Case Study

Chasing the zeitgeist: Making change at the heart of an amorphous organization

16 pages
April 2008
Reference: IMD-3-1951

Real change rarely happens in large profitable organizations and when it does it often ends up stalled. Joanna Kinson knew that creating a successful Responsible Procurement meant having a clear plan and process for change to happen. Translating theory into practice would require strong leadership, role modelling of new behaviors and the ability to stay focused on driving change into the heart of a massive amorphous company. E.ON UK was the largest integrated power and gas company in the UK – generating and distributing electricity, and retailing power and gas – and was part of the E.ON group, the world’s largest investor-owned power and gas company headquartered in Germany. Social Responsibility was one of E.ON’s five core values. As third party spend was a significant proportion of E.ON UK’s operational costs, it was of utmost importance to establish that its suppliers were adhering to socially responsible business practices. E.ON UK did not have any holistic methods to monitor its third party suppliers were behaving in a socially responsible way. Although the Procurement Process did request certain relevant information, there was no standard approach applied across all third party supplier relationships. This lack of consistency potentially left E.ON UK exposed, particularly in terms of brand risks through potential negative publicity. Also, there was no agreed process on how to respond to suppliers shown to be acting in a socially irresponsible manner, particularly where tough market conditions (such as monopolies or duopolies) exist. Joanna Kinson was recruited to E.ON UK in November 2005 to be a change agent within the Procurement team. Experienced and having worked at a company known and admired for its ethical practices and world class CSR processes, this self-proclaimed “greenie” aspired to implement the same caliber at E.ON UK. In her role of Strategy and Analysis Manager for the Procurement Team, Joanna knew the place she could best influence was the inbound supply chain and relationships with third party suppliers. Her passion for outcome led her to develop an in depth process of change which would lead to the genesis and acceptance of Responsible Procurement.

Learning Objective

Learn about making change happen with a focused and clear action plan to maximize the chance of success. Learn to focus on how to reach the result which is as important as deciding what the result should be.

Change, Responsible Procurement, Change Management, Energy
United Kingdom
Field Research
© 2008
Available Languages
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