Case Study on Kotters Model

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A Case on Change Management
Søren Horn Petersen Niels Ulrich Ballegaard Entreprise, Denmark Jens Ravnholt Pedersen New Future Formula, Denmark 0. Abstract Introduction Entreprise is a Danish railway technical contractor with a history dating back to the first railway built in Denmark. This railway was completed in 1847 and connected Copenhagen and Roskilde. The challenge For many decades Entreprise has been operating as a part of DSB (the Danish state railways) and Bane Danmark (the operator of the Danish state railway network) and has not been facing any competition. However, as the railway sector across Europe is being liberalised, Entreprise is now in the process of separation from Bane Danmark, and exposed to competition from both domestic and foreign contractors. On the other hand the liberalisation of the sector also offers opportunities as Entreprise can develop new European markets. These challenges combined with an expected increase in European railway infrastructure investments put Entreprise at a crossroad – should Entreprise stay national or expand internationally? The transformation process In February 2007 a new management with the ambition to face the future challenges took office at the Entreprise Headquarter. A new vision for Entreprise reflecting a strong commitment to excellence has been created and approved by the board. The vision is to become the leading railway technical contractor in Scandinavia by 2010 and in Europe by 2015. A four track transformation plan to support the implementation of the vision has been generated: Ready, Set, Go aims at mobilising the organisation, Better Time on the Track focuses on processes and continuous improvements, Technology Conquest of technology and innovation, and Business Development enables Entreprise to expand into new markets. The new vision of Entreprise is reinforced internally and communicated externally through an extensive branding programme to establish a clear and appealing corporate identity. Methodology In this paper the transformation of Entreprise starting in February 2007 is assessed and reviewed based on data collected from interviews with the executive management team and key employees in the implementation process. Kotter’s (2007) framework is used as a reference, and problems and limitations applying this framework are discussed from a practical point of view. Recommendations when applying the framework on a practical setting are made, and we hope to inspire the academic thinking concerning transformation and change processes. Category: Case study Keywords: Transformation, change management, excellence, liberalisation, implementation


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1. Key findings Across Europe large public organisations are in the process of changing from bureaucratic organisations operating under political control to market oriented organisations operating under commercial conditions. The article argues that this kind of change calls for adjustments in the prevailing approach to implement change which is in practical situations may be based on Kotter’s 8 steps to transforming an organisation. The article proposes a new content of Kotters first step and introduces a step 3 in the change “from bureaucracy to business” or “from public to private” as this type of change is sometimes labelled. In the case of Entreprise the need for change originates from a long drawn and rather unpredictable political process which is not uncommon, neither in Denmark or to the authors’ best judgement in other democratic systems across the world. When the new management initiated the change process in February 2007 there was a wide spread belief among the employees in Entreprise that changes needed to happen, but it was may be too late. So rather than building a sense of urgency, which would only have deepened the frustrations in the organisation, the first step of management in the case of Entreprise was to inspire trust in the...
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