Blumenthal and Haspeslagh (1994) discusses how businesses steer change and starts by an acknowledgement of how confusing "transformation" as a concept is. Based on review of transformation cases and senior-level interviews, Blumenthal and Haspeslagh propose main assumption: whereas ultimate goal of transformation is enhancing performance, different endeavors for performance improvement are not transformational. Thus, corporate transformation requires behavioral changes.
Transformation starts by acknowledging a firm is or will be become uncompetitive, followed by a dilemma for managers of how to create a sense of urgency and avoid resistance to change. Three processes are identified to enact change: improving operations, strategic transformation and corporate self-renewal.
Enacting transformation by improving operations centers on reengineering business process across functions or different organizational boundaries. This may include reviewing business processes, restructuring roles and responsibilities and restating performance criteria and metrics. However, Blumenthal and Haspeslagh remind, not every reengineering process is transformational. Merely restructuring or downsizing does not mean staff behavior will change accordingly.
Enacting transformation by changing strategy is performed by "redefining business objectives, creating new competences, and harnessing these capabilities to meet market opportunities". One business could perform a full strategic review, a new redefined strategy might emerge to which all are committed for action. A second business could introduce innovations, manipulating market demands and reformulating standards. Notably, strategic shifts are hard to implement given how managers are linked to older habits and routines. Transforming strategically remains most challenging of all transformations given how old guard feels enormous risks of becoming increasingly irrelevant.
Enacting transformation by corporate self-renewal is performed by creating ability for a business to anticipate and cope with change. This can be achieved by specific behavioral change procedures including "facing reality, setting high standards of performance, and accepting responsibility for results". Big businesses suffering from what Blumenthal and Haspeslagh call "success sclerosis" may resist change as unnecessary and hence require further efforts for behavioral changes.
Transformation efforts are not exact copies but differ based on periods of effecting change and upper management roles. Transformation can be from as little as six months up to a decade or longer. The upper management role could not be about setting a strategy but about setting direction, conflict management and building new competencies. Transforming successfully is about management succeeding in embedding necessary behavioral changes in organizational culture as to achieve long-range financial success. Transformation is usually accompanied by disruption an initial decline in performance only to improve gradually.
Waldersee (1997) proposes leaders are primary in enacting changes in organizations. Against a backdrop of broad-brush approaches, change is effective by mosaic actions by leaders. In order for change to gain firm grounds, leaders need to grasp specific, contextual information about individual behavior. The main argument is a discussion of processes and mechanisms leaders grasp to influence individual behavior to enact change.
Transformation is unidentical. Therefore, Waldersee argues, business and leaders develop specific and unique theories for changes each in her respective are and each according to her own organizational context. Leaders aim to influence five mechanism areas of change: (1) message reception, (2) establishing intellectual transformation organizationally, (3) motivation, (4) self confidence, and (5) navigating change.
Given how change messages could be very fragmented, distinguished leaders are able to not only indentify optimum message reception channels but also particulars of communicated change messages. Further leader involvement by participation in different business functions ensures change messages are adequately received.
Aligning micro and macro frameworks is one way leaders can influence staff behavior. At a micro level, leaders address specific changes in job functions. At a macro level, leaders address working environment as a whole. To avoid heuristic processing, leaders should engage staff by more elaborative processing of delivered messages. That is, by adequately embedding intellectual transformation into organizations leaders are able to avoid staff cognitive limitations and different workplace demands.
Motivation can be compliance-, identification-, or internalization-based. By compliance motivation is meant a drive to obtain specific concrete results. Identification motivation refers to one's primary motivation as relational and based on peer and/or superordinate satisfaction. Team formation, esprit de corps and enhancing social networks are best interventions. Internalization motivation refers to one receiving satisfaction from actions which are consistent with her value system. Empowerment, participation and self-management are best interventions.
Choosing most adequate course for influencing individual judgments and actions, leaders identify self-efficacy support actions based on an individual's record, observed success by peers, feedback and encouragement received from others and psychological states, particularly anxiety.
Outstanding leaders can help staff navigate change by assisting staff in setting goals, obtaining feedback on performance and, not least restricting work environment as to offer optimum support system.
Outstanding leaders understand key drivers of change and hence are able to perform specific action which should make change smoother. Learning is, after all, evolutionary and should not be prescribed in stand-alone development programs.
Blumenthal, B., & Haspeslagh, P. (1994, April). Toward a Definition of Corporate Transformation. Sloan Management Review. Retrieved from http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/toward-a-definition-of-corporate-transformation/
Waldersee, R. (1997). Becoming a learning organization: the transformation of the workforce. Journal of Management Development, 16(4), 262 – 273. Emerald Insight. doi: 10.1108/02621719710164544