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Elements that Influences Successful Execution of Strategic Change


Posted on Aug 2017



Introduction

            In an organization, the introduction of new strategies is a norm, as the business environment keeps on changing. However, according to Hayes (2014) introduction of most of the changes in an organization end up failing due to the failure of employing the right change management strategies. The aim of this assignment is to analyze issues related to the execution of strategic change within an organization, by looking at the essential elements that help in making this process of change management success. The first section of the assignment provides a detailed analysis of the field of change management, especially current and future issues facing it. The second section provides information concerning the research topic on ‘elements that influence the successful execution of strategic change", such as theories related to the field of change management, background information and impact of the research. The last section provides information concerning the future direction of associated with the research topic discussed in section two of the assignment.

Analysis of the Field

            The field of change management plays an instrumental role when it comes to the success of any given organization. According to Fullan (2014), change management is concerned with controlling and implementation of change within a company. Execution of change is critical to the success of implementation of various strategic initiatives that an organization may be planning to introduce within an organization. Strategic change is critical when it comes to the success of any given organization. It is responsible for ensuring that all the resources needed by the employees of an organization to successfully implement change are availed. Thus, there is need of understanding the different elements that are critical to the success of strategic change execution in any firm.

            Despite, execution of strategic change is critical to the success of any change initiative, one of the challenges that are being faced today is a failure of many of the strategies, especially at the implementation stage. According to Rajasekar (2014), around 70% of strategies implementation processes within an organization end up failing. This indicates that execution of strategic change within an organization is a major challenge.

            Rajasekar (2014) indicates that organizational culture, leadership, structure, poor planning can play a critical role in determining whether strategy implementation in the organization will be a success or failure. Also, Hayes (2014) notes that failure of strategic change execution occurs due to the resistance of employees, whereby, the fail to support the change initiative at hand. Hayes (2014) further argue that support of the employees during the process of implementing strategic change is essential and dealing with employee resistance to successfully implement a given change that has strategic implication is a challenge.

            Also, Fullan (2014) has pointed out that strategic change execution in most cases ends up failing due to lack of effective leadership within an organization. The leadership of an organization is responsible for providing resources, supporting planning and implementation process of strategic change within a firm. Nonetheless, most of the leaders who are change agents within an organization lack comprehension of the change process, resulting in total failure of the entire implementation process (Fullan, 2014). 

 Failure of implementing strategic change has negative implication in an organization. According to Hayes (2014) failure of the change, execution process results in an organization losing critical financial and human resources, and this has a negative effect on the overall morale of employees and image of an organization.

             Therefore, the failure of successful strategy execution is a major and costly challenge facing organization and should be properly addressed by the field change management. It is essential to understand the elements/factors that facilitate the process of successful strategic execution within an organization for purposes of helping deal with the issue of failure of most of the strategic change initiatives in the field of change management in the future. Undertaking a study on these issues would bring a set of new knowledge concerning elements that are essential in making change execution process a success. The knowledge will be useful in implementing strategic change initiatives in all organization in the future.

Background Information

            One of the challenges that are faced by many organizations around the globe currently is the execution of a strategic change in the right way. Hrebiniak (2013) some of the factors that contribute to the failure of strategic change implementation include poor leadership, poor strategic planning, organizational systems and others. However, there are ways in which strategic change can be executed successfully within an organization. Some studies have been carried out with an objective of understanding how change can be successfully implemented in an organization in a general way.

             Most of the studies have focused on the role that employee engagement and communication plays when it comes to enhancing the success of implementing change within an organization. Sonenshein and Dholakia (2012) indicates that employee engagement is achievable through communication and strategic planning and help in avoiding resistance that might end up impacting negatively on the execution of change. 

            Alternatively, studies have focused on the impact that planning and availing of resources impacts on implementation of change within a firm. Hrebiniak (2013) shows that proper planning and availing of the right resources needed to implement a strategy plays a critical role in enhancing implementation of strategic change within an organization.

            The past studies have shown that during change implementation within an organization, leadership plays a critical role to make the process a success. Schaap (2012) shows that leadership in a company is responsible for providing resources vital for strategy implementation during the change process and this makes them essential in ensuring that execution of strategic change is essential. 

            Also, Schaap indicates that the senior leaders are responsible for providing direction, regarding vision and goals to be attained by introducing a certain strategy in the firm. Portoghese et al. (2012) show that the leadership of an organization is critical in dealing with expectations and commitment of employees during change implementation process. Cameron and Green (2015) points out that considering organizational culture during execution of change is vital in making the entire process a success.

 It is evident from the past studies that there are general elements that affect the execution of change within an organization. Nonetheless, there is no specific study have focused on factors that impact on strategic change execution within a firm. Therefore, this research topic is essential in addressing the failure of execution of strategic changes within an organization by adding new knowledge on the specific factors that should be considered by organizations when implementing strategic change to make the entire process a success.

Current Theories and Debate Areas

            There are various theories of change management, which tries to explain the change management process within an organization. The theories can be useful in making strategic change execution within a firm a success process. One of the theories is known as Lewin’s change management model. The theory recognizes that change occurs in three major stages. According to Hayes (2014) Unfreezing is the first stage,  whereby the majority of the people in an organization are opposed to change, they have to be informed and motivated to accept the change initiated by the leadership.

            The second one is transition stage and Hayes (2014) point out that after initiation of change, a firm usually moves to the transition period, and this stage requires sufficient leadership and assurances for the entire change process to be a success. The last stage is Refreezing, once a change has been fully accepted and implemented successfully, the organization becomes stable again, and employees refreezes operating under new climate following the introduction of change (Cameron and Green, 2015).

 The second theory of change management associated with strategic change execution is known as Mckinsey 7-S model. The theory argues that there are seven major factors that act as collective agents of change within an organization. First, an organization is supposed to have shared values for any change to be a success. Second, an organization is supposed to have a clear strategy that will guide the change process (Cameron and Green, 2015. Third, the structure of an organization is a key agent of change. Systems in a firm also play a major role as being key agents of change. Furthermore, a style especially leadership influences the change process either negatively or positively (Hayes, 2014). Moreover, staff plays a very important role in ensuring that change process is a success. At last, workers should have the proper skills to work in a new environment after the introduction of a certain change initiative.

            The last important theory of change management associated with execution of change is known as Kotter’s 8-step change model. The theory argues that employees agree to change after being convinced by their leaders about the urgent need of change taking in a firm (Brisson-Banks, 2010). The theory indicates that change takes place in 8 major steps. The first step is concerned with the leadership of a firm increasing the urgency for change. The second step is concerned with the management building a team of employees who will be dedicated to ensuring the change initiative is successfully implemented.

            The third step is concerned with the creation of the vision for change so as to inspire employees to support the change process fully. The step that follows is concerned with communicating with the stakeholders in an organization about the need for change (Hayes, 2014). The next step involves the change team putting in place measures to employer organization staffs with capabilities to change. The next step is concerned with the creation of short-term goals that are supposed to be attained during the change process (Fullan, 2014). The second last step according to this theory is that of ensuring there is persistent when implementing change in a firm. The final step is concerned with making change permanent by making sure that it becomes parts of an organization’s culture (Hayes, 2014).

            The current debate concerning change execution from a strategic point of view is on the critical elements that are essential in making this process effective within an organization. The debate tries to find out how an organization can make strategic change execution a success by considering numerous factors that affect positively critical issues that determine the process of change implementation, such as employees, leadership, organization culture and structure.

Impact of the Research

 The findings of this study are going to affects numerous industries. The major industries that will be affected by the findings include healthcare, information technology, service, manufacturing, food, retailing and communication. The findings of the study will provide information concerning elements that should be taken into account when implementing strategic change in an organization operating in these industries so as to make the process a success. The benefits can be maximized by ensuring the findings of the study are reliable and accurate to be used by the players in these industries to guide their strategic change executions initiatives in the future. 

Future Directions

 One of the areas that need further research in the future is the role that leadership plays in making strategic change execution success. Having a detailed research on this area would aid in making sure that specific ways of which leadership affects strategic change implementation are understood. It is also crucial to understand further research on the impact of organizational culture on the effectiveness of strategic change implementation. The findings that focus on this specific area will be central in helping to understand how an organizational culture can be prepared to make the process of change management a success within an organization. 

 The findings of the study on elements of that influence successful execution of strategic change will be important in different ways. The findings will first help in understanding some of the major issues that impact negatively on strategic change execution, helping to avoid them when it comes to future implementation of strategic change. The second area that the study’s findings will be useful is in helping to determine the right strategies that can be employed by an organization in making the process of strategic change implementation an effective one.

            One of the strategies that can be used to effectively deal with the execution of strategic change within a firm is effective communication. Hayes (2014) indicates that effective communication makes it possible for the leadership to influence the employees to support change, as they understand the benefits associated with implementing a certain strategic change, helping to avoid resistance. It is also recommendable to actively engage employees during the change implementation process. Hrebiniak (2013) point out that engagement of employees during the change process help in overcoming the resistance challenge which impacts negatively on the execution of change. Finally, it would be recommendable to ensure that effective leadership is in place, especially employment of the right leadership approach to make the change process a success.  

Conclusion

 In summary, strategic change execution research is essential in reducing the failure rate of many change initiatives associated with the implementation of strategies in an organization. Then this report indicates that communication, organization culture, leadership and employee engagement are some of the essential elements that can enhance the success of strategic change execution within a firm. Hence, it is evident that the findings of this research will play a central role in helping the field of change management to effectively deal with the issue of failure of strategic change execution in the future.