The merger of two companies with different organizational cultures inevitably creates difficulties for the manager who has to adjust his or her leadership style to the needs of the corporation and regulate workplace relations among employees. In this case, we are speaking about the fusion of two departments which formerly belonged to separate companies: EEST, an open and people-oriented organization, and Ouest which is more hierarchical and result-driven. Certainly, both these approaches have positive and negative sides, and it is necessary to incorporate them in order to increase productivity of this joint division. For that purpose several strategies can be used, for instance, Kurt Lewins Three Stage Model, Kotters Eight Step Model and the method developed by William Bridges. We need to discuss their advantages and disadvantages and apply them to this specific situation.
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According to Kurt Lewin, the process of transformation consists of three phases: unfreezing, change, and refreezing (Lewin as cited in Harigopal 2009, p 52). At the very beginning, the vast majority of employees as well as middle-rank managers will resent new policies, for example, members of the former EEST department will definitely resist to a different leadership style and alleged restrictions on their freedom. Therefore, the leader has to prove that their work will become effective only if new rules are set. It is vital to demonstrate that hierarchical and democratic cultures should be combined sometimes, especially when the project demands time-efficiency, quick decision-making, high level of responsibility, initiative, creativity etc. During this period, the head of the department will have to solve the conflicts that may arise among colleagues who may not be able to collaborate with each other.
The second stage involves actual implementation of new policies and monitoring in order to make sure that every member of the personnel is able and willing to meet new workplace standards. The third step is refreezing, in other words, promotion of new policies and organizational climate. This should be done when the team achieves results or fulfills their tasks successfully. Lewins model is very helpful when the company has some time at its disposal. However, if the necessity for change is urgent, this approach is rather unlikely to work. This strategy is beneficial because it does not disrupt operation procedures, the transformation is very fluid but it is also very time-consuming. The most important goal is to provide a stimulus to the staff so that they felt a need for reforms (Kameron & Green, 2004 p 99).
Another approach to organizational change has been proposed by John Kotter. His action plan is more specific, it comprises eight steps. Again, it is crucial to create a sense of urgency, which means that each of employees has to realize that current situation leaves much to be desired (Cameron & Green. 2004, p 101). The head of the joint department should tell the merged corporation is forced to take these measures and blend hierarchical and people-oriented cultures due to increased competition or maybe customer dissatisfaction. The second objective is to form the coalition or group of supporters who could help the leader launch new program (Gilley et al, 2009).
Apart from that, this model involves the development of vision and empowering the subordinates. Provided that, the change yields some fruits, the manager needs to encourage every participant to follow new rules. This model is very popular nowadays, because it emphasizes speed and performance. Nonetheless, it may not be applicable to EEST and Quest. The key problem is that it may split the personnel into two feuding fractions. We should bear in mind that these people are not acquainted with one another. Some of them can agree or disagree with the leader, and many programmers would object to his or her innovations. In fact, people may think that the manager is prejudiced against them. This is why the use of Kotters Eight Step Model is very disputable at least in this situation. The person, who intends to carry out this plan, must be very careful in his words or action not to stir up enmity among the employees.
Finally, we need analyze the method advanced by William Bridges. Like Lewins model, this one consists of three elements: ending of old organizational culture, transition period and new beginning (Bridges as cited in Harigopal, 2008, p 132). Its major peculiarity is that the manager deliberately creates a situation which demonstrates that the old policies have become dated and unproductive. As a rule, this model is very widespread in merged companies. The first step is to construct a hypothetical problem requiring urgency, initiative, creativity, ability to prioritize and so forth. If it is done skillfully the staff members will realize the need to change even without the prompt of the authority. The advantage of this technique is that workers do not feel pressure. It appears to them that new organizational climate is natural. Hence, they will be more willing to cooperate. Quest and EEST can use this model to unify two departments.
This discussion shows that each change model can serve the goals of the management. Perhaps, the head of this newly-created division should alternate these methods. He or she should pay much attention to appropriate motivation and incentive, implementation of the action plan and continuous promotion of new policies.
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Harigopal. K (2008). Management of organizational change: leveraging transformation. SAGE.
Cameron. E. Green (2004). M. Making sense of change management: a complete guide to the models, tools & techniques of organizational change. Kogan Page Publishers.
Gilley. A. McMillan. H.S. Gilley. J. W (2009). Organizational Change and Characteristics of Leadership Effectiveness. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies. Vol 16, pp 38-47.