Lenovo Company’s Change Management

Introduction

Change management has become an increasingly hot topic in modern business institutions. In the wake of globalisation and shifting technological landscape, many companies have opted to maintain effective performance through various changes to suit shifting organisational requirements. This essay uses five different articles to elaborate on various aspects that are involved in change management with reference to the Lenovo Company. The first article ‘A management communication strategy for change’ by Stuart M. Klein explains the importance of information efficiency amongst various stakeholders during the process of implementing change. The second article ‘A case study in organisational change: implications for theory’ by Lindsay Nelson elaborates on various concepts that facilitate amendment of business structures. In their article, ‘Emergence and accomplishment in organisational change’, Ian Beeson and Chris Davis emphasize on the maintenance of order in a systems approach. The fourth article ‘Change leaders and change managers: different or complimentary’ by Raymond Caldwell provides an insight into the responsibilities of organisational frontrunners in the process of transforming business structures. Lastly, the Rune Todnem’s article ‘Organisational change management: a critical review’ expounds on the need for transformational readiness to cope with the inevitability and unpredictability of change.

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A Brief Background of the Company

Lenovo Group Ltd. is a multinational company that designs, develops, manufactures, and distributes computers, mobile phones, and wearables devices internationally. The company is based in China. However, it has various subsidiary companies in countries such as Morrisville, North Carolina, and the United States (Zhijun 2006).

Management Communication Strategy for Change in Lenovo Company (by Stuart M. Klein)

Klein (1996) attests that various companies incur losses due to poor planning and inadequate strategies that are executed during change management. Communication is a crucial aspect of change management that should be based on channelling and retention of information. It involves conveyance of messages throughout the hierarchy of the organisation. Sound communication depends on the style of management and organisational leadership. Manager should make suggestions that are easy to understand (Klein 1996).

The Communication Wheel (Goodman & Truss 2004)
Figure 1: The Communication Wheel (Goodman & Truss 2004)

In the context of this essay, tremendous changes have been realised in the Lenovo Group Ltd at various organisational levels. According to Goodman & Truss (2004), change management in Lenovo Company has been effective due to execution of well-laid communication strategies. The Lenovo Company uses the change communication wheel shown in the above chart (Goodman & Truss 2004).

The wheel is divided into four portions namely message, media, channel and approaches. The message conveyed to the staff and managers must contain the information of events that are to be conducted throughout the change process. These events should enable the employee to understand certain administrative characteristics such as job specification, information about the organisation, and company gossips among other issues that pertain to employment. Effective communication enables employees to realise the need of change. Therefore, proper flow of concise, easy, and consistent information should be ensured to facilitate the change process (Goodman & Truss 2004).

The Lenovo Company uses verbal, written, and electronic media to establish effective communication during the change process. Managers are charged with the responsibility to determine various stages of modifying the organisation. Therefore, they regulate the communication media. Due to varying complexities of the company, the media involves operative networks to deliver information (Goodman & Truss 2004). Another aspect that the managers take into account to ensure effective implementation of change in the company is the channel of communication. At the outset, face-to-face communication is perceived as the most effective way of passing messages amongst different groups of employees within the organisation. This method is characterised by various interactional levels and immediacy (Gioia & Sims 1986). Face-to-face communication clarifies certain complexities that exist within the company. It also enables efficient feedbacks that are used to correct deficiencies during change management (O’Connor 1990). Moreover, informal communication aspects are also utilised by the Lenovo Company managers to maintain flow of information within the organisation. This situation is achieved through an established network of organised work teams. Such ways utilise two-way communication to ensure feedback integration into every channel (Croft & Cochrane 2005). However, the approaches of passing information amongst the employees vary from coercive to consultative (Balogun & Hope-Hailey 2004). These approaches must be used according to the context of programmes that are executed in the company during the process of change. Nonetheless, the four facets work efficiently when the managers combine the organisational context, change characteristics, purpose of communication, and employee response (Goodman & Truss 2004).

Theory implications on change in the Lenovo Company (by Lindsay Nelson)

Nelson (2003) posits that various organisational theories that relate to acquisition of knowledge have been developed in areas such as human relations. Awareness about various operations that are carried out by the company is crucial for effecting management of organisations. Theories are used to gather information about the creation of space for critical thinking and reflection of assumptions, work context, and purpose of change in the organisation (Sullivan 2004). They also create illusions of superficial procedures of thoughts where an individual cannot reflect how power changes in practice. In this case, the individual is not able to realise how other people perceive change in the organisation. In spite of the use of theories as tool for relaying information, change processes significantly influence the personalities of individuals. Proper communication of change theories is used to solve problems that arise from personal and organisational aspects. It seeks to combine the two aspects in an attempt to convince the staff to analyse various interventions in cases where change is required (Sullivan 2004).

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According to Farazmand (2003), the Lenovo Company uses the chaos theory to execute organisational change. Since the company is a multilateral organisation with outlets in various countries worldwide, a self-organising system is crucial for development of the vision and culture of the organisation (Farazmand 2003).

Leaders at various levels of Lenovo Company use their own decisions to create the roles of the various members at a given department or sub-organisation. Such decisions are automatically arrived at because these leaders feel a strong sense on how to effect changes and what they entail in the sections. The company is now successful since the leaders have realised that both company and individuals are essential when they are related to each other especially when implementing effective change in the organisation (Farazmand 2003).

Another theory that is used in most cases by many companies undergoing changes is the organisational development theory that focuses on the social and emotional aspect of people. The approach strives to strike a balance between the needs of staff and populations within the environment where the business operates. The approach is also mainly used due to its ability to tackle both hard elements such as strategies, processes, and soft elements such as styles and skills that are necessary for implementation of change. This approach has enabled the Lenovo Company to make tremendous business moves to acquire other companies such as Motorola as a part of its strategic changes.

The approach is also essential in combining various techniques and tools that are required to plan and execute the process of change. The theory is effective due to its holistic approach that brings many aspects such as external, social, and business environment together. It assimilates the vision, mission, values, strategies, culture, leadership, skills, and competencies in an organisational structure in an attempt to accomplish specified goals (Warner & George 1992).

Emergence and Accomplishment in the Lenovo Company Organisational Change (by Ian Beeson and Chris Davis)

Juha (2013) reveal that the Lenovo Company has undergone various changes to suit environment requirements, technology, customer needs, and expansion of the organisation. According to Beeson and Davis (2000), the aspect of organisational change is currently is part of a business’s culture that is revealed through its operations. The process of emergence and accomplishment of change in organisation does not take a specific direction rather it portrays a non-linear mechanism. The future position of such an organisation cannot be predicted by observing the experiences or state of business (Juha 2014). This non-linear direction integrates various factors such as technology through observation of the actions of people towards the business (Nicholas 2013).

Various aspects of theories are essential throughout the process of implementing organisational change. System theories are important because they emphasise on maintenance of order. They also provide impoverished account of change. Lastly, the theory of change management provides a base of unity of general notion in emergency complexities during the process of transformation (Nicholas 2013). A combination of all these factors is implemented effectively in the case of the Lenovo Company. The organisation has introduced varieties of quality personal computers, smartphones, and wearable devices among other information technology items in the global market. The change management activities are distributed along the retail headquarters of the organisation worldwide (Liu & Buck 2009). Organisational change is a feature that exists in complex processes. Therefore, it should be viewed as a generalised concept since individual actions are accomplishments that possess some aspects of emergence. Managers of various organisations strive to distribute task among people in the process of change management irrespective of specific hierarchies that are followed. This objective is achieved using a non-linear theory because of its ability of having a greater impact on the change process. These actions can be executed in different operational departments or organisational levels (Liu & Buck 2009).

Lenovo Company also implements a cybernetic model in effecting organisation change to respond to changes in the environment of business such as technology change, market shifts, and global competition. This was clearly depicted when the global market shifted to the smartphones business. This situation resulted in scramble for customers by its competitors. As a result, the company has to ensure constant production and introduction of more smartphones and tablets in the market. The Lenovo Company responded by acquiring the IBM PC and the Motorola Company to expand its smartphones production capacity (Liu & Buck 2009).

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Complementary Attributes of Change Leaders and Managers (by Raymond Caldwell)

The attributes of change leaders and managers have significant influence on the transformation of organisational structures (Caldwell 2003). Various attributes that are possessed by change leaders include abilities to inspire vision and power to pursue entrepreneurship. Change leaders at Lenovo Company have a high sense of integrity, honesty, and open-mindedness (Doyle 2001). In addition, they are adaptive to change and have moderate creative skills. On the other hand, change managers possess attributes that include empowering other staff. They always embrace teambuilding and are willing to learn more from others. They are also adaptive and flexible to changes and are open to new ideas (Doyle 2001). These people are good at networking and possess knowledge of the business curried out among others. These attributes are paramount to effective application of change organisations (Caldwell 2003).

In most cases, the leadership at the top highlights the attributes of change management that are depicted by the middle management since these people are responsible for the implementation of ideas and visions. Change leaders are the staffs that are found in the top ranks of an organisation. They are responsible for initiation and provision of vision and guidance that is necessary for strategic change. The change managers are the middle and functional personnel who offer support to the means of implementing change strategies in the organisation. Change leadership is majorly based on provision of sound action plans towards organisational transformation. Doyle (2001) posits that change management entails implementation of visions into action in attempt to bring about transformation of organisational structures (Doyle 2001). Good managers should possess innovative and adaptive skills in almost equal measures to ensure that problems that arise during transformation are handled appropriately (Kirton 1980).

In the context of Lenovo Company, the top management that is headed by Mr. Liu Chuanzhi, who is the Chief Executive Officer, has provided good leadership in the transformation process. As a result, the company has become an iconic brand amongst bigger supply chains. It is now recognised globally for its information technology and computer products among others. The CEO and the middle management have transformed the scope of the business from its basic PCs production orientation to a multinational organisation (Liu 2007).

The leaders envisioned the change by developing a blueprint that fitted the global market. Through middle managers, the company was able to capitalise on advantages of acquisitions of the Motorola Company; hence, it increased its international market share. Indeed, one of the managers in Lenovo Company, Mr. Milko van Duijl, described leadership as getting things done ‘through and with’ staff during an inspirational meeting. He elaborated that the basic strategy for leadership in organisational change should involve credibility, an execution engine, and a focused culture (Liu 2007).

A Critical Review of Organisational Change Management with respect to the Lenovo Company (by Rune Todnem)

Todnem (2005) defines change management as continual rearranging or renewal of an organisation’s direction, structures, and capabilities to meet the dynamic needs of customers. Moran and Brightman (2001) expounds on this statement by stating that the organisation must exhibit change in both strategic and operational levels. Various organisations must therefore identify areas where change must occur and how the changes can be effectively managed (Burnes 2004). Managers and leaders of businesses are required to have skills to manage change in organisations to suit the ever-changing environment. Many theories that support organisational change management is not coherent thus most managers find difficulty in drafting effective frameworks that enable changes to work well (Balogun & Hope Hailey 2004).

Leaders need elaborative structures for effective implementation of organisational change. According to Grundy (1993), successful execution of change processes requires discontinuous approaches that are based on quick shifts in strategies, structure, and culture (Grundy 1993). Most of the changes that occur in business organisations are caused by either internal challenges or external shocks.

The Lenovo Company has experienced both a need to expand its environment and an opportunity to grab sizeable global market share. Therefore, has continued to expand to reach more market for its improved products amidst global competition. Another trigger for its organisational change was the acquisition of IBM’s PC and Motorola (Luecke 2003). Moreover, the company assumes a discontinue change management approach. According to Nelson (2003), this strategy is affordable to many organisations.

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The company also divided its organisational change in to structure, personnel, and operational techniques to suit the current market and management strategies (Donaldson 2000). There was a need to change the organisation due to the expanding market environment. Therefore, the managers needed to emphasise on diversity. As a result, the company needed to cope with staffs from different backgrounds. Presently, the company runs various workshops and stalls in different parts of the world to ensure effective performance. The recent organisational change has been done in various departments for the sustainability of momentum and an enabling structure to promote the growth of the company. The structure has replaced the current company’s design that encompasses two business groups namely Lenovo Business Group (that has consumer PC and mobile) and Think Business Group, which consists of commercial PCs and enterprise (Andreou, Zeinalipour-Yazti, Samaras, & Chrysanthis 2014).

Conclusion

Managing organisational change is successful if the principles discussed above are applied effectively. Although the Lenovo Company has successfully implemented the organisation change, it has faced problems that mainly arose from the employees of IBM Company who constantly worried about changing management styles and remunerations. Therefore, thoughtful planning is paramount to successful implementation of organisational change.

References

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Balogun, J & Hope-Hailey, V 2004, Exploring Strategic Change, Prentice Hall, London.

Beeson, I & Davis, C 2000, ‘Emergence and accomplishment in organisational change’, Journal of Organisational Change Management, vol. 13 no. 2, pp. 178-89.

Burnes, B 2004, Managing change: A strategic approach to organisational dynamics. Pearson, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

Caldwell, R 2003, ‘Change leaders and change managers: different or complementary?’, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 24 no. 1, pp. 5-6.

Croft, L & Cochrane, N 2005, ‘Communicating change effectively’, Management Services, vol. 49 no. 4, pp. 18-33.

Doyle, M 2001, ‘Dispersing change agency in high velocity change organisations: issues and implications’, Leadership and Organisational Development, vol. 22 no. 7, pp. 321-9.

Farazmand, A 2003, ‘Chaos and Transformation Theories: A Theoretical Analysis with Implications for Organisation Theory and Public Management’, Public Organisation Review, vol. 3 no. 4, pp. 339-72.

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Grundy, T 1993, Managing Strategic Change, Kogan Page, London.

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Moran, J & Brightman, B 2001, ‘Leading organisational change’, Career Development International, vol. 6 no. 2, pp. 111-8.

Nelson, L 2003, ‘A case study in organisational change: implications for theory’, The Learning Organisation, vol. 10 no. 1, pp. 18-30.

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O’Connor, V 1990, ‘Building internal communications (two-way) management-employee communications’, Public Relations Journal, vol. 46 no. 6, pp. 29-34.

Sullivan, T 2004, ‘The Viability of Using Various System Theories to Describe Organisational Change’, Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 42 no. 1, pp. 43-54.

Todnem, R 2005, ‘Organisational change management: A critical review’, Journal of Change Management, vol. 5 no. 4, pp. 369-80.

Warner, W & George, L 1992, ‘A Casual Model of Organisational Performance and Change’, Journal of Management, vol. 18 no. 3, pp. 523-45.

Zhijun, L 2006, The Lenovo affair: the growth of China’s computer giant and its takeover of IBM-PC, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey.

Appendix

Potter’s Five Forces analysis of the Lenovo Company
Table 1: Potter’s Five Forces analysis of the Lenovo Company
STEEPLE and SWOT analysis of the Lenovo Company
Table 2: STEEPLE and SWOT analysis of the Lenovo Company
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