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Ontology in Change Management

1) Identify the two, different, theoretical perspectives (ontologies or world-views) used in this subject, which underpin how we understand organisational change, and explain and critically discuss their key ideas and features, drawing from the topic materials (overview, textbook, the required academic readings) provided and from your wider reading. Go on to write two different definitions of organisational change, one based upon the first theoretical perspective (ontology) discussed above, and the second based on the other theoretical perspective (ontology) discusssed above. Briefly explain the link between each definition and its underlying theoretical perspective. 

2) Using an organisation that you are familiar with (you may use information in the public domain, i.e. from organisational websites and other forms of media to assist you):

a) Briefly introduce the organisation
b) Identify and describe a change that is happening, or has previously happened, within it (including what the change is, how it is implemented, who the change agent'/s are, who is involved and how, and how employees are engaged and affected).
c) Go on to explain how your definitions (from Question 1 above) related to the change occurring in this organisation. 

3) a) Draw up a SWOT analysis, as a table, to assess what has caused the need for the organisational change which you identified in question 2 above, then explain, discuss and integrate your analysis, including a conclusion that summarise the current state of the business and connects this to why the change was (or is being) implemented. b) Then, in your own words, (but using references to support you) identify and critically evaluate the benefits and drawbacks (from both the objectivist and social constructionist perspectives) of using business SWOT analyses in general to determine the need for organisations to change.

4) Using the subject materials (overview, textbook, required readings, online material), as well as your wider reading, identify, explain and critically assess the key conceptualisations of role of the change agent, and then apply this analysis to the change in organisation described above. 

5) Using the subject materials (topic overview, textbook, relevant required readings) as well as your wider reading, define and critically discuss both problem-centric and dialogic approaches to change. Briefly identify which theoretical ontology of organisational change (which you discussed in question 1) underpins each. Critically assess the benefits and drawbacks of each of these approaches to change management. Go on to identify which of these approaches you would prefer to use to manage the change you identified in 2a and explain why. 

Ontology in Change Management

1. Ontology and epistemology are the two vital perspectives that are used in higher level change management. Ontology helps in capturing the knowledge to the organization of information and digital content. It is essential for sharing of knowledge in educational technology systems, bioinformatics, semantic web, retrieval and indexing. Ontology also helps in bringing the required change in business requirements. Ontological changes include important changes in the concept hierarchy. The process of ontology includes four phases which are described in details (Volberda, Mihalache, Fey, & Lewin, 2017).

Change operationalisation is the first phase of ontology and it captures the real change in the organization. These changes can be applied in a specific domain of higher level and it is associated with change operators. The changes can also be based on granularity and it is neglected by low level organizations. There are three different layers which are associated in this phase. The first two phases are associated with specific domain and the later change focuses on granularity (Rosenbaum, More, & Steane, 2017).

The second phase of ontology is change representation and it is associated with the implementation of the change operator framework. This is also supported by layered change logs and various pattern techniques are used to identify the change patterns. Graph based foundation is also applied in this phase (Roth & DiBella, 2016).

Change semantic capturing is the third phase of ontology and it represents the atomic change operation which is related with the addition or deletion of any information in ontology. The various composite change patterns provide semantic knowledge of the changes in ontology and also highlight the specific reason of these changes (Sveningsson, 2015)

Change pattern discovery is the fourth stage and it is associated with the discovery of domain specific change. It also provides an opportunity in defining the reusable change patterns (Volberda, Mihalache, Fey, & Lewin, 2017) 

Epistemology focuses on the rationality of thinking and justification and nature of knowledge. It includes the scope, philosophical analysis, justification of knowledge, identification of problem and source of knowledge. Epistemologies have divergent expressions and assumptions of social knowledge and individual processes (Anderson, 2015).

The ontology perspective of change management highlights the alternation of knowledge in fulfilling the organizational objectives. In order to bring change in the organization, it is vital to develop the existing knowledge and this can be done through sharing of information. On the contrary according to epistemology, managerial or organizational change is associated with new opportunities and this helps in the implementation of new practices and processes in the organization. This can be done by identifying the correct issues (McCalman, Paton, & Siebert, 2016).

The Four Phases of Ontology

There is a close relationship between the theoretical perspectives of epistemology and ontology and this is based on the source and scope of knowledge. Knowledge is vital in order to implement changes in the organization. Thus, it can be said that in an organizational context, employees must try to gather more knowledge which will help to implement and accept new changes that will help the organization. If an individual do not have proper knowledge, it will hamper the business. Thus, it can be said that both the process of ontology and epistemology is closely related and this helps to bring new change in the organization process (Morin, et al., 2016). 

Aldi is one of the leading supermarkets of Australia which sell high quality products at a much cheaper rate. It sells exclusive brands which are sourced from Australian suppliers. The company is providing more opportunities to Australian farmers and thus reducing their stress of competition. Aldi has helped to improve the livelihood of the local businessmen and create more employment opportunities for the people. Aldi has planned expansion in overseas countries as well as in Australia. It has decided to add 900 stores in US expansion at more than 2500 locations by the end of 2022 (Aldi US, 2017). The mission of Aldi is to help the Australian shoppers to live and enjoy happy and richer life by paying less amount of money.  Aldi sells variety of consumer goods such as packaged food, fruits, vegetables and meat.  Aldi’s business strategy is to provide the goods of the customers at a much lower cost.  They are also trying to reduce the operation cost and provide the goods at a much cheaper cost. There are many competitors of Aldi such as Woolworths, Tesco and thus they may bring major challenges to achieve competitive advantage in the international market.  The low pricing strategy of Aldi will also be beneficial to get a valuable position in the market (Balmer, 2008).

The most important change of Aldi in the recent years is that it has decided to expand its business in organic food brands. Aldi has decided to remove artificial ingredients from its products and add more gluten free items. This will attract more health conscious shoppers. The prices of fresh products and packaged food of Aldi are lower than Walmart. Aldi has removed certified synthetic colors and added MSG to its private label products. It has also removed hydrogenated oils from its products. Aldi is also expanding its market in fresh and organic meat produce. Aldi is also trying to upgrade its stores and assortments. It is expanding its fresh food products and is pacing an emphasis on the various perimeter rather than processed and packaged food (Business Insider, 2017).

Epistemology in Change Management

The management committee of Aldi is taking steps so that it can properly communicate with the customers. The retailers are trying to boost up their sales by talking to the customers and knowing about their needs and demands. Aldi is focusing on on-trend products. The company is also using various advertisements, lifestyle magazines with recipes, signage and articles by different dieticians to give an idea of organic foods to the customers. The entire team of Aldi is involved in this change management process. The management at the top level is trying to find out new and innovative ways to sell organic and healthy food to the customers. It is the retailers and the employees who are responsible to implement these changes and reach out the products to the customers. Though it becomes difficult for the retailers to sell the organic products in the market at a relatively higher cost than the synthetic products, but Aldi has made certain plans for the health benefits of its customers rather than concentrating only on its profits (Aldi US, 2017).

According to the theoretical perspective of ontology, change in an organization helps in the improvement of existing knowledge. In case of Aldi, it can be said that they have launched organic products in the market so as to enhance the knowledge of the employees and the customers. This will encourage the customers as well as the management team of Aldi to know more about the organic products which will help them in improving their health and also beneficial for their health. On the other hand, epistemological change brings new opportunity and thus establishes new practices in the organizational system. The development of organic products by Aldi will be considered as a new practice that will benefit the customers as well as bring new opportunities in the market for further innovation of organic products (Malgas & Benedict, 2017). 

Strength

· Offers organic products at an affordable price

· Serves top quality products to the customers

· Operating cost is low

· Operates in more than 15 countries worldwide

Weakness

· Relatively small compared to other brands

· Not able to impact globally as there are more supermarkets

· Limited range of products

Opportunity

· Expand more in growing economies like Asia and Africa

· Needs more investment in advertising to compete with its competitors

· New brand in the Australian economy which has positive association with many economies

Threat

· Not suitable for shoppers who are looking for complete shopping experience

· High level of competition from top market leaders such as Coles and Woolworths.

· High level of risk is associated with the suppliers

Table-SWOT Analysis of Aldi

Source-Author’s Creation

According to the SWOT analysis of Aldi, it has been found that it is one of the emerging supermarkets of Australia. The company offers products at an affordable price and it is making efforts to sell organic products which will be beneficial for the health of the individuals. However, one of the most important weaknesses of Aldi is that it is offering only limited range of products. Aldi needs further expansion because it is an emerging supermarket and needs to gain more reputation among the people. Hence, it is essential that to increase and expand its viability in the market, it must increase its product ranges so that it can compete with its competitors. Moreover, Aldi has also decided to remove synthetic and permitted colors from its products and thus it will attract the health conscious customers. There are no other supermarkets which are focusing on introducing organic products in the market. Thus, this will be advantageous for Aldi to expand its market in other countries globally. In order to minimize competition or sustain in the market, Aldi has to introduce these changes so that it can be preferred by the customers. The company is also trying to increase its stock of fresh food and meat products. It can be seen that all the supermarkets of Australia are trying to compete with each other and improve its quality of fresh food. However, it is only Aldi who is trying to expand its market in organic products and thus improving its product range (Brown, 2017).

The Relationship between Ontology and Epistemology

Based on the SWOT analysis of Aldi, it can be said that current market position of Aldi in the Australian market is good and it requires further expansion so as to compete with the other leading supermarkets. However, it can be said that an emerging competition in the supermarket industry is posing a big threat for Aldi. Thus, introduction of organic products is a big initiative taken by Aldi to maximize its profitability as well as competitive advantage (Allen et al., 2007).

SWOT analysis helps the business venture to identify the strength and weaknesses so that it will help in further expansion of its business. The strength of an business venture enables it to achieve its objectives while weakness affects the effectiveness of the business. In case Aldi, it can be said that the business SWOT analysis will help the company to shape its strategic planning so that it can implement the new changes in the organization. This new changes are vital for any organization to improve or develop efficiently within a stipulated time frame. The introduction of organic products in the market and proper co-ordination among the team members is understood by SWOT analysis. The current strength of Aldi is its high quality products at an affordable price (Boje, 2012).

According to the SWOT analysis of Aldi, the main weakness of the company is its limited range of products. Moreover, Aldi is an emerging company and it needs time to expand its business in the global market. In order to cope up with such challenges, the company needs to expand its product line. It must introduce such products which are widely demanded by the customers of all age group in the global market. SWOT analysis thus can be regarded as a cost effective system that can be done without any technical skills or special training programmes. Moreover, SWOT analysis also reveals the current position of Aldi and its need for implementing further changes in the company (Ashforth, Harrison, & Corley, 2008).

There are several disadvantages of SWOT analysis because it reveals only the issues and does not provide any alternative solution to minimize or solve the issues. In case of Aldi, it can be seen that there is huge competition in the market with no proper growth strategies. Moreover, there is no such solution to overcome the weaknesses. Thus, it can be said that SWOT analysis helps in identifying the current position of the organization. 

Aldi Supermarket: Mission, Business Strategy, and Competitors

There are certain important factors which are associated with change management in the organization. These factors play a vital role in the globalization of an economy. As a result, there are certain leadership challenges in the organization which emerges due to globalization. In case of Aldi, it can be said that the introduction of new and organic products in the market will help in expanding their business. In order to cope up with the various leadership challenges, they have implemented various agents who will take care of the prevailing market conditions. Workforce diversity is regarded as an important agent of change management.  This workforce diversity refers to varied groups of people who can be differentiated on the basis of age, culture, religion, cognitive style and education. It is vital for any business to bring cultural diversity in the organization which will enhance the collaborative work in the organization (Boje, 2012).

It is important to engage or hire new persons who will contribute new ideas to maintain workforce diversity in Aldi. Moreover, the management committee can also take special measures to reshuffle the team members or communicate with the customers and thus understand their needs and demands. These reshuffling and communication with the customers from different cultures will help Aldi to improve its business as well as performance level of the organization. Organizational structure is another important change agent of an organization. Aldi made the following changes for improving and expanding its business globally. Thus, it can be said that to improve the organizational structure of Aldi, communication among the taem members and the customers will yield positive results.

Financial performance is another important agent which will help in improving or bringing further change in the organization. There are some specific changes which have to be undergone or taken for enhancing the financial performance of the company. The performance of the employees is closely associated with the financial performance. Thus, Aldi has implemented certain changes and it has also given an opportunity for its employees to enhance their skills and knowledge. Team reshuffling will also help the team members to work in co-ordination with other team members (Beech, MacIntosh, Krust, Kannan, & Dadich, 2017). 

Performance level management is also an important agent of change management that brings changes in the organization. It has been mentioned earlier that in order to improve or expand the business of Aldi, it must introduce organic products in the market. Moreover, it is also necessary to measure the performance of the team members of Aldi. It will help the organization to analyze the skills of the employees. Therefore, this change agent will help Aldi to understand the innovative ideas of its employees as well as understand the demand of their customers. Thus, it can be said that it is a challenge for the leaders to assist new people and adapt the new changes in the organization. Proper training is necessary so that the employees in the organization can give the customers proper idea of the products and its usage and benefits. 

Aldi Supermarket: Introduction of Organic Products and Upgrading of Assortments

One of the most important aspect of problem centric approach is that it focuses on learning environment which helps in improving the knowledge and solving the organizational problems. The problem centered approach is regarded as a vehicle to fulfill the organizational goals and objectives. The most vital stage of problem centric approach is to engage the individuals in their work and thus it will improve their performance level. Moreover, problem centric approach also insists the employees to deliver and pay more attention and concentration so that they can bring improvement and change in the organization. Problem centric approach also helps the employees to gather experience and find out ways to overcome it. One of the most important characteristics of problem centric approach is that allows the people to gather more experience so that they are capable to direct themselves and also helps others in resolving the problem. The employees can guide themselves through the problem centric approach in change management. It is also important to identify the civic responsibilities of the employees regarding their job role which is an important aspect of problem centric approach (Allen, Jimmieson, & Irmer, 2007).

An example of problem centric approach is direct participation of the employees in various activities. In case of Aldi, there are certain changes which can be implemented through problem centric approaches. This curriculum will also enable the employees to recognize the problems and also to develop possible solutions so as to minimize the problems. The employees of Aldi are the main agents who can solve the problems and thus bring changes in the management processes. Another important stage of problem centered approach is problem based learning which is essential for the employees to gather knowledge and solve the desired problems (Ashforth, Harrison, & Corley, 2008).

The most common mistake that occurs in the change management approach is lack of proper communication between the employees and the customers. It is seen that in most of the cases the leaders fail to co-ordinate and communicate which helps in bringing positive effect on the change management system. In case of Aldi, it can be said that the management committee is trying to communicate with the employees as well as the customers so that they can understand their needs and demands. According to the core belief of the dialog approach, it is important for the organization to sustain and initiate the changes in the organization by involving more people in the organization. These changes will help the organization to develop more co-operation among the employees. Dialog is a vital element of change process and this process will help the leaders to share and communicate the vision of change management processes. The employees in the organization can also share their ideas and knowledge and thus it will help I improving the performance of the organization (Anderson, 2015).

Aldi Supermarket: Communication with Customers and Implementation of Changes

The theoretical process of ontology involves four important stages and the first two stages represent the changes which are associated with the dialog and the problem centric approaches. Change representation is a procedure which enables the business to communicate with the implemented changes. In case of dialog approach, the leaders must be able to give proper dialog to the employees which will help them to implement new changes in the organization. On the other hand, problem centric approaches gives importance to problem based learning in an organization. The employees in the organization can represent their skills and knowledge to implement new changes in the organization that they have achieved from resolving the desired problems. This also helps the employees in gathering knowledge and thus they can also accept nay challenges in the future. In order to implement new changes in the organization, it is vital that the employees will share their knowledge and experience among themselves. This will benefit the organization as well as the employees and thus it will also help in expansion of business. The co-operation of the employees among themselves will help them and motivate them to accept the new changes in the organization. Thus, it can be said new changes can be represented through the problem centric and dialog based approach (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014).

One of the most important advantages of problem centric approach is the long term retention of knowledge. Problem based learning also helps the workers to improve their capabilities so that they can understand the problems. Another important advantage of problem centric approach is engagement of the employees in the organization. This process will foster team work and also bring further improvement in the development of interpersonal skills of the employees. A major drawback of problem centric approach is that it is very time consuming. Moreover this approach takes more time than any other approaches and thus it helps in proper communication among the employees and the customers. Problem centric approach also hampers the efficiency of the team members. On the other hand, it can be said that the employees can be benefitted if they adapt the dialog based approach. This approach enables the leaders to share detailed information about the change management processes. It will also help the employees to get a clear idea about the new changes. Moreover, another important drawback of dialog based approach is that it causes isolation because the employees always prefer to learn from their own capabilities rather than taking any help or following any instruction from others (Alvesson & Sköldberg, 2009).

SWOT Analysis of Aldi Supermarket

In case of Aldi, it can be said that they are trying to introduce organic products or expand their business line. The management team is also taking special measures so that they can communicate with the customers and thus understand their needs and demands. To implement these changes in Aldi, it is necessary to follow the problem centric approach. This approach will enhance the skills and knowledge of the employees and they can also face further challenges. The application of these approaches will help Aldi to expand its business line and thus become one of the leading supermarkets in Australia. It is also important that the members of an organization collaborate and co-operate among themselves (Anderson, 2015).

Conclusion

It is important to understand the theoretical perspectives of ontology and epistemology in change management process which is vital for implementing nay new change in the organization. The four perspectives of ontological theory help in understanding the different perspectives of change management. Aldi has introduced and expanded its business line in organic products. Thus, problem centric approach is beneficial for Aldi to increase its profitability and compete with its competitors.

References 

Albrechts. (2017). Some ontological and epistemological challenges. London and New York: Routledge.

Aldi US. (2017, September 16). Retrieved from Aldi: https://www.aldi.us/

Allen, Jimmieson, & Irmer, B (2007). Uncertainty during organizational change. Journal of change management, 187-210.

Alvesson, & Sköldberg, (2009). Reflexive methodology. London: Sage.

Anderson. (2015). Engaging resistance. London: Stanford University Press.

Armstrong, & Taylor (2014). Armstrong's handbook of human resource management practice. New York: Kogan Page Publishers.

Ashforth, Harrison, & Corley (2008). An examination of four fundamental questions. Journal of management, 325-374.

Balmer. (2008). Insights from corporate identity, organizational identity, social identity, visual identity, corporate brand identity and corporate image. European Journal of Marketing, 879-906.

Beech, MacIntosh, Krust, Kannan, & Dadich (2017). Managing change. London: Cambridge University Press.

Boje. (2012). What does quantum physics of storytelling mean for change management? Journal of Change Management, 253-271.

Brown, M. K. (2017). Understanding the Change–Cynicism Cycle. Journal of Human Resource Management, 5-24.

Business Insider. (2017, September 16). Retrieved from BusinessInsider.in: https://www.businessinsider.in/Aldi-is-fixing-a-major-weakness-and-coming-straight-for-Whole-Foods/articleshow/57044300.cms

Eriksson, & Kovalainen (2015). Qualitative methods in business research. London: Sage.

Malgas, & Benedict (2017). Communication of Change Management. Journal of Communication, 69-76.

McCalman, Paton, & Siebert (2016). a guide to effective implementation. London: Sage.

Morin, Meyer, Bélanger, Boudrias, Gagné, & Parker (2016). Longitudinal associations between employees’ beliefs about the quality of the change management process, affective commitment to change and psychological empowerment. Journal of human relations, 839-867.

Rosenbaum, More, & Steane (2017). Suggesting a new approach to the management of change. Journal of Management & Organization, 74-91.

Roth, & DiBella (2016). The Five Capabilities for Improving Enterprises. Berlin: Spinger.

Seipel, Weth, v. d., Abreu, Nogatz, & Werner (2016). In OASIcs-OpenAccess Series in Informatics. Journal of Change Managment, 234-334.

Sköldberg, A. (2009). Reflexive methodology. London: Sage.

Sveningsson (2015). Changing organizational culture. Berlin: Routledge.

Volberda, Mihalache, Fey, & Lewin (2017). ‘Business Model Innovation in Transforming Economies’. Journal of Management and Organization Review, 459-462.

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