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Evaluating the Change Agent Program at Siemens Nixdorf

Bacalanmo, Sonny A. Buenviaje, Soisoi Echavez, John Kristoffer R. Umblero, John

Overview of the case

Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme (SNI) was the largest European-owned computer manufacturer and information technology vendor in 1994.

It was created by a 1990 merger between Nixdorf computer and the mainframe computer division of Siemens AG.

the result of the merger wasnt that good. Their performance in responding to the market changes wasnt that good and the organizational structure was considered too bureaucratic.

Industry analysts observed that the company was constrained by a rigid corporate culture established during the merger.

In mid 1994, a new CEO was hired named Gerhard Schulmeyer. He introduced two programs that would change the company for the better, the Culture Change Program (CCP) and the Change Agent Program (CAP).

The Culture Change Program had 4 major change events which was held in Hanover, Germany. The events involved employees, managers, customers, and other people that are related to the company, to talked about changes, how the company should be run, how it should treat customers, and so on.

The Change Agent Program was about training employees, also known as Change Agents (CAs), for them to find innovative ways to approach and implement their projects. These projects are expected to be used when they return in SNI.

When Siemens absorbed all of SNIs activities, the change efforts of the company suddenly faded.


The Four-Frame Model

The model has four different frames, each of which provides a different angle on how organizations should operate. Without the capacity to use multiple frames, managers may become locked into their one favored way of seeing the world.


The Structural Frame

The Structural Frame presents organizations as akin to machines that are designed to efficiently turn inputs into outputs. the focus of this frame is about getting the correct formal design as one would find in an organizations charts, rules, and procedure manuals.

The Structural Frame

To execute the program, a road map was created, published, and set in motion in October 1994. To change SNI, two foundations were prioritized; behavioral and learning components of the road map

The road map was initiated and gave the employees a 13-week program for change. Due to objective inconsistencies, the 13-week program was short to a 2 3-week program. As a result, the employees werent able to cope with the discussion and the flow of the programs objectives were completely scattered and unorganized.

The Human Resource Frame

The Human Resource Frame directs attention to the relationship between the organization and the people that comprise it. it is based on the proposition that a good fit between the needs of the organization and what the people want out of work, benefits both parties.

The Human Resource Frame

The two programs that Schulmeyer introduced to the company, was clearly supported in the case. The conferences that were held in Hanover, for the Culture Change Program, were supported financially. The chosen participants in the Change Agent Program had two sponsors, the Business Leader and the Executive Sponsor.

The Human Resource Frame

There was clearly a good connection between the employees and the organization. The employees participated in the programs that the company made. However, most senior managers showed little interest in learning from either the project results or the enhanced skills of the CAs. As a result, the objective, which is to inculcate the whole corporation to the said culture change, was lost.

The Political Frame

The Political Frame suggests that we see organizations as sites where participants interact in pursuit of a range of objectives.

The Political Frame

Because the company used mid level managers rather than high potential participants which causes stress to their employees, and because of their shifts in the environmental and political situation, the official CAP was terminated at the end of 2000.

The Symbolic Frame

The Symbolic Frame proposes that the essence of an organization may lie not in its formal structure and processes but in its culture the realm if symbols, beliefs, value, rituals, and meanings.

The Symbolic Frame

Clearly, when Schulmeyer wasnt the CEO of SNI and the programs he introduced have not yet existed, the company didnt have that kind of culture that a company should have. As a result, they became slow in responding to market change and the organizational structure became too bureaucratic. They also lost $350 million in fiscal 1994.

The Symbolic Frame

Schulmeyer wanted to recreate SNIs corporate culture, a culture that enhances entrepreneurial thinking and team building. through the 4 major events of the Culture Change Program, employees can learn new patterns of behavior that would help the company have a better corporate culture.

The Symbolic Frame

The program (CCP) deeply affected the participants, they returned to their day-to-day activities motivated and fired up with a new sense of mission.