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AZ Essentials emerges from a collective vision

Sarah West (Principal Consultant at Oakridge, Macclesfield, UK)
John Sugden (Vice‐president, AZ Essentials, AstraZeneca plc, Macclesfield, UK)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 9 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to provide a clear outline of how external training and development support helped AZ Essentials, part of AstraZeneca, during a period of major change. This involved bringing nine existing functions together into the single operating unit that was AZ Essentials.


Oakridge's approach was to better understand current opinions of the proposed new organization and its requirement through one‐to‐one interviews. Using this approach it was able to understand better the current view of the change and decide which development tools to adopt to bring the business functions together to operate as one cohesive group.


Interviews demonstrated there was inconsistency in understanding of the role and purpose of AZ Essentials. What Oakridge understood from this was the need to move acceptance and development forward quicker and more effectively. The leadership team needed to better understand the rationale for the new organization and its purpose in order to accept the change.

Practical implications

A workshop program engaged the leadership team in a highly involved and participative way to achieve the desired outcomes. From here work on the value proposition sought to identify what the different functions had in common and how they could be coordinated and work together. The leadership team worked on the vision for AZ Essentials, which needed to be clear, consistent and one that would drive the organization. Oakridge was totally focused upon the requirement and engaged with each issue ensuring the group remained motivated throughout the development work.


The paper provides useful information on how external training and development support can help during a period of major change.



West, S. and Sugden, J. (2011), "AZ Essentials emerges from a collective vision", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 10 No. 5, pp. 17-22.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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