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Friday, 5 April 2013

Options for Implementing a Leadership Change

            Gene One is a Bio tech company that has recently entered into the bio tech industry with a revolutionary technology to curb diseases in tomatoes and potatoes. The company has recently grown in customer base and currently records $400 million in assets. Its success has been majorly attributed to its ground breaking technology that enables its clients consume home grown products, free from chemicals. The technology has also made farmers grow crops without necessarily using fertilizers and this is a new development from contemporary farming methods. The company’s growth has also been experienced within a few years considering its penetration into the industry happened as recent as 1996.

            Gene One now commands strong stock indices in Wall Street considering an evident surge in bio technology interest among the general public and investors. The company’s strong leadership in food and drug administration has also increased investor confidence in the company’s future performance, only adding to the increasing company profile. Recently, there have been managerial initiatives within the company regarding future prospects of the company in light of increasing demand and attainment of the company’s growth focus. As a result, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Don Ruiz, together with management have decided to device a clear strategy to propel the organization to success in the next three years.
            The time seems right for the organization and proper consultation have been made with the relevant stakeholders together with investment partners. The company is optimistic that it will embrace the opportunities that exist in the future without much hurdles. Nevertheless, as part of this long-term strategy, the company needs to raise more capital through an Initial Public Offering and rejuvenate its marketing and advertising campaigns to attain its long term objectives. In this regard, the company needs to establish a strong leadership team and strategy to propel Gene One to high success levels. It is for this reason that this study seeks to establish options for implementing a leadership change within the organization as a component towards attainment of the overall organizational goals.
Leadership Styles
                        Leadership styles are essentially tailored towards implementing plans, providing direction and generally providing motivation to employees. It is a managerial norm that leaders shouldn’t adopt only one leadership style. Research studies have also showed that failed leaders have been synonymous with the use of one leadership style. However, management should be careful because it needs to analyze the situation which warrants the leadership style. Considering Gene One has never experienced any IPO as a company before, it is important that the company management show the way.
Considering Gene One wants to initiate an initial public offer (IPO) it is important that management takes a proactive role in ensuring the organization works in tandem to the success of this initiative. Because of the complexity of undertaking an IPO, Gene One would be better placed if it undertakes an authoritarian form of leadership. However, since the company expects to rejuvenate its marketing and advertising campaigns, the company should compliment its authoritarian leadership style with a participative approach (Rothstein, 2010, p. 263).
Authoritarian (Autocratic) Leadership
            This leadership style is common when management wants to tell the employees what to do and also define how they want tasks to be accomplished. Normally, this is done without the input of lower level employees. Research studies point that that this type of leadership should be majorly used when motivational level is high in the organization, when the management has adequate information and when there is little time. Concerning the IPO, management is better placed to deal with this situation because the necessary expertise is at its disposal. In other words, they are better placed to consult financial consultants on the strategies that should be adopted to make the IPO a success. In this manner, they should communicate to lower level employees about the recommendations they have arrived at and also show them how they expect them to be done (Rothstein, 2010, p. 263).
            Thirty two months is enough time for the organization to adopt change and implement new strategies; time should therefore not be a huge constraint. The company has also been experiencing considerable growth in its last few years of operation preceding the IPO and motivational levels are assumed to be high enough for lower level employees to adopt this leadership style. Authoritarian leadership is therefore likely to be a good strategy in making the IPO a success and implementing leadership change in this regard.
Participative (Democratic) Leadership
            This is an all-inclusive leadership style that seeks to bring employees on board while strategizing how change can be implemented in the company. Nonetheless, the managers should have the final decision in the matter. Considering the company is undertaking an effort to rejuvenate its marketing and advertising campaigns, the company should adopt a participative approach to leadership. The fact that employees are consulted in this type of leadership does not show weakness on the part of the management. The nature of marketing and advertising is all-inclusive and involves the participation of all employees. This is the justification of the participative leadership style (Rothstein, 2010, p. 263)
            In this participative leadership style, the views of the employees will be sought and the management would also throw in its contribution form time to time. Management would also be entrusted with the responsibility of moderating the views of the employees to come up with a harmonious marketing and advertising strategy. This method is likely to be fruitful because as management of Gene One, individuals are not expected to know everything that pertains to the marketing and advertising strategies. This is why the company needs to seek the services of knowledgeable and skillful employees. There is a mutual relationship here because the management would benefit by making comprehensive and well thought out decisions while lower level employees would have the opportunity to be part of the decision making process (Rothstein, 2010, p. 263).  
Leadership Structure
            Gene One will have to incorporate a leadership structure that is clear on the way decisions are made. The leadership styles to be incorporated will involve the top-down and bottom-up approach. The top-down approach will be used to implement the autocratic leadership style and the bottom up approach will be used to implement the participative or democratic leadership style. In the top down approach, the management will be the decision making organ and the Company CEO will be the final decision maker. This type of leadership structure disseminates power in the sense that authority is delegated to individuals in the management hierarchical structure. It also provides a high level foresight and is efficient. The bottom-up approach will be beneficial in implementing the participative leadership style because it will incorporate joint involvement of all members of the organization. This approach is advantageous because it imposes a positive feeling on the part of employees and more experimentation can be done regarding developed strategies (Connerley, 2005, p. 152).
Conflicting Options in Leadership Change
            One of the most common observations before any major change happens in an organization is that organizational members and more especially the leadership team will always have conflicting ideas for change implementation. Gene One is no different. Group members have had opposing views towards implementing change in the organization; this does not necessarily mean it is a bad thing but there is a concise need to merge divergent views. Research studies have noted that divergent views are partly constructive because they give different aspects towards attainment of a single objective. Undoubtedly, the different opinions in the organization have a positive aspect to it because they provide stability and predictability to human behavior. However, these divergent opinions can be a source of functional conflict in implementing the overall leadership change in the organization (Harari, 2003, pp. 7-10).
Options for Merging Divergent Views
Education and Communication
            Considering the leadership team has divergent views towards leadership change, it is important that every team member is educated about the common strategy and the importance or merits of it. This strategy will most likely enable them see the logic for adopting the recommended strategy. Communicating the recommended strategy will also help the organization wade off internal resistance in two levels. First of all, communicating the change strategy to both the leadership team members and general employees would help clear up any misunderstanding and therefore eliminate any opposition towards the adoption of the common strategy. Secondly, if all stakeholders are educated about the overall need for change, it will be better understood. In other words, this will be like a tool to sell the need for change in the organization. Research studies have also attested to the fact that the need for change needs to be properly packaged and sold to every stakeholder in an attractive way so that every member would adopt it (Litchtenberg, 2007, p. 649).
It is quite difficult for team members to oppose a view that they helped develop. It is therefore important that Gene One incorporates everyone in adopting the leadership change strategy to minimize any future challenges in its implementation. Assuming the participation process will be complimentary to the overall strategy development, the quality of the final strategy is likely to be high, irresistible and committal. However, the management should brace itself for possible lack of compromise and a lot of time consumption in reaching a compromise (Litchtenberg, 2007, p. 649).
Building Support and Commitment
            Gene One should brace itself for slow adoption of leadership change especially from lower level employees at the initial stage of implementation process. However, this challenge may also be experienced by part of the leadership team, especially those that are in disagreement to the adoption of the overall strategy. It is however important for the organization to note that change agents can offer support for adoption of new change. In this regard, it is vital for the organization to facilitate a short intermediary period where managers and other employees can take a break before the new changes take effect. This comes out of change analysis researches that show that middle level managers who never feel emotionally part of the change process openly oppose change (Litchtenberg, 2007, p. 649). The short intermediary and adjustment period can also be supplemented with counseling or therapy sessions for all employees which would eventually enable them accept change.
            Negotiation would eventually create a compromise between warring factions. It is probably wise for the majority team to exchange something of value to the minority team who don’t share the same opinion so that a compromise can be reached. For instance, if there are a few powerful management team members who don’t share the majority view, a small package in the change process can be negotiated to bring them on board. However, this strategy has its own shortcomings becomes it may create an avenue for black mail especially when powerful individuals are involved. Moreover, its potential high costs are an important consideration (Litchtenberg, 2007, p. 649).
Manipulation and Cooptation
            Manipulation should probably be used when all other avenues of reaching a consensus have failed. Depending on the situation, Gene One management would have to perpetrate false rumors about some of its managers to petition other employees to side with them. The management would also probably have to twist or distort facts such that they are packaged in a way that is obviously attractive to every person. This might not entirely be the true situation.
            Cooptation on the other hand is a milder form of manipulation that management would have to adopt because it entails participation. In essence, the management would have to buy off the opposing team. This strategy can be best carried out by powerful managers in the organization. This can be done by reserving a position in the overall managerial change process if the opposing individuals endorse the change process. This option does not seek to improve the change process and neither does it seek a better decision, instead, it only aims at getting endorsement from a few key players. This change tactic is probably easy and inexpensive if it works out but it may also backfire if something goes wrong. For example, if the opposing managers realize that they are being used, they may turn against the whole change process and the credibility of the other managers may fall considerably (Litchtenberg, 2007, p. 649).
Selecting People who’ll accept Change
            The personality of the managers is probably the biggest deterrent to accepting change in an organization. For this reason, Gene One should put on board those individuals who have more experience, are flexible, have a positive attitude and are willing to take risks because they are more likely to embrace change and pose less opposition towards the overall implementation of the change process. This conclusion comes about from research studies done in the United States (US), Asia and Europe purporting that those managers established to have a positive self concept and had a high tolerance level were better placed to adopt organizational change (Litchtenberg, 2007, p. 649).
            This approach is probably not ethically correct because it involves issuing threats to those opposing change in the organization. It is probably the last resort Gene One should use and has an undetermined rate of success but it has been proved to work in some cases. Gene One could adopt the method of threatening the careers of resistors or threatening to transfer them to other locations if they don’t accept change. Alternatively, the company could use milder threats such as giving poor recommendation, loss of promotion positions and negatively evaluating resistors in terms of performance. The merits and drawbacks related to this strategy are probably varied but they are more or less the same as the tactic of manipulation and cooptation (Litchtenberg, 2007, p. 650).
            One of the most difficult decisions in any leadership position is facilitating change in the organization. People tend to have divergent views regarding change and how it should be implemented. In this regard, Gene One company should use the tactics of education and communication, negotiation, participation, building support and commitment, selecting people who’ll accept change, manipulation, cooptation and coercion, in that order to deal with divergent views in the organization. It is also critical that the company adopt the top-bottom approach and bottom-top approach to implement the strategies of autocratic and participative leadership styles respectively. The company can therefore facilitate change in this manner to achieve the objective of achieving a successful IPO and a turn around in marketing and advertisement.

Connerley, M. (2005). Leadership in a Diverse and Multicultural Environment: Developing
Awareness, Knowledge, and Skills. London: SAGE.
Harari, O. (2003). The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell. New York: McGraw-Hill
Litchtenberg, G. (2007). Organizational Change and Stress Management. London: Prentice Hall.
Rothstein, M. (2010). Self-management and Leadership Development. San Francisco: Edward
Elgar Publishing.

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