Managing Organizational Change (Microsoft Case Study)

Introduction

Organizational change refers to the change that an organization goes through when it is in the process of transformation. It also occurs when organization`s business strategies tend to alter the business. Microsoft is a prime example of how organizational change can help or alter a company. The essay shall explore the mechanisms of organizational change and the best way to embrace and execute it.  We shall also examine the best strategy that Microsoft can employ in order to maintain its position as a global enterprise.

Microsoft has been facing immense challenges of effectively fighting their chief competitors, Samsung and Apple. Microsoft is a trendsetter when it comes to software and IT appliances, but it has lagged behind in terms of manufacturing of smartphones. The company bought Nokia for a whopping 7.2 billion dollars (Pierce, 2015). Apple and Samsung are the biggest global manufacturers of smartphones and they control a huge market share. This action of acquiring Nokia was an effort to compete with these two companies.

Nokia is another company that manufactures smartphones and with its acquisition the enterprise hopes to bridge the gap between it and its competitors. Microsoft’s new CEO is the man tasked with taking the company forward into the future. Nadella is the individual who will oversee the merger between these two companies (Sudhir, 2015). He will have to make some very difficult decisions concerning the organization as well as the stuff. When a takeover happens, there are some employees who are bound to lose their jobs. Nadella will have to make the decision as to who will go and who will stay.

Organizational Change Model

The best method for the Microsoft to have an efficient and successful transition is to employ the Kotter's 8-Step Change Model (Cameron & Green, 2012). These are eight simple steps that a company should follow in order to achieve effective and efficient organizational change in general. Doctor Kotter identified that a prime determinant of successful organizational change were the leaders who were in charge of the transition. Therefore, Microsoft is privileged to have a charismatic, hard worker as a CEO, who is keen to see the company thrive and surpass its competitors. His 8-step change model includes:

Implementation Plan

Creating Urgency

It is the most difficult step because it is very challenging to convince people of your intentions. Kotter suggested that in order to have efficient and effective organizational change, you had to have around 75% of the management on your side. Employees also should be convinced since they need assurance that their jobs are protected when the changes begin. Do not start a panic by imposing your will on the rest of the company but spend time and energy on convincing everybody of the significance and the importance of the impending change. Nadella should seek the support of the company`s management as well as the company`s alumni. For example, if he could get the nod from Bill Gates (Microsoft`s founder), it would be a great step in the right direction.

Forming a Powerful Coalition

The second step is to find like-minded individuals who are also interested in the change. These people can come from any part of the organization from the management to the employees. They should have some level of influence in the organization. It is advantageous to have these supporters on your side because it will be easy to convince the rest of the organization of the intentions that the company has as it moves into the future. The next thing to do is for the coalition to work closely and cohesively as one unit. It will reflect positively on the other stakeholders and one by one they will get on board for the impending change. Nadella needs to identify the individuals who share his vision for the company and work closely with them on order to get more stakeholders on board with the merger.

Creating a Vision for Change

When the employees realize that the inevitable is bound to happen, there are only two options, accept and adapt to the change or be left behind as the organization moves on. All the stakeholders are advised to promote their ideas and contribute towards the advancement of the company. All opinions should be taken into consideration and they should be used to develop one central vision for the organization. When the stakeholders see that their opinions and ideas have been considered in the creation of the company`s vision, they are more likely to be positive and work towards the goals that the organization is striving to achieve.

Nadella should do broad consultations and seek the ideas and opinions of all the stakeholders of the company. In the process, he and his coalition should come up with a vision that the employees can easily understand and relate to. He should organize forums so the stakeholders can suggest their ideas and put them forward. Consequently, it can help the closure of the merger since majority of the stakeholders will have endorsed the merger.

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Communicating the Vision

The key to successful organizational change is to consistently communicate the message of the company's vision to the stakeholders. They need to keep hearing of the organization`s vision as it gives them a sense of security. The biggest mistake that a company`s management can do is to keep its stakeholders in the dark. They tend to get restless and, in the case of Microsoft, with the impending merger they can cause disruptions in the negotiations. Nadella should often talk about the merger to the stakeholders and address their concerns and anxieties with utmost honesty. He should lead, for example, by talking and organizing open forums to update them on the progress of the merger and let them express their views.

Removing Obstacles

It is a critical point in the process of organizational change. In every aspect of the change, there bound to be individuals do not will to move ahead with the change. They are referred to as obstacles, and the best way to deal with obstacles is to remove them. At this level, the majority of the stakeholders know their role and want to work hard to achieve the vision that you have promised them. When they commence working, it is important to recognize and reward the individuals who strive to make the change happen. It is also important to remove obstacles, be they people or otherwise.

Nadella needs to identify the obstacles that might cause a hindrance to the successful completion of the merger and act swiftly to quash them. The main problem might be the older employees of Microsoft who feel that the acquisition of Nokia is a mistake, and they can do everything in their power to prevent the merger from happening. The CEO should give them a chance to reconsider their stance or get terminated.

Creating Short-Term Wins

The best way to win over allies and foes alike is to create short-term goals. They help in motivating the staff. The management can come up with simple aims that they assume the organization can achieve. However, it is important to choose goals that are not expensive since the detractors and critics of the change are always watching, and they will be quick to point out the mistakes. For example, Nadella can execute some short term goals that the company can achieve, and this would further help him in the merger and the consequent process of organizational change.

Building on the Change

Most organizations declare victory too early. It is always advised to build on the change as well as short term goals. Building and using short term goals as a stepping stone for bigger and better goals is always advised. It helps in identifying the strong points as well as the weak ones and in improving them effectively. Therefore, it is imperative that the organization continues to set goals and keep bringing in new and fresh ideas into the mix. It is advisable for Nadella to keep all the stakeholders busy by presenting new and innovative ways so that they can surpass their competition. In this digital generation, the best weapon against the competition is young innovators who are full of ideas and, if they are used correctly, they might be just what Microsoft needs.

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Anchoring the Changes in Corporate Culture

It is the last step of the Kotter`s model. If an organization has finally reached this level, the change within the organization can be felt at all its levels from management to the employees. The changes within the organization should be incorporated within the culture and the tradition of the company. If the change is felt all around the organization, then solidifying the change is quite simple. It is also important that the organization`s leadership continues to support the change because if not, then the enterprise might just reverse back to its original state, and it would waste lots of resources. Nadella ought to include the change aspect of the company`s culture and tradition. He should also recognize the key individuals who are helpful in the change and give them some reward. It is worth putting in place measures and plans to replace the key leaders who have been vital in the change process as the organization moves on. It would help in maintaining their legacy and make sure that their contribution is not forgotten. The CEO should also incorporate some of Nokia`s culture into Microsoft as well as maintaining some Nokia`s employees as they transit into the world of smartphone manufacturing.

Conclusion

The acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft will be beneficial to the smartphone market because the company is going to release some very distinct gadgets. With the introduction of a new player in the market, the price of smartphones is bound to go down as more customers will lean towards a Nokia mobile device with Windows capabilities. Therefore, the merger of the two organizations will be beneficial to all the parties involved. In addition, Kotter`s 8-step model will be the most suitable for Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO.

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