Stationery Supplies Company’s Global Change

Dealing with the change of having global customers and global colleagues

Stationery Supplies has made a decision to go global. It is important for the stakeholders to realize that the local environmental forces in the United States are very different from that in the United Kingdom and other European nations. The firm must therefore, be ready to deal with environmental changes in the new market in order to succeed. Employees of this firm will be influenced massively by this move in two ways. They will be forced to understand how to coexist with their global colleagues. They will also need to understand how to deal with the global customers. As Parkinson (2009) notes, the global market is characterized by different socio-economic and political environment. The cultural practices common in the United States can be considered as very strange in the United Kingdom. These employees must appreciate this diversity when dealing with global colleagues. They must appreciate that they are unique in their own right, and that the existing cultural practices must be tolerated. When dealing with global customers, employees of Stationery Supplies must understand the fact that buyer behavior of the global customers is different from that of the local customers. They must understand their purchasing power, their buying pattern, and some of the issues related to passing of information to the customers. These employees must be very flexible in all their operational activities. They must be ready to accept change when it is necessary. This way, they will find it easy to deal with different employees and customers in the global market. The management should consider adopting the following change model.

Appropriate Organizational Change Model to Implement

According to Bellingham (2003), change is an environmental factor that organization cannot avoid. Changes always take place in the economic, social, cultural, political, and technological environments, which have direct impact on organizations. A firm cannot ignore these changes. Stationery Supplies’ employees must be ready to embrace the changing environmental factors in order to enable this firm to be successful in the new markets. The management must develop a clear change model to be implemented in the current situation in order to succeed in the market in the United Kingdom. Under the current condition, the most appropriate model for this firm would be Kurt Lewin’s Unfreezing-Change-Refreeze Model.

An overview of the change model and its application in this situation

Kurt Lewin’s Unfreezing-Change-Refreeze Model is one of the most popular change models in the contemporary world. This model would be appropriate for this firm in the current scenario, especially when handling the new market in the United Kingdom. The following chart describes this change model

Kurt Lewin’s Unfreeze, Change, Freeze Model

Kurt Lewin’s Unfreeze, Change, Freeze Model
Kurt Lewin’s Unfreeze, Change, Freeze Model

As shown in the model above, the first stage in this change process is unfreezing. Every firm has its own unique organizational culture. As McMahon (2004) notes, this organizational culture would define most of the approaches taken by the employees when dealing with different issues during the normal operations of a firm. Organizational culture would always differentiate one firm from other competitors, and it will be the determinant of success. Stationery Supplies are going global. The market conditions in the United Kingdom are different from those in the United States.

This means that organizational culture that has helped this firm become successful in the United States may not be used to give a similar result in the United Kingdom or other global markets. This means that this firm will need to change its strategies. The first step in this process would be to unfreeze. In this case, unfreezing means dropping some of the rigid organizational cultures that are practiced in the United States, and creating an environment within the organization that is receptive of any positive culture within this new environment. This means that in such a state, the firm would not have a defined organizational culture. It would be acting as a new firm that is yet to develop principles to be used in its operations in the market. When this is achieved, the management and other employees of the firm will move to the next stage, which involves the implementation of the necessary changes. At this second stage, the management and other employees of this firm would try to understand market forces in this new country (Mendonca & Kanungo, 2006). The existing employees of this firm would also be making efforts to understand the local employees in order to find a common ground for all the players in this firm. In essence, this firm will be developing a new organizational culture that is unique to this firm’s new market. The management will be trying to help the firm integrate with the locals as much as possible.

When the management is certain of its new branch has been integrated with the local forces, then it would be right to state that change has taken place. At this stage, the firm will be comfortable to work with the local forces in the United Kingdom. It will understand the social, economic, cultural, political, and technological factors that may have a direct or indirect impact on its operations. It will have known how its employees can work as a team to achieve a common goal for the firm (Maak & Pless, 2006). The firm will then start developing a culture that is appropriate for this environment. The new organizational culture will be slowly accepted by the stakeholders at this branch, that Kurtz referred to as condensing. At this final stage, the firm will be implementing policies that are unique to this environment, and all the stakeholders in this new location will be expected to observe this new culture.

People who should lead and manage the change

According to Mulki (2009), human being hates change by nature. In most of the cases, people will try to resist change, especially if it poses a challenge to their current competence. The management of Stationery Supplies must understand that a lot of effort should be put to make employees accept change. This clearly shows that the first group of people who should be involved in leading and managing change is the top managers of this firm. Charlie Parkert, as the chief executive of this firm, should head this group. The top management must understand why change is necessary, and how this change should be managed in order to achieve the desired result. Charlie Parkert will work with the departmental heads such as Barry Phillips, Paul Marsh, Carmen Rodriguez, Dianne Keyne, and Sheila Simmons to initiate this change. The middle managers will also be involved in leading and managing change within this organization. Kenneth Bright and other unit supervisors must work as a team to ensure that they are able to understand the best ways in which they will make junior employees embrace change in their operations. Employees must also be involved in leading and managing change. Employees should be given the opportunity to participate in change creation.

Roles that the change agent and organizational leaders play in managing the change process

According to Maak (2007), change agents play different roles in the process of managing change. This scholar says that the process of creating change involves a number of activities that are carried out by different parties. The first step in managing change is the process of identifying the need for change. For a firm to be able to initiate change in its processes, it must be able to detect areas that actually require changes. Employees who are responsible for running various projects within this firm will be the best position to identify areas where change may be necessary. For instance, members of the sales team may realize that the sales team from other competing firm are using a superior method of reaching out for the customers. This may be a good reason to initiate change within the organization. The sales team will pass this information to the supervisor who will then communicate with the head of sales and marketing. The head of sales and marketing will then develop an approach to initiating this change within the organization. This is often called downward-up change initiation process because junior employee always detects the need for change. Another approach could be through comprehensive market research that is initiated by the sales and marketing manager. In this case, Maak (2007) notes that the focus is always to develop means through which change can be introduced to a firm as a way of improving its efficiency. In both cases, the information must reach the top management unit, which will then devise the best approach to initiating this change.

Communication plan to introduce this change initiative to employees

When the management confirms that there is a need for change within an organization, the next step is always to find the best approach to communicating with the employees to make them aware of this need for improvement. It is necessary to have a clear communication plan that will be used to introduce change initiatives to employees. The focus will always be to ensure that the communication is made in a way that will make employees appreciate its relevance to an organization’s success. When planning, some of the important issues to be considered include the timing of the information, the language used in passing the message, the target group, and the means of communication. The way the top management will communicate with middle manager units regarding the need for change will be different from the way junior officers will be communicated to over the same information. It is important to use channels that are reliable enough in delivering the original message without any distortions.

Ethical and organizational impact of not employing a proper change management strategy

Change is good, and its impact is always positive when applied in the right manner. However, when a change management strategy is not applied properly, there are ethical concerns and some negative impacts that it may bring. It is unethical for the top management to consult a few friends when planning change. All relevant stakeholders should be consulted to get their view on the change strategy that is to be employed. Failure to consult other employees may result in a situation where members who were not consulted are conspiring against the planned change. This may cost the firm a lot both financially and in terms of time committed to the project. It is also unethical to introduce to bypass an officer in the hierarchy of command when developing a change strategy. For instance, the chief executive should not ignore the officer of the sales and the marketing manager when dealing with any change process in this department. This would discourage the officer, and as a result, his or her output will be low.

How Charlie Can Improve His Leadership Skills to Become a More Effective Leader

Charlie needs to improve his leadership skills if he expects to achieve success in this firm. His success in other fields does not mean that he will always have success in any other area he holds. As Starratt (2004) notes, success is not a destination, it is a journey that never ends. With this understanding, Charlie will realize that he has a lot to learn as a leader, and therefore should always be open to new knowledge that may make his management skills better.

Leadership assessments

Charlie’s actions within this firm and the way he treats other junior employees show that he believes that he has the capacity for holding any responsibilities within this firm. In his theory of the Hierarchy of Needs, Maslow talks about self-actualization as the highest of the ranks. A person who has already self-actualized believes that he/she is always right, and has the ability to determine the future without any form of guidance. This is what could be affecting this chief executive. He considers everyone else to be of lesser capacity to offer leadership in this firm. He hates those who challenge the approach of leadership, for example, Sheila Simmons who is the Human Resource Manager. He prefers working with people like Dianne Keyne who rarely questions his actions. The human being naturally makes mistakes. It is also true that no person can be perfect in all areas. This is why Charlie, as the chief executive, has been given departmental heads to offer him technical advice in various areas of management. However, he has ignored this fact, and he goes ahead in making a critical decision without proper consultation. This may be considered as a failure because he is not using these resources the way he should. Unless he changes his current management approach, which is full of contempt, he may be soon leading this firm to a serious failure.

Development strategies

To be an effective leader, Charlie should embrace transformational leadership theory as a way of maximizing the output of his workforce. Transformational leadership seeks to challenge the current capacity of employees in a positive manner in order to motivate them to be more productive. It seeks to make employees realize that their current capacity is good enough, but they can do more in order to make the organization prosper. This approach to leadership always helps in making all employees feel that they are valued. It gives them the responsibility of doing everything within their capacity to ensure that the firm achieves the intended goals within the set deadline. Charlie is lacking this trait. Instead of giving employees responsibilities, he is taking the responsibility away from them. He is making them feel less valued, especially through his talks and other actions that show contempt.

Outcome measures

When the chief executive decides to use transformational leadership approaches in managing the employees, a positive difference will be witnessed in the firm. It is important to have a way of measuring this outcome in order to determine how successful the chief executive will have transformed. The outcome can be determined by the attitude of the mid-level managers who are working directly under him. This can be reflected in their output, or in their attitude to their work and their chief. When the attitude of the middle managers becomes positive, then their output definitely improves. This would be an indication that the chief executive has embraced change, and has transformed enough to become a transformational leader.

Ethical Issues in This Case

This case presents a number of unethical issues. According to Passmore and Cantore (2012), when there is a rot at the top management unit of a firm, it is always likely that the rot will spread to all the offices and to all the employees within the organization. All the unethical issues, in this case, have something to do with the leadership approach employed by the chief executive officer. Some of the mid-level managers who are working with Charlie could be MBA holders. Calling MBA holders as idiots makes them feel foolish before him. This is a very unethical statement from a person in a leadership position. It is also unethical to bring personal friendships at work. For instance, a number of issues have been raised against the leadership approach taken by Paul Marsh, the head of retail. The accusations range from unfairness in dress code, unscrupulous use of company resources to favoritism, and lack of commitment from the responsible manager. This in itself is unethical. The fact that the chief executive of this firm ignores these concerns when presented to him is even more unethical. Charlie changed the reporting structure of the head of Paint It. this officer should now report to the chief executive directly, instead of reporting to his current boss who heads the sales and marketing unit. This insubordination is unethical. Calling junior officers names such as ‘hot shot over there’ and ignoring them when they need to be attended to is unethical and Charlie must change over this.

How unethical practices could affect the company’s performance

Unethical practices such as the ones mentioned above can have a serious effect on the company’s performance. If the resources of the firm are used irresponsibly as witnessed in the department headed by Paul, then the firm may soon run out of finance. This may bring its operations to a sudden stop. When some employees feel that there is unfair treatment by the management, they may lack morale to work in the firm. This might lower their output, a fact that would lower the performance of the firm. Education is the best way of improving the performance of the workforce. Referring to holders of MBA as idiots makes employees feel that education is of no use in this firm. This kills creativity in the firm, thereby affecting its performance negatively. Being too harsh with employees makes them be afraid of releasing some pieces of information that are unpleasant but critical in defining the future of the firm. Kenneth has been informed that some ingredients of the firm’s most favorite product, Paint It, are not acceptable in some of the European countries, such as Germany. He knows that Charlie would not be very happy to hear this information, and therefore, keeps it to himself. If this product finds its way to Germany, this firm may face a long court battle that will not only taint its good image in the market but also cost it a lot of money in terms of fines.

Steps to be taken by Charlie to ensure that ethical practices are followed

Charlie should start by taking the first step towards bringing ethics to this firm. The casual way of treating employees of this firm should stop. This involves stopping some of the negative habits such as calling some employees funny names or ignoring concerns brought by junior managers. He should create a respectful environment where everyone can freely open to him and share with him any positive or negative information about this firm. Such cases where bad news is kept away from him will end. He must realize that it is only in a perfect world scenario that bad news does not exist. All other employees should also realize that they would always be judged based on their actions and not their relationship with the chief executive. Finally, Charlie must ensure that the set protocol within this firm is followed and that there is no form of insubordination among the staff.

Ethical practices to be adopted to address the issues occurring at the firm

One of the most desirable ethical approaches to be adopted is the creation of a clear hierarchy of command. All the employees at different management positions should follow this chain of command strictly. The management should avoid any form of a casual relationship, especially when handling official issues of the firm. The top management must create a consultative forum where they can discuss issues of development of the firm to avoid cases where the chief executive makes his own independent decisions.

Structure and Composition of the Executive Leadership Team at Stationery Supplies

Composition and structure of the executive leadership team

A firm should always have a clear management structure that explains the chain of command from the top officer to the junior-most employees. At Stationery Supplies, the composition and structure of this firm are clearly defined as shown in the diagram below.

Composition and structure of the executive leadership team
Composition and structure of the executive leadership team

Based on this diagram, Charlie Parkert is the chief executive officer of this firm. Below him are six departmental heads. Initially, there were five departments, but Charlie split the sales and marketing department to create Flexi Sales and Marketing as an independent department. In each department, there are supervisors in charge of employees in different sections of the firm.

How the needs will change as the company changes after the globalization

The management must realize that as it is globalized, some of the needs will change. For instance, there will be a need for overseas managers who will be responsible for running different activities of the firm. The management must put a clear strategy that would help in the creation of these new management positions when they arise. The management may need to create new offices both at the head office and at different locations around the world to help in proper coordination of activities within the firm.

Recommendation on the composition of the leadership team

The management must be able to determine the management needs before and after going global. It is recommended that before going global, the leadership team should be comprised of individuals with a comprehensive understanding of the local market and its needs. They should be individuals who have been dealing with the local market for some time. When it goes global, the management team should comprise of individuals who are dynamic enough to change with the changing environmental forces. They should also have global market experience.

Organization Cultures: What Carmen should consider when working with people of different backgrounds

When developing an organizational culture in the global market, one should appreciate the cultural diversity of different people in different regions. Carmen must understand that organizational culture that worked for this firm may not be as appropriate to the global market as it has been in the local market. He should understand that factors such as cultural mores, ethnocentrism, and competing customs might affect employees that are working across cultures. For instance, when working with Muslims and Christians, it is important to appreciate the difference in their cultural practices that may affect their work in the firm. A Muslim may demand that the management should allow him or her not to attend work on Fridays in order to go to the church. Carmen should understand such diversified needs, and determine the best approaches to meeting them in order to maintain employee’s motivation. Each employee should be treated as a unique personality based on his or her cultural beliefs and practices. Carmen should also understand some of the cognitive behavior of his employees that may affect their output.

Changes Associated with Going Global for Organizations and Employees

Assessing the current employee culture and satisfaction

Going global always comes with a number of changes that must always be dealt with by all the responsible people within a firm. The management must have a mechanism of assessing the current employee culture and satisfaction. When assessing employee culture, the focus should always be on their backgrounds. This can be captured in their demographic data in their resumes. The management should use this data to determine some of the cultural practices of all its employees. To do this effectively, people with similar socio-cultural backgrounds should be grouped together. The management should then identify some of the cultural practices among each of the groups developed. The organizational culture should then be developed in line with these cultural practices. This will make it easy for the employees to integrate into this organizational culture without strain. The management should regularly assess the satisfaction of employees with a given organizational culture. This can be assessed by determining their attitude toward the culture. If they approve it, this will always be shown by the strong support of the culture and improved performance. If they are not satisfied, this will be manifested in poor performance and disregard to the rules defined by this culture.

Executive leadership’s role in creating a positive psychological atmosphere within the employee structure

According to Jones (2011), performance in an organization always depends on the level of concentration of its individual employees. The psychological atmosphere the employees are subjected to, will always determine the level of their concentration (Grant, Lewis & Thompson, 2005). This means that the executive leadership of Stationery Supplies has the responsibility of developing a positive psychological atmosphere within the employee structure. This can be done in a number of ways. One of the ways of doing this is by creating a deep understanding of the diversity in the culture of the different employees. The management should then develop organizational structures that would enable this diversity to be manifested in its operations. The strategies should be tolerant of the different cultural practices that exist among employees. According to McKenna (2006), another approach would be treating each employee as a unique person with different psychological needs. This way, the top management should create an environment where the individual employee will be listened to without any form of prejudice. Finally, the top management should create an environment where employees can express their views freely without any discrimination. This will enable the management to understand individual employee’s needs.

References

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