«MICHAIL MAVROMATIS JOHAN OLOFSSON Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Division of Construction Management CHALMERS UNIVERSITY OF ...»
2.6.2 Expectations matching reality Most of the employees believe that the change brought them more or less what they expected. It has to be noted that this impression diminished while the process went on.
The more time the less matching were the expectations. At the first interview they believed that their roles remained the same but after the second interview, when they ‘landed’ to their new roles, the first signs of surprise started to appear. The surprise was not only unpleasant though. Some of them believed that their work will turn to the worse but it actually became better. This is directly connected with the amount of information that they received before the change regarding their roles. It seems that CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2013:120 the description was not thorough enough and the roles were not clearly defined.
Therefore the implementation was characterized by an exploration during three or four weeks. To whom should I report? What is my responsibility regarding the X issue? Many employees throughout the process experienced such questions. However, the process did not go wrong. Having in mind the informal, hands-on experience of the authors, it can be said that the professionalism as well as the positive atmosphere in the company prevented any serious issues during the process.
2.7 Sustaining the change The main tool that the leadership will use to sustain the change is the establishment of the Key Performance Indicators according to the interviewees. This way the leadership wants to keep a constant eye on the performance of the groups and the individuals.
2.7.1 How do the employees see the future of the company The employees on their vast majority were very optimistic for the future of the company. They could see a bigger property portfolio and expansion towards new market regions. It has to be noted that they were also uncertain about where the company is going to land in the following years.
2.7.2 Rewards after the completion of the process As one of the external interviewees, an experienced CEO, narrated, rewarding the employees in monetary terms after a change process is quite usual in the United States. However, in the case of Platzer, the board as well as the CEO himself was against this kind of reward. What they believed as being more important was the oral and everyday rewards. They also stated that the employees receive their wages to do their job, and one part of their job is to undergo such administrative procedures. It is not only the board that believes that though. The rest of the interviewees also believed that a monetary reward is not vital for them. They stated that preferred rewards are the recognition by the supervisor, as well as the fact that their work routines were improved significantly.
2.7.3 Overall impression after the implementation The overall impression derived of the interviewees was that they were satisfied with the organizational change. They would like to have some more information and shorter lead times between the events. They also stated that the organizational change would be a waste of time if it was not sustained and carefully fostered after its completion. On the question ‘how to institutionalize the change’, some responded that the first step is to produce a ‘personnel hand-book’ which contains updated directives and how-to’s for every position in the company. Some of them also noticed the positive
effect of the new core values and at the same time raised the awareness by saying:
‘They should not be just wallpaper on the reception wall. They should be kept and implemented on a daily basis’ Furthermore, the CEO noted that in comparison with previous years, the level of dialogue between the board and the company itself has been improved significantly.
Some of the employees believe that this change process should be followed-up closely in order to allocate and improve the mistakes of the past. The next organizational change process should, according to the interviewees, be more detailed when it comes to the description of duties. It is conceived that the information about change of roles CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2013:120 39 and leaders is not enough if not accompanied by detailed description of the new status quo.
2.7.4 What about the next organizational change?
The interviewees were asked on a time horizon for the next organizational change. It is generally conceived that the next change will come rather soon, since the company is ‘fast-growing’ as the CEO narrated. Some interviewees believe that the current organizational change is a stable ground for forthcoming organizational changes. One of the interviewees who has been quite a few years in the company estimated that the next organizational change would be exactly by the time the company is introduced to the stock market. Some of the employees expressed uncertainty on whether the company will be able to rise up to the high demands of a stock market introduction. It has to be noted that the CEO thinks that the company is undergoing changes constantly and this is the way it should be.
2.7.5 Lessons learnt This organizational change has provided the company with a lot of lessons learnt. As the interviewees mentioned, the change takes time and does not always go according to the time schedule. The leadership should respect the fact that some employees need some more time than others to accept the change. The CEO mentioned that it went quite fast to integrate the new departments and this is mostly due to good leadership by the middle management.
2.7.6 Factors that the interviewees found to be positive in the process The interviewees stated that the positive aspects of the process were: the fact that the CEO informed the operations department first, before the main info meeting of the 28th of January, the kick-off where the company discussed the core values, responsibilities were distributed more evenly throughout the structure and the workshop where they all discussed the effects change, even though it should be more than one morning.
2.7.7 Factors that the interviewees found to be less positive in the process The interviewees stated that the less positive aspects of the process were: unclear information, the process took too much time, too long lead times between the events, uneven distribution of information by the board and not detailed planning.
CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2013:120 Analysis and Discussion This section of the thesis is analyzing the empirical findings supported by the theoretical frame of reference in order to gain an understanding of what have happened during the change process of Platzer Fastigheter.
3.1 Organizational strategy tools Platzer’s vision is to become the leading commercial real estate corporation in the Gothenburg area, the natural first hand choice. According to Johnson et al (2011) the vision shall answer what the organization wants to achieve and gain commitment throughout the employees. We find that the CEO is clearly developing the company in line with this vision. The board is communicating it both internally, and externally, which is necessary. They are striving to evolve towards a future state where they are a much bigger company, which is clearly in line with the recent changes of the organization. We find that the vision is relevant, and easy to communicate. It is also a vision that the employees can gather around and accept as a future state of the company. We believe that the owners, together with the board of directors and the CEO has put down a lot of effort on where they want the company to be in the future. We also find the vision to function as guidance for the employees, all interviewees state that they are well aware of the vision and identify themselves as working towards reaching it.
The core values developed is focusing on the journey they are embarking towards becoming a larger, and leading, actor at the commercial real estate market in Gothenburg. Their new core values are identified as freedom through responsibility, openness and long-term development. According to Johnson et al (2011), the core values shall communicate the guiding principles of the organization; they are to be seen as the “moral” values of which the organization is based upon. All actions considered within the organization must be according to those values; they shall always be in the back of the head of those who makes decisions and those who are working in the organization.
In Platzers case, we have seen that many of the employees are referring to them during the interviews, wherefore we can say that they truly are core to the organization.
The disadvantage might be that they are fairly new to the organization, that they have not been settled yet. What might outweigh this is that many in the organization has not been there for a long time, wherefore they can adapt to new values fast and are not stuck in old habits. Also, we have noticed that the kick-off that the company held had a very large impact on the employees concerning the use of, and the support during decisions from, the core values.
One of the major aspects of the change was that the whole organizational structure was changed within the company. The goal was to achieve a structure that let the employees to work more specialized than before. They have gone from a form of matrix structure to a more linear, or silo, structure. This was made through the merger of two departments into a new department that is to work as a supportive function to the rest of the organization, not unlike internal consultants. This change of the structure aims, as the CEO states, to prepare the organization for a future where they are much bigger, and maybe has added a new market area. This is one of the advantages of the new structure, that it is easy to add new departments after need, as the interviewees state they might soon need both a communication and a human resources department. Furthermore, many of them expressed an understanding of that this was not the organizations final structure, that it might be changed many times in order to fit more to the environment. An interesting aspect was that the structure was designed without CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2013:120 41 names; that the roles were identified first, and then the board put in the names of the employees into their roles. Many of the interviewees mentioned that this created a sense of insecurity, rising questions like “where am I to fit in the new organization?” One negative effect of the lead times was that there was a significant time span between that the structure was drawn and that the names were fit into it, which could have been managed in a better way, minimizing the organizational anxiety.
Platzer has never had KPI’s before, so it was a new way to work for the employees.
The CEO notes that it is in line with the company's strategy to have a more professional way to work, and also to be more on par with listed companies since they strives towards being listed at the stock exchange in a near future. All interviewees noted that they were satisfied with the new way of measuring their way of work, some were even very excited since they identified themselves as competitive persons wherefore they probably will try to “break some records”, through turning the KPIs into some sort of competition between the employees. One implication about the KPIs is that they are not applicable on all departments as a whole. Some of them are irrelevant to some business areas, whilst the same parameters are crucial for others. This might turn out to be a problem since the personal evaluation is based on how they perform, relating to the KPIs. The managers stated that those parameters that are not that relevant is more to see as how the employees work can be set into a whole, meaning that if they do their work well, the rest of the organization can prosper from that work and that the company as a whole might reach their targets. Another important aspect of the KPIs is that they must be linked to the critical success factors, which in hand shall reflect the organizations vision (Parmenter 2010). The interviewees all stated that they are able to see the link between the vision and how they are working, which also the CEO stated was of great importance. Furthermore, it is important that the senior management is committed and educative with the KPIs, putting them into context and implementing them in a cultural and process perspective. The two departments that were merged into one had a half-day where they sat together and discussed how they shall use the KPIs in their daily work. This was said to be much appreciated and in many ways vital for the employees to understand and adapt how they shall use the KPIs. Despite this, we found that there were some implication, some of the affected personnel stated that they had wanted a much more extensive workshop, maybe ranging up to two days. This can be a result of the newly set up department, that they had not get to know each other and how they shall work together, nevertheless we would like to suggest that all departments that has new KPIs shall have some kind of workshop where they are about to discuss how they shall work with them, and what will happen if they manages to reach the set values of them and also what will happen if they fail to deliver. In the case of Platzer, the incentives, or bonus system, is based on that the employees reach the set numbers, making them committed towards fulfilling them. Altogether, we can state that Platzers everyday work is in line with their plan to achieve their vision.
3.2 Leadership This section discusses how the leadership handled the organizational change issues throughout the process. It all started from the point that the owners and the board set the vision. The company was on a fast growing pace with new challenges and a rising need to stay competitive. The CEO and the previous board brought the change on the table for the first time the spring of 2012. The CEO attempted to create a guiding coalition as suggested by Kotter (1996), by selecting out a certain number of individuals CHALMERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Master’s Thesis 2013:120 who would support and lead the process. In comparison to the theory (Kotter, 1996),
the CEO applied the following: