The paper at hand is going to dwell upon organizational change as one of the key aspects determining the success of a present-day company. In order to attain effective outcome of the change process, it is essential to take into consideration not only the purpose of the change but also all the processes that have led to it as well as each stakeholder who played his/her role in the transformation process (Benn, Dunphy & Griffiths 2014). For the change to be successful, it must be well-grounded from the theoretical perspective and prove its effectiveness when being applied to real business situations.
The present research is going to concentrate on the two issues that are closely connected with organizational change. These are the role of leadership in the evolution of change management (on the example of Apple Inc.) and the challenges that companies have to overcome in order to introduce the required changes. The research will not be fully devoted to the leadership aspect despite the fact that the central idea of it is that different leaders have their own ways of defining and reinforcing the strengths of the organization.
It will also touch upon the organizational culture of Apple Inc. and the obstacles the company had to overcome due to the changes introduced. All the change processes that have been discussed and assessed were witnessed by the corporation under the leadership of Tim Cook. Thus, the paper will not involve a deep comparative analysis of different leadership styles. Its major focus is not to juxtapose Apple leaders but to demonstrate how the culture of the company has transformed due to modifications introduced. Theoretical analysis is supported by the case study in order to show how harmony in the organizational change and better understanding among all stakeholders involved can be achieved without direct changes in the culture accepted in the company.
The study performed was meant to investigate the concept of organizational change and management as per their ability to bring about viable, long-lasting outcomes, producing an impact on the organizational culture. Apple Inc. was selected for the case study analysis since it allows demonstrating what reasons typically lead to large-scale changes, what purposes they generally pursue, and what role each stakeholder plays in the procedure of change.
The literature review section makes the reader understand what framework or theory can be applied to achieve maximum results as well as staff satisfaction when changes become inevitable. In addition, the research made it possible to identify what role leadership played in the evolution of the organizational structure and operating system.
Since the concept is now gaining popularity in the business world, it is often challenging for a firm to decide which of the change models will provide maximum benefits while demanding minimum resources. Unfortunately, there is no universal model that would be able to satisfy all organizational needs of a particular company (Anderson 2016). Thus, an individual approach is required to be able to choose a framework that will answer the requirements without posing the necessity to change the company’s ways and values dramatically.
It is also wrong to perceive the change as a panacea for all the problems the firm is trying to resolve (Cameron & Green 2015). Despite the fact that it definitely brings about considerable improvements, a lot still depends not on the ability to introduce and handle transformations but on the readiness of the organization to accept them.
Out of a large number of organizational change models suggested by scholars, two frameworks were chosen to provide theoretical foundations for the change process happening in Apple Inc… The first one, Lewin’s Change Model, was selected due to its ability to detail how a particular system is capable of transferring from one equilibrium state to another without losing its value. The model consists of three major stages that make it possible for the change to be introduced smoothly and to be integrated fully into the corporate culture of the company (Cameron & Green 2015).
The first stage, unfreezing, implies an alteration of the dominating equilibrium, which opposes any transformations and aims to preserve current operations, attitudes, evaluations, and understandings. It was specifically emphasized in the research, that even the first phase is impossible without reflection, involvement, motivation, and readiness for change since changing means, above all, cognitive reorganization of the perception. In simpler words, change is productive when it is desirable (Hayes 2014).
The second phase, change, involves a deep restructuring of all organizational processes with the purpose to introduce new behaviors and an innovative system of performance assessment. This stage allowed showing the importance of the leader, Tim Cook, in ensuring employee commitment and willingness to assist changes. Finally, in the third phase, refreezing, all modifications were memorized and made perpetual. The company managed to set up an innovative procedure outlining new patterns of conduct as well as new learning skills required to resolve real-work problems (Benn, Dunphy & Griffiths 2014)
The second model chosen for the company analysis is Kotter’s model of change. The reason for its selection was that the model allows starting the change of the perceptional level. It encompasses an eight-step approach, which makes it highly detailed and particular in comparison to other models. The framework allows performing such important tasks as
- creating a sense of urgency, which allows encouraging the company to act without delay;
- building a team to coordinate, direct, and control all processes;
- developing a strategic vision to predict the future;
- enlisting volunteers;
- removing obstacles;
- generating immediate objectives;
- sustaining acceleration (Clegg & Matos 2017).
The combination of the two models made it possible to analyze the needs and capabilities of the company from all possible angles, which is essential for identifying whether any suggested change has a chance to be successful. Another factor, the significance of which was emphasized in the course of the study, is leadership, which was undoubtedly one of the key factors in the organizational change of Apple Inc regardless of the period (both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook made an emphasis on their personality in order to foster organizational change) (Goetsch & Davis 2014). Both leaders of Apple are now viewed as individuals having the potential to materialize even the most unreal dreams who, at the same time, managed to achieve excellence due to their ability to direct and control the staff.
The case study revealed that despite the fact that the change of the leader is detrimental for successful companies in the majority of cases, Tim Cook can be called an exception to the rule. He continues to develop the strategies introduced by Steve Jobs. However, the policy is now viewed as fresh since the appearance of a new figure on the stage has created a feeling of renewed energy and power. Moreover, the change of leadership has allowed the organization to overcome its problems associated with the corporate culture.
Anderson, DL 2016, Organization development: the process of leading organizational change, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Benn, S, Dunphy, D & Griffiths, A 2014, Organizational change for corporate sustainability, Routledge, London.
Cameron, E & Green, M 2015, Making sense of change management: a complete guide to the models, tools and techniques of organizational change, Kogan Page Publishers, London.
Clegg, SR & Matos 2017, Sustainability and organizational change management, Routledge, London.
Goetsch, DL & Davis, SB 2014, Quality management for organizational excellence, Pearson, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
Hayes, J 2014, The theory and practice of change management, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.