Headless Chickens Describes an Organization Which Is Term Paper

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Headless chickens describes an organization which is alive, and able to operate and continue to exist, but that has no sense of what it is, or where it's going. By calling itself a headless chicken, the group on the case study of a higher professional education organization correctly identified how it was feeling, but also identified how the organization got to the unfortunate position. Once these two factors are known, a path can be charted out of the situation by surgically installing a new head, by someone who understands the nuances of what it will take to get the surgical procedure to take.

The process of change in on organization cannot be initiated with the simple change of a leader. The organization also has a culture which has been built over the lifetime of the organization. Changing the leader, when the new leader is brought in from the outside of the organization will almost necessitate a change in culture, and negotiating these issues is much like trying to reattach the chickens head. The new leader may look the same, and have the same title, just like one chicken head looks the same as the next. However, without the proper preparation for the surgery, skillful hands, and a vision as to what the animal, or organization will look like after the operation, the organization may appear from the operation room with the head looking the wrong direction, unable to see where it is going because it is focused on looking back at where it's been.

In the college of higher education, a new administrator was installed in an attempt to bring change. However the first new principle, installed in 1996, supplied little in the way of solid leadership. His laissez faire or possibly management by exception methods gave the staff no real foundation on which to build toward the future.

This paper will investigate the nature of change within the organization, and look into the different leadership theories which have made their way into the marketplace in order to answer the following questions.

What it the change process within an organization, and how can the organization prepare for, and transact through meaningful, lasting change?

What leadership style is the most effective for initiating lasting change?

What are the differences between leadership, empowerment, and management, and how is the organization served by each?

Literature Review

The Change process

Managing organizational change is much more complicated than teaching staff or personnel new tasks or replacing staff with new personnel. The new tasks, often based on new goals and objectives for the organization, will also have an effect on the organizations culture. The existing organizational culture will also have to adapt to the new priorities, and purposes which are included in the new tasks. In order for people to make the transition to the new processes, the organizational culture needs to be nurtured through the change process which will include three distinct steps. Then the organization will adapt to the new processes, new technology, and after testing the waters, establish a new equilibrium around the new identity

The impact of an organizational culture on the well-being of the business organization has been explicitly recognized by many organizational researchers (Dennison, 1984; Camerer and Vespalian, 1988; and Wilkins and Ouchi, 1983). Tunstall (1986) suggests that a company's culture is the amalgam of shared values, behavior patterns, mores, symbols, attitudes, and normative ways of conducting business. Culture may influence what organizational strategies are selected and whether they are successful (Cartwright and Cooper, 1993). Existing cultural orientations may be quite supportive of the mission and success of a firm at a particular point, but not at all appropriate when significant strategic change becomes necessary, as in the case of the educational model in this case study.

Culture has been recognized as a consideration in the strategy implementation process (Bourgeois and Brodwin, 1984). Culture is assumed to explain the success of some organizations (Peters and Waterman, 1982), to represent an essential element in effectiveness of organizations if it fits the strategy (Schwartz and Davis, 1981), to act as a determinant of strategy (Ackerman, 1982), or as an influence on the implementation of decisions (Schwartz and Davis, 1981). Such claims contribute to the recognition that culture plays a large role in the overall implementation of specific strategies. As such, culture must also play a critical role when dramatic, significant strategic change is mandated.

Few concepts in organizational theory have as many different and competing definitions as does the ideas of organizational culture. Even though some disagreement and ambiguity have been noted in the numerous attempts to define culture for the organization, certain elements repeatedly emerge in nearly all definitions (Deal and Kennedy, 1982). Schall gives a relatively accurate all-encompassing definition: "Culture is a relatively enduring, interdependent, symbolic system of values, beliefs, and assumptions evolving from and imperfectly shared by interacting organizational members that allows them to explain, coordinate, and evaluate behavior and to ascribe common meanings to stimuli encountered in the organizational context" (1983: 11)..

Kurt Lewin's (1935) model for organizational change was built on his familiarity with the physical sciences. He developed the force field analysis, and talked in terms of an organizational change process being one of unfreezing the organization, moving the organization through the change process, and then refreezing the organization in the new changed condition. His use of this pictorial representation was based on moving a block of ice from one container to another. When frozen in an ice cube, water can be placed in different sized containers, but the shape of the water will stay the same. Changing the organization is similar to putting an ice cube from one container to another. While the container has changed, the organization has not.

In order to facilitate a change in the identity of the organization itself, the ice must be unfrozen. The unfreezing process is often the step in the process which is neglected, and then when the organization failed to take on the shape which reflects new strategic directives, organizations leaders wonder why they spent so much time and energy attempting to change only to fail. Only after the water is unfrozen can it then be poured from one container to another. After the water is successfully in the new container, it can then be refrozen and take the shape of the new container. The organization takes on the shape of the new container, and is thereby changed both in form and function.

Identifying the factors opposed to change and then minimizing them is heart of managing the process of change. Within the organization, there exist unspoken expectations regarding the way the organization functions. This is the heart of the organization's culture.

In order for he organization to change, the factors of the culture must be addressed, and the staff given support for a new organizational identity. This approach to organizational change has been called the socio-technical approach to organizational development.

Rather than defining the organization by a technical, or task basis, and then forcing the human resources to conform to the tasks or technologies, the organization is allowed to develop along human and relational lines in order to maximize the human and relational element. Thus when the organization faces a change process, the human element and relationships which form the basis for inter-company interactions must also be addressed to facilitate the change. Ultimately, the two elements of the organization must be addressed together, the technical and the social, in order to bring about lasting change in the organization.

Thus, the change process is a matter of identifying and minimizing the human element opposed to change. This may require leadership training, or training the staff in human relationship skills. In conclusion, the change process is a multifaceted, and multileveled dynamic transition. The expectations of the staff must be met, and staff skills upgraded as well if a change process if to occur without significant opposition. Change can be managed effectively, if those leading the change identify all the factors opposed to the change before engaging the process. Leaders in a change process must provide social support as well as technical expertise to unfreeze the organization, move through the change process, and then refreeze the organization in the new state.

Leadership in the change process

As the behavior of the leader so is the behavior of the follower." This proverb can be seen in families, groups of friends, and also can be applied to the business environment. Many academicians and practitioners view leadership as the most important topic within the realm of organizational behavior. The success of an organization is more heavily dependent on the quality of its leaders than on any other factor. Leaders play a major role in making decisions that determine organizational goals and how these goals can be accomplished. Leaders determine how the organization functions during the process of pursuing its goals.

While many studies have sought to identify leadership styles and theories since the end of WWII, the ideas of transactional and…[continue]

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