Critical Appraisal of a journal article
Research is a significant element in all professionals, especially in the business industry. It can provide many effective business models for the entrepreneur and big organizations in the development and change of complex institutional context. The title of the chosen article is: “The Triangular Model for Dealing with Organizational Change” (Alas, 2007). This chosen paper examines the performances and strategies of many Estonian business organizations in the process of economic transition during the time from the 1990s to the 2000s. The aim of this article is to explore a model for analyzing and guiding organizational changes in market economic transition. The methodology could be considered as conducting structured interviews about the implementation of the organizational changes with members of top management teams twice. The first order interviews were conducted in 137 Estonian companies in 2001. And the second was conducted in 106 companies in 2005 (Alas, 2007). In the 1990s Estonia experienced a social transience from a socialist economy to a capitalist economy, which directly resulted in the changes of institutional change. Estonian enterprises were forced to make organizational changes for survival. Similar questions were designed for these companies during both interviews. Findings show that the types of organizational changes have a connection to the external changes in the institutional environment. And during the social transience, transformational changes, deepest by scope, happened in most companies (Alas, 2007). However, under more stable institutional environment, organizations may experience less transformational changes. A mutual interdependence relationship between the types of change, the readiness to change and the progress to change were found. The value of this article will benefit international companies with subsidiaries in countries in transition. These organizations could use the triangular model to first analyze the institutional and cultural context: structural institutions, values, and norms (Alas, 2007).
The title of this article clearly indicates the research without too many useless decorative words. Readers have easily informed the main content and the aim of this research without becoming uninterested, which is the basis of good titles. A good title should be straightforward; a poorly written title will defer readers (Nutt, 2003). Keywords can express the core elements of an article. Type of change, the process of change, readiness to change, institutional context and Estonia are the keywords of this article, which refers to the central content from the beginning to the end in this research and allow readers to understand precisely what the research consists of.
The abstract of this article includes six parts. The purpose of this article, the methodology, the findings, the research limitations, the practical implications and the value of this paper are all included in the abstract, which clearly shows the readers the structure and key elements of this research. It enables readers to distinguish accurately the ideal articles from those unrelated to their topics.
This paper clearly identifies the aim of the research that is to provide a model for analyzing organizational changes in transition economy both in the abstract and main text (Alas, 2007). By achieving this aim, the theoretical framework, data analysis, and discussion are fluently interpreted and flow slowly, which makes readers feel easier to understand the progress established by the researchers. In the background part, the relevance of the research aims and why the research is required are identified in detail, including the behavioral aspect of change and the individual’s attitude of change. Organizational transformation in the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe is quantitatively and qualitatively different from that observed in the West because of short-term upheaval in the institutional context (Newman, 2000). The background information suggests that there are studies about organizational changes in such Central and Eastern European countries as Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Estonia (Alas, 2007). However, these studies just highlight some aspects of such complex changes in organizations and there are no commonly accepted theoretical models to help these organizations out of their troubles.
This research uses juxtaposed interviews methods, which is appropriate for this kind of research, as the researcher is aiming to analyze the organizational internal changes in the change of external context. Different responses from similar questions by organizational managers in five years do provide extremely effective data to this research (Lutton, 2013). However, the specific questions that were given to the managers are not listed in this research, which may make readers confused with the results of this research. What’s more, the research lacks practical test samples of this triangular model.
In the background, the researcher concludes the social and economic conditions in Estonia, which takes readers into a certain social environment quickly. During the end of last decade, Estonia has transformed from being an authoritarian, centralized, totalitarian socialist state into a democratic country with a free market economy and different attitudes and values (Alas, 2007). This type of external changes requires a different type of organizational behavior for the survival of big companies in unfamiliar conditions. The structure of this research is very clear. It begins with developing a theoretical framework for studying organizational changes in the transition of the economy. And then an analysis of the interviews about internal changes in Estonian enterprises is followed. Finally, the triangular model is proposed based on the analysis of the data.
This research is trying to select participants from all kinds of industries in Estonia. While 107 companies are far away from enough. In fact, Estonia was a part of the Soviet Union countries with a centrally planned economy in 1991. During the 1990s, the Estonian economy started changing to a free-market economy. Until 1995, according to opinions of managers, already there were signs of stability (Liuhto, 1999). Therefore, the data collected both in 2001 and in 2005 are comparably stable data, which could be argued as a commonly accepted design in more intense context. In this paper, the researcher does not disclose the setting in which interviews were conducted. This could have an influence on the results, as it could influence the participant’s attitude, how comfortable they feel and how much information they are willing to provide. The research has not indicated how the data was recorded and this could have a bad effect on the results. It is because if they are noted from the researcher’s memory, mistakes could be made.
The researcher divides the organizational changes into three aspects. The first component is called the “types of change”, and the second component the “process of change”. The third one is the “readiness to change”. The relationship within the three blocks is considered as that there are bridges between them. For instance, the readiness causes act like a bridge between identifying what needs to happen and the activity of implementing the change (Alas, 2007).
In the content research part, the researcher uses ten hypothesizes in order to connect the whole text and attract the reader’s interest. And the next part, the collected data from two interviews will support these hypothesizes, which makes this article well-structured. 78% of the respondents are from the service industry, which is too high in the proportion. 33% of the participants are the top managers from the studied companies. But the left 67% is not clear. These studied companies include small, middle and large-scale enterprises. A good number of companies surveyed has 51-1000 employees, which is 43%. In order to study the interaction between the components of the triangular model, the transformational and transactional changes are compared, followed by the definitions of transformational change and transactional change. It enables readers to distinguish these two complex changes.
During this paper, the data from the interviews was sufficiently analyzed, using content analysis. From the results of the interviews in Estonian companies, the researcher finds a combination of four types of research in companies in transition economy in order to analyze the organizational changes happens in the social transition from a centrally planned economy to a free-market economy (Waddington ; Skirstad, 2008). The researcher takes these four types: content research, process research, context research, and readiness research – into a triangular model (Figure 1).
Figure 1. The triangular model of change in the institutional environment (Alas, 2007)
The results indicate that there is a connection between the types of organizational changes and institutional changes. Transformational changes would happen in most companies during the time of social transience. However, during more stable institutional context, enterprises would face a falling number of transformational changes. In terms of readiness to change, it was very difficult to begin changes in a steady society with overstaffed organizations, lacking any knowledge of the free-market economy. In this time, changes were initiated almost solely from the top management (Alas, 2007).
From the results analysis, this research finds many important organizational changes during the transformational changes in enterprises. After the five-year transferring period, most of the studied companies started to analyze the change process from the perspective of behavioral ways. The managers began to learn from the previous experience to turn more attention to steps in core processes. They intended to build more careful and long-term planning. The ways of communication had been changed from being in one direction to two-sided conversation and discussion. True involvement of employees in the decision-making process had happened. At last, “the employees’ readiness to change is lower during transformational changes compared to transactional changes and managers turn more attention to activities in change process during transformational changes than during transactional changes” (Alas, 2007). Since there are more large enterprises willing to invest or take part in the sports industry, the research could help them overcome various difficulties in their organizational transformation. Firstly, the institutional and cultural context, values and norms play important roles in the transition of the economy. From the perspective of structural institutions, managers can get information about which types of changes are ideal and practical. In the view of culture, it shows us the certain type of changes that could be used with the people of this country, and how they should be treated and assisted during the change process. Values and norms in this country would determine the activities required in the preparation and implementation of changes as well as the steps to be taken in the change process. This could help companies to achieve a competitive advantage in a new sports industry context.
Although the theoretical framework for researching organizational changes in countries in transition has been explored in this paper, this article has many limitations and requires deeper discussion and follow-up studies. The ambitious aim to develop a commonly agreed model has not been achieved in this article. Interactions of the components of the triangular model, transformational and transitional changes could be analyzed more. The supporting material for hypotheses could be more such as on the relationships between the variables (including control factors such as age, size, industry). Each of the hypotheses could be developed in one paragraph. Conducting this study in more countries with similar history could help to evaluate the practice of this model (Alas, 2007).
In conclusion, this research study is well structured and designed. The results are meaningful and useful in term of guiding the business transformation. The aims and background information are very effective and sufficient, providing the researcher with powerful reasons to conduct the research. All sections are integrated together effectively with content analysis. The only downfall to this paper is the lack of the deeper analysis of the interaction of three blocks throughout the study. There are a few limitations, that the researcher has concluded himself, allowing further research to extend the study, revising the limitations showed in this article. Since the researcher has identified the need for further research, the reader may not change their current attitude based on this paper alone. However, it would be especially valuable in further research.
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Alas, R. (2007) The Triangular Model for Dealing with Organizational Change, Journal of Change Management, 7:3-4, 255-271. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14697010701770495 Accessed 28 November 2018.
Liuhto, K. (1999) The Organisational and Managerial Transformation in Turbulent Business Environments – Managers’ Views on the Transition of their Enterprise in some of the European Former Soviet Republics in the 1990s, publications of the Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, series A-9.
Newman, K. L. (2000) Organizational transformation during the institutional upheaval, The Academy of Management Review, 25(3), pp.602–619.
Nutt, P. C. (2003) Implications for organizational change in the structure process duality, in R. W. Woodman and W. A. Pasmore (eds) Research in Organizational Change and Development, Vol. 14, pp. 147– 193
Lutton, K (2013). A Critical Appraisal of a Qualitative Journal Article Nursing Essay. Available from: https://www.ukessays.com/essays/nursing/a-critical-appraisal-of-a-qualitative-journal-article-ursing-essay.php?vref=1 Accessed 28 November 2018.
Waddington, I. & Skirstad, V. (2008) Theoretical Approaches to Change in Sports Organizations. European Sports Management Quarterly 8:4, pages 311-313.