Today’s business environment requires organizations to undergo change almost on a daily basis in order to remain competitive. These changes are typically unplanned and gradual. The content or what to change that I identified in my personal case is the shipping method for service parts that are exported to Europe. This particular type of change is referred to as an evolutionary change which is an ongoing, evolving process. The process of changing the shipping method for export service parts is with designing a shipping unit that will maximize trailer density and reduce material, labor and logistics costs.
One theory that is present with my personal case is Lewin’s three steps. He claimed that in order to be successful, the change process needed to follow this three-step procedure: (1) unfreezing, (2) moving and (3) freezing at a new level (or refreezing). Step (1) Unfreezing occurred when I presented data to the operations group which highlighted the substandard fill rate for the exported windshield commodity. Demonstrating a need for the change and sharing details about the external environment which jeopardized the organizations success. Step (2) Moving is to move toward the new, or desired behavior. The associates must see the leader’s point of view. This is typically what I refer to as gaining buy-in from the associates to support the change. Leaders that maintain two way communication with the followers are more likely to gain support for the change. Addressing the anxieties of how the change may or may not impact them personally is always a great concern. Therefore prompt and thorough explanations are key to the potential success of the change. One method for determining the associates’ perception of management as well as other attributes within the organization is the use of survey feedback. Survey feedback, a systematic way of understanding an organization from the standpoint of employee perceptions and processing this understanding back into the organization so that change can occur, is a primary method of leveraging organization change. (Burke, 2013). Once the survey feedback results are finalized then small groups of associates representing each of the production areas meet to discuss their concerns, aka sensitivity training. These meetings are referred to as Circle meetings. Literally the associates form a circle and take turns providing one another with feedback as to how they are performing, an evaluation of their individual behavior and how it relates to their goals. Typically the goal is to increase associate awareness of how others perceive them and to realize how their behavior impacts others. Step (3) Refreezing establishes ways to make the new level of behavior “relatively secure against change “(Lewin, 1947). Examples include establishing key performance indicator(s) or creating a recognition program for meeting / exceeding targets. As with my personal case performance standards were created for monitoring the fill rate for export shipments. The management staff continues to promote Skinner’s philosophy of “positive reinforcement” by issuing BRGEMs (Business Revolution – Going the Extra Mile). This program highlights those activities that have a significant impact to the overall performance of Toyota and relate directly to annual plan items. Associates are awarded Visa gift cards valued between $25 -$1,000. So as the team achieves a milestone then someone is nominated for their role.
It is very important to understand the various effects of organizational change across the primary levels of any organization. These primary levels are the individual, the group or work unit, and the total system (Burke, 2013). Changes at the individual level are geared towards kaizen or continuous improvement and designed to help an organization move in a new direction. Organizations use recruitment, selection, training and development along with coaching and counseling to implement the change....
References: Burke W. W. (2013) Organization Change: Theory and Practice (4th ed). Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
Project Management. Kotter’s 8 Step Change. Retrieved November 18th, 2014, from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_82.html
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