Johnson Engine Company and Change Management

Abstract

Johnson Engine Company is faced with the dilemma of whether to embrace organizational change or retain the status quo. The major hindering factors to the organizations’ progress include rigidity in management, managers without management education and skills, weak organizational culture, and fear of organizational change by the supervisors and managers. These factors have contributed to an increased turnover which is threatening the organization’s bottom line.

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For the organization to emerge successfully, it needs to implement organizational change and shift from mechanistic to human relations approach to management. The change needs to be accompanied by organizational learning and be implemented using Lewin’s three-stage approach to organizational change.

Use the Force Field Analysis or the Differentiation & Integration diagnostic model from Chapter 5 in the text to explain what is happening in this case. Include the appropriate chart/table

The table below is a presentation of what is happening in Johnson Engine Company based on the Force-Field-Analysis model. A discussion is provided below the table.

Helping forces Hindering forces
A highly educated workforce and strong work ethics Bureaucratic red tape
An open-minded and development minded CEO Supervisors and managers belonging to the ‘old school’
CEO attended a weekend workshop in Bethel on Organization Development (OD) and self-managed work teams Little management education by supervisors and managers
Open minded union president Coercive supervisors
Availability of an expert in OD, Mr. Peter Sneed Dull and monotonous work
Japanese competitors High turnover
Fear of restructuring by union leaders

The organization is in a dilemma of whether to embrace change or retain the status quo. It is portrayed as highly bureaucratic with managers and supervisors who belong to the classical management approach which was characterized by bureaucratic red tape. The organization has a pool of qualified workforce but the problem is that there is a lack of cooperation between managers, supervisors, and staff. The union is responsible for taking care of employees’ welfare.

However, there is no room for employees to discuss their problems with their supervisors due to fear of victimization. The work environment is not friendly especially to the younger employees and as a result, the organization is experiencing high turnover which is negatively affecting its bottom line. These challenges call for the implementation of organizational change to replace the bureaucratic culture with a cohesive organizational culture.

The organization has the advantage of having a CEO who is development minded. The CEO seems to be aware of contemporary issues in management and that is why he attends the workshop on OD and self-managing work teams. The workshop enables him to have the desire to implement what he learns from the workshop. Even though there is a lot of resistance by the union managers and supervisors, having a union president who is open-minded is an opportunity for the organization to do the necessary restructuring which is necessary for evading the looming total failure of the organization due to obsolete practices and the ever-increasing turnover.

What OD consultant style would you recommend Peter Sneed adopt in this situation? Given what you know should Peter Sneed accept this offer of employment? Support your answer

The OD consultant style which I would recommend to the consultant is the implementation of organizational change. The consultant may implement it using the teleological model of organizational change which is also known as planned change. The major assumption of this model is that change in organizations occurs as a result of concerted efforts by organizations’ leaders who see the necessity of change, plan, and execute it for the benefit of organizations (Jones, 2010).

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The consultant should accept the offer because he is an expert in the field of OD. After accepting the offer, he needs to sit down and brainstorm with the leaders of the organization. During the discussions, he needs to focus on addressing the fears of the managers and supervisors who are the major stumbling block to change in the organization. They also need to agree on the modalities of implementing the change including the details of what the managers and supervisors stand to gain or lose due to the change (Keys & Fulmer 1998).

Given facts at Johnson Engine Company and considering the time-frame of the change, level of support, and degree of discontinuity with the environment what large–scale OD intervention strategies would you recommend? Support your answer

The large-scale OD intervention strategy which I would recommend is organizational learning. Learning is the process of acquiring new knowledge and understanding of a particular subject. Learning can take various forms and may be acquired through various ways such as imitation, observation, listening, brainstorming, learning through mistakes, training, seminars, and learning from cultural practices. Organizational learning is one of the strategies in organizational development which focuses on enabling organizations to place themselves in strategic positions so as to remain competitive and meet their objectives in a decisive manner (Crossan & Maurer, 2011).

The managers of the organization therefore need to come up with best practices to ensure that their organization utilizes its human resources effectively to generate knowledge and expertise from various employees in various fields. The knowledge and expertise should be documented for references (Di Schiena, Letens, Van Aken & Farris, 2013).

Before the organization embarks on organizational learning, it needs to identify the training needs. The training needs include the learning of skills to perform tasks, re-learning of skills as a result of changing jobs, and enhancement of performance at the current job. Training entails learning, which involves acquiring new patterns of behavior and incorporates four basic processes. These include the drive by the learners to learn, acquisition of responsible behavior as a result of learning, reinforcement of the learned behavior, and the application of the learned behavior in the work context (Parker, 2000).

Organizational learning would prepare the employees for any change which may come as a result of organizational restructuring, mergers, or adoption of a certain technology. It would also enable the organization to have in place very competent and reliable employees who are flexible and open-minded to handle any assignment which may come along their way in their lines of duty.

For the organization to create and sustain a learning culture, there is a need for it to first of all do an environmental analysis. The environmental analysis should seek answers to various questions such as where the organization is, where it wants to be in the future, what it has already done in an effort to reach there, what resources are available, what needs to be done to make the organization reach its destination, who are its customers or clients, and what are its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (Hilden & Tikkamaki, 2013).

After the environmental analysis, the organization should embark on a fact-finding mission that should focus on how to utilize its human resources effectively as a means of realizing its objectives. The organization can do so through the formulation of a strategic plan with two main pillars namely the financial and the social pillars. The financial pillar should comprise the financial resources available for the organization and the social pillar should comprise the creation of a strong organizational culture which is necessary for employee motivation (Tsasis, Evans & Diamond, 2013).

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Given the culture described at Johnson Engine Company. Apply the Strategy-Culture Matrix discussed in the text what implementing strategies would you select? Support your answer

The organization needs to implement a strong organizational culture where more emphasis would be on improving the work environment and making employees feel appreciated. In organizations with a strong culture, employees are perceived as social beings with social, psychological, and financial needs. Such organizations also acknowledge that employees have the potential of being creative in their work. They also value the synergy found in teamwork.

Consequently, supervision plays a minimal role because employees are capable of forming group norms and rules which govern their work. Organizations with a strong culture also recognize the importance of employees interacting with their managers in a friendly way without fear of victimization. Strong organizational culture also boosts organizational efficiency because of the internalization of what is required of each and every employee.

The sharing of values and beliefs creates a good working environment free from confusion, ambiguity, or lack of understanding among the employees. A good working environment not only increases efficiency but also saves time because employees are able and free to consult each other without the fear of victimization or intimidation, especially by the senior managers. Employees also portray good behavior at work because they know what is right to be done and what is not right.

In order to implement a strong organizational culture, the organization may use various strategies such as the introduction of teamwork, elimination of communication barriers between managers and staff, ensuring that employees internalize the organizational mission, vision, and objectives, rewarding the best performing teams, and embracing work-life balance for the benefit of the employees.

Given the situation as described, what strategies would you recommend to lessen the resistance to change among the Union leadership? Support your answer

One way to manage resistance to change is to use Kurt Lewin’s approach to change management, which falls under the teleological model of change. Lewin came up with what he called three-stage theory which involves three stages or steps namely unfreezing, changing, and freezing (Miner, 1982). In the first step of unfreezing, the organization is supposed to be motivated and prepared for the change. The management must engage the employees and create a state of discontentment with the prevailing conditions in the organization. While doing this, they should also ensure that they set out deadlines for themselves to come up with new ways of doing things.

Basically, this stage is about doing a cost-benefit analysis about the proposed change and weighing whether the pros of the change outweigh the cons, then creating the necessary motivation for the change. This stage is therefore the preparatory stage and is very crucial because it determines the success of the change if effected. When people are highly motivated to change, the resistance to change is minimized and vice versa (Keyton, 2011).

The next stage is the change stage, which is also known as the transition stage and involves implementing the change. This is the hardest stage in change implementation because employees are always reluctant to move out of their comfort zones despite motivational incentives. During this stage, therefore, employees need to be guided and encouraged to embrace the change. In order to realize smooth sailing through this stage, employees need to be given the necessary training to acquire the knowledge and skills to navigate successfully during the transition stage The final stage is the freezing stage which is also known as the refreezing stage.

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During this stage, the organization has successfully sailed through the change process and is now in a new dispensation. There is therefore the need of creating a new culture in the organization which is in line with the new organizational dispensation (Cummings & Worley 2008).

References

Crossan, M. M., C. C. Maurer. (2011). Reflections on the 2009 AMR decade award: do we have a theory of organizational learning?. Academy of Management Review, 36(3): 446-460.

Cummings, T.G., & Worley, C.G. (2008). Organisation development & change. Farmington, MI: Cengage Learning.

Di Schiena, R., Letens, G., Van Aken,E., & Farris, J. (2013). Relationship between leadership and characteristics of learning organizations in deployed military units: an exploratory study. Adm. Sci., 3(3), 143-165.

Hilden, S., & Tikkamaki, K. (2013). Reflective practice as a fuel for organizational learning, Adm. Sci., 3(3), 76-95.

Jones, G. (2010). Organizational theory, design, and change. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

Keys, B., & Fulmer, R.M. (1998). Executive development and organisational learning for global business. New York: Routledge.

Keyton, J. (2011). Communication & organizational culture: a key to understanding work experiences. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.

Miner, J. (1982). Theories of organizational structure and process. Montreal: Dryden.

Parker, M. (2000). Organizational culture and identity: unity and division at work. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.

Tsasis, P., Evans, J.M., & Diamond, J. (2013). Learning to learn: towards a relational transformational model of learning for improved integrated care delivery. Adm. Sci., 3(2), 9-31.

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