The proposed paper revolves around the BP Amoco case to discuss the peculiarities of structural change. The multidimensional character of this process is evidenced by the fact that to be successful; the company should consider all existing factors to create the strategy helping to attain better outcomes. The triggers of change are also discussed in the paper as they are critical for further planning and decision-making. Amoco’s example shows the necessity to align the continuous evolution process. It can be attained by improved knowledge generation and transfer. In such a way, the paper discusses the essential aspects of change in a company and the elements associated with it and vital for getting positive outcomes.
Organizational change is a fundamental process necessary for the successful growth of a company. At the same time, it is a complex issue because of the need to consider multiple aspects ad create a multidimensional model promoting the evolution of the crucial areas. Carnall and Todnem (2014) outline that the triggers of change might include the alteration in the target environment and market or the emergence of new methods more effective than previous ones. Under these conditions, Cummings and Worley (2018) are sure that change is a continuous process that should be given much attention as it leads to the organization’s renewal and it’s becoming more powerful. For this reason, it becomes critical to consider all existing factors and select the most sufficient and relevant model of change leading to positive outcomes.
The presented paper revolves around the BP Amoco case analyzing the change process the company initiated and the factors associated with it. Using the firm’s experience, the multidimensional nature of the process is discussed, and the factors indicating the necessity to start the process are outlined. Additionally, change is discussed as a continuous process implying the reconsideration of the attitude to generation and transition of knowledge, formation of new groups, and improved cooperation between them. The paper also touches upon the acquisition of competitive advantage via improving all processes playing a critical role in the further evolution of the company and its remaining one of the leaders in the market.
Triggers of Change
BP Amoco initiated a significant change process in the early 1990s as a response to the changing environment. The company emphasized the necessity to reconsider its functioning to meet new demands peculiar to the market. As a result, the major organizational principles outlining the basic principles of the company’s work emerged. Regarding these points, it is possible to state that the alteration in the external factors, along with the changing clients’ demands, became the major triggers of change (Zhexembayeva, 2020). BP Amoco emphasized the critical importance of reputation as one of the fundamental elements of successful growth and the role human resources and knowledge play in organizational processes. It means that the need to remain the potent actor at the international level, along with the altering views on a firm’s work, became the major triggers of change (Deszca et al., 2019). They influenced decisions and strategies made by BP Amoco’s successful CEOs.
Another critical aspect of the restructuring and renovation process initiated by the company was its multidimensional nature. The top management correctly realized the fact that the improvement of one of its aspects is not enough to meet new demands and remain capable of struggling against competitors. For this reason, several structural alterations, such as cutting out layers of management, clarifying financial accountability, and improving performance, were initiated. This decision is explained by the fact that the functioning of any organization depends on numerous factors and the work of all its departments (Garavan et al., 2021). For this reason, the positive change cannot be limited by the reconsideration of only one factor. Instead, it is critical to ensure that the whole unit and central activities are rethought and new strategies are introduced.
Another critical idea outlined by the case is the outstanding significance of human resources and the necessity to organize the practical work of employees. One of the major central principles is that people work better in smaller groups (Gibbons, 2019). Regarding the idea of change, it means that the firm focused on establishing high-performance groups can be more successful in the future as it will help to create the basis for future improvement (Guest, 2017). The aligned and coordinated teams consisting of a limited number of individuals might cultivate new ideas and integrate them into the work of a unit (Hayes, 2007). Under these conditions, reconsidering the model of cooperation within the organization is key to successful transformation and boosting performance.
Knowledge Management and Change
Effective knowledge management can also be viewed as one of the critical elements of a successful change. BP Amoco’s case shows that the company devotes much attention to both explicit and tacit knowledge, their generation, and sharing. Thus, the first one is acquired through learning and codified in books, while the second one is generated through experience (Kirrane et al., 2017). For this reason, continuous change implies sharing between colleagues to ensure less experienced ones have the opportunity to cooperate with their successful peers and get tacit knowledge (Hooper & Potter, 2001). It leads to a better understanding of current goals and how to achieve them. At the same time, new specialists with extensive explicit knowledge create the basis for future renewal as they might combine both forms to attain outstanding results (Kislik, 2018). For this reason, the focus on organizing smaller groups with the enhanced opportunity to share knowledge is one of the major determinants of successful change.
The continuous nature of change is also vital for the successful transformation of any company. Considering the necessity to address multiple aspects and create the basis for their improvement, it becomes crucial to align the uninterrupted interaction between management and employees to guarantee goal achievement (Lewis, 2019). Thus, BP Amoco emphasizes the necessity of supporting underperforming teams by their peers and more successful groups as one of the elements of the transformation (Rosenbaum et al., 2015). This model ensures that change remains continuous as knowledge is transferred within the organization and serves as the basis for future improvement. Furthermore, employees, as the central performers, acquire the chance to engage in the constant improvement process and get new skills (Saks, 2021). In such a way, continuous change can be aligned by introducing the appropriate structure and strategy.
Decentralization is also viewed as one of the steps needed to help companies to respond to the fast-changing environment. The high pace of new demands’ emergence means that local units should be more flexible in making decisions. For this reason, providing additional authority to smaller departments is viewed as one of the elements of positive change leading to better outcomes (Lin & Sanders, 2017). However, for large corporations, such as BP Amoco, the question of sharing knowledge regarding decentralization becomes topical (Satell, 2019). For this reason, the peer processes and behavioral nets help to create the basis for providing local groups with more abilities by providing them with knowledge and assistance in complex situations (Schwarz et al., 2021). It also helps to support the multidimensional nature of change and address different objectives.
Organizational Renewal and People
Organizational renewal is the final aim of any change process. It means that the planned alterations and interventions contribute to eliminating outdated methods and introducing new, more effective ones (Suddaby & Foster, 2017). It is achieved by addressing various aspects and cultivating a particular culture, characterized by accepting new ideas and their integration (Senge, 1999). The analyzed case shows that the renewal was achieved by increasing the role of teams in the evolution of the organization, greater attention to human resources, and structural changes. This strategy helped to avoid using irrelevant or obsolete methods and create an environment with strong peer support and knowledge transfer. Under these conditions, it can be viewed as one of the major determinants of successful transformation.
Finally, positive change implies viewing people as the primary value and investing in their development. BP Amoco’s case shows that by facilitating the evolution of their specialists, the group cultivated an environment where development is a critical activity for all specialists (Sroufe, 2017). It means that to achieve the desired goal and promote the alteration of various organization’s aspects and structures, it is central to train specialists who play the major roles in these units as they are also the main contributors to final success.
Altogether, it is possible to conclude that multidimensional and continuous change is a complex process implying various factors. First, it is vital to initiate structural changes focused on different aspects of the company’s work. Second, it is critical to view people as the central capital and invest in their development. Third, knowledge generation and transfer are two processes necessary for establishing and supporting a continuous change process. The establishment of smaller and more flexible teams might help to empower the main incentives and meet new challenges. However, decentralization should be followed by the improvement of cooperation between different units to avoid failures and misunderstandings. The case shows that the company devoting much attention to various aspects of its work might succeed in promoting positive change and generating a competitive advantage.
In such a way, it is possible to conclude that organizational change is a difficult and sophisticated process. It demands significant resources, planning, and attention from the top management to ensure all dimensions of the proposed reconsideration are considered. In the modern business world, it is vital to take into account the triggers of change, such as the emergence of new demands among clients, new strategies and methods, and the outdated nature of previous approaches. Companies should be ready to create a continuous process with effective knowledge generation and transfer to create the basis for future progress. The increased attention to people, along with the creation of smaller and more effective teams, will help to attain better outcomes and assist units in their evolution.
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