Continuous change, process and performance improvement : a holistic systems perspective
The business market of today is much more complex than it has ever been before, making it much more difficult for businesses to not only enter the market place, but to also survive and compete successfully against rival firms. The relatively recent pressures of rapid technological development, changing markets and market forces, as well as the fast-paced dynamic nature of the individual markets themselves, all demand that organisations change and adapt on a continuous basis. Various approaches to change and continuous improvement that currently exist within available literature, all of which suggest different methods for changing and improving an organisation. The available literature was used to create a comprehensive implementation program/methodology that guides organisations through the process of change and improvement. This change and improvement program was then tested within several case study organisations within the North West of England. The selected case study organisations represent a cross-section of industries: world class organisations, who have been recognised for their excellence through Excellence North West (an independent organisation that audits companies using the European Foundation Quality Model - EFQM - refer to appendix Q); organisations that plan and either succeed or fail and finally organisations who do not formally plan for change/improvement and who either succeed or fail. The conclusions of the case study research show that organisations could make use of an holistic implementation guide to help them manage the change and improvement process. The implementation program developed from best practice and theory provides an original holistic systems approach that has proven itself to be a robust methodology within several companies in the North West, through its convergence with company best practice. The originality stems from the implementation process which was developed by the author, from the various approaches available in current literature, and from the fact that it combines strategic organisational change management with continuous improvement - a need identified by Choi (1995). Further work and testing of the implementation program would be required to determine if it is generic.