The modern world is rapidly changing due to growing
global competition and constant innovation in technology. This essay will
introduce an analysis of how the technological factors impact the process of
managing change in 21st century organizations.

The first part of this essay will explain the
external factors that influence the business, the second part will give an
overview of approaches to managing change, and the third part will focus on how
the technological factors influence the elements of organizational change
management in the current century.

The organizational change strategy can be
impacted by both internal and external factors. The PESTLE analysis is a method
that describes the external factors that influence the organization. These
factors consist of political, economic, social, technological, legal and
environmental factors. This essay will focus on technological factors. There is
a wide range of technological factors, for instance, rate of change, use of
outsourcing, research and development, eliminate bottlenecks, network coverage,
knowledge management systems, production efficiency, quality and pricing,
intellectual property, patents and licenses (Team, 2013). The main current
trend in technology innovation is digitalization.

The technological factors impact the
contemporary organizational change management in two ways. Firstly, due to
rapid evolving of the technology nowadays, the organizations are forced to
change. Secondly, they impact the organizational change management strategy
itself by introducing new tools to the market.

Many approaches to making organizational change
were introduced through the last decades. John Kotter introduced an eight-step
process of managing change, which consists of the following successive steps: Establish
a sense of urgency, create a powerful guiding coalition, create a vision,
communicate the vision, involve others in broad-based action, plan and create short-term
successes, consolidate improvements and produce more change, make the
organizational culture consistent with the new approaches (Kotter, 1996, cited
in Kotter, 2007). He pointed out that in order to make the change management
process successful it is crucial to follow all the stages in the abovementioned
sequence.

Julia Balogun and Veronica Hope-Hailey developed
the Change Kaleidoscope, a framework of a wide range of contextual aspects that
need to be considered in the process of change. In one of their recent
research, Julia Balogun and Veronica Hope-Hailey emphasized the importance of
culture change and employee engagement in the change management process (Balogun
and Hope Hailey, 2014). Their earlier research in a consortium of companies
between the years 2002 and 2008 revealed that their focus was on managing the
change without taking into account the cultural aspects of the organization (Balogun
and Hope Hailey, 2009).

For understanding how the culture can be
managed and changed, it is important to explain what the term “organizational
culture” means, and look at one of organizational culture typology models. The
description of the organizational culture that is most commonly used nowadays,
was introduced by Edgar Schein, who presented three levels of organizational
culture. The first level is the “artifacts” of culture, which consist of
material objects, procedures, physical layout and other visible features of the
organization. The second level is the espoused values of the organization,
which are the values, norms and beliefs of the organization members that are
considered when discussing internal issues. The third level is the basic
underlying assumptions that drive the organization members’ behavior. (Farnham,
2015)

Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn distinguished four
culture types based on Competing Values Framework, which consist of the
following opposite values: flexibility versus stability and internal versus
external focus. Thus, they identified the following culture types: Clan culture
that is internally focused and flexible, Adhocracy culture that is externally
focused and flexible, Market culture that is externally focused and controlled,
Hierarchy culture that is internally focused and controlled.

Whereas the definition of organizational culture
proposed by Edgar Schein implies that organizational culture is not changeable,
Gerry Johnson proposed a cultural web, which is the basics of culture change
process nowadays. In the abovementioned model, the author identified seven core
elements that can be used to change the organizational culture: The paradigm,
Control systems, Organizational structures, Power structures, Symbols, Rituals
and routines, Stories and myths (Johnson, 1988).

To put it in another way, such aspects of the
organization as corporate culture and employee engagement play a significant
role in the change management process, and if their condition is not satisfying
than the change is inevitable. Therefore, the next part of this particular
essay will focus on the influence of technological factors on these aspects. As
it has been mentioned above, on one hand, the technological factors require the
companies to change, and on the other hand, the current technology innovations
change the change processes by providing new solutions to the business.

The current constant technology innovations
force the companies to adapt rapidly to the changing environment and create a
culture of innovation in order to improve performance. One of the suggested
approaches to the creation of innovation culture (Hogan and Coote, 2014) was by
using Edgar Schein’s model. That is, they suggested creating artifacts of
innovation, norms for innovation and values supporting innovation. For
instance, some of such proposed solutions were to publish stories about
employees suggesting innovative solutions, to set policies encouraging sharing
innovative ideas and solutions, to introduce values of open communication and
co-operation within the organization.

The other outcome of technology evolving was
that companies had to improve their quality and increase efficiency. In order
to improve quality, many companies started to implement modern quality
management systems, such as Six Sigma. One of the recent studies of the link
between the type of organizational culture and the efficiency of new quality
management system implementation showed that the type of the culture in the
organization does influence on how fast the new system is implemented (Zu,
Robbins and Fredendall, 2010). The authors of the study suggested an adopted
version of Kim
Cameron’s and Robert Quinn’s Competing Values Framework model. That is, they
updated the opposite values as follows: Flexibility with Spontaneity, Control
with stability, External focus with competitiveness, Internal focus with
Integration. Thus, they suggested an updated version of the types of
organizational culture: Group culture instead of Clan culture, Developmental
culture instead of Adhocracy culture, Rational culture instead of Market
culture and Hierarchical culture. The study revealed that the group culture
will favor overall quality management implementation, whereas the hierarchical
culture will not support it at all. (Zu, Robbins and Fredendall,
2010)

As it has been mentioned above employee
engagement process is important for managing change successfully. The model of
exponential engagement states that employee engagement includes not only
engagement but also enablement and energy (Watson, 2011, cited in Korzynski,
2015). The third element of the model (energy), which is correlated with
emotional and social well-being at work, indicates the importance of effective
internal communications and positive social environment (Rai, 2012, cited
in   Korzynski, 2015). In the contemporary era of
digitalization, multiple tools for communication online and monitoring
engagement were introduced. For instance, some companies have already adopted
pulse surveys instead of annual engagement survey (J. Bersin and Bersin by
Deloitte, 2016). The impact of such real-time feedback tools is substantial as
this allows not only to speed up the process but also to improve employee
engagement.

Along with positive effect of technological
factors on employee engagement, there is a negative one. The digitalization era
not only introduced the tools that catalyze the processes but also exposed us
to the worldwide web and allowed us to be constantly online. This means that we
consume a huge amount of information, some of us continue working from home on
weekends and holidays by reading and answering e-mails. All this leads to
“burnout” effect, which causes reduce in employee engagement (J. Bersin and
Bersin by Deloitte, 2016).

Another effect of digitalization was that
employees are able to work remotely from any part of the world. Some companies
even reduced the number of employees working in the office space and shifted
mainly to remote mode. The positive effect of such innovation is that this
allowed to reduce costs for office rent and other office maintenance expenses.
The possible negative effect of such remote work is that it is much more
difficult to engage employees remotely. However, there are positive examples of
maintaining employee engagement even in remote mode. For instance, the software
company Basecamp that does not have a central location created a strong
corporate culture by describing personal rituals for employees to commit. Those
rituals were similar to those that employees have when they go to work in the
office, for instance, the ritual of getting dressed appropriately (Craig,
2017). Another positive example of a company that engages employees remotely is
Automattic, the company that developed the content delivery platform WordPress,
who introduced an internal blog, which became an effective communication tool
(Craig, 2017).

To summarize, technological factors nowadays
are an integral part of all aspects of our life and, thus, they have a
substantial effect on the organizations, which are forced to change. For the
change to be successful the organizations have to manage it effectively by
paying additional attention to such crucial aspects as corporate culture and employee
engagement. Then again, the technological factor influences the change aspects of
new tools being introduced.