This paper will attempt to make a distinction between why companies change and the catalysts used in an organization to bring about that change. According to Ian Palmer, Richard Dunford, and Gib Akin (2009), “Whether the change is reactive or anticipatory gives rise to four categories: tuning, reorientation, adaptation, and re-creation” What Causes Organization Change Management? Change is required in today’s business environment to stay profitable but to stay competitive.
It is the daily watch for many whose job it is to forecast the futures of their companies. “Managers think about today. Leaders think about tomorrow. ” Dan McCreary (2004) There are many types of change, the first one could be described as ‘tuning’ this is where an organization needs to streamline processes and cut spending costs making the organization more efficient and pro-active. Another type of change is called ‘reorientation’; this involves planning ahead and making the changes needed for future strengths by using past strengths and history as your guide. Adaptation: this is a reactive mode where the business climate has changed without being anticipated. And finally “re-creation” also a reactive type of change but requires the business to totally reinvent itself. (Ian Palmer, 2009) Catalysts that Cause Change As discussed in the first sections of this paper there types of change for business, but catalysts that cause them. When doing 8th grade science with my daughter, we needed to define a catalyst or catalysis and it is defined as: “the change in rate of a chemical reaction due to the participation of a substance called a catalyst.
Although catalysts are not consumed by the reaction itself, they may be inhibited, deactivated or destroyed by secondary processes” (Wikipedia, 2010) this was something that was of interest while thinking about the term catalyst in change management. Business catalysts causing change often involve some of the following: Financial change, restructuring for more efficiency, competition driven change, market demand and /or cultural change. Companies find many reasons to change but what occurs to me is that the catalysts remain, just like in the scientific definition unchanged. The catalysts named above may be the ause of the organizational changes, but what companies do only inhibit, deactivate or destroy secondary processes or in this case the way business was conducted or how it will be conducted in the future. Businesses do not have much control over the catalysts that cause change. Many companies invest time and money on developing strategies to be re-active to known catalysts by watching, observing and making incremental changes. Personal Example of Organizational Change Many times businesses are not able to foresee events that may cause catastrophic changes to the way they do business.
For example the events of 9-11 the organizational and financial changes brought on by that event could not have been foreseen by anyone and a lot of businesses have been affected in one way or another. Many businesses saw only minor effects whereas many others saw major changes take place impacting business on a global level. Case in point while working as the Director of Customer Satisfaction for American Express, Western Corporate Division pre-911, I was overseeing three divisions of Corporate Credit Card sales and service. My responsibilities covered Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Nebraska.
Times were such that the credit card industry was on the rise and corporations were handing out corporate cards to their employees by the dozens. Business was good and expanding rapidly with no foreseeable end in sight. The horrific tragedy occurred within walking distance from the American Express Headquarters in New York, many people I communicated with daily called cancelling all meetings, conference calls and trips. American Express Headquarters less than two blocks from the Twin Towers were evacuated. It was weeks before we resumed business as usual out here in the west, but looking back business as usual never did resume.
It took months and years for the effects of what happened to trickle down. The main result has been a destabilizing factor , we have watched programs cut and dismantled as a result of slow business, or business demands and priorities’ changing. Due to financial pressures, changes in how American business owners view spending and debt as well as rising interest rates and an unsteady global market American Express has downsized more than three fourths of its Corporate Credit Card divisions and closed many regional offices.
American Express saw that business card holders were either using the cards without the ability to pay the balance each month or simply not using the card. One reactionary change was creating a credit card with a spending limit for small businesses that allowed them to carry a balance on large purchases, unlike the customary American Express Card paid in full each month with no spending limit. As a country we can look back since this catastrophic event and almost put together a timeline for the decline of the economy to what it is today.
Not all problems were caused by the events of 9-11 directly, but many changes can be linked to it. Using this event as the catalyst we can see that the catalyst didn’t go away but many businesses reacted and then implemented changes to the events that happened afterward to mitigate damage and in some cases become more competitive in their prospective markets. Others sadly were not able to make the needed changes and went out of business. Conclusion
Whether companies are tuning, reorganizing, recreating, or adapting all changes are caused by a catalyst. That catalyst never does go away, but companies can plan and change to either slow the catalyst, deactivate is effects, or re-create themselves by destroying old models, and inventing new processes. A company that is pro-active having made incremental changes without re-inventing or re-organizing the entire company may be in the best position.
However, many times there will be catalyst that cannot be foreseen by anyone, those companies with vision and the best plans to implement change will survive while those who cannot change will die. “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” Charles Darwin 1809-1882, English biologist and father of the evolution theory (Darwin, 2010)
Works Cited Darwin, C. (2010, Aug 28). Think Exit. com. Retrieved October 10, 2010, from http://thinkexist. com/quotes/with/keyword/organizational/ Ian Palmer, r. D. (2009). University of Phoenix Custom EdititionManagement 380- Organizational Change (2009). Managing organizational change. A multiple prespectives approach. McGraw-Hill Company. McCreary, D. (2004). Why Organizational Change is so Hard. Chicago: Random House. Wikipedia. (2010, 10 2). Wikipedia. Retrieved Oct 11, 2010, from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Catalysis