The Middle East has been the subject to the financial roller coaster like any other region, which has changed the way business have been conducted and managed. The Arabian Gulf in particular has been under a lot of pressure to change how business is manag

The Middle East has been the subject to the financial roller coaster like any other region, which has changed the way business have been conducted and managed. The Arabian Gulf in particular has been under a lot of pressure to change how business is manag

The Middle East has been the subject to the
financial roller coaster like any other region, which has changed the way
business have been conducted and managed. The Arabian Gulf in particular has
been under a lot of pressure to change how business is managed and run due to
the number of western expatriates running the business there while considering
the cultural differences. The conflict of management theories has risen as a
result of regional alignment between Europe & the ME. Below, we will be
discussing the Innovation & Change theories that have been chosen and find
the weaknesses and strengths in terms of implementation and feasibility within
the ME. We will also be discussing and evaluating the Leadership of Leadership
of Innovation & Change and the effect of the regional culture on them and
how without considering the culture of a region can impact most if not all
change and innovation theories.

We will also be evaluating two changes from
personal experience that are related to the theories discussed and we will
reflecting on the personal performance as a leader of change & innovation
which in turn will result in a personal action plan to support my further
development.

Introduction

The whole world is (and always were)
interested in the Arabian Gulf due to the resources over there, mainly Oil;
however, most of the industries are being governed with a Middle Eastern
mentality that is dominated and instructed by the region’s cultural ethics and
customs. Change was needed in such a way that the number of consultancy
companies invited by the countries decision makers was huge in number and they
were all trying to align the definition of creativity & innovation to the
region’s culture to be able to introduce the required Change to the cultural
thinking and behavioural that is limiting the progress of the countries. Innovation by its definition means according
to(MA West & JL Farr, 1990)the
intentional introduction and application within a job, work team, or
organization of ideas, processes, products, or procedures, which are new to
that job, work team, or organization”
While Change
was needed, the country needed innovate a new approach for the Change to
happen.

We will be discussing, comparing &
evaluating two Change theories and how they would perform under the regional
requirements pressure, what would work well, what part wouldn’t and how to
address the shortfall of these theories. Recognizing the need for the change
was the first stage that the decision makers have made, they have seen the
opportunities that would help them build the country and how the way things
were being done could jeopardize all the efforts being made (Hayes, 2002); Change is a tool to
instigate creativity and innovation, so in order to make and change things to a
better society; an engineered approach to change is needed to enable innovation
and creativity in society to bring the desired change.

I truly believe that the change models and
concepts need to be customized for specific environment and that there is no
“One size fits all” model, yet!

Beckhard and Harris

According
to Beckhard and Harris (Beckhard and Harris, 1987), the first step in
change is an initial organizational analysis. Here the forces for and against
change are analyzed and understood. The change formula is a mathematical
representation of the change process. The basic notion is that, for change
to occur, the costs of change must be outweighed by dissatisfaction with
the status quo, the desirability of the proposed change, and the practicality
of the change. There will be resistance to change if people are not
dissatisfied with the current state of the organization, or if the changes
are not seen as an improvement, if the change cannot be done in a
feasible way, or the cost is far too high (Robbins, & Judge, 2009).

For change
to happen, the forces for change must outweigh the perceived costs of change
(Effort, discomfort, exposure, difficulty, risk).

C = ABD > X

C = change.

A = level
of dissatisfaction with status quo.

B =
desirability of proposed change or end state.

D =
Practicality of the change (minimum risk and disruption).

X = cost of
changing.

Since all three variables are multiplied by
each other, they must be maximized in value to ensure the positive desired
outcome, where the need for the change (C) has been clearly identified
and the decision has been made to explore the options and ways to change. The
level of the dissatisfaction (A) with the status quo was not clear due
to the people’s feeling that “Culture” has always been right and brought solutions
to their problems (Crozier, 1964), (Crozier, 1969) with this variable in the equation that
is not clear or have a fluctuating value, the decision makers had to convince
the people of the need for the change, the benefits that would be gained and
how this would have a positive impact on their livelihood and way of living.
This has been done through creating the urgency for the change by showing the
people how the change would impact their lives in a positive way. Getting the
buy-in from the majority of the heads of tribes (the stake-holders in this
case) was the intended result as without their blessings to the change, it will
fail as they are the communities’ leaders. Wining the majority of the people’s
buy-in was the most difficult task at hand (Kotter, John P., 1995). As an (A)
value, this must be maximized to ensure the end result fits the need. Workshops
that draw on transpersonal psychology, a progressive branch of the discipline,
can speed up cultural change and make it more enduring (Emily Lawson and Colin Price, 2003)

The many cases, change is required even
though that the level of dissatisfaction with the status quo is very low such as
growth plans which are usually a result of reaching a sustainable and
profitable status (The desired outcome)

As for the desirability
of proposed change or end state (B), most of the people were in favor of
it, however, each of the community leaders has his own perception and
interpretation of this end result state. In order to overcome this hurdle, communication
can be achieved through one-to-one discussions, group presentations or a tribal
gathering which was the case in our study. It provided the source of resistance
adequate information and that management-employee relations are characterized
by mutual trust and credibility (Hao, Kasper, & Muehlbacher, 2012).

Beckhard
& Harris have an underlying assumption that the majority of the people
involved are with good intensions towards the organization / country, which is
not always true, so if the majority of the stakeholders have ill intensions,
the value of (B) would be so low that it would impact the equation
dramatically which is most likely the case and this is classed as a weakness in
the formula. However, the formulaonly discusses the
vitality of the change to happen, not the outcome.

Practicality
of the change and the risks associated with it along with the disruption (D)
that would be caused by the change required was one of the most difficult
challenges to the decision makers. The countries already had some level of
infrastructure that was built within the past 20 years and the change that was
being introduced required rebuilding complete infrastructure which would in the
process disturb the current set up and people would suffer as a result
considering the fragile (but working so far) infrastructure. According to
Beckhard & Harris (Beckhard and Harris, 1987), accepting people’s
anxiety as legitimate and helping them cope with the change; the decision
makers have a better chance of gaining respect and the commitment to make
it work. Again, Beckhard & Harris can be wrong here if the decision maker
is of a narcissistic character (Bennis Nanus, 1997).

The Cost of
the change (X) was huge in monetary terms as well as in human capital in
countries that are limited by the population size, however, the outcome and the
end result of changing the country in order to come out of the “3rd
world” class to become a mecca for the international investments and to be
recognized as a world class financial market, and as (Beer and Nohria, 2000)declared “Theory E change strategy is based on achieving economic
value for shareholders”. The change proposed would make the country a
destination for well living and one of the most desired “work-at” countries in
the world due to the financial aspects as well as for the weather conditions
since the ME is known for having an easier winter to live in compared to the
Western world.

The decision makers have managed to get the
investors queuing at their door steps to be part of the up-coming changes,
especially when the decision makers have announced that the country would be a
tax haven for investors with “Zero” tax laws. The end result had reduced the
value of the cost of the change which had increased the value of the change (C)
which was the desired result.

However, this is not always true; in some
cases the cost of the change (X) can overweigh the forces of the change provided
that the outcome result fits the requirements of the change. Since there is no
time frames involved in the cost element in the equation, the short term cost
of the required change can easily over-weigh the forces of the change by far;
the changes required to accommodate the merger between two companies; this
would in the short term require an investment that by far is more in value that
all the change forces combined in the short term where the benefits and the
long term value of the cost would be reduced over time so that the change
forces would over-weigh after a while, a cost benefit analysis can kill the
equation.

The decision makers in the example given have
played the role of the Change Agents well considering the (Briner et al, 1996) diagram below as
they have worked well with the stake holders (tribal leaders) and got their
buy-in, they have worked upwards with the investors and created the right
atmosphere for the required investment, they have managed forward when planning
the future of the countries and backwards when they reviewed and recognized the
need for the change required as well as leading by example and managing
themselves and not being absorbed by the cultural boundaries which lead them to
think out of the box.


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