Arizona Public Service Company’s Change Management


The concept of leading and managing people is among the most debated subjects in organisations. It is imperative to study this topic as a unit because it helps leaders and managers to appreciate workers as crucial assets that determine the extent of productivity or the global standing of their respective companies. Studying this unit prepares interested parties to effectively handle various challenges associated with leading and managing people, including the need for investing in incentives that can encourage workers to deliver remarkable results. It is crucial to realise that employee motivation involves balancing the work and non-work life as a way of eliminating any job or family-related stress, which, in turn, hinders their commitment to the established organisational agenda. The subject of leading and managing people is broad. As such, addressing it in details requires an emphasis on its sub-components. Consequently, the topic of managing organisational change cannot be overlooked because of its role in influencing not only employees’ performance but also the overall business productivity. Through a case study of Arizona Public Service (APS) Company, managing organisational change can work well when all interested parties, including employees and subordinate staff members, are involved in the process.

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Managing Organisational Change

A study by Teng and Yazdanifard (2015) presents the issue of managing change in institutions as a concept that is embraced everywhere around the globe. Nonetheless, these authors reveal that indeed organisations view change management from diverse perspectives following variations in the outcomes they wish to achieve. Teng and Yazdanifard (2015) link this topic to the earlier-mentioned broader issue of leading and managing people. They depict it as the ability of employees to cope with transformations taking place within their respective companies in a manner that does not interfere with their level of output or the overall organisational performance, behaviour, and image (Huczynski & Buchanan 2017).

However, their perspective does not capture the issue of challenges that are linked to managing change in organisations. The article by Asquer (2015) acknowledges the existence of difficulties in managing change, especially in governmental organisations, because of various elements, including politics or inadequate support from stakeholders, which hinder the establishment of innovative change strategies. Although this study appreciates the huge scholarly work on the subject of managing organisational change, it fails to give an explicit view of what the idea entails. Nonetheless, Asquer (2015) introduces the stewardship theory that reveals the extent to which institutions tend to execute changes that seek to fulfil their customers and investors’ welfare.

Merits and Disadvantages of Managing Organisational Change

Managing organisational change is associated with various benefits. Firstly, in the above study by Asquer (2015), companies that implement remarkable change management strategies record improved productivity because their employees are well prepared to adapt to transformations made in various areas, including organisational structures, job design, or even leadership. The research by Payyazhi (2014) presents similar findings that confirm that indeed managing change has a bearing on institutional performance because the whole idea is founded on the need for realising value addition to various organisational processes. In particular, the article introduces the business management performance (BPM) model, which forms part of change management interventions that seek to rejuvenate existing organisational operations. According to Payyazhi (2014: 976), BPM ensures “incremental improvements within the prevailing organisational structure and processes or radical and transformational changes usually involving the creation of new configurations with regard to systems, structures, processes, and technologies.” Nonetheless, this framework has a major weakness that is based on its incapacity to clarify the way executed changes should be administered to bring the desired outcome.

It is crucial to realise that embracing organisational change management practices does not always yield fruits. Various studies have been conducted in favour of this claim. For instance, the research by Rizwan and Latif (2012) reveals the lack of a general framework that can provide lasting solutions to the prevailing organisational change management problems. These authors mention a worrying issue whereby many organisational change management efforts do not succeed, despite huge time and financial investments. In particular, Rizwan and Latif (2012) assert that such attempts by organisations to do away with counterproductive practices face various barriers such as resistance from employees.

Effectiveness and Obstacles to Managing Organisational Change

The study by Andrade (2011) demonstrates strategies that change agents need to emphasise for their efforts to yield the desired result. The author presents the element of stakeholder involvement as crucial in ensuring that organisational change management efforts work. Firstly, according to Andrade (2011), organisational leaders have to be directly involved in steering the entire change management process. Specifically, as the article reveals, for organisational change management plans to work, “Leaders must have strategies to manage change effectively and, in the case of assessment, to engage key stakeholders—the faculty members” (Andrade 2011: 219).

Although this study does not specify areas that require stakeholder engagement, its findings are comparable to those of Andrade (2016) who goes further to indicate the extent to which inadequate cooperation by stakeholders makes change management plans go wrong. Ineffective collaboration results in top-down instructions that are characterised by irregularities, resistance, and the lack of well-defined desired outcomes, all of which translate into wrong change management results (Andrade 2016; Boddy 2016). Hence, with the above insights regarding the management of organisational change, it is crucial to examine a particular organisation to find out the extent to which it benefited from such an endeavour.

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Case Study

The article by Halm (2014) offers an outstanding case study of an organisation that embraced various steps in its endeavour to manage organisational change. Arizona Public Service (APS) is a branch of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation. APS deals in the production, supply, and delivery of electrical energy. Currently, the company has managed to reach over 1.2 million clients in almost all regions within Arizona (Halm 2014). Before reaching the point of considering the need for managing change, the organisation was experiencing substantial issues, most of which revolved around its logistics network (Boddy 2016).

Its decentralised nature led to the unavailability of crucial financial information regarding various deals between the company and its suppliers. Workers could report to any of their seniors regarding their supply chain duties. As a result, the company faced problems, including employees from different departments performing similar tasks and administrative troubles, because of this lack of homogeny and consistency in the way business was conducted (Huczynski & Buchanan 2017). The resulting elevated operations expenses had led to low business profitability. This situation triggered the need for implementing changes to eliminate these problems. According to Halm (2014), the company adopted a six-stage systematic approach to change management as shown in Figure 1 below.

A systematic approach to change management.
Figure 1: A systematic approach to change management (Halm 2014).

The above framework sought to ensure the execution of comprehensible and well-organised company practices, approved and effective decision-making procedures, enhanced organisational performance, and a substantial elimination of unnecessary expenses. All stakeholders were involved in the establishment of this change management model and hence the reason why negligible resistance was observed. From this case study, it is apparent that engaging all interested parties in making vital business decisions eliminates resistance, thus paving the way for the attainment of the desired results. APS recorded improved performance after adopting this change management strategy.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Present-day organisations operate in an environment that is characterised by stiff competition. In this case, factors such as the ever-changing technological advancement and the varying nature of customers’ demands have left businesses with no option other than implementing changes to match the prevailing market requirements. Companies that embrace well-calculated change management tactics benefit from such efforts. In particular, they witness reduced operational expenses and, consequently, improved profitability levels. However, managing change may be fruitless if organisations do not comprehend what the process entails. The implication here is that few organisations are aware of the role of involving workers in the change decision-making process. As a result, they are unable to control the level of the underlying resistance, hence failing to reap the benefits of managing organisational change. As indicated in this paper through a case study of APS, involving all interested parties in the change decision-making process reveals various drawbacks and pros of the available frameworks, hence paving the way for the selection of the most appropriate model that can guarantee the attainment of the desired transformations. However, for APS to record better results from its organisational change efforts, it may consider the following suggestions:

  1. Ensure that its change is explicit and well-aligned with its organisational agendas to avoid implementing ineffective strategies
  2. Assess the possible implications of the change, including those it may affect, to pave the way for timely and proper communication, especially if the change may result in the laying off of some employees
  3. Offer training to workers who remain after the execution of the change as a way of ensuring that they can adjust to it without affecting their productivity levels

Reference List

Andrade, M 2011, ‘Managing change-engaging faculty in assessment opportunities’, Innovative Higher Education, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 217-233.

Andrade, M 2016, ‘Effective organisational structures and processes: addressing issues of change’, New Directions for Higher Education, vol. 2016, no. 173, pp. 31-42.

Asquer, A 2015, ‘Managing challenging organisational change: introducing active labour market policies in Italian public employment agencies’, Public Management Review, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 901-921.

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Boddy, D 2016, Management: an introduction, 7th edn, Trans-Atlantic Publications, Philadelphia.

Halm, D 2014, ‘The 30% solution: a six-step method for managing change’, OD Practitioner, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 42-48.

Huczynski, A & Buchanan, D 2017, Organisational behaviour, 9th edn, Pearson, Harlow.

Payyazhi, A 2014, ‘A process model of managing organisational change during business process redesign’, Business Process Management Journal, vol. 20, no. 6, pp. 971-998.

Rizwan, A & Latif, K 2012, ‘Why is it not possible to produce a blue print for managing organisational culture change?’, Abasyn University Journal of Social Sciences, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 43-55.

Teng, N & Yazdanifard, R 2015, ‘Managing organisational change and resistance from an individualist vs. collectivist perspective’, International Journal of Management, Accounting & Economics, vol. 2, no. 9, pp. 1065-1074.

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