ASEE 2014 Zone I Conference, April 3-5, 2014, University of Bridgeport, Bridgpeort, CT, USA.

Organizational Change: Case Study of General

Muhammad Aliuddin Khan

Department of Economics,
University of Peshawar

Peshawar Pakistan
[email protected]

Muhammad Hashim
Department of Business

Preston University
Islamabad Pakistan

[email protected]

Abstract— The main purpose of this article was to elaborate
and bring to light the core concept of the organization change,
how it works, diverse factors which moves organization to
change, steps for change, resistance for change, change forces,
change management approaches and last an example of General
Motor (GM) has given that how change was taken place in the
organization and what was the strategies for change
management. Recommendations and conclusion forms the last
part of the paper.

Keywords – Organization change, Factors, Resistance, GM.


The business world to day is going very fast and new
technology new methods of production and new taste of
customers and new market trends as well as new strategies for
best control of the organizations and motivation of employees
are emerging and taking place from old to new methods,
because the customers are the emperor of market and most of
the company now spending billions of amount on research and
development in the organization, by keeping in view all these
things the managers and experts of the today businesses now
compel to decide about the change management in the
organizations, because business activities now are globalize,
and every organization strive to sustained the loyal customers,
trained the employees, introduce and adopt new methods of
production and best control the activities of the organization,
so from here the concept of change management or
organization change starts. When the company feel that the
activities which they are doing, the management, the way of
administration, the use of technology, the human resource
policies, the culture of the organization, the liking and
disliking the contents and context of the organization by the
employees, organization structure, group concept ,the product
quality are continuously destroying the image and reputation
of the organization the question arises that how will change
the organization in present scenario, so when the expert
specialist decides about all the situation and preparing for
changing the organization it leads to the concept of

organizational change or change management[1] . In the word
of coetsee he said that it is the ability of the management that
how they can get maximum benefits and support form change
which reduces resistant from the side of employees and
encourage appreciate acceptance and support. The process of
changing the activities of the organization as well as the
implementation of the procedures and technologies to achieve
the desire objective of the organization, in simple words to
change the environment of the business organization and to
achieve a high profit from that change, usually change
management includes different aspects such as control change,
adaptation change and effecting change. The final goal of the
change management is the long term sustainability of the
organization. organizational change simply means to change
the activities of the organization concern it may includes to
change the culture of the organization, technology, business
process, change of employees, rules and procedures,
recruitment and selection, design of jobs, method of appraisal,
and human resource techniques, physical environment of the
organization, methods of training and development, job skill
and knowledge etc. when the change of the concern
organization is fundamental it is called organization
transformations. Change management means when all the
needed actions are taken to improve the present situation for
future to implement the change strategies to get the maximum
advantages and also see that the objectives of the organization
is achieving or not[2]

A. Factors Behind The Organization Change

As we have mentioned before that organization change occurs
due to some factors that may be external or internal, such
factors may also bring change in the activities of he
organization and may also create problems to harder the
change process, as every know that change creates resistance,
and this resistance may creates huge problems, resistance to
change is also from the old employees or middle level
managers or people as they always appose to the change
strategies due to their own way of thinking and perception
regarding the change concept, this may be due to lake of
knowledge about the situation or due to the self interest of the

old employees but what ever may be the reasons but it is fact
that change always bring resistance, now it is up to mangers
that how they reduce the intensity of the resistance and
implement the whole change strategic business model in the
organization. [3].

B. Change Forces

The following are the main forces which bring change in the
organization. These are as under but it may depend on the
organization environment and the context of the organization.
Change in new government policies and legislation, Change
and development in new materials, Social and culture value
change, Change in national and global economic condition
and trade policies and regulation, Technology development,
Change in customer taste and requirements, Development and
innovation in manufacturing process, New products and
services design innovation, New ideas about the products that
how to deliver customers value and satisfaction, Office and
factory relocation closer to customers, suppliers, and market,
nature of the workforce, technology , economic shocks,
completion, social trends, and world politics[4].

C. Resistance to Change

Change creates resistance to change in every organization; it is
the react response from the side of the old employees. When
change strategies have implemented in the organization the
employees quickly respond by voicing complaints, engaging
in work slowdown, threatening to go on strike, etc. but care
should be taken by the change management expert to
overcome the resistance +
Major force for resistance to change: resistance to change
forces categorize into two main heading, 1) individual sources
and 2) organizational sources

1). Individual Source Resistance To Change Includes The

Habit, security, selective information processing, economic
factors, fear of the unknown.

2). Organizational Sources for Resistance to Change Include
the Following.

Limited focus on change, organization structural inertia, threat
to expertise, threat to established power relationship, group
inertia, threat to established resource allocation.

3). Overcoming to Resistance to Change.

Overcoming to resistance to change means to use the tactics to
reduce the intensity of the resistance to change, the change
agents have the ability to use these tactics. are as under.

a) Implementing change fairly.
b) Selection people who accept change
c) Education and communication

d) Participation
e) Building support and commitment
f) Manipulation and cooptation

D. Organizational Change Managing Approaches

When change management taken place in the organization,
now the question is how best one can manage change. There
are four approaches to change management. Lewins classic
three step model of change process, kotters eight step plan,
action research, and organizational development.
According to the lewins model the organization must follow
three steps for successful change management, which are.
Unfreezing: the status quo, changing to overcome the pressure
of both individual resistance and group conformity.
Movement; desire end state, a change process that transforms
the organization from the status quo to a desired end state.
And refreezing the new change to make it permanent,
stabilizing a change intervention by balancing driving and
restraining forces. [4]

Lewins three steps change model.

Unfreezing Movement Refreezing

(Source Stephen, 2005)

1). Kotters Eight Step Plan.

To more elaborate the lewins model kotters have develop
eight steps which can be adopted to implement change. These

1) Establish a sense of urgency that why a change is

2) Form enough power to lead the change
3) Create a new vision to direct the change and

strategies for achieving the vision
4) Vision communication in organization
5) Empower others to act on vision by removing

6) Plan for, create short term reward to move the

organization toward the new vision
7) Continues improvement and make necessary

adjustment in new programs.
8) Reinforce the change by demonstrating the

relationship between new behaviors.
(Source Stephen, 2005)

2) Action Research

Action research is also a change management approach in
which systematically data collected and than change is taken
according that data indication.

3) Organizational Development

Organizational development plays an important role in the
change management no change be best implemented with out
organizational development, it can be define as a collection of
planned change interventions, built on humanistic democratic
values, that seek to improve the organizational effectiveness
and employees work performance and well being.[4]

4) Organizational Development Techniques

The change agent considers the following technique to bring
organizational development. Sensitivity training, team
building, process consultation, survey feed back, appreciative
inquiry and inter group development. These are the important
technique which should adopt by change specialist to bring
effective development in the organization, because
organizational development is vital for organizational change.

5) Change Management at General Motor
General motor established in 1908. that
time the company was the sole carmaker
dealer in the region, e.g. Michigan, first it
was a holding Buick company, till 1920 it
was becoming the world largest motor manufacturing
company, the company got a tremendous success in time of
Alfred salon, due to his leadership the company was
producing new style and design car every year, and he had
given such concept to the company. The other brand of the
company is Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, and Cadillac. These
were the different brand cars which were producing by
company that time, and this way there were no other
competitors to compete in the company different cars. But
with emerging of the japans automakers the company felt
threatened, specially the emerging of Toyota Japan, who with
great extent disturbed the profitability of the GM, especially in
the North American market. In 2001 the sale graph of the GM
was in declined trend, because the Toyota had captured the
market, this way the GM received loan form American
government and Canadian government to support the
company in that crises period. During 2009 the company had
faced a bankruptcy and had closed several brand and sold out
to china based company. Now the company again got his
position in market by restructuring and making change in the
company. Now the company is again operating business in the
core brands in America such as Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, and
Cadillac. [6]


In this section we will highlight the reason and forces behind
the change in general motor

1) Forces For Change.

The following are the main forces which affected the general

2) External Forces.

In external forces the GM which was greatly affected by the
japans based company Toyota was the emerged competitors in
that time, the north America is still the biggest market place
for GM where the company sold out in recent year round
about 2.9 million and the nearest competitor is Toyota and
china based companies, these competitors with great extent
disturbed the total profitability of the general motor, and the
second external forces which the company faced a huge
problem was financial crises which with great extent collapsed
the cash flows of the company.

3) Internal Forces.

The another force for change to GM was the high wages cost
to employees as the company was paying $74 per hour as
compared to Toyota $44 per hour, because GM was an
agreement with trade union. And the GM was compelled to
run the plant with minimum 80% capacity whether it was
needed or not, these things play an important role in the
bankruptcy of the company.

A. Types of Changes

By keeping in view the above discussion the company
ultimate decided to bring or make change in the company, so
the company decided to bring changes on some areas of the
business, these were included, structural change, cost
change, process change and cultural change

B. Steps in the Change Management Process of General

While going on change management the GM, the company
took some steps to adopt change these are the most recent
change which the company had taken.

1) Cost Cutting.

The first steps which was taken by the GM is about cost
cutting, the company has reduced its cost of some brands to
maintain the profit level, such as the Saturn and hammer, by
keeping the other company cost. Similarly the company also
cut pay of employees which was the major problem to
company. The company has achieved the target of cost cutting
up to 15 billion in recent year.

2) Cultural Change

The general motor also changed the culture of the company,
the GM removed it automotive product board, and automotive
strategy up to 8 men board decision making team which were
responsible to report directly to CEO. The main objective of
such change is to speed up the day to day decision making
process. The GM also changed the culture to improve the
efficiency of the employees and make accountable and
responsible one.

C. Problems to Change Process

In change management process the GM faced a variety of

1) Problems in Cultural Change

The cultural plan was based on top down approach, which
ignored totally the involvement of the employees as compared
to other companies , some suggested that the company has not
down top approach, in which employees feel satisfaction, so
this regard the company empowered the employees by
introducing in tailoring the down top approach. Rather than
merely telling to employees what they do.

2) Problem with Cost Cutting

As the cost cutting has an important place in the change
management but it was faced great problem from the
agreement of trade union, as the company was an agreement
with not lowering the pay of the employees and maintain the
capacity level.

D. Results of the Change Process

As we have discussed that the GM had adopted changed
previously also but these changes are recently those changes
which adopted by the company in the year 2009. The results
of he changes are as under.

1) Result of Cost Cutting

The result of cost cutting of GM seems from its employment
figure of 98 to 2009, it was reduced from 226000 to 101000
workers, and now the company is concentrating on sale rather
than to further cut off, and also the company is deciding to
reduce the worked force of the factory from 6oooo to 4oooo.
And it will certainly lead to cost saving to the company. [7]

2) Result of Cultural Change

The general motor had also achieved good result from cultural
change, and the employees now becoming aware about the
responsibility and accountability, as well as the company also
empowered the employees to give better productivity.

E. Effectiveness of the Change Strategies

As we have discussed above that the general motor adopted
tow main strategies for change management, recently one was
cost cutting strategy for change management and other was
cultural change management strategy, the company adopted
two other change strategies but these are the most recent, by
developing such strategies the company has achieved its
market shares in north America again, as the company was
threatened by the emerging of competitors in the automakers
industry but the company decided to bring changes and now
the company again in better position and he again maintained
the brand of core products, beside of these the company also
achieved the cost benefits by implementing these change
strategies in the company[8]


we have seen that how the GM has made changes in the
company for smooth running the company and increased in
sale volume and maintained market shares around the world
but it is not enough changes which was brought by the general
motor, the company needed more attention and adopt several
others changes to cope with the situation and to maintain the
position of the business and compete in the international
market. The following are the some suggested
recommendation for the general motor that it can pursue GM
might be reached the turnaround goals and can increase in sale
and market shares.

A. Production of the Right and Fuel Efficient
Automobiles/Poor Product Lineup

As it was the criticism in the brand of the GM product or cars
that these are not fuel inefficient automobiles. The company
was in top sale in 1990 when the oil was at cheap price but
when the price roused in the international market the company
brand had lost it reputation in the general market, the company
must produce such automobiles which have fuel efficient; the
company must also focus on the battery volt cars and hybrid
one. So it will maintain the company sale increasing as well as
the loyalty of the customer and market shares.

B. Public Perception Improving

The general motor must improve the product quality and
customer services. Because the public perception is most
important thing, if the company improves the public
perception than the public will certainly believe that the
money of their not going in the wrong way, and they will great
full in the eyes of the public.


After facing the intense competition and bankruptcy the
general motor now improved again the company activities,

and still the world largest car manufacturing company, the
company has gotten a change recently which has also
improved the working condition of the company, but the
company will must see the weakness and public perception to
increase the sale and market shares. Before formulating any
type of strategy the GM should make SWOT analysis to gain
competitive advantages in the market place.


[1] David decenzo 2005. Human resource management, 8th edition, Wiley
[2]David Buchanan and Andrzej Hcuzynski (2005), organizational behavior,

3rd edition, prentice Hall.

[3]Bechard, R, 1969. Organization development: strategies and
models, Addison Wesley.

[4]Stephen p. Robbins, judge, seema sanghi, 2005. Organizational behavior,
13th edition, prentice Hall

[5]French, W.L. and Bell, C. H., 1995. Organization development: Behavioral
science interventions for organizational improvement, 5th edition,
Prentice Hall International.

[6] Muoio, A, 2007. G M has new model for change, online retrieved, 15
December 2009 from

[7]General Motor taking swift cost cutting action 2008. Online retrieved 15
December 2009 from –
motor-taking swift –cost- action –cutting..

[8]Driving change at General Motor, 2005, online retrieved 15 December

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