Strategic Management

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Strategic Management

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The concept of rapid, volatile, discontinuous change and its impact on the strategic management of organizations

Overview

The management of organizations in a volatile environment is primarily about managing transition. If business organizations are to survive in the next three decades then they must be in a position to effectively and quickly respond to dynamic business environments. This places a focus on a number of capabilities for instance:  responsiveness, adaptability and flexibility. Successful firms are those that will be able to act fast and first compared to their competition and their CEOs will have to be flexible in order to be successful anticipators.

Introduction

In the contemporary climate of evolving political priorities and economic pressure rapid, volatile and discontinuous change is increasingly becoming a critical priority within organizations.  However, this kind of change is a complex process that could have positive as well as negative consequences therefore it is important to comprehend the outcomes whether positive or negative to ensure that the entire process of change is conducted in an effective and efficient process.

Against a backdrop of shifting accepted work practices, rapid technological development and a growing knowledgeable workforce change is increasingly becoming an ever present tenet of organizations (Burnes, 2004). As much as most organizations do welcome the necessity for change most of these programs that come with change do not attain their intended objectives (Balogun and Hope Hailey, 2004).Effective CEOs do comprehend that in order to be proactive in the existing cut throat competition they must without ceasing create an environment where all employees work together with openness and trust, develop the strengths of their critical employees, encourage active participation and share power with them.

The Concept of Rapid, Volatile, Discontinuous Change

The global business environment was subjected to an accelerated and rapid change particularly in the 1990s. This change continues to create a more complex and uncertain environment in which organizations operate.  Business Managers in organizations are finding that old proven recipes, methods and beliefs for success redundant since they are no longer in a position to generate solutions not only for current but even future challenges. This is because when organizations are faced with rapid and volatile change the previous patterns are not likely to reoccur in similar or even precise formats. Turnley (2003) asserts that the volatile business environments tend to change continuously and nearly instantaneously and its uncontrolled changes oblige a new way of transacting business.

Where this Concept fits Within the Strategic Management Process

Times of volatile change still hold even today, however, for strategic organizational managers instead of these occurrences becoming threats to them they do become opportunities. Certainly a time of turbulence for other business managers could transform into a time of opportunities for strategic organizational managers particularly if they can comprehend, recognize and develop new realities. Organizations that are flexible and ready to acclimatize to a changing environment are in a position to exploit new opportunities and prevent threats more effectively in comparison to their competitors (Elrod and Tippett, 2002).

Model (S) Used to assess the Role, Impacts and Implications of Rapid, Volatile, Discontinuous Change for an Organization

Rousseau (2003) proposed a three step model for organizations to use in assessing the role, impact and implications of volatile and rapid change. The model suggests that change tends to first unfreeze the existing behavior, it then moves to the new behavior and finally freezes the new behavior. Even though it is popular the three step model has been disparaged for being founded on small samples and more so due to the fact that it acts under stable conditions that can be thought out and planned for.

The emergent approach model was harnessed to replace it. The model perceives change as being so impulsive and fast that it is difficult to control it from the top down. In its place the model opines that change should be perceived as a learning process where an organization acts in response to external and internal environmental transformations. Todnem (2005) points out that this model is focused more on facilitating change and change readiness rather than the provision of explicit preplanned steps for each change initiative and project. Emergent school proponents may not necessarily support this model but offer a succes.............


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