Sony is a widely known electronic company which was founded in 1946 by Masuru Ibuka and Akio Morita in Tokyo (www scribd. com). The company produces a wide variety of digital products. Question 1 Change is often defined as the act of making or becoming different. It can also be referred to as a situation whereby a company moves from its current state to a visionary state. Change as explained by (Mullins, 2005) is “a persuasive influence, which is an inescapable part of both organisational and social life, thus we are all subject to continual change in one way or another”.
Therefore company change could be referred to as any alteration of people, structure or technology in an organisation. This is a constant factor in all organisations, since it can’t be ignored and as such all managers need to understand it and know how to react towards it since it is inevitable, and it brings about innovation. The following paragraphs below are going to discuss the various types of change which have taken place in the Sony Company.
Change as a whole takes place either consciously or unconsciously within all organisation bodies, and it is often there to enable the various firms avoid threats or to help them grab new opportunities available to them. For organisational change to take place the need to be a change agent who is the person responsible for the change, that is manage and initiate it. In the Sony industry the change was implemented by the new manager who acted as the change agent, there are three main types of changes which have taken place in this industry this include change in structure, technology and also people, as shown on the diagram, | . Change in structure; Organisation structure is the formal arrangement of jobs in the organisation; it also embodies its work specialisation, decentralisation, centralisation, span of control, chain of command, and departmentalization, (Robbins et al, 1999).
As such structural change refers to any modification in the company’s authority relationships, coordination mechanisms and reporting procedures. The change in structure in Sony can been seen with the shift from a ecentralize decision making where each unit had its own planning and sales function unit to a more centralise one by creating a central decision making authority over key areas, this help to increase efficiency and decision making process. The change in structure was very essential since it would create flatter company structures and will increase collaboration between the various Sony plants. 2. Change in technology; Technology refers to the various high technological equipment’s or advanced processes and methods employed by the firm to carry out various task, this business processes need to be flexible so that they can easily be altered.
A technical change therefore involves alterations in the various business processes, methods and equipment’s used in the organisation, it also involves developing flexible processes which could support high-quality operations and continuous innovation. In the Sony industry change in technology has mainly been that of improvement in automation and innovation, automation refers to changing from doing things manually to doing it using machines.
The company now used more improved technologies to produce their goods, and also due to the rapid changes in technology the company also had to innovate their products, the was a change from the production of cathode ray tubes televisions and tapes to the production of LCD and rear production TVs ,Blu-ray and mobile technologies. This change in technology enabled the firm to meet up with the developing and changing needs of their customers and also enabled the firm to compete in the market. 3. Change in people; People in an organisation refer to all employees at higher and lower levels.
It is described by (Robbins et al, 1999) as “a change method that focuses on people, and their nature, together with the quality of their interpersonal work relationship”. Change in people involves a shift in employees’ attitude, perceptions, expectations or behaviours, which is very difficult for most managers to deal with. In the Sony industry there have been change in people, the main change in people was that of the change in the company’s manager, who initiated the other changes in people. But however the major cause behind the change in people is the change in structure and technology which lead to the redundancy of 10,000employees and lso change in the employee’s perceptions of their work, since complete new structures and technologies were introduce which required proper employee education and training. Question 2 In the Sony industry there are many factors which have trigger the need for change in the industry since the company was faced with both deep and broad problems, that is both internal and external. These factors refer to the main driving forces behind the need for change in Sony; the following paragraphs will discuss the internal and external factors which have created the need for change in Sony.
A. Internal factors Internal factors refer to those variables which have originated first from the internal activities of the organisation or from the external forces. These internal factors can arise due to the deterioration of building, equipment or due to the outdated abilities and skills of the ageing workforce. The internal factors which have created this need for change in Sony include; I. New equipment Change in equipment’s refers to change in the machines and software used to produce the innovative products in Sony, that is LCD and Blu-ray.
This new equipment will introduce a force for change in the industry since it will bring about a new job design for the various employees involved or they will need to undergo training in order to be able to use the new technologies appropriately or it will force the employees to impose new communication patterns within the various work groups. II. New organization strategy and structure The unstructured nature of the company has created a need for change since the existence of different function units led to slow respond to customers need and poor communication within the various units.
This created a need for change in the company’s design, a more centralised structure had to be established which will enable the company to easily make decision to respond to customers need and it will facilitate the control of the firm thus reducing product redundancy and limit wastage of the company’s resources. III. Financial conflicts Another internal source of change in the Sony industry is financial conflicts, the company was facing huge financial losses, poor levels of sales and drastic fall in their share prices.
This was due to the low quality of their products compared to other company’s such as apple and Samsung, since the main aim of the company is to make gains and not losses, the need for change becomes a vital necessity. B. External factors This are the factors which create the main pressure for change, thus organisations must be prepared to face the heavy demands of the changing environment in order to succeed and develop in the future. The main external factors which have created the need for change in Sony include; IV. Change in consumer needs and wants;
This involves changes in customer desires, the products of Sony were good but their customers desired not only technical superior goods but also had need for easy to use products, which Sony didn’t produce, and this led to a need for change, since the prime need of the company is to satisfy its customers. V. Change in technology; This has also created the need for change since technology changes every day, the internet in particular has change communication flow within organisation and the way in which organisations sell their products.
In Sony the change in technology caused the company to completely change the type of products they were producing so as to meet up with their customers need for innovation. VI. Market place; The situation in the market place has also trigger a need for change in the company, the company existed in a market place which was saturated with competitors who produced high quality innovative products which attracted large customers, such competitors include Samsung’s LCD and the apple’s iPod, this high level of competition in the market place led to huge loses in the Sony industry and thus created an urgent need for new solutions. ther sources of change in Sony could also be analysed using the “pestle analysis” which stand for political, economic, legal, technological, social and ecological factors which is used to scan the environment in which the firm is operating any alteration in any of the factor will cause strain on the organisation as a whole thus initiating change, the “ Swot analysis” is another method which could also be used to understand the opportunities and threats posed by the uncontrollable factors of the environment or to understand the strength and weaknesses of the firm.
Question 3 Organizational change occurs very rapidly and can be stannous for all involved, many managers and employees face new challenges with change and as such managers or change agents need to learn to make the transition easy for everyone involved. There are various theories which could help managers to easily implement change in a company like Sony where the change process will be a complete renovation of the company.
But however in order to successfully use a theory to implement change the managers in Sony first need to understand the various change metaphors. The “calm water metaphor” which sees organizations as a large ships crossing a calm sea, experiencing a storm that is seen as an occasional disruption in the normal flow of activities. The second is the “white water rapids” metaphor which describes the change in an organization as a small raft navigating a raging river with an unfamiliar crew who are unsure of their destination. Stephen et al, 2009) With this in mind managers will be able to identify if the pressure for the change was built slowly or arrived suddenly, that is, was the organization force into the change by factors like change in legislation or did it gradually realize the need for change by the steady decrease in share price, this will help managers to quickly adopt the best theory to implement the change , in Sony there was a collective realization that the change process had to be initiated since the company was doing very bad.
The managers in Sony could use Lewin’s three step model in order to implement these changes. Lewin’s three step model; This model holds that for change to be successful it requires planning and this takes place in three main steps which are Unfreezing old activities, Changing to a new state and Refreezing to make activities permanent. | Unfreezing refers to preparing the organization to the need for change, this means, recognizing that what was good for the past is bad for the future and why .
The need for change needs to be communicated, and the old things or habit forming activities which have no need in the organization need to be unfrozen. When the unfreezing state is completed and people are now open towards it the change process can now be implemented, employees will learn to do new task and take responsibilities. For the change to last it has to be refrozen so that it can be maintained over time.
But however this model of freezing and unfreezing treats change as an occasional disturbance since after the change is frozen the organization continues its activities normally, this is not the type of environment most firms operate nowadays, since change is constant as such the Sony company need to adopt another change theory which will be easy and successful for the company as a whole. The best theory the company can adopt to help implement the change is Kotler’s 8 steps change model, his theory is good because it helps the company to achieve long term benefits from the change and it relates to people’s response and approach to change, this eight steps include; | a. Establish sense of urgency; This involves creating the need for change and communicating it to those involved and showing them its importance. This is important because change must involve the people and not be imposed on them. b. Forming a coalition;
At this stage managers need to select a group of people who will help to lead the change, these leaders need to be influential people in the business who possess the right skill and level to influence others. Managers or change agents have to encourage them to work as a team. c. Developing a vision When the key leaders have been chosen a vision of the change needs to be created and strategies on how to achieve that vision need to be outlined.
For example in the Sony industry the vision to produce more high technological products which are easily used can be achieved by using more high tech equipment’s. d. Communicate the vision When the vision and strategies for attaining it have been outline the key leaders need to communicate it to the various people involved so as to reduce the fear of uncertainty amongst them. e. Empowering broad-based decisions; The various obstacles which weaken the vision need to be remove a t this stage, and employees are encouraged to take risks and develop non-traditional ideas. f. Generate short term wins
The need to be periodic feedback so that those involve should know whether it was worth undertaking the change and it will help them believe the vision can be achieved. g. Build on the change, This means consolidating gains and producing more changes, h. Anchor the changes in corporate culture; The changes are to be consolidated and integrated into the culture in order to make them last. Question 4 Change is a process which replaces the known with uncertainty and ambiguity, as such no matter how good it can be it is always resisted at both organizational and individuals levels.
Resistant to change is often in many forms and it is often very difficult to identify the clear reasons for it. In the Sony industry there are many sources of resistance that could occur since initiating the change will completely revolutionize many aspects of the company. Sources of change in Sony; i. Fear of the unknown; Most employees in the company will be uncertain about the vision of the change project, and this will build doubts in their minds and thus push them to be resistant towards any change process. ii. Fear of redundancy
Most employees are afraid of losing their jobs or something they already possess due to the change and most of them view change as a factor which adds unwanted work load and also comes along with much responsibility. iii. Habit Most employees in the company are old and used to doing their work using particular steps and have learnt to stick to it, as such this people view change as a treat or disruption to their long built habits which they have implemented also they are afraid the change will mean bringing in new technologies which will be difficult for them to operate and which will also alter their habits. v. Corporate history and culture; This is another factor which will cause people to be resistant to change, this is because if the company’s past efforts to implement change have failed drastically, as is the case with Sony as seen in the case study when the new CEO says “we have made promises before but we failed to execute them”. This makes the employees to be resistant to the change process now, since they believe it will still fail, and most of them picture change as wastage of time and resources.
Another source of change may come from the influential groups of the company like managers who will picture the change process as a threat to their power or influence as such will be very resistant towards it, this is very possible in Sony because one of the main visions is to streamline the company structure and design it into a more flatter structure, therefore reducing the span of control and thus the number of management.
This various sources of resistance which can be experienced in Sony need to be dealt with by the various change agents or managers in order for the change process to be effective, since the employees are the greatest obstruction to change. For management to effectively deal with these sources of resistance they need to understand the reasons and nature of the change, so as to easily design strategies for dealing with the resistance.
Solution to resistance; v. Educate and communicate, The need for change to the employees to enable them understands the urgent need for change. This is because some of the employees are resistant due to lack of information or misunderstanding of the whole ideas, as such managers need to communicate with the employees and help them see the reason for the change and educate them through one-on-one discussions, memos, and trainings. vi. Participation;
Managers need to allow those who oppose to the change to participate in the decisions made, leave them to use their expertise to make meaningful contributions, this involvement will enable them to see the need for the change and can help to reduce their resistance, and increase their commitment to seeing the change succeed. vii. Negotiation; Change agents or managers can also use exchange method to reduce resistance this is mostly effective with influential or powerful resisters, since the exchange of something of value will encourage them to reduce the resistance of their groups too, even though it is very cost full. iii. Manipulation and co-optation; This is a form of manipulation whereby resisters are being tricked using distorting facts, withholding damaging information and creating false rumours. This is good because it is effective in gaining resisters support and it is inexpensive but however it can also fail if the resisters become aware of been tricked. Conclusion Change is something which is constant and for a company like Sony if they fail to manage change successfully they may be left behind by competition.
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