Sample Management Paper on Organizational Change: OX Fitness Lab

Organizational Change: OX Fitness Lab

Executive Summary

Organizational change in an inevitable concept in any organization at some given point. As such, it is critical to implement effective change management models to help organizations navigate the change process swiftly. An example of a change management model that can be used is Kurt Lewin’s Model of Change. This report focuses on the change that was introduced at Ox Fitness Lab during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first section provides a background of the organization, including its history and operations. The second section of the report highlights the need for change as well as the actual change that was implemented by Ox Fitness Lab which is the introduction of online training programs. The third section is a breakdown of the factors that contributed to the change, with COVID-19 being identified as the primary contributor. The fourth section of the report discuss a strategic approach for human resource, change management, including the Kurt Lewin Model of Change which is critical for implementing change in an organization. The last section is an analysis of how Ox Fitness Lab implemented change using the model through the three stages; unfreeze, change, refreeze.

 

Introduction

Virtually, every business or organization must experience a transition or shift at some time, to remain sustainable and scalable. This may have a huge influence on your firm’s future direction, regardless of whether it is adding new staff, expanding a department, or merging with another company. There are times when organizational change may be scary for all of the team members who are affected by it, causing some resistance to the incorporate change. When a firm or business adjusts a significant component of its organization, such as its culture, the technology or infrastructure it relies on to run, or its internal procedures, it is referred as organizational transformation (Tim, 2020). This success depends on the implementation of change management concepts such as Kurt Lewin’s Model of Change. In this paper, Ox Fitness Lab located in Doha, will be used as the primary firm for investigating the concept of organizational change and applying Kurt Lewin’s Model to that change.

Organizational Background

Ox Fitness Lab in Doha, is a studio-based fitness concept that opened in 2016 and provides personal training and guided classes in reformer Pilates, CrossFit, yoga, boxing, and spinning, among other disciplines. The lab offers a customized and enjoyable experience for fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike, supporting an active way of life that helps you feel better, look better, and be your best self. Doha’s Ox Fitness Lab is a cutting-edge health and fitness facility that has revolutionized the concept of fitness and physical well-being (Gulf Times, 2017). Members of the Ox Fitness Lab get access to world-class fitness and wellness opportunities.

The debut of Ox Fitness Lab featured a wide array of “sophisticated” training equipment, fitness technologies, nutrition management, diagnostic services, individual and group fitness programs, as well as personalized training regimens. Qatari sports champion, Mohamed Abu Issa came up with the idea for the facility and had a hand in designing the Ox Fitness Lab’s interiors (Gulf Times, 2017). The aim of the project is to aspire to make working out an enjoyable and rewarding experience for everyone. And it goes without saying that Ox Fitness Lab has invested in using the most cutting-edge technologies available in the market to meet that desire. As a result, Abu Issa explained, “we were able to create this unique environment.” Fitness trainers that specialize in a variety of disciplines, such as mixed martial arts, CrossFit, Pilates, and yoga, as well as physiotherapists and nutritionists, are on hand to assist clients at the lab. Members of Ox Fitness Lab receive a “specialized health induction pathway,” which includes strength-and-endurance tests, consultations, functional movement screening, postural analysis, and diagnostic analysis.

The Six Studios at Ox Fitness Lab

The fitness lab encompasses of six different sectional studios that offer unique experiences to members. The six studios include; The Street, Ride Tribe, Beat Box, Encore Pilates, Niya Yoga, and Raise the Barre. The Street, which is located at the Gate Mall, West Bay; is a typical CrossFit box which has been advanced to the next level using conditioning programing as well as elitist strength. The Street combines gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, and timed events to produce extremely competitive workouts (Ox Fitness Lab, 2018). These activities are perceived to be critical in building everyday muscles and activating the entire body. The OX Fitness Lab’s Ride Tribe, as its name implies, is devoted solely to cycling workouts. Muscle-sculpting, high-intensity aerobics, rhythmic choreography, and strength training are all included in this area. An ultimate mind-body workout is the ultimate goal of The Ride Tribe. Every exercise is designed to burn fat by incorporating interval training to foster positive results.

Beat Box is basically a training session that integrates fitness training and boxing simultaneously. A high-intensity strength and aerobic training that relieves tension and challenges the body and mind at the same time. Even while functional training is essential for enhancing overall movement abilities and strength, boxing trainings are aimed to increase the general body composition by creating lean muscles (Ox Fitness Lab, 2018). Music playlists are used to enhance the learning experience by encouraging students to move in time with the ‘beats.’ Reformer Pilates at Encore Pilates may help clients build leaner, stronger, and more flexible bodies. An all-inclusive group fitness program and personal training sessions based on Pilates’ principles are offered. Some of the aims of the Encore Pilates section include achieving a stronger core and more focused attention to detail; increase cardiovascular capacity; enhance coordination; and improve physical appearance.

When Niya Yoga was integrated, the goal was to cultivate a welcoming, all-inclusive community where everyone could experience the wonders of yoga. Whatever the skill level of the clients, either an amateur or an advanced practitioner, Ox Fitness employs teachers that help clients on their path to yoga. The Lab offers a broad range of lessons, from invigorating flows to relaxing and unwinding, to relearning how to breathe and connecting with friends. Everyone may benefit from Raise the Barre’s entire body exercise that focuses on low-impact, high-intensity motions that shape and tone the muscles (Ox Fitness Lab, 2018). It is a mix of dance-inspired cardio, Pilates, weight training and stretching. The goal of this workout is to contour the body symmetrically so that clients end up with a lean physique. No prior dancing experience is necessary.

The Need for Change

Ox Fitness Lab was forced to close downs its operations for 15 days in 2020 as it failed to take government-mandated precautions to protect its clients from contracting the virus during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Government health officials said that the gym, located at the Gate Mall, will be closed for two weeks starting on September 17 and adding that the term might be extended if required (Doha News, 2020). Statements made to Doha News by Ox Fitness Lab stated that they will implement the health measures quickly. COVID-19 was contracted by a number of consumers and employees in Ox Fitness’ closed-space gyms earlier in September. In a statement published on September 5th, Ox Fitness confirmed the presence of instances connected to one of their sessions. As a result, customers were told that lessons were canceled due to a “family emergency” for one of the instructors. Officials soon after made many revisions to the July 28 instructions released for the third phase of progressive easing of COVID-19 limitations on gymnasiums, which was scheduled to begin on August 1. Mandatory mask-wearing at the gym; a 3-meter social distance; and the closing of restrooms and changing rooms were among the requirements.

Although everyone has been affected by these sudden changes, many people who had been exercising frequently before the lockdown have been particularly affected. People have been stranded at home because of the closure of fitness facilities and public parks, disrupting their daily routines and limiting their ability to keep active. Even if being forced to stay at home for an extended amount of time offers a physical fitness challenge, the experience of limited physical activities, restricted social communication, uncertainty, and a sense of powerlessness contributes to the creation of psychological and physical health concerns. A study by Varshney et al. (2020) indicated that individuals are experiencing psychological difficulties while adapting to their present lifestyles because of their worry of developing COVID-19. Psychological resources, coping strategies, and physical activities were fundamental for coping with the pandemic.

Given the challenges that came along with the pandemic, Ox Fitness Lab was presented with a challenge to consider introducing new ideas to continue providing its services to its clientele. The recommended change was an introduction of online platforms that could provide interactive experiences to the clients and foster a better training experience that provides positive results. Mindfulness meditation applications have surged in popularity in recent years, demonstrating that people are looking for more than just physical wellness. According to Dishman (2021), nearly 10 million people downloaded the top 10 English-language mental health apps in April 2020, according to SensorTower data from the early days of quarantine. This marks a 24.2% increase from January 2020. FitMind’s CEO, Liam McClintock, told CO— that the number of FitMind members has grown exponentially over the previous year, with over 200,000 downloads expected in 2020 (Dishman, 2021). A growing number of people are beginning to realize that mental health is just as vital as physical fitness—indeed, far more so,” added McClintock.

Changes Implemented at Ox Fitness Lab

            After identifying a need that was brewing in the fitness industry after the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ox Fitness Lab introducing introduced new changes that addressed the urgent need for continuing physical fitness of its customers. As such, online platforms tailored to provide training sessions were introduced at the gymnasium. Some of the concepts that were introduced with these changes included; online fitness contests, free live streaming fitness videos, online personal training sessions, and on-demand pre recorded fitness sessions. Under the online fitness contests, participants, especially subscribed clients, engaged in fitness contests online through teleconferencing services such as Zoom. This idea was critical for encouraging clients to continue training despite loosing motivation after fitness centers were closed in the country.

On the other hand, the Lab introducing streaming services across its social media platforms where clients could participate in live streaming training sessions. This was crucial considering that majority of the people were stuck in their houses, leaving limited options for participating in mass training sessions. Consequently, personal training session incorporated customizable encounters on a one-on-one basis between a client and a personal trainer. Lastly, pre recorded training sessions were introduce where customer could access the entire session later at their convenience as opposed to live sessions that required participation at the time that the events were ongoing.

Factors that Contributed to the Change

COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread to nearly every country on Earth within a very short span of time. In order to prevent the spread of the disease, a variety of social and physical isolation measures have been implemented, including lockdowns at workplaces, schools, and general social life. COVID-19 has presented a number of obstacles to the athletic world as well as to physical exercise and well-being in general, particularly for disadvantaged or marginalized populations. Governments and other stakeholders as well as the United Nations system are urged to assist the safe reopening of athletic events, as well as to boost physical activity during the pandemic.

Lockdown or quarantine had severe repercussions despite being frequently utilized as a method of preventing the rapid spread of COVID-19. Restriction to COVID-19 have been found to have a negative impact on a person’s ability to participate in social activities, their overall sense of well-being, their ability to cope with mental health issues, their sleep patterns, and their employment prospects in recent multi-national studies. Officials’ unexpected announcement that all services and activities, except a few vital ones, would be shut down resulted in a drastic shift in lifestyle and mental health for those impacted, which has been expressed in an increase in anxiety, stress, and depression. Physical activities and exercise are only a few of the things that are causing these rapid shifts in people’s habits. An increase in daily sitting time, as well as an increase in unhealthy food intake, has been documented by Ammar et al. (2020) following the COVID-19 home confinement program. Other researchers have reported similar outcomes.

Exercise at home in a small area or without any equipment is still a possibility for many people. Stretching, doing chores, climbing stairs, or dancing to music can all be good alternatives for those whose day jobs require them to spend a lot of time sitting down. For those with internet access, there are several free information on how to keep active throughout the epidemic. People of all ages may enjoy physical training games, which can even be employed in tiny places. Muscle strength is especially essential for the elderly and those with physical limitations, and strength training, which does not require a huge area, is an important part of staying healthy.

Given the risk factors associated with the virus, several guidelines were provided by international organizations to help in ensuring that people maintained their well-being to encourage social development. The World Health Organization (WHO) advised 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of intense exercise (Bas et al., 2020). During times of tension, panic, and dread, regular exercise has proved to be quite beneficial. Some feared that the absence of frequent access to sports and physical activity may compromise the immune system and physical health, causing new diseases or intensifying already existing ones associated with a sedentary lifestyle. The stress and anxiety that many people may suffer as a result of being cut off from typical social interactions will only be exacerbated if they do not have easy access to regular physical activity. The virus’s influence on one’s financial well-being and access to nourishment, as well as the potential loss of family or friends as a result of the illness, will worsen these impacts.

External Factors

People’s lives were thrown into turmoil by the COVID-19 pandemic after the first case was announced. Almost everyone’s day-to-day activities have been affected, including those who rely on gyms for their physical training regimen. People who go to the gym on a regular basis were surveyed in a study conducted by Kaur and colleagues (2020) study in order to learn about their experiences with the pandemic and how they coped with COVID-19-induced health concerns. Results of the study are consistent with a wide range of studies that have shown psychological health difficulties owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they also go beyond those to demonstrate that individuals learn to adapt in healthy and good ways over the course of time. Due to their house confinement, participants reported a major shift in their sleeping patterns, inexplicable lethargy, and mental tiredness, as well as an overall sensation of worry, anxiety, tension, and irritation. Additionally, the lack of a gym setting and the absence of gym companions were determined to be contributing factors to a lack of exercise motivation in the study (Kaur et al., 2020). Being a social being, it is crucial to notice that people enjoy the company of others and feel a sense of belonging to a group. Persistence, drive, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and physical and mental well-being are all linked to a sense of belonging, according to research (Begun et al., 2018). One of the most likely explanations for the lack of enthusiasm for home exercise is the absence of the sense of community that gym-goers are accustomed to.

Change Management in the Context of Fitness

Change is an inevitable process that cannot be stopped once it is initiated in an organization, and it is always expected in one way or another. Change has forced most companies to adapt and consider it a part of the varied ways it is understood by different writers as part of the constant flux (Jalagat, 2016). A change is considered successful when it disrupts structure, management, people, procedures, and other activities in the organization. When an organization’s shape, quality or status changes through time, it is considered to be an example of organizational change. Jalagat (2016) argues that, to guarantee organizational success, all change projects and activities must be aligned with the company’s goals and objectives. Managing change is therefore critical to properly managing and responding to change and overcoming opposition to it. An organization’s outcomes can be positively or negatively impacted by change, thus the necessity to manage the change has become critical. Management decisions are also influenced by the emphasis and consideration given to the change by internal and external forces, such as culture, leadership, and organizational changes prompted by economic, political, social, environmental, and even commercial trends.

In order to move an organization from one state to another, it is necessary to use change management to devise and implement strategies and interventions. According to Saetren and Laumann (2017), change management frameworks can be used to influence transformational as well as incremental changes in an organization. Organizational systems and contexts are rarely disrupted by first-order change (incremental). Incremental change is often linked to changes in rules and procedures, individual requirements, and the requirements of tasks and skills, thus the change is gradual. Second-order change (transformational), on the other hand, entails a shift and realignment of vision, values, culture, beliefs and attitudes, as well as key processes, in addition to changes in fundamental assumptions about reality. As such, change management approaches are implemented as a way of changing the perception of employees in an organization.

Organizational change management has always been an element of the overall management of a company. When it comes to human resources management, change is a common occurrence. In today’s organizations, change management plays a key role, not only in ensuring that current activities remain diverse, but also in molding the future course of the firm (Cameron & Green, 2019). As a result of successful change management, employees are able to adopt new visions, behaviors, and cultural norms. How well an organization manages its transitions may have a significant impact on its long-term viability, growth, and strategic direction. Hence, choosing an effective change management model is critical.

Kurt Lewin’s Model of Change

Kurt Lewin is an iconic name in the field of social psychology, thanks to his extensive work on the subject of human change process. Lewin’s theory of change has been extensively used in prior empirical studies looking at changes in organizations on the local or global level. According to Lewin’s theory, the organization has the power to influence the attitudes and behaviors of its employees (Saetren & Laumann, 2017). Change implementation may be broken down into three stages: unfreeze, change, and refreeze. The first stage, unfreeze, is a process of “melting” old habits, beliefs, and status quos in order to make the transformation process less difficult (Esa et al., 2017). The first step is to prepare employees to accept the shift that is taking place in the workplace. To advance toward a change point, a person’s motivating drive to change is fueled by a perception that specific new modifications or behaviors need to be implemented or replaced.

In the second phase, change occurs when any affected organizations that move toward their intended transformation have a direct influence on their roles and values as well as the organization’s structure in reaching their goal. At this point, the company is going through a reorganization and requires the resources and technology it needs to ensure the efficacy of the changes it has implemented. A refreeze occurs when the new change has been effectively assimilated and stabilized, resulting in a new organizational culture and practices (Hussain et al., 2018). Achieving this level generally involves much effort and time. According to Kurt Lewin’s Model of Change, an organization’s culture is reformed by shifting from a static posture to one of constant change and then returning to a static position.

Applying Kurt Lewin’s Model of Change to Ox Fitness Lab

            The first stage of the model, unfreeze, involved developing mobile application for fitness training, overcoming the financial losses, and seeking community support. Previously, before the pandemic, the gymnasium mainly focused on providing in-house training to its clints which involved physical interactions. However, due to the stringent policies and measures that came along with the pandemic, Ox Fitness Lab was forced to consider changing its primary business operation. As such, the gym melted the old training habits and considered introducing new training habits for its members. This involved planning for the development of its mobile application as well as considering online transition of its activities.

At the second stage, the idea of online training via the gym’s social media platforms was introduced. Ox Fitness Lab introduced a new social media campaign that was used for orientation of its clients to consider shifting their focus to online platforms. The introduction of such concepts that initiated with the nationwide closure of public spaces in the country. Some of the training programs that were incorporated included online fitness contests, free live streaming fitness videos, online personal training sessions, and on-demand pre-recorded fitness sessions. Also, the gym introduced its own mobile application; Video Exercise & Personal Trainer application, that could be downloaded by its customer on their mobile devices. This was a great transition in the business and the stage where the change was implemented.

After the new changes, Ox Fitness Lab started assimilating its organizational culture to align with that of the introduced changes. At the refreeze stage, the main activities that were involved included training all the staff about the new programs that were just introduced. This helped in equipping them with the appropriate knowledge to deliver high-quality services. Also, the organization monitored its success and the outcome matched the intended goal since the customers easily integrated into the new norm.

Conclusion

            In summary, Ox Fitness Lab has managed to successfully overcome the challenges that came along with the COVID-19 pandemic that required adjustments to its normal operations. Being a one-of-a-kind fitness center in Doha, Ox Fitness Lab has six segments of training including The Street, Ride Tribe, Beat Box, Encore Pilates, Niya Yoga, and Raise the Barre. The need for change came about after the gym was closed due to public health concerns after some customers tested positive for COVID-19. The gym navigated this adjustment by introducing online training platforms for their clients that facilitated training at home due to the stringent policies and measures that were implemented. Using Kurt Lewin’s Model of Change, the gymnasium was able to navigate the presented challenged following the three stages, unfreeze, change, refreeze. Ox Fitness Lab successfully introduced their own mobile application, Video Exercise & Personal Trainer, which provided the required services to the customers.

 

 

 

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