Transformational Change At IBM Essay


Discuss about the Transformational Change At IBM And Smart Workforce Summit.



This is the report that focuses on change management as the major topic. Several another aspects such as resistance to change has also been discussed. The discussion initiates with the summary of the two articles that are titled as A transformational change at IBM and Smart Workforce Summit: 4Fingers' culture of discontentment. The later part of the discussion suggests some of the recommendations to the issues that have been identified in the articles regarding change management.

A transformational change at IBM

This is the article that basically focuses on the transformational change that takes place in the organisation like IBM. In the year of 1990’s IBM was in problem because the company was selling hardware at the time when the market is demanding something else in terms of services. The company was bearing lose and thus the solution was that the lifetime employment was changed into downsizing at that time. This requires the company to make transition. Most of the time, the change is implemented and the major participant are considered to be employees or executives but it is not only the executives who needs to bring the change but the other stakeholders also have to participate. This requires managing the transformational change. Salero and Brock change cycle suggest that there are different feelings of people during the change. Stage 1 is about loss where the people feel fearful and the last stage is about integration that deals with gaining the ability to be flexible. Whetten and Cameron gives a framework that deals with some of the management skills that helps in bringing positive change. Some of the skills are establishing positive climate, developing team commitment, vision, creating readiness etc. John Kotter’s 8 step process of bringing change is also discussed in the article by the author. The author focuses on IBM’s need for change. It has been analysed that the company is serving the market with hardware infrastructure and the chairman of the company has stepped down and the new CEO has not yet arrived. This develop problem for the company and everyone knew that they need a change. The process of change starts with framing vision and mission. The GM of the company has asked the tow of the managers of the company to work together and get the work done. The project has started and the author who was one of the business executive managers has briefed the task force for the project. The task force are the favourite employees of their peers so that they can tackle and convenience the whole staff for accepting the change. A full process of implementing the change has been followed. The first step is defining the transformation and the next step is defining the transformed organisation. After this, opportunity management process has been developed hat deals with resource allocation. Now the time has come to make the transition on grounds and at the end. IBM has experienced a final transition successfully. Some of the success factors are there that needs to be considered such as clear vision and allocation of the resources and support by each and every stakeholder.

Issues identified:

Convincing the employees to accept the change: This means that the organisation needs to convince each and every stakeholder to support the change.

Actual transition: this is the crucial stage in which a method has been used to make the actual change.


Several recommendations have been made in order to resolve the issues that have been identified in the IBM transformational change. It has been analysed that transformational change deals with transforming the thinking of each and every stakeholders as per the thinking of the leaders in the organisation. This requires the company to convince the leaders other than that a process needs to be followed to be the change. Following strategies can be used for both the issues:

Change champions: It is required by the organisation to appoint some of the change managers or the champions from the employees only so that these champions can convince the employees to bring the change.

Lewin’s change management: This is the approach that is very common and basic approach to be used in order to bring the change. It includes three steps that are unfreezing, transition and freezing. In the first step that organisation need to practice the activities that helps the employees or other stakeholders to unlearn the things they know and then transition needs to be made. After making the transition, the last step is for freezing. This stage allows the employees and other stakeholders to accept the things that they have learnt and using the same in the new processes.

Smart Workforce Summit: 4Fingers' culture of discontentment

In this article, the author has focused upon explaining the resistance that comes from the employee’s side in the organisation at the time of making the changes. It explains the strategy that the CEO of the company called 4Fingers have used in order to lead the resistance and he called himself as the leader of resistance, this is a very short case that has been explain by the author so that the readers can know the importance of involving the employees and respecting them at the time of making the change. Otherwise, it my results in resistance from employee’s side. He argues that the companies need to look for the resistance from the different lenses then only the problem can be resolved. The example of a 4Fingers has been discussed in the article which is a restaurant. The CEO for the company that was named as Puggard was fired from the job because of his clashes with the owner of the company. There awesome financial disagreements between the owner and the CEO and thus he fired from the organisation. After sometime, he joined back and decided to bring some changes in the company. He thrown his ego and all set for making the successful changes. The earlier thought of discontentment in the organisation has not been so successful and thus change was required. Puggard suggested that although the role of CEO is to enhance the value for shareholders but it is also required by the CEO to bring the cultural changes in the organisation. He argued that the first and foremost thing to do is to involve the employees. He used to call his managers as mini CEO’s. This empowers the managers to take small decisions. This strategy helps the employees to have the sense of belongingness and also helps in making their performance better.

Issues identified:

The issues that may be raised at the time of making the changes are resistance from the side of the employees as the culture of the organisation was changing and the employees were the one who gets directly affected by the same. Some of the strategies can be used to convince and make them to accept the change in the organisation. The following recommendations can be applied for the same:


There are several issues that have been identified in the above articles. As far as change management is considered, it has been analysed that change management is the process that help the organisation to manage the change in the organisation and remove the resistance of the changes. As per the articles that have been discussed, the major reason for the resistance to change has been identified from the employee’s side. It has been realised that employees are the one who resist the changes most of the times in the organisation. Thus, it is required to understand the cause of their resistance and the issues they feel at the time accepting the change. It has been analysed that overcoming the change is not the solution but these resistances needs to be resolved. The resistance that has been shown by the employees is tri-dimensional in nature that means it includes three factors that are affective, cognitive and behavioural. It has been analysed that kotter and Schlesinger’s six change approaches can be used to make the change effectively. Some of the strategies that falls under this approach are:

  1. Education and communication: when the information is not properly available then the best way to overcome the resistance for change from the employee’s side is to educate them regarding the change. Education helps the employees to gain the knowledge and the logic behind the change.
  2. Participation and involvement: when the champions of change have lack of information, they have to themselves design the change aspect and this requires the involvement of other people as well. Engaging the employees in the change process and decision making process helps then to have the sense of belongingness. This may resist in reduced resistance from the side of the employees regarding the change.
  3. Facilitation and support: when the employees show the resistance towards the change because of the adjustments they have to take then the managers can easily overcome or reduce that resistance by supporting the employees. The support and facilitation from the side of the managers helps the employees to face the fear and anxiety that develops in them due to change.
  4. Negotiation and agreement: when a person or the group that is in power resist the change then it may have severe impact on the overall change process. In this case, negotiation is the best option. The managers can provide or offer incentives to those people or group in power so that they can leave the company or either take the voluntarily retirements with all the extra benefits.
  1. Manipulation and co-option: when no other approach works for overcoming or reducing the resistance to change, the best option is manipulation. It is a tactic in which a person who is resisting may involve in the group of change champions only as a strategy of PR tactic and not for actual contribution. This is the very risky tactic as if the person get to know about the tactic the he may create issues in the whole change management process.
  1. Explicit and implicit coercion: this is the option that is available with the managers at the time of urgency. This is the approach that allows the managers to force the employees to accept the changes. The mangers need to develop a sense of fear amongst the employees by clarifying that resistance can results in their firing and losing of jobs.


It has been concluded from the discussion that the article that is A transformational change in IBM discusses about the transformational change that has been successfully implemented in the company by several methods. The major issues that have been identified from the case are convincing the employees and implementation of change. It has been analysed that appointing change champions can help in convincing the employees to accept the change easily and implementing the strategy of Lewin’s change management model helps in bringing the change to the company very smoothly. Another article that is Smart Workforce Summit: 4Fingers' culture of discontentment discusses about the resistance from the employees side and also focuses on the impact of cultural change of the employees and on the organisation. As per the articles that have been discussed, the major reason for the resistance to change has been identified from the employee’s side. It has been realised that employees are the one who resist the changes most of the times in the organisation. Thus involving the employees in the decision among process and making the part of organisation makes it easier for the leaders to implement the change. There are several approaches that have been given by Kotter and Schlesinger. They suggested some ways such as negotiation, manipulation, support, participation, education etc.



"A Transformational Change At IBM." Pmi.Org, 2018,

"Smart Workforce Summit: 4Fingers' Culture Of Discontentment | Hrmasia." Hrmasia.Com, 2018,

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