Sweeping demographic shifts, technological advances, competition, geopolitical realignments, and other related pressures are coalescing with concerns for security, new customer preferences and organizational governance to create momentous pressure for organizational change (Howard, 1994).
The awareness of this multiplicity of factors is critically important since it alert’s managers and other interested parties to a need to have some intervention measures in place to attend to their organizations’ pertinent environmental contexts and to decide on the best way to deal with them.
The underlying principle is that organizations need to continually change to adapt to the environmental factors or risk irrelevancy (Harrison & Shirom, 1999). This paper purposes to evaluate organizational diagnosis for change at Translines Logistics Company.
The above named company has been experiencing decreasing business in spite of the fact that it was a market leader in logistics and parcel delivery services some years ago. Recent government regulations requiring cargo to be cleared from the port within 24 hours or risk stiff penalties have not helped matters, and the company is losing money charged as penalties for late cargo clearance.
Also, customers have been lodging complaints about late or delayed cargo delivery to their warehouses, and some have already left the company due to this problem.
According to Harrison & Shirom (2007), organizational diagnosis basically entails “…investigations that draw on concepts, models, and methods from the behavioral sciences in order to examine an organization’s current state and help clients find ways to solve problems or enhance organizational effectiveness” (p. 7).
After conducting a series of interviews with managers at the company’s port and head offices, it became clear that the existing organizational structure and technology cannot permit clearance of cargo within 24 hours and, as such, does not fit the current situation as dictated by the government regulation.
A close observation of the company trucks as they moved about transporting cargo to various destinations revealed that drivers were indeed stopping on the way to engage in private business. A perusal of company documents relating to clearance and cargo holding revealed very many layers of authority, thus time wastage.
For example, a cargo needed the signatures of 5 managers for it to be released, and some of the managers were ever absent from the office. It is imperative to note that the diagnosis made use of Bolman & Deal’s Four Frames Model to identify these underlying issues that generated ineffective outcomes for the company (Noolan, 2004).
In consequence, it is clear that the organizational structure needs to be changed so that it is aligned with the current situation that requires faster cargo clearance. In changing the organizational structure, efforts should be made to reduce the layers of authority in a strategy aimed at availing cargo to customers within the designated time-frame. Third, the company needs a total overhaul of its information system to necessitate cargo clearance online instead of doing it manually.
This will not only save time, but it will enable the company to save critical resources in terms of wage bills and office space. Lastly, the company could consider investing in high-tech satellite tracking systems to monitor the activities of drivers while on duty. This will go a long way to curtail use of official time for personal purposes, a factor that has been directly linked to the increased customer disenchantment with the company.
According to the Four Frames model, every organizational change has some human implications, and it should be the function of change agents or consultants to always ensure that the organization is tailored to meet the human needs (Noolan, 2004).
However, the change progressed in this type of situation may in the long run have some implications for the employees by virtue of the fact that some managers may have to be stepped down or moved to other sections to pave way for reorganizing the organizational structure to lessen the layers of authority. Still, some employees will be replaced by the modern information system to be implemented to ensure that cargo is cleared from the port within the designated time-frame.
Drivers, on their part, will have to be monitored through satellite to ensure they deliver on time. These implications, though they may appear harsh to employees, will go a long way to align the needs of the organization to its business strategies and the anticipated outcomes. To remain competitive and sustainable, organizations must align their change efforts to the long-term business agenda and key objectives (Franken et al., 2009).
As already mentioned, there exists a multiplicity of factors within the environmental context of organizations that drives change (Howard, 1994). In this particular scenario, the leading driver of change is the sudden shift in government regulations, that is, the introduction of a new regulation requiring companies to clear their cargo within 24 hours or risk penalties.
According to Franken et al (2009), many of the factors that drive change are interrelated, and this can be drawn here by the fact that the government must have known about the existence of a particular type of technology that can facilitate cargo clearance within a shorter time-frame.
Against this backdrop, it can be argued that the convergence of technology is yet another driver of change. Third, shifting customer expectations and new competitive threats can also be identified as other drivers of change. The customer must have known about other competitors in the market and their delivery capability compared against what Tlanslines was offering.
Manuela & Clara (n.d.) are of the opinion that “…the reasons for the failure of many change initiatives can be found in resistance to change” (p. 3). It is a well known fact that resistance to change introduces costs and impediments in the change process that are inarguably challenging to anticipate, but which must be duly considered when initiating changes in an organization.
In this particular situation, resistance may be anticipated from managers who will have to lose their positions or be transferred elsewhere in an attempt to reduce the layers of authority and streamline the organizational structure.
Second, resistance may be anticipated from truck drivers who may feel uncomfortable with the idea of being tracked via satellite to ensure faster delivery of cargo. Third, resistance may come from fellow employees who may be uncertain about their jobs and other benefits when computerization of the cargo clearance system is fully implemented.
From the identification of the underlying factors that have affected the business outcomes of Tlanslines, it can be recommended that structural and administrative reforms be initiated towards necessitating the company meet the government initiatives and remain competitive in business. Such reforms will be in line with the company’s long-term business goal of remaining a market leader in the transportation business.
It is also recommended that the company adopts technology frameworks that will inarguably facilitate faster clearance of cargo and faster delivery of the same to customers. Such an arrangement will to a large extent assist the company to maintain its competitive advantage in the marketplace. Finally, it is recommended that all employees be involved in the change process to reduce resistance and make it a success.
Franken, A., Edwards, C., & Lambert, R (2009). Executing Strategic Change: Understanding the Critical Management Elements that leads to Success. California Management Review, 51(3), 49-73. Retrieved from Business Source Premier Database
Harrison, M.., & Shirom, A. (1999). Organizational diagnosis and assessment: Bridging theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc
Howard, A. (1994). Diagnosis for organizational change: Methods and models. New York, NY: The Guilford Press
Manuela, P.V., & Clara, M.F. (n.d.) Resistance to Change: A Literature Review and Empirical Study. Retrieved 30 October 2010
Noolan, J.A.C. (2004). Diagnostic models: An Introduction. Retrieved November 7 2010