The subject of this report is a leading Australian retail company which has undergone significant changes in the recent years. The purpose of this research is to analyse the process of change, the strategies used and their effectiveness. The organization will be referred to as Company X throughout this paper. The data was collected via informal interviews with two members of the organization, referred to as Member A and Member B.
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The results of this study show that the process of change can be completed successfully when appropriate strategies are used and, when the management uses relevant work practices in order to manage the required change. INTRODUCTION It has been often said that the only thing that is constant is change. In fact, the ancestry of this accepted wisdom about change is documented early on in history. The Roman poet Ovid (43 B. C. – A. D. 17) wrote: “… There is nothing in the whole world which is permanent.
Everything flows onward; all things are brought into being with a changing nature; the ages themselves glide by in constant movement. “(Gaiam Inc, 2008) Yet prior, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote that “… change alone is unchanging… ” and “… nothing endures but change. ” (Quotation Page, 2007). Common sense explains that if change is such an ancient constant individuals should be used to it by now. They should know how to cope with it, accept it, plan for it and manage it. The reality, however, is that humans are not very comfortable with change.
The concept of change per se can be embraced by each and every individual. By improving the way one thinks about work and how that work is structured is increasingly necessary in order to generate a range of qualitative opportunities. Furthermore, people struggle with effectively organizing for tangible change. How does one handle ambiguity, resistance, fear of the unknown? Why are any attempts at change full with false starts and plateaus? How do people really shape effective change? This report is intended to analyse the process of change, the strategies used and their effectiveness.
It is based on the hypothesis that the process of change can be completed successfully when appropriate strategies are used and, when the management uses relevant work practices in order to manage the required change. The case scenario will be analysed in the light of the theory studied hitherto. METHODOLOGY The scientific method was used to collect data for this study. The individual interviews took place on the Company X premises, respectively in Members’ A and B offices. The interviews were each 1 1/2 hours long. Member A has been working for Company X for 10 years and Member B for 7 years.
Both members are employed in the Company X upper management. The official name of the company and interviewed members are withheld as part of the initial agreement to participate in this research. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS Company Overview Company X is Australia’s leading department store being the first choice for their target customers and their needs in branded apparel, cosmetics, gifts and homeware. Their customer is primarily in the top 40 percent of households by income, in particular women between the ages 25-49.
Company X offers extensive branded assortment of respected national and international brands. Their assortment is supported by exclusive private brands which provide both value and differentiated offers for their customers. Need for change strategy. Organizational analysis looks at the internal/external environments and the methods, techniques and tools of change (Waddell, Cummings and Worley, 2007). The organization needs to take into consideration all the stakeholders in order to avoid entropy.
The evaluation research is the process of determining whether a program or intervention has/is producing its intended or best result (Waddell, Cummings and Worley, 2007; Wood et al, 2004). Factors to be looked at are gaps, alternatives, unmet needs, quality, effectiveness, benefits versus costs, quality etc. An effective evaluation has to be proactive before and during the design of intervention. It involves needs analysis and best practice or benchmarks (Waddell, Cummings and Worley, 2007). Next, the evaluation should clarify intended outcomes, rationale, and logic to the stakeholders.
Furthermore, ongoing monitoring and self assessment on an individual level is very important (Waddell, Cummings and Worley, 2007; Wood et al, 2004). Company X business was performing poorly. Although they were not broken overnight, they experienced a loss of $21. 6 million. Another contributing factor was the poor performance in key merchandise areas i. e. womenswear, footwear, menswear and homeware. Furthermore, poor planning, brand positioning the low staff morale were among the factors that influenced the need for change. Approach to the change strategy
Whether the result of merger, restructuring, new technology, new or developing markets, global pressures or changes in leadership and whether revolutionary or evolutionary, managing change in the workplace paradigm is inescapable (Waddell, Cummings and Worley, 2007; Wood et al, 2004). A paradigm is an unconscious mindset defining the boundaries in thinking and acting in a particular situation giving certainty, acceptance and comfort (Johnston, 1996). Massive changes lead to paradigm shifts which in return create an undermined and confused sense of reality.
Paradigm shifts undermine organizational culture and change the mission of the organization inducing change as a result (Johnston, 1996). Company X developed a realistic action plan that provided them with the structure and direction they needed. This plan was well conceived both short- and long-term and allowed members to know what their roles were, what they must do within those roles, by when, with whom and how. It proved effective as the “gap analysis” concepts were used in order to answer the vital questions. 1) Where do we want to go?
Revising vision, goals, objectives, outcomes; 2) Where are we now? – reviewing skills, resources, incentives; 3) How will we go from where we are to where we want to go? – structural components, prioritized tasks, processes, standards, guidelines, constraints, communication, schedules, roles. 4) How will we know how we are doing on the way? – accountability, quality criteria, feedback mechanisms. Company X went through a radical change and started with improving the stores and service. They performed a consistent execution of layerage, adjacencies and flow to provide an easy to shop experience.
In order to improve the service they recruited key people with merchant skills for a clear, consistent visual merchandising. To maintain the cultural focus on operational efficiency they designed new operating procedures for front and back of the shop, and improved the end to end process for stock management. Company X invested in a sophisticated technology that sends all its transactional data into one warehouse and assists to better understand its customers, maximizing the potential of its Company X loyalty program.
This data warehouse has segmented customers according to obvious profile factors such as gender, age, what they buy, in which stores and when. In addition, Company X is addressing store profiling by analyzing which goods sell in what patterns in which locations. This information enables the company to adjust the merchandising plans at a store-by-store level. Having a better understanding of who their customers are and what and when they buy, gives Company X an important foundation on which they can lead the organization towards growth.