Success or Failure in the Organizational Change Process Essay

With the current state of the economy today many organizations are faced with the task of implementing organizational change. The change that needs to occur can be either very successful or a complete failure if attention to the details of the change is not explored. The Concord Bookstore is an independent store that faced these challenges during a time of urgency for businesses to restructure in order to achieve a successful strategic renewal.

When reflecting on the varying approaches an organization can take in order to form a strategic renewal, there were a few critical steps that the Concord Bookstore ignored. These important steps may have been what contributed to the failure of their organizational change. The Concord Bookstore is one small business that is facing economic hardship similar to what many other organizations of all shapes and sizes are. The need for restructuring was self-evident, but the manner in which the restructuring occurred led to employee and customer resistance alike.

The first example I would like to address involves the history of the business as an independently owned entity that survived for 64 years. Upon tallying the staff’s time with the company collectively it outdid the existence of the company itself averaging 73 years of experience. This detail leads one to believe that it is this experience which has made the business so successful in the community for so long. When the owner of the company announced the need for organizational change, Spector (2010) noted this change as a “precipitating event [that] was a surprise announcement last month…”(p. )

This description alone illustrates a disjointed business in which decisions were made from the upper level corporate management straight to the community with no intermediate involvement from the managers and the employees of the business. When they chose to take this approach, it led to much resistance from the employees since it did not take into account any of their personal attributes as being integral parts of the businesses past successes.

Although one can agree based on the current economy alone, that small business does have major challenges they need to face in order to stay profitable and successful, it is imperative to have employee support in order to achieve these objectives. During a time of strategic renewal it is important to note that an organizational change is necessary. The Concord Bookstore should have evaluated the behaviors of the employees in order to reflect a more supportive stance in order to gain acceptance of the organizational change.

According to Burrows, as cited by Spector (2010) “In the corporate world, customers expect to be treated as long-term partners, actually having a say in the development of new products” (p. 5 ). This theory tends to illustrate the dissatisfaction of the customers of the Concord Bookstore that also took the announcement of the organizational change as a negative attribute. These concerns stated by both employee and customers alike are what led to the failure of the organizational change.

For a successful strategic renewal to take place a business/organization should really first aim to work towards behavioral change. This can be done in a variety of ways. The first initiative that the Concord Bookstore should have taken was to work on the “motivation” of the employees. As referenced by Spector (2010), Denison noted that the advantage to behavioral change relies on “the manner in which work is organized, information is shared, decisions are made, coordination occurs, and problems are solved are [all] performance differentiators” (p 7).

If these attributes are defined and utilized during the organizational change process then the advantages can sustain for the long-term. Many customers noted that the admirable qualities of the Concord Bookstore were the knowledgeable staff and their eagerness and joy to meet the consumer demands. By the corporate level management deciding how the business would be restructured with no employee or customer input, it is easily understood why there was so much resistance to the organizational change.

With the “participation” of the employees and customers alike, an organizational change leading to a strategic renewal may have been more successful. The willingness to let the employees and customers alike “participate” demonstrates a value for the employees and the customers that an organization does business with. Spector (2010) noted that “participation in the process of defining problems and designing solutions will help build commitment to the new directions that result from that process” (p. 12).

When one lets “participation” occur naturally, it leads to a sense of self-worth, allows the employees to feel apart of the restructuring, gives the employees a chance to be a part of finding solutions and supporting the process with more commitment and motivation. When the Concord Bookstore made their initial announcement none of these strategies took place. When there is a need for and organizational change it is hard to leave the status quo. It is even harder to leave something so familiar if not allowed to feel a valued asset of what had once in the past contributed so much to the success of a business.

Had the Concord Bookstore allowed the employees to play a more active role in the organizational restructuring of the business, there may have been a much different outcome. In the end, the Concord Bookstore ended up defending its initiatives for organizational change but never had the support of the people it needed the most; its employees and customers. This case demonstrates a great example to the fact that every organizational change needs to also deal the behavioral change of the business in order to avoid any type of resistance and further meet long-term success and vitality.

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