Learning from the radical change initiative in British aerospace military aircraft
Academic researchers and practitioners are always keen to know more about organizational practices. Some experts even claim that academic researchers are ignorant about organizational knowledge. Given that the study is an attempt to provide an exemplar from real life in order to increase the organizational awareness of the academic community and practitioners. The objective of the study is to understand and learn the experience of a radical change initiative that took place within the Military Aircraft division of British Aerospace over the period 1993-98. The emphasis is on the effectiveness of the change methodology applied in the process of change. Open-ended interviews and documents were the major sources of the data used in the case study. The interviews reflected the actual experiences of those who were involved, while the documents provided contextual data and information on the key themes of the change. Nine change projects were examined which were introduced during five-year period. Analysis showed that there was a huge gap between the organization's practices and those of the benchmark companies. This gap is what BAe sought to lessen/remove through radical change initiative. The study postulates that the qualitative paradigm can shape the analysis of such a change initiative by contextualizing the phenomenon. Pettigrew et al's (1989) framework has beena pplied to assessth e change,w hich consistso f the context, the content and the process. The change programme was a successful attempt to increase internal efficiency, developing business partnerships and strengthening customer satisfaction. The study concludes that there is a strong relationship between the extent of management sponsorship, employees involvement, a flatter organizational structure, efficient use of technology, an effective change methodology and the success of such radical change initiatives. The experience of this company can be used in other organizations provided that their drivers for change are similar to those of the company investigated.