Leading organisational change – nature of change at strategy

The nature of Change at Stanley can be conceptualized into two perspectives. Firstly, it can be evaluated in terms of the change models, and, secondly, in terms of change framework.

Model of Stanley’s Change

The change process at Stanley Australia is principally revolutionary in that it seeks to design and install a sales and marketing organisation, contrary to the previous manufacturing organisation, within a short period. Various elements of revolutionary change are notable in Stanley’s change process; firstly, the change arises from an environmental scan that necessitates a strategy redefinition. The environmental scan was for instance evident in the realization that competitors throughout Asia, who manufactured cheaper alternatives to Stanley’s products, had enhanced their quality thus making it difficult for the entity to continue competing based on a superior quality (Waddell, Cummings & Worley 2011, p. 607). Such changes in the competitive landscape meant that the entity had to explore alternative sources of competitive advantage, which, as envisioned by the entity’s CEO in 1997, were to involve decreases in the entity’s global manufacturing and distribution sites. This resulted in a strategy redefinition from a manufacturing orientation to a sales and marketing focus.

A second set of characteristics evidencing Stanley’s change as revolutionary was the multiskilling, retraining and system redesign that the change entailed. As documented in the case study, the merger of Stanley Australia and Stanley Bostitch, entities that operated via different systems and organisational cultures, meant that the resultant organisation was to embody significant retraining and system redesign to support the new orientation (Waddell, Cummings & Worley 2011). For instance, the decision to adopt Stanley Australia’s systems meant that employees brought from Stanley Bostitch had to undergo a retraining process to adapt to the new systems. Apart from the merger, the change from a manufacturing to a sales and marketing focus meant that the entity had to redesign its systems to support such a shift, an aspect that was evident with a change of the process standards from ISO 9001 to ISO 9002 (Waddell, Cummings & Worley 2011, p. 610).

Despite such categorisation, Stanley’s change process may also fall under the punctuated equilibrium model of change. For instance, Gersick (1991) identified the punctuated equilibrium model as a subset of the revolutionary change paradigm. According to Gersick (1991), change process is discontinuous, characterised by two relatively stable phases punctuated by a period of revolutionary change. Putting this into Stanley’s context, the initial stable phase is identifiable to the period it enjoyed market leadership based on its quality and brand recognition. With globalisation forces allowing entry of the Asian competitors and their accessing better technologies to enhance quality of their products, a period of revolutionary change was necessitated for Stanley. In this respect, the revolutionary phase was to redesign into a sales and marketing entity, and centre subsequent strategy on such orientation. Completion of such transformation would mark the entry into the second relatively stable phase, where only incremental changes would occur.

Framework of Stanley’s change

On the concept of change framework, emergent versus planned, Stanley’s change was planned. Planned change is perceived to embody the aspects of diagnosis (to identify the challenges facing the entity), intervention (a plan to address such challenges), and evaluation (to measure the effectiveness of the implementation of the intervention) (Burke 2011, pp. 148-149). Stanley’s diagnosis is evident in its realization of its decreasing market share in the region, which it attributes to the increasing rise in the popularity of Asian alternatives (Waddell, Cummings & Worley 2011, p. 610). Accordingly, the entity identifies an intervention, which embodies divesting from manufacturing interests in its Australian business and merging the two independent entities it controlled in the region. Since Stanley’s change process is still in the implementation stage, as recounted in the case study, the evaluation process evidences the implementation feedback (short-term) rather than the evaluation feedback (long-term; the recovery of the lost market share and/or revenue following the intervention). In this respect, the implementation feedback is evident in the low resistance to the change process by employees and their unions (Waddell, Cummings & Worley 2011, pp. 613-614). Such low resistance indicates the efficacy of the intervention strategies used to manage the change transition. Go to part four here.

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