UK Pharmaceutical Industry Managing Change


At the beginning of the 21st century, the UK pharmaceutical industry experiences problems caused by economic decline and financial crisis. Therefore, because innovation is all about creating new realities, change must deal first and last with sight. Many critics admit that the UK pharmaceutical industry will not be able to survive without innovations and new trends in technology as a driver of change. Financial investments are seen as “unrealistic” because of the impaired sight of the state (Daft, 2003). It is assumed that the strategic intention not only informs all changes in pharmaceutical industry, but it also adjudicates it, thereby providing almost instantaneous responsive changes–time and place specific. Change presupposes a purpose, an intent; change is continuous creative energy. But change is energy used without specific intent; it is the continuous dissipation of energy. the company selected for analysis is AstraZeneca PLC. This is a new company founded un 1999, as a merger between Astra AB and Zeneca Group plc In 2008, a need for change was caused by increased competition on the global scale and new social demands imposed on pharmaceutical industry (AstraZeneca PLC Home Page 2009).

Literature Review

The theoretical literature on the topic covers the main theories and models of change and its implications in modern organizations. Barbara Senior (2001) underlines that modern change process is properly planned and prepared; it can be accomplished in extended changes. Many producers choose a retreat environment for what should be a casual but no-holds-barred examination of possibilities. All of those who are to be active in the development of strategy should be invited to participate. Throughout this extended discussion, one thing must be made clear: the strategic planning process, not to mention the plan, will leverage the entire organization into an entirely new way of doing business. Senior (2001) and Levy and Merry (1986) state that each participant in the change process–specifically, the members of the planning team and change team–must be willing to subordinate his or her own special and personal interests to the goals of the systems, the reason it exists. In commercial organizations, that means a willingness to abandon political turf and departmental profitability for corporate profits. Daft (2003) in the work Organizational Theory and Design states hat the idea to introduce innovative solutions and designs is explained by the fact that modern industry evolves and requires new ideas to prosper. It is a misleading and dangerous view that production facilities are made better through internal competition, and an even more deceptive adage that each department serves internal “customers.” If either of those suppositions are the basis of internal relationships, the pharmaceutical company is in terminal trouble.

Case studies by Hage (1999), Jansen (2000), Podlesnik and Chase (2006) vividly portray that the only clients are those outside of the company who represent new revenue, not other companies that vie in the shuffling of resources. The fact is, every aspect of a company has a vested interest in all of the others. Here again, it is extremely unfortunate that most union contracts do not lend themselves to this kind of venture in common interest; nor, for that matter, do the profit-sharing schemes of corporations. In non-profit or public service organizations the commitment must be to the best interests of the client, assuming that is the purpose of the system’s existence. For modern companies, the question is simply whether those participating in the process will make all decisions based on the best interests of the student. It is significant that the singular form of the noun is used; “students” would weaken the commitment and would conveniently ignore the inherent problem of the individual vis-à-vis the group. All of the teams in the planning process, as pointed out earlier, will be obligated to make decisions by complete agreement.

Change Model

In AstraZeneca PLC, the need for change was caused by an economic crisis and a crucial need to introduce new and innovative technology into practice. The UK pharmaceutical industry needs an effective change management strategy in order to save costs and time on implementation and void failure. Although plans for programs can be developed fully, the description of the change will be obviously less prescriptive than those in project plans (Collins and Porras 2004; AstraZeneca PLC Home Page 2009).

The change management was introduced in production facilities: new methods of transfusions and absorption. These proposals for change stated the general objective as it was conceptualized at present, establish the criteria of both the final change and the decision-making process leading to it, recommended the types of sources to be used in gathering information, and put into place a date-specific procedure for activating the program. There were many activities that lend themselves to this kind of planning: for instance, employee benefits programs, public relations, and customer service (Schien, 2000). Change systems used this kind of improvements in matters pertaining to curriculum, safety, and staff development. In short, any undertaking that is intended to generate a continuing change –that is, it was not subject to completion– naturally took the form of this kind of proposals for change.

The change model selected for implementation is Lewin’s change model.

Lewin’s change model

This model was the most appropriate one because it stipulated the main steps of change and meets organizational objectives and structure of the pharmaceutical industry. This model helped AstraZeneca PLC to solve problems and new environmental demands imposed on pharmaceutical industry. To some extend, this model was simple, and was easily applied by the company’s management team. Also, it covered all important areas of change allowing the pharmaceutical industry to prepare the ground for change, introduce change and level resistance to change (Schien, 2000). Complexity of the model did not often lead to better outcomes and results: a simple model allowed AstraZeneca PLC to develop state-of-the-art solutions to its current problems and weaknesses. The intent was to follow some of the Lewin approach on unfreezing and refreezing attitudes toward different cultures. The pharmaceutical industry staffs was motivated to formulate what the differences were (unfreezing) and try to replace irrational assumptions with a more rational understanding of differences with the help of a trained facilitator (refreezing). When one initiates such training in an indigenous organization, it was across the board instead of with isolated groups within the organization (Collins and Porras 2004

The main limitation of the Lewin’s model was that it did not involve political and social issues. In order to ensure successful implementation and transformations, pharmaceutical industry combined the Lewin’s model and Bolman & Deal (2008) model (Daft, 2003). The benefits of this approach is that Bolman & Deal (2008) model will help to take into account structural factors, human resources, political environment and symbolic frame while the Lewin’s model will help to introduce the changes into practice. It should be pointed out that changes are not to be considered, as some have thought, the actual implementation portion of the planning process (Schien, 2000). Changes are tactics, and only plans. Developing changes does not constitute implementation; having them does not constitute implementation. Neither does talking about them in management meetings from time to time (Mintzberg1980; AstraZeneca PLC Home Page 2009).

Results of Change

The main benefits of the proposed approach were that it helped management ot prepare employees for change and overcome possible difficulties in communication and performance. In general, all employees were motivated and very enthusiastic about new changes and their positive impact on the company’s production. The four frames were not only sustain an organization of the company, thee frames provided the capacity for growth and change. Strategic changes had the obligation both to ensure the adequacy of resources for achieving the stated purpose and to appropriate the resources within the system for optimal results. Regrettably, this proved to be an unbearable burden for organizations, especially in a capitalistic society where there was never enough. In AstraZeneca PLC, resources were typically categorized as financial, physical, human, and intellectual, almost everything begins and ends with economics. So AstraZeneca PLC, while managers invest in physical capability–if for no other reasons than to qualify for a tax break or to remain competitive–are reluctant to reduce the bottom line by direct expenditure for acquiring or, even more crucial, developing human or intellectual capacity. “Downsizing,” the black plague of contemporary organization, is not a growth strategy (Schien, 2000). And change systems, which live by probation and priority, seldom are able to fund the last few items in the financial plan. The average investment in human capacity is less than 1 percent of the total revenues. Most modern organizations, therefore, are seriously incapacitated; even the routine business operations are marginal. And, worse still, there is no capacity for expansion. Quite often the impetus comes form misguided management practices. An overemphasis on efficiency, a term borrowed from manufacturing, not only prevents current effectiveness, it also forecloses any hope of future development (Schien, 2000). In extreme instances, the depletion of capacity is equivalent to self-cannibalization. There are two immutable strategic imperatives in the matter of resources, both of which will be explored fully in the section on strategic change: (1) capacity exists only in excess; and (2) capacity is always developed outside of the current context. Only truly change management systems have the capacity to understand that (Sherman and Garland 2007).

The main issues generated from innovation will be the new structure of the AstraZeneca PLC’s production and new approaches to product designs. In this situation, the change team that is vital for pharmaceutical manufactures, must be a microcosm of change. That is to say, the employees of the company must reflect all segments and all aspects of the community. The stage of transformation will include business, governmental agencies, and other related groups (Daft, 2003). In addition, every demographic aspect of the society must be mirrored-age, gender, race, ethnicity, political and religious philosophies. New technologies and designs should be oriented to needs and expectations of modern society and new generation of people. If anyone in the society can look at the team and not see themselves reflected back, the change process has already lost credibility.

In pharmaceutical industry, there is a critical need to address radical change, personal inconvenience, and new accountability. The process of innovation and change itself will be instructional including decision making and problem-solving elements. Innovations will indicate the range and the method of involving persons within (and outside) the pharmaceutical industry in the planning process. The change process is how the plan is developed–the means, the methods, and the sequence of change activities. Typically, the change process takes approximately years of transformations to complete and follows a rather rigid, linear course from beginning to end. But unlike the transformations, which are altered only at the threat of seriously weakening the plan, the change quite often must be adapted to local conditions and requirements in order to achieve best effect. Yet, even so, the change process must never sacrifice its necessary time-on-task, results-oriented behavior and transformations (Sherman and Garland 2007).

In the simplest terms, the introduced change plan is an initiative that can be accomplished by individuals or groups as part of their organizational responsibilities. That means every change must eventually be translated into personal responsibility. Ultimately, all job accountabilities will be affected by the change plans; and, in many cases, jobs will be radically altered, eliminated, or created. It is not incorrect, in a corporation context, to suggest that change plans are the operational applications of the strategies; and, as with all operational changes, eventually there will be active reciprocity with the strategies. The complication begins with the necessity of differentiating change and activity. While it seems extremely clear in theory, it becomes confused in application. The guiding principle, however, is quite specific: change is a concentrated effort toward an intended result. Interestingly, that is also the definition of work. Activity is anything else–motion, movement, exercise, any energy consumed by process. The obvious indication of this debilitating condition is “process” objectives. Unfortunately, the development of even this kind of plan seems somehow contrary to the disposition of most managers (Senior 2001).


The case of AstraZeneca PLC shows that it is only by carrying out the changes that the strategies will be realized and the objectives achieved. It is significant that changes are the only component of the change plan that will be implemented. The second kind of change is that for which the specific outcome-therefore, the particular steps to achieve it–cannot be known until the course of the change itself reveals them. But sometimes the details cannot be determined in advance because of the scope of the change, or should not be because of the progression of variables. Changes are developed in a relatively short period of time (three months), and therefore quite often information is simply not available to justify decisions about specific changes. So presuming to develop the specifics would be premature, probably superficial. Sometimes the changes cannot be worked out in advance, simply because the variable, options, and possibilities are discovered only as one decision or change leads to another. In pharmaceutical industry, changes are at once both simple and complex: simple, in the sense that they are the several, assignable tasks that will be necessary to realize the strategy; complex, because of the tendency to confuse activity with change and because there is more than one kind of change.


AstraZeneca PLC Home Page. 2009.

Collins, J., Porras, J. I. 2004, Build to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. Collins.

Daft, R. L. 2003, Organizational Theory and Design. 9th Edition. South-Western College Pub; 8 edition.

Hage, J. T.(1999, Organizational Innovation and Organizational Change. Annual Review of Sociology (1), pp. 597.

Jansen, K. J. 2000, The Emerging Dynamics of Change: Resistance, Readiness, and Momentum. Human Resource Planning, 23 (1), 53-55.

Levy, A., Merry, U. 1986, Organizational Transformation: Approaches, Strategies, Theories. Praeger Publishers.

Mintzberg, H. 1980, Structure in 5’s: A Synthesis of the Research on Organization Design. Management Science. 26 (3), pp. 322-341

Podlesnik, Ch., Chase, Ph. N. 2006, Sensitivity and Strength: Effects of Instructions on Resistance to Change. The Psychological Record, 56 (1), 303.

Senior, Barbara. 2001, Organizational Change, Capstone Publishing.

Schien, E. H. 2000, Organizational Culture and Leadership. Jossey-Bass.

Sherman, W. S., Garland, G. E. 2007, Where to Bury the Survivors? Exploring Possible Ex Post Effects of Resistance to Change. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 72, (1); 52.

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