Leadership and Change Management Case Study

Pages: 23 (7618 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 14  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Business - Management


They often fail through lack of senior management support and commitment, lack of vision and clear goals, poor training and inadequate rewards (Drew and Coulson-Thomas, p. 8).

A survey of 75 organizations in the UK ranging in size from 500 to 10,000 employees found that teams were most useful in "customer satisfaction, achieving total quality and overcoming departmental barriers," but less important in building relationships with customers or improving organizational learning (p. 9). Nor were they used during downsizing which si unpopular and usually carried out in secret by top management due to union opposition and bad publicity. Teams will generally not approve of downsizing that will result in job losses for colleagues, and in any case "many downsizings subsequently are regarded as failures" (Drew and Coulson-Thomas, p. 11).

After the company has completed the development phase of the field and more wells came on production, the small team that has been stewarding the surveillance of the initial small number of producing wells needed to be expanded into multiple and matrix teams. Each team was made of multi-disciplinary members and focused on a different segment of the field. The small initial team consisted of members with one engineering discipline and reported to one supervisor. The change would have entailed the inclusion of new members reporting to different supervisors with different technical background needed to look at the performance of the wells and the blocks for which they are responsible in an integrated way.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Case Study on Leadership and Change Management Consider Assignment

This change was necessary to cover all aspect of surveillance of the field using all the necessary resources to be thorough. However, the basic structure of the company did need not change. The model used for the surveillance phase was inline with the structure and approach used during the Development phase - use of matrix, multi-disciplinary team under different functional leadership. However, a key concern was to avoid team members tending to work in discipline-related silos and not talk to each other. Such situations would defeat the principle purpose of having integration wait of executing field surveillance and data analyses. Some of the characteristics of this change, looked at from a leadership perspective, are addressed in the next sections.

There are some important aspects of the change that relate to employees currently in the subsurface group, within the company, and incoming employees. The transition from a development to a production company involves three types of changes in personnel, two of which are associated with the current staff in place:

• Those personnel directly involved with the development, whose skills are no longer needed, will be released to work on other similar projects elsewhere.

• Those personnel whose work is associated with production surveillance and sustainment activity, or whose work is related enough to be re-used in the surveillance role, will be considered as candidates for re-tasking rather than release.

• The increased activity to support production maintenance activities will require additional people of specific skills to be brought into the company. Those personnel who may also possess these skills, but were going to be released for other projects, will be considered for these roles as well.

These changes need to be managed along with the organizational reporting changes in order to minimize the Asset Surveillance Team's distractions from their work assignments.

The scope of this change was extremely limited, and the total number of employees affected by the change was less than sixty. This is approximately two percent of the entire organization. As such, the change can be considered a narrow change. The change was a deliberate effort to redirect the focus of the subsurface organization, to address required needs very different from the current needs. As such, this change is a strategic change. While the company is coming to an end of the development phase, the facilities are still fairly new, with minimal operating problems presenting themselves at this time. The company could have easily deferred making any organizational changes until events presented themselves. Undertaking this change at the time that it did was very much a proactive approach to deal with the future perceived needs.

The Change Process

The subsurface management embarked on this change based on a thoughtful consideration of future needs. This was done in advance of actual problems and issues presenting themselves. This reflects the planned nature of the change process. The change was put into place in a discontinuous manner; the Asset Surveillance Teams were initially conceived and then put into place in a very short period of time. From the perspective of the functional teams in place, the change was a radical change. However, the limited scope of the change meant that the overall impact to the company as a whole was negligible. The change was envisioned and put into place by middle management, with concurrence from upper management. The need for the change was not conceived of by the employees. From the employee's perspective, this appears to be a Top-Down approach. From the perspective of the entire organization, it may be considered a bottom-up solution, having originated at a level close to the first line supervisor's level.

One example of top-down change was Operation Centurian at Philips Electronics in 1990, which resulted in 45,000 layoffs. This change process was made easier by the fact that the company was facing bankruptcy to due intense completion from the Japanese in the 1980s. In his famous book In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters suggested that executives needed to adopt a new management style based on the Japanese model which had a great deal of influence on managers at Philips. Wisse Dekker, the CEO at Philips in 1982-86 had studied management in Japan for six years, but when he attempted to introduce a Company Work Quality Improvement (CWQI) system at Philips, the change failed (Karsten et al., 2009, p. 73). Only in 1990 did Philips resort to 'shock treatment' under a transformative leader named Jan Timmer, who did not hesitate to use "language full of challenging organizational values and visions" and also exuded trust and confidence in the future (Karsten et al., p. 76). Philips simply did not know how to survive in the new globalized economy of the 1970s and 1980s since its origins were in a very different world that had been mercantilist and ruled by a few colonial powers. Timmer's layoffs shocked European politicians and labor leaders, who called him "the Butcher" and "the Hangman" for adopting American-style downsizing methods (Karsten et al., p. 81). Even in 1990, most of the managers at Philips did not realize that the company was near bankruptcy until Timmer called a secret meeting one weekend and informed them that the end was near. Even though managers described this event as a "funeral" and "the Valley of Death," Timmer forced them to sign written agreements promising to lay off 15% of the workforce (Karsten et al., p. 83). In the new training program, "naming, blaming and humiliation became a common practice, which was also shocking to managers in a staid, conservative European company (Karsten et al., p. 84), and not at all in keeping with its tradition culture and traditions. Timmer also set up twenty-one corporate tax forces to improve quality at every level, along with a new education and training program and a series of town meetings to improve communication with employees and obtain input from them.

There are forces that work against the adaptation of the change, such as resistors, employees and other stakeholders, the close knit original team and their supervisor who may feel loss of power and visibility, new members who may be confronted with fear of unknown tasks, goals, and performance expectations. Lack of clarity in terms of responsibilities can lead to resistance, since teams were venturing into new technical and work frontier, with no roadmap and little outside guidance and know-how. Competing responsibilities for team members included demands related to their functional-home leadership/goals and new surveillance objectives -- misalignment from the matrix and functional objectives. There was unclear authority from accountability perspective, since there were no organizational change and team members continued to report to their original functional supervisor who was not directly responsible for the new teams. Outside stakeholders were concerned about their roles of the new organization, and how they will interact with the stakeholders, can lead to resistance from the stakeholders.

Although all models offer similar methods for dealing with change, there is "substantial variability in how the phenomena associated with resistance are received and ultimately operationalized" (Brisson-Banks, 2010, p. 41). Resistance to change can be very complex but it has positive and negative aspects and actually can bring about improvements in an organization undergoing change. Resistance has no common definition, no more than trust, communication or participation. It can be active or passive, overt or covert, in thought or behavior, and individuals can be ambivalent about change in all of these dimensions at the same time. Most resistance is passive and covert, intended to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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