Contemporary Issues in Management: Creativity, Change and Innovation Management
Contemporary Issues in Management
Contemporary Issues in Management: Creativity, Change and Innovation Management
In order to keep up pace with the changing market conditions and beat the competitive pressures in an effective way, organizations have to pursue continuous change and innovation strategies in their business processes and workplace practices (Kerle 2011). Creativity, change, and innovation management has never been an easy task for a business organization due to various internal and external issues and constraints (Khan & Al-Ansari 2005). A number of research studies have been conducted that address these issues from the contemporary business world and present various kinds of models and theories which can be followed by organizations to bring an effective organizational change (Agbor 2008).
The purpose of this paper is to discuss this important issue for one of the leading multinational corporations in the Information Technology industry -- the Microsoft Corporation. The discussion has been made in the light of a couple of widely used organizational change and innovation management models and approaches which can give desired results to the organizations and help them ensure a successful and sustainable future in their industry.
Microsoft Corporation is the world's leading multinational organization in the Computers and Information Technology industry. It is an American business corporation which manufactures, sells, and markets a wide range of software and hardware products and related services to its customers all over the Globe. Established in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft Corporation is headquartered in Redmond, Washington and operates through offices and manufacturing units in different regions of the world. Microsoft currently employs more than 94,000 people from different cultures, nationalities, and races. Microsoft has always been recognized among the most innovative and competitive organizations in the Global IT industry. This success and competitiveness can be attributed to the leadership and human resource of the organization (Microsoft 2013).
The supervision of this IT giant is in the hands of the world's most successful CEO, Mr. Bill Gates. He has successfully led the "Organizational change" which Microsoft Corporation truly needed to become the strongest entity in the IT world. His charismatic leadership style, creative mind, and visionary thinking made the organization's human resource to work in the most effective and efficient way in one common direction. At present, Microsoft enjoys market leadership in the Global IT industry with the help of its two biggest strengths -- the innovative business processes and a strong organizational culture (Microsoft 2013).
CHANGE AND INNOVATION Management MODELS AND THEORIES
Organizational change and innovation refers to the degree to which an organization upgrades its business processes, technologies, workplace practices, and other business affairs according to the changing business needs and competitive forces from its industry (Leavitt 2002). There are various issues and constraints which these organizations have to encounter in the course of their organizational change (Poutanen, Kianto, & Stahle 2012). Researchers have presented a number of theories and models which can help organizations in bringing this organizational change in an effective and efficient way (Poskien? 2006).
The following sections are dedicated to highlight and discuss the major change and innovation management issues which Microsoft has to face, and some important models and approaches which it can put into practice in order to be successful in its industry.
THE SIX CHANGE APPROACHES BY KOTTER AND SCHLESINGER (1979)
Kotter and Schlesinger presented an organizational change model in 1979 that addresses and helps organizations in managing their employees' resistance to the organizational change. They have presented six approaches which directly deal with employees' resistance to change. These are: Education and communication, participation and involvement, facilitation and support, negotiation and agreement, manipulation and co-option, and explicit and implicit coercion (Botten & Chartered Institute of Management Accountants 2009). These approaches are now discussed below in detail:
Approach 1: Education and Communication:
Kotter and Schlesinger believe that employees need accurate and reliable information in order to believe the facts regarding organizational change. They believe that organizations can effectively eliminate their employees' resistance to change if they ensure that these employees have true and accurate information regarding new business processes and reengineering (Botten & Chartered Institute of Management Accountants 2009). At Microsoft, there is an effective communication network between employees and their leaders which helps the Management in ensuring that its workforce does not get vague, ambiguous, or false information from any unreliable sources. Therefore, the Management is able to successfully lead the change which the organization needs in its day-to-day business affairs and practices.
Approach 2: Participation and Involvement:
This approach suggests that employees are less likely to resist the organizational change when they are personally involved in that change. That is, the managers can involve their subordinates in the organizational change through different participative techniques so as to create their interest in the organizational development and innovation. Microsoft is considered as one of the most successful and innovative entities in the Global IT industry. The reason behind this success is the mutual efforts of the whole workforce that performs its duties in different operational areas and accepts the change which its Management wants to bring in its activities (Microsoft 2013).
Approach 3: Facilitation and Support:
One of the major reasons for employees' resistance to organizational change is the anxiety and fear of the new business processes and job duties. When employees are asked to perform their duties in a totally different style, they feel unsecure due to lack of confidence and proper training. In order to encounter this issue, managers need to provide sufficient training and guidance to each organizational member according to the requirements of his new job duties. They must facilitate their subordinates in a friendly and supportive manner so as to develop the required skills and capabilities for the new business processes. These practices eliminate the employees' resistance to change up to a large extent. The Microsoft employees undergone full fledge training sessions before they are exposed to new business processes by their managers. These training sessions make them equipped with the latest knowledge and skills that enable them to perform their new job responsibilities in an effective and efficient way.
Approach 4: Negotiation and Agreement:
There may be some organizational members or groups that refuse to accept the organizational change or innovation strategies. In such type of situations, organizations need to negotiate with these opposing individual or groups through different incentives or motivational techniques. In extreme cases, these individuals or groups are asked to leave the organization against heavy incentives or through early buyouts. Being a large scale multinational organization with a diverse workforce, Microsoft also faces strong criticism and opposition when it tries to implement some business innovation strategy. It manages to resolve these criticism issues through early negotiation and agreements with its employee unions and business partners.
Approach 5: Manipulation and Co-option:
Kotter and Schlesinger believe that organizational change is an essential strategy to become innovative and achieve competitiveness in the industry. However, employees' resistance to change may make it difficult for the organizations to implement this change effectively. They suggest that organizations should make every effort to make their employees accept the change. In addition to the abovementioned approaches which directly aim to motivate or negotiate with the employees, the manipulation and co-option approach can indirectly turn the situation in the organization's favor. Through this approach, organizations can involve the leaders from the opposing groups in their change management process and indirectly motivate them to accept the change. Microsoft has built strong relationships with its business partners, supply chain members, and employee unions. Therefore, it does not have to use manipulation tactics to bring organizational change effectively.
Approach 6: Explicit and Implicit Coercion:
When employees are not accepting the organizational change even after using direct motivational techniques or indirect tactics, organizations use explicit and implicit coercion approach as the last resort. Kotter and Schlesinger suggest that organizations can directly or indirectly warn their employees to accept the change if they wish to continue their employment with them; Otherwise, they may lose their job once and for all. Although these tactics forcefully make the employees to accept the change under duress, the morale of these employees is negatively affected which is harmful for the organization's productivity and industrial relations. Microsoft realizes the importance of organizational change, but it never uses de-motivational techniques to force its employees to accept this change. Therefore, it gives an equal focus on bring an effective change and innovation in its business processes as well as keeping its employees satisfied with its strategies (Microsoft 2013).
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THE SIX CHANGE APPROACHES MODEL
The Six Change Approaches Model by Kotter and Schlesinger gives a set of some useful recommendations to the business organizations on how they can eliminate the resistance of their employees towards their change and innovation strategies. This model is useful for all those organizations which find it harder to persuade their employees to embrace the change. For example, the first approach, "Education and…