Why Change Matters Research Paper

Pages: 6 (1972 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management

¶ … Change Matter in Business Dynamics?

Effective management in the business world is what can keep companies and organizations moving forward. But when it comes to change, are companies and their workers truly ready to make the adjustments and potential sacrifices to bring in new ideas and develop a new workplace culture? How important is it for companies to usher in organizational change? This paper examines those questions and referenced the literature as to how management theories and models can and do make a positive difference for companies.

Author Geert Hofstede explains that throughout the world there are a number of management theories -- each suited to the dynamics of the national culture in that particular country -- and looking into the effectiveness of those management theories from his point-of-view was instructive and practical for researchers in America and elsewhere.

For example, Hofstede, a noted social psychologist and anthropologist, traveled to China, Africa, Russia, Japan, Germany, France and Holland to examine the way in which management handles businesses in those placed. His perspective from a global angle is that management theories in the United States "…contain a number of idiosyncrasies not necessarily shared by management elsewhere" (Hofstede, 1993, p. 81). Keeping in mind that this article seventeen years old, the author nevertheless provides some perspectives on management and change that are timeless.

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Hofstede refers back to an article he wrote thirteen years before he published this current article; in that 1980 piece, he suggested that "generally accepted theories like those of Maslow, Herzberg, MClelland, Vroom, McGregor…" and others may not have been accepted or embraced outside the U.S. borders -- and in fact American theories about management were not widely adopted or respected during that era (Hofstede, 83). . But what Hofstede learned by visiting other nations and studying how their effective management models worked out to be was valuable time spent, he explains.

Research Paper on Why Change Matters Assignment

For example, in Germany they have a "very effective apprenticeship system" which works well on the floor of the company as well as in the executive offices. Because of the effectiveness of the apprenticeship system, the typical German worker does not "…necessarily need a manager, American-style, to 'motivate' them," the author explains on page 83. He implies that if Germany had introduced a management system using an American model it might have been "a liability rather than an asset" (83). This is a perfect example as to why a system may work well in one culture, but not be effective at all in another.

Meanwhile in Japan Hofstede found that U.S.-style management doesn't exist, but rather a "permanent worker group" is the norm, and workers move into their "live-long" positions after being trained. "American theories of leadership are ill-suited for the management group-controlled situation," Hofstede writes on page 84. Without going into the particulars, a review of Hofstede reveals that in France, Holland, and China, systems of management are in place that do not base their promotions on "earnings," or "benefits," or "security of employment." In Holland, Americans could learn a lot: The Dutch "attached more importance to freedom to adopt their own approach to the job" than Americans do; and the Dutch, and Chinese, care more about "training opportunities" than getting a raise based on time spent on the job (Hofstede, 85).

Author Michael J. Mumford points to the fact that sometimes in business environments structures absolutely have to change (in order to salvage business success) and that this period of time is crucial. Indeed, when there is financial distress, it presents a "very powerful, constraint upon management" (Mumford, 2003, 52). The idea is not to let things deteriorate to the point of company default before making the necessary management changes. And when the change in corporate leadership and management style is called for because the company is facing "financial difficulty," Mumford emphasizes that it is vitally important "…to give creditors power to find out the truth of the matter" (p. 53). Dealing with the issue of financial difficult and what management should do about it in terms of change is of value because for example, "more than have the new firms set up between 1987 and 1989, both in the service sector and in production and manufacturing, failed within three years," Mumford recounts on page 53.

What Mumford has attempted to do in this article is offer "various alternative procedures contemplated under UK law to address financial distress"; but of course the real theme of This paper is to implement those management changes that can bring a company back to financial solvency prior to a disastrous failure.

Meanwhile, in the book, The Icarus Paradox (Miller, 1990, 1) the author delves into the reasons that competitiveness in the American business milieu is waning, and has been declining "for over two decades." And though highly respected authors and scholars in the field of business management have urged "American managers" to "learn from their Japanese counterparts"; Miller suggests three ways U.S. business managers could benefit from vis-a-vis Japanese management models: a) Americans could learn to become "more sensitive to their markets"; b) Americans could become "more consensual in their decision making"; and c) Americans should become "more oriented toward the long-term" (Miller, 1).

What is the "Icarus Paradox"? Miller explains that in the famous mythical story, the Icarus is the son of master craftsman Daedalus, who constructs wings for his son to use in attempting to escape from Crete. The wings are made of feathers and wax, and his father told Icarus to be careful not to fly too close to the sun. But Icarus did not listen to this good advice and indeed he did fly too close to the sun. The result was bad; the sun melted the wax and Icarus fell to his death. This myth has been used often to provide a graphic (if mythical) example of failed ambition and hubris.

Miller asserts that the same paradox -- companies fly so high with "victories and strengths" that success "seduces them into the excesses that cause their downfall" -- often exists in business (3). Too often in business success leads to "speculation and exaggeration, to confidence and complacency, to dogma and ritual," Miller continues. The irony he explores is that so many hugely successful companies "are so prone to failure" because their strategies "become less balanced" and "center more and more upon a single, core strength that is simplified unduly, while other aspects are forgotten almost entirely" (Miller, 4).

Danny Miller uses ITT as a classic example of what happens when a company eschews change and barges ahead with its old strategies; "Over time, ITT's success -- or more specifically, its managers' reactions to that success -- caused it to amplify its winning strategy" and in the meantime it forgot about everything else, Miller writes (7). He goes on (16) to note that some companies are so successful that it makes their managers "overconfident, more prone to excess and neglect," and more likely to shape policies that reflect "their own preferences rather than those of their customers." This is a time when a smart company would be wise to turn to the strategies and theories of the iconic Peter Drucker.

Writing in Business Week magazine, journalists John A. Byrne (with Lindsey Gerdes) show their hand regarding the value of Peter Drucker's career and writings in the article's headline: "THE MAN WHO INVENTED Management: Why Peter Drucker's ideas still matter." Not all of Drucker's ideas relate to change management per se, but companies that picked up on Drucker's better solutions did indeed change their management strategies and hence became more successful.

The article is something of a eulogy, resulting from the death of Drucker on November 11, 2005, eight days short of his 96th birthday. The writers point to Drucker's failing health leading up to his passing, including abdominal cancer, a broken hip, near deafness and heart problems (a pacemaker kept him going). Drucker had told Byrne a few months earlier in an interview that in terms of how he saw his legacy, "What I would say is I helped a few good people be effective in doing the right things." That is an understatement, to be sure, but there are plenty of other voices that speak to Drucker's influence and contributions.

The article continues by recounting Drucker's "rising disenchantment with capitalism in the late 20th Century." Byrne describes that disenchantment: "Drucker was sickened by the excessive riches awarded to mediocre executives" while rank and file workers were "downsized" left and right. That disappointment aside, according to Byrne's article, "the organization and practice of management today is derived largely from the thinking of Peter Drucker." Drucker taught many generations of managers "…the importance of picking the best people" and "focusing on opportunities and not problems," Byrne continues.

Moreover, Drucker taught thousands upon thousands of managers to get "…on the same side of the desk as your customer" and never stop searching for talented people. Drucker was "the guru's guru, a safe, kibitzer, doyen, and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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