Emergent change, views change as a process that unfolds through the interplay of multiple variables(context, political processes and consultation) within an organisation(Burns ,1996);it is also more unpredictable in its consequences as it is subject to interpretation and negotiation by the very staff who put the changes in place. According to Balogun(1999), emergent change is more likely to be bottom-up change, in which the responsibility is passed downwards into the organisation to encourage ownership of the change process by employees, and make change-generating.
In the case, in 1990, Byrashi Mouldings was in serious difficulties from three main reasons. Contracted customer markets, unprofitable and threat by new entrants. It was hard for Byrashi Mouldings to move on and make profits with a top-heavy organisation structure and a large work force, in against to the new companies with advanced cell manufacturing systems and flattened organisation structure. The loss of old customers, either the company disappear or be subsumed by bigger foreign companies, is unpredictable.
Therefore the grave situation triggers Byrashi Mouldings to make changes in order to survive in the industry. This is an emergent change. To change the assembly like workers’ attitudes to clamber to become team leaders and the team leaders trickle down other members in the team to buy-in the new organisation because people are mostly resistant to changes in nature; and take pride in their work. The change took place from the shopfloor level with the top managers initial idea for the whole change.
Burns(1996) says that a bottom-up approach requires a major change in the role of senior managers; their role is to ensure the organisation’s members are receptive to, and have the necessary skills and motivation to take charge of, the change process. Therefore this change is bottom-up change. Prescriptive change and top-down change Prescriptive change, in contrast to emergent change, it is managed through careful planning. Generally speaking prescriptive changes are trigged by the need to respond to new challenges or opportunities presented by the external environment, or in anticipation of the need to cope with potential future problems.
It represents an intentional attempt to improve, in some important way, the operational effectiveness of the organisation (Mullins, 1999) Top-down change, initiated by senior managers typically looks towards organisation-wide consensus, focusing on the artefacts of culture(including employees’ overt behaviour) and to a lesser extent their espoused values(Legge, 1999 quoted by Thornhill2000). Much of the prescriptive change literature has emphasised a top-down approach in which the direction, control and initiation of the change come from the strategic apex of the organisation.
(Johnson, 2004) Byrashi Moulding replaced the old HR and Engineering managers, with new managers who already had experience of Japanese manufacturing systems and the workforce requirements. Head-hunting for such elite individuals to take the jobs at such a critical period would have been a time-consuming and deliberate activity. Therefore in this aspect the replacement of the management team was a prescriptive change. After they took the job, a wide-spread change brought about from top to bottom in company immediately.
From downsizing the organisation, introducing a new pay agreement as well as a new methodology of working process, to setting up work teams and new training programme, each change was hammered out in a deliberate and precise manner and all these changes were imposed. Due to the unprofitability of Byrashi Mouldings, this created a ‘do or die’ culture, where everyone was well aware that the only viable option was to embrace change. In conclusion, the changes of rebuilding plant, flattening the organisation and reshaping work pratices done in the following two years are prescriptive and top-down changes.