Prof. Eng. Jan Skalik University of Zielona Góra JAN SKALIK Strategic orientation in change management

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Management 2016 Vol. 20, No. 1

JAN SKALIK

Prof. Eng. Jan Skalik University of Zielona Góra

JAN SKALIK

Strategic orientation in change management

and using it when designing a company’s

development

1. Introduction

The growth and development of a company is closely related to the need to implement changes in its management system. Their implementation is the expression of the internal organizational movement the course of which depends on a number of external and internal conditions. A particular role in the collection of the latter is played by managerial orientation valid within the company. Its content is the expression of the preference of objectives, values and features of the management system making it possible for the business organization to become distinct in its environment. The growth and development of a company is the expression of a consistent and logical implementation of a string of positive changes resulting from the adopted managerial orientation which is the representation of the basic, distinctive features a company’s management system should have, the values and principles it should be focused on and what conditions it should meet. The growth and development of a company require a simultaneous observance of a number of orientations, especially: pro-market, pro-quality, strategic,

ISSN 1429-9321 DOI: 10.1515/manment-2015-0034

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Strategic orientation in change management and using it when designing a company’s

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focused on knowledge and focused on changes (Lichtarski 2010). A particular role in the collection of the orientations referred to above is played by the orientation on changes because its implementation guarantees the achievement of benefi ts resulting from following the recommendations of other approaches to company management. It also plays an integrating role towards all managerial orientations. The mechanism of activating positive changes in the organization, which constitute the condition for achieving results confi rming the growth and development of a company, is found within the structure of the management system, especially in the content of regulatory mechanisms. They are responsible for generating adaptation and anticipation changes, ensuring the achievement of a new level in the organization’s general balance, which is not only the condition but also the confi rmation of development processes. The presence of regulatory mechanisms is also the confi rmation of the dialectic theory of organizational development and changes in the organization (Krzakiewicz 2012, p. 35), according to which its existence in a pluralistic world of confl icting events, forces or contradictory values leads to an internal confrontation. It results in creative synthesis in the form of a positive change. The orientation profi le of a company’s management covers not only the regulatory mechanisms but also the remaining elements of the management system, which also include: values and objectives, structures and regulations as well as methods and practice of management (Skalik, Bełz 2007, p. 16). Components of the management system include factors shaping the organization’s potential for change. The strategic orientation of a company’s management enables their activation and the implementation of changes supporting the achievement of its long-term development objectives. The purpose of this paper is to defi ne the essence of the strategic approach in change management and to identify its role in the process of creating the development strategy as well as a program enabling the achievement of its long-term objectives. The content of the article is the result of a critical analysis of the literature and the author’s own refl ections.

2. Strategic orientation in change management

Strategic orientation in change management in a company derives from the general strategy which has a comprehensive impact on all areas and forms of its activities. The general strategy seen as a model of the organization’s development defi nes the way in which the target image resulting from the company’s vision is achieved. Most often, however, this image differs from reality, and the

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revealed differences become a stimulus for internal organizational movement, the content of which includes changes of a great degree, requiring not only great outlays but also a longer time. These changes result from the company’s policy and general strategy (fi gure 1). The company’s policy, to which little attention is devoted in the literature on the subject, expresses the global vision of the functioning and perception of a business organization (Galata 2004, p. 50) in the convention of a game in which it plays the role of an actor of economic and social life (Strategor 2001, p. 16). Adopting this method of perceiving the organization makes it possible not only to learn the conditions for its operation but also to explain the mechanism of its previous behavior as well as predict and focus its future actions, which is signifi cant when designing future changes. Strategic orientation in change management expresses the approach of people managing the internal organizational movement to initiate, design and implement changes depending on the company’s situation. The content of this approach largely depends on the business organization’s strategic location subject to changes. The nature and the method of executing internal transformations in a non-sustainable organization at risk of a downfall will be different than in the case of a company with a strong strategic position and great potential for development. The deliberations contained in this paper relate to the selection of a strategy of change management in a company focused on development, and not on overcoming crises. Therefore, the implementation of a string of changes of a reactive and anticipatory nature is the expression of the organization’s internal dynamics. Reactive changes are the response to signals coming both from the organization’s interior and from its environment. Each type of change listed here may have a pro-development impact and be perceived as a sign of the organization’s development. Reactive changes that not only eliminate the revealed problems of internal functioning but are also the expression of the use of new ideas and new knowledge in a manner ensuring a growth in the business organization’s competitiveness may be of great value for the stimulation of the company’s development. Anticipatory changes, the introduction of which is inspired by the results of long-term forecasts regarding the course of key phenomena in the organization’s environment, are a particularly valuable element of the internal organizational movement. Although they are burdened with greater risk, they create the possibility to achieve a greater and more permanent success. However, transformation changes are the most important for the company’s development because they relate to the strategic level. They are characterized by the greatest radicalism. They include not only important transformations of a structural or process-related nature, but they

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apply also to the philosophy of management and directions of the managers’ thinking. Strategic orientation in theoretical studies on change management in organizations is mainly associated with the sphere of making decisions on changes and selecting its content and the method of implementation. This is confi rmed by the proposal from P. Gilbert (1988, p. 21) who distinguishes four types of the strategy of changes in organizations: conservative, rational, focused on people and comprehensive. None of them contains recommendations that could be associated with the long-term development of a company. Some of them, especially the conservative strategy, are of a backward nature because they treat change in the organization as a source of potential threats and related risk. Only certain pro-development elements may be found in the strategy focused on people because the recommendations contained in it may improve the company’s development capacity by maintaining positive relations between participants of the organization and achieving behavioral rationality. Some authors associate the strategic aspects of changing the organization with the process of implementing change projects, differentiating the strategies depending on their scope, concentration of resources and measures, initiatives as well as achieved results (Masłyk–Musiał 2003, p. 57). This made it possible to separate the following strategies of implementing changes: striking, continuous, top-down, emerging, managerial, common, clear and fuzzy. The connection between the content of these strategies with the issue of the company’s development may be seen only in the case of the striking strategy, also known as the jumping strategy as well as the continuous strategy. The striking strategy requires strengthening in the concentration of resources and measures, high intensity of actions modifying the current condition of the organization the further maintenance of which may threaten the company’s existence. As a result, it is recommended for unbalanced organizations. Pro- development trains in this strategy may be noticed only in the case of these companies that have a considerable strategic potential and that wish to use the emerging or expected opportunities in the environment.

The pro-development perception of the internal organizational movement has a relatively short history because the domination of classic trends in the theory of management made it possible to perceive stability as a particular value which was treated as the guarantee for the preservation of the internal organizational order. The emergence of the idea of balancing the organization (Koźmiński, Obłój 1989), in which the need to balance between opposite states of stability and change was treated as the source of an increase in the current and long-term effectiveness, created a new perspective for the intensifi cation of the

 

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