The challenge of change management
This study examines the challenges of change management with a particular focus on Unga Group limited: Unga group Limited underwent a wrenching change management process in mid 90’s which led into a downward spiral of the company fortunes leading to near collapse. The objectives of the study were (i) establish the environmental changes that caused the company to experience a downturn.(ii) Determine the strategic change management practices undertaken by the company to deal with changes in environment.(iii) Establish the challenges of change management faced by the company in its recovery In order to meet these objectives the pertinent primary data was collected in form of interview guides in directed to three categories of respondents: (i) Board and executive level, (ii) Business unit managers (iii) functional heads. There were eleven respondents representing each of the above categories. The study established that Unga underwent the wrenching change process as a result of liberalization of the Kenyan economy leading to increased competition which cannibalized Unga’s core markets. Whereas the need to institute change was necessary the methods used were either too drastic and the change drivers not well thought out for a company of Unga’s size. The result is that the company’s fortunes nosedived culminating in a Ksh 708m loss in 1998.The Company lost skilled labour due to a badly executed retrenchment exercise, cannibalized its distribution networks and lost customer loyalty. It took the company over eight years to recover the effects of this botched change management exercise, during which it has had to rebuild its skills base, re-establish its distribution networks ,rebrand its products and get capital injection too boost its balance sheet. The limitations of the research were refusal of some of the members involved in the change process to respond to our interview queries. The lapsed time meant that some of the targeted respondents were unavailable.