General Overriding Problem:
The case mainly focuses on the challenges of implementing change programs at Simmons. There is resistance to change. (The sources of resistance are derived from both individuals and organization.) Besides the resistance to change, the dominant organizational culture exists within Simmons is not in consistency with the Simmons’ core organizational culture. This inconsistency further hinders the Simmons from implementing change programs smoothly.
Simmons is in its toughest period of time ever in history. There are several forces (Economic shocks are the most important stimulants to change at Simmons) that require Charlie Eitel, CEO of Simmons, to implement comprehensive change program, i.e. the Great Game of Life (GGOL). However, the implementation of GGOL faces huge resistance.
Individual Sources: Firstly, there is fear of the unknown among the employees and the top managers. The outcomes of GGOL are uncertain, employees feel like their safety and job securities are threatened, especially resignation of plant managers has already happened. Secondly, individuals have habits. They prefer to work in their accustomed ways. When people are confronted with the GGOL, they may think that they will shift from the environment they are habituated to. This thought will result in resistance to change. Thirdly,economic factors also trigger resistance to change. GGOL is ambiguous to most employees and managers at Simmons. They are concerned about the changes in their job tasks or established work routines. They may not be able to perform new tasks to their previous standards, especially when their pay is closely associated with productivity.
Organizational Sources: Firstly, Structural inertia acts as a counterbalance to sustain stability and resist changes. The culture shared by a majority of the Simmons’ members (i.e. dominant culture) is inconsistent with the original organizational culture established by the company. The inconsistency will further strengthen structural inertia to resist change. For example,leadership style at Simmons will be changed completely. Simmons leadership vision states that they encourage new ideas, open communication, and having fun.
However, the dominant culture deviates from the core values. The actual leadership is very much motivation through intimidation. GGOL will completely revamping the company’s dictatorial form and ensure that Simmons is running on the right track. Secondly, there are resources constraints. Organizations need adequate financial resources to change. However, Simmons is not in this case. Simmons is on the brink of bankruptcy! To some extend, group inertia is also taking place. Some employees resist GGOL simply because their groups which they belong to resist the GGOL.
Analysis and Evaluation:
Implementation of the GGOL is controversial. It really does teach staff at Simmons how to work together and share information. The GGOL is made up by 4 phases. The first phase focuses on participation. This phase encourages employees to participate discussion. It helps improve the communication within the organization and make employees get involved. Resistance to change is positive since it leads to open discussion and debate. Change agents also take advantages of it to explain the change effort, i.e. process consultation. The second phase is aiming at establishing trust and support by using team building. The first two phases are unfreezing step inLewin’s three-step model. The last two phases are interrelated. They are usingintergroup development technique to look for the causes of disparities and try to solve them (Movement and Refreezing step in Lewin’s model). Ultimately, the staff’s full potential at work is realized.
After Charlie Eitel is designated as CEO, he took series actions. These actions include redesigning the Beautyrest, spending $9 million on ad campaign, reorganizing management and Simmons’ structure, and implementing the GGOL. Most of them are successful. However, Eitel and the top management team still don’t come up with a plan about how to manage the company through these tough times.
Since the experiment result at Charlotte Plant is fantastic, I would like to recommend Eitel to stick on his original plan, i.e. adopt the GGOL. Creating a culture for change is the centre of this plan. I suggest the following improvements.
They should pay more attention on the employees’ feedback. Feedback is incredibly essential for accessing attitudes held by employees, identifying discrepancies among employees, and solving these differences. Survey feedback also makes employees feel their opinions are valued by the company.
Simmons should also adopt appreciative inquiry AI. AI focuses on an organization’s successes rather than its problem. Employees at Simmons are criticized excessively. Managers should identify the strengths of Simmons, and try to make best use of their comparative advantages and bypass the disadvantages. AI also allows managers and employees to write action plan and develop implementation strategies together. The more people engaged in, the more they are willing to implementing change.
Structure of Simmons should also be reorganized. Eitel should try to de-emphasize hierarchical authority and control. This makes Simmons be more effective incommunication. Generally speaking, communication is high and effective in innovative organizations. In addition, de-emphasize hierarchical authority ensurespower equalization, which is beneficial to organizational development.
“Leading Change at Simmons” shows the importance of Organizational Behavior, having a culture that respects its employees and having a transformational leader who has a clear vision for the company.
Simmons has lost three of its most important clients due to the economic depression post the 9/11 attacks. Its products are giving off unpleasant odor because of a low quality raw material supplied by one of its suppliers.
As one goes through the case, one realizes that there are a lot of problems that the company is facing, right from the lack of a clear vision to the extent of one manufacturing unit competing with the other. It clearly reflects the following sources of conflict
Analysis of Problems
•Role Conflict and No Organizational Structure
One of the major problems that the company was facing was that there was no clear organizational structure for the company and role conflict existed. Most of the associates were reporting to the General Managers, who were basically Sales Managers, and who, according to Eitel, didn’t have business acumen. All the manufacturing units were running as per the General Manager’s whims. This Control vs. Commitment (Exhibit 1) situation can be clearly seen when Bob Hellyer, President and Director of Simmons, tells Eitel about the manufacturing units at Janesville and Charlotte.
Lack of Implementation of Vision and Values
Simmons already had four core values in place; three more were added when Eitel joined the company as its CEO. It seems that no one was following the “Simmons Code of Ethics” or the “Simmons Values.” No one was maximizing the “opportunity” to think or share and listen to others;
Short Term Goals:
1.Discard the mattresses that were made up of bad foam and sue the supplier.
2.Report and communicate with partners and employees Long Term:
2.Bill Wagnar should be kept in the same role….
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