Throughout the history of organizational literature, many scholars have suggested that change initiatives need to originate at the leadership level in order to be successful (Bennis, 1999). However history has shown that the majority of change initiatives fail, especially when mandated by top management (King & Peterson, 2007). This paper will examine why this dichotomy exists, what the role of top management should be in a change program, and how top managers can utilize key leverage points to increase their chances of a successful change implementation.
The Evolution of Organizations and its Impact on Change
The invention of modern management by theorists, such as Frederick Taylor, was founded at a time when many manufacturing organizations existed in the United States. These firms sought semi-skilled employees such as production line workers, who could perform systematized tasks that required little brain power and training (Denning, 2010). The prevalence of manufacturing organizations rendered theories that focused on efficiency where operations and changes within the organizations could be more easily planned and controlled (Shafritz, Ott, & Jang, 2011). These theories have suggested that it is the role of top management to create, identify, and implement the changes that need to occur within an organization (Robbins & Judge, 2010).
In the twentieth century, Taylor’s management approach has been less effective for service-based organizations that require skilled employees (Denning, 2010). The management and change approaches used during the manufacturing boom are less successful in an era where the global environment and workforce is changing (Denning, 2010). Steven Denning (2010), author of The Leader’s Guide to...
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Robbins, S. P. & Judge, T.A. (2010). Essentials of Organizational Behavior (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Shafritz, J.M., Ott, J.S., Jang, Y.S. (2011), Classics of Organization Theory. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Shanker, M. & Sayeed, O. (2012). Role of transformational leaders as change agents: leveraging effects on organizational climate. Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, 47(3), 470-484.
Simon, S.S. (2011). The essentials of employee engagement in organizations. Journal of Contemporary Research in Management, 6(1), 63-72. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/920826469?accountid=11243
Sirkin, H.L., Keenan, P., Jackson, A., (2005). The hard side of management. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing. Retrieved from: http://www.changeleadershipgroup.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/HardSideChangeMgmt.pdf
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