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Cultural Change at Heinz Australia
Heinz is an American food processing company that enjoys global recognition. In the year 1935, the organization started to operate in Australia. However, over the years the company was going through significant problems. The organization was facing issues regarding the staff retention and the overall revenue generation of the company declined significantly. In 2003, the company has appointed a new managing director in order to tackle the situation. The new managing director, Peter Widdows identified that the company needs to go through major change in order to boost the production as well as to build a favorable organizational culture. Hence, Widdows took few drastic steps that have boosted the organization significantly. These cultural changes can be analyzed by using cultural web designed by Johnson and Scholes (Ahammad et al., 2016, pp. 66-75). The cultural web is a paradigm that illustrates the mission and value of an organization. In addition to that, the framework also analyze the organizational structure and control system along with other factors. Hence, the paradigm is highly effective in understanding the change process of an organization. The elements of cultural web paradigm are Control System, Organizational Structure, Power Structure, Symbol, Rituals and Stories.
These elements can be analyzed in the context of the organizational change that took place in the Heinz Australia. While discussing the Organizational Structure, it can be said that Widdows has noticed that the organization was following a very complex organizational structure. Hence, an environment of conflict and confusion often arose within the organization. This has hampered the overall production of the organization. Moreover, as a result of the complex organizational structure, the higher management was not supportive enough to the junior employees and their ideas (Alvesson and Sveningsson, 2015, pp. 34). Widdows hence, changed the practice of organizational hierarchy and used the method of including all employees in the change process. In addition to that, Widdows has reduced the number of employees drastically. It has helped the organization in understanding and retaining the skilled and talented employees. This decision has increased the efficiency and production of the organization.
Another important aspect of the framework is the Control System. Every organization follows a particular method of monitoring the operations and the procedures. In the organization where complex organizational structure is being maintained, it is often monitored that the senior managers tend to hold the power culture (Elnaga and Imran 2013, pp.137-147). The similar incident has been monitored in the Heinz Company. Widdows monitored that the senior managers are controlling the overall production of the organization and are not willing to share views and ideas. This was affecting the morale of the staff members and the rates of employee turnover was high. To solve this issue Widdows adopted the method of boosting staff morale and encouraging them to share their views and ideas regarding better production as well as innovation (Rajasekar, 2014, pp. 28). In this regard, the role of Power Structure is also to be analyzed. The element analyze the procedure of decision-making and power controlling within an organization. Widdows has employed effective measures in order to encourage healthy organizational structure as well maintaining a balance between the divisions of power within the organizational hierarchy.
Another important element of the cultural web is the Symbols. The symbols generally refer to the logo and design of the company. In this regard, it can be said that the logo of Heinz fetches significant recognition. Symbol not only refers to the logo of the organization but also the includes the symbols of power (Cartwright and Cooper, 2014, pp. 29-42). In this regard, it can be said that Widdows has skillfully avoided the process of creating a strong power symbol for the organization so that the employees do not feel intimidated in while communicating with the senior employees.
The organization has implemented and followed rituals and routines religiously. Widdows has put emphasis on organizing meetings and building reports on a regular basis. However, he has made the rules and regulations flexible. The organization hence allows flexible organizational culture and working environment. This in turn has helped to create an environment of mutual trust and understanding amongst the employees (Schaffer, Sandau and Diedrick ,2013, pp.1197-1209). The primary motto of Widdows was to establish the organization as “A great place to work”. In this regard, Widdows has employed a successful technique of involving the employees into the process of decision-making. Moreover, stories and myths of about an organization influences the working environment to a great extent. The managing director of Heinz thus employed the method of building the organization a very favorable place. Along with the reward system for the employees, it has also come up with various programs and policies to secure the wellbeing of the employees. Widdows’s primary motto was to assure the employees that they are being equally respected and acknowledged similar to the senior managers (Ahammad et al., 2016, pp.66-75). To implement it, Widdows followed the method of “walk the talk”. He ensured that the all employees are equally respected. This has helped the organization to be identified as a better place to work.
Key Forces of Organizational Change
As analyzed by the cultural web paradigm, the organization has mostly been helped by the organizational changes that were implemented by Widdows. It has been monitored that the organization has gone through positive changes as a result of the change procedure. In this regard, the key forces that have played influential role in bringing the organizational change. The factors that have been helpful in the process of organizational change are simplified organizational culture, reducing individualism and power control (Albrecht et al., 2015, pp.7-35). As a part of the organizational change, Widdows has employed the process of including the employees in the organizational decisions. The decision of acknowledging the views and ideas have helped the organization to build an environment of mutual trust and understanding. For Heinz the external and internal forces that are playing influential role in changing the organizational culture are the diversity of the workforce, ethical behavior, change in the expectation of the employees and change in the working environment. Widdows has bring positive changes in the organizational culture and ethical behavior of the employees (Anderson, 2016, pp. 37). Changing the employee reward policies has helped the organization largely. The organization has adopted the method of including the ideas of the employees and has come up with better policies regarding employee healthcare and security. It has included policies such as providing healthcare benefits to the employees as well as to their family members. Along with that, it has introduced reimbursement of medical bills, payment of gym membership charges and so on. This has helped to encourage the employees and made them more productive.
However, the decision of reducing the employees has affected the organizational environment in the initial stages. It has created an environment of turmoil and unrest amongst the employees. They were cynical due to the drastic reduction of the number of employees. Although, the initial unrest has been overcome by the process of employee engagement. In addition to this, the organization needs to focus on the rituals and routines of the organizational meeting (Anitha, 2014, pp. 41). Management meetings as well as team are important in order to keep up with the continuous progress. The Heinz Australia has employed the method of practicing the changes in a religious manner. This has helped the organization in keeping up with the continuous development.
Key strengths of the new culture
Identifying a negative culture within the organization, Widdows took the initiative implementing the change actively. The very first change he brought in the organization was reduced the number of salaried employees by 25% along with new board members in the middle level (Boons, F., Montalvo, Quist and Wagner, 2013, pp.1-8.). The major benefit of the change was considerable as Widdows mainly focused on the small structure so that supervising them would be effective. While implementing the new culture, Widdows focused on the idea of changing the attitude and behaviors of the company. The employees of the organization were encouraged to work together with the motto ‘a great place to work’. Instead of forceful implementation of change, the employees were welcomed take part in the process of change enthusiastically. The employees were asked share their feedback and point view regarding the change. Widdow demonstrated the senior managers the proper behavior they should have while communicating with their subordinates. Instead of rebuking and insulting, Widdows advised the managers to listen to the employees patiently and to show respect while speaking to them (Freeze 2015, p.109). Widdows addressed the initial impact of the change implementation was too negative as an outrage was spread among the employees due to the headcount reduction by 25%. Thus the employees were motivated and encourage as Widdows welcomed the employee benefits to share their views in the decision making process. Not only that Widdows made it assured that the point of view and contribution shared by the employees are taken under consideration and given value on serious note which generated employee trust and involvement to a greater extent in the process of making the organization a great place to work (Al-Haddad and Kotnour, 2015, pp.234-262). The new culture, which Widdows implemented gave serious attention on a healthy working environment so that employees can be confident and can have a belief on their own potential. Thus, the whole idea of the change mainly focused on the employee engagement so that they will be unable to work with the best efforts.
The major strength of the new culture in the change implement was that the Widdows and the senior managers of the company focused on work life balance policies so that the employees will be able to maintaining the balance between their personal life and their professional life. Hence, these policies were the major driving force behind the successful implementation of the new culture as emphasis were given on the initiative so that employees feel valued at work. In the new culture, Widdows made it assure that the employees are given a lot of benefits so that they will be encouraged to engage more with the organization (Benn, Edwards and Williams, 2014, pp. 38). In the new culture, the senior managers along with Widdows assured that the initiatives of change process are continued with further improvements (McCalman and Potter ,2015, pp. 28). The other major strength of the company was to focus on the increasing employee trust and a healthy working environment where employees have a mutual understanding as well as respect towards each other.
Recommended Aspects to be Monitored and sustained to Ensure the Organizational Change
The management of team must ensure that the culture, which has been implemented within the organization, should remain positive or improved further but should not become as it was previously. The major factor, which the organization must focus on, in this regard is:
The employees are valued at work. Thus, from the very level of hierarchy, it needs to be assured that employees in all the levels including the senior managers and middle level managers and their subordinates are respectful to each other while behaving with each other.
It must be assured that the employees within the organization are given the opportunity of giving inputs, sharing feedbacks and point of views and most importantly, most importantly they are given the opportunity of contribution in the decision making process (Awadh and Alyahya, 2013, p.168). Adopting the method of incorporating the employees in the process of organizational change helps in building the sense of inclusion amongst the employees. This in turn help the employees to feel encouraged regarding the organizational change.
The other major factor, which the company must keep in mind, is that the employees are motivated. Thus, special attention should be given on small celebration in order to assure that the employees are not affected by the monotony of the work life.
Instead of forceful implementation of any change or new policies, it must be assured that the management takes the in initiative of making understand of that change as to how the change can generate a range of benefits to the employees.
On the other hand:
The senior management team should include the feedback collection from the employees in the process of monitoring in order to understand the influencing factor on the employees and to address any possible issue before it becomes serious.
In order to increase employee efficiency and to sustain with the new culture, the organization must organize some skill development and personality development programs through which the employees will be able to enhance their skills and can put it into effort while assuring a healthy working culture within the company (Elnaga and Imran, 2013, pp.137-147).
The other part, which the company must keep in mind in respect to maintaining a healthy working environment of the company, is the communication. It must be assured that the employees communicate with each other so that they can solve problems and challenges easily while maintaining a healthy environment.
Special attention must be given on the aspect that employees do not develop any grudge against each other and indulge in competition. In order to maintain a healthy working culture within the organization, the management of the company must assure that employees get the opportunity of communication with the higher authority in case of sharing feedback or in case they face any challenges or issues (Schaffer, Sandau and Diedrick, 2013, pp.1197-1209).
The higher authority also must take follow ups so by arranging monthly wise interaction sessions. In the whole process of maintain a healthy working culture, the management need to assure that the policy of reward and recognition is improved with time and demands of the employees. It must be assured that the further developments are aligned with the culture of the organization.
Hence, after analyzing the factors and conditions, it can be said that these are the recommended actions that can be taken and sustained so that the organization does not slide back to its old path of thinking and functioning.
To conclude it can be said that the organization has successfully incorporated several strategies in order to bring effective organizational changes. Employment of strategies regarding employee engagement has helped the company to retain the trust of the workforce. Moreover, the strategies of organizational communication has proved immensely helpful in bringing the necessary changes. Although, the reduction of number of employees created an initial unrest amongst the employees, the strategic implementation of employee welfare schemes has been successful to pacify the employees. Hence, it can be said that the strategies taken by the management of Heinz Australia have been successful in increasing the production of the company as well as increasing the efficiency of the workforce. Another important aspect of the organizational change that has been influential in bringing success to Heinz Australia is the simplification of the organizational structure. To retain this success the company must keep up with the strategies and focus more on further innovations.
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