“WRITE A CASE STUDY, 3 PAGES, AND GUIDE IS BELOW)
Using an organized seven-step approach in analyzing a case will make the entire process easier and can increase your learning benefits. (THIS IS THE GUIDE, NOT QUESTION)
Read the case thoroughly. To understand fully what is happening in a case, it is necessary to read the case carefully and thoroughly. You may want to read the case rather quickly the first time to get an overview of the industry, the company, the people, and the situation. Read the case again more slowly, making notes as you go.
Define the central issue. Many cases will involve several issues or problems. Identify the most important problems and separate them from the more trivial issues. After identifying what appears to be a major underlying issue, examine related problems in the functional areas (for example, marketing, finance, personnel, and so on). Functional area problems may help you identify deep-rooted problems that are the responsibility of top management.
Define the firm’s goals. Inconsistencies between a firm’s goals and its performance may further highlight the problems discovered in step 2. At the very least, identifying the firm’s goals will provide a guide for the remaining analysis.
Identify the constraints to the problem. The constraints may limit the solutions available to the firm. Typical constraints include limited finances, lack of additional production capacity, personnel limitations, strong competitors, relationships with suppliers and customers, and so on. Constraints have to be considered when suggesting a solution.
Identify all the relevant alternatives. The list should all the relevant alternatives that could solve the problem(s) that were identified in step 2. Use your creativity in coming up with alternative solutions. Even when solutions are suggested in the case, you may be able to suggest better solutions.
Select the best alternative. Evaluate each alternative in light of the available information. If you have carefully taken the proceeding five steps, a good solution to the case should be apparent. Resist the temptation to jump to this step early in the case analysis. You will probably miss important facts, misunderstand the problem, or skip what may be the best alternative solution. You will also need to explain the logic you used to choose one alternative and reject the others.
Develop an implementation plan. The final step in the analysis is to develop a plan for effective implementation of your decision. Lack of an implementation plan even for a very good decision can lead to disaster for a firm and for you. Do not overlook this step. Your professor will surely ask you or someone in the class to explain how to implement the decision.
Alibaba.com between economic success
and corporate responsibility
Kannika Leelapanyalert, David Beschorner, Kim Nadine
Reckmann and Marie Aslanian (College of Management,
Mahidol University, Thailand)
Free Online Copy
This is a free online copy. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons
Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit
This case is accompanied by a teaching note, available to faculty only. Please send your
request to [emailprotected] The authors are thankful for any feedback and
suggestions to further develop this case to [emailprotected]
Copyright 2015 by the authors. This case was prepared as a basis for class discussion
rather than to illustrate the effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation.
oikos Case Writing Competition 2016
Corporate Sustainability Track
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Alibaba.com between economic success and corporate responsibility
The Alibaba Group was one of the biggest and fastest growing businesses in China for about
ten years. Among many other companies under the holdings umbrella, Alibaba.com had
become the worlds most frequented market place in the Business to Business segment. The
company provided an internet platform for especially small and medium sized companies,
where western demands meet Asian supply.
Although the platform opened the door for many firms to the international markets, there
was room for improvement. Due to the increasing access to information through the World
Wide Web, customers had become more and more sensitive to what is known as corporate
responsibility. Sustainable business models and fair working conditions were more than ever
of huge importance for the customer. In order to respond to this trend, companies on the
demand side had to make sure that their suppliers fulfill not only European standards.
This trend of corporate responsibility recently caused many complaints about the listing and
transparency of the Alibaba platform. On the supply side, suppliers missed a tool for
signaling their working and quality standards to their customers. There was hardly a way to
differentiate from competitors on the webpage. On the demand side companies suffered the
same problem vice versa. There was barely a way for small western companies to control and
check quality and labor issues for their supply chain without long lasting selection and
But not only direct users of Alibaba.com drew the attention to the Alibaba system. Years ago
many NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) claimed for more transparency and social
standards on the Alibaba.com homepage.
Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba, knew about these problems. However, he also knew that many
firms that once started with poor standards were nowadays great companies with well-known
products all over the world. With a higher entry barrier, these corporations would not have
had the chance to enter the market at all. Developing from a small company with low
standards to a firm with high standards was often a long and time-consuming process.
Triggered by the recent complaints Ma was challenged by several self-imposed questions. Ma
knew that the listing and policy on his platform were deeply connected with those questions
and that there would be no easy solution. Whatever he decided should be the best answer for
all parties: The Company, the customers and society.
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Alibaba.com between economic success and corporate responsibility
On a cold morning in early February 2015 Jack Ma, CEO and founder of Alibaba.com, sat in
his office and was deep in thought as he drank his breakfast coffee. He had just returned from
the World Economic Forum in Davos (World Economic Forum Website, 2015) to his firms
headquarter in Hangzhou, China (Qing, 2008, p. 48). Ma was still exhausted from the lively
discussions he had had in Davos. Full of new impressions and ideas he taught about how he
could solve the issue that very often came to his mind the last weeks. He knew the challenge
he was facing might change his whole business and even the Worlds understanding of and
doing business with China. Ma was aware of the fact, that the different values of all actors
involved in the business of Alibaba.com, had always been a challenge and it was not deniable
that it became more severe to handle. To align Chinese values on the one hand with the
Western principles, but also with the aims of NGOs on the other hand, seemed to be almost
impossible. Misunderstandings, lacking tolerance and missing respect on all sides
complicated the problem.
Recently managers of Alibaba.com came up with complaints of listed suppliers and were
worried about Alibaba.coms future. From their point of view, the problem was that Chinese
suppliers with a very good reputation experienced damages due to suppliers who did not
perform as well. As Alibaba offered no system that showed how good a supplier was, it was
difficult for positive evaluated suppliers to send the corresponding signals. Thus, some were
treated with mistrust, whereas they were reliable. Sometimes bad suppliers were chosen over
good ones, which in turn endangered the business of well performing suppliers. As a further
consequence, the satisfaction on the demand side decreased. Especially the challenge to find
suitable, good suppliers with a sustainable approach was discussed very often and evaluated
as nearly impossible. An improvement was wanted and the perceived lack of transparency
should be reduced (Frasch, 2014). For the evaluation of all listed suppliers, NGOs even
demanded the introduction of labels, which should indicate whether a product was
sustainable or not.
Remembering the convention in Davos Jack Ma always thought directly of the discussion
with the Chinese premier Li Keqiang (World Economic Forum Website, 2015). The politician
appealed to Jack to keep in mind that Alibaba.com has the worlds attention. Therefore, he
elaborated that Alibaba.com represents the Republic of China and the Chinese values as one
of the most successful Chinese businesses. Consequently, he made clear that it is important to
many politicians that Alibaba.com does not totally adapt to Western principles, but sticks to
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the Chinese way of thinking and operating. This should also be aligned with being
Jack Ma often felt that the Chinese perspective on adapting to western values is
misunderstood. As a BRIC country and with the most inhabitants worldwide, China was
fighting against huge social challenges as for example starvation. Thus adapting to Western
values often was impossible or led to effects opposite to those the adapted value was aimed
at. To Jack Ma the whole discussion was a truly important matter, especially as the conflict
often occurred when China and the Western World did business. To Ma it was extremely
important to contribute his part for finding a way to align the different perspectives without
losing the Chinese norms and values. Nevertheless, how should he find a solution that was
also beneficial to his company? How could he make the different parties understand each
2. History of Alibaba.com
Alibaba.com was a young Chinese company whose history is elaborated in the following, with
a special focus on the company itself, the companys environment and the competitors.
2.1 Company history
In 1995, Pinyin Ma Yun (Jack Ma), a Chinese 41-years-old English teacher at Hangzhou
University, visited the United States for the first time. During his stay a friend brought him in
contact with the Internet by telling Ma that everything can be found on it. While discovering
this new tool, Ma realized disappointedly that he could hardly find anything about China on
the Internet at all. From his point of view this had to be changed. Therefore, once back at
home, he decided to launch one of the first Chinese websites, a directory of companies, and
named it China Pages. Although this website was a failure, Ma did not hesitate to continue his
project. Thus, four years later Alibaba.com was born. Ma Yun and 17 other partners launched
Alibaba.com in June 1999 in the city of Hangzhou. The founder realized quite early which
were the reasons of Alibaba.coms success. The following three reasons were named by Ma
for being able to survive: We had no money, we had no technology and we had no plan
Jack Ma, as he was called by a Western friend and which he chose as his name accordingly,
had an unusual personality. First, he was not the traditional technology CEO. He came from a
quite poor family and had never been brilliant at school. Although he was interested in
understanding foreigners and their culture by learning English, he never excelled as a student
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and failed the college entrance exam twice. He finally became an English teacher at a local
university earning only $12 a month. However, Alibabas success could not have developed
without the lively and vivid character Jack was, therefore being called Crazy Jack. He was a
captivating speaker with an animating manner of speaking. As he said in Alibaba a book
written in 2009 by Shiying and Avery: “I was never afraid of opponents who were bigger
than I”. Jack Ma perfectly knew how to motivate his employees providing them a funny,
productive and familiar atmosphere at the company. Porter Erisman, an early Alibaba
employee, said it was like a close-knit family. Since the beginning, Ma motivated the team by
creating an ethos of being a scrappy little company ready to take on giants (DOnfro, 2014).
Also Jack Ma knew that his dedication was to help to fulfill the needs of Chinese citizens. His
aim was to align this with the benefits of his company.
Ma found several ways for motivating his people and giving vision to his staff. In one of his
letters, Jack Ma said to his employees: “We know well we have not survived because our
strategies are farsighted and brilliant, or because our execution is perfect, but because for 15
years we have persevered in our mission of ‘making it easier to do business across the world,’
because we have insisted on a ‘customer first’ value system, because we have persisted in
believing in the future, and because we have insisted that normal people can do extraordinary
things.” (DOnfro, 2014).
Between 1999 and 2000, the company raised $25 million from Goldman Sachs, Softbank
Corporation and other institutions and wrote a pure success story. The vision of Ma was to
create a global company with local win. He chose the name Alibaba because everyone in the
world was able to understand it and since it referred to the notions of openness, kindness and
business. The company was born to be global, but since the beginning focused on helping
small and medium sized Chinese companies to survive by giving them a mean to make money
especially by enabling them to reach their customers online. The founders idea was simple
and could be summarized by click and get it. Contrary to other Chinese Internet-business
founders, Ma did not try to copy the U.S. model but was innovative. He decided to adapt his
strategy to the Chinese market and its specific needs. His self-imposed vision and mission
was to build an e-commerce ecosystem that was profitable for both buyers and sellers.
In 2002, Ma realized that although Alibaba.com had a lot of listed members, most actually
did not pay anything. However, he knew that this was not a profitable business model. Profit
was realized for the first time in 2002, as he imagined how Chinese suppliers could reach US
buyers online. At this time, Ma decided to hire foreign experts in order to help the company
to become a global player. At that point of Alibaba.coms lifecycle the actual vice president,
Porter Erisman, came in. According to him, Chinese people in general had very little
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experience in management. He thought that the success of Alibaba.com came from the fact
that since the beginning the aim was to connect importers and exporters from all over the
world. It was the first global Internet Company emerging from China (Walraven, 2009).
Nevertheless, he was convinced that in order to succeed internationally, Alibaba first needed
to prosper in China. The company could not have survived without the domestic sale.
In 2015 Alibaba.com was the worlds first platform for wholesale trade and was highly
profitable. The aim of Alibaba.com was to give buyers from all over the world the widest
variety of options in choosing their products through a web platform. In order to do so,
buyers were connected with a large amount of international suppliers. Alibaba.com made
both suppliers and buyers lives easier since it enabled them to come in touch with each
other, which in turn allowed the involved actors to do business across borders. As a company,
Alibaba.com could be used to find all needed products in over 40 different categories ranging
from electronics to textiles to agriculture and food. This was unique, as almost everything
could be purchased via Alibaba.com. The business model to develop an e-commerce
platform, which connects Chinese suppliers with customers from all over the world, was an
invention itself. Alibaba.com was one of the biggest and the earliest e-commerce platform for
wholesalers. Unique was especially, that every supplier could be listed no matter where it was
headquartered. Thus even small suppliers from rural areas where able to participate in the
global market due to diminishing small communication costs. Additionally, Alibaba.com
could be seen as a kind of Gateway to China, connecting the Western World rapidly and
cheaply with the Chinese industry.
Alibaba.com belonged to the Alibaba Group as far as 72% (Alibaba Group website, 2015). In
general, the Alibaba Group hold several different Internet-based businesses. Alibaba.com was
the first company of the group and, as previously elaborated, it was focused only on business-
to-business. The second business which was created was Taobao in 2003. In 2015, it was the
first online shopping marketplace for Chinese private individuals and the main rival of eBay.
Later, Alimama, an advertising exchange platform, and Alipay, a Chinese leading online
payment service, were launched, followed by several other Internet-businesses. Although this
case is focused on Alibaba.com it is necessary to keep in mind that the growth of the company
over the time was not only due to its unique businesses, but also to a multitude of interrelated
2.2 Market and Industry environment
E-commerce – or Electronic Business – is a way of trading by using computing networks such
as the Internet (Springer Gabler Verlag). It is the process of selling and purchasing goods or
services over the Internet by using for example secure connections and electronic payment
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services. It became possible in 1991 when the Internet was opened to commercial use. At the
beginning of 2002, Business-to-Business, the largest form of e-commerce, had aroused
around $700 billion in transactions. By the end of 2007, E-commerce sales counted for 3.5%
of total sales in the world (Ecommerce-Land, 2001).
Both online buyers and sellers achieved advantages in doing e-commerce, especially at
Alibaba.com. On the one hand, consumers had a large database of products and services and
they could compare prices easily in order to obtain the best one. On the other hand, online
vendors got a cheaper way to be selected by their customers. Even the smallest brands could
reach global markets. Moreover, web technology enabled to track customer preferences and
to deliver individually tailored marketing (investorwords.com, 2015).
It was expected that in the future e-commerce would confirm itself as a major tool of global
trade. E-shopping should become more and more popular and commonly used at work
although not used privately. In 2015, competition between the several websites became
severe and experts assumed that the developments would lead to an enormous growth of
Internet sales in the 21st century. Since the Internet excluded geographical factor, the location
of the stores did not matter anymore. However, the online sellers became competitive by
adapting themselves quickly to the new environment. They had to pay attention to e-
marketing details and used modern technologies to improve their website design and
presentation in order to make their platform user-friendly and to stay competitive in the
world of E-commerce.
Chinese market: a new huge market for e-commerce industry
During the 2000s, China and the Chinese life underwent various changes. Since its adhesion
to WTO in December 2001, China moved on to modernize step by step (World Trade
Organization, 2015). Consequently, the total volume export of China was growing extremely.
China started to be seen as the manufacturer of the world, and an increasing number of low-
cost suppliers was entering the marketplace. As around 2000 the Internet just started to
become significant in China, Alibaba.com could not have been created at a better time than in
1999. Just in time, as the Chinese people were able to realize that it was worth opening
themselves to the world, Alibaba.com appeared. International trade was increasing, China
was opening its borders, the Internet was growing and more and more people got Internet
As Alibaba.com put in evidence on their website, to understand Alibaba, one must
understand how China is changing. With the turn of the millennium, e-commerce became a
way of life for Chinas aspirational middle class. Indeed, in 2013 China overtook the United
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States in becoming the first e-commerce market (in 2015, $672b in China VS $349b in the
US) and the biggest e-commerce provider in the world (Alibaba Group Website, 2015).
However, as the case focusses on Alibaba.com, which is B2B focussed, it is necessary to
explain E-commerce in the B2B sector in the following:
B2B form of e-commerce
Three architectural models of B2B commerce exist:
– Supplier oriented marketplace: the supplier provides marketplace (e-store) to his
– Buyer oriented marketplace: the buyer has his own marketplace (e-market). He
invites suppliers to bid in products catalogue.
– Intermediary oriented marketplace: an intermediary company runs a marketplace
where business buyers and sellers can interact and transact with each other (Beynon-
Davies, 2013, S. 250ff.).
Alibaba.com could be defined as being an intermediary oriented marketplace because of the
fact that the buyers and the sellers had been directly interconnected since the first step of the
As a matter of fact, business customers had a different approach than individual consumers.
Their purchasing decisions were described as being cooler, harder and more logical than
individual consumers decisions. The act of purchasing could not be an impulse buy but was a
very careful decision because it concerned the whole company. Purchasers always had
supervisors, who should not be deceived.
A B-to-B commerce website had to focus on providing as much useful information and
customer service as possible in a short time frame in order to make the purchase decision
easier (Beynon-Davies, 2013).
Regional developments of China
Because of the fact that the coastal areas of China offered a unique transportation system, the
economic development in those regions was way more rapid than in inner of China. However,
the National Bureau of Statistics of China reported that the number of firms in rural areas
was increasing. For example, the number of enterprises grew by nearly 28 percent from 2012
to 2015 (National Bureau of Statistics, 2015). The report A new era for manufacturing in
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China published by McKinsey in 2013 discussed the fact that especially suppliers, who
manufactured fast-moving consumer goods were increasingly producing in smaller
enterprises. Those were often not located in the big cities as e.g. Beijing or Shanghai (Eloot,
K., Huang, A. & Lehnich, M. (2013), but in rural areas. Thus, the total number of companies
across less developed ranges of China increased. Especially firms in rural areas were
challenged by how to get into contract with potential clients and especially with customers
from the other end of the world? Alibaba.com offered a unique business model helping to
solve that problem by offering a platform, which connected Chinese suppliers with clients
from all over the world easily and fast. To Jack Ma it was especially important not only to
offer the platform, but also to support new listed firms by entering e-commerce. Also firms
located in wealthier and a lot more central regions welcomed Alibaba.com as an efficient way
to do business.
The two world-known American companies eBay and Amazon were the first to start selling
products over the Internet respectively in 1994 and 1995. Although Alibaba.com entered the
market later it differed itself by using the Web for business transactions. While eBay and
Amazon were focused on B-to-C, Alibaba.com was focused on B-to-B. Compared to the
others, Alibaba.com did not have any warehouses and it was not involved in the distribution
channels (Riley, 2014).
EBays business was located closer to Alibaba.com because it also created a platform in which
both buyers and sellers could interact but it did not involve companies. Moreover, the
products exchanged on eBay could be secondhand, whereas at Alibaba.com only new
manufactured products were sold by quantity rather than by piece.
In China, Alibaba.com did not have direct competitors so far. Although experts often
discussed Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu as the Big Three Chinese Internet and e-commerce
companies, it was clear that the three of them acted in different market niches than
Alibaba.com. Although Tencent was historically not specialized on e-commerce but more on
social networks, the firm acquired a percentage of the Jingdong platform (JD.com) in 2014,
which was the Chinese equivalent to Amazon. While there was more and more competition in
the Chinese Internet and e-commerce industry, the interests became convergent and the
mergers more frequent. The type of alliance, as Tencent fostered, was a danger to Alibabas
strong position in China (Loeb, 2014).
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3. Different perspectives on Alibaba
There were many external and internal pressures, which made Ma think about a shift toward
integrating corporate responsibility stronger into Alibaba.coms strategy. Mainly he
differentiated between three main groups of actors. First of all, there was the Western World,
secondly, the Asian perspective and finally he thought of the perspective of international
3.1 Western Perspective
Especially within the year 2014, many of Jack Mas managers encouraged discussions on the
ongoing complaints of customers about difficulties within the selection process of suppliers.
Having found a group of suppliers who offered the wanted products or services did not mean
to be able to decide easily for the best matching one. Customers criticized that every detailed
information needed from the supplier had to be asked via e-mail, as Alibaba.com did not
forward any quality signals of the producers or information on sustainability. In fact, Alibaba
accepted every supplier regardless of the corporate production standards and cultural issues.
Consequently, it was likely that firms, which were listed at Alibaba.com, could employ for
example children. Often a customer wanted to check whether a favorite supplier matched the
values and norms of the firm. In order to get the wanted information, the customer had to
contact the supplier himself and ask personally. For several reasons this process was highly
disliked by Western companies (Sen, 2014). First, they complained about the very long
lasting process. Additionally, the received information was sometimes incomplete,
insufficient or even wrong. For example Mr. Ling, who was one of Mas trust worthiest
managers, complained about losing an important customer from Germany. The respective
customer had needed information on the degree of fair working conditions, sustainability and
quality within the supplying firm. Although the firm was performing sustainably, it had
difficulties to signal its efforts. Instead of sending achieved labels or any prove for acting
sustainably, with a high quality and without employing children, the firm sent a self-made
checklist. The checklist included information on all issues wanted. Nonetheless it did not give
any prove that the given information was true and not made up. In addition, it took more
than a month until the customer received the list. Since proof of the statements was missing
and thus reliability was not given from the customers point of view, he decided to end the
relationship, as he told Mr. Ling. Because of the fear of losing more time by negotiating with
another listed supplier, the firm decided to stop searching via Alibaba.com. Instead another
platform was chosen, which offered external proof.
Furthermore, many customers and the western media complained: All suppliers will tell you
they run a clean shop and pay their workers a fair wage. But you may never know the real
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working conditions at your suppliers factory unless you personally inspect it and even then
your supplier may shield you from the truth (Alibaba.comfraud, 2015). Being a small or
medium seized company made it impossible to have inspections of the suppliers at the other
end of the world, as auditing and controlling would be too costly and too time consuming.
Therefore, smaller companies were asking for independent ways to control suppliers and for
the introduction of inspections. Some managers of Alibaba.com were quite sure that this
could be achieved by introducing internationally recognized labels. As a consequence,
customer would directly know how sustainable a supplier operated, how fair the working
conditions were and which quality the products had. This would simplify the selection
process and quicken it enormously. Another possibility, which was brought into discussion,
was to push political regulations, which should prohibit child labor and set standards with
regard to the quality of products and the degree of sustainability of firms. Subsequently the
needed improvement on Alibaba.com would not be as intense anymore. On the one hand, the
customer would know more details about the Chinese market and one the other hand he
would be given more certainty, as many parts and processes would be regulated by the
Language difficulties, cultural differences and misunderstandings increased the challenge of
the selection process, too. The European way of making business differed enormously from
the Chinese one. Even short, rather insignificant conversations via email or phone could lead
to enormous misunderstandings. Jack Ma himself often experienced great confusion while
visiting other countries during his business travels. Fortunately, this never affected business
seriously, but he had learned to always take cultural
You are an HR consultant, contracted by the VP of an LLC in Wilmington, Delaware, to solve their internal challenges. This U.S. office is a branch of a larger Singaporean software solutions organization that has a total of 140 employees and generates $1M in revenue per year. The CEO of this organization, headquartered in Singapore, wants to explore new markets in the United States, gain access to new customers, diversify risk, leverage resources, and increase profits.
Unfortunately, the newly formed U.S. branch has been facing several problems from the beginning.
Employees at the call center and the sales and marketing division are disengaged and emotionally fatigued due to contradictory communication between the branchs leadership and the leadership at the Singaporean headquarters.
The branch team members feel frustrated and undervalued as a result of conflicting feedback from their VP and management team.
Messages from leadership lack consistency, especially regarding policies and practices related to human resources.
There is no training for team members.
Communication problems between the Singaporean headquarters and U.S. branch are resulting in low employee morale.
Overall, the standard operating procedures (SOP) followed successfully at the headquarters in Singapore could not be replicated at the U.S. branch. As a result, the CEOs vision of successfully furthering expansion into the U.S. market remains unfulfilled.
Your goal as an HR consultant is to create a change management toolkit that includes the following:
A needs assessment or change readiness audit
An organizational change management plan
A change management communication plan
A letter recommending strategies to ensure that the changes and their benefits are retained
To create the toolkit, you will compile your work from Milestones One and Two. So far, you have completed your change readiness audit and created a change management plan. Now, you will record and share a presentation to demonstrate your change management communication plan. This plan should include your recommendations for workforce development techniques and how you plan to communicate these to employees and leadership of the U.S. branch, as well as leadership at the Singaporean headquarters.
It is not enough to implement change successfully; efforts should also be made to sustain the change. You must also write an executive letter to the VP of the U.S. branch, recommending strategies and best practices to ensure that the changes are implemented and maintained.
Change Management Toolkit
Part One: Change Readiness/Needs Assessment Audit Report
Submit your change readiness report from Milestone One that was created according to the following criteria. Be sure to revise your report based on feedback you received on your milestone. In this report prepared for the VP, you will discuss the change readiness of the workforce and leadership, willingness and capabilities for change, and any historical barriers to change from past planned or unplanned change management experiences.
Use the Employee Engagement Survey, Leaders Self-Evaluations, Exit Interviews, and Forms of Resistance Grid from the Supporting Materials section to assess the change-readiness of employees of the U.S. branch.
Specifically, you must address the following rubric criteria:
Based off the Employee Engagement Survey data, create visuals that illustrate areas in need of change, specifically in the U.S. branch. Your visuals must address the following:
Appraisal, job-role stagnation, and promotion or recognition
Apathy or disinterest regarding the vision, mission, and values of the organization (Singaporean headquarters and U.S. branch)
Lack of trust in managers, especially senior leaders
Impressions about the organizations (Singaporean headquarters and U.S. branch) attitude to inclusion and diversity
Justify your selection of data points from the Employee Engagement Survey results
Discuss employees confidence in change management practices.
Consider the information available through the Employee Engagement Survey and Leaders Self-Evaluations.
Do employees have a high degree of confidence in the organizations leadership? Explain your reasoning.
Explain the urgency for change at the employee and leadership level.
Analyze the middle managers (team leads) role in creating an adoption mindset:
How could they serve as a bridge between the senior leaders and the frontline staff?
Are they ready to take ownership of the proposed change? Explain your reasoning.
How do leadership styles and power distribution impact change readiness?
Identify opportunities to increase change readiness/trust at the U.S. branch:
Why are some employees more accepting of change while others might be more resistant?
How does the Forms of Resistance Grid explain the common reasons for resistance to change?
Use the Exit Interviews and the Forms of Resistance Grid, to discuss any two forms of resistance from this list: ambivalence, peer-focused dissent, upward dissent, sabotage, and refusal/exit.
Use Hofstede’s cultural dimension model and the Exit Interviews, Employee Engagement Survey, and Leaders Self-Evaluations to explain cultural considerations that may have created difficulties for the employees of the U.S. branch to adjust to the Singaporean headquarters SOPs.
Summarize the importance of cultural considerations using Hofstedes Cultural Dimensions Model in the context of the U.S. branch and the Singaporean headquarters.
Explain how Hofstede’s model helps analyze cultural differences based on specific evidence and not on pre-conceived notions about different cultures.
Discuss how differences in specific dimensions of Hofstede’s model may result in misunderstanding and change management frustration or failure.
Discuss individualism and one other dimension from the list below that might impact the cross-cultural communication and business practice differences among the U.S. and the Singaporean employees:
Part Two: Change Management Plan
Submit your change management plan from Milestone Two that was created according to the following criteria. Be sure to revise your plan based on feedback that you received on your milestone. In this report prepared for the VP, you will detail the strategy to convince the workforce to implement the changes.
Refer to the Case for Change Guide and other company data, such as the Leaders Self-Evaluations, the Vision, Mission, and Strategic Goals document, and the Employee Engagement Survey (all linked below in Supporting Materials). Ensure that the report details the pre-implementation and implementation phases of the change management plan.
Specifically, you must address the following rubric criteria:
Identify two key stakeholders or sponsor roles for the change process from the Singapore headquarters and the U.S. branch.
Refer to the Leaders Self-Evaluations document for additional context.
Discuss the significance of each stakeholders role in gaining buy-in, acceptance, and support for change across departments.
How can each stakeholder improve the change initiatives likelihood of success (for example, by acting as opinion leaders, connectors, counselors, and journalists)?
Identify strategic goals that align with the change management plan and provide rationale. Consider the following in your response:
Refer to the Vision, Mission, and Strategic Goals document; U.S. Branch Overview; and Leaders Self-Evaluations.
Ensure there is alignment of the change management plan with the strategic goals of the organization (Singaporean headquarters and U.S. branch).
Research emerging trends that could influence employees of the U.S. branch.
Explain how improvements to organizational systems can ensure successful and sustained behavioral change.
Refer to the Exit Interviews to identify the areas of change.
What are the processes, procedures, or policies that need improvement?
How will these improvements impact behavioral change of employees at the U.S. branch?
Recommend enhancement strategies for team collaboration.
Refer to the Exit Interviews and the Leaders Self-Evaluations to identify the problems of team collaboration.
What are the reasons for the lack of collaboration between team members across both locations of the organization?
How can an individual performer become a team player to improve team collaboration?
How should leadership behavior change to build trust?
Determine a change management model that can be used at the U.S. branch and provide justification.
Based on your evaluation of the challenges that the U.S. branch is currently facing, choose from the following change management models:
Kotter’s Change Management Model, Lewins Change Management Model, or the ADKAR Change Management Model
How would you use the model you chose at the U.S. branch?
Describe the steps needed to implement the change management model at the U.S. branch. Support your response with research.
How would you mitigate and remove any roadblocks in the change management process?
What are your plans to deal with the impact of planned and/or unplanned changes and any contingencies?
What milestones need to be accomplished for change implementation to succeed?
How would you measure success on your plan?
Part Three: Change Management Communication Plan and Continuity Strategies
Change Management Communication Plan PresentationSubmit a creative and polished PowerPoint presentation with narration to share your change management communication plan. The communication plan should include your recommendations for workforce development techniques and how you plan to communicate these to the U.S. branch employees.
Specifically, you must address the following rubric criteria:
Define the audience by performing a target audience analysis. (slides 12)
Determine core and audience-specific communication objectives and messages, including appropriate tone. You may include the following information (slides 34):
Discuss goals of the communications campaign. You may consider the following points:
Why is this communication campaign needed?
What are the essential topics to communicate to company leadership?
What do front-line employees need to know as they experience and deal with the impact of change?
How will you convey need and urgency for change? Discuss Whats in It for Me (WIIFM).
Use a story or a graphic to connect with the change vision for success to the communication plan.
Define and communicate new performance expectations and what stakeholders need to do to prepare for change.
Recommend two workforce development techniques to support employees’ adaptation to change and build on existing skills and strengths. Consider the following (slides 56):
What do you want the employees of the U.S. branch to do differently?
How should the organizations leadership support employees during the change, through training and development programs to address the gaps?
Determine and review the best delivery channels for each communication based on the target audience analysis. Select a minimum of three channels as part of a multi-prong communication strategy. You may include the following information (slides 78):
What would be the communication timeline for delivery of all messages? Create an outline.
How often will the branchs change initiators communicate with this audience?
Outline communication responsibilities and assignments. Who is responsible for leading communications with this audience?
Include your plan for a feedback loop to monitor and manage the communication campaign. (slides 910)
Determine metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the success of the communication campaign.
Outline how the metrics will be implemented and tracked through a feedback loop.
Executive LetterWrite an executive letter to the VP of the U.S. branch recommending a strategy and best practices for sustaining the change efforts. Specifically, you must address the following criteria:
Recommend one strategy for evaluating the business impact of change.
How can they sustain change efforts through performance management?
Recommend two best practices for ensuring new skills are applied on the job.
Include at least one reinforcement technique leadership can use to sustain change.
What to Submit
To complete this project, you must submit the following:
Part One: Change Readiness/Needs Assessment Audit Report
Submit a 2- to 3-page Word document with 12-point Times New Roman font, double spacing, and one-inch margins. Sources should be cited according to APA style. Consult the Shapiro Library APA Style Guide for more information on citations.
Part Two: Change Management Plan
Submit a 7- to 9-page Word document with 12-point Times New Roman font, double spacing, and one-inch margins. Sources should be cited according to APA style. Consult the Shapiro Library APA Style Guide for more information on citations.
Part Three: Change Management Communication Plan and Change Continuity Recommendations
Change Management Communication Plan (Presentation)
Submit a recorded PowerPoint presentation with 1012 slides. Sources should be cited according to APA style. Consult the Shapiro Library APA Style Guide for more information on citations.
Note: Remember to use both on-screen text and narration or speaker notes in your PowerPoint slides to convey your information effectively. For example, you can use brief, bulleted lists on the slide and include detailed explanations in your narration or speaker notes. A resource explaining how to add narration to your presentation can be found under Supporting Materials below.
Submit 2- to 3-page Word document with 12-point Times New Roman font, double spacing, and one-inch margins. Sources should be cited according to APA style. Consult the Shapiro Library APA Style Guide for more information on citations.
The following resources support your work on the milestone submissions and the project:
Case for Change Guide: This document will provide you with instructions on what to include in the change readiness report.
Employee Engagement Surveys: This document presents the results of the most recent employee engagement survey.
Exit Interviews: This document presents the views of employees who voluntarily left the company.
Forms of Resistance Grid: The infographic presents the forms of resistance that learners can use as a reference to identify forms of resistance in the change readiness report.
Leaders Self-Evaluations: This document includes self-evaluations drafted by managers, which is part of the performance management process.
U.S. Branch Overview: This document provides data regarding the U.S. branchs financial position and structure.
Vision, Mission, and Strategic Goals: This will include the CEOs compelling vision as translated by the VP.
Change Readiness/Needs Assessment Audit
Southern New Hampshire University
September 11, 2022
Areas in Need of Change at the U.S. Branch
Engaging employees in company goals
Embrace inclusion & diversity
Employee training and education
An increase in employee autonomy
Promotion of employees
Justification of Chosen Data Points
According to the employee engagement survey, there is lack of freedom and autonomy in the organization and only 36% of employees feel that they have the authority to make personal decisions at work. This implies that it is the management that makes most of the decisions. This also explains the low level of communication in the company. Only 36% of the company hear about decisions and important changes through the management. The rest dwell on rumors which they cant verify whether it is true or not. Only 26% of the employees understand the mission, vision, values, and direction of the company. The environment in the company does not support the expression of different views and opinions. Changes in all these areas are essential to promote communication and collaboration within the organization. Kotter (1995) asserts that change cannot be effective without effective communication. The organization has also failed to promote employees for them to get motivation. In the past two years, only 2% of the workers have been promoted and this leads to low productivity.
Employees Confidence in Change Management
The survey indicates that employees in the company support each other and they work in teams. However, they lack support from their management and they dont trust the leadership of the company. Very few employees feel that the management is doing well in creating a team environment. The management is not open and trustworthy and therefore employees lack confidence in their ability to uphold change management practices. There is need for urgent change in the relationship between managers and employees to create an environment of teamwork and trust.
The middle managers will perform an excellent role in creating an adoption mindset since the survey indicates that they are 70% open, honest, and trustworthy. Therefore, they can bridge the gap that exists between the companys leadership and employees. Riwo et al., (2012) asserts that middle managers can be perfect agent of change because employees trust them more than they trust the senior managers.
The survey indicates low levels of communication, poor employee morale, and lack of employee engagement in decision making which signal a lack of preparedness for change. Over 60% of employees are lacking communication from the management and this will make it difficult for them to understand and implement the change. The workers also indicate that there is no effort for continuous improvement and this means implementing change is difficult.
Leadership styles and power distribution determine the relationship between the employees and the management. In this case, there is some kind of authoritative/dictatorship leadership which makes the management the sole decision-maker. This increases the chances of resistance to change. However, in a workplace where employees are engaged and there is a relationship of openness and understanding between them and senior managers, change is easily accepted and implemented.
Opportunities to Increase Change Readiness/Trust
From the survey, there is a high level of teamwork among employees and this is an opportunity for the U.S branch to increase the readiness for change. In addition, the employees trust the middle managers and the company can use them to increase the employees trust for the change.
Employees are different and their values are different which makes it easy for others to accept change and difficult for others. There are employees whose values are in alignment with the organizations values and such employees will easily embrace change. Resistance mostly comes from those employees who do not believe in the vision of the company and whose values do not align with those of the company. According to the forms of resistance grid, there are also employees who fear change and it is difficult for them to get out of the comfort zone.
The common form is resistance is peer-focused dissent whereby those resisting change mobilize their colleagues to resist it too. Another commonly used form of resistance is sabotage. They sabotage the activities of the change by being absent at work and other strategies that affect the momentum of the change.
Cultural considerations for Employees to Adjust
Hofstedes cultural dimension model focuses on the differences between cultures of different nations and how these differences affect business. In this case, the U.S culture is different from the Singaporean culture and how employees work in the U.S is different from the way employees work in Singapore. For instance, Singapore is a collectivist society while the U.S is an individualistic society. So employees from the U.S may find it difficult to work in teams in Singapore. Individualism focuses on personal goals and that is why employees from the U.S are finding it difficult to collaborate and implement the change. The power distance index is also high in the company which creates inequity and bureaucracy which have hindered the motivation to implement the change.
Kotter, J. P. (1995). Leading change: Why transformation efforts fail.
Riwo-Abudho, M., Njanja, L., & Ochieng, I. (2012). The role of strategic leadership during change.
KCA Journal of Business Management,
Southern New Hampshire University
October 2, 2022
Organizational change is a complex process that requires detailed planning to succeed. A change management plan is, therefore, needed to ensure successful implementation. The plan helps manage the change process and controls schedule, scope, budget, resources, and communication. A change management plan also helps manage employee responses to organizational change. Employees respond differently to change. Some will be eager to use new processes and procedures, while others will resist. Bad communication, fear of the unknown, lack of support from the management, lack of understanding of the reason for the change, and fear of failure are some of the reasons why employees resist organizational change. No matter the reaction, a change management plan should provide a complete roadmap, as well as, tools to successfully implement change and support employees as they transition through change. In this report, I will analyze the pre-implementation and implementation stages of the change management plan in the U.S. branch.
Key Stakeholders and their Significance
Key stakeholders are individuals or groups with an interest in a change initiative and can either affect or be affected by the change. The president, the vice president, and business unit leaders are the key stakeholders in the change process. These individuals want to see successful change implementation to ensure company goals are met. Their main roles include creating a change vision and communicating change throughout the organization.
Each stakeholders role plays a significant part in gaining acceptance, buy-in, as well as, support for change across the organization and departments. As indicated above, one major role of the key stakeholders is to create a change vision. A change vision gives employees a picture of what the company will look like in the future after change implementation (Tanner, 2021). Also, a change vision tells employees why they should let go of the past and embrace the future. In other words, having a vision of change helps employees understand the reason for the change and the benefits it can bring. This, in turn, will create buy-in, support, and acceptance for the proposed change. Besides that, key stakeholders communicate the proposed change across departments and throughout the organization. Effective communication can encourage employees to embrace change and make them aware of the objectives and vision for change (Hasanaj, 2022). Additionally, effective communication can help the organization to convince employees that the existing state of affairs is no longer suitable. It can also encourage employees to support and accept the new state. It is necessary to be honest and clear when communicating change to create buy-in. It is also important to communicate how the change will affect employees to keep them engaged.
Every stakeholder can enhance the success of the change initiative. For instance, a stakeholder can play a role of a counselor. Here, the key stakeholder can help employees deal with their emotional responses to change and, in turn, make a good transition. Organizational change can be emotionally intense, igniting fear, confusion, anxiety, helplessness, and frustration among employees. According to experts, going through organizational change is the same as grieving (Wiens & Rowell, 2018). It is, therefore, necessary to have a counselor to help employees accept and embrace change. Besides that, stakeholders can play the role of opinion leaders. Opinion leaders are very influential and significant to organizational change. Whether or not a change leader will enlist them, they will either approve or disapprove of the change initiative (Galloway, 2019). And because they are connected and respected, opinion leaders will influence their peers (in either a negative or positive way) and determine whether the change will happen. Hence, it is advisable to engage key opinion leaders to get the new practices or new procedures adopted. Employees will not adopt and embrace the new practices or new ideas until opinion leaders do.
Various strategic goals align with the change management plan. Strategic goals are the objectives that an organization aims to attain over a specific period. The strategic goals of the company can be classified into four areas: growth, talent and learning, customers, and marketing. The U.S. branch will achieve its mission and vision in the next five years by directing its efforts toward these areas. Specifically, the company will achieve its mission and vision by promoting and supporting United States businesses efforts to expand, develop, and sustain operations. The U.S branch will also try to get the best from employees, retain top talent, and channel more resources and efforts toward employee core competencies. Besides that, the company will provide effective and efficient work systems that fulfill the various needs of employees, as well as, leaders. The U.S branch will also offer a regular flow of information to stakeholders and employees. Additionally, the company is determined to attract new customers, increase sales in the United States market, and perform market research. The U.S. branch is also determined to improve marketing and visibility efforts.
Various trends could affect employees of the U.S. branch. One major trend is remote work. Advances in technology and globalization led to growth in remote work in the past years. The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 accelerated this growth. According to reports, over 90 million American workers can work remotely and around 80 million are already doing so at least part-time (Ricker, 2022). This is a clear indication that many employees want more flexibility. The U.S. branch should, hence, give the employees the freedom and autonomy they need to meet their individual needs and get their work done. Another major trend is employee wellness. Employee wellness is more vital now than ever. Modern life is fast-paced, which contributes to a rise in depression and anxiety among workers. Calls for employee wellness and self-care have increased tremendously all over the globe as mental health awareness has grown. In the future, employees will prioritize self-care. They will also invest in initiatives that focus on health and wellness. Therefore, the U.S. branch should make employee wellness a priority to attract, hire, and retain the best talent.
Improving Organizational Systems
The U.S. branch needs to modify organizational systems to have successful behavioral change. Specifically, the organization needs to change certain policies, procedures, and processes to implement change. First, the U.S branch should enhance its problem-solving process. Based on the exit interview, the company takes a long time to address issues. Taking too long to solve issues can be detrimental to the employees and the organization at large. Besides that, the U.S. branch should improve its approach to idea implementation. Based on the exit interview, the company takes too long to implement new ideas. This can discourage employees from generating new ideas, which can eventually prevent change. The ability to generate and implement new ideas allows a company to stay relevant and implement positive change.
These improvements will influence behavioral change in the organization. By improving the companys problem-solving process, issues will be dealt with quickly and effectively. This is very important especially when implementing change. Several issues can arise during change, including resistance, lack of communication, conflicts, and poor planning. It is important to quickly and effectively deal with these issues as they arise to ensure a successful behavioral change. And by implementing new ideas instantaneously, employees will be motivated to generate new ideas ideas that can help them navigate through behavioral change.
Enhancement Strategies for Team Collaboration
There is poor team collaboration between team members across the U.S. branch. This could be due to poor communication. Proper communication is critical in team collaboration. When employees communicate effectively, they are more likely to work collaboratively and reduce the risk of conflict and misunderstandings. Poor communication tends to create a poor work environment where employees are not inspired to be productive and not motivated to collaborate. Poor collaboration could also be attributed to the lack of training. The main purpose of employee training is to increase their skills and knowledge in different areas. Lack of training will hinder knowledge sharing and collaboration
The U.S. branch can take different measures to turn an individual performer into a team player. First, the organization needs to build and foster a supportive environment. This is a work environment where job performance and physical, mental, and emotional well-being are respected and valued. This environment will keep employees happy, and in turn, improve collaboration. Besides that, the organization can create a reward system. Employees who feel like their effort is recognized and rewarded usually feel valued and more motivated to work as a team player.
Leadership behavior at the U.S. branch should change to build and nurture trust. First, leaders should change their decision-making approach. Based on the exit interview, the company seems to have a top-down approach to management where top managers make decisions and lower subordinates implement them. This may cause team disconnection or disengagement as employees feel their opinions and feedback are not valued (Asana, 2021). In the long run, this will erode trust between employees and managers. It is, therefore, advisable to encourage employee involvement in decision-making to build trust.
Change Management Model
The U.S. branch can use Lewins change management model to implement change. This model was first established by Kurt Lewin, a German-American social psychologist during the early twentieth century. The change management model comprises three stages; unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. Unfreezing is the first stage of the change process. Here, the employees need to let go of the existing situation for change to happen. In the second phase, which is the change stage, the organization begins to implement change (Deborah, 2018). This will be characterized by a change in behavior, feeling, and thoughts. The final step, refreezing, takes place immediately after change implementation to ensure that the new procedure, process, or behavior is sustained. Otherwise, the organizational change will be short-lived and employees will quickly go back to their previous behaviors.
Lewin developed the change management model to evaluate two important areas: the change process within the organization and how the existing state of affairs can be challenged to achieve effective changes. Lewins change management model comprises three major aspects: restraining forces, driving forces, and equilibrium. Restraining forces can be defined as elements that hinder change. Driving forces, on the other hand, are elements that enable change. Equilibrium is achieved when restraining forces equal driving forces.
Implementing the Change Management Model
As indicated above, Lewins change management model comprises three phases. In the first phase, the U.S. branch should help employees to let go of old behaviors or old practices. The organization can use three approaches to achieve this: increase the driving forces, reduce the restraining forces, or combine the two approaches (Deborah, 2018). In the second phase, the U.S. branch will start to implement the proposed change. It is in this stage that employ