Leadership and Change Management Are Very Crucial Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

leadership and change management are very crucial factors in the determination of an organization's success. One of the main causes of organization failure is poor leadership. This coupled with the lack of appropriate change management program can quickly send an otherwise profitable business venture into the dreaded domains of bankruptcy and losses. This paper is therefore dedicated to the investigation of the effects of leadership and change management on organizational culture and organizational performance in the case of corporations undergoing mergers and acquisitions The role played by an organization leader is to align the organization's resources, envisioning of the future of the organizations and the motivation of the employees in the firm in order to achieve better results in terms of performance and profitability. A viable leadership strategy must therefore be devised and coupled with an effective change management strategy in order to ensure that businesses remain profitable in this contemporary corporate environment that is marred with stiff competition. It is crucial that any given organization is guided effectively in the process of corporate growth and development by connecting the workforce and the management. The benefit of this is the seamless integration of leadership and workforce with the main business processes. Organization culture must therefore be preserved while ensuring that the new and existing business missions are upheld. Due to the dynamism in the contemporary business environment, it is necessary that certain changes be updated in order to ensure that the organization a new set of core capabilities as pointed out by Prahalad and Hamel (1990).

Dynamic business environment

The dynamism of the business environment means that several activities such as mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are common in the corporate environment. This is because merger and acquisitions are an integral part and parcel of many firm's operational strategy. This is as a result of the fact that moves such as these have been praised and proven as being of significance in the achievement of corporate growth as well as rationalization and diversity (Cartwright and Cooper, 1992). The contemporary corporate environment is characterized with several firms having to deal with too much chaos and culture change so as to achieve an acceptable level of corporate dynamism and growth (Berquist, 1993). A look at organization culture reveals that several factors affect the level of organization change as is common during acquisitions and it is therefore extremely crucial for leaders who hope to obtain a high acceptance level after an organizational change to be ready for the daunting task as postulated by Michaela and Burke (2000). Major challenges lie in the selection of the most appropriate set of actions that are both achievable and viable within the firm's capacity in order to handle change as well as the ever present resource constraint. Extant literature that depend on the 'great man' theory of leadership as indicated by Judge et al., (2002) does reveal that a given situation is also a major player in the determination of the effectiveness of a given leader. An effective leader should therefore be able to behave in a different and appropriate way according to different situations (Stogdill, 1974; as well as Yukl, 2002).

The rational for this research is to make sure that the concepts of leadership as well as management are utilized effectively for the promotion of organization culture and raise the level of employee acceptance during normal organizational processes such as mergers and acquisitions. It is important to point out that the concepts of leadership and management are two distinct terms with different meanings (Kotter,1990). They are however meant to serve as each other's complement in a given organizational system. Their functions and characteristics are unique to each other. Kotter, further points out that leadership and management are both integral for the achievement of a perfectly managed organization. The management aspect being concerned with the planning, control and the institution of certain necessary systems and organizational culture in a given firm. The leadership aspect however is mainly concerned with the expectation of change in the organization and how to perfectly cope with the changes in a visionary manner.

The need to align leadership and organization culture with strategy

It is important to have good leadership and appropriate organization culture in order to have a successful merger and acquisition

. It is paramount that leadership and organization culture be aligned with organization strategy in order to achieve a perfect integration in the case of an M&A. It is pointed out that good leadership should be cultivated in the early stages of the process of integration by means of coaching, relying on continual feedback as well as through participation in formal activities

Role of organization culture

Organization culture has been a dominant topic in management literature for a long time now. There are new techniques of assessing as well as changing organization culture in the domain of organization development. Several researchers have come up with various ways of determining the components of organization culture and the means of measuring and changing it. It is fortunate that currently there exists a lot of knowledge on organization culture and the ways of measuring it. The unfortunate news however is that organization culture can never be easily changed. Before proceeding, it is necessary to define organization culture. The definition provided by Schein (1985) is the most widely accepted one. It identified three important levels of organization culture; these are;

Basic assumptions



Basic assumptions

These are the circumstances that are usually taken for granted in a given organization as the "normal and correct" methods of doing things. The do lie at the deepest level of organization culture and are the most difficult to alter. As an example we consider the situation documented by Schein involving an engineering firm and entails decision making; employees were valued as being the main source of business ideas. The assessment of the ideas had to be done by a particular workgroup as well as all relevant parties prior to their acceptance. According to Schein, the values of a given firm form the next level of organization culture. What this means is that they form the core of what ought to be executed in the firm' business process.


These are the behaviors and physical manifestations of organization culture that are overt. They are the most superficial. They can be observed with a lot of ease and are much easier to alter as compared to assumptions as well as values. The artifacts do include the procedures that are followed in the firm, the form of technology employed and the accepted methods of communication. It is worth mentioning that the process of altering the artifacts never yield any changes of organization culture. In order to achieve this, a person must eventually achieve the values as well as the basic assumptions. In light of the definition of organization culture, it is worth mentioning that organization culture can be measured. This implies that it is possible to identify as well as understand a given organization's cultures that are unique. The ability to measure organization culture does not imply that it can quickly be changed in order to transform and improve the organization. What is important is to learn and comprehend fully the existing organization culture in order to initiate the real change.

The measurement of culture

It is important that culture is measured. The existing processes are however deemed insufficient. A study by Hofstede et al. (1990) revealed that the differences in organization culture can be best explained by the various practices that employees of different firms commented to share in common. This commonality is what Schein referred to as artifacts. Hofstede et al. (1990) went ahead to conclude that the main differences that exists between the organization cultures can best be described through a sharp focus on six to eight dimensions of a given firm's practice. The two main ones that they discovered are the extent to which a given culture was employees Vs. Job oriented as well as the manner in which it was process vs. results oriented.

It is paramount that the study of organization culture focuses on practices such as performances and behaviors as opposed to values which in deed are more challenging to measure. A word of caution though is that in the process of measuring culture, there is a need to recognize the possible existence of other subcultures in various areas of an organization. Even though there may be a general consensus on the basis and technique of doing things, there exist variations that occur within the given units. These variations are never a violation of the broader organization culture but instead make them unique.

Assessment of organization culture

The assessment of organization culture is not the same as altering it. This therefore means that it can never be changed by the organization's top management. Organization culture therefore develops over an extended period of time via the interactions as well as relationships of certain key persons and groups; some of which exists…

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