THE TECHTRON COMPUTERS "WANT TO SURVIVE, GO PUBLIC, AND THEN WHAT?" CASE Investors (venture capitalists) knew the potential was good for Techtron Computers to challenge the dominant players in the high-speed computing market. They also knew the types of computers Techtron hoped to bring to market were a long shot for success even with their significant financial investment. The four founders of Techtron all had come from large international corporations known for their high-speed computing products designed for scientific and defense markets. To compete with their former employers was a formidable task. The first eighteen months for Techtron had been intense. The founders had handpicked individuals from their former employers who had the potential to understand the development of new competitive products and who were willing to risk working in a start-up environment. The sixty individuals who had joined Techtron at the encouragement of the four founders all knew the risks were high, but if Techtron was successful the rewards would exceed anything they could hope for from their former employers. None of the initial employees, including the founders, had anticipated the pressure of working in a new organization or attempting to bring products to market with only a skeleton staff. All of their collective experience had been in established organizations. A culture of hard work, risk taking, and living on the edge quickly emerged. Within twenty-four months, this hard-driving Techtron culture resulted in the release of two products to market. Significant initial orders indicated the products filled a market niche and need not met by their more expensive competitors. Based on this initial success, the founders began to think about taking Techtron "public" (converting a privately owned company to a publicly traded company listed on one of the stock exchanges), returning money to their investors, and raising resources to expand the company. The founders knew they must grow Techtron if the initial successes were to be sustained. The founders knew their initial group of employees was exceptional. They also knew this initial group was highly motivated by the potential for significant personal gain. The founders quickly realized that building products, although critical to success, was only a part of creating the changes necessary for the organization to grow and prosper. They were confronted with the need to plan for and manage change, to develop the organization, and to understand how human dynamics would influence Techtron's future. They were concerned their initial success had been their only focus. They did not know how to approach what should happen next. ■
The Techtron founders face important decisions about organizational change – change that will determine the future of Techtron and its employees. In determining what to do, they will gather information, evaluate what they think the future holds, and involve employees, external stakeholders, and the public in decision making. All of these processes are communication-based. It is possible, therefore, to claim that organizational change takes place through communication. Change is a somewhat ambiguous concept often simply defined as an alteration from one state to another. Others define change as differences between two sets of conditions. When referring to organizational change, we frequently talk about changing circumstances that place individuals and organizations in constant states of flux. Organizational change is both planned and unplanned. Planned organizational change usually is the responsibility of professionals within the organization, often top leadership. However, as we focus on more participative workplaces, we see change becoming the responsibility of individuals throughout the organization. Communication about change frequently is developed and led by people with professional communication responsibilities. The...
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