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December 22, 2010

Transformation from my point of view


After studying about transformation and organizational learning for a while, I am stick with one image about transformation which has embedded in my mind since my undergraduate course. The chosen image is: transformation is a process of unfreeze-redesign-refreeze. Whatever changes can be, people need to abandon at least parts of what they are doing, thinking, planning to accept new ideas and actions. 

Academic authors have different views on the outcome of transformation. Some say the final organization should be completely different inside-out from the original, change in structure, culture, operation, mind-set ... Those people also classify changes to different levels and categories. Others say, organizations transform as environment changes which will change their current business states. Transformation is adaptation. As long as they keep their organization at the position that they want, it does not make a big different to them how much to change, what area to change.

I think the first view is more academic and, in a way, put transformation to such an extreme of change which is quite unrealistic. Since if they change themselves completely, they would lose all the competitive advantages that they have built up so far. Moreover, they would be a completely new player in an environment which is totally new to them, competing with older players. It can be about the target environment from the author's point of view. If they want to quit the current playground and take a risk to give a go in another potential market, this could be the case.

I prefer the other perspective about transformation. It sounds more practical, understandable and makes more sense to me. However, also having taken into account consideration from the first view, I think whenever environment changes, the leaders stand in front of choices of directions: what market they want to go for to make a new start, what position in that market they want to gain, what image they want to build up in the society in general and in the business environment in particular ... From this point of view, internal factors are also important in a sense that which transformed form would cost them least which still satisfy their strategic aims. At the end, it is about the wisdom of leaders, in both understanding their own organizations and external environment, to make a good match. 

Transformation is about choice over a new game to play when leaders see the current or old one over. ;)

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