28Jan 2022 by
Objective and Background:
The objective of this case study is to get students thinking about how organizations carryout the vision of its leadership. We have an entire course ahead of us. However, to start the course, I want you to consider how you would deal with the problems in this case study. Use your personal logic and write how you think this organization should modify itself. We will add to your knowledge base as we progress through the course.
Organizational Development is the process of transforming organizations so they can thrive in their ever-changing business environment. Some do this well and are successful for decades, but even big organizations, that were successful in the past, often flounder at some point in their histories. Some survive and others do not. Take for example IBM, Kodak, K-mart, and ATT. These organizations have made major changes to their core operations in reaction to changes in their business environments.
Sears Roebuck and Company is another example, and some would argue that its management did a poor job of Organizational Development over the past 50 years. Think about Sears 100 years ago. Sears was the Amazon of the early 20th century. Almost anyone in the US could look at a catalog and order anything imaginable and have it delivered in just a few days. Their only real competition was Montgomery Ward, but Sears was the dominate retailer for most people living in small towns and in rural areas. It was just so easy to look at the catalog, decide what was wanted and have it delivered to the doorstep. There was no reason to travel to the big cities to get what was wanted. As a child, one of my biggest joys was looking at the huge holiday catalogue that weighed nearly a pound, circling dream toys, and folding down the page corners.
In the mid-1990s Sears decided to get out of the catalog-based retail market and focus their efforts on their retail stores. This decision eliminated the catalogs and forced people to travel to stores, fight the crowds, and haul their purchases home. This was inconvenient for people living in bigger cites, and it eliminated their loyal costumer-base in rural and small towns. Walmart had become the major retailer in the US, and one can only assume the decision to eliminate their catalog business was a move by Sears to emulate Walmart. The problem is easy to see in retrospect; Sears’ management did not understand “what business they were in” and who their customers were.
It is interesting to note that about the same time that Sears was getting out of the catalog business, Amazon was founded. It took a while, but the modern Amazon looks amazingly like an updated version of the model that made Sears so successful a century ago. I feel the Pandemic has further accentuated this shopping model. I know that I spend several hours per a week looking at the Prime sales section on Amazon.
The objective of this case study is to point out (as we said in the first part of this document) that Organizational Development is the process of transforming organizations so they can thrive in their ever-changing business environments. In order to meet the needs of ever-changing business environments, the leadership must be visionary. Simply following the trends of other successful business will often not work. To put it simply, the real objective of any Organizational Development initiative is to carry out the vision of the organization’s leader. Think back to the early days of Sears. The founder of Sears had a vision that matched the needs of the business environment of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and Sears became the dominate retailer of that period. Sears put in place the necessary structure for that vision to be met. The same can be said for Amazon. Its founder had a great vision for the latter part of the 20th century, and now the 21st century; but that success is based on having an entire organization to carry out Amazon’s vision.
Sears is not dead. Sure, most of their corporate-owned stores are gone and many small franchises, but there are still many Sears franchises in small towns across America. There is no question that with the right vision Sears could be turned around.
Assume the Sears Board of Directors hires a visionary leader who has decided that the future of Sears is electric farm vehicles, especially electric trucks. Assume you have been hired to create an Organizational Development plan to convert the remains of Sears so it can start to sell and service (but not manufacture) electric farm vehicles. My objective for starting this course with this case study is simply to get you considering how organizations change to meet the demands of the environments where they do business. In this course, we will build on your current knowledge by dissecting the components of Organizational Development programs. I know that at the concept level that you can already figure out the basic processes because the concepts are universal and logical. Please limit your response to this case study to no more than 750 words.
Training will obviously be a major component of the plan to transform the current Sears employees so they can be involved in this new electric farm vehicle enterprise. Each job type will need specific training; hence, there will be a massive amount of necessary training. Without getting into the details of the actual training, briefly discuss how you would provide this training. For example, would you hire a training company to write and to offer the training, or would you create an entire training division within company to write and to offer all of the necessary training? Would you do video-based training, live training, or internet-based interactive training, etc.? Be sure to discuss why you made these choices.
Discuss the kinds of teams and other groups that will be needed to make this new electric farm vehicle initiative successful.
Discuss how you would change the current organizational culture of Sears to what it needs to be for a successful electric farm vehicle business.
Again, incorporate quotes from the readings in both texts, use APA 7 in-text citations and references, and do not use contractions to avoid point loss.