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Initating Change in Polyprod

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Roberta Jackson, the concerned, experienced first-level project manager who works for the headquarters site of the manufacturing and distribution division of Polyprod is trying to improve the current information management practices. She realizes that it will not be an easy job. Failing to do so would in the future cost Polyprod millions of dollars in direct expenses and could contribute to long-term market share declines in Polyprod products. The task is to change the documentation processes and procedures. The obstacles are the company’s resistance to change, trust issues and culture issues. This will be clarified further in the following paragraphs.

Problem statement/Diagnosis:

As with every organization, creating change in the procedures of a business is always a hard task. Due to the size of the company, the number of people, different believes and personalities, creating change can be a difficult task. The main problem with Polyprod is that it is a big organization that has existed for 11 years. The organization has experienced a fast growth during its 11 years and the main focus lies with increased speed, intricacy, and expense of the unique high-volume automated manufacturing processes that produce the products. With exponential increase in locations, sales, capital equipment, product lines and personnel support systems such as the information and knowledge management system, the system has struggled to keep up with the growth. Furthermore, the company has also hired temporary and inexperienced personnel which has also contributed to the problem. It has created an issue where its hard to maintain the culture of the organization. Another problem is that over the last several years, friction between headquarters and the different locations has begun to increase. The locations are saying that their HQ have demanding attitudes and are patronizing them, while HQ dislikes the fierce and sometimes

unnecessary individualism of those locations. This is due to HQ having a subtle but strong resistance to change. This is especially true when people are trying to change something that includes synchronizing all the locations when it comes to a single process or technology. In the past, attempts to create change have been doomed to failure. They (HQ) simply believe that it is too risky. The main key organizational problems are: 1. The culture of an organization is very hard if even possible to change. It is deeply rooted within the organization. The Headquarters on Polyprod have a long history of being conservative and reluctant to change. 2. Rapid organizational growth makes it hard to maintain order and conformity. Creating and maintaining a information management system that can update and conform itself is a hard and expensive task. Polyprod have grown from a small company to a huge global company operating in several different locations around the world. 3. The third problem is that the organization is experiencing difficulties keeping a unified shared culture due to rapid hiring,

promotion, insufficient mentoring, heavy outsourcing, and downsizing of certain competencies, and extensive use of a temporary workforce in non-engineering areas. This has impacted the once homogenous and intensely loyal culture. With the growth of the company, it is imperative that something is done, or the problem will grow in to huge proportion. Much of Polyprod revenue and profits come from growth and expansion within the manufacturing and distribution part of the company, which means that the problems have to be addressed in order for the company to continue to be successful. Documentation Problems: The main documentation problem in Polyprod is the high volume manufacturing system they have that allows products to be scanned for quality. It is important that they don’t loose to many products to a ‘too high control’ system that throws away ‘bad’ products. Thus, it is necessary to have a good documentation system including material and process specifications, operating instructions, maintenance information, replication data of materials, assembly and checkout instructions etc.

Another documentation problem is that there is a lack of trust for the documentation system. Because of past bad experiences (outdates and
incorrect information) the design departments, employees and management at HQ are dissatisfied with the documentation system. Solution generation: An important step in creating a successful strategy with a positive outcome is to implement a general organization vision or strategy to create a full and robust documentation system. The different departments are so widespread that there is a huge lack of information sharing and communicating among departments and locations in the organization. The first option/solution is to come up with and implement a system that can gain the trust of the HQ management. They have to change their minds and be open to a new and improved program. This can only be achieved by creating awareness and showing how important and imperative the change is in order for the company to do well. If they don’t the company will slowly die. The culture is tough to change, but it has to start at a managerial level, where the decision makers are, because in order to change an organization, you need leaders to motivate their employees and show the way, this cannot be done unless the leaders believe and trust the change themselves.

Finding motivation for change at top-level management is the key to start the change process. The next objective that needs to be achieved is creating a strong vision and conformity among the different departments within the organization. The rapid organizational growth has caused the lines to spread thin, and this has caused lack of information and shared knowledge. By empowering managers more in a shared vision and shared knowledge to meet higher needs, they can tie the departments together by having meetings and new-shared information technologies. Since Polyprod is such a huge company, it is important to empower the managers and various leaders in the company to shift power down from the top of the organizational hierarchy and share it with subordinates. The third objective is to implement and sustain a successful and competent hiring of new employees and maintaining a high standard for the existing employees. The culture in Polyprod is changing because of lack of shared culture and shared beliefs and competency.

Hiring temporary employees that aren’t as skilled as they should be or have a understanding of the companies goals are not going to contribute to the organization in a successful way. Leadership has to stress how important it is to hire competent and knowledgeable workers. Furthermore, it is important for management to understand the importance of personal qualities for leading diverse people. Since there are so many locations around the world, it is important to have a personal, long-range vision that recognizes and supports a diverse organizational community. It is important to use adaptation and have understanding about the different cultures that have taken their places within the organization. Forcing them together and putting demands on them won’t work, you have to understand them first, and them select the best way to adapt and implement uniformity based on cultural differences. By understanding the importance of culture within an organization, the organization is putting emphasis on developing strong cultures that encourage teamwork, collaboration and mutual trust. This is very important to Polyprod because there is a conflict between different departments, HQ and issues of trust.

Solution choice and implementation: According to Daft, There are many reasons for the failure to change and adapt, a primary solution is better change leadership. Leaders serve as the main role models for change and provide the motivation and communication to keep change efforts moving forward. Strong, committed leadership is crucial to successful change (Daft, 2008). The five important key steps to implement change are; Motivating change, creating a vision, developing political support, managing the transition and sustaining the momentum. All of these factors will contribute to an effective change management. My solution is focused primarily on leadership, the system is there, but the trust and willingness within top management is not. It is important to overcome the resistance to change. After finding the motivation for change at top management (by understanding or obtaining knowledge/data that if company doesn’t change, it will die) leadership must implement a vision for the organization that all the employees can follow and understand.

Next, they need to come up with a strategy that will empower all the managers at the different locations and departments to keep everybody on the same track. Sharing a general organizational culture with shared beliefs, and a shared vision is a very important step in implementing change. Other than leadership, a shared knowledge and technology are the keys to a successful organizational change. Next, the leaders need to manage the transition of the organization from its current stage to the new and improved desired stage. By implementing the new information management system, and using a shared network of information between all the locations and HQ it will create a positive and successful change within the organization. After implementing the change, the managers need to closely monitor and participate with the employees to get feedback and data about the progress of the organization. With the new system, and a shared culture with shared knowledge and technology channels, the company should grow in to a strong unified organization that can achieve the goals that they first had set and receive profits from their products.

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