The knowledge and competencies that I have learned during “Strategic Change & Implementation” are evaluated in the current work. However, the reflective activity of the entire work is much broader, as it also includes placing the concepts learned into personal life experiences to determine the viability and relevance of such ideas. The course title we took, Strategic Change & Implementation, generally defines quite accurately what we have been learning over the past few weeks. Using the star model as a critical theoretical concept throughout the six lessons, we explored the organizational structure and how it has changed over time — from not focusing on employees to recognizing their importance and investing in talent management work. The star model was not the only thing we explored in this course, but instead was a cohesive foundation that set the overall vector for exploring topics in the course. Thus, we briefly discussed each of the five tips of the star and its center, and during the following weeks, we elaborated on each component’s theoretical and applied meanings. For a deeper understanding of the topics during the classes, we used real-life examples from companies and participated in question-and-answer sessions to solidify our understanding of the material. Overall, I view this course as a good and, most importantly, relevant examination of the key fundamentals of modern strategic management and planning, which is why a close look at the structure of any given company can be accomplished through the star model.
In attempting to evaluate the classes I have taken critically, one should first consider how much the course helped me academically. I distinctly remember that before I took it, I was interested in organizational business structures and even read separately about the 7S model (Fig. 1) on one of the available online platforms. However, my knowledge at the time was not structured because I had only a partial understanding of the entire field of organizational design. From this point of view, the six-lesson course seemed strategically very useful to me because it solved one of my major problems, namely that it systematized, structured, and organized my existing knowledge and then superimposed additional information on it. Probably the reason for this academic success can be attributed to the competent presentation and logical narration, and connections between lessons, but I cannot be entirely sure of this as I am not aware of the impact the course had on my classmates.
Particular attention should be paid to the visual component of the entire course, as it is evident that the theoretical material on organizational business design and strategic planning is not intuitive. Enough concepts, whether it be a model of the change process (Fig. 2), market dynamics in response to an influencing factor, or even types of organizational design in companies, are all difficult to explain in words but easy to understand with proper visualization. The course used a fair number of media elements that helped me not absorb textual material and understand the concept being taught relatively quickly. In addition, we had a program in the course on business modeling with Evolving Structures, which I found to be not only extremely useful but also exciting academic practice. After we finished it, all I could think about was going back to it and practicing more.
After completing six sessions, one of the main lessons I learned was that it is possible to extrapolate the star alignment model, aka the Galbraith model, for any business model. Including, if one considers my life experience as the development path of some unnamed business, that the star model also reveals its applicability. It was vital for me to learn that this model does not imply conservative stability because often, many similar concepts fail precisely because they do not facilitate change and adaptation management — in the case of the star model, it has a “processes” component, which includes responsibility for company flexibility. I would say that this model treats any business project as a model prone to constant evolutionary development and does not encourage stagnation. Meanwhile, I have also highlighted for myself in this star that each of the tips turns out to be related to the others, although it may not seem so at first glance at the model. This probably has to do with using multiple colors in Fig. 3, so I did not immediately realize that the red, orange, green, and other lines reflected a connection. Hence, processes are inherently linked to strategy and rewards, and structure has a solid connection for HR management.
When I first began to study this model, the question was why the area of culture was central to the star. If we are talking about corporate culture, I reasoned, then it is no more significant than any other branch of the star. However, I soon realized that culture, in this case, has a much broader concept and, as stated in the training materials, reflects the company’s strong core values and manifestos. The area of culture answers the question of what people go to work for in the first place if money as a motivating force is not taken into account. When I began to think along these lines, I realized that in my life’s journey, too, there were companies that I went to not just for the paycheck but because I was interested in working for the firm’s good. In this case, the company’s value culture was focused on taking care of employees, providing social and economic support, and promptly alerting us to any changes in the geopolitical environment and the global marketplace that might affect the business and our well-being. The company made me feel that I was a valued employee, which was probably why I was willing to work more than my schedule demanded.
Examples from Experiences
When I realized that culture was the core to the star, I wondered if I would find the application of the tips of that star in my experience working or interacting with organizations. It should be noted that we have not only been through good, decent firms but have also dealt with low-skilled jobs in which the employee is not valued above profit. It is clear that such positions are not permanent and instead help make a little money quickly, but because of the overall low corporate culture, it creates a strong desire not to return to companies in which you are not valued. So below, I will look at the applicability of the five areas of the Galbraith model to my own life experience.
First, there is the element of strategy, which, in short, denotes the positioning of the company’s missions and values for its long-term development. It became clear that strategy drives the business model and makes one of the maximum contributions to stardom when we studied this. I worked at a large non-profit company, X, for which strategies were not clearly outlined, and in fact, I did not know what the firm’s professional activities could lead to at all. Unlike X, at company Y, the missions were not clearly defined and documented, but everything in the corporate environment said that we were doing our activities for our development within the company and meeting the clients’ expectations. The well-established leadership system firmly stated instructions, and the existence of response protocols for almost every situation I encountered gave me confidence that the people managing knew what they were doing because they had a strategy in place (Zhang et al., 2018). This was probably also due to having an analytics and marketing research department, so we knew who our target customer was and how to increase their loyalty.
Second, the star model postulates elements of structure based on hierarchical or collective values. For myself, I have learned that structuring a business is necessary for its more detailed design and philosophy of placing power within the company. As reported by Kenton, an organizational structure is also responsible for the movement of information within the company, which makes sense because a hierarchy of roles is necessary not only to delegate responsibility but also to create comfortable communication (Kenton, 2021). The power hierarchy was perfectly lined up in my first company, X, where management was solid — this sometimes made me afraid of them because the executives were unpredictable in their behavior. I was always under constant stress that I might get fired if the company no longer needed me, although work stress is a significant predictor of reduced performance (Çelik, 2018). At Company Y, the structuring was quite different, as I could easily communicate with my management not only on work topics but also in my personal life, whether it was on messenger or Instagram. It would seem that such communication should have provoked a decline in authority and the destruction of interpersonal boundaries. However, there was an invisible framework of mutual respect and responsibility within this company, so the “humanization” of executives, I am sure, contributed to my career development and did not hinder the company.
In addition, in terms of business structuring, I was familiar with many employees in other departments at Company Y because our work responsibilities were often related and consistent. This allowed me to build in my head a model of invisible hierarchy, in which while talking to a colleague, I roughly understood his positioning in the company’s overall structure. This differentiation and integration simultaneously promoted a diversity of opinions in the company and created a friendly environment for employees to feel meaningful.
Third, no business can exist without processes because processes are the tools to translate the strategic vision into practice. Processes facilitate the migration of information, knowledge, and resources within a company, but it should be said here that such flows can be both vertical and lateral. At Company Y, we have developed lateral processes because there was an almost constant exchange of information and experience between the departments. We also developed vertical processes implemented through messages from the management with new instructions, updating protocols, and changing working practices. However, I would not say that every process in my previous jobs was automated, as very often I had to wait a long time for a response from a colleague or encounter technical difficulties with our communication platform; this led to a decrease in overall work efficiency.
Fourth, awards are also an area of the star model and, in short, meet the alignment of employee expectations with the company’s corporate goals. Rewarding employees and their paychecks are an integral part of an effective modern business. I remember only one bonus deduction related to the Christmas holidays at company X. At the Y, the reward system did not involve separate financial rewards but was implemented through gifts in the form of additional paid days off, a pay raise for company loyalty, and a quarterly selection of the top 3 employees in the department. The lack of a formalized, transparent reward system at the Y was a little frustrating, as the company was meaningfully winning for me on the other points.
Finally, the fifth tip of the star model is people, which is how the company manages employees and promotes their career development. Talent management was well implemented at both firms, as those who had the best professional performance were rewarded by management either verbally or through a reward system. At X, I did not know exactly where I would end up, as I started as a rank-and-file intern, whereas at Y, I understood my ceiling, which I quickly reached after a year of employment. I could not get a position above that ceiling unless I drastically changed my professional vector, in which I was not interested. We talked to Y management about this, and they reassured me that I was already at the top position in my department, which motivated me to keep it and improve my KPIs every quarter. The lack of further development did not frustrate me much because I could make up for it with bigger payouts if I worked harder. My firms did not have people with disabilities, so I cannot judge how socially responsible and loyal to both companies’ vulnerable groups. Also, at Company Y, I had a great training system and a one-month probationary period during which I demonstrated my skills. Remarkably, during the probationary period, I received, on average, a higher salary than when I came out of it. This was part of the motivational practice of retaining employees, but in any case, pretty quickly, I was able to achieve and even exceed the average probationary level.
I can say that the first lessons of the Strategic Change & Implementation course have been beneficial to me, and it is an adequate time spent in a comfortable and exciting learning format. One of the main concepts we learned is to use the star model. I tried to extrapolate the knowledge of this model into personal experience and found that it generally applied very well. Not all companies were good in individual areas of stardom, but that is what makes the job market diverse, developing the job seeker’s experience. It is worth noting that when using the star model, I could not identify the connection between some of its areas, such as structure and awards. There were likely no such companies with a developed corporate culture on my path yet, so I could not fully assess its applicability; nevertheless, what I have found so far shows the high viability of the concepts studied.
Çelik, M. (2018). The effect of psychological capital level of employees on workplace stress and employee turnover intention. Innovar, 28(68), 67-75.
Kenton, W. (2021). Organizational structure. Investopedia. Web.
Zhang, S., Ke, X., Frank Wang, X. H., & Liu, J. (2018). Empowering leadership and employee creativity: A dual‐mechanism perspective. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 91(4), 896-917. Web.