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DISCUSSION AT URPERCENTILE : CASE STUDY - CHANGE MANAGEMENT

www.UrPercentile.com: Today we have case Study:
There is a very big MNC with its own designing department. There are 2000 employees of the company with 80 employees in designing department. The designing department has been using designing software called MAT for last 8 years.  Now there are new and better software available in market.  The CEO and CIO have agreed and signed contract to buy better software called JMET.  JMET is being used in almost all big companies in the industry and has been a great success almost everywhere.
The Senior V.P   of designing team Atul has 20 years of working experience but is not well versed with JMET and so is not much interested in bringing about this change. 
The Vice president Rohit   of the designing team has only 8 years of working experience with 6 years of experience in JMET. Rohit is very confident of the success of JMET if implemented in the company.
Many people in the department don’t want to change as they find it difficult to leave their current day to day job and sit down and study the new software.  Some people in department who are going to retire in few years also don’t want the change. Some senior people in the department are not happy of this change as they were not taken into confidence and were not informed about the new software before it was bought.  Managers in department claim that there are many projects in hand and if they start implementing the change the entire project will be delayed.
How the change should be implemented.

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Antony: Nobody really likes change. It requires one to come out of their comfort zones and into the unfamiliar world of unknown and apprehension. It requires people to evolve and adapt to the changing circumstances, which is not always an easy thing.

J.Agarwal: Change, the vital truth of life. But there are two prospective of looking at it. While to some it may mean opportunity, progress, innovation and growth. There might be others for whom it will become a cause of apprehension and unpredictability. Same is the case with the scenario defined here.

Abhishek: The Company is a business venture so it must think of long term prospects rather than short ones. The introduction of the JMET software in the organization will help business of the company in long run. It is also necessary for the company to change the way it works, the thing it uses (like software) for manufacturing its products, with time and advancement in technology. So these two factors make it necessary to implement JMET in the organization.

Shilpa: As the contract has already been signed, there is no point going back. So whether the employees like it or not, they will have to use it. It's a matter of Rohit making the pill sweeter. Such change management is a challenge in almost all enterprises.

J.Agarwal: The problem at hand is convincing the higher authorities and managers that the change is both authorize and purposeful and then to devise a step by step procedure to implement the change.

Abhishek: But we know there are two problems.
The first one is that many employees of design department (including some senior members) do not want to work on JMET and the second problem is that the current projects will be delayed due to introduction of JMET. It should be advisable that the organization completes its undergoing projects in the MAT because it would require quite a processing again if JMET is implemented and will waste lot of time and money of the company. Now the company must continue its current projects. As soon as new projects come, it should transfer first the person willing to change to JMET into that project. The company should then train them alongside the project. Slowly and gradually many of the workers will be using the JMET project. This would take quite a time (may be some months) At that time many of the senior employees will be retired(who didn’t changed to JMET) and the remaining ones (which didn’t switched to JMET earlier ) will now gradually be transferred to JMET. In this way all the matters could be solved.

Antony: In the case of this company, 8 years is a long time to be using the same software. It sure must be obsolete and needs update. The catch here is that many people oppose the new software. The first and most important thing Rohit has to do is to talk to his senior V.P. make him understand the need for up gradation and the vital importance it plays in staying sharp and competitive. After he has gained the confidence of the senior VP, things can be much easier for him.

J.Agarwal: To solve the first part of the problem we have to go about a process of unfreezing where the team members will have to be realized that how the productivity is getting affected by the use of MAT. This can be done by doing a comparative study of the current productivity and the projected productivity after the implementation of JMET. The whole scenario will be dictated by how the change is presented and implemented. There is a need to take the senior VP in confidence because he is the one who can set example for the rest of the staff as he has 20 years of experience with little/no hands on JMET. So if he can learn why not others?

Shilpa : Now first and foremost, Rohit, along with the CXOs should hold meetings with the senior VP and explain to him the advantages of JMET over MAT. They need to stress the point that since almost all companies has started using JMET; their company could fall behind if they cannot keep with the competition. Once they take the VP on their side, it will be easier for the change to percolate down to other employees.

Abhishek: In the meantime company must also frame some HR policies which would encourage more employees taking to JMET. Like some extra pounce of bonus.

J.Agarwal: For taking him into confidence, he should be involved in carving out the transition plan, this will give him an insight into how the change will be implemented and would help pacify his apprehensions. Yes, a formal training plan should be provided handy to the staff. With formal training plan coming up, the issue of learning the technology will go as there will be clear deadlines, budgets and resources defined. We can track if there are some other workers in other departments with experience on MAT and if possible we can increase the staff strength of the design department so that the training can be accommodated with in the office timings.

Antony: After the initiation of the software into the midst of the employees, the unfreezing process starts. This is the tough stage in which there can arise lots of resistance and backlash owing to the change. The company must organize various rigorous yet informative and enjoyable training programs to get the employees accustomed to their new software.

J.Agarwal: The staff should be assured that the transition team will always be available in case they face any issues with the implementation.

Abhishek: Now for that case of senior VP he must be made realize that it is the need of the hour to change company to JMET. He should be told that there is no choice but to change to JMET to keep in pace with the industry. He will then have to agree with it

J.Agarwal: The implementation must be done using pilot approach. This means that the new technology will first be implemented in a sample project. This can also be used as the training project so that during training also staff is working on industrial projects, thereby, avoiding the loss of person hours to the industry.

Shilpa : The company after learning of the undercurrents that people are not happy since they were not taken into confidence can be pacified by issuing a statement that it was urgent to sign that contract and so it was not possible to inform them.

T. Chaturvedi: Well, this is a question about one thing which we all dread the most--change. Here, the scenario is that of a more risk averse senior VP and a  more enthusiastic junior. JMET is technically superior to the MAT. But here, again two issues arise. Is JMET superior to this company also or are we just generalizing because it worked for others. The other is one of initiative. Proper ground work must be done. Companies which are successful in getting change in their workings are those which have the senior managers always ready to learn.

J.Agarwal: Once the staff is satisfied with the end results we can go about the implementation in a phased approach.

Antony: The staff and the management alike should be made to understand just how hurtful it can be for the company to go on with the MAT software. Their rivals can easily overtake them as it is known that JMET is much more efficient. When the company’s honor is at stake, very few would want not to implement the change.

T. Chaturvedi: So, here the senior VP must at least weigh the option which JMET provides and not have a blind bias to it. If he is receptive and enthusiastic, the lower level employees are likely to be more comfortable about the new tool.

J.Agarwal: In phased approach, to start with only few existing projects will be moved to the new technology and later the upcoming projects will use the new technology. Using this approach, we can absorb the people who are about to retire in projects that use the old technology so that the training resources are not wasted on them and the projects that are fast approaching deadlines can also be completed using the same.

T. Chaturvedi: I think change is always dreaded because it's a nature of human beings. This is because we all have our comfort zones and is accustomed to it. Employees are no exception. But here the senior management can pull off its trick by interacting more with their juniors and explaining to them the pros and cons of the decision. With this done, the lower level employees will feel involved and will logically cogitate on the move. This may also lead to their accepting the after initial intransigence.

Shilpa: The concern of the senior people about the project getting delayed can be answered by having 30 min training session’s everyday. If JMET has going to reduce the time required to complete projects that can be emphasized. As Rohit has been with them for 8 years and he has 6 years of experience with JMET, he can share his experience with JMET with others to get their support. Arranging a training program and properly explaining the technical, commercial and other non-tangible advantages like quality, that JMET will bring more employees in support.

Antony: After the period of confusion is over, that is the learning phase; things will get back to normal. Staff may even be provided with small incentives for the successful completion of their course and this may definitely act as a motivator.

T. Chaturvedi: A phased approach is a good option as mentioned by Miss J.Agarwal not only because of the fact that retiring employees can be taken care of but also because of the fact that slow and steady wins the race. Initial acclimatization is a problem in organizations. What Mr.Antony says can also be done. A bonus can always be the proverbial carrot. Phases also ensure that all the people are involved and no one is left out in the lurch in a state of insecurity and hence employee attrition can also be avoided. As for retiring people, they could also be made a part of this change and later on could be re employed as training personnel for some employees who are having genuine problems in adapting to the change. This may also result in contract extensions and better possible options for those who have to retire but still have a lot of potential.

Abhishek: I agree with J.Agarwal and T.Chaturvedi about the phased manner approach that i already mentioned earlier. It makes an organization moving ,completing its current projects without interruptions and implementing new changes in its software.

Shilpa: As some senior members are about to retire, it will help the company to recruit candidates with experience in JMET who can help spread the awareness on the software. Alternatively, they can recruit fresher’s and train them on JMET while on the job. This will help the MNC in building a workforce for the future. Also, if some middle aged employees reluctant might start getting a feel that they could lose their jobs if they do not accept the change will also try to learn JMET. This option is slightly tricky and needs to be handled very carefully so that insecurity doesn’t creep in.

Antony: The change need not be implemented at one go either. Like a few in the management states, it could delay existing projects. Therefore give time for people to complete existing tasks and then try to bring the new software into the open. The program must then be implemented, disseminated throughout the organization, monitored for effectiveness, and adjusted where necessary.

T. Chaturvedi: Change management is something which must always take care of all levels in a company. Consequently, what can also be done is to appoint a JMET specialist in all departments. This can be presided over by the VP (I cannot recall his name).This officer can help out the employees individually and those employees who are quick to learn can help their slower counterparts. This will lead not only to a better prospect but also the employees will feel a rise in their self esteem as they are contributing more and more.

Antony: I will second T.Chaturvedi. A specialist in each department is a very good idea and people with lower learning curves can surely take help from the specialists or the quicker staff. Also, the staff must be made to understand that they are m\not expected to be perfect for the time being and few and unconscious mistakes can be forgiven.

T. Chaturvedi: Over here, there is also a flip side. Is the change really needed? Or is it that just because other companies have succeeded need not ensure that this one will also go the same way. It is what suits companies best. So the fact that they want to change is admirable but it must be a decision to go all the way, brave all obstacles and have the drive to succeed in getting the change enforced.

Antony: Even though the change would seem unpleasant in the beginning, gradually the refreezing stage would start and both the staff and the management would begin to breathe a little easier. As to whether the change is needed or not, I think the answer is quite obvious. Old and obsolete software can never stand up to the faster and contemporary one and hence its non implementation may result in huge losses for the company. The only way out to be the one on top in my view is to bring in the change.

www.UrPercentile.com: Request everyone to give a summary of the discussion.

Abhishek: Seeing the long term prospects the company will have to switch over to  JMET instead of MAT. The best possible solution of the problem has emerged, that most of us agree , is that the organization must roll out  the changes in a proper step by step manner (phased manner) taking  senior VP and employees into confidence .The current or ongoing  projects must be finished using MAT and the new projects must be  designed using JMET with the employees who want to switch to JMET and  they must be trained for JMET alongside. The senior employees who don’t  want to change to JMET will retire in the meantime and thus wont cause  much of problem for the change. The company can encourage more and more of its employees by giving them special incentives. This will make company switch over to new technology slowly and gradually without much of problems.

T. Chaturvedi: Every company trying to bring in change will have it's teething troubles. Some employees may resign straight away. But this must not be a deterrent to the management because all humans are not the same. They must work with those who have a passion for the change and who realize the positives of the changes. This will lead to a better environment and a greater level of team work. JMET is superior is a fact that must be made clear to all and the management must deal with the employees gently but with conviction.

Antony: To stick on to the MAT would mean disaster for the company. In order to implement the new software, all necessary steps need to be taken and strictly implemented. JMET being the superior software must be learned by all staff and it should be done in the speculated time lest the company face a crisis.

Shilpa: So motivational programs should be thought of. The MNC can have a training program and provide small incentives to the best trainee. This will help create some enthusiasm among the enthusiasm. Pep talks by the supplier of JMET could also be arranged.

COMMENTS BY URPERCENTILE SUBSCRIBERS :

Megha : Changes are always resisted by those people who don't have much knowledge about the change. But still those changes which are benficial to the company are to be implemented. In the given company people should be made undestood regarding the software i.e. how it is going to benefit the each individual working in the company. And if necessary harsh actions like forceable implementation can also be taken.

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