The case study discussing about the acquisition of Electronic Bits Fast (EBF) by Rapid Supply Electronic Components Ltd (RSEC). It has been highlighted that the acquisition process have led to the surfacing of several change management issues. Both the companies have prominently different organisational structure and operational processes. However, following the finalisation of it has been decided by the authority that the RSEC will adopt the integrated approach of EBF that has been acquired. Adopting an integrated approach could prove to be effective in managing bigger teams and larger customer bases. However, the changing from a decentralised structure to a highly integrated in a very short span of time proved to be quite challenging and it also accompanied high employee dissatisfaction level and significant number of employee releases. This issues have drastically reduced organisational performance, increased customer complaints and massive workloads on the exiting employees. This problem have been further elevated owing to the lack of communication between the change manager and the HR. As a result, the board members are operating under the false impression of successful change management. If the situation is left to continue, it is most likely will lead to severe operational failure and dissatisfaction among the business clients and shareholders.
This section discusses about the analysis of the problems raised from the change management process. It has been segregated into identification of the issues and its relevant analysis and justification of occurrence.
The key problem that has raised from the change process is mostly due to the fact that the companies that are involved in the acquisition process operates with completely different methods. The RSEC operates with a decentralised structure where all the branches are run with significant autonomy and independence. On the other hand, the company that has been acquired, that is EBF, is highly centralised and is controlled by the headquarters. The board of directors have decided to integrate all the functions like sales, logistics and customer service, thereby following the operational process of EBF.
It can be mentioned that the integrated approach can prove to be beneficial for the company as the acquisition has increased both the customer base and the employee base. An integrated approach could help to keep the entire operation under control and would help to foster higher resource utilisation. However, the conflict had risen as the board had directed to implement the change in very less time, after waiting for almost a year. The rapid implementation of the integrated approach complied the change manager to deploy a top-down method of direction. This as a result led to lack of communication across the hierarchy, which did not allow him to get the clear picture of the associated issues faced by the company.
The rapid deployment of the change had also given very less time for the manager to prepare the employee for the change process. Internal turmoil among the employees was quite prominent as they were completely uncertain about what the company planned to do. Many of the employees and managers were dissatisfied from the fact that being the acquiring company it is following the operational process of the company that it has acquired. Moreover, many employees in the sakes and logistics division of the RSEC failed to see the relevance of the integrated approach taken by the company. Most of the employees also had to relocate against their will and there was a major shift in their job role and responsibility. The lack of preparation had been quite evident from the fact that workspace became crowded as the new infrastructure set up was still incomplete to accommodate all the employees. Due to the top-down approach of direction, all of the issues have gone unnoticed by the change manager, who was under the impression that the change process is undertaking as expected.
As mentioned by Jones, (2010), the key to a proper change management is organisational preparation to adopt the changes. If there is a lack of preparation within the organisation, the employees are likely to face significant issues regarding the changes that are taking place. Lack of time to properly communicate with the employees about the potential changes have caused significant level of dissatisfaction about the employees. The news about the adoption of the integrated approach has reached the employees almost after a year via email communication. There has been no formal meetings with the employees and no guidance had been provided to them on how to deal with the new changes in the organisations. As a result, the employees started to reject the change. Moreover, the input and opinions of the employees and the managers were not considered while implementing the change and without proper communication, the employees failed to understand the relevance of integrating the departments that once operated seamlessly by following the autonomous approach.
Lewin’s change management model described by Hayes (2014), highlights three key stages, which are unfreeze, change, refreeze. These three stages ensures that the organisational change has been implemented successfully without any internal conflict (Anderson & Anderson, 2010; Stanleigh, 2008). However, in this case, even though the acquisition of EBF took place almost one year ago, the authority did not take any initiative to start the change process. As a result, there has been no time for the first stage which is “unfreeze”. In this stage, the employees are prepared, trained and guided about the new changes that are about to come to the company and how it can impact them and the organisation as whole (Weiner, 2009).