Leadership Change And Culture Discussion
Seminar Notes Semester 2, 2019, Module 1
Week 5 Managing Teams: Leadership, Change & Culture
Welcome to Topic 5
Welcome to the fifth topic of the course Evidence-based Foundations of Management. This topic will introduce you to the elements of organizational culture that underlie innovation, adaptation and high performance. In this regard as a manager, there is a need to provide leadership that generates agility, empowers employees and facilitates the depth of engagement that leads to discretionary effort, one of the key aspects of high performing organizations.
Leadership, particularly through change (and things are always changing), provides strong indicators of organizational culture for employees to regulate themselves around. Cultures that encourage autonomy and support experiences of competence, empower employees to be innovative, to speak up about ideas for improvement and correction and to find meaning in their work, which in turn leads to deeper engagement and discretionary effort.
Topic Learning Outcomes
By the end of this topic, participants will be able to address the following learning objectives:
TLO 5.1 Identify personal skills and competencies for leading positive change.
TLO 5.2 Consider methods managers and leaders can use for achieving optimal work motivation in teams.
TLO 5.3 Explain the interaction between leadership, empowerment and engagement in the context of organizational culture.
Introduction: Lesson 1
Let’s get started!
Leadership capabilities are needed to enact all EBM capabilities, but particularly Apply and Assess. Leadership skills in an EBM context involves using evidence explicitly and judiciously to inform analysis and decision-making, including taking into account stakeholder perspectives, and social and ethical considerations. It is important for leaders to be seen to conduct themselves in this way so others in their organization are encouraged to be evidence-based and systematic in decision-making (Rousseau & Barends, 2011).
But we all know that leaders need to be able to do more than sit in an office and make decisions based on the best available evidence. In fact, research suggests that CEOs spend more than 80% of their time talking with other people (Mintzberg, 2009; Tengblad, 2009).
eadingWhat it takes to be a great leader – Rosalinde Torres
Mini-Case: What it takes to be a great leader
Roselinde Torres spent 25 years inside Fortune 500 companies observing what makes leaders great. A few years ago, she noticed a disturbing trend in leadership preparation. In this talk, she asks (and answers) two questions: Why are the leadership gaps widening when there’s so much more investment in leadership development? And what do great leaders do differently to thrive and grow?
https://d37djvu3ytnwxt.cloudfront.net/assets/courseware/v1/9932e9f6ecdf8806511562ac2eab0ae3/asset-v1:ANUx+EBM03x+2T2017+type@asset+block/asset-v1-ANUx_EBM01x_1T2017_type_asset_block_reading.gif Goleman, D (2009). What makes a leader? HBR https://hbr.org/2004/01/what-makes-a-leader OR www.springbusinessmanagement.co.uk/wp…/What-Makes-a-Leader-Goleman.pdf
https://d37djvu3ytnwxt.cloudfront.net/assets/courseware/v1/9932e9f6ecdf8806511562ac2eab0ae3/asset-v1:ANUx+EBM03x+2T2017+type@asset+block/asset-v1-ANUx_EBM01x_1T2017_type_asset_block_reading.gifBolden, R. (2004). What is Leadership? University of Exeter. Available online at: https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10036/17493
iscussion Case Question
In the video Roselinde Torres offers us three questions to ask ourselves with regard to developing our leadership capacity or potential. We would like you to consider her questions: Where are you looking to anticipate change? What is the diversity measure of your network? Are you courageous enough to abandon behaviours that have worked for you in the past? And then respond to our question which we believe summarizes the key points of Torres’ talk:
>> How are you preparing for your future as a manager or leader?
Theory: Leadership and Being a Leader
Judging by the number of professional development workshops and popular books on the topic, leadership is by far, one of the most popular areas for personal development among new and existing managers. In a recent Australian study it was found that perceived leadership deficits constitute the number one reason senior managers seek executive coaching (Skinner, 2015). The findings of this research suggest that managers are less concerned about their technical skills and abilities and far more concerned about how to be leaders and are asking “am I doing it right?” and “I’m doing what others did before me, why aren’t they following me?”. The interesting thing about these questions is that it highlights the emphasis placed on the leader when in fact, leadership is as much, if not more, about the followers and the relationship between a leader and the followers as it is about the individual leader.
Over the years, many theories have arisen from research trying to answer the question of ‘what makes a great leader?’. The assumption underlying these theories is that if we study the right people in the right way, we will be able to identify all of the ingredients needed to be a great leader; the right traits, characteristics, competencies and behaviours. The assumptions continue on the basis that this list of ingredients will enable us to design leadership training and development programs to teach everyone how to be a great leader. However, despite many attempts over the years, this approach has not resulted in an abundance of great leaders in our society. In fact, many people now talk about a ‘leadership crisis’. In 2016 the World Economic Forum released the findings of a survey which found that 86% of respondents believe we are currently experiencing a global leadership crisis (read more at: http://reports.weforum.org/outlook-global-agenda-2015/top-10-trends-of-2015/3-lack-of-leadership/ ). So, how to develop leaders if simply identifying the right traits and competencies isn’t getting the job done? Part of the answer to this question lies in the way we define leadership.
There are many definitions of leadership but most contain four key elements that the majority of theorists tend to agree on:
3. group context and
4. goal attainment.
On the basis of a textual analysis of hundreds of different definitions of leadership the following definition of leadership was offered:
Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal (Northouse, 2004 cited in Bolden, 2004, p.5).
From this definition we can see that leadership is about change and relationships, as leaders we need to be able to engage in a process of influence that enables people to do or see things differently. We also see from this definition that leadership cannot replace management, the group level, change-oriented nature of leadership must complement the interpersonal, informational and decision making aspects of management, and both are needed to guide organisations. Kotter (1990) suggests that management is about dealing with day-to-day complexities whereas leadership is about the processes of change, which brings us to the ‘goal attainment’ part of our definition. Leadership is about helping a group or groups of people to understand and perceive things in such a way that a particular goal can be achieved. Thus, effective leadership is about whether the leader was able to influence the group in such a way that the goal was successfully achieved, and/or, in ensuring that useful lessons were learned along the way.
In taking a reflexive approach to leadership we need to be willing to consider what is currently wrong with established ideas and beliefs about leadership, including our own. We need to be able to think critically about the processes of leadership and consider alternative methods for influencing people and enabling them to achieve organizational goals.
A relational approach to leadership
In 1948 Ralph Stogdill, a well known leadership theorist, noted that Leadership is not a matter of passive status, or of the mere possession of some combination of traits. It appears rather to be a working relationship among members of a group, in which the leader acquires status through active participation and demonstration of his/her capacity for carrying cooperative tasks through to completion (Journal of Psychology, 1948, p.70).
Arising from this line of thought, Leader-Member Exchange Theory (LMX) attempts to explain the effects of leadership on members, teams, and organizations through understanding the leader-follower dyad. Proponents of the theory suggest that leaders form strong trust, emotional, and respect-based relationships with some members of a team (the ‘in-group’), but not with others (those in the ‘out-group’). On this basis, people using the LMX framework for understanding leadership suggest that leaders have different quality relationships with different team members depending on whether they are members of the ‘in-group- or the ‘out-group’ and that leadership effectiveness arises from the extent to which a leader can embrace subordinates as members of the ‘in-group’ and engender high quality relationships with all members of a team.
Another theory that takes a relational approach to understanding leadership is a theory not often referred to in management literature, Social Identity Theory (SIT). This theory is primarily about how people derive aspects of their identity from the groups that they feel they belong to. For example, I can categorize myself as a mother, a teacher, a yogi and a researcher and in this way I can find other people who I can then identify with on the basis of our shared self-categorization. Researchers basing their work on this theory have discovered that it is also a very useful way for understanding the processes of leadership. SIT suggests that leaders emerge as prototypical members of the group that they represent. Prototypical means the person who is most representative of the group – the person who is best able to represent the interests, and identity of the group to people who are not members of that group (i.e. the ‘in-group’).
Leadership research using SIT as the basis for their understanding has consistently found a number of key points regarding leadership effectiveness, including:
· Leaders who are prototypical of their group are better supported and more trusted than leaders who do not represent the group with regard to the group identity; and
· Leaders who are prototypical of their group are perceived, by members of the group, as more effective than non-prototypical or ‘out-group’ leaders (Haslam, Reicher & Platow, 2011).
From a broad perspective then, leadership emerges from a relationship in which individuals are able to persuade or influence others to adopt new values, attitudes and goals and to exert effort to achieve these. Further to this, individuals who are better able to relate to and represent their group members have been found to be more effective at influencing the thoughts and behaviours of the group than non-group members (Haslam, Reicher & Platow, 2011).
Therefore, the key attributes required by a leader in order to be considered effective, become contingent on the qualities of the group they are leading and the degree to which the leader resonates with the group.
However, some underlying factors can be discerned:
· Being influential, more often than not, requires you to also be respectful of others and trustworthy in your actions, this requires high-quality interactions with your ‘followers’;
· Being influential requires you to also take responsibility for the type of influence you exert as a leader; and
· Taking full responsibility as a leader can only occur if you are also aware of your personal values, ethics, ideology and other influences on your own thinking.
eadingPrinciples of Management. Chapter 10. Available online at : http://open.lib.umn.edu/principlesmanagement/chapter/10-6-contemporary-approaches-to-leadership/
Being a leader
Based on the understanding developed by exploring the process of leadership we can then start to appreciate what it means to be a leader. One definition that attempts to encompass all of the aspects of the leadership process suggests that a leader “is someone who is interpersonally trying to define meaning/reality for others who are inclined to (on a largely voluntary basis) accept such meaning-making and reality defining influencing acts” (Alvesson, Blom & Sveningsson, 2017, p.8).
This brings us back to our lesson on sensemaking in Topic 1 of this course. Leaders engage in a process of sensegiving for their followers or team members. Sharing vision through storytelling, outlining and explaining reasons for a particular business strategy or making sense of organizational goals, are all acts of both leadership and sensegiving that contribute to the effectiveness of the leadership aspect of a manager’s role in an organization.
People go about sharing meaning and making sense of things in different ways. Some managers take a technical approach to leadership and make sense of the work they need a team to do through their technical skills and experience. This approach to leadership is particularly effective in teams that need to do a lot of problem solving, designing and producing or constructing a final product or prototype. In other settings leaders are more effective when they act as a conductor, bringing people together for a common goal and ensuring the team works together in a coordinated and synchronous manner but at the same time, drawing on the experience and expertise of the team members themselves. A third approach to leadership that has been found to be effective in bringing out the best in people, motivating teams and encouraging people to take risks and try new ways of doing things, is leader-as-coach (Boyatzis, Smith and Van Oosten, 2010). Leaders who take a coaching approach to leadership but who can also use more than one style of leadership and adapt to context are likely to be most effective across teams and situations. Drawing on the skills you developed in Topics 1-4 of this course will enable you to develop a flexible, coaching-oriented approach to leadership.
Above all else, research in the area of social influence demonstrates the need for leaders to be responsible (Haslam et al., 2011). A responsible leader is someone with a deep sense of self and community, who values diversity and ethics, the individual and the collective, and who is intentionally trying to share meaning with others, who are inclined to accept such meaning-making, for the benefit of both themselves and the larger collective (e.g. their team or the organization). These are the leaders most often described as transformational, authentic, charismatic, and inspiring, people can identify with who they are or what they stand for, or both. The words and actions of these leaders make sense to people, they resonate with others and in this way these leaders are able to both represent the people they lead and bring out the best in them (Boyatzis and McKee, 2007). Being a great leader isn’t about having the right traits or characteristics, it’s about how you are with others, your ability to relate to them and understand how to best facilitate their needs being met.
eading Human Relations. Chapter 12. Available online at: https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_human-relations/s16-be-a-leader.html
eading Why good leaders make you feel safe. Simon Sinek. https://youtu.be/lmyZMtPVodo
eading EBM Spotlight:
The way we view and approach leadership is heavily biased by our experiences of being leaders and of being led. All around us we hear stories and see portrayals of leaders as heroes, people with special qualities that make them seemingly better than the rest of us. However, research now tells us that the best, or at least the most effective leaders, are those that are best able to connect with and relate to members of the group they are leading. Drawing upon the EBM capabilities that you developed in the Evidence-Based Practice in Management course, we would like you to review the leadership research to identify key interpersonal skills needed by the next generation of leaders.
Hint: Section 3, ‘Lack of Leadership’ (http://reports.weforum.org/outlook-global-agenda-2015/top-10-trends-of-2015/3-lack-of-leadership/) of the 2016 report from the World Economic Forum identifies several characteristics suggested by their survey respondents and could serve as a useful starting point for your research.
Activity: Lesson 1
eading Activity: Great Leadership
In the video at the beginning of this lesson Rosalinde Torres offers three questions to prompt us to consider what it takes to be a great leader. The questions Torres asks suggests leaders need to be able to 1) understand and adapt to different contexts, 2) see things from multiple perspectives and 3) adopt and apply new approaches relative to context. We would like you to provide an example of a business or organizational leader who is widely accepted as successful and effective in their area in consider their effectiveness from this perspective.
Question #1: Who is this leader and what makes (or made) them great? If possible, please provide a link to some background information about this person.
Question #2: In what ways did this person demonstrate their ability to accurately read and adapt to a new context? Were they leading the same people in a different context or different people in a new environment?
Question #3: In what ways did this person demonstrate their ability to see things from multiple perspectives? Explain how you think they were able to see things from more than one point of view.
Question #4: Provide evidence of this person being able to adopt new or different approaches to leadership in different contexts. Were they leading different people in these different situations? Introduction: Lesson 2
Let’s get started!
“A successful change initiative requires not only a well thought-out implementation roadmap, but careful attention to the human element that ultimately determines the sustainability of change” (Management consultant).
People are generally uncomfortable with change and as a result can experience a great deal of stress in response to being asked to do things differently. However, it seems increasingly true that companies that don’t change often don’t survive – take the case of Kodak as an example.
Successful organisational change requires a leader or suite of leaders who believe in the change they are proposing, can share a vision and engender ‘buy-in’ from the people needed to undertake the change, and cultivate resilience in those people so that they may persist until the change has successfully taken effect.
eadingStart with why – how great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek | TEDx Puget Sound – https://youtu.be/u4ZoJKF_VuA
Mini-case: Inspiring Change
Management author and consultant Simon Sinek suggests that in order to inspire people to act, to do something, we must first help them to feel safe by explaining why we do what we do and give them an opportunity to see that they too, believe what we believe. Sinek suggests that when people understand ‘why’ and can relate to the reason for doing something, they will be more likely to trust the source of the message and follow the lead.
https://d37djvu3ytnwxt.cloudfront.net/assets/courseware/v1/9932e9f6ecdf8806511562ac2eab0ae3/asset-v1:ANUx+EBM03x+2T2017+type@asset+block/asset-v1-ANUx_EBM01x_1T2017_type_asset_block_reading.gif Principles of Management – Chapter 7, Section 5: http://open.lib.umn.edu/principlesmanagement/chapter/7-5-organizational-change/
iscussion Case question
We’d like you to think about a time when you have changed the way you do something, changed a belief you held or an opinion.
>>What prompted you to change? What was the reason you changed your behaviour, belief or opinion?
Theory: Managing Change
Arguably, organizational change has become a way of life due to the influence of three forces: globalization, information technology and industry consolidation (Moss-Kanter, 1999). As well as these major, external forces for change there are also the smaller, everyday changes people make in the way they do their job, what job they actually do and who they do it with. People continuously learn and adapt, spread knowledge, and share ideas and thus, just by doing our jobs, we are constantly influential in making change happen and subject to constant change in our environments (Moss-Kanter, 1999).
Managing change is an integral part of every manager’s job and quite possibly, being able to manage change effectively is what distinguishes a manager from a leader. Effective change management is contingent on a number of factors at play within the organization, including the organizational culture and climate, the structure and agility of the firm and the skills and capabilities of the organization’s leaders. However, the forces that bring about change will be both internal and external to the organization. External factors include examples such as:
· change in the marketplace
· new government laws and regulations
· changing technology
· labour market changes
· economic changes
In addition to the external forces of change, the need for change can also be driven by factors originating from within the organization. Examples of internal forces of change include:
· new organizational strategy
· change in composition of workforce
· new equipment or software
· changing employee attitudes
Most managers, at some point in time, will either be required to implement change or will make a decision to undertake a change of some sort in their workplace – these changes are referred to as organizational change. Organizational change will usually involve at least one of three broad categories of change: people, structure or technology.
As agents of change, managers are often motivated to initiate and lead change as a result of their commitment to improving their organization’s performance – this occurs when a manager believes in the organization’s objectives and goals and is driven to help the organization achieve success. As such, many managers are in an ideal position to identify what changes are needed, how to best implement a program of change and how to gather momentum for the project. Despite a manager’s capacity for leading change it is common to be met with resistance to change. Therefore, as well as having the skills to implement change managers also need to know how to best manage reluctance, reticence and refusal for change.
eading Moss-Kanter, R. (1999). Leader to Leader. Available online at: http://traindev.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Enduring-Skills-Kanter.htm
eadingSix keys to leading positive change: Rosabeth Moss-Kanter TEDx Ceacon Street: https://youtu.be/owU5aTNPJbs
A strong and cohesive organizational culture can be the most useful resource when undergoing transformational change; it can also be the most stubborn barrier to change. A strong, cohesive organizational culture is usually found in relatively stable conditions, in organizations that aren’t operating in a disruptive marketplace (at least not yet) or are a long-standing organization with well-established processes and operating procedures. In this context Lewin’s (1947) three stage model of planned change is very useful for understanding how to shift people from existing status quo to a new status quo – the new version of ‘business as usual’.
Lewin’s three stage model begins with sharing a desire for change through communication and dissemination of the change message – the rationale behind the change (the why), the process for change (the how) and the vision for change (the what) (Dainty and Kakabadse, 1990). This initial communication then paves the way for step 1: unfreezing. Lewin’s three steps are:
1. Unfreezing – create motivation for change, establish or raise awareness of the forces to generate a desire for change;
2. Changing – implementation of the change, leaders and change agents need to provide direction and create a safe culture for learning new ways of doing things;
3. Refreezing – to ensure the change is sustainable and enduring it needs to be constantly reinforced and referred to as the norm so that people come to accept it as ‘business as usual’.
Figure 1. Lewin’s Three Step Model for Change (1947).
In 1990 researchers Dainty and Kakabadse undertook a systematic literature review to understand the key aspects of planned change. They found that there were three main factors to consider when implementing a program of change that directly addresses a pre-determined vision or a previously identified problem: the why, how and what as stated earlier. Dainty and Kakabadse (1990) also developed an 8-step framework for implementing organisational change on the basis of their review of the literature. These eight steps elaborate on the basic three-component model to provide more guidance for managers implementing organisational change:
1. Identifying whether there is a need for change (why)
2. Recognition of the need for action (why)
3. Diagnosing the problem (why > what)
4. Determining change goals (what > how)
5. Selecting a change program (how)
6. Implementing the change (why, what and how)
7. Creating a proper climate for change (context)
8. Evaluation of change effectiveness and modification of strategy where necessary (measuring success and modifying accordingly)
John Kotter (2014) popularised a modified version of these eight steps which is widely cited by industry professionals as the most effective method for leading change. While more detailed and instructional, these eight steps are still most useful in contexts where change is both planned and unusual. However, there are increasing numbers of organisations that must be able to adapt and keep up with the changing pace of the economy and the broader global culture in an age when uncertainty and volatility are the norm.
eadingKotter, J (2014). Accelerate. Available as an eBook online at: https://www.kotterinternational.com/8-steps-process-for-leading-change/
Managing constant change
Managers in industries such as telecommunications, computer software, pharmaceuticals and high-fashion have been among those who have always experienced regular, ongoing change. This theme of constant change is rapidly spreading to sectors such as banking and finance, energy production, transportation and even construction – disruption is affecting more and more industries and more managers than ever before need the skills to manage in an environment characterized by constant volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA).
Managing constant change requires attention to organizational culture, handling employee stress and celebrating success along the way. Of these three variables, cultural change can be the most difficult and stubborn to shift. Strong, cohesive organizational culture is conducive to successful change programs led by leaders who present as prototypical group members, as discussed in lesson 1. However, a strong cohesive organizational culture is also the most resistant to widespread change. Changing organizational culture requires the change to be led by someone who is trusted by the majority of employees to protect both the interests and identity of the group or organization. Cultural change also requires leaders to act as role models, to share stories about the positive effects of change, to recognize and support employees who embrace or adopt the new values and replace unspoken norms with clearly defined expectations. Changing organizational culture might also require a manager to undertake less desirable tasks such as transferring or terminating entrenched employees who form the basis of a resistant sub-culture and changing existing reward systems to encourage acceptance of new values and behaviours. In a context of constant change rewarding innovation, adaptability and entrepreneurial thinking will be paramount to transforming a stable, predictable organizational culture into one that is tolerant of risk and failure.
Change of any kind, personal or job-related, has the potential to cause stress by placing demands and constraints on an individual. Stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure placed on them from extraordinary demands, constraints or opportunities (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg and Coulter, 2015). For many people, potential opportunity or potential loss of opportunity is also the source of great stress (consider a job interview situation). Managers can be aware of a number of factors, called role demands, that might contribute to employee stress during periods of change or that are persistent variables for employees dealing with constant change.
· Role demands relate to pressures placed on an employee as a function of the particular role the individual plays in an organization;
· Role conflicts create expectations that may be hard to reconcile or satisfy;
· Role overload might be experienced with the employee is expected to do more than time permits; and
· Role ambiguity is created when role expectations are not clearly understood and the employee is unsure of what they should do.
Regular, open, two-way communication with employees is essential to picking up on the stress of role demands and that caused by other factors. Large organizations might have employee assistance programs (EAPs) in place where employees can access a counsellor or psychologist through their human resource manager. Smaller organizations can implement simple employee wellness programs by encouraging people to take their lunch breaks and go for walks outside. Research has found that even these simple solutions can have a positive impact on employee wellbeing during periods of change (Robbins et al., 2015).
Being change capable
Neuroscience has shown us that our brains respond positively to change. New neural connections are formed, our brains morph and change depending on the skills we use regularly and we can become increasingly better at adapting and responding to change the more we encounter it (Greenfield, 2016). Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganise itself by forming new neural connections throughout life – it represents the fact that as humans, we are hardwired for change.
Some management scholars and future studies scholars are predicting that our organisations will take on a similar form to our brains, organising and re-organising around shifting priorities and organisational objectives. Organisations capable of such dramatic suppleness and agility are thought to have a number of similar underlying characteristics including:
· Being able to consider and take into account future opportunities;
· Excelling at knowledge sharing and management;
· Actively encouraging and supporting day-to-day evolution of working practices and processes;
· Ensuring diversity in the workforce and encouraging different perspectives;
· Recognising and rewarding people who think differently, the mavericks;
· Protecting new insight and breakthroughs;
· Integrating technology to facilitate change;
· Building and developing deep trust within the organisational culture;
· Embracing the paradox of ‘continuity and change’; and
· Supporting, encouraging and developing entrepreneurial mindsets in all employees (Robbins, et al., 2015).
From an organizational perspective, leadership is often presented as the most vital ingredient in creating and changing organizational culture. Leadership training and development specialists market their courses and workshops by sharing stories about great leaders who create or transform organizational culture into something new and innovative and highly successful (Alvesson, et al., 2017). This portrayal of leadership perpetuates the arguably naïve view that leaders are heroes with special abilities and powers. While we can see that there are many cases where leaders have been highly influential in forming and shaping the culture of an organization we must also accept that organizational culture forms and shapes leaders and the processes of leadership. “Managers are socialized into an organizational culture” (Alvesson, et al., 2017, p.75), and those that are promoted internally are likely to already have a strong sense of identification with or connection to the values, norms and goals of the organization – they are likely to be prototypical members of the organization, capable of leading change, not just because of their personal skills and capabilities but also because of the relationship they have with other members of the organisation.
eading Beer, M and Nohria, N. (2000). Cracking the code of change. Harvard Business Review. Available online: https://hbr.org/2000/05/cracking-the-code-of-change
eading EBM Spotlight: Coaching for Change
Boyatzis et al.’s (2010) article ” Coaching for Change ” …
…suggests that life seems more exciting when you consider the possibilities and pursue them, and in this way, taking a coaching approach to change management is more likely to lead to successful and sustained change. We would like you to examine this claim using the criteria for appraising scientific evidence (Lesson 2, Topic 7) introduced in the Evidence-Based Practice in Management course. Are you likely to adjust or modify your approach to change management based on the evidence presented in this article?
Hint: You might also search for other articles by the same authors, start by examining the appropriateness and quality of the methodology, before evaluating the impact and practical relevance.
Activity: Lesson 2
eading Activity: Sharing the Why
In the video at the beginning of this lesson Simon Sinek suggests that the secret to communicating for effective change is to start with the why – why are you doing this, why is it important, why should I believe in what you are doing, why do you believe it?
Greg Schinkel’s explanation of the role of explanations in getting people to do things is simple but instructive: https://youtu.be/4HsGAc0_Y5c
Question #1: What do you think of the experiment Schinkel describes?
Question #2: If you repeated this in your student context what results would you expect to get?
Question #3: How does providing an explanation change behaviour?
Introduction: Lesson 3
Let’s get started
So far in this topic we have explored the processes of leadership and being a leader and how this approach to leadership integrates with effective methods of managing organisational change. In this lesson we will explore how organisational culture is both influenced by and influences processes of leadership, the implications for change management and how culture might be sometimes be considered as an alternative to leadership.
Culture is a shared framework of meanings and values and guides experiences in and actions within an organisation. In this sense, culture can do the work that has thus far been considered the work of a leader – providing meaning, direction and an understanding of expectations (Alvesson, Blom and Sveningsson, 2017). If there is a collective transmission and reproduction of meaning that effectively provides a set of guidelines and a sense of purpose for employees
eading Employees first, customers second | Vineet Nayar | TEDxAix – https://youtu.be/cCdu67s_C5E
Mini-Case: Creating a workplace culture of engagement and trust
Vineet Nayar is an Indian business executive, author and philanthropist. He is the former Chief Executive Officer of HCL Technologies, Founder Chairman & CEO of Sampark Foundation and author of Harvard Business Press bestseller Employees First, Customers Second. In this video he provides a compelling account of how this idea harnessed the energy and passion of 100,000 employees to increase HCL’s revenues and market cap over six times. Vineet suggests that there are several simple ideas that leaders can implement to enhance employee engagement increase workplace happiness, passion and growth.
Vineet’s employees first, customers second philosophy and its execution at HCL Technologies has been described as the “world’s most modern management” by Fortune magazine and has led to a culture of engagement and trust at HCL Technologies.
eading Nayar, V. (2010). How I did it: A maverick CEO explains how he persuaded his team to leap into the future. Harvard Business Review. Available online at: https://hbr.org/2010/06/how-i-did-it-a-maverick-ceo-explains-how-he-persuaded-his-team-to-leap-into-the-future
iscussion Case Question
Vineet Nayar asks his TEDx audience to make a commitment to create a workplace where employees are inspired by the vision that their managers, leaders and CEOs have for them. As CEO of HCL Technologies, Vineet Nayar is not the only leader to have realised that treating your employees well and creating a culture of engagement and trust will have positive outcomes for the productivity and profitability of an organization. We would like you to find another example of an organization, which can be seen to put employees first.
>> What is the vision this organization has for their employees? How is this vision shared and realized (i.e. what does the organization do to actually put employees first?)
Theory: Organizational Culture
Culture is central to all dimensions of life in the workplace, how people think act and feel in their workplace is guided by the shared understanding of meaning, direction and what is expected in this organization (Alvesson et al., 2017). Organisational culture can be described as the shared values, principles, traditions and ways of doing things that influence the way members of a particular organization act (Robbins et al., 2015). In most organizations shared values and practices have evolved over time and, to a large degree, determine how employees make sense of their work and help them understand what is expected of them.
There are many dimensions to organizational culture that influence employee behavior, some of these are;
· The degree to which employees are expected to pay attention to detail;
· The degree to which managers are focused on results and outcomes rather than how the outcomes are achieved (results versus process orientation);
· The degree to which management decisions affect the people within the organization or external stakeholders (people versus profit);
· The degree to which work is organized around teams rather than individuals;
· The emphasis placed on aggressive and competitive behavior as opposed to cooperation and collaboration;
· The degree to which managers emphasize the importance of stability and maintaining status quo; and
· The degree to which employees are encouraged to take risks and be innovative, including the degree to which mistakes and failure are tolerated and viewed as learning opportunities.
This list is by no means exhaustive and some of the dimensions can be reframed so that they are not bipolar (e.g. people versus profit). For example, some organizations have found innovative ways to establish a culture that is both people and profit oriented and rewards both process and outcomes. In the past, most organizational cultures have been established by the company founder and maintained through practices that reinforce the values, beliefs and objectives of the founder, possibly without much thought as to the implications and consequences of the resulting organizational culture. It is far more common now for a leader, founder or CEO of an organization to intentionally create a culture with a particular objective or outcome in mind. For example, Westpac bank in Australia has successfully created a culture that supports environmental sustainability through explicit endorsement of these values from top-level management, including the Westpac Board of Directors (Robbins, et al., 2015). As a result, Westpac has been ranked by the World Economic Forum as one of the 100 Most Sustainable Global Corporations in the world, a valuable reinforcement for the organizational culture and a positive influence on public perceptions of the organization.
eading Organizational Behavior. Chapter 15 – Organizational Culture. http://open.lib.umn.edu/organizationalbehavior/
Creating a high-engagement, high-trust culture
Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals; because they believe in the goals and care about whether or not they are attained. When employees care—when they are engaged—they use discretionary effort. Discretionary effort is the additional effort that employees exert, above and beyond, what is expected of them, going that ‘extra mile’ for a customer or staying late on a Friday night to ensure a report is properly edited and formatted. It is now a widely held belief that employee engagement is the key to activating a high performing workforce (Kruse, 2012).
Employee engagement is strongly related to organizational culture. Often established by the organization’s founder, organizational culture is maintained and modified by managers through story, ritual, symbols and language and is enriched when a manager is able to co-create culture with diverse employees. This co-creation of culture, when done with employee outcomes in mind (e.g. employee satisfaction, wellbeing etc.), can lead to a strengthening of organizational culture, beyond what could be achieved by establishing culture on the basis of the founder’s beliefs and values alone. Research has found that employee loyalty and commitment increase with the strength of the organizational culture (Va Vianen, 2000). There is also an increasing body of research that demonstrates a strong positive relationship between strength of culture and high organizational performance (e.g. Laforet, 2014; Jacobs, et al., 2013; Lin, Wu and Yueh-Hsin, 2013). Essentially, organizational culture is enriched and organizational performance is enhanced when a manager is able to co-create culture with diverse employees.
As well as increasing engagement, co-creation of an organisational culture also serves to increase employee trust in senior management and organisational leaders. Research has found that leaders who are in-group prototypical, that is, who are seen as ‘one of us’, are perceived to be much more trustworthy than managers who take an ‘us versus them’ approach to the leader-follower or manager-subordinate relationship (Haslam et al., 2011).
eadingKruse, K. (2012). What is Employee Engagement. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2012/06/22/employee-engagement-what-and-why/#b4844fb7f372
Culture as an alternative to leadership
In an organization with a strong, cohesive culture, shared meanings and values provide a convincing source of influence over employee thoughts and behaviours. In such an environment, there is less need for leaders within the organization to continually espouse the values of the company, allowing them to spend more time and effort engaging with employees, deepening relationships and maintaining awareness of external forces that may affect the organization’s performance. However, even within an organization with a strong culture, leadership remains vital in ensuring that culture is maintained or in evolving the culture so that it is flexible and agile in responding to forces of change.
Creating a culture of change
As organisations come to accept that the business world is changing there is a growing realisation that the way we structure our organisations and the cultures we form within them also need to change. One of the earlier proposals for how achieve an agile culture was from Peter Senge (1990) who suggested that companies need to continually transform themselves through a constant process of organisational learning. Hence, the term learning organisation was coined. Learning organizations develop as a result of the external pressures facing modern organizations. Having a collective ‘growth mindset’ enables these organisations to remain competitive in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous marketplace.
Organizations do not just naturally evolve into learning organizations; there are factors, including leadership directives, which result in this change. Many scholars and professional have noticed that as organizations grow, they lose their capacity to learn as company structures and individual thinking becomes rigid.
To remain competitive, some organizations restructure, with fewer people in the company. This means those who remain need to work more creatively and effectively. However, downsizing isn’t the only solution. To maintain competitive advantage, organisations need to learn faster than their competitors and to develop a customer responsive culture (O’Keeffe, 2002). In a hypercompetitive marketplace, it is essential that organizations maintain knowledge about new products and processes, understand what is happening in the outside environment and produce creative solutions using the knowledge and skills of all employees within the organization. This requires co-operation between individuals and groups, free and reliable communication, and a culture of trust, bringing us back to our point about the value of a culture that is co-created by employees and management.
In agile organisations the customer is the boss, the employees are the leaders and senior management provide the structure and security needed for employees to get on with the job to the best of their ability.
eading Denning, S. (2015). How to make the whole organisation agile. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2015/07/22/how-to-make-the-whole-organization-agile/#d1c2ad558417
eading Gothelf, J. (2014). Bring agile to the whole organisation. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2014/11/bring-agile-to-the-whole-organization
eading EBM Spotlight: Co-created Organisational Culture
Drawing upon the EBM capabilities that you developed in the Evidence-Based Practice in Management course, we would like you to identify some possible disadvantages of a co-created workplace culture.
Hint: ask yourself “when does a flatter organisation with shared decision making responsibilities not make sense?” Or alternately “when is a command-and-control approach to organisational leadership needed?”
Activity: Lesson 3
In the mini-case at the beginning of this less it was suggested that ‘putting employees first’ would lead to an organisational culture characterised by increased employee engagement and trust in organisational leadership. We would like you to imagine now that you are the founder of a new start-up venture. How will you go about establishing an organisational culture that will meet your organisational goals and objectives?
Question #1: As a company founder, what do you think your core values would be? How would you share these with your employees?
Question #2: How would you respond to an employee who made a suggestion regarding the purchase of a new software program that could change the way you get work done?
Question #3: How might you go about establishing a culture that is not only tolerant of risk taking and accepting of failure but also one that is able to learn from these experiences?
Question #4: How might you ensure that a reward or recognition program is aligned with your organisational values?
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Once desire for change is established, people need to be motivated to act
Implementation of a plan, trying new things and receiving reinforcement for success
Reinforce aspects of culture/identity that will contribute to the sustainability of the change