4. The Change Management Challenge in Growth Firms

  1. Professor Edward Finch
  1. Paul Dettwiler

Published Online: 16 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781119967316.ch4

Facilities Change Management

Facilities Change Management

How to Cite

Dettwiler, P. (2011) The Change Management Challenge in Growth Firms, in Facilities Change Management (ed E. Finch), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781119967316.ch4

Editor Information

  1. School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, UK

Author Information

  1. Institute of Facility Management, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Zurich, Switzerland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 16 DEC 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405153461

Online ISBN: 9781119967316



  • Briefing;
  • Contingency theory;
  • Decision;
  • Business environment;
  • Facilities management;
  • Need;
  • Growth firms


How are growth firms affected by changing needs? That is, firms that are undergoing a period of expansion and have yet to commit to a facilities solution. Commitment to such a solution potentially provides a ‘straight jacket’ for future growth. In addressing this dilemma this chapter considers:

  • the necessity to discern relevant needs in order to optimise limited resources,

  • the dynamics of facilities management among growth firms,

  • the multitude of factors from the external environment that impact on the interests of stakeholders and finally

  • an approach for a more effective identification of relevant needs.

This chapter investigates the concept of ‘need’ and the dynamics of facilities management. Furthermore, the chapter calls into question whether or not a perceived need should prompt change. Defining ‘needs’ accurately is a prerequisite to meeting the demands for spatial flexibility. This task is particularly pertinent to growth firms for whom the future is most uncertain and the money available for property investment is scarce, in particular growth firms in the start-up phase. ‘Needs’ in this chapter are regarded as the drivers of change in the spaces and services of users of buildings. However, external factors from the surrounding world ultimately become internal factors and thereby gain relevance for local decision makers; thus ‘needs’ should not be restricted to users — they should include facilities managers, architects and other stakeholders (owners, investors, etc.). Growth firms, in particular, are subject to the dynamics of interior and exterior forces where professional roles are indistinct. Empirical data from a survey of growth firms, primarily in Sweden (but also with observations from Hong Kong and Italy) provides a basis for a conceptualisation of needs as described in this chapter.

The skill of categorising and discerning ‘needs’ provides a mechanism for more insightful and efficient managerial decisions, minimising bias and erroneous decision making. Various professional roles that have an impact on the early conceptualisation of needs can be linked to five categories of the external business environment:

  • Market and Financial Forces,

  • Attitudes and Cultures,

  • Politics and Government,

  • Environment and Resources, and

  • Research and Development (influencing both core business and support business).

The concept of ‘need’ is identified and analysed against four background factors, illustrated within a matrix:

  • Function,

  • Image,

  • Reactiveness and

  • Proactiveness.

Decision making is often based on perceived rather than actual need. The change and change process itself might be regarded as a positive event for the organisation (being seen to be doing something). The challenge for the future is to provide relevant knowledge supported by ICT technology and knowledge management) to make decisions that are reversible through the embedding of flexible mechanisms in the briefing process. This approach is particularly pertinent to the space provision of growth firms and entrepreneurial firms.