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Introduction to Contingency Model
There are four critical approaches to the contingency model; the first one is Incremental adjustments. It is desirable for the organization when it is doing its best in the market already and requires slight or small changes to keep up. The change occurs in small parameters. The change at this level need not be rapid or abrupt, but slightly measured and smooth to avoid clash and disorder. The second one is Collaborative changes, which this mode of changes is useful where there is a consensus among employees, employers, stakeholders, and other support groups such as sponsors. Such a move is encouraged where there is little or no opposition in the process. Transformational change occurs or is desirable in cases where the organization is in disarray, out of fit, or at an imbalance. In such a time, a rapid and quick change is necessary to bring things in order, thus ensuring the survivability of the firm. Coercive models is the last option where there is a possibility of a large-scale opposition from interest groups.
The contingency model categorizes change in four different levels. The first one is the fine-tuning stage, the second stage is the model transformation, followed by small (incremental) adjustments, and finally corporate transformation. These changes were summarized by (Todnem, 2005). They also suggested that change could be radical or discontinuous, whereas the transformational move would either be coercive or consultative.
Learning Organizations vs. Traditional Organizations
There have been different business models in the world. Some changed during the active and the reactive periods under the influence of the internet. In those times, people did not understand the proper business models (Magretta, 2002). There are different characteristics of both the traditional and learning organizations. The traditional organization views its processes in the conservative and old ways, and thus seeks to continue the same way. It does not try out new methods and new leadership, neither does it allow sudden alterations (Burnham & Anderson, 2003). The command retains old processes; it is the know-it-all's arm. It is also responsible for delaying change. It sticks to the conformity to rules and stresses the need for accountability to the boss (Burnham &Anderson, 2003). It is evident therefore that the traditional organization plays by the laws of the past.
The learning organization is a direct opposite of the traditional organization. The learning organization is mature, it embraces new ways of doing things, and it listens to the junior staff and accommodates ideas from all workers. The learning organization also utilizes a systems approach, which is oriented towards people. It prevents problems, unlike the traditional model which attacks them. It stresses on quality and excellent customer service. Accountability from team members is the hallmark of learning organizations. Understanding the differences between the two will allow an organization to know the time it is living in and hence make the proper adjustments. Leaders have to be flexible enough in the face of these organizational changes.
Company's Stage under Woolner's Five-Stage Model
Woolner's five-stage model suggests that a company has to attain five different levels before it reaches the organizational learning state (Woolner, Lowy, & Redding, 1995). According to the model, the first stage is the 'the Forming Organization.' The forming organization is at its preliminary stage of formation. The second one is the 'Developing Organization' which has started to grow and rise. The third is the 'Mature Organization,' followed by the 'Adapting organization.' The last stage for the company is 'Learning Organization,' a sign that a company has transitioned through all the stages and has matured enough.
Most of the development in the first stage occurs by process of trial and error, mainly at the level of providing customers with services and products. The developing organizations are what Woolner referred to as the stage two organizations. At the second stage of the organization's growth, there is an aroused need for formal learning, and most of the education occurs from the input of external players. Woolner calls the third stage the 'Mature Organization,' where the economic benefits and learning processes become clearer than previous stages. The company is at the learning stage, where it gains a myriad of advantages from training, sessions, and employee ideas. Learning at this stage is not institutionalized as the organization has attained a full-scale operational level. It cannot be compared to the 'Adapting Stage,' where the linkages between the objectives of the company and the strategic learning expectations (Woolner, Lowy, & Redding, 1995). At the learning stage, there are many skills that the company can take advantage of, and thus the management can take these into the organizations strategic agendas. At the 'Learning Stage,' leadership has taken root and is thoroughly institutionalized.
The Company's Learning Stage
At the learning stage, a company should be able to make stable revenues all year round. It is here that the firm enjoys a high growth rate. At the learning stage, the management of the company may decide to expand the business further or find means to diversify their business. It is important to consider if the business will sustain further expansion or growth. If there are opportunities for growth, then it would be prudent that the company encourages the change. It is also crucial that you are at a position to finance the changes that the company envisions at this stage. Most of the companies at the learning stages have the financial muscle to try out new opportunities. The company at the learning stage is also known to change its leadership in the face of changes. In most of them, they employ the services of a seasoned CEO, who assists the company to navigate through the challenges. The company also engages in full-time sales, both in the public and the private sector.
Senge's 5 Disciplines: Rising to Learning Organization
Senge's five disciplines include a shared vision in the organization, mental models, a personal mastery strategy, team building, and finally systems thinking (Senge, 2014).
A shared vision sets the goal of what an organization intends to achieve together. It is essential to establish the shared concept early in the formation of the organization to shape the conversations which are crucial to meeting the commitments. A shared vision also unleashes the hopes and aspirations of the team, apart from also triggering the resistances and reservations shared by the staff. Some of the crucial tools to apply at this stage of vision include 'positive positioning,' 'values alignment,' and 'concept development.' That is what it takes to forge a common understanding and mutual agreements.
Personal mastery is Senge's second discipline to elevating the organization to the learning stage. It is also known as self-awareness. The much we know about ourselves affects and impacts our relations with other people. Self-Mastery is the face of change. It also means that we can manage our relationships towards a more positive end, as well as retain our values and belief systems. Personal mastery is a crucial ingredient to the organizational psyche. It ensures that we remain authentic and principled. Some of the essential tools to use at this level include 'Reframing' and 'perpetual positions.'
Mental model re-alignment is another significant step to unleash the deep-rooted and deep-seated belief systems, values, assumptions, and stereotypes. It determines how we perceive and view things, and eventually how we end up thinking and acting. It is essential to learn to clarify assumptions and focus on what is important. A vital tool to use in this step is the 'Reflective Inquiry' model, which ensures that the mental model by the organization brings about a shared understanding.
Team building means that the organization has to ensure that the teams 'think together'. The only way teams can 'think together' is by sharing insights, skills, and knowledge with one another, and thus they can find a better way of doing things in future. With good working teams, there can be productive discussions, skills development, and great conversations to develop shared goals and visions. The tools to use in team building include 'Dialogue' and the 'Action-Learning.'
Changing systems thinking is a way of viewing the complexity of human interactions and situations in a somewhat simplified approach. In a changed mindset, the working committees can unearth the influences, the pressures, and subtleties, and thus develop a mechanism of leveraging on the changes and programs to achieve a broader awareness and connectedness within the system. The most recommended learning tools for this level of Senge's disciplines are the 'Archetypes' and 'Systems Thinking Maps.' They can use these tools to study problems, determine courses of action, and lastly find better solutions from the extended team of ideas from workers.
The Balogun & Hailey's Model
Balogun and Hailey model suggests steps to take a learning organization should undertake to sustain change. The first one is that the learning organization should change its culture and attitude towards the employees. There are different cultural realities within an organization, which have to be addressed. The employees and the management should understand the nature and the cultural shifts within the organization.
The second important step to take is to change the implementation efforts. The implementation should be designed in such a way that it suits the context of the organization. All the changes should be context-driven. That means they are not just changes without a vision and a purpose. Some organizations fear complex changes, and as a result, they suggest playing down those changes. They also tend to apply recipes that do not fit the organizational contexts.
The other crucial change is to change the people themselves. An organization is made up of the people, from the level of managers, directors, departmental heads, and employees down at the hierarchy. These are the people to change their way of running the affairs of the organization. The last part of the change is the recognition that employees remain the most intrinsic part of any change process in an organization.
Reward Productivity: it is important that the organization rewards exceptional performance from its employees. The management should out a policy that recognizes the industry and effort of individual members as a way of appreciating value (Balogun & Hailey, 2008). It is applied to avoid cases of worker retardation and correct past mistakes. It is also a means to achieve institutional competency and reinforces the work culture that the organization builds on.
Establish a Learning System: the organization should subject their employees to a continuous learning process. The knowledge gained should encourage flexibility and innovation. New models of learning have to be adopted, different from systems applied in traditional learning processes.
Vertical Interaction Approach: this suggests that the organization's management finds a means to engage in high-frequency consultations. A high-powered and frequency engagements can be achieved through the use of video classes, forwarding of memos, email notifications, and regular workshops. Seminars and training sessions would also serve the purpose of teaching new insights.
Introduce your Staff to Opportunities: there are limited opportunities in any learning environment. An innovative organization will find resources for investment in the training and support of employee when opportunities present.
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