External drivers have a direct impact on the internal needs of the company. It should be mentioned that the external and internal factors such as structure, people, technology and task are all interdependent.
In Lafarge, planned organizational change is triggered by the need to respond to new challenges and opportunities of the external environment, and in anticipation of the need to cope with potential future problems. The external drivers for organizational changes involved international expansion and globalization of the industry. To some extent, external change drivers are caused by innovation rapid technological changes and innovations proposed by competitors within the industry. "The industry is also investing in alternative activities in order to protect itself from the economic impacts of business cycles" (Case Study). For Lafarge, the planned change represents an intentional attempt to improve, in some important way, the operational effectiveness of the company. The basic underlying objectives can be seen in general terms as: modifying the behavioral patterns of members of Lafarge; and improving the ability of Lafarge to cope with continuous changes in its environment. External drivers include new industry and customers demands including "greater safety, comfort, and quality" (Case Study), internalization of business, consolidation of industries, a global supply chain and the Internet solutions. One of the major changes deals with the specification of goods which may be considered in terms of their design features and performance characteristics. Increased competition and market demands create a new business environment and force Lafarge to accommodate to changing economic and business conditions.
Internal change drivers are caused by company's mission and strategic objectives, new policies and new vision of the company. The internal forces involve the policy of acquisition and development and need to improve labor skills, attitudes of employees and need to improve organizational performance. Workforce diversity creates a great challenge for Lafarge to accommodate its structure to new business environment. "The work environment was driven by a demand for operational excellence. The organization was restructured and streamlined, and over 100% more employees were added to the group through new acquisitions" (Case study). For Lafarge, it is important to have technically competent staff able to cope with complex tasks and work under pressure. External drivers cause a continual need for the process of staff development, and training. The usual methods of boosting performance - process rationalization and automation - haven't yielded the dramatic improvements for Lafarge need. In particular, heavy investments in information technology have delivered disappointing results - largely because companies tend to use technology to mechanize old ways of doing business. The acquisition strategy forces the company to introduce a shared culture and values based on unique cultural traditions and international HR practices (Reed, 2001).
The competitive positioning school of thought, based primarily on the work of Michael Porter (1980, 1985), stresses the importance of how the organization is positioned with respect to its competitive environment or