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Organizational Behavior of AECOM

Info: 7658 words (31 pages) Dissertation
Published: 11th Dec 2019

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Tagged: BusinessEngineering

Organizational Behavior of AECOM

Table of Contents

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3

Overview and Structure of AECOM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Comparison of Behaviors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Solutions to Problems . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26



Organizational behavior observes how people in a company interact within groups and each other. A key consideration is determining how effective the company is lead, structured and organized to achieve results and foster a culture that encourages collaboration and teamwork. It is critical to begin with a company structure that supports the building blocks of any organization, growth, innovation and profitability. This paper will include a thorough analysis of the company’s organizational behavior to support and strengthen the company. The company structure will include essential elements such as job positions and management levels that will help those engaged to understand the company’s organizational behavior,  identify concerns and ultimately to offer deliverable solutions to issues that will improve business performance. This analysis will provide the analyst a complete overview of the company that will include the action plan designed to address the critical issues required to achieve business and organizational performance.

Overview and Structure of AECOM

The company of choice for examination and analysis is AECOM, a multi billion worldwide corporation that provides technical and management support services in engineering and government operations. AECOM is headquartered in Los Angeles, California with offices and locations throughout the United States and around the globe. AECOM is a publicly traded company with over100,000 employees. This analysis will report on one specific area and example one small office in order to obtain an in-depth understanding of AECOM’s organizational behavior.

AECOM is segmented into several areas of business; oil and natural gas, government, commercial and residential, power and water, and transportation in cities. Each segmented area handles projects and clients within their own individual scope. Occasionally personnel from one segmented business area are transferred to another segment of the company. There is no corporate centralized or shared company operation. Each segment is structure to maximize efficient workflow.

While it is essential to understand how AECOM is structured on a global scale. It is also important to understand how AECOM is structured from the viewpoint of junior personnel. The organizational behavior analysis will closely look at the perspective of those engaged in the government segment area of operations by outlining the chain of command. This will offer insight into how the organization delivers on its goals and objectives.

Leadership starts at the foundation of the organizational structure with the junior analyst, an entry-level position for those recently hired. This individual joins the organization right out of college or has one year prior experience. The next higher position in the leadership structure is the quality control analyst who supervises several junior analysts and ensures their work is on target with no errors. The quality control analyst is followed in the organizational chart by the assistant project manager who is responsible for confirming any and all deadlines for the project. The assistant project manager ensures deliverables are on time and complete, supervises three to four quality control analysts and manages whatever the project manager is unable to handle and or requires additional assistance to complete the needed task.  The next level of leadership is the project manager who is responsible for one project or client. The project manager has complete authority for anything that has to do with a specific project or client.  Under the typical project manger’s leadership, there is one assistant project manager, three to four quality control analysts and six to eight junior analysts.  Directly above the project manager is the director of projects who is responsible for all projects in a concentrated geographical area, division or AECOM area segment. This organizational structure is the typical leadership structure of an AECOM office and illustrates how AECOM arranges and manages their leadership matrix.

Comparison of Behaviors

The next area of focus is to examine AECOM’s current types of effective behaviors and practices applied and executed on a daily basis. The first area of effective organization behavior at AECOM is job satisfaction which demonstrates how satisfied employees perform and use motivations to drive their accomplishments. The first types of motivation for employees are intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence motivation (Glick, 2013, p.98). Intrinsic factors are the internal forces that motivate or compel an individual while the extrinsic factors are the external forces that motivate or compel that individual. For instance, employers use extrinsic factors, such as promotions, to motivate employees to perform admirably on the job. At the same time, the person may also be provoked by intrinsic factors, such as an inner drive to succeed. Intrinsic factors include physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs.

The next type of employee motivation is intensity. Intensity is the asset of the response in the chosen direction. Typically, there is a close affiliation between intensity and the expectation of a desired outcome. Intensity depends on the individual’s view of the probability that effort will yield a certain result. This is true whether or not awareness is realistic. For instance, if an person feels a pay raise is on the horizon it can be a motivator to pursue the goal with vigor, perhaps by staying late at work and increasing output (Glick, 2013, p.99).

The last type of employee motivation is persistence. Persistence is the time with which a person uses energy and effort towards a goal. The behavior is influenced by extrinsic and intrinsic factors. The factors that at first start the behavior may not automatically be the same factors that maintain behavior and provide for determination. For instance, a student may be initially motivated to earn good grades in school to receive a reward. Over time, extrinsic motivation may be complemented or replaced by intrinsic motivation if the student discovers that learning is fun and personally satisfying (Vandenabeele, 2008, p.1092). At AECOM, the company and its leadership use all of these employee motivators to inspire their employees to taking action. AECOM uses all of them depending upon the situation and the employee in order to achieve the desired result from the employee.

In addition to job motivation, AECOM must be commended in identifying how satisfied their employees are with their job satisfaction. AECOM uses several different methods to ascertain job satisfaction. An employee’s overall satisfaction with his job is the result of a combination of job satisfaction factors including areas related to financial compensation. Management’s role in enhancing employees’ job satisfaction is to make sure the work environment is positive, morale is high and employees have the resources they need to accomplish the tasks they have been assigned (Vandenabeele, 2008, p.1100).

The first area that AECOM focuses on with regards to job satisfaction is working conditions. Employees spend so much time in their work location day after day. As a result it is necessary that companies optimize working conditions to ensure employee satisfaction. Such things as providing large work areas rather than overcrowded ones, ample lighting and comfortable workstations contribute to favorable work conditions (Glick, 2013, p.100). Providing productivity tools such as upgraded information technology to help employees accomplish tasks more efficiently contributes to job satisfaction.

The next area of job satisfaction AECOM focuses on is providing the prospect for advancement. Employees are more satisfied with their current job if they see a way presented to advancement and move up in the business. They are looking for additional duties and motivations together with higher payment. Forward thinking companies encourage employees to acquire advanced skills that lead to opportunities, advancement and promotions. As an example, companies often pay the cost of tuition for employees taking university courses (Vandenabeele, 2008, p.1103). During an employee’s annual performance review, a supervisor and the employee should work together to map out a path to show the employee what is needed to accomplish to deliver results. This will include any new skills needed to develop, leading to advancement to the next level within the organization.

AECOM wants to offer its workforce the right balance where work gets completed while employees aren’t stressed or overworked while performing their jobs. AECOM likes to provide a working space that fosters an environment that demonstrates respect for co-workers. Employees want to be treated with dignity and respect by those they work with. A hostile work environment, with rude or unpleasant coworkers, is one that usually has lower job satisfaction (Ilyas, & Abdullah, 2016, p. 159). Managers need to set the example and lead the organization by living by values that show respect for all employees. When conflict arises managers need to step in and mediate before the issue escalates thereby preventing more serious problems that may require disciplinary actions. Employees need continuous behavioral education so the workforce understands acceptable vs. unacceptable behaviors.

Lastly, when it comes to job satisfaction, AECOM is well aware that most employees are satisfied and motivated by financial rewards. Job satisfaction is impacted by an employee’s views about the fairness of the company wage scale as well as the current compensation program. Companies need mechanisms in place to evaluate employee performance and to provide salary and performance incentives to top performers. Opportunities to earn special incentives, such as bonuses, extra paid time off or vacations, inspire, motivate and excite employees to higher job satisfaction. AECOM uses effective compensation programs to increase job satisfaction of employees, which in turn increases the level and pace of work for employees (Ilyas, & Abdullah, 2016, p. 161). The level of job satisfaction is linked to how well the company is liked and how the company’s organizational behavior is viewed. AECOM does not focus on just one method of job satisfaction. They listen to employees through interviews and job surveys to identify the best ways to motivate and inspire employees to exceed performance standards. It is critical to focus and align employees and reward teams and individual excellence.

Many companies only look at their employee’s positive job satisfaction results. AECOM tries to go one step further to review dissatisfied employee challenges and what issues drive their dissatisfaction. Job satisfaction affects many individual behaviors. AECOM uses a useful model to organize and understand the consequences of job dissatisfaction. The exit-voice-loyalty-neglect (EVLN) model identifies four ways that employees respond to dissatisfaction (Farrell, 2009, p.596).

The first area is exit, which refers to leaving the situation, including searching for other employment, actually leaving the organization, or transferring to another work unit. Employee turnover is a well-established outcome of job dissatisfaction, particularly for employees with better job opportunities. Recent evidence also suggests that exit is linked to specific “shock events,” such as a conflict episode or an important violation of your expectations (Farrell, 2009, p.597). These shock events produce more than just dissatisfaction; they create strong emotions that boost employees to think about and search for other employment.

The next area of the model is voice. Voice refers to any attempt to change, rather than escape from, the dissatisfying situation. Voice is often a positive or productive response, such as trying to solve the problem with management or keenly helping to improve the situation (Farrell, 2009, p.598). Voice can also be more provoking with an ultimate outcome of filing a formal complaint. In the extreme, some employees might engage in counterproductive behaviors to get attention and force organizational change. Voice might be even be viewed as either constructive or destructive.

The third area of the job dissatisfaction model focuses on loyalty. Loyalty has been described as employees who respond to dissatisfaction by patiently waiting, some say “suffering in silence”, for the problem to work itself out or get resolved by others (Farrell, 2009, p.598). They generally take no action and allow the issue to continue indefinitely.

The final area of the job dissatisfaction model is neglect. Neglect includes reducing work effort, paying less attention to quality, increasing absenteeism and lateness. It is generally considered a passive activity that has negative consequences for the organization. AECOM uses this model to help identify job dissatisfaction and then correct the issue using performance evaluations, coaching or adherence to job standards. AECOM tries to assist employees with job satisfaction before the employee reaches this model. Employees that reach this model usually face significant challenges.

With poorer job scenarios, employees are less likely to use the exit option. Personality is another influence on the choice of action. People with high conscientiousness are less likely to engage in neglect and more likely to engage in voice. Employees differ in their EVLN behavior depending on whether they have high or low collectivism. Finally, past experience influences our choice of action. Employees who were unsuccessful with voice in the past are more likely to engage in exit or neglect when experiencing job dissatisfaction in the future (Farrell, 2009, p.606). Job dissatisfaction does not always result in lower job effort. Instead, some employees continue to work productively while they complain, look for another job, or patiently wait for the problem to be fixed (Farrell, 2009, p.605). AECOM wants to help the employee as much as possible when they reach the EVLN model for job dissatisfaction. Unfortunately it can be too late for the company to act in each situation. AECOM tries to use these different behaviors and practices in their organizational behavior in order to help employees with positive job satisfaction. Ultimately AECOM is looking to motivate and inspire employees to exceed expectations to support performance goals and company growth.

Solutions to Problems

While AECOM’s organizational behavior has positive areas, they also have several areas of opportunity that require addressing and fixing. The first issue of concern is the organizational structure for the teams at AECOM. The teams are set up by department with each department responsible for the actions needed to deliver goals. As a department team, the individuals included perform duties related to specific areas of focus. Every team member works toward achieving the goals outlined in the company’s mission statement and key deliverables. Some are part of the corporate hierarchy while others are adjunct. Teams can be established to manage different situations depending upon the task. AECOM should set up teams differently in order to maximize the abilities of their employees (Tong, Yang, & Teo, 2013, p. 363).  By using the skills and abilities of each individual they can structure the teams to better deliver the goals using the targeted skill sets of key individuals and managers. There are distinct types of teams that AECOM could use in different situations that could lead to improved organizational performance.

One type of team structure is the problem-solving team or task force. This team is traditionally temporary with focus on solving a specific issue. Such teams are formed for a special purpose of working on any specific project or finding a solution to a very critical problem. For example, after the 2008 financial crisis, several organizational task force teams and governmental committees were created to come up with solutions to help the country climb out of a steep recession (Jacobsson, & Hällgren, 2016, p. 587). Once the solutions and guidelines were established and plans were in place, the task forces and committees disbanded. Individuals with special skills were selected to participate in the temporary team to support critical efforts.  Another example is when the government generally appoints special teams to investigate critical issues like bomb blasts, terrorist attacks and other homeland security concerns. The task force explores all the possible reasons that led to the severe problem and concern. Solutions and or resolutions are put in place with a given deadline.

Another type of team that will greatly help AECOM reach their goals is the cross-functional team. In most business settings, permanent team members are going to collaborate with other departments to tackle certain events for the company, such as a new product launch. In these situations communication between internal departments is crucial in order to address the project goals.  Ideally the employees should be more or less on the same level to avoid ego hassles (Jacobsson, & Hällgren, 2016, p. 593). Individuals from different areas join and work together for a common objective to form a cross functional team. In such teams, people from different areas, interests and likings join hands to come up with a unique idea to successfully complete a task.

Self-managed teams at AECOM are empowered to make decisions and execute recommended plans once approved by management. Each team member brings a certain skill set to the table to make informed decisions, complete assignments or deliver services for customers. Self-managed teams consist of individuals who work together again for a common purpose but without the supervision of any leader (Tong, Yang, & Teo, 2013, p. 372). Companies that develop and implement self-managed teams say their employees demonstrate more ownership of the project that leads to improved implementation and overall success. The team members of self-managed teams must respect each other and should never lose focus on their target (Jacobsson, & Hällgren, 2016, p. 595). No leader is appointed and team members take ownership, responsibility and accountability for their analysis, evaluation, recommendations and implementation. Each individual takes the initiative to move forward and use mentors and guides in an effective manner.

AECOM can also use temporary teams. Unlike permanent teams, temporary teams lose their meaning and focus once the job is finished. Such teams are generally created for a shorter duration either to aid the permanent team or work when members of the permanent team are busy working on another project. When businesses have excess of work, they generally create temporary teams that work in association with the members of the permanent team for the accomplishment of the task within the stipulated time (Jacobsson, & Hällgren, 2016, p. 594). Temporary teams are valuable in finding immediate solutions.

AECOM could also use committees that are similar to temporary teams but differ slightly. Committees are generally formed to work on a particular assignment either permanently or on a temporary basis (Tong, Yang, & Teo, 2013, p. 368). Individuals with common interests, more or less from the same background and attitudes come together on a common platform to form a committee and work on an issue. Organizations generally use committees to handle local cultural activities like fund raising, celebrity invitations and other activities needed to successfully organize and execute an event. The committee members collaborate together to design strategies to successfully accomplish the task or activity. As an example, educational institutions generally form committees with students when a common interest to join hands to organize cultural events and other activities to support student development.

AECOM can also improve how to structurally organize their global company. The organizational structure helps support and determines critical areas like corporate communications and the executive and managerial hierarchy that creates the plan for efficient growth for the future. The six elements of organizational structure previously discussed must come together to create the blueprint for how the structure of the company helps support and manage the organization. A successful structure will assist the managerial staff to effectively drive the organization to deliver on growth, innovation and profit expectations.

AECOM should look at these six elements and modify their current structure to help the employees and the company. The first area of opportunity is geography. How the company is structured can depend on the number of corporate locations needed to contribute to the strategic plans to grow the company. The more spread out an organization is, the more autonomy each location will need to be given in order for the company to run efficiently (Lechner, 2016, p. 473). The organization needs to closely monitor its size and scope to ensure effective management of existing and future plans.

Hierarchy communication is also a challenge when creating an organizational structure over a large geographic area. Managers who report to executives in another location need to establish a clear line of communication in order to receive guidance and instructions. The less people involved in the hierarchy the more effective the communication. Organizations today are focused on how to streamline the organizational hierarchy to foster improved communication.

The next area of organizational structure that AECOM should factor is the number of employees. A large employee population can necessitate that there be several layers of management for a company to run efficiently (Lechner, 2016, p. 472). As a company grows, the organizational structure needs to be elastic enough to accommodate more employees and the potential need for a larger management structure.

Product evolution is critical to success and growth. A company may start off with a small line of products that cover a general part of the industry. As the company grows, the need to create specified departments for product development and manufacturing can have an effect on the company’s organizational structure (Lechner, 2016, p. 478). As the product line evolves, matures and grows strategic considerations must come into play to ensure the organizational structure can support the new products to achieve continued success.

The fourth area of organizational structure that AECOM should focus on is distribution of authority. A company’s organizational structure is affected by whether the company wants centralized management or decentralized management. Centralized management keeps all major decisions with one specific executive group, while decentralized management allows company managers to have more input and authority in the decision-making process.

The fifth area of structure is control. Companies that require more sophisticated product quality must focus attention to stricter rules and regulations since they more than likely operate in a more regimented and regulated environment. This would apply to companies that manufacturer high tech product, products ingested or placed on the skin, handcrafted products or highly regulated products such as medical equipment. Companies that engage in the mass production of products may not exert as much control over the quality of their products and, subsequently, may create a different organizational structure (Lechner, 2016, p. 479). In some cases government regulations and laws may require the added structure and control to ensure safety.

The next area of organizational behavior AECOM needs to improve is the flow of communication in all directions. Communication flows downward, upward, sideways, left to right, right to level, etc. Productive companies work heard to install systems and processes to ensure communication is transparent, continuous, repetitive and effective in translating the management and employee messages. Today, communication between levels is a jumbled mess that leaves employees confused and angry.

The downward flow of communication allows communication to move from a higher level in an organization to a lower level via downward communications. Company executives and superiors communicate to the levels below using the chain of command that currently exists. Communication starts at the top and moves down the organization either level to level or from the top down to all subordinates and or employees. Managers transmit work-related information to employees at lower levels using this communication flow. Employees require this information for performing their jobs and for meeting the expectations of their managers (Adelman, 2012, p. 133).

Downward communication provides several advantages. It provides an organizational discipline that follows the organization’s hierarchy. The communication moves from level to level starting at the most senior level and moving throughout the organization in a disciplined manner. Member compliance is much easier to maintain and can be tracked and measured for efficiencies and effectiveness. Senior Management is able to coordinate and control activities from the top of the organization. The outcome is that downward communication is an effective way to communicate goals (Adelman, 2012, p. 134). The end result is upper management can straightforwardly communicate goals, assign responsibilities and identify accountabilities to ensure the organization understands their targets and goals.

While there are advantages to downward communication, there are also some disadvantages. Most notably is distortion. Downward communication can get distorted as it moves through multiple levels of the company. Messages can get twisted, altered and misrepresented as communication filters and changes as it moves from level to level and person to person. Another concern is the slow feedback from the upper levels of management. It takes time for messages to work their way down the organization and then back up the organization and then back down again. This means that feedback can be slow, resulting in problems, especially in a dynamic environment (Adelman, 2012, p. 134). A final issue with downward communication is lack of motivation. Given slow feedback and dependence on stiff channels of communication, this method of communication does not motivate employees who are always looking for encouragement from leadership.  While downward communication does have its challenges it remains an effective communication form that AECOM can improve.

Going with downward communication is upward communication. This is communication that flows from the lower levels in an organization to the higher levels. It provides feedback on how well the organization is functioning. Subordinates use upward communication to convey their challenges, problems, opportunities and performances to superiors. Subordinates use upward communication to inform senior leadership on how well they understand downward communication. Upward communication leads to a more committed and loyal workforce in an organization because employees are given a chance to raise and speak about dissatisfaction issues to higher levels (Adelman, 2012, p. 138). The managers get to recognize the employee’s feelings towards their jobs, peers, supervisor and organization in general. Managers can use this information and feedback to take the necessary actions to improve the organization.

Internal and external communication is an integral part of the business environment. Individuals communicate various pieces of information to internal and external business stakeholders (Adelman, 2012, p. 136). While much of the business communication flows from directors or managers to employees, upward communication channels also provide a valuable resource for the internal organization and leadership. With the growth of social media upper levels of the organization and lower levels have recourse to communicate via social media platforms and various surveys.

Like downward communication, upward communication has concerns and issues that prevent it from maximizing its effectiveness. One is choosing the right communication medium. Upward communication channels may be crippled by the communication mediums available to lower-level employees. Directors or managers often use multiple communication channels, such as telephones, letters, memos, meetings and other methods. However, employees may not have as many mediums at their disposal to send messages to directors or managers. Limited communication mediums can force employees to deliver messages using potentially ineffective methods. Inappropriate upward communication mediums can create confusion for individuals receiving the messages (Adelman, 2012, p. 139). Filtering may also obstruct downward communication. Filtering occurs when messages pass through an go-between in the communication channel. Filtering can alter the original message, limit its effectiveness or renders it incomprehensible. Upward communication filtering occurs when employees pass a message intended for upper-level management through an immediate supervisor. The employee’s immediate superior may amend the information to reflect the supervisor’s opinion or understanding of the situation.

Another factor that can limit upward communication is the levels of education and experience within AECOM’s organizational structure. Upward communication faces barriers when lower-level employees have different educational backgrounds than the individual requesting feedback. Lower-level employees also may lack the specific business skills and experience to effectively communicate with the receiving parties. Employees also may have misunderstood the original message from a lack of understanding, education or experience (Adelman, 2012, p. 141). Misinterpreting the original message allows incorrect or unnecessary information to flow through the upward communication channel.

One final issue that factors into how well upward communication works at AECOM is the cultural differences between employees. Business organizations face cultural differences when sending messages through the company’s communication channels. Cultural differences can affect the language in messages flowing through upward channels to managers. This barrier can be more prevalent in companies with global operations, large international work forces or diverse local economic labor markets (Adelman, 2012, p. 143). Companies may need to either educate and train employees on cultural diversity or hire managers who have an understanding of cultural diversities so they can effectively translate messages through the upward communication channel to higher-level managers. Communication between employees at any company is a critical part of business that must work in order to achieve continued success. AECOM needs to find the right balance between downward and upward communication. Today that delicate balance is not in place. Fixing this issue will lead AECOM to have a better organizational structure and behavior that will increase employee satisfaction and will improve the company.

A major concern for AECOM’s organization behavior is how to manage and interact with organizational change. Large organizations like AECOM find managing change a major organizational challenge. Pockets of any company and certain employees avoid change and resist new ideas to generate growth. Change occurs for many reasons such as new staff roles, increases or decreases in funding, acquisition of new technology, and to reach new members or clients. Change can create new opportunities for many but sometimes is often met with criticism from resisting individuals.

Change starts with the executive leadership and key decision makers. It is their responsibility to create an environment that fosters adherence to change.  Leadership must communicate details with transparence to team members and make themselves available to manage and address questions and complaints to ensure future success. Unfortunately, as news of a change spreads through the hierarchy, details are sometimes skewed and members end up receiving inaccurate, second-hand information (Murphy, 2016, p. 68). Poor communication can hamper change and create a resisting atmosphere.

Lack of trust in leadership and or the organization can also occur with employees. Trust plays a major role in overseeing a successful organization. When organization members feel they cannot trust each other or key decision makers, it becomes difficult for them to accept organizational changes (Murphy, 2016, p. 70). They may ascribe the changes to some negative underlying reason or even assume they may ultimately lose their jobs. Changes in work methods, in routine office procedures, in the location of a machine or a desk, in personnel assignments and job titles regularly occur in an evolving organization. Unfortunately when people feel mistrusted these issues can create chaos and problems for those leading and working in the organization.

To counter these issues leaders need to face and acknowledge several critical ideas that will help them and their employees accept change. The first idea is management needs to appropriately and accurately communicate changes the first time. Much resistance to change can be avoided if effective change management is applied on the project from the very beginning. While resistance is the normal human reaction in times of change, good change management can mitigate much of this resistance (Kulkarni, 2016, p. 263). Change management is not just a tool for managing resistance. The tool needs to effectively activate and engage employees in a change. Capturing and leveraging the passion and positive emotion surrounding a change can many times prevent resistance from occurring; this is the power of utilizing structured change management from the initiation of a project (Murphy, 2016, p. 66). Much of the resistance that management encounters can be avoided if they applied solid change management practices and principles. The significance is leaders must implement change management correctly the first time. This will allow leaders to prevent resistance from occurring.

The next focus of change AECOM’s leaders can expect is resistance to change. Comfort with the status quo is extraordinarily powerful. Fear of moving into an unknown future state creates anxiety and stress, even if the current state is painful (Kulkarni, 2016, p. 247). Project teams and change management teams should work to address resistance and mitigate the change. Leaders should never be surprised by resistance to change. When preparing for resistance, leaders should spend time before the project launches to identify likely sources of resistance. When change is initiated, leaders need to proactively and specifically develop a resistance program so they can thwart any concerns. Finally they must take the appropriate actions so resistance doesn’t impact the project.

The next area that leaders of AECOM should focus on when it comes to changes in the company is to formally manage resistance to change. AECOM should manage resistance to change proactively and put in place practitioners. There are many practical steps to address and mitigate resistance. The first step is to prepare for the change. During the creation of the change management strategy, the team and leaders should generate anticipated points of resistance and special tactics to manage them based on readiness assessments (Jones & Van de Ven, 2016, p. 484). The second step is to manage the change. These change management plans all focus on moving individuals through their own change process and addressing the likely barriers for making the change successful (Kulkarni, 2016, p. 255). The resistance management plan provides specific action steps for understanding and addressing resistance. The final step is to reinforce change. In the final phase of the process, leaders collect feedback to understand employee adoption and compliance with new workflows and processes. Evaluating this feedback allows leaders to identify gaps and manage resistance. Formally addressing resistance ensures that it is understood and managed throughout the project lifecycle. It moves managing resistance to change from simply a reactive mechanism to a proactive mechanism.

The fourth area AECOM leaders should consider is to identify the root causes of the resistance to change. Managing resistance is effective only when addressing the strategic challenges and causes. The symptoms of resistance are observable and often overt, such as complaining, not attending key meetings, not providing requested information or resources, or simply not adopting a change to process or behavior. While they are more evident, focusing on these symptoms will not yield results (Jones & Van de Ven, 2016, p. 489). Management needs to understanding why resistant occurs. Some root causes for resistance to change are the lack of awareness of why the change was being made, the impact that the change has on the current job role, the organization’s past performance with change, the lack of visible support and commitment from managers, and the fear of job loss by the employees (Kulkarni, 2016, p. 258). Leaders can use additional benchmarking findings to craft a list of likely root causes with activities to address and mitigate each one (Jones & Van de Ven, 2016, p. 491). The most compelling method to identify the root cause of resistance is through a personal conversation between a resistant employee and their management.

Finally AECOM leaders of change should engage the appropriate resistance managers. The “right” resistance managers in an organization are the senior leaders, middle managers and frontline supervisors. It takes action by organizational leadership to manage resistance. At a high level, senior leaders can help mitigate resistance by making a compelling case for the need for change and by demonstrating their commitment to a change (Jones & Van de Ven, 2016, p. 493). Employees look up to and listen to senior leaders when deciding if a change is important. If senior leaders are not committed to a change or waver in their support, employees will judge the change as unimportant and resist the change. The next level leaders that are managers and supervisors are necessary to supervise resistance. They are the closest to the frontline employees who ultimately are requested to adopt change. If they are neutral to or are resistant to a change, chances are that their employees will follow suit (Jones & Van de Ven, 2016, p. 496). However, if they are openly supportive and advocate for a particular change, employees will react favorable to the change. Through these five ideas, AECOM managers and leaders can address the major areas of concern and ensure that change at the company can move forward effectively. Change at AECOM is necessary in order for the company to grow and be more effective. Managing change must be generally be adopted by all. Without effective management the change with unravel and become a total nightmare that can lead the company to disaster.


Outstanding companies and leaders have the ability to inspire, motivate and manage change effectively. These companies and leaders know where they want to go, develop a plan on how to get there, communicate the plan with transparency and execute the plan so others follow. An instrumental challenge of any company, especially a global organization like AECOM, is how to effectively manage organizational behavior. If leaders and mangers develop and establish practical, effective and outstanding practices and behaviors, then AECOM will perform admirable in the marketplace and deliver their objectives and goals. If not, then AECOM will survive in a chaotic and disorganized manner.

While AECOM’s current organizational behavior is acceptable when it comes to job satisfaction and dissatisfaction and motivating employees. The organization has opportunities to improve in areas addressed. The hard work starts by installing and communicating a structure and culture designed to address problems, recommend solutions and deliver performance. The structure and the leaders working in the structure must be educated and trained to manage change in an ever changing environment with ever changing culturally distinct employees. To achieve this AECOM must create and pull together distinct teams that will deliver their clients flawless work.  AECOM leaders need to collaborate to improve the organization’s global business organizational behavior and instill a culture of continuous improvement where leaders can continually monitor and tinker with it to maximize employee potential and performance. AECOM’s large employee base must continually be inspired, motivated and trained to operate in an ever changing world. Those who succeed in managing change will achieve a competitive advantage and win in the marketplace.


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Appendix 1

[AECOM organizational chart]

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