Introduction and background to the change
Organizational change refers to the continuous movement from the present state to a new state (Brown, 2012). Change is inevitable, and organizations are forced to adapt to the new changes or fail; however, organizational changes are normally met with a lot of resistance. In the past two years, I have been working as a part time employee at Able Translations branch in Wellington, NSW. My roles at Able Translations included the management of communications related activities. I update the information on the company’s website, prepare official communication such as press release and memos, and offer translation services to clients. During this period, there are major organizational changes have taken place to align the company with the modern changes and to boot its performance. First, there was an organizational change to give the company’s employees with up-to-date software and hardware. Second, there was a change in the organization culture with regards to enhancing collaboration and teamwork to enhance the company’s performance in the industry.
Brief explanation of the organization, industry, and forces for change
Able Translations is a Language Services Company originating from Canada; however, as a result of its growth and expansion, it has undergone internationalization to other countries. It provides various language translation services. First, is on-site language interpretation services to facilitate communication in major sectors of the economy such as health, institutions of learning, legal, and insurance industry (Goerzen, 2015). Second is the translation of documents and websites, and the third service is the over-the-phone interpretation and video-remote interpretation. The company has technical capabilities to develop software for use in the translation services. By 2014, Able Translations had expanded to foreign markets, earning an estimated 10 million Canadian dollars.
With the current globalization and proliferation of organizations, the Language Service Provider (LSP) industry has grown due to the demand for language translation services (Goerzen, 2015). In the year 2013, the global LSP industry stood at $34 billion dollars with projected double growth by 2030. Europe occupies the largest market share at 49%, N. America at 35%, and Asia at 13%. The LSP industry is experiencing an increase in the supply of interpreters and translators, and with the arrival of visitors from different countries in Australia, the Australian LSP industry is under tremendous growth.
There are internal and external forces of change; therefore, the major forces of change at Able Translations are globalization, technological innovation, competition, growth, and expansion of the business (Anderson, 2011). As a company that relies on technology to deliver its services, organizational changes at Able Translations are driven by new technological inventions such as new software and hardware equipment. This changes in this company are also driven by globalization which increases the demand for translation services.
Analysis of the change
The change at Able Translations can be accessed using Weisbord’s six-box model, which has six major elements that provide a guideline on how to sort out organizational activities. These are purposes, structure, relationships, rewards, leadership and helpful mechanisms (Burke, 2010). With regards to the purpose dimension, the team that was charged with the responsibility of making the change executed a software and hardware change within the IT department. All the computers within the IT department were installed with latest versions of the software. For example, system and application software, programming software, data-back-up software, and language translation and interpretation software.
Conversely, the purpose of the change was to change the organization culture of hierarchical management; however, this faced a lot of resistance from the top managers. The resistance to change that was presented by the managers can be understood through the Kotter’s 8-step model, which states that organizations with a strong centralized structure are resistant to change because the managers are not willing to give up power (Abdallah, Denis, & Langley, 2011). The organization structure of Able Translations was autocratic and hierarchical, and decisions were made by the top management, therefore, there is a need to change the organization’s structure. This can be explained using the structure dimension as described in Weisbord’s six-box model. The implementation of these cultural changes was met with resistance (Burnes, 2011). The autocratic leadership and poor relationships within the workplace undermined the performance of Able Translations. As a result, there is a need to eliminate the hierarchical leadership structure within the company and to train all the members of staff on teamwork and collaboration in the workplace.
Despite initial resistance, it is vital that communication, collaboration, and teamwork should be improved within and across all departments and the level of management of Able Translation. This is supported by McKinsey’s 7S model, which advocates for the adoption of commonly shared values within the workplace for high productivity (Connors & Smith, 2011). According to McKinsey’s 7S model, organizations that have a strong culture of shared values such as teamwork, collaboration, and exchange of information are more successful (Ovidijus, 2017).
Assessment of the change
With regards to scope, this was an enterprise change because the process involved a shift in organization culture. The process also involved the elimination of the hierarchical and autocratic style of leadership at Able Translations and introducing a new culture of inter-departmental collaboration and teamwork among all members of staff in the company. Computers in all departments were equipped with the updated software and hardware to improve performance (May, 2013).
- Number of employees impacted
All the 50 employees of this particular branch of Able Translations were impacted by the change. The top managers went through a thorough training on democratic leadership. The management was required to adopt the democratic style of leadership to facilitate collaboration and communication within the organization. Similarly, the subordinates also underwent training to equip them with effective collaborative and communication skills. This is in line with Kotter’s holistic model of diagnosing the need for organizational change, which states that poor communication contributes to the failure of projects and poor organizational performance (Essawi & Tilchin, 2012).
There are two types of changes. First is the organization culture change, because Able Translation adopted a new style of leadership. It is also an organization culture change because all the employees adopted collaboration and teamwork. The second change is technological change because all the computers at the company were equipped with the latest software and hardware.
This is an organization level change because all the groups within Able Translations changed. There was a change in the style of leadership and significant change in the level of technology used within the organization (Kotter, 2011).
Assessment of the organization
- Culture and the value system of the organization
While most of the companies in the LSP industry have been criticized for poor services, it is the culture of Able Translations to deliver high-quality language services to its clients. Most of the language service providers offer their services to clients at high-cost and pay their suppliers a small amount of money (Goerzen, 2015). However, Able Translations offer services to their clients at affordable prices and paying higher compensation to their suppliers. Despite this, the system of leadership in the organization is autocratic and hierarchical, hence, there is a lack of collaboration and effective communication.
Due to the technological advancements, the company is already adopting new technology plans to improve their service delivery. This demonstrates Able Translations have a high capacity to change and adopt modern technology-oriented equipment to improve their services.
- Leadership styles and power distribution
Presently, Able Translations use the autocratic and hierarchical leadership. Besides, there is no distribution of power within the organization. The power is centralized and concentrated among the top managers.
- Residual effects of past changes
Past changes such as the adoption of new technology equipment by Able Translations has improved service delivery by the company. The changes have also ensured the security of their data and personal details of their clients.
- Middle management's predisposition toward the change
The middle management was resistant to change because the goal of the change was not communicated effectively to them. According to Kotter’s holistic model of diagnosing the need for organizational change, poor communication and the lack of effective communication channels contribute to the failure of projects and poor organizational performance (Kotter, 1996).
- Employee readiness for change
The employees were not ready for the change. They were resistant to the process of change because of the, and this is attributed to the poor communication culture within the organization.
In summary, change refers to activities such as restructuring, technological or cultural changes which normally result from phenomena such as advancement in technology, uncertainty, innovation, and discontinuity. Able Translations is a Language Services Company originating from Canada. To enhance the company’s performance in the industry, there was an organizational change to give the company’s employees with up-to-date software and hardware. There was a change in the organization culture with regards to enhancing collaboration and teamwork. The change analysis shows that there was a need to introduce shared values in the company. This is supported by McKinsey’s 7S model, which advocates for the adoption of commonly shared values within the workplace for high productivity. The organization structure of Able Translations was autocratic and hierarchical, and decisions were made by the top management, therefore, there is a need to change the organization’s structure. This can be explained using the structure dimension as described in Weisbord’s six-box model. Finally, the resistance to change that was presented by the managers can be understood through the Kotter’s 8-step model, which states that organizations with a strong centralized structure are resistant to change because the managers are not willing to give up power.
Able Translations should establish effective channels of communication to ensure effective communication among employees to eliminate resistance to change, which is a major barrier to the change process.
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