Problems in Organization Changes

John Smithers was assigned to instruct others within the organization on total quality. He and another instructor, about whom he initially had reservations, taught all employees at Sigtek in a quality program mandated by the parent corporation; the program was being introduced throughout the parent company's holdings. What Smithers did not realize until well into the assignment was that the change being implemented was not specific to Sigtek, but was instead a generic change program which the parent company was trying to "shoehorn" into all of its organizations. Lacking the customization necessary for true effectiveness, and without a strong mandate from Sigtek's own top management, the program may well have been doomed to failure from the time it was begun.

Smithers and his co-instructor, Murphy, were designated the champions of the new program, but they found themselves raising employees' expectations too high relative to what employees (and the instructors) could actually accomplish. Murphy and Smithers were, in essence, trying to bring change from the middle of the organization to the top and bottom, and that clearly was ineffective. Given that Murphy's boss found many of the ideas being presented as part of the quality program new, where Smithers was acquainted with them from his outside readings, it is not surprising that other managers would also find the concepts new and that resistance to change would be encountered at upper levels



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