Leading Transformation and Change – Alkimia Consulting case study


Introduction

This assignment is based on the critical analysis of the organisational change which the researcher has personally experienced. The main themes which has covered in this assignment includes why the change was attempted within the organisation which also helps to understand that why there was a need for change. The researcher has also explained that how change process was managed within the firm and have also provided supporting arguments with the relevant academic literatures. In order to undertake this assignment, the researcher has selected the case study of Alkimia Consulting. The organisation has implemented change by transforming and replacing the manual organisational systems with electronic systems in early 2011. In the present business world, the importance of automated systems and processes has been increased because the automated systems are considered to be very effective in improving the organisational efficiency (Abrahamson, 2000). It also help the management to achieve the improve business results and hit the desired targets (Ackroyd and Thompson, 1999). Research shows that organisations all over the world are changing their business systems on continuous basis because in the modern world, the desired level of business efficiency cannot be achieved through the manual systems (Blake and Mouton, 1964). However, in order to change the organisational systems, the management of the firm is required to implement the change process which transforms the manual systems to the electronic systems in order to fulfill the business requirements (Burnes, 2009).

The transformation of manual systems to electronic systems at Alkimia Consulting will be a focus of this study. The management of Alkimia Consulting has initiated the change process within the organisation in early 2011 after indentifying the necessity of transforming the business systems. The organisation has made investments in order to acquire new and efficient electronic systems and the old manual systems were replaced with the new automated systems. The leadership of Alkimia Consulting has replaced the traditional manual systems through implementation of the effective change process within the firm. The change process was initiated after involving all the stakeholders because without effective involvement of the stakeholders, the change process cannot be successfully implemented within the firm (Brown and Coupland, 2005). The organisation has implemented the change process in order to transform the manual systems to the electronic systems which are helpful in improving the performance efficiency and ensuring client satisfaction. The researcher has worked in Alkimia Consulting and has personally experienced the change process. The senior management of Alkimia Consulting has consulted all the employees before introducing new electronic systems within the firm. The majority of the employees was in favor of this decision and helped the management to implement the change process successfully. The researcher has also favored the decision of introducing automated systems within the firm which could be helpful in improving the service efficiency and enable the staff members to provide better services to the clients of Alkimia Consulting.

 Organisational background, need and change

Alkimia Consulting is an international recruitment consultancy firm which recruits and selects appropriate candidates in order to cater the human capital needs of public, private and not-for-profit organisations operating in different industries. The organisation is providing recruitment and consultancy services to different types of the organisations and nature of the work demands regular contact with the clients of the company. The organisation is fulfilling the recruitment needs of its clients and it is also providing consultancy services to different organisations operating in various industries. Since Alkimia Consulting is involved in recruitment of personnel, therefore, it is an important business requirement to maintain the database of individual candidates who are suitable for different kinds of positions in various companies. This help to ensure that whenever there is a requirement from any client; the employees of Alkimia Consulting can search the profile of most suitable candidates and fulfill the requirement of its client. However, this requires the implementation of automated systems within the organisation because the employees cannot maintain the database of the candidates through the manual systems and the timely services to the clients cannot be provided (Bennis, 1989). The computerized systems are very helpful in searching the profile of the most suitable candidates quickly and it also enables the employees of Alkimia Consulting to provide efficient services to the clients (Buchanan and Huczynski, 2004).

The change process is very important for Alkimia Consulting because the previously used business systems and processes were not generating effective results for the organisation. The client satisfaction was very low because the staff members working in Alkimia Consulting were not able to deliver effective and timely services to the clients. The manual systems of the organisation were also very time consuming and service efficiency of the organisation was very low. The management of Alkimia Consulting was receiving lot of complaints from the clients and the organisation was also losing business because of client dissatisfaction. Research shows that client satisfaction is directly linked with the business profitability and dissatisfied clients can create a negative impact on the profit margins of the company (Beer and Nohria, 2000). Therefore, the implementation of the change process is very crucial for the firm and requires immediate actions in order to improve the situation (Buchanan and Badham, 1999). The top leadership of Alkimia Consulting has decided to replace the manual systems with the computerized and automated systems which could be helpful in improving the business results.  The change in the business processes and systems helped the management of Alkimia Consulting to provide better services to its clients which is also essential for their satisfaction. The effective services of the firm impact the client satisfaction positively and improve the business situation (Burnes, 2009). Adair (2002) believes that in order to achieve improved business results, the organisations need to enhance the service quality which ultimately results in client satisfaction and loyalty. The role of top leadership is very important in this regard because the business strategies are formulated and implemented by the leadership of the company. However, the leadership always required the help and support of the team members working within the firm.

Roles & responsibilities of Key Players

The role of key change players in implementing change within the organisation is always very crucial and there are numerous researchers which have agreed on the fact that change cannot be implemented within the firm unless or unless the change agents are playing their required role (Harris and Ogbonna, 1998). Research shows that success of any change process cannot be ensured without efforts of the change agents within the organisation (Hatch and Cunliffe, 2006). Therefore, the role of change agents is very important within the firm. Handy (1995) mentioned in his literature review that organisations which have implemented change successfully and achieve the desired objectives of the change process have taken all the change agents on board and ensure their effective participation. According to Harigopal (2006), the change agents are considered to be a key to ensure success of any type of change within the firm. However, it is important that the role of change agents needs to be defined and they get necessary resources in order to perform their role (Kanter, 1996). The change agents usually include leadership of the firm and the employees who are physically involved in the business operations (Hunt, 1992). There is no second opinion on the fact that role of the change agents are very crucial in implementing change within the firm successfully, however, it is essential that change agents should have credibility in order to influence the other people (Johnson, Whittington and Scholes, 2011). For instance, if the leadership of the firm is playing the role of change agents and if leadership doesn’t have credibility then they cannot influence the team members of the organisation and motivate them to support and implement the change (King and Anderson, 2002).

It is also essential that change agents should have awareness regarding the culture of the firm and needs of the staff members because organisational culture plays a significant role in ensuring success of the change process (Lines, 2004). The change agent should have good communication skills in order to communicate effectively with the other team members who are involved in the change process and listen to their problems (Lengel and Daft, 1988). Mintzberg (2009) believes that one of the main reasons behind failure of many change processes is that top leadership of the firm ignores the issues and problems of the employees who are involved in the change process. Considering the case study of Alkimia Consulting, the employees working in the organisation and the leadership of Alkimia Consulting have played the role of change agents within the organisation. The management of Alkimia Consulting has also involved all the key stakeholders while implementing the change process within the firm. Since the customers are also an important stakeholder, therefore, the management has also informed the major clients about the implementation of the change process (Mullins, 2004). This is very important because often during the implementation of change process, the desired level of services are not provided to the clients, therefore, it is essential that customers must have awareness regarding the ongoing activities within the firm (Nahavandi, 2000). This help to manage any kind of delay and enable the management to retain the customers. In the case of Alkimia Consulting, the leadership of the firm has played the main role and increase awareness of the employees regarding the necessity of initiating and implementing the change process. The leadership of Alkimia Consulting has initiated the change process and it was implemented through the motivated employees within the firm.

Description of processes

In this section, the researcher will discuss that why the change was the implemented, how the change process was handled and how successful the implementation of the change was done.

 Why the Change Was Attempted

Research shows that the reasons behind implementation of the change process are very important because these can be used in order to convince the team members that change is necessary within the firm and organisational operations cannot be effectively managed without implementing change (Nadler and Tushman, 1988). According to Martin (2002), if the leadership of the firm does not have solid reasons to convince the team members then change cannot be initiated within the firm and the leadership cannot get necessary support from the employees. In this particular case of Alkimia Consulting, the leadership of the organisation has convinced the team members that transformation of the organisational systems is compulsory in order to stay competitive in the market and ensure client’s loyalty. The change was implemented within the organisation in order to improve the efficiency of the employees and provide better services to the clients of Alkimia Consulting. Due to the manual systems in the organisation, the percentage of mistakes was very high and staff efficiency was very low which was negatively affecting the satisfaction level of the organisational customers (Nutt, 2000). Therefore, the management of Alkimia Consulting has initiated the change process in order to improve the service efficiency and provide better services to the organisational customers. The transformation of the organisational systems is helpful in minimizing the mistakes and errors and providing effective services to the clients.

 Managing the change process

The management of the change process is very crucial because without ensuring effective management of the change process, the desired target cannot be achieved (Paton and McCalman, 2000). Morgan (1997) mentioned in his literature review that it is not only important to initiate the change process within the firm but it is more important to manage the change process successfully. The leadership of Alkimia Consulting has effectively managed the change process by engaging the key stakeholders which is very important in order to ensure the successful implementation of the change process. The change process within the firm cannot be implemented unless or until the management is not getting the support of the key stakeholders (Peters and Waterman, 1982).

 Evulation of Academic Literatures

The importance of change management has been increased over the last couple of years and the researchers believe that change management is crucial for the survival of any organisation (Buchanan and Boddy, 1992). In the present world, the organisations are operating in the continuously changing and highly competitive business environments which require modern firms to regularly update their systems and processes (Bullock and Batten, 1985). This increases the importance of change management within the firm and the top leadership of the organisations is required to implement the change management practices (Balogun and Hope, 2008). Change management refers to the activities of the organisations which are initiated in order to review and update the organisational structure, design and capabilities which are helpful in serving the changing requirements of the customers (Beer and Nohria, 2000). Adair (2007) believes that change is an important requirement for the firms and continuous changes in the business operations and organisational strategies help to ensure that management is meeting the business requirements. Therefore, the business organisations are required to formulate and implement the change management strategies which can be helpful in implementing the change within the firm (Carnall, 2007). Research shows that effective change management strategies are very important in order to successfully implement the change within the firm (Carling and Heller, 1995). Collinson (1994) believes that change management strategies are more effective when they are linked with the organisational business strategies. Therefore, it is essential for the firms to ensure that change management strategies are supporting the business strategies (Doyle, Claydon and Buchanan, 2000).

According to Beer (2006), in order to implement the change process within the successfully, it is essential that the key change agents must have awareness that how change can be initiated and implemented within the firm. Research shows that over the period of time, the importance of organisational change has been increased and management of change is a very crucial managerial skill for the modern organisations (Dunphy and Stace, 1993). It is not only important for the firms to initiate the change process but in the highly competitive business environments, the management of change is also an important business necessity (Darwin, Johnson and McAuley, 2002).  David (2006) argued in his research that why change is important for the firms operating in the modern world? According to Edmonstone (2010), the rapid advancements in the field of information and communication technology, increasing trend of globalization and changing needs of the workforce demands the organisations to implement change process within the organisation. The organisations cannot achieve the business related targets by employing the traditional methods and techniques; therefore, they need to transform the organisational systems and procedures on regular basis in order to achieve the desired objectives (Dunphy and Stace, 1990). The business systems can be changed according to the requirements of the clients which could be helpful for the organisation to deliver better services to the customers and ensure their satisfaction which is one of the most important considerations for the modern companies nowadays (Fleming and Sewell, 2002).

The previous theories of change management state that business firms cannot perform effectively if the systems and procedures of the firms are changing on regular basis (French, Bell and Zawacki, 2000). According to Furnham (2002), if management of an organisation is continuously implementing new procedures and changing the systems then the staff members cannot ensure the continuity of their performance level. The inconsistency in the performance of the employees can be very harmful for the firm (Guest and Conway, 2002). Grimm (2010) believes that continuous changes within the firm can be costly for the organisation and it can create a negative impact on the firm’s profitability. If the management is continuously changing the organisational systems and procedures then it could results in increased expenditures of the firm which cannot be managed during the period of financial downturn (Grundy, 1993). The modern approaches towards change management show that change is vital for the organisational success and the employees working within the firm needs to undergo continuous changes in order to achieve the firm’s targets (Harigopal, 2006). It is not important for the firms to change the entire systems and processes of the firm, the management can also achieve the desired objectives by updating the business systems (Honey and Mumford, 2006). This helps the organisation to update the systems which enable the employees to satisfy the customer’s needs in the best possible way (Hammer, 2001).

This research is based on Alkimia Consulting and if the business operations of Alkimia Consulting need to be considered then it can be stated that continuous changes in the organisational systems is very important because the organisation is providing services to clients and transformation of business systems according to the client’s requirements is very crucial (Handy, 1999).  In order to meet the client’s needs and ensure their satisfaction, the management of Alkimia Consulting needs to improve the systems which can help them to fulfill the recruitment and consultation requirements of the clients. This is one of the reasons that leadership of Alkimia Consulting has transformed the organisational systems and introduced automated systems within the firm which are helpful in delivering efficient and accurate services to the clients on timely basis. Grundy (1993) argued in his literature review that can organisations fulfill the requirements of change management by updating the business systems? According to Grint (1995), it is not only essential for the firms to update the organisational systems, the staff skills are also very crucial and they also need to be updated on regular basis. The management of the organisations needs to arrange training activities for the employees in order to improve their skills and enable them to meet the changing business needs (Hartley, Benington and Binns, 1997). This is more crucial in case of the businesses where staff members are directly interacting and providing services to the clients of the company (Hayes, 2002). The advancements in the field of information technology also require the firms to improve the knowledge of the staff members and enhance their capabilities so that they can successfully operate the technology based systems (Harigopal, 2006).

There are various literatures which have been written in order to highlight an important fact that management of change is very crucial for the firms operating in the changing business environments (Pedler, Boydell and Burgoyne, 1989). Ross (2008) mentioned that managing emergent change is the most important requirement in the business organisations. According to Robbins (2005), the firms are required to manage the change through effective leadership and groups of teams and individuals. When all the team members and the organisational leadership within the firm are performing their assigned responsibilities then it will help to ensure effective management of change (Paton and McCalman, 2000).  There are also other options for the firms in order to ensure implementation of change which includes organisational restructuring and moving beyond the traditional views of restructuring change which could be helpful in exploring and implementing new ways within the firm (Pettigrew and Whipp, 1993). Schein (1990) discussed in his literature review that leadership of the company needs to define the tasks and responsibilities of all the change agents because unless or until the responsibilities are not defined, the efforts cannot be put in order to implement the change. Research shows that clarity of tasks to each change agent help to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications during the change process implementation (Harigopal, 2006). The clear channels of communication are also important and needs to be defined within the firm because it help the change agents to communicate and coordinate effectively with each other which is helpful in achieving desired objectives of the change process (Rooke and Torbert, 2005). The communication can directly impact the organisational change because it helps to overcome many issues which are arises during the change process. For instance, the effective communication between the employees and leadership in helpful in identifying that why change is necessary within the organisation and how it will impact the workplace life of the employees (Robertson and Swan, 2003). The leadership can generate necessary support of the employees and can avoid potential resistance against the change process (Schein, 2004). The communication can also be helpful in ensuring commitment of the staff members (Senge, 1990). This shows the importance of effective communication in order to ensure effective management of the change process (Sturdy and Grey, 2003).

An important consideration is that if there is some resistance within the organisation against the change then it needs to be resolved and managed through dialogue and leadership should not focused on dictating the employees about the change (Swailes, 2010). Research shows that when changes within the firm are forcefully implemented without taking employees on board then top leadership cannot achieve the desired goals of the change process. The participation and effective involvement of employees also needs to be ensured in the change process (Whittington and Mayer, 2002). Some researchers believe that experienced employees are more helpful in managing the change effectively; therefore, while implementing the change process, it is essential to give major responsibilities to the experienced individuals within the firm (Thornhill, Millmore and Saunders, 2000). This argument is somewhat true because experienced employees could be very helpful in ensuring effective management of change; however, there is no second opinion on the fact that organisations always require necessary support of the young employees in order to achieve desired results from the change process (Todnem, 2005). Therefore, the young and experienced employees should be the part of the team which is managing and implementing change within the firm (Worrall and Campbell, 2000). The leadership should also monitor the change process and provide all the resources to the staff members that are necessary in order to formulate and implement the change process (Vickers and Kouzmin, 2001).

Critical Analysis

In this section, the researcher will critically analyse the change based on the literature and will also apply the academic literatures on the selected case study. The management of Alkimia Consulting has realized the importance of the transformation of organisational systems and the implementation of change management process were made when the service quality level were declining and organisation was receiving complaints regarding the low quality of customer services. The management has felt the requirement of implementing change when the customer satisfaction level was getting low and majority of the loyal clients have shown their dissatisfaction with the organisational business procedures. It was more appropriate if the management of Alkimia Consulting has adopted the proactive approach and change was implemented within the firm before the customers started complaining about the business systems of the organisation. It is the primary responsibility of the leadership of the firm to understand and implement change whenever there is a requirement within the firm. The academic literature discussed in the previous section of this case study shows that continuous changes needs to be made in the business systems in order to meet the changing business requirements. The continuous changes in the organisational systems can also create a negative impact on the business systems because it results in increased operational expenditures which can hurt the organisational profitability. Therefore, it would be more appropriate if the management of Alkimia Consulting can update the internal systems and processes and make them compatible with the changing requirements of the business.

The top leadership of Alkimia Consulting has formulated the change management strategies before initiating the change process within the firm which is very helpful in managing the entire process successfully. It is essential for every organisation to devise a complete plan and share it with all the stakeholders before implementing change. The management of Alkimia Consulting has communicated the objectives of the change process to all the employees in order to ensure that all the employees have awareness regarding the fact that why change is implemented within the firm, what are the potential outcomes of the change process and how change process within the organisation can benefit the employees who are supporting the process. However, the management of Alkimia Consulting has not taken the suggestions from the employees while implementing the change management strategies which is very important as discussed in the literature review section of this assignment. An important consideration is that management of the organisation has realized the importance of linking the change management strategies with the organisational business strategies and top leadership has tried to ensure the change management strategies are supporting the business strategies. The best strategy that was adopted by the leadership of Alkimia Consulting is involving the key change agents in the implementation process. The clear communications were made between the leadership of the organisation and the employees who are responsible for executing the organisational business operations.

The basic reason behind the implementation of change within the firm was to meet the challenges which are created by the technological advancements and changing needs of the clients. The management of Alkimia Consulting has transformed the business systems and operational techniques in order to provide better services to the clients and ensuring their satisfaction. The management of the company has entirely changed the business systems and switched from the manual systems to the automated systems. However, it is essential that organisation should regularly update these automated systems in order to ensure their efficiency and achieve desired level of results from these systems. An important consideration is that management of the organisation has considered the requirements of its customers before transforming the systems. As discussed earlier, Alkimia Consulting is providing recruitment and consultancy services to different types of the organisations in order to fulfill their human capital needs, therefore, the management of Alkimia Consulting has selected those business systems and processes which can assist the employees to deliver value able services to the clients. The management of Alkimia Consulting has also arranged several training workshops for the employees so that they can successfully operate those systems and can generate desired level of results for the organisation.

The implementation of change within the firm always results in changing in the organisational systems and if the employees of the company don’t have awareness regarding the new business systems then the management cannot achieve the basic objectives of implementing change within the firm. This is one of the reasons that training courses were arranged for the employees of Alkimia Consulting so that they can use the new systems effectively and ensure client satisfaction and retention. The changes in the organisational hierarchy or restructuring is also an option which is used by many firms while implementing the change process, however, the management of Alkimia Consulting has not made any changes in the organisational hierarchy because the leadership believes that existing hierarchy of the organisation is effective enough to support the change process. The leadership of Alkimia Consulting has also developed clear communication networks so that the change agents can clearly communicate during the implementation of the change process which was very effective and helpful in dealing with different kinds of issues among the employees. It is a fact that ineffective coordination among the employees and issues between the employees can be very harmful for the change process; therefore, the leadership has tried to ensure that employees can communicate effectively during the implementation of the process. The leadership of Alkimia Consulting has also ensured the availability of all the required resources which can be helpful in assisting the change management process.

Successful implementations

The implementation of the change process was successfully handled because the organisational leadership has effectively involved all the key change agents in the entire process. The management of Alkimia Consulting has realized the importance of involving the stakeholders in managing and implementing the change process. Therefore, the stakeholders were taken on board before initiating the change process and they have played a vital role in ensuring the successful of the implementation of the change process. The employees working in Alkimia Consulting has helped the management of the firm to handle the change process successfully (Weick, 2000). The senior leadership has also communicated to the employees that change implementation will also impact the workplace life of all the staff positively. This was very helpful in improving the motivation level of the team members and it has also helped the management of Alkimia Consulting to ensure support of the employees essential to handle the implementation of the change process successfully.

Conclusion

From the above it can be concluded that change management is essential for the organisations operating in the changing business environments. Considering the case study of Alkimia Consulting, it can be stated that management of Alkimia Consulting has successfully implemented change within the firm and have transformed the manual systems of the organisation. The manual systems of Alkimia Consulting were replaced with the electronic systems which was also the requirement of the business because the manual systems were restricting the company’s ability to provide value able services to the customers according to their needs and requirements. The top leadership of Alkimia Consulting has consulted all the stakeholders before implementing the change and ensure the cooperation of all the stakeholders in order to successfully implement the change. This has helped to ensure the effective involvement of all the parties in the change process which is very crucial because if all the parties involved are not supporting the change, the change cannot be implemented within the firm. The leadership of Alkimia Consulting has adopted a transformational style of leadership in order to ensure motivation and high level of efforts of the team members working within the firm.

The outcomes of the change process were very positive for the organisation. The implementation of change process enabled the management to deliver superior quality service to the customers and achieve their satisfaction and brand loyalty. The transformation of organisational systems and processes has improved the service quality of the organisation which has helped the management of Alkimia Consulting to target more number of customers which impacts the business profitability of the organisation positively. The satisfied customers of the organisation have become the source of marketing for the firm and help to attract more number of potential customers. This resulted in increased client’s base of the firm and helped the management to improve the business profitability of the organisation. It has also helped the management of Alkimia Consulting to offer better rewards and compensation to the employees of the company which was helpful in retaining the employees and ensuring their loyalty. This also negatively impacts the staff turnover rate within the firm.

If the relationship between the theory and practice needs to be considered then it can be stated that theoretical concepts of change management were applied successfully during the implementation of change within Alkimia Consulting. It has been discussed in the academic literature section of this research paper that it is essential to involve all the stakeholders in the change management process. The leadership of Alkimia Consulting has involved all the stakeholders in the change process. The change management strategies were also formulated and implemented after taking all the parties on board and employees of Alkimia Consulting have also provided full support to the senior leadership of the firm. This is one of the reasons that change process were successfully implemented within the firm and top leadership of Alkimia Consulting were able to ensure desired benefits from the change process. The implications of change management on Alkimia Consulting were positive as it improved the business performance of the organisation significantly which ultimately affect the overall profitability in an effective manner.

 Lesson Learnt

I have learnt several lessons from the change management process which was implemented by the leadership of Alkimia Consulting. The entire journey was very informative because I was actively involved in the change process and have participated in the strategies which were devised by the management of the organisation to bring change and transformed the business systems. I have learnt that change is the reality of the modern business world and the organisations who want to survive in the business world needs to continuously monitor their systems and processes and implement the change. The technological advancements and increased customer requirements have also increased the importance of implementing change. I have also learnt that only those organisations can cope with the changing business environments which are monitor and change their internal systems on regular basis. I have learnt that it is not essential for the firms to change their entire business systems; they can also regularly update their systems in order to ensure that business processes are capable of meeting the ever changing needs of the customers and helpful for the organisation to meet their demands.  I have observed during the implementation of the change process in Alkimia Consulting that motivated employees are more helpful in implementing change successfully and in order to meet the objectives of the change process, the organisations needs to ensure motivation of the employees. There is no doubt on the fact that motivated employees have a great role in implementing change within the firm, therefore, it is essential for the firms to give appropriate rewards to the employees because it motivate them to show high performance and ensure the success of the change process.

There are also several organisational lessons which were learnt during the change process in Alkimia Consulting. An important lesson is that only those organisations are able to implement the change successfully whose employees are supporting the change process. This increases the importance of involving the employees in the change process and generating necessary support from them during the entire process. It is essential for the leadership of the organisations to clearly communicate to the employees that what are the benefits which they will get after the implementation of the change process because when employees consider that change management process will also generate positive outcomes for them then they are more likely to support the change process and will also actively participate in it. There is an important lesson for the organisations that if there is an internal resistance against the change process then it should be managed after developing consensus and change within the firm should not be implemented forcefully and through dictatorship. If the stakeholders involved are showing any concerns then they should be properly addressed and their issues should be resolved through dialogue in order to achieve advantages of the change process.


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