Change in an economic industry is an essential component of progress as it facilitates the removal of obsolete processes and equipment while introducing newer and better ways of performing tasks in a specific industry. However, the transition from existing practices to accommodate the changes may be difficult for organizations, especially with regards to the employees and shareholders who may perceive the change as a disruption (London & Mone, 2012). To avoid such instances, it is essential for the leadership team to be competent in change management as the outcomes of the change may be positive or negative, depending on how the change was introduced and executed (Gavetti, 2010). The principal aim of this essay is to analyze the changing trends in the brick-and-mortar retail industry, specifically focusing on Amazon.
The emergence of e-commerce has had a profound effect on the retail industry where customers are now finding it convenient to shop online compared to shopping at a physical retail store location. Online retailing has its advantages both to the retailer and consumer in terms of cost savings and a access to a wide market and variety of products. Amazon is among the largest online retailers worldwide, and has been operating online until recently when they opened their first brick-and-mortar bookstore in 2016. Merging e-commerce platforms with physical locations is likely to have great benefits to the retailers and their consumers, especially when the change is managed appropriately. According to Welter (2014) keeping a focus on the company’s vision and strategy is a key lesson in change leadership.
Kotter proposed an 8-step model of leading change that can be applied to the case of Amazon and its strategy of introducing brick-and-mortar stores. First, there is a need to create an urgency to spark the motivation among the stakeholders to embrace the change. This can be accomplished by conducting a market research to establish the organization’s position in regards to the change. Next, the organization should form a powerful coalition to increase the resource base that will support the transition, such as collaborating with existing brick-and-mortar stores to supply products from Amazon. The third step involves creating a vision of change that also includes the strategy to execute the vision. The fourth step emphasizes the need to communicate the vision in a way that is understandable, preferably by leading through example. Fifth, the management should ensure that they remove obstacles by conducting an efficient risk assessment exercise prior to the introduction of the physical stores. The sixth step involves creating short-term wins as these go a long way in boosting the morale of the entire team. The seventh step involves building on the change to achieve long-term objectives, which relates to the last step of making continuous improvement an organizational culture.
In conclusion, the change management process has proven to be challenging for any organization and, therefore, requires a lot of thorough considerations, which aligns with company’s strategy, before and while the change is being implemented.