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Business And Change Essay

2514 words - 11 pages

In a progressively competitive and constantly changing business environment, organisations feel the need to look for quick change options, even if it means not giving proper consideration for the possible ramifications. Change theory argues that change must be considered and planned carefully. However, in this fast-paced business world, the complexities of change are sometimes overlooked in order to implement change quickly, especially in reactive circumstances, which leads to simplistic solutions and the search for one right way to change management. When possible though, change should be considered carefully so it does not act against an organisation’s strategic goals. This essay will ...view middle of the document...

The model has a three step approach to change – the first being the present level (unfreezing), then movement to the new level (moving), followed by the new level (refreezing) (Cummings & Worley 2009). This theory, however, is not without criticism. Burnes (2004) summarises these criticisms into three basic groups. The first being the model is too simplistic and mechanical for continuous change. Secondly that the model is only relevant to incremental and isolated change projects and is not able to incorporate radical, transformational change. The third criticism is the model is seen as advocating a top-down, management-driven approach to change and ignoring situations requiring bottom-up change (Burnes 2004). Because this model can be seen as simplistic, much research has gone into expanding these three stages (Cummings & Worley 2009), therefore this model can hardly be seen as the one right way.

Another model for change that was proposed by Stace and Dunphy (1988) reflected that organisations operate in different environments, which is called the contingency approach. The literature argues that if a model of change is to be applicable to the widely differing circumstances in which an organization operates, it must look into wide range of change approaches and that planned approaches are not always suitable (Stace and Dunphy 1988). Burnes (1997) states that this approach suggests suitability of any change approach to strategy is dependent (or contingent) on the organisation’s environment. The difference with this theory is that the classical and systemic views of strategy are based on an assumption that an organisation’s environment is stable or predictable (Burnes 1997). This theory however, gives organisations the guidelines for the analysis needed to achieve effective change and proves no one way is right. However, this theory has attracted criticisms, namely the difficulty in relating structure to performance and the problem of defining the main situational variables, i.e. environment, technology and size (Burnes 1996).

It can be argued then that without proper theory and analysis for an organisation’s need for change, solutions are often put into place without proper planning. One of the main “easy” solutions that we have seen in this economic climate is downsizing. Appelbaum, Henson and Knee (1999) states that downsizing is seen by organisations and managers as being a simple way to revitalize organisations and can increase global competition and effectively re-engineer business processes. However, many organisations do not plan for the aftermath of a downsize and often experience lower productivity, lower employee morale and unsound restructuring because of poor planning (Appelbaum, Henson & Knee 1999).

Downsizing is often a rushed and panicked decision by change agents and therefore often unsuccessful in achieving the goals sought by organisations because change managers often fail to assess the firm’s readiness for change and...

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