Organization Theory: Design and Change


Organizational theory is the study of organizations for the gain of identifying common themes which can be used for solving problems, maximizing productivity and efficiency and being able to meet the needs of the stakeholders. (Gareth, 2006).

Problem statement

As the manager of Unilever Service Company I have discovered that organizational design does not provide the needed flexibility to respond to a dynamic environment. This is because the individual processes, organizational processes and the group processes have all lagged behind and have not well been adequately observed in this organization.

The individual process in this perspective include motivation which is the strong drive that make the employees in the organization do what they do and it has influence in driving behaviour in the organization. Group processes such as leadership, work teams in the organization have not been fully exploited and those that exist in the organization are not well observed by the employees such that they can help address the dynamic challenges which occur in the business dynamic environment. Organizational process includes issues such as the organizational structure and design and the problem in this area has been the source of power and the flow of information in the organization.


The first objective is to establish how individual processes, organizational processes and the group processes have failed to provide the needed flexibility to respond to a dynamic environment. The second objective will be to establish the desired outcomes which are measurable, realistic and achievable.

The third objective is to establish factors that have necessitated the existence of the problem stated above. The fourth objective is to look into ways of identifying the needed information that can be used in solving the problem stated above.

The fifth objective is to identify the necessary assumptions that can be used to fill the information gaps that would be necessary to solve the problem that exists in the Unilever service company. The seventh objective will be explaining and identifying limitations that may arise in the process of trying to come up with an extensive framework that can be used to solve the problem that exists in the company.

The above objectives are necessary and their achievement will be instrumental in yielding the expected results in the problem resolution or mitigation. In order to achieve good results that can be used in solving the above stated problem it is important to establish the causal factors or the contributory factors that have catapulted the existence of lack of flexibility in the organizational design in order to enable the company respond effectively to changing issues in the surrounding.

To effectively establish the causal factors it is vital to look at the three sub topics such as group processes, individual processes and organizational processes and establish how they have contributed to the lack of flexibility in the organizational design thus making it hard for the company to respond to a dynamic environment.

Causal factors

Individual processes

The first causal factor under this category is lack of proper motivation in the company. Motivation drives the behaviour of employees in the company and it is the reason why the employees do what they do and it is also the force behind the employee’s decision to commit or not to commit to working effectively in the company.

It is important to realize that the elements that make up motivation are always unique to different individuals and they are dynamic as time goes by. Motivation in this company helps in managing groups of employees in the company. To understand the psychological contract terms for the employees in the company it is important to understand the terms by which the employees are joined to the company and be able to secure meeting those terms and needs in order to sustain an “E” input through time, that is, energy, effort and enthusiasm in the employees.

Of great importance is the need to know that if the company changes its “E” requirements there will be changes in the individual employee’s energy, efforts and enthusiasm. The company’s management must carefully put into consideration how to adjust and maintain the psychological contract in the employees in order to keep them productive members of the entire team in the company. This may be inform of salary increase, promotion or increased managerial responsibilities.

This has however not been the case in the Unilever Service Company and as a result there has been a gap that has been created in the organizational design in response to the dynamic environment which requires the employees to be motivated for them to commit themselves into working in the company. The employees choose to remain in their current level of performances because even though they work hard there are no proper mechanisms for rewarding those who show exemplarily performance.

Group processes

Team work is an essential feature in any organization and failure of a company to encourage team work is tantamount to bringing down its performance. Team work encourages the employees to value one another and hold each other when working in the company.

Team work also helps in problem solving especially when a certain problem can not be solved by an individual employee. In view of this, team work failure in Unilever Service Company has been a causal factor of the organizations’ design failure to provide the needed flexibility to respond to a dynamic environment. Experiments that have been conducted have indicated that the role of informal groups is positive in productivity perspective and the effects of group culture in environments of work have positive consequence when well utilised. (Stephen, 2004).

The management of the company should realize that utilizing groups leads to effective or improved decision making, more risk taking and presumably accelerated rates of innovation. As a result the company will be in a position to compete effectively, record improved performance and be flexible to changes in its environment both internal and external.

The role processes

Role processes has been another contributory factor in the company’s failure to be flexible in responding to a dynamic environment. The management need to know and acknowledge that its employees have got many roles to manage and conflicts and problems can arise because role conflicts results into tensions that can greatly affect the individual ability of the employees to reach their goals.

In this regard the company is supposed to support its employees and team members in achieving new roles by availing time for training and support as well as transition. When there are conflicts in the company it is important for the company to nurture the ability of the employees by allowing time for them to relieve tension through devoting their time in roles outside the office.

Although the challenge of growth and productivity in the company is that of assisting human resources in attaining their maximum potential, the calculation of motivation, multiple dimension of individual resource model and development of inborn abilities and talents are all factors that must be looked into if the company is to achieve success in its organizational design aimed at making the company more flexible to the dynamic environment.

Organizational culture

Another contributory factor to the organizations design failure to provide the needed flexibility in responding to dynamic environment is lack of a proper company or organizational culture. Organizational culture is the cognitive framework that consists of values, attitudes, behavioural norms and expectations which are shared by the members of the company. (Johnson, 2006).

Culture in any organization helps establish a sense of employee’s identity within the organization and it can be used to facilitate the likelihood of internalizing goals as well as facilitating comfort. Organizational culture helps in providing the status quo and it also helps maintain stability in communication and role interaction.

Culture can be enforced in the company through a number of ways such as through symbols, language and by ceremony.

Ceremonies are aimed at commemorating employees who have demonstrated excellence in front of other employees in order to reinforce those values in other employees. Symbols such as encouragement slogans and mission statements are aimed at reinforcing the organizational vision and it acts as the leading light of every body in the organization.

The Unilever Service Company has not fully adopted this framework and this is the reason as to why the company has lacked the flexibility in responding to the dynamic environment surrounding its operations. Uniformity is the key factor for the managers in trying to implement new paradigms which require the support of the entire members of the company instead of imposing decisions on other employees in the company. This culture once adopted will facilitate the movement of the company into flexibility in responding to the dynamic environment.

Information generation

Having established the causal factors of the company’s failure to respond to dynamic environment, a number of elements need to be researched on in order to solve the above problem that exists in the company. These elements include organizational research which encompasses organizational culture, group processes, role processes as well as individual processes. The research on the above mentioned elements will avail the needed information that can be useful in solving the problem that exists in the company.


There are several assumptions that can be used in filling the information gap when research on the above elements is undertaken. The first assumption is that there will be enough funding from the company for the above research to be undertaken.

The second assumption is that the members of the company will cooperate in availing the required information that can be used in coming up with a solution to the problem in the company. The third assumption is that the results from the research undertaken will be used in solving the problem stated above hence making the company flexible in responding to a dynamic environment.


However in doing the above, several constraints exists such as lack of enough funds to complete the research, lack of proper cooperation from the members of the company in availing the information they may be holding that can help in coming up with a solution, lack of flexibility of the employees to detach themselves from the culture they are used to and adopting a new one according to the results recommendations and externally the constraint of keeping the results of the research secret from competitors.

Alternative course of action

The alternative course of action in addressing the above problem will be to change the company culture and also the management of the company. Changing organizational culture will mean doing away with the old culture that does not permit dynamism and substituting it with a new one that accommodates dynamism. Changing the company’s management structure will also mean bringing in new professionals who can accommodate changes more easily.

The probability of success lies mostly in changing the company culture and hence the decision rule is to change the organizational culture. The positive possible outcomes from changing the organizational culture are creating room for more flexibility in the company and also the creation of a more conducive working environment for the members of the company. The negative outcome would be increased conflicts with some employees unable to adjust to a new company culture.

The likelihood of the positive outcomes occurring is higher as compared to the probability of the negative outcomes occurring. Changing the company’s management would have more negative outcomes and this makes it hard to implement it because the probability of negative outcomes is higher. Hence the decision will be to implement the change of the organizational culture.

Implementing plan

To enact the above decision it will be important to start by training the members of the organization on the need to adopt a new culture that is more flexible. This will be for a period of one to two weeks. The amount of funds required will be determined by the trainers but it should be around $1200 dollars. The training will be aimed at informing the people of the likelihood of changes in the company policies and procedures as well as changes in the entire organizational culture. The above plan will be aimed at achieving the flexibility the company needs in order to effectively respond to the dynamic environment.

Control system Plan

The control system will monitor the implementation of the change. The existing control system may not be adequate because it is part and parcel of the parts that need to be changed. Hence an external control system will be hired to oversee the implementation of the change in the organizational culture. Since the existing control system has failed to make the company more dynamic a new control system that accommodates dynamism has to be designed.

The designed control system must be able to provide standard for performance, measure actual performance in a more reliable way, be able to measure deviations of actual performance from standards, be able to search the deviations and design actions to deal with the causes of such deviations and lastly be able to implement the corrective actions of solving the flexibility problem that exists in the Unilever service company.


Stephen, M. (2004). Organization Design, Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 23- 58.

Gareth, R. (2006). Organization Theory, Design and Change, New York: Macmillan Press, pp. 45-78.

Johnson, K. (2006).Organizational culture and it effects on changes, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 89-90.

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