Strategic Management Approaches For Managing Change

The subject for this intended research will focus on problem-solving and how organizations can successfully manage change during difficult periods of economic development by relying on the integration of strategic management approaches so they can become learning organizations. It will use the UAE government as the organization to be profiled, with its employees for the questionnaire survey to obtain useful data into what changes are needed in the UAE government for achieving its overall objectives. Since managing change requires identifying weaknesses and developing strategies for turning them into strengths, strategic management techniques are very effective. There will be both primary and secondary deductive research methods using theories for testing data. Although there are many different drivers for change in organizations, developing nations like the UAE and its government must undergo extensive restructurization that requires recognizing change as an ongoing process affecting all departments, employees and processes. Change management theories support the need for strategic management approaches being implemented for companies or governments to become learning organizations that can continuously adapt to the unpredictable dynamics of economic, social and infrastructure change. Organizations that refuse to adapt to change often become inefficient and obsolete, so it is in their own best interest to learn how to adjust their leadership and management processes to gain knowledge about and become skilled at adaptation.

Introduction

Change is a continuous process where organizations either adapt to their new environment or they will not survive. Organizational change requires major restructurization on all levels to accomplish the overall goals of managerial expectations exceeding results to compel employees to perform better. Change management refers to considering problems as opportunities for future improvement that can help organizations achieve their goals. Managing change for organizations means learning how to convince managers that investing in the resolution of present problems is a worthwhile risk that can result in long-term success. Managing change must be performed at the highest managerial level and all throughout the organization if it is to be effective for the long term. Managing change also involves persuading employees that the risk of altering their current performance is worth the future higher performance levels they will eventually reach. Change management relates to learning how to properly manage change through extensive knowledge management and job skills training to upgrade all employee performance which will gradually result in higher organizational performance. Strategic change management approaches for managing change are the most effective methods of developing learning organizations that can suitably adapt to change.

Research Question

Are strategic change management approaches for managing change the most effective methods of developing learning organizations so they can suitably adapt to change?

Research Objectives & Intended Outcomes

Some of the main research objectives and outcomes for this project will involve:

Determining which change management strategies are useful for managing organizational change

Explaining how strategic management approaches can help manage change

Describing what organizational learning strategies are and how they help companies become continuous learning organizations able to suitably adapt to and successfully manage change

Company Background

The organization that will be researched and profiled for this dissertation will be the UAE government which was established in 1974. This organization focuses on creating and implementing strategic policies, plans and procedures for the development of the local UAE infrastructure. This includes assisting the UAE President and UAE Ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in handling all responsibilities and delegating authority to carry out his strategic plans. The government is in charge of all UAE governmental Ministries and agencies. This office manages, supervises and reviews all activities related to the UAE government, including construction development projects they sponsor, service and IT development, and governmental performance improvement programs (Mohammed, 2010, 1-6) (Ali, 2010, 1-3).

Background of Problem: Etisalat’s Challenges To Managing Change

There are several problems and challenges that Etisalat is currently dealing with in order to improve their global market positioning, such as:

Contrasting processes of change response-Etisalat has been using two different methods of adapting to change that are working together well, which has helped them deal with many issues within the company; however, these two strategies are also causing some internal problems dealing with communication and teamwork among the global offices

Etisalat’s specialization in the telecommunications industry has allowed for increased communication between employees and management, yet it reduces the chances for expansion worldwide

Etisalat’s diversification uses strategic alliances with global suppliers, which helps expand to international markets, yet decreases communication internally

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Etisalat’s management changed the organizational culture from a hierarchal authority to using workplace teams, which has been difficult for managers and employees to adjust to and led to resistance to change strategies (Mohammed, 2010, 1-6) (Ali, 2010, 1-3).

Etisalat’s main issues all deal with how the company has been expanding so quickly that the employees and management are not communicating well together. They are not working well in teams and that reduces overall efficiency. The company has been having trouble adapting to the external PEST industry changes and internal SWOT company changes as well, which has led to many redundancies and high overhead costs. The company has also been adding new firms through acquisition and expanding to new countries with different cultures, so employees speaking different languages and having diverse cultural traditions and business practices may not be blending well with the UAE processes and systems. Etisalat has to develop many different global strategies that all focus on integration and collaboration.

Etisalat has been focusing on expansion without concentrating on coping with the consequences of such major internal company and employee changes, which has created a lot of tension and resentment. Employees who do not have job satisfaction do not perform well and often end up quitting. There are also managerial problems in the decision-making that appear to come from a lack of international business experience. The company may need to hire more experienced global business managers who have been running multinational operations for other firms and who are already familiar with the problems involved. Etisalat may also be suffering from too rapid expansion and globalization that could cause them to have major problems later on if they do not properly address them now (Mohammed, 2010, 1-6) (Ali, 2010, 1-3).

Etisalat managers do not have the capabilities of dealing with multicultural environments very well since they did not have those issues before. They also do not have any type of cultural diversity awareness programs in their HRM strategies that could help all employees learn how to adapt to global workplace environments. The company has to adopt new technologies and implement them into the workplace to increase efficiencies and core competencies. The company also seems to need a better organizational culture that is more productive and visionary so they can adapt to changes in the market. The management team must be dedicated to identifying all changes that must be made and integrating proper strategies to deal with them. They must adopt more e-ordering systems and online strategies for increasing production and customer services. They also appear to need tactics for embracing change rather than resisting it from all levels of management and employees. The company needs to incorporate strategies that focus on money management, generation of new sales revenues and increasing profitability for the long-term (Mohammed, 2010, 1-6) (Ali, 2010, 1-3).

Etisalat’s Change Management Strategic Direction

Etisalat’s managers hope to alter their strategic direction to include change management approaches that will allow them to:

Expand to new countries by profiling target markets’ preferences and demands

Etisalat must develop a comprehensive HRM change management strategy allowing for increased efficiency, productivity, communication and teambuilding

Adopt online e-marketing strategies to appeal to global markets

Develop a streamlined strategy that coordinates management and employee communication and teamworking (Mohammed, 2010, 1-6) (Ali, 2010, 1-3).

Literature Review: Justification of Research on Managing Change

Li (2001) states managing change means analyzing the organization’s gaps between employee and company actual performance and the anticipated results expected by management. For change management to be successful, theoretical strategic management strategies must be effectively integrated into organizational real-world scenarios. Managing change requires companies to prepare ahead of time for uncertainty by developing their employees’ individual potential and turning their firms into continuous learning organizations. To avoid the usual resistance to change that often comes from organizational restructurization, change management strategies help managers better communicate with employees to focus on learning and training programs to adapt to the changes needed for long-term success and market leadership (Hiatt, 2003, 55-68) (Tucker, 1991, 44-56).

According to Kruger (2003), effectively managing organizational change means planning for uncertainty, and learning how to adapt to all types of changes, such as economic change, personnel change, leadership or managerial change, technological change or industry change. Organizational change management theories refer to managing change as a long-term ongoing process where various drivers of change are identified and appropriate strategies are formulated to alter managers’ and employees’ performance, attitudes and behaviors. Managing change during recessions like the recent period relates to taking on new technologies to become more innovative, efficient and productive. It refers to learning about market competition to know the strategies rivals are pursuing to develop more effective approaches to counteract them (Adler, 2007, 56-72).

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Change Management

Prosci (1998) developed the ADKAR Model for providing assistance to organizations that required change management strategies. This model helps employees and management adapt to the changes in business strategies, duties, procedures and attitude adjustments needed for organizational transformation. Prosci also feels developing action plans for both professional and personal change management is the key to successful implementation and less resistance. Since there are many barriers to change within organizations, Prosci believes that acknowledging them so they can be properly addressed is the most effective means of overcoming change management issues. Kraus (2008) feels global change management must include identifying obstacles in employee attitudes and behavior to create stronger information and communication strategies (Golding, 2008, 82-104) (Hiatt, 2003, 55-68).

Change Management Indicator Chart

Source: Kempster, 2010.

The change management indicator chart explains the practices for adopting change, including establishing the vision and leadership for the organization, knowing the workforce’s personality traits, understanding the workforce’s behavior and attitudes toward the change process, what the impact of the changes will be on the staff, the nature of the changes to be implemented, and realizing how the changes will alter the attitudes of employees and managers for the long term (Martel, 2008, 112-117).

Garrett (2007) states increasing awareness of the changes needed, explaining why they are necessary, gaining appropriate feedback, and building employee participation in the change process are all essential components in change initiatives. Stacey (2008) feels organizational change management must include a full restructurization of all departments to properly adapt to global changes in the market. This example of a configuration management database explains how the main divisions that must adopt change management policies and processes include: resource management, financial management, service desk and future planning with strategic management (Georgiades, 2008, 216-224) (Golding, 2008, 82-104).

Strategic Management

Strategic management involves a comprehensive organizational set of corporate, business and functional strategies for defining the company’s objectives, vision and mission using a Balanced Scorecard approach to assess overall performance and progress in reaching its long-term goals. Arieu (2007) feels strategic management is a continuous process for evaluating the competitors, business and industry to achieve objectives and goals. Strategic management is supported by Porter’s many theories that focus on gaining competitive advantages to face rivals in competitive environments (Hill, 2009, 59-75).

Organizational Learning

Organizational learning relates to various models of transforming companies into learning organizations by helping them become adaptive. Lamb (1984) feels organizational learning must include the adoption of new technologies and innovations to compete with rivals. Continuous learning is a necessary part of employee development that the HR Department provides with courses, job skills training and work experience. Learning organizations actively promote and facilitate collective learning as a part of the change management process (Beckhard, 2005, 161-182) (Peters, 2008, 113-126).

Research Methodology

Sosa believes epistemology is considered the philosophical theory of knowledge related to the meaning of knowledge and what restrictions there are to gaining and understanding it. Epistemology refers to comprehending knowledge, what others know, how it can be acquired, how it was gained in the past, and why it is significant in life. Epistemological study relates to evaluating the nature of all knowledge and how it refers to beliefs, justification and truth. It explains how knowledge can be produced and why there is sometimes skeptism about knowledge claims due to the way it was obtained. These explanations relate to this research project because they show how important epistemology is to conducting research studies and why the knowledge gained from them must be accurate and verifiable for it to be applied to future real-world situations (Brigley, 2005, 119-125).

Research Design & Data Collection

This project will use both primary and secondary deductive research methods with epistemological interpretivism approaches to gain valuable insight into how well the company can adapt to change. The methodology for this project will research how to gain a comprehensive overview of what challenges the company faces coping with market and consumer demand changes and what change management strategies will help them improve their business for the future. The primary research methods will involve conducting a survey using a 10-question survey questionnaire that can be passed out to a random sample group of 50 Etisalat employees aged 24-30 years old. This sample group will be emailed the survey to fill out and then it will be collected to analyze the results.

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Deductive & Inductive Reasoning in Research

Source: King, 2008.

The progression in the chart shows how in research methodology, deductive reasoning is a top-down approach that goes from thinking about a theory, forming a hypothesis, observing the participants in the research study, and using the data for confirming the theory. However, in inductive reasoning, it is a bottom-up approach where observation is the initial start for the researcher, where they search for behavioral patterns, make a tentative hypothesis, develop a theory, and then confirm that theory as a result of it being justified from the data (Yin, 2008, 128-137).

Qualitative Research Methods

Source: Bradley, 2006.

The model explains the elements of qualitative research methods, which include soft systems methodology (SSM), Delphi study, action research, field experiments, focus groups, case studies, and interviews. Qualitative research also includes conversation analysis, content analysis, repertory grid with photo sorting, cognitive mapping, laddering and structural analysis. It involves phenomenological description, ethnomethodology, projective techniques and critical discourse analysis. Qualitative research methods also use narrative interviews, grounded theory, participant observation, ethnographic interviews, log books and diaries, phenomenography, ethnography and thick descriptions (Jankowicz, 2007, 118-134) (Kelly, 2006, 118-129).

This project’s research process will involve using both quantitative and qualitative research methods which will allow for data to be calculated into a statistical analysis format and then evaluated in an overall analysis to provide an accurate perspective on the sample group’s responses. There will also be an in-depth tape recorded half-hour personal interview conducted with an Etisalat manager to gain insight into their future change management strategies for the long term. All surveys and interviews will be anonymous to protect the confidentiality of the sample group and participants and all ethical guidelines will be adhered to so the research can be used for the future as a framework for improving change management strategies. The information will be analyzed and the results calculated into percentages for overall analysis. The secondary methods will involve research of academic journals, textbooks, library books and newspaper articles related to strategies for managing change.

Code of Ethics & Limitations

All ethical codes will be adhered to during this project to protect the integrity of the research proposed. It will conform to all global ethical research standards to achieve its research objectives, including avoiding plagiarism, using suitable in-text references and citations to give credit to theorists, and allowing the survey participants to be anonymous to protect their privacy and identity to ensure their jobs will not be in jeopardy. There should not be any major limitations to gathering the data since I have already spoken to the management and they have agreed to allow the survey.

Action Plan

1st week: begin researching Internet for journals and library for books

2nd week: make questions for survey questionnaire

3rd week: take notes on articles and books, work on how to format research data

4th week: distribute the survey to employees

5th week: collect surveys and put together statistical results for analysis

6th week: analyze results of survey and interviews

7th week: begin writing final draft of paper

8th week: perform all editing and complete final paper

Conclusion

Many multinational corporations are enduring in today’s highly competitive business environments as they learn how to adopt change management strategies to become learning organizations that can appropriately handle multicultural markets, new technological developments and e-tactics to coping with change. This type of strategy would benefit both managers and employees as they learn how to cope with new problems and people who may have different ways of communicating with others at work. Etisalat also appears to be having difficulty understanding how competitive it is in global markets, since they have been previously only focusing on regional expansion. They may have to have their management take more seminars, lectures and training programs on how to cope with global workplace environments during globalization and expansion. Etisalat can gain a competitive advantage over rivals in the market by integrating new change management strategies that allow for better managerial decisions and continuous learning HRM training programs.


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