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Managing Change at Faslane Case Study Essay

Introduction

In 2002, the HM Naval Base Clyde (Faslane) submarine base transitioned from being under the direct control of the MOD (Ministry of Defence) to a private company called Babcock International. With these substantial transitions, it was necessary for Babcock to perform change management in order to smooth over the transition, as well as improve performance, which was lackluster enough to demand the change in leadership. Both supervisors employed different change styles and levers of change in their revamping of the operations of Faslane, to rousing success.

1 In relation to sections 14.2.1 and 14.5, what is the type of change being pursued at Faslane?

As Faslane, the change was to transfer much of the responsibility and accountability – in fact supervision of the naval base – from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to Babcock Marine, a part of Babcock International. This was an instance of a military branch permitting a private sector company to oversee the operations of a naval base. The change was effectively from a functional structure (where individuals had a specialized set of tasks) to a bureaucratic structure (moving towards a more corporate entity, with supervisors and standardization).

2 Describe the change styles of John Howie and Craig Lockhart.

The use of a consultative, coercive change style was typical of the way John Howie ran Faslane. John Howie’s management change style involve the use of consultation from people within their company who had experienced changes just like what was happening at Faslane. Howie focused greatly on changing management structure to use money more effectively, tracking any and every change through strict documentation. This allowed for a two-week review period of each change to see if it was effective overall. The goal was to change the people and their behaviors on a daily basis, in order to determine exactly how to provide the biggest changes. Management changes were implemented early, which was later followed by changes in personnel.

As opposed to Howie, his successor seemed much more collaborative in his change management style. In the case of Craig Lockhart, he implemented a performance scorecard in order to measure outputs – this left the specifics of job performance and business change management effectiveness open to everyone in the company. This provided additional accountability, thus creating incentive for these changes to be implemented more readily. “Event in the tent” sessions were held, with discussions being held throughout the day in order to get the opinions from the workforce as to how the changes to Faslane were going over. Honesty was another tactic; by allowing further transparency and admitting when things were going badly, the workers trusted the executives more. Allowing customers to create teams and departmental business plans created further integration within the workforce, and increased customer satisfaction.

3 What levers of change are being used [see section 14.4J? What others could be used and why?

Several levers of change were implemented in the corporate takeover of Faslane by Babcock Marine. Accountability and relationships were the primary means of change that the heads of this company used. First, a communication plan was put in place by both Howie and Lockhart; these involve the use of structured methods of communicating between supervisors and employees. The event in the tent sessions, as well as the consultation that Howie had with other Babcock employees to get their feedback on the changes, are evidence of a communication plan, as are the performance scorecards. Coaching was also used to facilitate the relationship lever of change; this involves the cooperation and participation of the direct supervisors in the work lives and communication of employees. Lockhart’s “event in the tent” sessions most definitely qualify under this type of intervention, as employees felt free to come up to him with questions or suggestions, which he would take seriously.

One lever of change that could have helped immensely is using resistance management. While there were many changes taking place throughout the base, one particular aspect of the change that seemed to not be addressed was to curb people’s fears about potential negative change. This can often result in resistance to the change, thus hampering productivity and progress. While this problem seemed to be minimal, there was talk by Howie of a lack of incentive to come up with a change that might mean someone loses their own job. With effective resistance management, these potential issues could have been curbed more readily.

4 Assess the effectiveness of the change programme.

The change programme started by Howie and continued by Lockhart seems to have been incredibly effective; the integration of customer and businessman in the creation of business plans seems to have taken off, as 2010 saw Faslane becoming the home base for the entire submarine fleet of the United Kingdom. With that unique change, thousands of jobs are expected to be created. Given the potential for job expansion and job creation, it is safe to say that the methods used to work together and bring about effective change within Faslane worked brilliantly.

Conclusion

Both John Howie and Craig Lockhart…

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