«Change Management with Lean approach How the benefits from Lean can be applied in Change Management Master of Science Thesis in the Master’s ...»
Respondent B experienced major problems in their CM-process but believe that they have accomplished to solve most of them. One thing though, that is mentioned is the resistance they sometimes face when a new change is presented to the end users. The respondent thinks that this is a special case or situation for their organization since they have a very high rate of middle age, 48 years, and many of them have had the same tasks at the same place for many years as well. It is no question that the leaders takes their responsibility and inform the end users about the problems. The respondent thinks that the end users most times are well aware and understands the need for change but that the resistance is based on an emotional question. To tackle this, it is even more important with clear information and making sure that no surprises pops up.
Pilot project works exceptionally in the work of getting acceptance of people. If the end users discover that a certain change works at another system or organization. It is easier to understand and accept it. Unfortunately, there are not enough recourses to create these pilot projects, according to respondent C.
Respondent D had an interesting answer to upcoming problems in their CM-process.
First of all, they rather see problems as challenges. Respondent D thinks that dealing with people is a big challenge in every CM-process. "We are complex creatures and the leaders' role is very important in a change process." (Respondent D).
Concerning things that works well in the CM-process, the answers were more alike from the respondents. Answers like routines, methods such as pulse meeting in the morning, following up after finished changes were mentioned.
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4.5 Lean According to all respondents they have or are implementing lean to some extent.
What separated them from each other was that respondent A, C and D seemed to be more aware of that lean is an never ending story. That it is not just to implement some tools and/or techniques, but you have to continuously improve and also be aware of the mindset of lean. Even though respondent B answered that they have lean in their organization and mentions things such as lean philosophy and mindset, it is still a big focus on their lean tools and techniques that they use daily at work, such as 5S.
However, the feeling that shows is that all respondents finds lean as advantageous for their organization and that they are continuously trying to implement more of lean, even in the future.
On the answer of possible advantageous that lean brings to their organization the respondents had different answers. Respondent A said that lean helps to create a learning organization, that decisions are taken in all levels and that it develops great people. Respondent B divided the organization to shop floor workers and managers and explained that shop floor workers could bring more benefits from tools and techniques (such as 5s and 5 why's). Managers on the other hand, could focus more on the lean philosophy and thinking and less focus on tools. Respondent C explained the awareness of customer value that lean brought to their organization. Since they are in the sales business and often have direct contact to the customer, it is extra important for them to have that mindset. Respondent C also mentioned the small but continuously improvements as a major benefit that comes from lean. But also in this case, lean is more used and developed in the production part of the organization. Just like the respondent C, respondent D also says that lean is more used and developed in the production part of their organization, but that lean brings many advantageous in form of e.g. structure from tools and techniques that exist. Notable, is that respondent D, once again talks about the people in the organization and how important asset it is, just like lean advocates. All levels in their organization are trained and educated in lean which respondent D finds very helpful and beneficial for their continuous work in their organization.
All respondents had the mindsets of doing small but frequent changes, but mainly to have a long-term thinking, all according to rules and philosophy of lean.
CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 4.6 Other Factors that were estimated to be the most important in an organization in order for a CM-process to become successful can be found in bullet points below. These bullet points are a summary of the answers from what the respondents said.
The people that are affected by the change must be involved and properly informed.
This is extra important in the first stages of a change in order for the process to continue to be successful.
"A well functioning leadership is essential in a change process. Only by informing you can achieve very much as a leader." (Respondent B).
A leader has the responsibility to make sure that all involved have the correct information and to make sure that no uncertainties exists. Respondent C answered that the implementing stage is the most critical factor in order for a change to become successful. This goes hand in hand with good leadership since respondent C also says that in order to achieve with a successful implementing stage, you will need a solid and consistent leadership.
All these factors and aspects has to do with communication which all respondents clearly states as one of the most critical factor in order to succeed with your CMprocess.
4.7 Summary This summary aims to highlight the most important findings from the results of the interviews. This is done in order to facilitate the understanding and further work, but also to follow the pattern of presenting essential findings from previous data, as in earlier chapters.
CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 44 Change Management - All the respondents says they feel a need for change. They answered that change is necessary and saw it as something natural but that it requires much resources and that it is complex. People were mentioned as one of the biggest challenges in a change.
Method - 2 of 4 organizations claim to use some form of official CM-method.
Generally the changes are decided from the senior management and then passed down to middle managers which then has the responsibility to implement the change.
Middle managers have to negotiate both with end users and senior management in order to find the best solution for everyone. Respondent A, B and D say that they have different teams and roles each time depending on the change and the situation. All 4 respondents clearly states the essence of following up a change. It shows the result for all stakeholders and it facilitates the work of improving for the next change.
End Users - End users have an important part in the organizations. The leaders are well aware of involving them, already from the beginning of every change. End users gets the privilege to make adjustments, take decisions and to influence on the change.
Leaders agree that the involvement of end users is essential in order to succeed with a change. Open goals and common philosophy facilitates the work of reducing resistance and increasing acceptance.
Leaders - Leaders have an enormous important role in the organization. It is the change leaders' responsibility to make sure that everyone understands the change, involvement and communication is also up to the change leader to accomplish.
According to the respondents, resistance can be avoided by clear directives, frequent communication and short ways between the different levels in the organization.
Communication - Results shows that communication is very important in any organization, in whatever change or work you do. It needs to be frequent, short ways thorough every level of the organization (to avoid misunderstandings), clear goals, easy language and involvement from the beginning of the change. Methods that the organization use to communicate are: open meetings, e-mails, intranet, billboards and documents.
CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 Job Security - Only 2 of 4 organizations inform their end users that a change will not put their jobs at risk. The difference from the respondents was that those who informed their end users that their jobs were not at risk, also claimed to reinvest the resources that were gained from the change.
Pros and Cons Change leaders must take the extra time needed to inform about the change and make sure that everyone understands, which they unfortunately don't.
Resistance can occur due to different factors, sometimes emotional. In those cases it is important to be even more informative and make sure that there are no uncertainties.
Pilot projects are good in purpose of showing the end users the results of the change but they are difficult to arrange and manage.
Changes are complex and requires much resources and experience. Even if people are mentioned as the biggest asset in an organization, they are also claimed to be very difficult to deal with. People are very different and as much as they can be an asset for the organization, they can also be a problem.
CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 46 5 Discussion and Analysis 5.1 Introduction The main aim of this research is to see how the benefits of lean can be applicable into Change Management (CM) in today's organizations. The data gathered in the research is divided into primary and secondary data. This chapter will compare, contrast and link the results from the literature and the interviews to conclude this research and finally make some recommendations and conclusions in the next chapter. But if we look back to the questions in the introduction there were three in total and the two first will be discussed before the question of lean and its connection to CM will be covered.
What is change management and how is it important in organizations?
What is lean management?
CM is something that all organizations have to deal with, whether they wish or not.
There is a fierce competition and organizations must adapt in order to remain competitive. According to the results from the respondents they are well aware of the need of change but they find it problematic with many challenges. Lean is in some way the same as CM. It is not possible to describe what lean is in a few sentences, but what lean has in common with CM is the change, or continuous improvement. In order to become lean it requires years, or decades of hard work, it is a never ending story. Lean is so much more than some tools and techniques, it is about a philosophy, a culture and according to lean the people in the organization is the greatest asset of them all. Lean has shown to be very advantageous form many organization, but what benefits can CM gain from it, in order to become better?
First of all, to find how the benefits of lean can be applicable on CM, it is important to state the factors that are that are most essential and have the most effect on the methods. This is why the researcher selected to investigate the essential factors of CM. Essential factors of lean were also investigated which were seen as a prerequisite, in order to know what factors that could help to bring benefits from lean.
It is important to be aware of and emphasize that these essential factors are the result of an investigation and consideration from this researcher. This means that the results CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 are to some extent depending on the researcher, which means the literature and assumptions that the researcher based its statements on.
The interviews are done in order to be compared with the literature and see if there are any bigger differences. Problems, advantageous and methods are many times totally different from what the literature says and what really happens in the industry.
5.2 Discussion and Analysis 5.2.1 Change Management Today the world is developing and expanding faster than ever before. Information, technology, transport, everything goes much faster and in order for the organizations to remain competitive and survive they must adapt. All respondents are well aware of this changing environment and know that if they do not change, in the long run, they will not survive. So, change is for the organizations something natural and needed, but there are as much similarities as there are differences in their mindsets and their methods of working with it.
Today's CM-methods have been criticized and needs to be updated. Firstly, this chapter will discuss the defects with the CM-methods and see how lean can contribute with its benefits to make it better.
As seen from different sources, primary and secondary, it is clear that a big issue in the CM-methods is resistance. Resistance can be expressed in different ways, caused by different reasons and by different levels in the organization. According to the literature and the interviews, this is one of the major problems in CM. Reasons and factors to why resistance occur are many, e.g. due to lack of understanding of the complexity with change and too much focus on tools instead of human interactions and relationship (Karp and Helgö, 2008, p. 86). Respondent A from the interview said that it is a common problem that leaders think that all involved understands the change, when they actually do not. One exception from this pattern was the answer from respondent C. Respondent C does not describe resistance as a problem in their organization. Although, the respondent where only talking from his part of the organization (sales department) and could not share further details from the situation in the production area, which for sure would have had an impact on his answer. What is important to share is that, respondent C thought that resistance was not a problem for them because the end users were positive to change, which they became by a well CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 48 established groundwork and making sure that they have understood why the change are needed. It should also be added that respondent C was the only respondent that said that they do not have to deal with the question of job security related to changes, since they do not feel threatened in their situation they are in. This factor has certainly an influence to the question of resistance among all the people in the organization.