The process of change management from planning

Executive summary

This inquiry intends to explore the process of change management from planning to communication, implementation, and future-proofing.  Even though Apple has continued to be hailed as an industry leader in the technology sector, this paper argues that the company is experiencing a slow-paced decline as evident in a recent reduction in both sales of its core products and its net income which is a red flag suggesting that time is due for change in its systems and components; especially its innovation strategy. The organization should, therefore, employ strategic niche management coupled with a pool of interactive and emotionally charged communication systems as a recipe for a successful change process. Apart from strategies and operations, leadership, people involvement, and measurements are some of the essential themes that the organization has to consider in its change management process.

Background and problem statement

In the present day dynamic technology market, tech companies have faced both external and internal pressures prompting them to react and come up with adaptive techniques quickly. The tech industry has recently been hit with intense competition alongside other critical concerns like government regulations, a rapid increase in energy prices, and global climatic change.A combination of these factors has led to a challenging operating atmosphere within the tech industry. The results have been new trajectories characterized by fierce rivalry, which has, in turn, affected sales adversely. Apple Inc., just like many other firms, has made attempts to stagger out of this quagmire. The company has continued to register declining sales, as witnessed in a 13 percent fall of its net income in 2019. The company’s strategy has, for a long time, relied on increasing consumer appetite for innovative tech products, especially the iPhone. However, the recent occurrences have pointed to the fact that the company seems to be complacent, having ridden on the fame of industry leadership for long. The latest strategy has been an ever-increasing price on devices with little innovation engineered. The company is experiencing a slow and steady decline prompting for immediate change in both its operational systems and human resource management strategies.

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Findings presented to the board reveals a weakness in the company’s innovations strategy. The board is, therefore, recommending changes on both system and component level strategies. This will help determine what technological aspects to cease investing in and which ones to develop as well as determine the kinds of human capital to cease investing in and which to focus on. The board wishes to achieve sustainable development in knowledge management, innovation, and competitive positioning. To realizethis, the board believes that the organization will need to invest heavily in a new department that will solely focus on technological innovation. The company will, therefore, need to restructure its functional units as well as its human capital base in preparation for the perceived change. However, change in this situation does not imply the transitioning from one position to another.It merely implies coming up with adapting characteristics. Also, this approach will help address the fear among employees due to the impending restructuring. When change is looked at as a continuous process, the employees are looked at as assets rather than liabilities. Therefore the agents of change, as well as the participants, will be regarded as active learners confronted with action and inquiry with the focus being on speed, learning, and agility (Jabri, 2012). Thus the change process will be as follows:


As argued by Kotter (2012), the initial step of change management involves unfreezing the status quo. The organization will have to create a sense of urgency among employees. This involves sparking the passion for finding a solution to the problem (Kotter, 2008). After communicating the need for change, the next step involves building a team while ensuring an appropriate composition of members. Furthermore, coming up with a change strategy and change visions are also aspects that define the preconditions to change. During this stage, the organization will begin to form the change team, define the change purpose, set up the time commitments, define the process, and allocate roles. Stakeholder opinions are also taken into consideration. A diagnosis of the triggers of pressures is conducted, and future state determined to help establish corresponding implementation techniques. This phase will help determine the areas that need change and when. Based on the situation at hand, four areas have been identified as needing change: commitment, capacity, culture, and capability.

Transition phase

This phase involves understanding the present situation and defining actual implementation.The aim is to achieve sustainable development in innovation, competitive positioning, and knowledge management. To be able to accomplish this, the board wishes to bring up changes in the company’s systems and component aspects. This includes a change in capacity, commitments, capabilities, and cultural aspects. The board recommends bringing up a new department that will solely oversee technological innovation –this will add to the organization’s technological capabilities and capacities. To bring the idea of sustainable innovation to fruition, the organization will require to initiate strategic niche management. This will drum up commitments and the needed culture to promote innovation.

Under this method, as argued by, there is a conscious management of a niche whereby an alternative technological aspect is explored before full implementation. This approach emphasizes on mutual adaptation and co-evolution between the system and alternative technology. Thus, before a technical aspect is fully rolled out, a niche is created in which the technology is tested, developed further and allowed to grow in strength while being promoted for the full rollout. This approach also enables the organization to penetrate the market through a small segment and find out consumer thoughts before total rollout.


Even after having accomplished the transition, it does not mean that the change has already been realized on a sustainable basis (Kotter,2012). As argued by Lucke (2003), there is a need for the modification and adjustment of strategies to counter future problems. The significance of post-implementation is that even if the change fails, there will be opportunities for learning, which creates a starting point for subsequent adjustments. The post-change analysis creates an opportunity for learning, modification, and a way of consolidating change into the organization.

Organizational activities to be engaged

Team building

For the change to be realized effectively, there is a need to build up high performing teams, which will not only act as change agents but will be used as conduits to initiate the actual change. For steams to be successful, people need to be appreciated and to be allowed to contribute to the results. Leaders have to involve the members of team in determining aims, coming up with structures, and the methods. The best team approach reflects the organization’s culture in the people. It also reflects the trust achieved( Kraus, 2016). Developing a Model for Change Management. The team approach dictates the need to have devotion from the people involved. Leaders have to recognize that they have to change themselves before they can expect others to change. Team leaders should embrace a participatory rather than an authoritative leadership style( Kraus, 2016). Managers should motivate and articulate people to the end goal while maintaining neutrality on the ways of attaining the set goals. Leaders should be proactive; they should be able to see the future of the organization, define the mission, initiate the appropriate culture, and offer the necessary tools as well as the atmosphere that will lead to a continuous process of improvement that will support the change.

Communication and feedback

The lack of communication can be counterproductive to the process of change. Employees may feel uncertain, thereby being prompted to resist and even be unwilling to cooperate. As argued byStröh(2006), it is important first to inform, and rain leaders on the change and the implementation of logistics since this will equip them with the required multi-level skills of leadership. Communication is an essential aspect for the successful implementation of change. Grandien&Johnsson (2012) assert that change is an ever-changing process and full of dynamism. It is a building block to the organization’s systems of meaning, which employees rely on in making sense of their actions. Kitchen & Daly (2002) argue that internal communication is crucial in defining organizational culture; the authors further argue that organizations are not able to exist without it. Communication is not only capable of influencing operations and processes in an organization but the management of people too. Communication involves observation, strategy, analysis, organization, development, implementation, and evaluation. In change management, communication plays the role of disseminating strategies and implementation initiatives. In so doing, communication plays a critical role in organizational sense making where people collect and convert information into meaningful, actionable forms.

To communicate the change process effectively and gather critical feedback the following channels of communication are preferred: face to face meetings. This is one of the most powerful means of communication because it is easy to gauge employee’s reactions to the proposed change, understand their needs and be able to modify the change process to accommodate those needs. Using digital platforms such as “idea drop” whereby both leaders and juniors communicate with each other openly, thus making it possible for people to air their concerns fearlessly. Internal memos, newsletters, emails, workshop presentations, bulletin boards, progress reports, and even social media sites such as Twitter and WhatsApp can be used. Generally, the communication channel picked should be interactive, be information-rich (that is to allow the dissemination of as much information as possible), be emotionally charged, and offer a feedback loop.

The convergence of planning, communication, and organizational development

To converge planning, organizational development, and communication, the organization will have to employ a planned approach to change management, which descends from soft system models. Soft system change management focuses on organization culture, politics, and leadership(Ströh, 2006). One such model is the Action research model whereby both organizational and social issues are addressed in a collective approach. All parties are involved in formulating change goals and forging a collective course of action. The change process is, therefore, considered a rational learning process with a systematic approach to issue analysis while giving room for social action.


A strategic niche management approach will be used to implement the perceived change in innovation. The organization’s core problem is to sustain an innovative force; however with an approach that puts to use both technical and social change, it will be easy for the organization to realize a change in both components and systems.Another aspect that makes this implementation strategy suitable for this case is that it facilitates an innovation journey through a technologicalniche (Schot, &Geels, 2008).  Technological niches are protected spaces that make it possible for the experimentation of a piece of innovation with user practices, co-evolution, and regulatory structures. It does not advocate for radical implementation of innovation, thereby allowing more room for trials.


To prevent the obsolescence of both systems and components, the organization should employ a system that will continuously measure the capability gap by comparing the existing solutions against the industry state of the art benchmarks. During the system life cycle, stakeholder input is required so that a sufficient solution can be put in place while taking into consideration stakeholder needs (Rehman, Ryan &Efatmaneshnik, 2017). Historical data,statistical analysis, and trend analysis should all be used to predict future occurrences. This is important in determining capability gaps in advance to come up with prospective solutions.


In conclusion,  change is inevitable in the current corporate environment, characterized by risk and uncertainty. The financial stock that has hit Apple Inc are an indication of a much-needed change in its systems and operations. The focus should be to impart knowledge, to ensure agility, and to bring the workforce to speed with the new trends.


Cesar, L., & Alberto, V. (2000). Factors that generate effective teams.

Grandien, C., & Johansson, C. (2012). Institutionalization of communication management. Corporate Communications: An International Journal.

Jabri, M. (2017). Managing organizational change: Process, social construction and dialogue. Palgrave.

Kitchen, P. J., & Daly, F. (2002). Internal communication during change management. Corporate Communications: an international journal.

Kotter, J. P. (2008). A sense of urgency. Harvard Business Press.

Kotter, J. P. (2012). Leading change. Harvard business press.

Kraus, L. (2016). Developing a Model for Change Management.

Luecke, R. (2003). Managing change and transition (Vol. 3). Harvard Business Press.

Rehman, O. U., Ryan, M. J., &Efatmaneshnik, M. (2017, July). Future proofing process. In INCOSE International Symposium (Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 921-934).

Schot, J., &Geels, F. W. (2008). Strategic niche management and sustainable innovation journeys: theory, findings, research agenda, and policy. Technology analysis & strategic management, 20(5), 537-554.

Ströh, U. (2006). An experimental study of organisational change and communication management (Doctoral dissertation, University of Pretoria).

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