Changes are ubiquitous in today’s business. Business are required to implement these changes in a way that is conducive to meeting organizational goals and objectives.
Like other tech firms, Amazon faces constant change in terms of new products, advances in technology, AI and other factors. There is an intense competition in e-commerce, AI, and cloud computing services and companies’ ability to develop and implement the proposed changes successfully is key to surviving and thriving as a business.
Change can originate outside and inside and organization. Outside sources of change include market forces, legislation, tax structures, new technologies, and political changes. Each of these sources can be a catalyst for a new change that an organization need to adapt to. On the other hand, inside sources of change include reconstructions (i.e. mergers and acquisitions), profitability, conflicts between organizational components, changes in organization culture. Strategic change management is the go-to strategy, whereby change is leveraged in structure and thoughtful way with a view to meeting organizational goals, objectives and missions (Johnson, 2013). Strategic management process involves four stages such as environment scanning, strategy formulation, strategy implementation, and evolution and control.
Facebook has attracted opprobrium for compromising the privacy of its users and mishandling user data. The whole debacle has been the precursor to a congressional hearing of its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Like EU, the USA is also intending to introduce more regulations regarding how private companies such as Amazon, and Google collect and use user data. as both companies are notorious for pervasive data collection practices.
Like Facebook, Amazon is susceptible to more scrutiny from the governments around the world regarding how it collects and uses data. Amazon collects data on its consumers on other websites, and its algorithms are top notch at adverting pertinent ads. Targeted overstaining which is at the heart of Amazon’s business model, might be subject to certain legal implication and etc. Therefore, change at Amazon is imminent, and the company has to introduce a strategic change management to develop, implement and control the change within the organization. How Amazon can implement the necessary strategic change is explained below;
There are a number of strategic change management models employed by
business strategists when it comes to introducing and implementing a change in an organization. These strategic change management models are;
- John P Kotter’s eight steps to successful change
- Kübler- Ross five stages cycle
- Prosci’s five building blocks ADKAR
- McKinsey’s 7S strategy
To introduce and implement change relating to data collection and its use within Amazon, Kotter’s eight steps strategy can be employed. Kotter’s eight steps strategy has been devised by John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor. This model of strategic change model is prevalent in today’s organizations, and is perfectly applicable to Amazon as well.
Firstly, Amazon’s executives including its CEO, Jeff Bezos (i.e. the management) should instill a need for change within the organization, which can be conducive to the production of urgent need to accept change at Amazon. This can be accomplished by the management communicating the urgent need for change on a constant basis at Amazon. This communication can occur via emails, memos, and other means of communications. Nonetheless, the need for change can be best instilled face-to-face (Scheinder and Barssoux, 2003). Therefore, Jeff Bezos, can call meeting with the top managers, and stress the importance of change imminent.
Secondly, those overseeing the change within Amazon (i.e. the executives and Jeff Bezos, CEO) need to ensure that they can involve the right people in leading the change within the company. The involvement of sensor level is essential to viably implementing the strategic change within a company. Amazon is advised to set up a ‘change council’ consisting of senior executives from all levels of Amazon, representing all major operations (i.e. retail, AWS, Kindle and etc.). The strategies which Amazon can use to involve all of its stakeholders will be explained in the following paragraphs.
Thirdly, Amazon’s senior management or the board of directors needs to develop a new strategic vision. This new strategic vision has to be developed with the participation of stakeholders from all levels of Amazon, and has to be unambiguous as to the nature of the change, and how it is planned to be implement at Amazon. Amazon’s senior management should involve stakeholders from all levels of management and share information about how this new change is being devised (Handy, 1993). This can be conducive to the advanced awareness of strategic change. Overall, ensuring that this strategic change vision is key to the success of any change implementation at Amazon.
Fourthly, the newly developed strategic vision has to be effectively communicated throughout Amazon with a view of ensuring that all the stakeholders are aware of the change implementation. Resistance to change is inevitable at any organization, not just at Amazon. Employees might be resistant to the process of change, and how they have be trained anew to ensure that they comply with the new data regulations. This resistance can be mitigated with effective communication of the vision. Moreover, the more information employees know about the change, the more they are likely to accept change and ensure that they do things conforming to the change. The senior management at Amazon should avoid using emails and conference call to communicate the new strategic change vision, as emails and conference calls are considered impersonal, not to mention ineffective (Naylor, 2004). Amazons’ senior management needs to excite the company’s stakeholders, effectively communicating the new strategic change vision.
Fifthly, Amazon’s senior management needs to find, train, and cultivate change agents at Amazon, as change agents play a key role in the successful implementation of the organization. Change agents should be delegated with the task of inspiring employees at Amazon as to the change, and incite them to be actively involved in the organizational change process. The role of change models cannot be overlooked, and sometimes this stage might be marred by the lack of training or skills change models have (Schein, 2010). Thus, it makes sense for Amazon to invest in training of prospective change agents, equipping them with the skills needs for their task.
Sixthly, Amazon’s senior management needs to ensure that they are on the look out for less than grand opportunities and have small victories, effectively celebrating incremental change within an organization. This is particularly applicable to Amazon, as the culture at Amazon is wont to overlooking small victories, and advocate for big changes and wins. Thus, senior management at Amazon should implement the changes incrementally and gradually.
Seventhly, Amazon’s senior management is advised to consolidate the smaller wins, and aim for bigger each time, introducing more changes over time. They also need to ensure that that all the stakeholder are still amenable to continuing, even though by now every stakeholders should be excited about the change.
Eighthly, Amazon’s senior management is required to embed the change in the company’s culture, solidifying the change in a permanent form. This can be accomplished by changing Amazon’s mission statement, or its HR strategy.
The implementation of this strategic change in response to new data protection laws can have a number of resource implications such as;
- Training costs
- Cost involved in changing company’s practices
The involvement of all stakeholders of change in the change process is essential to the successful implementation of the change. The success of the strategic change management is contingent upon the involvement of all stakeholders at Amazon (i.e. employees, and executives). To ensure the involvement of all employees, a number of methods cna be utilized by the change administrators at Amazon.
Firstly, senior management at Amazon should analyze the stakeholders’ opinion as to the change process and determine their resistance level. This can be accomplished with the convergence and divergence diagram.
Secondly, there should be developed a plan with a view of involving as many people as possible in the change process and planning. There are a number of ways all stakeholders at Amazon can be involved in the strategic change process.
One way to ensure the involvement of all employees is through change awareness. Awareness is key to the success of any change process within an organization, as people tend to show resistance to participation in the change process due to lack of knowledge about the change itself. Change awareness can be complemented with commitment development. Commitment to ensuring that a change can occur and can be done so viably within an organization should be cultivated amongst the stakeholders at Amazon.
‘Six Steps Stakeholders Cycle’ can also be used by Amazon in order to involve as many stakeholders as possible in the change process. First, senior management at Amazon needs to identify the change stakeholders (i.e. employees, partners, and suppliers). Second, these stakeholder’s need to be prioritized them in a power grid. Second, these stakeholders should be mapped, meaning their culture and attitudes to the proposed change are analyzed. The fourth stage is the engagement strategy. Engagement strategy is followed by monitoring.
Monitoring and monitoring methods
Lastly, the successful implementation of a strategic change involves developing measures to monitor progress relating to change implementation. There are a number of methods which can be which can be utilized by the senior management at Amazon such as balanced scoredcard, organized milestone, benchmarking, 180 and 360 degree feedback, review and evaluation.
Amazon senior management can resort to organized milestones with view of ascertaining more information and ensure that incremental changes are implemented successfully. This can be achieved by setting a milestone for each projects with a view of keeping tabs on the progress of the project. During this process, senior management at Amazon needs to make sure employees are compensated for successful completion of each milestone.
Organized milestones can be complemented with the so-called method of 180 and 360 degree feedback, which enables the senior management at Amazon to keep abreast of real performance on the ground.
Overall, change is inevitable in business, and implementing changes within organizations can be susceptible to errors and mismanagements. Thus, strategic change management can be used by change planners at Amazon to successfully implement these proposed changes.
- Johnson, R. ‘Changing corporate culture’, Governance & Compliance, June 2013
- Schneider, S. C. and Barsoux, J. Managing Across Cultures, second edition, Financial Times Prentice Hall (2003)
- Handy, C. B. Understanding Organizations, fourth edition, Penguin (1993).
- Naylor, J. Management, second edition, Financial Times Prentice Hall (2004).
- Schein, E. H. Organizational Culture and Leadership, fourth edition, Jossey-Bass (2010).