Using sociological theory to understand organizational change
You have recently started working for a local department store in the Operations Department. Upon settling into your new position, you come to realize that they have outdated business practices. As a department, you and your peers begin to discuss changes that your store could make to help the store become more profitable and more competitive in the marketplace. This leads to discussions about the evolution of business practices at larger corporations such as Apple, Microsoft, Kohl’s, etc. Partway through your discussion, your Director of Operations comes in and joins the conversation. He likes what he is hearing and starts to brainstorm out loud with the group how your store can get “more with the times.”
Knowing that every change within an organization is made for a specific reason, your director asks that you research some of the key theoretical perspectives that would explain how and why organizations change. Because of your sociological prowess from your days in school, you know that you can apply Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interaction Theory to the reasons for organization change, but your supervisor has asked for a minimum of three theories that would support change.
In addition to conducting research on theoretical perspectives for change, your supervisor would like you to put together some sort of visual representation that demonstrates how each of the theories explains organizational change, and then highlight the one that you think is most applicable to your store. You will be presenting your visual presentation to store management in an effort to provide them information so that they can determine the avenues of change that are most appropriate for your store. Because your supervisor sees the value in the changes to the organization, he has encouraged you to create a presentation that will grab the attention of the audience and that includes both pictorial and written information so that all the audience can easily envision the application of the change to your environment.
For this presentation you are to reflect and address the following information/questions:
- Provide a brief definition of Conflict Theory.
- Provide a brief definition of Symbolic Interaction.
- What changes have been made in various aspects of society (work, school, shopping, etc.)? Explain them through the lens of Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interaction Theory.
- How do Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interaction Theory explain or impact organizational change?
- Identify at least one other sociological theory, and demonstrate how it applies to organizational change in our society.
- Of the three identified theories (Conflict, Symbolic Interaction, and the theory of your choice), which theory do you believe best explains organizational changes in our society? Consider various aspects of the organizations that change i.e. technology, online, and face-to-face transactions, local versus global operations, etc.