Discuss and apply one change management theory to this case on Ashland. How did they eventually use this process to implement change? What was the change?
Ashland Inc. is one of the major companies that have been experiencing a remarkable level of success. Since the time it started, the company has consistently registered an increase in a number of sales as well as expansion in terms of its new ventures. Despite its huge success, Ashland Inc. has had its struggles in adapting positive change. In 2002, the operations of the company were strained due to the usage of incorrect change management strategies. According to the management of the company, there was no competence or capability of handling change. This led to the introduction of a new program aimed towards helping the employees to better understand the change process as well as its implementation. One change management theory on Ashland Inc.’s case was the Kotter’s Change Model.
Looking into the challenges the company was facing in comparison to Kotter’s model, there is a clear match. Firstly, there was the need for urgency. Ashland’s earnings graph was heading to the negative side hence the need for urgency for change. Secondly, the program was designed to be inclusive of all the teams in taking up the training. It is also evident that the new program was hierarchical in nature to ensure sustainability and inclusivity of all employee levels (Buchanam & Huczynski, 2010). Fourthly, the program attracted a huge number of employees aiming towards a common goal.
During the implementation of the change program at Ashland Inc, all barriers, such as inefficient hierarchies and processes were shed off. Employees obtained the freedom of working with the aim of being more impactful. More energy needed to be generated during the implementation of change. With this, the management team introduced short goals which acted as motivators for change. In the seventh step, the CEO insisted on the sustainability of the change introduced by being relentless in consistently insisting on its implementation. Finally, in relation to Kotter’s change model, the management team articulated the connections between the new habits and the success of the company. This acted as a motivation for all the employees towards accepting the outlined changes (Buchanam & Huczynski, 2010).
Research Ashland, Inc. and find out how well the company is doing today. Do you think the changes “stuck”? Why or why not?
Today, Ashland Inc is considered to be one of the most successful companies in the world. From the case analysis, it is clear that change management in this company has ensured consistency in its growth. The failures that had been experienced in the past are no longer a bother to this company. For instance, the adaptation of new technology is no longer a hindrance towards higher productivity. In my view, the changes applied during the 2002 crisis stuck. This is because Ashland has been able to detach from Valvoline re-launching itself as a global company that specializes in chemistry. Unlike the past, the company concentrates on making its customers highly successful.
Secondly, before the implementation of change for Ashland, the company experienced resistance and high staff turnover. As a result, the company registered a huge reduction in productivity levels reducing its profits. Due to effective change management, the company now enjoys increased productivity as well as zero redundancy. It is also known to offer profitable products that ensure maximum benefits to their customers. The changes implemented in the production section have worked well in ensuring improved products for the market. As a result, the annual sales are approximated at $5 billion as at 2016. The company has also been listed in the S&P MidCap 400*.
Buchanam, D. & Huczynski, A. (2010). Organizational Behavior with CW Gradetracker Student Access. London, U.K: Pearson Education publishers.