it was vital in the fast-changing world particularly in the I.T. sector.

People’s purchasing behavior was changing as well and there was a need to introduce a system that would meet their needs. Kotter’s model was used while implementing these changes as it was found to be organized and procedural. The leadership had to be convincing for the people to buy into the ideas. This was only possible because they had so much influence on the subordinates. An I.T. culture had to be inculcated into the people that were used to carrying out their tasks manually. The subordinates had to be involved in the implementation to ensure the success of the project.

Questionnaires were sent to the employees of Ericsson Company to determine the employees’ perception concerning this change and its success as well as the shortfalls. According to the research, it was quite evident that the transformational rather than transactional style of leadership played a very significant role in making the online trade project a success for Ericsson Company. The subordinates had to be taught about the project and how it would make their work easier.

The employees had to ‘own the idea’ for any success to be realized. People bought into the idea because they trusted the leadership, which is very important in the success of a project. The leadership style that was adopted during the implementation of the project was meant to ensure timely completion of tasks as well as ensuring quality. At the same time, the leadership adopted ensured that the subordinates did their best in handling their respective tasks. Professionalism was respected and the existing organizational structures were not sidelined (Hofstede1980: 22).

Changes

According to the findings, several changes were carried out in phases. This was meant to ensure that online purchasing services were carried out systematically and successfully without leaving any gaps. The team the company realized the need for the adoption of a trading system that was relevant in the fast-changing world rather than keeping to the old way of doing things. A team was then selected to steer the implementation of these changes. The team was composed of the project coordinator, I.T specialist, research personnel and the market specialist.

The team went ahead to convince the staff members about the significance of such a system and most of them were convinced to buy into the idea even though some were reluctant. Market research was done and after all the required research was done, the project had to commence. The leadership had to coordinate with the subordinates to make the project a success. Additional computers, satellite dishes, and other supportive electronic devices had to be purchased to serve all the company stations across the globe. The appropriate software was purchased and the accounts of the company sales department configured to ensure that the transactions can go through effectively.

The software was configured to the Moneybookers, PayPal, Wire transfer and credit card modes of payment. The project was tried out to a few buyers before it could be rolled out to other stations across the globe. The leadership adopted the transformational leadership style to make the project a great success. The subordinates were consulted, their opinions noted and they were motivated to take up the project as their initiative meant to make their work easier and make the purchasing procedures to be easier. By adopting this leadership style, the innovative ideas of the subordinates were able to be incorporated into the project and a sense of responsibility and trust was developed.

After the project was carried out among a few customers, it seemed to work effectively and recommendations were made to role out the project to all its stations across the globe. The various stations availed the information concerning their products and their prices. The information was available on the company’s website to make sure that the customers had access to it.

The information technology devices were all categorized according to the type, price, and location. The contact details were also availed to ensure that all the inquiries of the customers were well taken care of. The company management had to establish call centers at the respective stations to cater to the customers who had questions and needed to direct them to the Ericsson agents or customer care personnel.

The trend in Customer Numbers after the Inception of Online Trade

The trend in Customer Numbers after the Inception of Online Trade

From the chart, it is quite evident that the number of customers increased greatly after the implementation of online purchasing services. This could be attributed to the fact that the method was easier faster and more convenient to work with. It was quite easier to reach clients across the globe given that market strategy targeted online clients mainly.

Conclusion and Recommendations for the Process

Honda Motor Company will be very successful if at all the right procedures are followed and the appropriate leadership techniques adopted during the implementation of this project. The project team has to embrace teamwork and motivate each other to ensure that the project runs through all the procedures without much difficulty. The subordinates will have to be convinced to buy into the idea and develop self-responsibility and trust to achieve maximum results. The leadership is not supposed to use force to make the subordinates work on their respective tasks. Instead, they are supposed to be motivated to ‘own’ the project and this will make them work without complaining and produce the desired results. The transformational leadership style will, therefore, be of great importance in this case.

The leaders are supposed to be charismatic. They should be determined to meet their objectives and at times lay aside personal interests for the sake of the success of the project. They have to hold high moral standards to gain trust from their subordinates. They must be able to articulate their ideas in a manner that will convince others to buy into the idea. They should be in a position to offer inspirational motivation to the subordinates.

All the leaders are supposed to be optimistic as they communicate their envisioned future whereby the marketing strategies will be simplified and less costly for the company. A marketer should, for instance, be encouraged to understand that he/she won’t have to travel long distances just to market the company’s products to a few individuals, instead, the marketing will simply be online. The selling process will also be simplified as a whole transaction will just be accomplished by a simple click at an icon on the Company’s website (Lok 2004:18).

The leaders that have the responsibility of steering this project ought to encourage intellectual stimulation. The subordinates are supposed to question assumptions, reframe the questions and even tackle the existing problems by using new ways. These will ensure creativity as the subordinates can exploit their capabilities to the maximum. This is however supposed to be done in a very rational way. The leaders are supposed to have individual consideration. The leaders in this project are expected to act as mentors and not bosses. They are supposed to consider the desires of the subordinates to grow in skill and achievement. The leaders are supposed to steer their growth.

Teamwork is quite essential if at all the project is to witness any significant success. This is because one section or department needs the other to function effectively. The marketing department, for instance, needs the I.T. department as most of the marketing is to be done online. It also needs the research department as the project needs a lot of market research. There is a great need for discipline from the leadership as well as subordinates as this would help in ensuring that the individual tasks are handled on time and in the right way. The team members have to exhibit creativity while handling the tasks assigned to them.

The Laissez-faire leadership should no be adopted in such a case as it does not inculcate self-responsibility and trust as the transformational leadership style. People are allowed to carry out activities according to their perception and they are not accountable to the leadership as it is in the other leadership styles. The transactional leadership style can only work up to a certain extend. The subordinates are encouraged to work on their tasks by the introduction of a reward system.

This might not be good for the project as the subordinates only rely on rewards to work and in case they are not rewarded, they are likely to do poor quality work or even not work at all(Savery 1994:22). With the implementation of this project, the Honda Motor Company will witness greater success as its profits are bound to increase. The company will inevitably witness an upsurge in the number of its clients because online trade is convenient for most of the customers and very little paperwork is involved.

List of References

Atkinson, R. (1999) Project management: cost, time and quality, two best guesses and a phenomenon; it’s time to accept other success criteria. International Journal of Project Management 17,(6) 337-342.

Barling, J. (1996) Effects of transformational leadership training on attitudinal and financial outcomes: a field experiment.Journal of Applied Psychology 81, (6) 827-832.

Bass, B. (1985) Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations. New York: Free Press.

Bryman, A. (1987) Leader orientation and organizational transience: an investigation using Fiedler’s LPC scale. Journal o occupational Psychology 60, (1) 13-19.

Burger, P. (1979) Assessment of Managers: An International Comparison. New York: FreePress.

Burns, J. (1978) Leadership. Nee York: Harper & Row.

Euske, K.(1980) Performance and satisfaction of bank managers. Journal of Bank Research 11, (1) 36-42.

Hofstede, G. (1980) Culture’s Consequences. New York: Newbury.

Lok, P. (2004) The effect of organizational culture and leadership on job satisfaction and commitment – a cross-national comparison. Journal of ManagementDevelopment 23, (4) 12-18.

Savery, L. (1994) Attitudes to work: the influence of the perceived style of leadership on a group of workers. Leadership & Organization Development Journal 15, (4)12-18.

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