«Change Management with Lean approach How the benefits from Lean can be applied in Change Management Master of Science Thesis in the Master’s ...»
The literature emphasizes the importance of involving everyone affected by the change. Porter (2011, p. 25) mean that the majority of changes that fail do it because of poor understanding, effort in the people and culture involved in the change. But, when the interviewees described their change methods and factors that are essential in order to succeed with a change, they said that involvement of stakeholder (including end users) is highly important and also something they are working with in every change. Acceptance from the stakeholders is also a condition for the change to be successful. This can be done by involvement, communication and as Porter (2011, p.25) says, understand the change from the user's perspective.
If you summarize the failing factors of CM it is not the methods or any tools that are the source to the problems. Actually, many leaders seek after solutions and methods with the help of tools. But, this is wrong, because it is not possible to put an mechanistic and instrumental approach to human beings, changes and leadership in general, according to Karp and Helgö (2008, p. 86). Both the literature and results from the interviews show that relations, communication, leadership and end users are the factors that are the source of failure. These things are according to several respondents and the literature, the biggest challenges in CM, which can be the answer to why many leaders seek for easier solutions as Karp and Helgö (2008, p. 86) described it. Frankly there are only 10 % of all organizational change that succeed (Oakland and Tanner, 2007, p. 1), it is clear that something needs to be done.
There are in total ten different factors stated by the researcher as the most essential for CM. These factors are the result from the literature and shows both factors that are important and vital in CM as whole, but also factors that are generally the most common reasons to why change processes fail.
1. Understand the problem
2. Understand the need for change CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35
3. Support from all the levels in the organization
10. Communication All these factor can somehow be linked or solved by either leadership, end users and/or communication.
Now that the factors for CM are established, we will discuss how lean can contribute with its benefits in order to solve or help the shortages of CM.
5.2.2 Lean As seen from the literature, more and more organizations are implementing lean, also all the respondents confirm that they have it or are implementing it. These evidences show that lean is popular and that many organization finds it advantageous to use it.
But, according to the literature, what many organizations do wrong is that they implement some tools and techniques and expect to become lean and gain all the benefits of lean, which is totally wrong. This mindset is also confirmed from at least one respondent, respondent B. In their organization, they were absolutely certain that they had lean already, not that they were implementing it, but that they had it and were following the rules of it. Compared to the other respondents that said they were implementing lean, and spoke about, not only tools and techniques, but also mindsets, culture and philosophy. Furthermore, respondent B was the only one that said they could not connect job security with changes. This might be one of the reasons to why CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 50 their organization were the one who saw resistance as a bigger problem than the other respondent's organizations.
Lean is not only about increasing the effectively by implementing tools and techniques, it is about the whole philosophy and mindset that is the foundation of it.
The first two factors described as essential factors for CM is Understand the problem and Understand the need for change. These are required conditions in order for a change to be successful. In lean, it is possible to find clear connections to understanding, teaching and knowledge transferring as some of the essential factors, such as Understand and Commit, Involve shop floor workers, Leaders must teach and Educate and train.
By involving, continuously teaching, educating and training it is easier to understand if it occurs a problem and why there is a need for change. It should be added that lean advocates standardized work which facilitates the work of improving something and also to enable someone else to learn how to perform the same task. This is though not always possible, such as in an office environment, where there may be different and varying tasks every day.
Leaders or leadership are included in the essential factors of CM and lean. The difference is that CM describes leaders as the one with the major responsibilities during a change and the essence of the role. Lean also advocates the importance of the leader but claims that a leader's most important duty is to teach others. This may also reflect in the situation where lean is about giving the shop floor workers responsibility and freedom to make their own changes and adjustments in their environment. People on the shop floor are the lean experts, this means that the people that are at the shop floor are also the best suitable for making the changes there. This is possible since lean also advocates the sharing of common goals that are long-term thinking, which includes e.g. customer value. The leaders' role is thus to create the long-term goals and shaping a culture that are for all the organization and to continuously learn and teach. All this together with continuously changing with small improvements, are critical pillars in the philosophy of lean.
When end users, or shop floor workers gets the opportunity to make the continuous changes that they need in order to improve their work methods, environment or whatever it is, they are also more involved and willing to conduct in changes.
CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 When respondent A reflected of the differences from its old organization it was more difficult to implement a new change there, compared to the new organization.
Respondent A believed that it could depend on the big size of the organization and the long way the decision making had to travel. The advantageous with the new and smaller organization was that the decisions do not have to be made at the highest level of the organization, instead middle managers are given more responsibility and it is more like a flat hierarchy where you can see the leaders among the shop floor workers. Genchi Genbutsu as it is called in lean.
Lean philosophy advocates fellowship in a different way than CM does. In lean it is more implied that understanding and knowledge is obvious, and the essential factors are more about how to make people understand and willing to change.
Communication is obviously the most basically method for sharing knowledge and making people understand, which is included as an essential factor in both CM and lean. But as described earlier, leaders use the method Genchi Genbutsu where they go around and follow the work at the shop floor to show interest and to see how things are and work. This behaviour creates a solid fellowship and trust between the shop floor workers and the managers.
Training, teaching and educating, are parameters and methods that are essential for everyone for an organization that wants to become lean. And the existents of lean in all levels is crucial because: "Unless TPS is everywhere in an organization, it is nowhere." (Teresko, 2006, p. 3).
When lean claims that the leaders teaches and educates you may wonder how come all the leaders are experts in the philosophy of lean? The truth is that according to the lean philosophy, people are the most valuable resource (Liker and Meirer, 2007, p. 7).
Senior managers and leader in Toyota have one time started as simple workers on the shop floor where they were taught about the philosophy of lean and at the same time the principles and rules of working at the shop floor. This is the source to Toyota's competitive differentiation, that they develop exceptional people (Liker, 2004, p.
299). It takes long time to understand lean, but it takes even longer time to become lean, it is an never ending story.
CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 52 5.2.3 Summary If we summarize it, CM has ten different essential factors, which in one way or another are connected to each other. In order for people to accept a change they need to understand and support it. This can be done by clear targets, planning and creating the feeling of ownership. It is the leaders' responsibilities that these factors are accomplished with the help of a robust communication. All these actions must be well performed and every stakeholder must be treated as an individual. Otherwise there is big risk that resistance occurs, which is one of the most frequent and biggest problem in CM, according to the literature and the interviews. The conclusion is that there are many well functioning methods and theories in CM, but they often burst due to issues with people and relations.
Lean has the advantageous to handle and value great people and relationships in the organization. They create and build up a solid and secure organization from the bottom up. Investing in shop floor workers, educating and training them, so that they one day know and are confirmable with lean and are ready to take a step further to become leaders in the organization. As described in earlier chapters, people are according to Toyota, their most valuable recourse and the source to their competitive differentiation comes from the great people they develop. Shop floor workers gets the trust they need to build up confidence and trust back to other leaders. Understanding the common, long-term goals creates a secure feeling which facilitates cooperation, acceptance and motivation, among everyone in the organization. These are prerequisites for a smooth and successful process in CM.
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6 ConclusionSince this research was not about investigating how to become lean but to see how it may be used to gain some benefits from it to improve CM it is not essential to see exactly how they (Toyota, or some other lean organization) do in detail. But looking at an overall perspective, what benefits CM can draw from lean, which are much and many. It is more about mindsets, thinking and philosophy rather than strict methods and rules. As seen in the discussion part, Toyota's most important asset are the people.
Continuously improving, allocating responsibilities and investing in education and training improves the conditions of creating an organization where the CM-process is smooth and effective.
In this research there are many examples and discussions around shop floor workers or employees, but in many organization there are no shop floor workers. It is not essential in this case since lean should exist in all levels of the organization in order for it to work. Learning a culture, a philosophy and a mindset is applicable on every organization, with or without floor workers.
The researcher has drawn some conclusions regarding benefits and main pillars from lean that are possible to and should be applied in today's CM-method in order to streamline and stabilize their challenges. These are leadership, communication and people and are the absolute most important factors in an organization and their operations.
Figure. 7.1 Leadership, communication and people
CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 54 Finally, the conclutions from this research may not seem to be revolutionary. The hypothuses prior this research could be similar to the results that have been discovered. But just the verification of these conclutions with thoughts and views from a wide ragnge of souces, including mangers in Sweden, this shows the need of change and the essence of improvements.
CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2012:35 7 Further Research By putting more time and resources on the study, it could be more reliable and possible to see how some of the improvements would affect the CM-process in a long-term.
An alternative for further studies would be to include case studies which could add value to the validity of the research. And since sustainability is becoming more and more important in our environment, it would be interesting to make a research to see how CM can improve considering the environment.
Another interesting aspect could be to investigate how different cultures responds to the improvements that lean brings to the CM-process that has be revealed from this research. Are they the same, or do these improvements work better in a particular area, if yes why?
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