«Change Management with Lean approach How the benefits from Lean can be applied in Change Management Master of Science Thesis in the Master’s ...»
Whether or not the researcher knows the respondents this may affect the answers and lately the results (Hanson, et al., 2011, p. 377). In this research the researcher knew one out of five participants.
Telephone interviews were avoided consciously in order for the researcher to avoid risks of misunderstandings and making it more practical. Even if telephone interviews are more cost saving (Wilson et al. 1998, p. 320) all the interviews were made faceto-face.
When all the interviews were done, they were written down from the records into transcripts and later summarized in the results. This is explained and presented in the part Interview Results.
Furthermore, even though there are a limit amount of interviews, the research becomes more reliable the more the it relies on different types of evidences (Yin, 2004, p. 100).
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3.4 Data analysis process When the researcher were done with the information gathering it was time to analyze and discuss it in order to come up with a final conclusion. This was done by analyzing and evaluating the theory and methods from the literature review, mostly the essential factors as a basis and then connect or compare them with the findings from the interviews.
This method is comparable to Cross-Case Patterns, where the researcher lists the similarities and differences between cases, or in this case areas of theories. This way of researching develops new categories and concepts which may have not been anticipated by the researcher (Huberman, 2002, p. 18).
3.5 Limitations and deviations Due to different factors the results are affected in this research as well as in any other research. Things do not always go as planned or, the researcher chooses to change directions or details during the journey. As mentioned, there were some limitations and deviations that affected the results of this research, such as time, word count and resources.
Only a limit of interviews were possible and most of them were conducted through contacts of the researcher. Some of the respondents were also known by the researcher from before, which may have had an impact on the results, in form of different level of informality in the discussion etc. The respondents were about the same age, they were all from the industry in or near the Gothenburg area, but they had different experience in their managing position and knowledge in lean.
Another thing was that not all respondents agreed to be recorded during the interviews which forced the researcher to make notes and try to remember the answers. This does not give the same conditions for the researcher to analyze and compare the answers, since it is not given the opportunity to listen to any recordings.
The researcher did not have any major experience in interviewing which also might have some affect on the results, in form of how the questions were asked and if there were any follow up questions asked etc. The researcher selected not to change the interview questions too much between the interviews. The only time any changes were made was after the first interview.
CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 36 Furthermore the study was only aiming for a general view of the change management approach, which means that it did not provide a detailed depth in any business.
3.6 Ethical considerations All the participants have been informed of the aim and purpose of the research and their role in the research in order to remain ethical considerations. The researcher has explained how their answers will be analyzed and utilized in the research. Prior every interview, the interviewee has been asked to fill in and sign a consent form, where they agree on being recorded or not and that they give the researcher the disposal to use the information they share in his research.
CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 4 Interview Results This chapter presents the results from the interviews conducted with five experienced managers from the industry. All of these managers have years of experience in their roles, but they are from different industries and in different positions. Respondent A is an Assistant Business Manager. Respondent B is a Project Manager. Respondent C's position is Manager Project Delivery and Development, and finally respondent D is a Senior IT Manager.
The results will be presented according to each area such as the researcher has formed the interview from. The questions were formed so that the answers would show how methods, routines and mindsets are in the working life which will be compared to the literature, especially to the findings, the critical factors that were found in the literature review.
Change Management Introduction 4.1 All the interviewees were approximately on the same track concerning their view on Change Management (CM) in general. Words that frequently were brought up to describe CM were: improve, adapt to survive, changing world or environment. The interpretation was that they all felt a need for change and that it was unavoidable but that it was problematic and required much effort and resources even for the smallest changes. Differences in the answers from the respondents can be seen in their view of the time it takes for a change to be implemented. Respondent A and D described changes as efforts that requires much resources and takes long time, and at the same time respondent C described change as a continuous process, something that requires constant awareness and adaption. Respondent A was the only one that brought up challenges or problems with CM, before the researcher asked the question. The source of the challenge was the people involved in the change, and respondent A stated that a change can be complex because: "human is often very comfortable with the things they are used to do and when they know what will happen".
4.2 Change Management Method Respondents B and D claimed they used a formal model for their changes. This official model were used within all their organization. These models were the official and formal bullet points or working ways that they were supposed to follow during a CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 38 change process. It could include, analyzing, informing, involving and specific teams.
Respondent B uses a method that is called PPS and is especially formed for project management situations. It consists of totally eight decision points and that model is best suitable for their business and organization.
Generally, the answer about their method and how it usually works, is that senior managers makes a decision that a change needs to be done. After that, middle managers are informed about the expectations or the aim with the change, and they receive the responsibility to solve how to implement the change. Respondent A, B and D describes the possibility for the end users to make detailed adjustments or decisions on the change, to give them responsibly and the possibility to influence. Respondent A say it is not an easy task, especially not for middle manager that comes in a central position, between the end users or employees and the senior managers. When the information about the change is presented for the end users, there might be some conflicts and middle managers must compromise so that both end users and senior managers are happy.
When it comes to special change teams, there are to some extent different answers from the respondents. Respondents A, B and D say that teams and roles depends on the specific change and situation. Respondent C answers that since they don't have any standardized methods that they follow, the change including teams, are different each time. And since change is not very incorporated to their organization it also depends on the person that takes the initiative to make a change.
All respondents clearly states the essence of following up the changes. After the implementation, the responsible people needs to see if the change was successful and what things that went well and bad. "We follow up our changes and try to show the results" (Respondent B). " Respondent C: "After changes have been accomplished we follow up the result and discuss them."
When the researcher asked the question about sustainable changes, what and how the organizations do to ensure that a change remains in its new form and not changes back to its initial form, he received different answers. Respondent B had a different mindset regarding that area and answered that their goal is to successfully make a change that works. But since they try to continuously improve their organization, they do not wish CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 to make any changes that are to robust so that it will be hard to change them again, in the future. The other respondents, A, C and D said that communication and follow up would ensure a sustainable change.
4.3 End Users As regards to the end users, it seems like the respondents and their organizations are well aware of the importance of end users in change processes. A common factor that all respondents are mentioning as critical is the involvement of end users.
Involvement during the initiation phase of the process where the end users have the possibility to shape and make decisions of the change, mostly in level of details. A well functioning and frequent communication is pursuant to all respondents extremely essential in order to succeed with your CM. According to previous experience from respondent A, it is easier to share information and reach out to everyone in the organization if it is small and has a good fellowship among the employees.
Respondent A thinks that this also facilitates the acceptance and the conditions for communication.
Respondent C has the same thoughts and talks about also highlights the leaders' importance of getting commitment and creating a sense of responsibility among the end users, in the initiation phase of a change process. To succeed with that, respondent C says: "Methods to succeed with this can be as I described, a well worked groundwork and clear information. It may also include follow up and a two-way dialogue."
Respondent D is also convinced about the importance of end users and mentions that the leaders has the responsibility to share the information that is the basis for the decisions. "It is important to share the overall goals that the organization have in order to motivate why the changes are needed. These goals needs to be open and clear for everyone in the organization it facilitates the work of creating a common philosophy and striving towards a common goal." (Respondent D).
In CM-processes it is important to have a good leadership and the involvement of the end users is according to several respondents, dependent on the leader. As mentioned earlier, all respondents believes that involvement and communication is essential in order for a change to be successful. Respondent A, B, C and D describes methods they use to communicate with all levels in the organization. These methods could be CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 40 open meetings, emails, intranet, billboards, documents etc. "So to avoid resistance and misunderstandings it is important to have continuous communication and be clear about the reason of the change." (Respondent D) It was obvious that communication was one of the factors that the respondents thought was most critical, in order to succeed in CM. Respondent D said that risks of misunderstanding increase when the information flow is long and complex, e.g.
through different levels in the organization and with complex terms and language.
This is why respondent D, as well as A, B and C advocates involvement and information sharing with all stakeholders especially at the beginning of a change process.
The question about job security and whether or not the respondents inform their employees that their jobs were not put at any risk due to a change, resulted in different answers. Respondent A and D said that they always inform and tell the involved people that the change will not affect their job security. Unfortunately this is not always possible, for example during the financial crisis the organizations were forced to make several changes which resulted in terminations in order to adapt to the changing environment. But they are both on the same track when they motivate that changes are done in order to become more competitive and that the recourses that they gain from a change, can be and are always reinvested in the organization, when possible.
Respondent B on the other hand, creates an answer which shows the low job security show floor workers have when all costs that are possible to cut are becoming realistic on behalf of some jobs. Respondent B motivates this with saying: "So if we are able to perform better and be more effective, and cut the costs on behalf of some employees jobs, this it is better for the whole organization as a whole". Reinvestments from changes are done, and the example that respondent B drops is reorganizations and changes from positions at managerial levels. The motivation for this is that shop floor workers are less capable to change work tasks or position due to lack of interest or education. Respondent B: "This is harder to accomplish with the shop-floor workers because most of them don't have any education and cannot do anything else than what they are doing and working with today. Some of them are even scared to start to learn something new, they are so comfortable with their tasks they have today." Finally respondent C says that they have not experienced a need to inform CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 their employees about this, since they have never felt that it has been a threat for them. At least not in their organization, which is quite separated to the production part of the organization.
4.4 Pros and Cons The answers about upcoming problems in the CM-process, varied quite much from the respondents. Respondent A, said that when managers believe that everyone understands the change, when they actually don't, is a big problem. Respondent A sais: "This is why it is so important to take time to answer questions and inform.
Trying different methods in order to increase the possibilities of understanding, e.g.
by showing the goals clearly, visualising the process and to follow up the work."