By definition, change means transformation, modification or variation. Change entails the introduction of new ideas and or ways of doing things in the organization. Mathis and Jackson argue that planning and the implementation of the same previous plans, is also a crucial ingredient to leading change (36; ch. 2).
Change is also a shift to a new game with a new set of rules - an alteration of the status quo in an organization that impacts the work environment of an individual or group. Other scholars perceive change as moving from an old state to a new state or moving from one solid state to another. Mathis and Jackson, also recognize that there are some forces called facilitating forces, which could lead to resistance, may facilitate the transition from the old stage to the new stage. (“Human Resource” 43).
A good leader to change therefore is the one that recognizes the process of change and takes action to enhance or mitigate the impact of facilitating and restraining forces respectively.
The need for change in the company
It has been unanimously suggested that change is inevitable. The management of Toyota Motor Corporation recognizes the fact that the environment in which businesses operate is very dynamic, complex, unpredictable and can even be hostile. Customers' demand for their products, being the fleet of vehicles, continues to change day by day calling for the need of the company to change their manufacturing models.
Also, due to the competing nature of the firms in the manufacturing industry, Toyota's company management has found that change is inevitable. This is evident from the new manufacturing models and subsequent new brands from Mercedes Benz, Peugeot and Nissan Motor companies. By changing their process and products to fit the demand in the market, the Toyota company management's objective is to become more efficient, effective and competitive. Failure to change is critical. Everyone at should have the ability to change and/or at least no tot be an obstacle for someone else who wants to change. Change is vital if an organization wants to avoid the risk of either stagnating or declining in their operations. A company may also face a total collapse or extinction. (Bodek).
Leaders as change agents
Leaders within Toyota Motor Corporation play a pivotal role in the management of change. They also act as change agents. A change agent is a person or group taking responsibility for changing the existing pattern of behavior of another person or social system. Managers should initiate and introduce change, organize, implement and monitor change in an organization. They should not act as if they are locked into the past. They must be adaptable and flexible to be able to effectively face the challenge of the future.
Though change has beneficial effects, it can also turn to be painful to some people in an organization. Leaders need to and should recognize this possibility and seek to emphasize the positive consequences of change while minimizing the negative aspects.
For instance, with the Toyota Company, whenever an aspect of change arises, the president initiates and organizes the change. The chairmen in conjunction with all of the managers ensure that these change aspects are implemented. They also monitor the outcome as a result of the change for any discrepancies of its operations.
For Toyota, the fact that changes can be painful but at the same time beneficial was witnessed in 1950. This was the period preceding the Second World War. Like many other countries, Japan experienced serious hardships. The then president, Kiichiro Toyoda had to implement very serious changes in order to avoid the company from collapsing. This change was none other than restoring the whole corporate organization through lay-offs. In the process, this change had effected all types of employees, through managers and more than 1500 employees that had ended up losing their jobs....
Cited: • Bodek, Norman. “The Toyota Secret: Constant Change and Growth.” Industry Week. 8, Aug. 2007. .
• Gross, David; Principles of Management; Routledge, 1994.
• Mathis, Robert and John Jackson. “On Change Definition.” Human Resource Management. South-Western College Pub, 2004.
• Schuler, Randall and Susan Jackson; Strategic Human Resource Management, Blackwell, 1999.
• “Toyota Motor Corporation: Company History.” Shmula.com. .
• Toyota Motor Corporation Global Site. .
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