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Organization culture is expressed in the way organizations perform their business, treat employees and customers, make their decisions and develop ideas. It also shows the power of the flow of information through their hierarchical structure. It is normally taught to any member so as to think, perceive, and feel the same way to the organizations’ problems. Changing an organization culture is one of the hardest things for managers. One needs to persuade and win the hearts of employees. They have to make people understand why the change is inevitable, know the best way of shifting resources from some areas to the desired cultural change and motivate employees.
Simmons needed change in its culture in order to operate effectively and serve customers efficiently. Change requires finance irrespective of the approach taken to affect it. Some approach requires huge finance while others do not. Simmons was facing severe financial constraints but really needed change in its culture. Since he believes in the value of cultural change and had successfully led similar changes at the firms he had previously managed, Eiten wants the organization to follow a “soft” approach that would cause the company $7.2 even though he knew that the stakes were high.
Human resource training and development is important in any organization. Entrepreneurs and managers take risks in projects they deem would return good investment. Simmons management should take risk and go for the Eiten’s unconventional approach to change the firm’s culture and improve the company’s image and profits.
Simmons’ great improvements and success is a result of the innovations made by its founder, Zalmon Gilbert Simmons and its management. The company could utilize any opportunity to make as much profit as possible. The founder starts with dairy farming and begins making cheese and shipping it to customers in wooden boxes imported from Chicago. He then manufactures and sells the wooden boxes. The company thereafter manufactured many other products including mattresses, coiled wire bedsprings and children’s folding and cotton felt mattresses depending on the opportunity that arose.
It utilized the slightest opportunity and came up with new products, services, and activities that were unique and served customers well. In this regard, we find it creating a model to deliver products to customers within 24 hours, and featuring celebrities such as Eleanor Roosevelt in its advertisement.
Management and Leadership
Whereas families may run businesses successfully, it is prudent to hire a qualified and experienced management team to run a business. Still, education and experience does not guarantee successful management of an organization. It requires sound management coupled with leadership skills such as good planning and role model (Avery, 2004) to successfully manage a company.
Other plants, apart from the plant in Jenesville, Wisconsin, had bad leadership. They achieved operational discipline using a sergeant, who walked through the paths. This instilled fear and developed a culture where employees do things better under strict supervision. Employees only worked hard in presence of plant managers. The culture of responsibility was not created in the firms. This lowers the morale of employees and hence the overall output.
Various leadership styles are applicable best in different situations. When one style does not apply well in a given situation, it is good to try another. If the autocratic style applied in Charlotte, North Carolina was not yielding good return, they would have tried a democratic approach which made the plant at Janesville flourish. Employees should be made to feel that they are part of the organization. They should be involved in any decision-making process, rewarded and recognized for their hard work and be involved in meetings and retreats. This encourages them and enhances group cohesion and collective responsibility.
Manufacturing plants initially treated each other like competitors, because the management structure of Simmons was not well-defined. A hierarchical structure, where the roles and responsibilities of every person are defined and the reporting structure clearly stated, would have been the most appropriate at the time. As it is depicted in the figure below, Eiten later restructured the management, where each manager knew his roles and reporting structure.
Every organization cannot operate the same way forever. There are various changes that must take place, some that are welcomed and others resisted. People fear change because either they do not want to lose the benefits they have been getting or because they are uncertain of the outcomes of the change (Houtchinson, 1991). Eiten’s appointment brought many changes in Simmons including change in the management. These might have been what made some of the management team chosen by Eiten quit their jobs. Some managers also resisted the Grate Game of Life (GGOL).
Better management of change requires the people involved to be told on the need to change and how it will affect them (R. A. Paton, R. Paton, and McCalman, 2000). Eiten communicated the changes well to the employees involved. This includes the management, which he told the need to change from being “one in 8 to 8 in one” and the benefits of attending the GGOL program.
Organization culture determines how employees work, their communication with management and with themselves, and their relationship with each other and customers (Schein, 2004). Basically, it drives the organizations. Initially, Simmons had values that did not include the welfare of employees. Eiten then added value that cared about the welfare of the company, workers, and customers. He knew that employees perform better when both their family and work needs are met.
He also developed a culture of equality and togetherness as it can be seen when he entered the management meeting on casual clothing against the company’s previous culture. This emphasized to the management the need for change in the organization. Moreover, he decided to take Charlotte’s plant, whose culture was poor, to the GGOL program.
Surely, Simmons needed a change. Even though it was experiencing economic hardship, it should follow the Eiten’s unconventional soft approach. For organizations to prosper and make good profits, they should be ready to take financial risks on projects they deem profitable. Eiten is known to have turned many companies around. He is the CEO and would work very hard when his approach, which has been successfully tested in the GGOL program, is implemented.