8 Pros and Cons of Devolution in Business

Many businesses are advised to evolve so that they can meet the changing needs of their consumers. Sometimes, however, devolution is a better option. Devolution is the movement of responsibility from one person to another without changing the way a business is run. In some ways, it could be argued that devolution is simply another form of evolution because different people have different perspectives that influence how a business is perceived. Before finalizing any devolution in business, it is important to evaluate the key points of such a move. Here are just a few of the examples to consider.

The Pros of Devolution in Business

1. It allows for an ability to target local needs.
Many businesses operate on mass marketing concepts. Instead of meeting individualized needs, the goal is to meet an overall need of a targeted demographic. Devolution allows for responsibilities to be given to local representatives who can then target local problems that can be solved. This solves local needs in an influential way, which then benefits the reputation of the brand.

2. It makes a business more responsive.
When local needs are able to be met, a business automatically becomes more responsive. The only way to meet individualized needs is to engage the consumer base, either in person or on social media. This engagement makes the brand more responsive and the feedback that is received can even help to create products that are more innovative in the long-term.

3. Spending happens based on real needs instead of perceived needs.
When a business knows exactly what their individual consumers want, then they can base their spending habits off of this information instead of generalized data that comes from demographic testing. When consumers see a business moving to meet their personal needs, it also forms the foundation of a relationship. This eventually leads to an enhancement of brand loyalty.

4. It creates change without really creating change.
Sometimes the content of a message gets lost in how that message is communicated. A business may have an awesome product, but the consumer base doesn’t see it because of the message that has been sent out. By changing who is responsible for this communication, it becomes possible to create change without actually changing thanks to the different perspectives and styles that someone new can bring to the table.

The Cons of Devolution in Business

1. It can create additional layers of administration.
Many businesses hesitate to demote people when transferring responsibilities from one person to another. This often means that a new layer of administration is created during the devolution process in order to accommodate the change. More layers of administration often mean higher amounts of red tape that must be navigated in the long run, making it more difficult to get work done.


2. It creates friction within the workplace.
Even if devolution occurs within a team that all reports to the same leader, people have followers who are highly supportive. The transfer of responsibilities creates friction because followers see the transfer as a personal critique of their own decision-making abilities. This means friction occurs within the workplace between the two sets of followers that can quickly devolve into a personnel battle and then nothing gets accomplished until it is resolved.

3. It may not change anything.
When responsibilities are transferred to others, it is not uncommon for this action to be seen as favoritism or a minimal effort to create change. It could create a negative reaction instead of the positive reaction that is anticipated because of this. To satisfy everyone involved, the person who receives the new responsibilities may not make any changes in order to placate the masses and this means nothing actually gets accomplished.

4. New people often have new standards.
The quality standards that one person may have could be very different from what another has. The transfer of responsibilities in a business is also a communication of support for one philosophy over another. If the new leader has a lower set of standards than the previous leader, for example, this can lead to a lack of confidence in the business because workers are no longer seen as being held accountable for their actions.

The pros and cons of devolution in business can be tricky to navigate. Sometimes change is necessary. When change is being made in responsibilities without any real need, it can create a new set of problems. When managed carefully, however, it can be the needed catalyst that can inspire a business and all of their targeted demographics.

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