Short Case Study on Change Management

A short case study on change management can be very helpful in learning how to manage change effectively. In today’s business world, change is constantly happening and it can be very difficult to keep up.

Having a solid understanding of change management is essential for any manager or business owner.

A good case study will show you how one company successfully managed a major change and what lessons can be learned from their experience.

By studying short case study on change management, you will gain valuable insights into the importance of planning, communication, and employee involvement when managing change.

You will also learn about the different stages of change and how to overcome resistance to change.

These are all important topics that any manager or business owner should be familiar with. Learning about them through a short case study is an excellent way to gain a better understanding of these concepts.

Here are 05 short case studies on change management that offer you valuable insights on managing change.

1. Adobe- a transformation of HR functions to support strategic change

Many a times external factors lead to changes in organisational structures and culture. This truly happened at Adobe which has 11,000 employees worldwide with 4.5 billion $ yearly revenue.

Acrobat, Flash Player, and Photoshop are among the well-known products of Abode.

Due to new emerging technologies and challenges posed by small competitors Adobe had to stop selling its licensed goods in shrink-wrapped containers in 2011 and switched to offering digital services through the cloud. They gave their customers option of downloading the necessary software for free or subscribing to it every month rather than receiving a CD in a box.

The human resource (HR) function also took on a new role, which meant that employees had to adjust to new working practices. A standard administrative HR function was housed at Adobe’s offices. However, it was less suitable for the cloud-based strategy and performed well when Adobe was selling software items. 

HR changed its role and became more human centric and reduced its office based functions.

The HR personnel did “walk-ins,” to see what assistance they might offer, rather than waiting for calls. With a focus on innovation, change, and personal growth, Adobe employed a sizable percentage of millennials.

Instead of having an annual reviews, staff members can now use the new “check-in” method to assess and define their own growth goals whenever they find it necessary, with quick and continuous feedback. 

Managers might receive constructive criticism from HR through the workshops they conduct. The least number of employees have left since this changed approach of HR.

Why did Adobe’s HR department make this change? Since the company’s goals and culture have changed, HR discovered new ways to operate to support these changes.

2. Intuit – applying 7s framework of change management 

Steve Bennett, a vice president of GE Capital, was appointed CEO of Intuit in 2000. Intuit is a provider of financial software solutions with three products: Quicken, TurboTax, and QuickBooks, which have respective market shares of 73 percent, 81 percent, and 84 percent. 

Despite this market domination, many observers believed Intuit was not making as much money as it could.

Additionally, the business was known for making decisions slowly, which let rivals take advantage of numerous market opportunities. Bennett desired to change everything.

In his first few weeks, he spoke with each of the top 200 executives, visited the majority of Intuit’s offices, and addressed the majority of its 5,000 employees.

He concluded that although employees were enthusiastic about the company’s products, internal processes weren’t given any thought (based on Higgins, 2005).

He followed the famous Mckinsey 7S Model for Change Management to transform the organization. Let’s see what are those changes that he made:

By making acquisitions, he increased the products range for Intuit.

He established a flatter organizational structure and decentralized decision-making, which gave business units more authority and accountability throughout the whole product creation and distribution process.

To accomplish strategic goals, the rewards system was made more aligned to strategic goals.

He emphasized the necessity of a performance-oriented focus and offered a vision for change and also made every effort to sell that vision.

He acknowledged the commitment of staff to Intuit’s products and further strengthened process by emphasizing on quality and efficiency of his team.

Resources were allotted for learning and development, and certain selected managers were recruited from GE in particular skill categories, all to enhance staff capabilities concerning productivity and efficiency.

Superordinate goals:

Bennett’s strategy was “vision-driven” and he communicated that vision to his team regularly to meet the goals.

Bennett’s modifications led to a 40–50% rise in operating profits in 2002 and 2003.

8,000 people worked for Intuit in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, and other nations in 2014, and the company generated global revenues of nearly $5 billion.

3. Barclays Bank – a change in ways of doing business

The financial services industry suffered heavily during mortgage crisis in 2008. In addition to significant losses, the sector also had to deal with strict and aggressive regulations of their investing activities.

To expand its business, more employees were hired by Barclays Capital under the leadership of its former chief executive, Bob Diamond, who wanted to make it the largest investment bank in the world. 

But Barclays Capital staff was found manipulating the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and Barclays was fined £290 million and as a result of this the bank’s chairman, CEO, and COO had to resign.

In an internal review it was found that the mindset of “win at all costs” needed to be changed so a new strategy was necessary due to the reputational damage done by the LIBOR affair and new regulatory restrictions. 

In 2012, Antony Jenkins became new CEO. He made the following changes in 2014, which led to increase of 8% in share price.


The word “Capital” was removed from the firm name, which became just Barclays. To concentrate on the U.S. and UK markets, on Africa, and on a small number of Asian clients, the “world leader” goal was dropped.

Business model

Physical commodities and obscure “derivative” products would no longer be traded by Barclays. It was decided that rather than using its customers’ money, the business would invest its own.

Only thirty percent of the bank’s profits came from investment banking. Instead of concentrating on lending at high risk, the focus was on a smaller range of customers.

In place of an aggressive, short-term growth strategy that rewarded commercial drive and success and fostered a culture of fear of not meeting targets, “customer first,” clarity, and openness took precedence. Investment bankers’ remuneration was also reduced.

Beginning in 2014, branches were shut, and 19,000 jobs were lost over three years, including 7,000 investment banking employees, personnel at high-street firms, and many in New York and London headquarters. £1.7 billion in costs were reduced in 2014.

There was an increase in customers’ online or mobile banking, and increased automation of transactions to lower expenses.  To assist customers in using new computer systems, 30 fully automated branches were established by 2014, replacing the 6,500 cashiers that were lost to this change with “digital eagles” who used iPads.

These changes were made to build an organization that is stronger, more integrated, leaner, and more streamlined, leading to a higher return on equity and better returns for shareholders. This was also done to rebuild the bank’s credibility and win back the trust of its clients.

4. Kodak – a failure to embrace disruptive change

The first digital camera and the first-megapixel camera were both created by Kodak in 1975 and 1986 respectively.

Why then did Kodak declare bankruptcy in 2012? 

When this new technology first came out in 1975, it was expensive and had poor quality of images. Kodak anticipated that it would be at least additional ten years until digital technology started to pose a threat to their long-standing business of camera, film, chemical, and photo-printing paper industries.

Although that prediction came true, Kodak chose to increase the film’s quality through ongoing advances rather than embracing change and working on digital technology.

Kodak continued with old business model and captured market by 90% of the film and 85% of the cameras sold in America in 1976. With $16 billion in annual sales at its peak, Kodak’s profits in 1999 was around $2.5 billion. The brand’s confidence was boosted by this success but there was complete complacency in terms of embracing new technology.

Kodak started experiencing losses in 2011 as revenues dropped to $6.2 billion. 

Fuji, a competitor of Kodak, identified the same threat and decided to transition to digital while making the most money possible from film and creating new commercial ventures, such as cosmetics based on chemicals used in film processing.

Even though both businesses had the same information, they made different judgments, and Kodak was reluctant to respond. And when it started to switch towards digital technology, mobile phones with in-built digital camera had arrived to disrupt digital cameras.

Although Kodak developed the technology, they were unaware of how revolutionary digitalization would prove to be, rendering their long-standing industry obsolete.

You can read here in detail Kodak change management failure case study.

5. Heinz   – a 3G way to make changes

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and the Brazilian private equity business 3G Capital paid $29 billion in 2013 to acquire Heinz, the renowned food manufacturer with $11.6 billion in yearly sales.

The modifications were made right away by the new owners. Eleven of the top twelve executives were replaced, 600 employees were let go, corporate planes were sold, personal offices were eliminated, and executives were required to stay at Holiday Inn hotel rather than the Ritz-Carlton when traveling and substantially longer work hours were anticipated. 

Each employee was given a monthly copy restriction of 200 by micromanagement, and printer usage was recorded. Only 100 business cards were permitted each year for executives.

Numerous Heinz workers spoke of “an insular management style” where only a small inner circle knows what is truly going on.

On the other side, 3G had a youthful team of executives, largely from Brazil, who moved from company to company as instructed across nations and industries. They were loyal to 3G, not Heinz, and were motivated to perform well to earn bonuses or stock options. 

“The 3G way,” a theory that 3G has applied to bring about change in prior acquisitions like Burger King, was the driving reason behind these modifications. Everything was measured, efficiency was paramount, and “nonstrategic costs” were drastically reduced. 

From this vantage point, “lean and mean” prevails, and human capital was not regarded as a crucial element of business success. It was believed that rather than being driven by a feeling of purpose or mission, employees were motivated by the financial gains associated with holding company stock.

Because it had been well-received by the 3G partners, those who might be impacted by a deal frequently saw a “how to” guide published by consultant Bob Fifer as a “must read.”

However, many food industry experts felt that while some of 3G’s prior acquisitions would have been ideal candidates for a program of cost-cutting, Heinz was not the most appropriate choice to “hack and slash.” The company had already undergone several years of improved efficiency and it was already a well-established player in the market.

In summarizing the situation, business journalists Jennifer Reingold and Daniel Roberts predicted that “the experiment now underway will determine whether Heinz will become a newly invigorated embodiment of efficiency—or whether 3G will take the cult of cost-cutting so far that it chokes off Heinz’s ability to innovate and make the products that have made it a market leader for almost a century and a half.” 

Final Words

A short case study on change management can be a helpful tool in learning how to effectively manage change. These case studies will show you how one company successfully managed a major change and what lessons can be learned from their experience. By studying these case studies, you will gain valuable insights into the importance of planning, communication, and employee involvement when managing change. These are all vital elements that must be considered when implementing any type of change within an organization.

About The Author

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Tahir Abbas

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Success Stories

Prosci clients are improving project outcomes and successfully building change capability.

How Prosci Customers are Succeeding at Change

  • Discover and Apply ADKAR
  • Build a Foundation
  • Make the Case
  • Engage Organizational Roles
  • Plan and Execute

Integrate Project Management

  • Improve Results and Outcomes
  • Grow Enterprise Change Capability
  • Research Insights
  • Enhance Your Practice

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HKS Case Program

Change Management

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Case Study: Implementing Change Management in PMO

Implementing Change Management in PMO

Incorporating Change Management into IT Project Management Processes within a multi-national wireless communication organisation. We were tasked with developing and implementing a Change Management Strategy & Framework to support the current Project Team with; improving end–user adoption levels, increasing system utilization, involving end-user throughout the project process. To develop a Change Management Blueprint to enable project team members to duplicate a refined Change Managed process across various areas within the organisation. Create Change Management templates, ensuring standardisation of tools used across the teams and providing tools to assess people risks and mitigation, Pre- and post-project awareness, commitment and adoption levels.

  • IT Leadership: Medium Impact
  • SBPM: High Impact
  • Project Managers: High Impact
  • Business Analysts: Medium Impact
  • Rest of IT: Low Impact
  • Initial Change Management Duration: 12 Months
  • Actual Change Management Duration: 15 Months
  • Size of Change: Medium Scale
  • Change Management Resourcing: Senior Change Consultant

The Results

  • 100% Completion of CM strategy & framework, CM blueprint, and CM reporting template
  • 100% Alignment to project management, PMO & governance structures
  • 100% Integration into the POL process (Project Online)
  • 70% Change Management adoption by Project Managers
  • 80% Improvement in project communications over four pillars
  • 7x Project Managers skilled in change management principles
  • 50x Communication sets developed and distributed

The Approach

In implementing this change, it was necessary to understand the current way of working within the EMEA IT Team: Agile (Design for Adoption).

Gain understanding of governance structures within the IT area: Various measurements and systems used.

Incorporating these into a logical Change Management Methodology using a combination of approaches:

  • Lean Change Management (to align with Agile)
  • Prosci (including ADKAR)

The following steps were taken to achieve an aligned and knowledgeable team:

  • Development of Change Management strategy
  • Alignment of a framework & blueprint
  • Create and define various templates, assessments and training artefacts to support and enable the team
  • Articulate and document a benefit & measurement approach
  • Align approach and outcomes with PMO
  • Change management reporting templates developed to encompass a high level feedback report

Lessons from the Frontline

  • IT teams are under great pressure to deliver to their customer – the business. It’s easy to forget about the person at the end of the chain, actually using the new system or following a new process.
  • IT teams need to evolve in such a way that “People” are as much a focus as a project plan. It is about putting  First Things First, and spending time understanding the change, the impact of the change and benefit to the organisation and individuals.
  • A perfect system can be developed, an adopted system must be earned.

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Five Case Studies of Transformation Excellence

Related Expertise: Organizational Culture , Business Strategy , Change Management

Five Case Studies of Transformation Excellence

November 03, 2014  By  Lars Fæste ,  Jim Hemerling ,  Perry Keenan , and  Martin Reeves

In a business environment characterized by greater volatility and more frequent disruptions, companies face a clear imperative: they must transform or fall behind. Yet most transformation efforts are highly complex initiatives that take years to implement. As a result, most fall short of their intended targets—in value, timing, or both. Based on client experience, The Boston Consulting Group has developed an approach to transformation that flips the odds in a company’s favor. What does that look like in the real world? Here are five company examples that show successful transformations, across a range of industries and locations.

VF’s Growth Transformation Creates Strong Value for Investors

Value creation is a powerful lens for identifying the initiatives that will have the greatest impact on a company’s transformation agenda and for understanding the potential value of the overall program for shareholders.

VF offers a compelling example of a company using a sharp focus on value creation to chart its transformation course. In the early 2000s, VF was a good company with strong management but limited organic growth. Its “jeanswear” and intimate-apparel businesses, although responsible for 80 percent of the company’s revenues, were mature, low-gross-margin segments. And the company’s cost-cutting initiatives were delivering diminishing returns. VF’s top line was essentially flat, at about $5 billion in annual revenues, with an unclear path to future growth. VF’s value creation had been driven by cost discipline and manufacturing efficiency, yet, to the frustration of management, VF had a lower valuation multiple than most of its peers.

With BCG’s help, VF assessed its options and identified key levers to drive stronger and more-sustainable value creation. The result was a multiyear transformation comprising four components:

  • A Strong Commitment to Value Creation as the Company’s Focus. Initially, VF cut back its growth guidance to signal to investors that it would not pursue growth opportunities at the expense of profitability. And as a sign of management’s commitment to balanced value creation, the company increased its dividend by 90 percent.
  • Relentless Cost Management. VF built on its long-known operational excellence to develop an operating model focused on leveraging scale and synergies across its businesses through initiatives in sourcing, supply chain processes, and offshoring.
  • A Major Transformation of the Portfolio. To help fund its journey, VF divested product lines worth about $1 billion in revenues, including its namesake intimate-apparel business. It used those resources to acquire nearly $2 billion worth of higher-growth, higher-margin brands, such as Vans, Nautica, and Reef. Overall, this shifted the balance of its portfolio from 70 percent low-growth heritage brands to 65 percent higher-growth lifestyle brands.
  • The Creation of a High-Performance Culture. VF has created an ownership mind-set in its management ranks. More than 200 managers across all key businesses and regions received training in the underlying principles of value creation, and the performance of every brand and business is assessed in terms of its value contribution. In addition, VF strengthened its management bench through a dedicated talent-management program and selective high-profile hires. (For an illustration of VF’s transformation roadmap, see the exhibit.)

case study project change

The results of VF’s TSR-led transformation are apparent. 1 1 For a detailed description of the VF journey, see the 2013 Value Creators Report, Unlocking New Sources of Value Creation , BCG report, September 2013. Notes: 1 For a detailed description of the VF journey, see the 2013 Value Creators Report, Unlocking New Sources of Value Creation , BCG report, September 2013. The company’s revenues have grown from $7 billion in 2008 to more than $11 billion in 2013 (and revenues are projected to top $17 billion by 2017). At the same time, profitability has improved substantially, highlighted by a gross margin of 48 percent as of mid-2014. The company’s stock price quadrupled from $15 per share in 2005 to more than $65 per share in September 2014, while paying about 2 percent a year in dividends. As a result, the company has ranked in the top quintile of the S&P 500 in terms of TSR over the past ten years.

A Consumer-Packaged-Goods Company Uses Several Levers to Fund Its Transformation Journey

A leading consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) player was struggling to respond to challenging market dynamics, particularly in the value-based segments and at the price points where it was strongest. The near- and medium-term forecasts looked even worse, with likely contractions in sales volume and potentially even in revenues. A comprehensive transformation effort was needed.

To fund the journey, the company looked at several cost-reduction initiatives, including logistics. Previously, the company had worked with a large number of logistics providers, causing it to miss out on scale efficiencies.

To improve, it bundled all transportation spending, across the entire network (both inbound to production facilities and out-bound to its various distribution channels), and opened it to bidding through a request-for-proposal process. As a result, the company was able to save 10 percent on logistics in the first 12 months—a very fast gain for what is essentially a commodity service.

Similarly, the company addressed its marketing-agency spending. A benchmark analysis revealed that the company had been paying rates well above the market average and getting fewer hours per full-time equivalent each year than the market standard. By getting both rates and hours in line, the company managed to save more than 10 percent on its agency spending—and those savings were immediately reinvested to enable the launch of what became a highly successful brand.

Next, the company pivoted to growth mode in order to win in the medium term. The measure with the biggest impact was pricing. The company operates in a category that is highly segmented across product lines and highly localized. Products that sell well in one region often do poorly in a neighboring state. Accordingly, it sought to de-average its pricing approach across locations, brands, and pack sizes, driving a 2 percent increase in EBIT.

Similarly, it analyzed trade promotion effectiveness by gathering and compiling data on the roughly 150,000 promotions that the company had run across channels, locations, brands, and pack sizes. The result was a 2 terabyte database tracking the historical performance of all promotions.

Using that information, the company could make smarter decisions about which promotions should be scrapped, which should be tweaked, and which should merit a greater push. The result was another 2 percent increase in EBIT. Critically, this was a clear capability that the company built up internally, with the objective of continually strengthening its trade-promotion performance over time, and that has continued to pay annual dividends.

Finally, the company launched a significant initiative in targeted distribution. Before the transformation, the company’s distributors made decisions regarding product stocking in independent retail locations that were largely intuitive. To improve its distribution, the company leveraged big data to analyze historical sales performance for segments, brands, and individual SKUs within a roughly ten-mile radius of that retail location. On the basis of that analysis, the company was able to identify the five SKUs likely to sell best that were currently not in a particular store. The company put this tool on a mobile platform and is in the process of rolling it out to the distributor base. (Currently, approximately 60 percent of distributors, representing about 80 percent of sales volume, are rolling it out.) Without any changes to the product lineup, that measure has driven a 4 percent jump in gross sales.

Throughout the process, management had a strong change-management effort in place. For example, senior leaders communicated the goals of the transformation to employees through town hall meetings. Cognizant of how stressful transformations can be for employees—particularly during the early efforts to fund the journey, which often emphasize cost reductions—the company aggressively talked about how those savings were being reinvested into the business to drive growth (for example, investments into the most effective trade promotions and the brands that showed the greatest sales-growth potential).

In the aggregate, the transformation led to a much stronger EBIT performance, with increases of nearly $100 million in fiscal 2013 and far more anticipated in 2014 and 2015. The company’s premium products now make up a much bigger part of the portfolio. And the company is better positioned to compete in its market.

A Leading Bank Uses a Lean Approach to Transform Its Target Operating Model

A leading bank in Europe is in the process of a multiyear transformation of its operating model. Prior to this effort, a benchmarking analysis found that the bank was lagging behind its peers in several aspects. Branch employees handled fewer customers and sold fewer new products, and back-office processing times for new products were slow. Customer feedback was poor, and rework rates were high, especially at the interface between the front and back offices. Activities that could have been managed centrally were handled at local levels, increasing complexity and cost. Harmonization across borders—albeit a challenge given that the bank operates in many countries—was limited. However, the benchmark also highlighted many strengths that provided a basis for further improvement, such as common platforms and efficient product-administration processes.

To address the gaps, the company set the design principles for a target operating model for its operations and launched a lean program to get there. Using an end-to-end process approach, all the bank’s activities were broken down into roughly 250 processes, covering everything that a customer could potentially experience. Each process was then optimized from end to end using lean tools. This approach breaks down silos and increases collaboration and transparency across both functions and organization layers.

Employees from different functions took an active role in the process improvements, participating in employee workshops in which they analyzed processes from the perspective of the customer. For a mortgage, the process was broken down into discrete steps, from the moment the customer walks into a branch or goes to the company website, until the house has changed owners. In the front office, the system was improved to strengthen management, including clear performance targets, preparation of branch managers for coaching roles, and training in root-cause problem solving. This new way of working and approaching problems has directly boosted both productivity and morale.

The bank is making sizable gains in performance as the program rolls through the organization. For example, front-office processing time for a mortgage has decreased by 33 percent and the bank can get a final answer to customers 36 percent faster. The call centers had a significant increase in first-call resolution. Even more important, customer satisfaction scores are increasing, and rework rates have been halved. For each process the bank revamps, it achieves a consistent 15 to 25 percent increase in productivity.

And the bank isn’t done yet. It is focusing on permanently embedding a change mind-set into the organization so that continuous improvement becomes the norm. This change capability will be essential as the bank continues on its transformation journey.

A German Health Insurer Transforms Itself to Better Serve Customers

Barmer GEK, Germany’s largest public health insurer, has a successful history spanning 130 years and has been named one of the top 100 brands in Germany. When its new CEO, Dr. Christoph Straub, took office in 2011, he quickly realized the need for action despite the company’s relatively good financial health. The company was still dealing with the postmerger integration of Barmer and GEK in 2010 and needed to adapt to a fast-changing and increasingly competitive market. It was losing ground to competitors in both market share and key financial benchmarks. Barmer GEK was suffering from overhead structures that kept it from delivering market-leading customer service and being cost efficient, even as competitors were improving their service offerings in a market where prices are fixed. Facing this fundamental challenge, Barmer GEK decided to launch a major transformation effort.

The goal of the transformation was to fundamentally improve the customer experience, with customer satisfaction as a benchmark of success. At the same time, Barmer GEK needed to improve its cost position and make tough choices to align its operations to better meet customer needs. As part of the first step in the transformation, the company launched a delayering program that streamlined management layers, leading to significant savings and notable side benefits including enhanced accountability, better decision making, and an increased customer focus. Delayering laid the path to win in the medium term through fundamental changes to the company’s business and operating model in order to set up the company for long-term success.

The company launched ambitious efforts to change the way things were traditionally done:

  • A Better Client-Service Model. Barmer GEK is reducing the number of its branches by 50 percent, while transitioning to larger and more attractive service centers throughout Germany. More than 90 percent of customers will still be able to reach a service center within 20 minutes. To reach rural areas, mobile branches that can visit homes were created.
  • Improved Customer Access. Because Barmer GEK wanted to make it easier for customers to access the company, it invested significantly in online services and full-service call centers. This led to a direct reduction in the number of customers who need to visit branches while maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction.
  • Organization Simplification. A pillar of Barmer GEK’s transformation is the centralization and specialization of claim processing. By moving from 80 regional hubs to 40 specialized processing centers, the company is now using specialized administrators—who are more effective and efficient than under the old staffing model—and increased sharing of best practices.

Although Barmer GEK has strategically reduced its workforce in some areas—through proven concepts such as specialization and centralization of core processes—it has invested heavily in areas that are aligned with delivering value to the customer, increasing the number of customer-facing employees across the board. These changes have made Barmer GEK competitive on cost, with expected annual savings exceeding €300 million, as the company continues on its journey to deliver exceptional value to customers. Beyond being described in the German press as a “bold move,” the transformation has laid the groundwork for the successful future of the company.

Nokia’s Leader-Driven Transformation Reinvents the Company (Again)

We all remember Nokia as the company that once dominated the mobile-phone industry but subsequently had to exit that business. What is easily forgotten is that Nokia has radically and successfully reinvented itself several times in its 150-year history. This makes Nokia a prime example of a “serial transformer.”

In 2014, Nokia embarked on perhaps the most radical transformation in its history. During that year, Nokia had to make a radical choice: continue massively investing in its mobile-device business (its largest) or reinvent itself. The device business had been moving toward a difficult stalemate, generating dissatisfactory results and requiring increasing amounts of capital, which Nokia no longer had. At the same time, the company was in a 50-50 joint venture with Siemens—called Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN)—that sold networking equipment. NSN had been undergoing a massive turnaround and cost-reduction program, steadily improving its results.

When Microsoft expressed interest in taking over Nokia’s device business, Nokia chairman Risto Siilasmaa took the initiative. Over the course of six months, he and the executive team evaluated several alternatives and shaped a deal that would radically change Nokia’s trajectory: selling the mobile business to Microsoft. In parallel, Nokia CFO Timo Ihamuotila orchestrated another deal to buy out Siemens from the NSN joint venture, giving Nokia 100 percent control over the unit and forming the cash-generating core of the new Nokia. These deals have proved essential for Nokia to fund the journey. They were well-timed, well-executed moves at the right terms.

Right after these radical announcements, Nokia embarked on a strategy-led design period to win in the medium term with new people and a new organization, with Risto Siilasmaa as chairman and interim CEO. Nokia set up a new portfolio strategy, corporate structure, capital structure, robust business plans, and management team with president and CEO Rajeev Suri in charge. Nokia focused on delivering excellent operational results across its portfolio of three businesses while planning its next move: a leading position in technologies for a world in which everyone and everything will be connected.

Nokia’s share price has steadily climbed. Its enterprise value has grown 12-fold since bottoming out in July 2012. The company has returned billions of dollars of cash to its shareholders and is once again the most valuable company in Finland. The next few years will demonstrate how this chapter in Nokia’s 150-year history of serial transformation will again reinvent the company.

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The Most Successful Approaches to Leading Organizational Change

  • Deborah Rowland,
  • Michael Thorley,
  • Nicole Brauckmann

case study project change

A closer look at four distinct ways to drive transformation.

When tasked with implementing large-scale organizational change, leaders often give too much attention to the what of change — such as a new organization strategy, operating model or acquisition integration — not the how — the particular way they will approach such changes. Such inattention to the how comes with the major risk that old routines will be used to get to new places. Any unquestioned, “default” approach to change may lead to a lot of busy action, but not genuine system transformation. Through their practice and research, the authors have identified the optimal ways to conceive, design, and implement successful organizational change.

Management of long-term, complex, large-scale change has a reputation of not delivering the anticipated benefits. A primary reason for this is that leaders generally fail to consider how to approach change in a way that matches their intent.

case study project change

  • Deborah Rowland is the co-author of  Sustaining Change: Leadership That Works , Still Moving: How to Lead Mindful Change , and the Still Moving Field Guide: Change Vitality at Your Fingertips . She has personally led change at Shell, Gucci Group, BBC Worldwide, and PepsiCo and pioneered original research in the field, accepted as a paper at the 2016 Academy of Management and the 2019 European Academy of Management. Thinkers50 Radar named as one of the generation of management thinkers changing the world of business in 2017, and she’s on the 2021 HR Most Influential Thinker list. She is Cambridge University 1st Class Archaeology & Anthropology Graduate.
  • Michael Thorley is a qualified accountant, psychotherapist, executive psychological coach, and coach supervisor integrating all modalities to create a unique approach. Combining his extensive experience of running P&L accounts and developing approaches that combine “hard”-edged and “softer”-edged management approaches, he works as a non-executive director and advisor to many different organizations across the world that wish to generate a new perspective on change.
  • Nicole Brauckmann focuses on helping organizations and individuals create the conditions for successful emergent change to unfold. As an executive and consultant, she has worked to deliver large-scale complex change across different industries, including energy, engineering, financial services, media, and not-for profit. She holds a PhD at Faculty of Philosophy, Westfaelische Wilhelms University Muenster and spent several years on academic research and teaching at University of San Diego Business School.

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Managing Change in Uncertain Times: A Case Study

Change management, defined as the methods and processes by which a company effects and adapts to change, has long been vital to the functioning of successful organizations. As John C. Maxwell said , “change is inevitable, growth is optional.” All organizations undergo changes during their lifespans, but not all organizations are able to effectively respond to change or harness it for success. 

This fact was made painfully apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. After businesses were forced to shut down in-person operations, many suffered catastrophic losses. The airline industry, travel and leisure industry, oil and gas industry, and restaurant industry were among the hardest hit . Thousands of businesses were forced to close for good, and thousands more suffered through significant profit loss, layoffs and downsizing. Still, some businesses made vital adaptations that carried them through the worst of the pandemic. Many restaurants, for example, shifted from traditional, in-person service and poured resources into curbside, takeout and delivery services, using technology to communicate with their customers and remain up and running. These adaptations built on services that the restaurants already offered, making the changes easier to implement and accept.

A Case Study in Change: Delta Airlines

Unlike restaurants, airlines did not have much existing infrastructure to carry them through a global pandemic. Airlines profit based on the tickets they book, and if nobody is willing to fly, airlines can’t just pivot to a “take-out” travel option. After the pandemic hit, airlines were faced with a crucial ultimatum: find an innovative solution or suffer catastrophic losses. Delta Airlines, one of the oldest and largest airlines in the country, decided to tackle the change head-on and immediately started working on a change management plan.

Purdue Prepares Project Managers to Master Change

Delta structured changes to its operations around what would make customers more comfortable and ultimately found that customers were willing to pay for some extra peace of mind. Implementing the change was made easier by quick and effective communication across all levels of operation. Flight attendants, gate staffers and corporate communications professionals were given the tools they needed to communicate the company’s safety plan to prospective passengers and execute the new seating rules. As the immediate changes took effect and began yielding results, Delta worked on making the changes more efficient and seamless, refining its process every step of the way.

The Science of Change Management

Delta’s quick and effective response to a major change in business operations helped usher it through the worst of the pandemic without suffering bigger losses. Innovative research on best practices in change management is poised to help other businesses do the same. According to the Change Management Review , using technological and organizational tools to manage “the human side of change” is particularly important. Consider, many businesses were forced to move their operations online after the start of COVID-19, and this change affected employees most of all. The businesses who fared best after moving online were the ones who assisted their employees in adapting to the change by providing opportunities for virtual team building, socialization, and mental wellness checkups, for instance. By considering the effects of change on their employees, these businesses took a proactive approach to getting their teams through a daunting and sudden transition. 

David Michels and Kevin Murphy, two industry experts who research change management, have helped quantify what exactly makes some organizations excel at handling change. According to their study , there are nine organizational elements that contribute to an organization’s ability to manage change:

  • Purpose and direction – the qualities that help organizations lead change.
  • Connection, capacity, and choreography – the qualities that help organizations accelerate change.
  • And scaling, development, action, and flexibility – the qualities that help organizations organize change.

Michels and Murphy also developed categories identifying the challenges many organizations face when dealing with change. They determined that organizations struggling with change were either:

  • In search of focus, meaning they struggle to lead change, identify ambitions and map agendas.
  • Stuck and skeptical, meaning they struggle to move beyond small-level changes and avoid big decision making.
  • Aligned but constrained, meaning they struggle with change because of organizational barriers.
  • And struggling to keep up, meaning they struggle with organizational fatigue and burnout. 

This kind of change management research gives organizations the opportunity to critically evaluate their responses to change and map effective plans for dealing with change in the future. Even without the pandemic factor, being able to change and grow is of primary importance in a world of fast-paced technological advancement and global communication. Change management specialists are in high demand in every industry, with 12% projected job growth (U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics) and a median salary of $128,992 ( 

Purdue Prepares Project Managers to Master Change

Purdue University’s 100% online Master of Science in IT Project Management prepares students for project management careers in the fast-growing information technology field. Students develop mastery of project management processes and procedures using program materials included in the Body of Knowledge developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI®). Courses are taught by industry experts in high-demand specialization areas such as change management,  risk management and security management.

Since the program is entirely online, working professionals can arrange their plan of study around their busy schedules and take classes from anywhere. The program is specifically tailored to industry-experienced go-getters who want to break into the IT field or advance their careers by developing project management expertise.

Professionals who want to grow their expertise without committing to a master’s degree can choose to complete a four-course graduate certificate in Managing Information Technology Projects. The credits from the graduate certificate can be applied towards the master’s degree if a student chooses to pursue the master’s after completing the certificate.

Learn more about the program and graduate certificate on the course’s website .

About the author.

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Rachel (RM) Barton

Change Management: Results With and Without. A Case Study.

22 February 2022 Same change, same time, two different approaches, widely different outcomes. Article written by Nelly Tire and Vincent Piedboeuf

Nexum's case studies offer practical insights for organisations wishing to make changes that stick.

Executive Summary

Why should I read? To get a real-life example of what can happen without a structured approach to managing the change. We uncover the difference in outcome between two organisations seeking to deploy the same technological solution to a recurrent and common issue in the personal care service sector.


  • In one case, the implementation phase proved much longer than expected. Only half of the staff was or stayed on board. The gulf between the target set and the number of people proficiently using the change kept widening every day.
  • The second case shows adoption and utilisation rates close to 88%. A clear CM plan with actionable strategies delivered expected results on time.
  • For a complete overview of what a successful CM plan looks like, please see Keys to application. 


Year – 2021.

Sector – Personal Care Services.

Who – Two non-profit organisations offering social services such as childcare, home nursing, special assistance to vulnerable people, heavy-duty housework, etc.

What – In a nutshell, outdated paper-based management and monitoring systems generate errors, poor responsiveness, and late payments while also causing the organisations and the sector to miss out on new opportunities. The new "Mobile Teleprocessing System" attempts to leverage technology to optimise the provision of existing and future services.

Type of change – See below. 

The challenge (why the change?)

Baseline. Managing and controlling provided services happens through a two-fold mechanism of phone check-in used by staff members in the home of users (elderly, physically- challenged people, etc.) and paper-form shift sheets subsequently signed by users (date of the month, number of hours).

Internal reasons to change. Both entities sought to provide practical solutions to recurrent problems reported by frontline employees/account services. Climbing on the train of digitisation was also expected to raise the sector's attractiveness. More specifically, both associations faced the following issues:

  • The excessive shift sheet volume led to repeated data processing and validation delays, pushing back invoicing and wage payments to 15 days the following month.
  • Frontline employees (caretakers) found it challenging to check-in using the user's phone landline .
  • There were problems managing shift sheets/forms , sometimes signed by disabled or vulnerable people (users), by staff members themselves, when not simply lost.

External reasons to change.   The availability of game-changing technological solutions, which could also respond to concerns related to funding, turned the change into a pressing issue. The mix of specific requirements and opportunities included:

  • system loopholes – the phone clocking in/out mechanism could only be used for some services.
  • technological developments and new apps designed to smooth out the problems of bureaucracy and speed up data exchange.
  • requests from funders to better control the use of resources allocated to the associations and allow real-time communication with home care services. 

The solution

This set of external and internal drivers led to "Mobile Teleprocessing" project. The overarching element of the action plan was the switch from the aforementioned "point system" (fixed phone system and shift sheets) to the use of a particular app running on a professional smartphone and connected in real-time with the all-in-one software for planning/accountancy . This advanced solution could also help manage instant alerts in case of a change in the internal working schedule. Sending off invoices would be just one click away. Other apps responding to specific health and care issues were also under consideration. 

Expected benefits ranged from shortening processing times and reducing errors when logging data to improving communication with frontline employees and funders. 

Keys to application – 1st case

Highlight: The first organisation implemented the solution within one month, impacting 500 employees. The plan was based upon Prosci's best practices and ADKAR model for individual change. Here is an overview of the main items:

a. Sponsorship, the face of change.  

Active and visible sponsorship throughout the whole duration of the project is the number-one success factor of any change initiative. In this case, the Director-General was designated as the primary sponsor. Beyond its involvement in the early phases, he was provided with data fresh from the field to remind people of the rules and communicate results. 

b. Bringing in Change Management resources.

The association allocated resources to CM, setting up a dedicated team with a change practitioner and a network of change agents.

c. Evaluating impact.

The organisation identified the groups impacted by the change (frontline employees, team leaders, accounting services) to prepare targeted training sessions.

d. Creating Awareness and Desire.

Before moving any further along the change journey, the association communicated extensively around the project and the strategic reasons underpinning it. They proceeded to:

  • Convene and conduct a meeting to introduce the project and CM plan to team leaders and super-users.
  • Get executives and team leaders actively involved with CM and fully committed to the process.
  • Circulate a promotional film featuring the change and its rationale, along with footage of an employee using the new tool.
  • Disseminating information on the intranet to communicate with frontline staff (caretakers operating in users' homes)
  • Send mail communications to present the "Mobile Teleprocessing" project to users and employees.

e. Building Knowledge and Ability.

After completing the impact analysis and conducting preliminary campaigns to raise awareness and desire, the organisation started to prepare the people for the change. They did so by:

  • Delivering 21 training sessions to 500 collaborators
  • Choosing instructors among expert users
  • Designing high-quality training materials, with a strong focus on user-friendliness  (practical exercises, quizzes, appropriate evaluation forms, ….)
  • Systematically collecting and analysing feedback to improve materials
  • Creating FAQs on the intranet
  • Uploading Video tutorials on the association website
  • Developing memos for teams on specific topics
  • At the end of the project, team leaders took over the role of instructors for new employees entering the application.

f. Reinforcing.

To ensure long-lasting results and effective use of the phone and app, the association proceeded to:

  • Collect info on clocking in/out processes and the remaining volume of shift sheets.
  • Hold a special briefing on results, including a quick review/reminder of the rules (main sponsor).
  • Diffuse reminders on the intranet.
  • Issue warning letters to people tricking the system by logging incorrect data, holding multiple broken phones, or repeatedly losing them.

Keys to application – 2 nd case

Highlight : The size of the change was even more significant in the second case, impacting about 800 employees. The expected time for completion was one month and a half. But unlike its counterpart, this association did not implement any structured Change Management plan. Team leaders viewed the technical solution as an easy fix.

Items : Team leaders were tasked with demonstrating how the application worked, with the following consequences:

  • Employees complained that they received poor guidance and struggled to use the phone or the application.
  • Employees perceived the new tool as a "policing instrument."
  • The roll-out proved difficult, triggering resistance among staff and causing the training modules to be delivered late. 

Results and Takeaways

Clear differences in outcomes show the importance of adopting a structured approach to managing the change. The implementation lasted one month without any significant setback in the first case . Not only did this association meet the deadline. Adoption and utilisation rates after four months were close to 88% . In contrast , implementation suffered from major delays in the second case . While leaders had planned on a one-month and a half roll-out, deployment was only complete after six months. Moreover, adoption and utilisation rates proved grossly insufficient , with a more modest 50%.


If all the above-described Change Management items account for what did go well in the first case, what went wrong in the second one?

A common mistake is to jump right into equipping the people without raising A wareness and creating D esire. This second case study clearly illustrates the consequences of not laying the foundations for the change. Omitting this part led to early resistances, crystallizing without any strategy or capacity to mitigate them. The new system was seen as a policing maneuver of sorts.

Furthermore, there was no attempt to create engaging training materials, leaving team leaders without a clear roadmap or tools to deliver K nowledge. Frontline employees lamented the lack of information or guidance. Issues with the phone connection in some rural regions also meant that employees were unable ( A bility) to use the solution. The new system, first seen as a quick fix, created distrust, and with nothing being done, the snowball effect sat in.

Change cannot be left to chance.

Check out our resources to learn more about Change Management and stay updated!

PROSCI Methodology in action

PROSCI's impact analysis provides a very accurate overview of the kind of change involved. The following "radar graphs" identify how the project "Mobile Teleprocessing" affects the three main target groups: Area Managers, Domestic Helpers, and Accounting Services. Most dimensions are self-explanatory [1] , but let's point out that processes , systems , tools, and critical behaviours – heavily emphasised in this case study – refer to:

  • the "action steps to achieve a defined outcome" ( processes ), or how the provision of care services will be managed and monitored from this point on.
  • the "combination of people and automated application" necessary to meet a set of goals ( systems ), in this case, all stakeholders and what is expected from them in terms of promoting, showcasing, and or being able to use the new "Mobile Teleprocessing" system.
  • "an item used for a specific purpose" ( tools ), that is, a professional phone and related app to clock out, report, or log other relevant information.
  • "a specific response to a stimulus" ( critical behaviours ), in this example, the consistent and proficient use of the professional phone and app.


[1] PROSCI's change impact model offers a robust framework to define the change along 10 dimensions that may impact people involved.  These dimensions or areas typically include Processes (1), Systems (2), Tools (3), Professional Roles (4), Critical Behaviours (5), Mindset/Attitudes/Belief (6), Reporting Structure (7), Performance Review (8), Compensation (9), Location (10). To learn more:


After having managed a large number of changes in a wide range of business sectors, Vincent Piedboeuf  dedicates his time helping managers to optimise their return on investment through effective integration of the people side in their change projects. He is one of the most active Change Management instructors and certifies hundreds of people in Prosci methodology every year.

case study project change

Nelly Tire and Vincent Piedboeuf

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