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Organizational Life Cycle

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Category: Business

Autor: reviewessays 24 October 2010

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Organizational Life Cycle

Organizational Life Cycle

Organizations go through different life cycles similar to those of people. For example, people go through infancy, child-hood and early-teenage phases, which are characterized by rapid growth over a short period of time. Similarly, Organizations go through start-up, growth, maturity, decline, renewal and death. Employees in these phases often do whatever it takes to stay employed. (Ciavarella, 2001)

In the start-up phase of an organizational life cycle, employees are eager to make a name for themselves and often act impulsively, making highly reactive decisions based on whatever is going on around them at the moment. Struggling to survive. This is just one of the many challenges a manager will face during this phase of change.

To help staff understand the complexities of the early phase of organizational development. The manager must provide a clear understanding of the purpose of the organization to the employees. Emphasizing the importance of recognizing the direction the company is going and how its methods of working can be improved. Plus, explaining the identification of general objectives would lead to the clarification of responsibilities and purpose at each level of the organization. When a manager discusses these issues with his team, he is encouraging ownership by the employees. (Moore, 2004)

The distinction between the start-up and growth stages in not easily defined. The distinction lies in the revenues, profits are stronger and are consistent with an increase in customers, as well as, new and exciting opportunities for the employees to pursue. Managers can look forward to many managerial challenges, perspective policy issues and re-evaluating the business plan for revisions. A manager’s focus should be in the running of the business, with a greater emphasis on accounting and human resource management systems. New staff will have to be hired, trained and prepared for the influx of business.

Managers should be ready to teach the importance of decision-making skills and reinforcing organizational policy. Avoiding hasty, careless decisions, which can have devastating results on the manager's unit or the entire organization. Decisions made with forethought, using the many managerial tools available will lead to better and more profitable operations. When decisions are made in this manner, the manager will be confident they have made an appropriate decision. (Adizes, 2004, chap 1)

When a firm enters the maturity phase, it shifts focus to efficiency and productivity. Management during this phase should emphasize creating formal systems and structures that will facilitate knowledge and opportunities. The organization should create formal and informal mentoring and training programs with a shared knowledge base to connect all divisions and departments.

Managers should plan for resistance or conflict between new and old employees. The manager should become aware of change management, what to look for and how to avoid the frustration associated with change. As a manager in today’s business world we should be able to visualize the future and design the changes which will get us there. There are certain steps, which can be taken by managers in order to make change easier on employees and gain their commitment. The steps are, Provide rational, what are the reasons for the change? Reasoning for change should be shared with employees. Take the time to explain the change, how it will benefit the company and how it will help to achieve the company’s vision.

Empathy, employees need to know management appreciates the difficulties a change will create. The effect, change creates with the staff must be thought out and a plan implemented to avoid the negative effects.

Most importantly, communicate all the particulars and details as simply, clearly and extensively as possible, both verbally and in written form. Explain in detail the specifics of the transitions, pointing out what must occur in order to make the change complete. What are the benefits of change? Show how the change will benefit the employees. When employees see the benefits it gives them an incentive to help implement the new change.

Obtain input, allow employees affected by the change to offer their input and to express their needs. Show how their ideas have been incorporated. Use employees as a resource. They will have a wealth of ideas, which will help the change go smoothly. Empowered employees are committed employees. Lastly, support form senior management is the key. Management must behave consistently, throughout the many phases of growth. Mixed messages can be fatal to the change effort.

Resistance is an inevitable response to any change. People naturally rush to defend the status quo if they feel their security or status is threatened. Change is unnerving to most people even positive change. If mangers do not understand, accept and make an effort to work with resistance, it can undermine even the best intentioned and otherwise well conceived changes. There is no one strategy for dealing with resistance.

Changes take place in today’s workplace and require managers who have strong communication skills to build staff support and strong planning skills to make the changes happen. Managers must also be flexible and adaptable, able to change their own management style to fit the situation. (Middlebrook, Caruth, & Frank, 1984) My organization is constantly changing and fluctuating between the maturity and renewal phases. The navy like the other armed forces is consistently recruiting new members, renovating and redesigning training techniques and promoting diversity with an emphasis on teamwork. This cycle of change occurs about every 4-6 years, rejuvenating and injecting new knowledge and skills in to the organization, challenging the status quo.

In conclusion, organizations revolve through the many different stages of life. Employees in the start-up phase have few barriers to effective communication. Knowledge is shared informally, in staff meetings and over lunch. Employees are required to be “a jack of all trades” so to speak, via cross-training. As the business grows and moves into the growth stage, it becomes increasingly difficult to get everyone together and to understand what others in the organization are doing. Many of the Roles become more specialized and processes become more formalized. Cross training starts to dwindle between the growing departments. The organization becomes more hierarchical and structured. Consequently, learning and training no longer flows as easily through the company. Finally, in the maturity, decline and renewal phases, the firm will be more effective if it designs or creates a more formalized structure. Focusing on exploiting its knowledge by transforming ideas into products and services. Our role as managers is to establish unity of purpose and direction for an organization. We create and maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organization's objectives. Managers are responsible for changing behaviors. Which is probably the most critical area in the organizational life cycle. Finally, managers empower and involve people to achieve the organization's objective. (Lester, Parnell, & Carraher, 2003)


Adizes, I. (2004, Mar/Apr). Embrace One Problem After Another. Industrial Management, 46(2), pp. 18; pp.7.

Ciavarella, M. A. (2001). High Involvement Environments to the Organization Life Cycle: A Descriptive and Prescriptive Approach. Academy of Management Proceedings, , pp. C1; pp. 6.

Lester, D. L., Parnell, J. A., & Carraher, S. (2003). Organizational Life Cycle: A Five Stage Empirical Scale. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 11(4), pp. 339; pp. 16.

Middlebrook, B., Caruth, D., & Frank, R. (1984, Summer 85). Overcoming Resistance to Change. Management Journal, 50(3), pp. 23.

Moore, G. A. (2004, Jul/Aug). Darwin and the Demon: Innovating Within Established Enterprises. Harvard Business Review, 82(7/8), pp. 86; pp. 7.