It was September 2017, and the founders of Blue&Green Design Technology Company werehaving a meeting with Neyla Bulut, the Sales Manager, about the need for change.Serkan Keskin: Neyla, you know that when you said you want

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To Change or Not to Change: The Blue & Green Design Technology
Middle East Technical University (ODTU), Department of Business Administration, Ankara,

Principal Lecturer in Leadership and Business, Worcester Business School, University of
Worcester, Worcester WR1 3AS, UK;
Ayşe Kaplan and Scott Andrews wrote this case study as a part of the Case-Study Alliance Turkey Erasmus+ Project.
This case is based on a generalised experience. It was developed to provide material for class discussion rather than
to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. The authors have disguised some
identifying information to protect confidentiality.
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It was September 2017, and the founders of Blue&Green Design Technology Company were
having a meeting with Neyla Bulut, the Sales Manager, about the need for change.
Serkan Keskin: Neyla, you know that when you said you wanted to change some
procedures to standardise business processes in our company, we gave full support to you.
Yes, we are aware that we have been operating like a startup for more than ten years and
we need to move forward towards a more professional operational style. That’s why we
gave you the authority to do this, but it looks like all your change attempts are not going
anywhere. We need to see results.
Ozan Kahveci: I agree with Serkan. Neyla, we still support you and trust you, but we need
to see evidence of some improvements. If you think the changes are not working as you
wanted, then tell us, and we can discuss other possibilities altogether. If you want to
continue to do it, then come to us with solutions and a good plan.
Neyla Bulut: Thank you for all your support and trust. Please give me one more week so I
can decide how to move things forward.
After the meeting, Bulut recalled her first days in Blue&Green and her excitement when first
joining the organisation as the Sales Manager in 2016. At this point, Blue&Green had been
delivering design programs and digital printing software to the textile industry for eleven years
from its base in Ankara, Turkey. From the first day of her arrival, Bulut had been commissioned
with a challenge to champion change for the organisation, and as such had become passionate
about implementing change. However, one year later, she felt like she had hit a wall as each
change initiative seemed to be followed by barriers of resistance. Even though she believed that
implementing the change was important for the survival of the company, given its competitive
environment, she became less and less confident about putting her ideas into practice for fear of
such difficulties. Subsequently, Bulut had become less confident about the task that had been
set for her and had begun to wonder whether she had taken on too great a challenge.
The Industry
In the Turkish design and printing market, most companies were selling similar programs and
software products as many effectively represented the same global companies. Therefore, the
most important differentiation points for these companies were the quality of training for the
customers and their technical and support services to customers. Customer relationship
management was extremely important for these companies given that their businesses were in
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an industry reliant on high technology, and where customer loyalty determined the success of
the company. There were only a few companies in the Turkish market, but Blue&Green had a
strong competitor – Blue Sky Technologies – which was selling the same design programs and
digital printing software to the textile industry, as well as other design programs for the furniture
industry. Consequently, customer relationship management strategies, quality of staff training
and technical services, and the expertise of the sales personnel were playing an increasingly
important role in this competitive environment.
Blue&Green Design Technology Company
Blue&Green was founded by Serkan Keskin, Hakan Usta, and Ozan Kahveci in 2005 to deliver
design programs and digital printing software to the textile industry, as well as providing training
and technical support for customers. When Bulut was hired in 2016, Blue&Green was a small but
growing company with ten employees and its three founding managers, and she noted that it was
mostly run with an entrepreneurial spirit. Even though there were no clear structures and
divisions, each founder focused on different areas. Keskin was listed as the general manager of
the company in official documents and had strong connections in the Turkish textile sector. Usta
was responsible for financial issues, while Kahveci dealt with the technical parts of the software
and the relations with the global companies they were representing. Although the founders
shared responsibilities, the lines between their duties were not so well defined and they all made
major decisions together. Therefore, there were no clear divisions in the company. In effect, there
were two main categories of staff – the three founder managers and the ten employees who had
oversight of sales and assisted the founders in all other business matters. Most of these
employees were engineers with expertise in design programs and digital printing software
products. These engineers also worked as the sales force of the company. They generally worked
in teams, according to their areas of engineering expertise. Since the company had customers
from different cities, the sales engineers had to travel and work outside of the office a great deal.
There was no evidence of a hierarchy between employees, so all of them were effectively
reporting to the founding managers. Business had been good, and staff numbers were predicted
to increase, but the competition was also getting stronger.
Because Blue&Green was a small company, there was a lack of effective human and financial
resource management. Workers and managers had to deal with lots of different issues. Therefore,
when Bulut was hired as the sales manager, her responsibilities were not limited to sales
management but also included marketing, customer relations, and human resource
management. As a consequence, Bulut often experienced difficulties in making decisions about
issues which were out of her areas of expertise.
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Managing Organizational Change
Shortly after Bulut started to work for the company, she observed that there was no clear
structure in the organisation. This situation had caused some problems in customer relations and
employee relations, such as the absence of a customer information database and a lack of
communication between employees and managers. Therefore, Bulut thought about some of the
changes that could be implemented to resolve these problems and at the same time standardise
the business processes of the company. Bulut had graduated from a reputable Turkish university,
with a strong engineering education, and so she believed she had been well-trained for this role
and was ready for a challenge. Before Blue&Green, she had worked as a sales manager in a larger
company with a well-developed organisational structure. Therefore, she believed that these
experiences had equipped her with the skills to now manage the change processes that were
needed in Blue&Green, and so she asked to have a meeting with the founders.
Having been authorised by the founders to explore new change initiatives, Bulut was keen to
share her suggestions for improvements with the organisation, so she decided to start with the
sales and customer relations team. Glancing at her notes from a previous meeting with the team
she observed: ‘the salespeople fill their customer meeting reports with personal details in a
complicated way. It causes inconsistency in the reports because every salesperson writes different
things. Solution – to ask them to fill in a standardised customer meeting report that consists of
eight specific questions so we can create a proper customer information database.’
The other issue that concerned Bulut was communication with customers. The company was
sending one standard e-mail to everyone on their database, but she felt that the team should
personalise e-mails according to certain grouped customer characteristics to increase the chances
of further sales. She noted: ‘About telemarketing; when I look at the number of calls, it is great:
230 calls, but we only get three appointments out of them. The sales employees said that even if
we got the appointment, the customers wouldn’t buy the product. This is the problem we need to
solve. Solution – not to decide on the phone whether the customer will buy it or not, but to get the
appointment and talk to the customers face to face to explain the products’ features in detail and
then to convince them to purchase it.’
She had also considered assigning specific employees into a permanent team to provide customer
training, to replace the current system of staff rotation. In this way, she felt that the company
would improve efficiency, as the same selected employees would be gaining expertise in
delivering training programs. She made some additional notes related to issues concerning both
customers and employees and summarised these in an email to the founders (see Exhibit 1).
Keskin was the first to respond, thanking Bulut for her detailed proposals. He confirmed that the
founders had also been thinking about the same problems, but given their existing
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responsibilities, they had been unsure of how to take these actions further. He asked: ‘Do you
think you will be able to manage the change process on your own, as I know we are all so busy
right now?’
Bulut responded that she believed that she could manage it with her background and previous
job experience, provided the founders continue to support her. She reiterated: ‘I think
implementing the change process is essential for the company in this competitive sector.’
Usta responded ‘We trust you with this, Bulut. You have our support, but we appreciate it still
might not be easy. As you know, we are a small company, and our financial resources are limited.
Also, we feel it’s very important to keep our existing staff happy in their work, as we are relying
on them so much right now.’
Kahveci also replied: ‘I agree, I think change is necessary for our company’s survival. Neyla, let us
know if you need help and keep us informed about the process.’
Implementing the proposals
After the meeting Bulut set to work to start implementing the changes, beginning with
standardising the customer meeting reports and creating a customer information database. She
sent an email to the salesforce to explain the new processes and asked them to start answering
specific questions when filling in customer meeting reports. One of the salespeople, Sezai, was
out of Ankara that week for customer meetings. When he came back, he had a conversation with
Gamze, another salesperson. Sezai was far from convinced that the changes in report writing
were warranted. He soon discovered that many of the other salespeople were equally sceptical.
‘Bulut wants us to answer eight questions, but I can’t understand why we need to do that. I always
write my comments about the meeting and note the important points. It’s ever been a problem
before,’ Gamze exclaimed.
Sezai agreed: ‘I know, I know! It takes extra time to fill that report. I don’t want to offend Bulut,
but I have many customers to get in touch with and limited time to be preparing all these fancy
reports already. I don’t have time to put extra effort into answering all these new questions.
Besides, at the end of the day, they probably don’t read the reports anyway – they just want to
check how many customers I visited.’
The other issue Bulut started to address was the way the salesforce communicated with
customers. She sent a general all-staff email with new guidance on how emails to customers
should be modified and personalised according to the type of customer and the issues that were
being addressed, instead of sending one generic email to everyone. She then started talking with
the employees who were at the office about this approach, and she asked them to relay the
information to other employees. However, she sensed that the employees did not seem eager to
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be sending the new style emails, and she soon sensed that most of the emails that were issued
continued to follow the old standardised format.
On one occasion Bulut received an e-mail from Deniz, who had been a salesperson in the company
for more than five years. Bulut had been hoping to get Deniz’s cooperation with these changes.
Denizforwarded the chat history between himself and one of the customers and asked for Bulut’s
advice to resolve the customer’s problem. After sorting the problem, she invited him to her office
for a short chat.
Bulut reminded Deniz that they had all agreed to send more personalised emails to customers
and that the email chain that he had shown her earlier continued to present the old generic style
to the customer. She asked him to explain why he had not personalised it.
However, Deniz protested, saying that he had sent the customer a personalised e-mail. ‘You said
that we should write the name of the customer instead of “Dear customer” and I did. So, what is
the problem?’
Bulut agreed that it was important to specify the name of the customer but that this alone was
not enough. ‘For example,’ she said, ‘when you talked with the customer on the phone he said
that he was interested in the Geminisoftware, and you sent the standardized-old style email which
mentions a little bit about Gemini but then goes on to give many details about other unrelated
products and their features. You need to tailor the content of the email as well as referring to the
customer by their name.’
Deniz shrugged his shoulders and muttered agreement with Bulut’s suggestion: ‘Okay, I see what
you mean now. However, when you said we should send personalised emails, we didn’t get clear
explanations on how to do it. That’s why I thought that changing the name would be enough. Also,
I hope you’re aware that personalising emails for each customer are going to require a heck of lot
more time. Moreover, it’s going to be hard to reach the number of possible customers you set on
a weekly basis if we’ve got to do it this way. I feel way too much under time pressure to reach
these goals as it is, without now having to think about applying these new procedures at the same
Whilst reflecting on this, Bulut decided that she want to create a permanent team to provide
training programs for customers. So far, these training sessions had been given by the engineers
who had expertise in program design and with digital printing software, but these engineers were
not professional instructors. Bulut thought that it was an inefficient process to have all the
engineers providing training on a rotating basis. She felt it would be better to produce a
permanent team with training responsibilities. However, the engineers were not happy about
providing training on a permanent basis because they were concerned that this would take away
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from their engineering-related responsibilities. In the end, after further consultation, nobody
wanted to be on the training team.
Another one of Bulut’s initiatives was to change the employee performance evaluation system.
In a meeting, she explained the new system to employees and then had to rush off to a different
meeting without making time for questions from the employees about the pros and cons of the
new system. By the time she had returned to her desk an email from a disgruntled employee was
waiting in her inbox:
‘Hi, Neyla. Thanks for your meeting today. However, I felt you should know that I believe
there is a communication problem between the managers and us. We have only limited
daily communication channels to raise things with them. Most of the time decisions are
not communicated to us properly; managers talk at us and decide on something in their
private meetings. After that, they ask us to apply those decisions perfectly, but most of the
information and instructions seem to get lost along the way. In my view, it’s simply not
In response to this, Bulut started thinking about setting up a formal employee training program
with an accompanying system for assessing employee satisfaction levels. Bulut realised that most
of the time the managers were assuming that everything was working well for the employees
because managers were not hearing any complaints. She felt that this new employee
performance evaluation system would pave the way for communications between employees
and managers.
Soon after arriving at Blue&Green it had occurred to Bulut that when a salesman had a problem,
he talked with his manager, got advice, and solved the problem. At the same time, if another
salesperson was experiencing the same problem, there was no guarantee that the same advice
would be given as nothing was recorded from the first incident. She believed that the company
did not have an orientation plan for its employees, which had left her feeling that there was a
knowledge gap in the organisation. Therefore, planning an orientation program, which could flag
up solutions to potential problems, could both improve communication among the workforce and
reduce management time that was currently being wasted by having to respond to the same
problems repeatedly.
Establishing a key account management system, generating customer satisfaction surveys for
sales and technical support processes, and organising web-based seminars on technical training
of their products were other topics in Bulut’s list. Recent social media postings had highlighted
to Bulut that Blue Sky Technologies was improving its customer relations, which she felt was
giving it an advantage in the market. Furthermore, she found that some websites also provided
online training and webinars about design programs and digital printing software products, which
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would also unavoidably present itself as competition for Blue&Green. Bulut felt that her new
plans would improve the company’s competitiveness. However, these new plans would require
more human and financial resources. She also needed to win the hearts and minds of all the
workforce, and she was not at all convinced that this was currently working. Furthermore, when
Bulut thought about implementing the key account management system, she realised that she
did not have enough knowledge about these systems, nor was she able to state what would be
the additional time required and a number of new specialised HR employees.
Decision Time
After a year of what had felt like non-stop, exhaustive work to bring about the changes that Bulut
believed the organization needed to make the difference and improve workplace efficiencies, she
was beginning to feel frustrated and doubted whether she really did have what it takes to be the
change champion that the founders had tasked her to be. Unsure whether or not to continue,
she knew she had just bought herself one more week to come up with a more effective and
precise change management plan. However, she was unclear where to start, and so found herself
reaching for her old university management textbooks, looking for inspiration before pinning
down her new plans.
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Exhibit 1: Memo to the Founders:
Dear Mr Keskin, Mr Usta, and Mr Kahveci
Please see the list of possible proposed Change Solutions for Blue&Green. I’ll forward
more detailed thoughts about these proposals shortly.
Regards, Neyla
Change Management Proposals

  • Standardize the customer meeting reports and create a customer information
  • Create a permanent team for technical training for customers
  • Personalize customer emails and phone calls
  • Create an employee performance evaluation system
  • Set formal employee training programs
  • Assess employee satisfaction levels
  • Create an employee feedback system
  • Establish a key account management system
  • Determine customer satisfaction levels
  • Organize webinars on technical training of their products
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