ISSUES OF CHANGE MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP
Change management for most organizations is about modifying or transforming in order to maintain or improve effectiveness (Hayes, 2007). However, the research literature reviewed seems to lacks a clear understanding of a specific change management approach toward improving the management of business system implementations. Ming- Ling and Shaw (2005) conducted a case study to suggest that in addition to executive leadership, resource management and the ability to formally incorporate business and technology managers are variables that appear to offer success in change management approaches to improve the management of business system implementations.
Experience in a leader is defined by Fiedler (1972) and Doh (2003) as (a) what an individual learns over years on a job, (b) guidance and knowledge obtained from superiors and fellow leaders, and (c) informal training that increase influence and the ability to achieve success. A leader’s influence, according to Hogg (2001) and Giles (2005), is difficult to measure. However, Giles posited that leaders who are influential appear to have special advantages or power over program aspects not necessarily in their direct control, such as resources and decision-making. Therefore, one can infer that sustained leaders are experienced leaders willing to influence change management to improve management success.
Background of the Study
According to Byrd, Lewis, and Bradley (2006), enterprise business systems implementations have become an important management challenge, to the point that many organizations have placed its management activities and actions among their top concerns. The definition of change management
, as described by Fulla (2007), is “the act of managing modifications to an organization’s culture, hierarchy, and/or business processes in order to achieve a desired outcome” (p. 36). The implementation of enterprise business systems has become increasingly important due to an increased demand for automated business processes, information sharing across organizational boundaries, and its desire to integrate business systems (Hite, 2004; Kutz & Hite, 2004).
Hayes (2002) advocated that the management of change can be achieved either by an incremental change approach or a transformational change approach. He stated that the aim of incremental change “is to improve alignment between existing organizational components in order to do things better and improve the efficiency of the organization,” whereas transformational change “is to seek a new configuration of organization components in order to re-align the organization with its changing environment” (p.17). Hayes found that whichever change approach is organizationally implemented, leaders play an integral part in considering the organization’s situation from an overall perspective. This is supported by Fiedler’s contingency theory, which postulates that a leader’s effectiveness is based on “situational contingency,” that is a result of interaction of two factors, known as “leadership style” and “situational favorableness” (Bass, 1990). Using Hackman and Wageman (2007), as well as Vroom and Jago (2007), elaborations on the Fielder contingency theory, leaders are believed to positively impact organizational change because it is the interaction between leadership influences on a change situation that makes the outcome(s) effective. While this may be true, a leader’s perception of change management reflects previous experiences with similar problems or situations and perhaps their willingness to influence the management of change management variables to achieve the desired outcome. Research that presents information regarding a leader’s perception of change management, and research that presents information regarding experienced leaders’ willingness to influence change management variables, may add to the knowledge for improving the management of enterprise business system implementation.
Statement of the Problem
Adopting a change management approach appropriate for the challenge of implementing business systems is an uncertain art, and past researchers relied on the nature of the problem, theoretical consideration, and previous research findings when strategizing how to improve upon management success effectively (Labovitz, 1965). The literature repeatedly suggests leadership is a possible missing component to improved management success and the management of investment costs (Ming-Ling & Shaw, 2005). Because of the increased demand for business systems that deliver new or efficient capabilities and services in the form of enterprise business systems to maximize interoperability, this study gauged IT leaders’ perceptions of change management and their willingness to influence change management approaches to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to provide a better understanding of change management and leadership to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations. Specifically, the research intended to provide information on change management and how change management was perceived by organizational leaders in order to determine whether a relationship existed between leaders’ years of experience in an organization and their willingness to influence change management variables to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations. The perception reflected a leader’s experience and the willingness to influence resource negotiations, facilitate business and technology managers’ participation in formal groups, and persuade the use of enterprise architectures as a change management approach to improve management success of enterprise business systems.
This study specifically analyzed the leaders’ years of experience in organizational setting, assuming that years of experience within a particular organization provides leaders with more knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of the organizational politics bureaucracy, and culture. There was also the assumption that experienced leaders had been exposed to training, guidance, and processes by their organization, making them more apt to deal efficiently with issues or situations that might arise.
Despite the existence of theory and previous research on change management approaches and variables to improve upon the challenges of business system implementations, a common theme underlying the theories and models is a need for leadership as an independent variable. Ylimaki and Halttunen (2006) postulated that attitudes or perceptions of a single committed leader for change who established needed resources and management frameworks to control the complexity and constant changes in technology and business environments is instrumental in the adoption of change management approaches.
The importance of leadership perception is pivotal, based on the role they play in managing change management approaches when implementing enterprise business systems for organizational change. This highlights a need for more research in this area to understand more completely a leader’s influence on key variables: resources (financial and human), participation of business and technology managers in formal groups, and the use of enterprise architectures to improve management success for enterprise business system implementations. The results of this non-experimental correlational research design were informative, and its overall intent was to provide factual, statistical information about existing perceptions of IT leaders, based on variables of leadership years of experience acting upon the change management phenomenon.
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The overall goal of this research was to provide senior leaders better insight to a leader’s perception and willingness to influence management variables thought to improve management success. With regard to specific influential factors highlighted in this study, a number of researchers identified influence factors such as negotiations, facilitation, and persuasion (Conger, 1998; Karlof & Loevingsson, 2005; Harsayni, 1995;), which were used in the study. Change management variables included resource negotiations, facilitation of business and technology managers within formal groups, and persuasion to use enterprise architectures. The research question and the hypotheses for this study was:
Do information technology leaders within the Information Systems Agency, perceive that change management coupled with leadership experience improves the management of enterprise business system implementations?
An information technology leader’s perception of change management is independent of his/her willingness to influence the management success of business system implementations.
An information technology leader’s willingness to negotiate resources to improve the management of enterprise business system implementation is independent of his/her leadership experience.
An information technology leader’s willingness to facilitate the participation of business and technology mangers in formal groups to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations is independent of his/her leadership experience.
An information technology leader’s willingness to persuade the use of enterprise architectures to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations is independent of his/her leadership experience.
Significance of the Study
This non-experimental correlational quantitative study contributed to the fields of change management and leadership. It may add new information based on the perceptions of IT leaders regarding change management approaches. It also provided insight into why senior leaders might want to consider a leader’s years of experience when assigning IT project responsibility for enterprise business system implementations. IT project organizations and their senior leaders may be interested in results of this study when selecting IT leaders to transition its business practices, operations, or information technology or information systems into enterprise environments.
Definition of Terms
. Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with change, both from the perspective of an organization and on the individual level (Kettinger & Grover, 1995). For the intent of this study, change management is “managing the process of implementing major changes in IT, business processes, organizational structures and job assignments to reduce costs of change and to optimize benefits” (Rockley, Kostur & Manning, 2003, p. 431).
. “An enterprise architecture consists of snapshots of the enterprise’s current environment and its target environment, as well as a capital investment road map for transitioning from the current to the target environment” (Kutz & Rhodes, 2005, p. 5).
Enterprise business system
. An enterprise business system includes interdependent resources (people, organization, and technology) that are coordinated and organized to collect, store, process, share, and transmit information (Federal CIO Council, 2001; U.S. Department of Defense, 2002). For the intent of this study, enterprise business systems included systems, capabilities, products, or services implemented for the execution of business processes formed from portions of one or more business applications or technologies in an enterprise environment.
. For the intent of this study, this term refers to the process of managing and coordinating independent resources for the development of information systems to support business activities in production.
. For the intent of this study, this term refers to leadership experience. Leadership experience was defined using ideas by Fiedler (1972) and Doh (2003), as what an individual learns over years on a job, guidance and knowledge obtained from superiors and fellow leaders, and informal training, which combine to increase leadership control, influence, and ability to achieve success.
Assumptions and Limitations
The roles of the IT leaders in this study were defined by their position in the agency and were not dependent on an explicitly defined leadership role. An assumption was made that the sample frame of IT leaders was representative of IT leaders with experience in an IT organization as part of an IT project with enterprise business system implementation responsibilities.
Limitations are factors that may compromise the study or the results (Creswell, 2005). The study was limited by the intentional choice to use a single agency in a non-experimental correlational research approach. Because the study was without a comparison group, it did not allow conclusions about cause, according to Creswell.
Nature of the Study
In the case of this quantitative, non-experimental, correlational study, the consideration of IT leaders’ perceptions of change management and their willingness to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations was investigated. This investigation explored IT leaders’ willingness to (a) negotiate for needed resources, (b) facilitate participation of business and technology mangers in IT formal groups, and (c) persuade the development and use of enterprise architectures as change management approaches to improve success to achieve the desired outcome for implementing enterprise business systems within an organization.
The use of a quantitative study was appropriate, because the aim of quantitative research is to quantify relationships between one thing (independent variable) and another (dependent variable) in a population (Creswell, 2003, 2005). The use of a non- experimental approach was appropriate, as no attempt was made to change behavior or modify the environment in this study. Finally, an explanatory correlational design was appropriate, as it explained whether, and to what degree, an association existed between or among variables based on data reported by individuals. Any determination or existence of a relationship for variables in this study can facilitate further and more advance future research of the phenomena under investigation in this study. Known limitations associated with this research design were that while correlational studies suggest that there is an association or relationship between two variables, Creswell (2005) stated that they could not prove causation.
Organization of the Remainder of the Study
The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. Chapter 2 provides a theoretic overview of change management and its important contribution toward improving the management of enterprise business system project implementations. Additionally, chapter 2 provides a theoretic overview of leadership, highlighting encouraging and discouraging cultural factors for organizational change. Chapter 3 describes the research methodology and rationale for its use in this study. Chapter 4 reports the results and findings, and finally, chapter 5 discusses findings and conclusions
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
The literature review in this chapter presents an overview and analysis of two important topics underlying this research effort: change management and leadership relevant to improving the management of enterprise business system implementations. The first section of the literature review provides a theory overview of change management as a process to optimize organizational change. The second section provides a theoretical leadership overview drawn from the power-influence leadership theory and emphasizes three influential factors: negotiation, facilitation, and persuasion. In the third section, change management variables in conjunction with influential leadership are discussed for their combined capability to improve the management of enterprise business implementations. The fourth section discusses the importance of managing organizational culture and considers consequences believed to encourage or discourage organizational success during organizational change. The concluding section of the overview provides a summary of the research and discusses gaps in the literature where further research on change management, in conjunction with leadership, can lead to improved management of enterprise business system implementations. Recommendations are designed to provide better understanding and information regarding organizational leadership as a catalyst to change management approaches to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations.
According to Legris and Colerette (2006) the low success rate for information technology projects could be increased by closely involving stakeholders, paying attention to social factors, and integrating better change management practices. According to Levinson (2006), researchers at A.G. Edwards measured project success as a combination of factors such as time, cost, and the project’s business values. Levinson argued that if a project is not completed on time but delivered the expected business value, the company still considered it a success. Internal or external customer business success was the real value that defined project success or failure. Customers had the final say on project success.
Lewis (2007) posited that for a change process to succeed there was a need for an involvement plan. He added that people accepted change that affected them positively and resisted change that was bad for them. He concluded that people would only embrace those changes that they controlled. Researchers at Prosci (2004) claimed that the most important contributor to project success was active, strong, and visible sponsorship throughout the project from top management, managers and supervisors. Paul Underwood (2005), a senior manager in performance, claimed that realizing benefits and ensuring project success was largely a change management issue. Dharmarag, Lewlyn, Rodrigues, and Shrinivasa (2006) focused on change management as a tool to manage changes in project scope and analyzed the influence of the change in scope on time and cost. Edward (2000) posited that projects changed over time because business requirements change and that to be successful in business, one needs to include these changes in strategic projects. He added that an efficient change management process could make the difference between project success and failure. He claimed that an efficient change managements process required a well-defined project baseline, a work authorization system, a trend program, and a change control process. The baseline clearly defined what was in and what was out of the project. A work authorization system helped to reduce costs and increased effectiveness in resource management and performance. The main functionality of a trend program was to provide for early alarm of potential changes. Edward concluded that during the change control process employees identified, quantified, planned, and evaluated impacts of a change on project baseline. Fielden (2001) claimed that project managers managed all types of change requests including specification and documentation changes through the change management process. He added that change management software applications produced reports that project managers needed in order to track and analyze project performance. According to the Project Management Institute (2004), change may influence a project’s scope, time, and cost.
Green (2003) studied the use of a particular change management technique called configuration management techniques, management and employees increased their support to process improvement efforts and thus created a receptive environment for change. Moreover, the researcher added that communications issues were reduced and processes became less static and came under better organizational control.
According to Fuchs (2004), the functionality of change management should not be limited to managing variance in the project management tried but should include user adoption. Involving business users in the change management process was key to overall project success. Fuchs claimed that project managers failed in delivering their projects because even when change had no impact on any of the three projects constraints, it did impact business users. It was posited that business users should get involved during the start-up of the project, its development, and after its implementation. He argued that any new IT project implied changes in process, operations, policies, or business. Fuchs concluded that employees who were affected by the project needed to change to adapt to the new project technology, user-interface, or limitations. Change management could help in defining these changes, quantifying them, and planning for their execution.
Nadler and Nadler (1998) attributed changes in business to external factors. The authors claimed that companies changed because something outside the organization forced them to make a change. Nadler and Nadler discussed the change management practices. They named seven steps to drive and sustain change to include: owing, aligning, setting expectations, modelling, communicating, engaging, and rewarding. Goff (2000) claimed that change management tools and process were enough to make change management succeed; rather, it was people who made companies work. Gary Kissler, a partner at Deloitte Consulting Change Leadership practice, concluded that the three components critical to the project’s success and that form an integral part of change management were people, processes, and technology (Goff, 2000).
Gomolski (2003) listed five actions that could help manage the behavioural implications and thus favour the implementation of a comprehensive change management program. The aforementioned actions listed by the author were to (a) identify the desperate need for change, (b) instigate and sustain change, (c) identify and implement levers, (d) identify and sustain affected agents, and (e) identify and use buoys and stabilizers. Jick and Peiperl (2002) claimed that on average 30% of project managers who were responsible to realize change initiatives succeeded. It is interesting to compare these results to those of the study by researchers at Price WaterhouseCoopers. These researchers concluded that only 2.5% of global business achieved 100% project success (PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2005). While only 2.5% of global businesses achieved 100% project success, 30% of project mangers who were responsible to realize change initiatives succeeded. The evidence indicated that projects that implemented change had a better probability of success than those who did not. According to Laszlo (2004), if change was critical for a company’s success, then change management became crucial for the survival of the organization. He concluded that project managers should accompany change management by motivation through reasoning and then into implementation through planning and execution. The author highlighted how change champions used change management to improve an organization’s success.
Levinson (2006) claimed that researchers at A.G. Edwards found that one of the main reasons for project failure was the lack of implanting a change management process, not just in IT but across the company. The author added that applying the change management process across the company improved project success by 50%. Researchers at Prosci (2004) conducted a benchmarking research on change management. The researchers found that there were varying levels of change management capabilities across organizations. They developed a model that they named the change management maturity model. The model had five levels or stages that ranged from no change management to organizational competency. These levels could be used as measurements of the change management maturity in organizations. Level 1-3 were the lower levels where change management was an ad-hoc process or at most a structured process localized to particular teams or areas in the organizations. Level 4-5 were the levels where change management was an integral part of the project management process and the organization. Eighty-five percent of the 160 companies ranked their change management processes between level one and three. It is asserted that the change management levels could be used to identify the type of change management used in an organization. Level 1-3 included companies whose employee used a traditional change management process while levels 4-5 included companies whose employees used an integrated change management process.
Bin Sayeed and Prasad (2006) linked change orientation experienced with the qualitative differences perceived in the management practices of the company using a sample of 157 managers and supervisors. The researchers inferred that there was a critically higher level of linearity or correspondence between these two major constructs of the study that is, if individuals saw a change due to a change management program implementation or an ongoing organizational learning/maturation process within, there would be a qualitative difference in management practices (Bin Sayeed and Prasad, 2006).
The increasing global competition has concentrated management’s collective mind in most organizations on change. To effect change in the organization, it is important effectively work through such changes (Bridges, 1991). It is people who have to carry out the change in an organization.
In big transformations of organization, the organization’s stakeholders focus their attention on devising the best strategic and tactical plans. Likewise, they try to generate intimate understanding of the human side of change management. As a result of change management, the company’s culture, values, people, and behaviours are also tried to be aligned with the organizational change. This is done to generate the desired results. The organizational value is realized only through the sustained, collective actions of each of the stakeholders in the organization. These stakeholders are responsible for designing, executing, and living with the changed environment.
No single methodology fits every company in change management efforts. There is no specific sets of practices, tools, and techniques that can be adapted to all situations. The management may have many tools and strategies at their disposal, however, the knowledge and skills in determining how, when and why use them can make or break a change management process.
Best practice can be use in a change management process. This best practice tends to spread throughout a field or industry after a success has been demonstrated. There are, however, best practices that are slow to spread even within an organization. There are several barriers to adoption of a best practice. These include lack of knowledge about current best practices, absence of motivation to make changes involved in their adoption, and deficiency in the knowledge and skills required to do so.
In any change management, the major concerns are on the way the workforce will react on the change, on method on making the team work together, and the way to lead the people in the organization. Usually, what is done in most organizations is retaining their company’s unique values and sense of identity in dealing with change management.
It is important for the company to plan for the human side of change as a major component of the change management plan. It is important to address the human side of change management systematically. Any significant change creates issues on people. Dealing with issues on people on a reactive basis puts speed, morale, and results at risk. Open discussion of challenges and obstacles met in the organization fosters collaboration in the organization to resolve issues internally and externally. It will help in the efficient acceptance of change when involving impacted stakeholders early on the change management process and often. A great challenge in leading and sustaining change is building momentum early on. This is a critical time for any organization since during this time that it is most difficult to obtain buy in that change is necessary and agreement on what needs to be done.
Also, another practice is creating a culture of commitment and performance involving every layer of the organization, as part of change management. This type of culture should start at the top. The leaders are the ones expected to lead on showing a culture of commitment and performance through showing leadership giving strength, support, and direction to its workforce. The leaders must embrace the new approaches first, both to challenge and to motivate the rest of the institution. Leading and sustaining change is the best way to attain efficiency in the organization. Take the change(s) in the organization as opportunities.
Aspects of Organizational Change
In the following sections, five aspects of organizational change will be presented which are planned change, the evolution of schools of management, collaboration and cooperation, organizational culture and change, and the role and evolution of leadership.
Planned Change Theories
Planned change is usually a solution to a problem, or a result of dissatisfaction with the status quo. Planned change is usually triggered by the failure of people to create continuously adaptive organizations (Dunphy, 1996). Oftentimes, planned change initiatives focus on just surface-level changes, essentially leaving organizational assumptions, values, and beliefs unexplored (Argyris & Schon, 1978). There are many change models that are used to aid practitioners in implementing change. These models can be broken into two types of change theories or approaches that organizations can use: radical and incremental. Within each of these approaches there are various models and/or processes.
Radical change approaches include, but are not limited to, six sigma, quality function deployment, and re-engineering. Radical change models are used to jump-start an organization and are also used when a culture change is required. In a traditionally Midwestern family business atmosphere, change is likely to be more heavily resisted than in other organizations because the feelings surrounding the change tend to be deeper and more intense, and previous research shows that family values, goals, and relations deeply influence strategic change in family-oriented firms (Dyer, 1994).
Incremental change approaches include, but are not limited to, Kurt Lewin’s model (1951), Beckhard’s change model (1997), Kotter’s transformation model (1998), and the Bridges transition model (1980). Incremental change models are concerned with improving the existing system and operate within the current business model. All these models have a stage of unfreezing of the current behavior, a change being introduced, and a stage of refreezing the new behavior, or else they begin with the identification of the current state, the desired state, and the blocks and barriers that exist between the two.
John Kotter (1996) suggests that certain conditions need to be met in order to bring about effective change. He bases these conditions on what is known to contribute to the failure of change efforts. Kotter also states that producing change is about 80% leadership (establishing direction, aligning, and motivating and inspiring people) and about 20% management (planning, budgeting, organizing, and problem-solving). In most change efforts he has studied, the percentages have been reversed! While there are some examples of successful change efforts, CEOs report in recent surveys that up to 75% of their organizational change efforts do not yield the promised results (Wheatley, 1998). Numerous studies indicate that as many as two-thirds of all change efforts fail in some way (Trahant, Burke, & Koonce, 1997). These efforts not only fail to yield desired results, but they produce a stream of unintended consequences. This means that leadership spends its time managing the unwanted impact rather than the planned results (Wheatley, 1998). Research also shows that resistance derails most change efforts, with the most notable obstacle being management behaviors not supportive of the change (O’Dononvan, 2003). In a planned change effort, change agents are professionals who influence and implement the change; they are critical to the success of a change effort (Vago, 1999).
Recent studies indicate that static change models are being replaced with dynamic change models that reflect the discontinuous nature of organizational change. In other words, change does not occur at a steady rate even though in the past organizational theory has written about steady or static models. A review of the literature (Mintzberg, 1979; Senge, 1990) reflects the need for organizations to be able to continuously adjust as well as to allow for learning to take place. “Culture change inevitably involves unlearning as well as relearning and is therefore, by definition, transformative” (Schein, 2004, p. 335), thus:
Learning leaders must be well connected to those parts of the organization that are themselves well connected to the environment—the sales organization, purchasing, marketing, public relations, legal, finance, and R&D. . .must be able to listen to disconfirming information coming from these sources and to assess the implications for the future of the organization. (Schein, 2004, p. 410)
The Evolution of Schools of Management
There are numerous management theories and schools of thought about systems management identified in the literature. Scott (2003) identified three main schools of thought: rational, natural, and open; also referred to in the literature as rationalistic and humanistic schools. Scott (2003) presented definitions associated with rational systems and natural systems perspectives: “Organizations are collectivities oriented to the pursuit of relatively specific goals and exhibiting relatively highly formalized social structures” (p. 27) and
Organizations are collectivities whose participants are pursuing multiple interests, both disparate and common, but who recognize the value of perpetuating the organization as an important resource. The informal structure of relations that develops among participants is more influential in guiding the behavior of participants than is the formal structure, respectively. (p. 28)
Collaboration and Cooperation
Collaboration as a value is a cornerstone upon which many successful organizations are being rebuilt. During a review of the literature on collaboration and cooperation, the researcher found that although these two terms are often used interchangeably, many authors identified a meaningful difference between the two. The researcher is using the terms collaboration
interchangeably or synonymously.
Cooperative learning refers to learning environments in which group members work together to achieve a common goal; however, the members of the group may choose to take responsibility for subtasks and work cooperatively, or they may collaborate and work together on all parts of the problem (Underwood, 2003). Cooperative learning occurs when individuals work together to maximize both their own as well as other’s learning experiences. In business organizations today, teams are a popular form of job design, and work teams represent a major change in the management of organizations. Cooperative or team-based learning has gained in popularity (Siciliano, 2001). “Team learning is the process of aligning and developing the capacity of a team to create the results its members truly desire. It builds upon the discipline of developing a shared vision” (Senge, 1990, p. 236).
Communities of practice (CoPs) have been identified as playing a critical role in the promotion of learning and innovation in organizations. Communities of practice have been defined as any social group whose members share a mutual engagement, who negotiate a joint enterprise, and who have developed a shared vision (Machles, 2003). Lave and Wenger (as cited by Wenger & Snyder, 2000) wrote that a defining feature of CoP is that they are seen to emerge spontaneously from the (largely informal) networking among groups of individuals who have similar work-related activities and interests. Lesser and Everest (as cited by Wenger & Snyder, 2000) wrote that communities of practice help provided an environment where knowledge could be both created and shared to improve the following three areas: effectiveness, efficiency, and innovation. Perry and Zender (2004) found that in 1999 the phrase “communities of practice” was just beginning to appear in business literature and that it was used to refer to a new organizational form that complemented existing structures by facilitating knowledge sharing, learning, and change.
Organizational Culture and Change
A survey of the literature on organizational culture produced many definitions on culture. Organizational culture – an organization’s values, beliefs and rules about how things get done – influences every aspect of life in corporate America (Bierma, 1996). Many referred to culture as being commonly held beliefs, attitudes, values, expectations, and norms that exist within the organization that have been derived from both its history and the external environment (Glensor & Peak, 1996; Pratt & Margaritis, 1999; Schein, 1992), while others described corporate culture as the personality of an organization (Larson, 2002). Any organization can do a quick test of its corporate culture by looking at what it measures and what it celebrates (Larson, 2002). Culture is important when looking at continuous change because it acts as the glue for holding the multiple changes in place.
Mallak (2001) identified strong cultures as having a set of core values or key principles that are not only understood by all employees, but also followed. One must recognize that effective cultural change is a long-term process and does not happen overnight. While the desired culture can be captured on paper, it takes time for it to exist in reality. The challenge comes in shifting the culture of the organization. McManus (2003) stated that cultural change is possible and necessary, but argues that it is essential for people to understand and appreciate the reasons for the desired changes. McManus (2003) mentioned that both the current beliefs and mental models, which make up the current collective culture, must be shifted for a change to occur. He explained that while training will provide an awareness of the new culture, it alone will not shift beliefs.
Larson (2002) defines the culture of an organization as nothing more that its personality as defined by the individuals that work there. Just as it is difficult for individuals to modify or change their personality, it is the same for an organization. In fact, it is compounded when looking at an organization due to all the systems, processes, and people. Schein (1992) defined organizational culture as the pattern of basic assumptions, values, norms, beliefs, and artifacts that are shared by organizational members that allows them to derive sense and meaning. Schein (2004) saw culture as a result of three sources: “The beliefs, values, and assumptions of founders of organizations; the learning experiences of group members as their organization evolves; and new beliefs, values, and assumptions brought in by new members and leaders” (p. 225).
Jick (1999) wrote, “No organization can institute change if its employees will not, at the very least, accept the change. No change will work if employees don’t help in the effort. And, change is not possible without people changing themselves” (p. 1). Jick (1999) also stated that while change can be managed externally, it would only be implemented when employees accept the change internally. Dotlich and Noel (1998) asserted, “The ability of organizations to change has become inextricably linked to the ability of individual employees to change” (p. 149). Changing the culture is not a quick process as culture is a network of embedded practices and representations that shapes every aspect of social life (Frow & Morris, 2000). Changing an organization’s culture will affect the micro (individual) and macro (organization) levels (Vago, 1999).
A majority of the literature stated that one must identify the current culture before one can determine how to change it, and that this can be accomplished by utilizing various types of culture assessment instruments (Maher, 2000). Ultimately, “The bottom line for leaders is that if they do not become conscious of the cultures in which they are embedded, those cultures will manage them” (Schein, 2004, p. 23). Cameron and Quinn (2000) noted that most organizations do not operate within a single culture. This presents a unique dynamic when attempting to change an organization’s culture. Some of literature mentioned that when referring to an organization’s culture, the dominant culture, which represents the core values that are shared by most of the members, is what was being referred to (Simpson, 2001). All the literature agrees that a change only occurs when both the organization as a whole and all of its individuals are committed to the change process.
Schneider, Gunnarson, and Niles-Jolley (1994) suggest that because an organizational culture cannot be changed directly, it changes slowly. They propose that the organizational environment and climate must first have its practices, procedures, and behaviors modified before a change in culture can occur. Schein (2004) expounded upon this basis for changing an organizational culture by stating that “building an effective organization is ultimately a matter of meshing the different subcultures by encouraging the evolution of common goals, common language, and common procedures for solving problems” (p. 289).
Baker (2004) quoted Kotter from an interview: “Leadership, as much as anything, creates the culture, and culture helps shape the leadership. It’s a chicken-and-egg thing” (So how do you get these changes done? section, ¶ 2). Leaders have the responsibility to both reinforce and reshape an organization’s culture (Kotter & Heskett, 1992; Schein, 2004).
The Role and Evolution of Leadership
The concept of leadership has evolved over time and can be grouped into several themes – beginning with the leaders’ traits or who they are, moving to the leaders’ behavior or what they do, next to the leadership situation, and lastly to leaders’ character or everything for which they stand. The great man and trait theories (Daft, 2002) assumed that leaders were born not made – that leadership qualities were inherent in one’s personality. In other words, one was born to lead. In the behavioral approach, behaviors could be learned. If individuals adopt the right behaviors, then they could become good leaders. Environmental leadership approaches assumed that everyone was born with a blank slate; thus leaders were a result of events that provided opportunities and could be made – the nature versus nurture paradigm. Situational approaches were based upon the premise that there was not one best way, but rather that effective leadership was based upon many situational variables. Contingency approaches linked leadership style and follower attributes, stating that effective leadership was dependent upon the situation, while contemporary leadership approaches are character-based and focus on a leader doing the right thing.
Today, leadership is understood to be a much more complex phenomenon than either the great man or great event approaches considered (Rost, 1991). Schein (2004) alleged that it was not the leader’s personality, but rather the leader’s learning capacity that was critical for cultural transformation. Two leadership approaches still have merit today and are widely used: situational and contemporary. “The effectiveness of leader behavior is contingent upon organizational situations. Aptly called contingency approaches, these theories explain the relationship between leadership styles and effectiveness in specific situations” (Daft, 2002, p. 79). There are several theories that fall under the broad heading contingency approaches
- Fiedler’s contingency model – designed to enable leaders to diagnose both leadership style and organizational situation with a leaders effectiveness dependent upon how well the leaders style fits the situation
- Hersey and Blanchard’s situational theory – premise that subordinates vary in readiness level and thus need different leadership styles, and based upon directive leadership and supportive dimensions
- Goal-path theory – premise that the leader’s responsibility is to increase subordinates motivation to attain personal and organizational goals by emphasizing the relationship between the leader’s style, the subordinate’s style, and the work environment
- Vroom-Jago model – development-driven model that permits leaders to adopt a participation style by answering diagnostic questions in sequence
These contingency approach models assumed that there was no one best approach to leadership, but rather that a leader could identify the appropriate leadership style by reflecting upon the subordinates’ capability and willingness (Daft, 2002). This was supported by Blanchard and Blanchard (2005) when they proposed, “Great leaders know how to tailor management styles to individual employees. They realize that they must understand their people well enough to give them the direction and support they need to succeed” (p. 54). In other words, leadership effectiveness must be determined by the adaptability of the leader to the follower’s situation, specifically to the skill and maturity level being displayed.
Contemporary leadership approaches tend to focus on the whole person. Several approaches fall into contemporary leadership: servant leadership, transactional leadership, and charismatic or transformational leadership. Servant leadership was based on a premise by Robert Greenleaf that servant leaders put others’ interests and needs before their own. Transactional and transformational leadership approaches have been considered to be on opposite sides of a spectrum. Transactional typically refers to an exchange process between leaders and followers in which the leader essentially manages and maintains the organization, whereas transformational refers to leaders who attempt to engage the whole person toward a shared goal whereby promoting fundamental changes that aid the organization in remaining competitive in a rapidly changing environment.
A review of the literature on leadership has shown that trait leadership has not disappeared as it can be seen in contemporary leadership approaches today (Northouse, 2004). Transformational leadership assumes a leader has influence that results in followers and ultimately an organization exceeding performance expectations (Northouse, 2004). Conger (1999) found that transformational leadership’s focus was on change and empowerment that typically consisted of several components: leaders possess charisma or a strong ability to influence others; leadership is capable of inspiring others to action; leaders have strong mental or intellectual capabilities; and leaders have the ability to understand individuals and their needs. In fact, Conger (1999) explained, “At the heart of the [transformational] model is the notion that transformational leaders motivate their followers to commit to and to realize performance outcomes that exceed their expectations” (p. 149). Transformational leadership is characterized by a leader’s ability to bring about significant change (Daft, 2002).
A review of the literature showed another description of leadership—adaptive versus operational. Pascale et al. (2000) defined operational leadership as occurring when a leader appropriately exercises authority during times of equilibrium, while describing adaptive leadership as one who “makes happen what isn’t going to happen otherwise” (p. 39), with the caveat being that successful leaders will effectively balance both of these leadership styles.
Rost (1991) and Daft (2002) saw leadership as an influence relationship resulting in a mutually desired change.
You can’t get people to make an exceptional commitment to sustained great performance out of fear. . . . The only way to get people to achieve remarkable results is by being willing to show them that you genuinely and personally care about them. (Webber, 1999, p. xii)
Model for Leadership of an Organizational Cultural Intervention
Kotter’s eight-step approach to organizational change (1996) was based upon years of evaluating failed change efforts, and addresses many of the problems identified by Beer and Nohria (as cited by Vakola, Tsausis, & Nikolaou, 2004). These eight steps include:
- Establish a sense of urgency – Create a burning platform.
- Create a guiding coalition – Individuals who are well-respected and who are committed to the change initiative that have the power and influence to drive this change through the organization.
- Develop the vision and strategy – This must be a relevant vision that can be clearly articulated by every employee within the organization.
- Communicate the vision – This must be done to gain buy-in.
- Empower employees to action – Organizations must remove barriers that prevent employees from achieving the organization’s vision.
- Create short-term wins – So as to energize employees and build momentum necessary for the change initiative.
- Do not let up – Change must be embedded within the organization in order to make the vision a reality.
- Make change stick by anchoring these new approaches in the culture – Create supporting systems, processes, and structures that strengthen the culture.
Kouzes and Posner (2002) expressed that leadership was about practice, not personality. They identified the common themes and created a model of leadership in which they identified successful leadership practices (taken from the followers’ perspective):
- Challenge the process – Constantly ask, “Why are things being done this way?”
- Inspire a shared vision – Share the vision so as to provide direction and meaning to engage others in its pursuit.
- Enable others to act – Foster environments that enable others to act to produce both high task and high results accomplishments.
- Model the way – Lead by example.
- Encourage the heart – Recognize individuality as well as hard work and success.
As indicated by DeSimone, Werner, and Harris (2002), “Cultural changes involve a complex process of replacing an existing paradigm or way of thinking with another” (p. 594) resulting in a new set of values, systems, and processes, which can only be accomplished through effective leadership. Kotter and Heskett (1992) asserted that producing change is the primary role of leadership within an organization and that competent leadership is the primary driver of successful organizational change, thus “Without leadership, purposeful change of any magnitude is almost impossible” (p. 99). That being said, this researcher sees no value in creating a new model for leadership of an organizational cultural intervention when several successful models are in existence today that have been built based upon failed change efforts and are fully supported by the literature. This researcher reviewed many models, with a strong focus on Kotter’s eight-step approach and Kouzes and Posner’s five practices of effective leadership. This review showed a strong similarity between the two as both models include inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, and creating short-term wins. Thus either model by itself would be effective.
Kotter’s eight steps might appear to be relatively simple, but that is far from the case as can be seen by the magnitude of the number of failed change efforts depicted in the literature! Schein (1992) posited that the roles of leadership and organizational culture are linked: “Change then occurs through cognitive redefinition of key concepts, and the resulting behavioral changes become frozen in the personality of the individuals and in the norms and routines of the group” (p. 312). Organizational culture is a result of an organization successfully managing these eight steps and inculcating the change.
Dotlich and Noel (1988) stated, “The ability to turn on a dime, to create new organizational structures, cultures and mind-sets that thrive on a diet of rapid-fire change, has become critical to ongoing business success”. After reviewing the current literature on change and organizational change, one must come to the realization that change is no easy feat, especially as the research indicated that up to 75% of change efforts do not yield the promised results (Wheatley, 1998). The research indicated that the success of a change effort boils down to three essential ingredients: planning, communication, and participation. In order for a cultural change to be successful, one must ensure (a) active participation in each step of the process, (b) that one has the ability to accurately assess the existing culture while defining the desired culture, (c) that one can define the gap between the two and create an effective action plan, and last but not least (d) that there is a leader who can clearly communicate and create passion around the desired change.
Causes of Change
Researchers have developed numerous approaches to describing the causes and types of change that affect organizations. Change may be spurred within an organization because of environmental pressures, internal culture, change in leadership, or growth strategy. Both fine-tuning and incremental change are representative of emergent change, that although planned, emerges as the change occurs (Senior, 2002). Parnell and Lester (2003) added that in a perfect world, strategic change would always be incremental because organizations would follow carefully devised, predictable plans of action. Change would occur in phases triggered as the organization moves through a lifecycle of creation, growth, maturity, turnaround, and decline (Ward, 2003). The entrepreneurial phase (creation) is characterized by quick, almost frenzied action as the organization follows the leader’s vision to bring a product or service to market. The growth phase may be marked by extremely rapid growth if a product or service catches the target audience’s imagination or the growth phase may be slower and steadier. Whether fast or slow, structure, systems and people are geared towards growth. During the maturity phase, an organization seeks market share where comparisons are made between the company and competitors rather than against its own former growth. Ward indicated that after a period of maturity, the organization may begin a decline unless the people within become a learning organization, recognizing blind spots and the need to learn. Then, the organization enters a turnaround that may entail new products and services, reaching new markets, even a power shift within the organization. Belasen (2000) agreed stating that even successful companies must engage in continual reinvention to win customers. If the organization fails to continue the growth phase or to enter a turnaround, it will enter terminal decline. Although terminal decline may end in dissolution of the organization, it may also result in acquisition by a competitor (Ward).
In addition to change brought about by the organizational lifecycle, cultural, evolutionary, and revolutionary change also occur (Beach, 2006). Cultural change includes economic or internal crises, changes in laws and regulations, social change, and changing demographics. Evolutionary change is usually brought about by a threat such as social trends or structural shifts within an industry and occurs over a fairly long period of time. In contrast, the impact of changes in any of the cultural or evolutionary areas may bring about revolutionary change, a struggle for survival. Changes in top leadership frequently occur during periods of revolutionary change as Beach suggested that existing leaders have more difficulty with revolutionary change than do new leaders to the organization.
Combining some aspects of the previous causes of change, Ansoff and McDonnell (1990) examined change through the lens of the evolution of management systems and revealed five levels spanning 1900 – 1990 that show
“progressively decreasing familiarity of events and decreasing visibility of the future” (p. 12). Five levels of changeability range from predictable to unpredictable surprises:
Level 1: Recurring—Characterized by an environment where the challenges remain repetitive, and the future outlook is expected to be the same as the past.
Level 2: Forecastable by extrapolation—Leaders can plan for the future through extrapolation of the historical growth.
Level 3: Predictable threats and opportunities—Again, the future can be forecast with some degree of confidence through periodic strategic planning and strategic posture management.
Level 4: Partially predictable opportunities—A partially predictable future complicated by increasing environment turbulence including global and socio-political changes.
Level 5: Unpredictable surprises—Environmental turbulence with resulting significant changes occurring too quickly to permit timely anticipation. (pp. 12-13)
A review of the literature on organizational change theory and research conducted during the 1990s (Armenakis & Bedeian, 1999) grouped studies of change through a review of four research themes: content issues, contextual issues, process issues, and criterion issues. Content issues included factors that influence an organization’s long-term environmental relationship, shaping its character, mission, and direction. Contextual issues, similar to the cultural issues presented by Beach (2006), included forces within the external and internal environment of the organization such as government regulations, marketplace forces, technology, and previous experiences with change. Process issues included the external environment, the organization, and individual levels that are affected during an intended change. Finally, criterion variables that are frequently used as organizational change outcomes were explored. From this four-fold analysis, Armenakis and Bedeian suggested longitudinal studies of organizational change research in order to determine how and why change emerges.
In a complex model of organizational change, Burke and Litwin (1992) reached these conclusions regarding organizational change:
- Change, especially an overhaul of the business strategy, stems more from environmental impact than from any other factor.
- In large scale or total organizational change, mission, strategy, leadership, and culture have more “weight” than structure, management practices, and systems.
- Having organizational leaders communicate the change is not sufficient for effective change.
- Culture change must be planned and aligned with strategy and leader behavior. These variables have more weight because they affect the total system whereas changing structure may not affect the total system. (p. 529)
Kotter (1999) disagreed with Burke and Litwin (1992), reasoning “the single biggest impetus for change in an organization tends to be a new manager in a key job” (p. 77). As demonstrated by the many definitions of change, the researchers may have been referring to change in different contexts but it also demonstrates the difference in leader focused research and a systems approach. This qualitative study of the phenomena of change will offer an opportunity to gain perspective from co-researchers as to the causes of change in their organizational environment.
Change is often treated as though it can be isolated; that a change in a process or procedure does not affect interaction with other areas of an organization (Malott, 2003). Early change literature even portrays change as a clear-cut, concise event which may provide an indicator of why change is most often thought of as incremental or linear (Quinn, 1996). K. Lewin (1947) suggested successful change consisted of unfreezing at the present level, moving to the desired new level, and refreezing. Today’s organizations are comprised of interrelated systems that add to the complexity of change as never before. As Senge (1990) pointed out, people within organizations must learn to see “underlying ‘structures’ rather than ‘events’” (p. 65), and think of change as a process rather than a single event or series of events. Supporting this finding, Humphreys (1990) discovered that higher-performing leaders were more open to engaging internal and external environments and gave attention to the social system of their organization. James (2005) concurred, stating,
The internal and external context of an organization plays a significant part in the process of change. Second, it is important to see change as a complex process . . . with . . . the potential to disrupt the life of the organization. (p. 306)
According to Elkjaer (2005), there are two basic understandings regarding organizational change: “‘the long haul’ understanding versus ‘the many balls in the air’—some of which may risk ending up on the floor—understanding” (p. 538). The first view approaches change as a strategic planning process with change occurring as a result of this orderly process while the latter stems from a systems view of the organization where ideas may arise at any time in any part of the system (Elkjaer). In a conceptual paper on organizational capacity for change, Meyer and Stensaker (2006) stated when organizations are viewed as interdependent elements, change introduced in some organizational elements will result in change in other elements.
Gill (2003) supported the concept that change has often been treated as an event and without consideration for the effects upon the whole organization. In developing a new model that included vision, strategy, empowerment, motivation, inspiration, and development of a culture of sustainable shared values as contributors to successful change, he stated that too often change is implemented through management fads that do not consider the effects of change throughout the organization, resulting in unanticipated disruption.
Although a planned change may be seen as insignificant or small to leaders, change of any scope may be significant to the individual organizational citizen or groups within the organization. Jennings (2004) listed “it’s not a big change” as the top myth that defeats change in organizations. Hence the many sayings such as “nobody likes change except a wet baby,” “nothing is sure but death, taxes, and change,” and “change is disturbing when it is done to us, exhilarating when it is done by us” (Canter, 2007, preface). In an assessment of corporate cultural transformation, Gilmore et al. (1997) illustrated this same point, suggesting that an organizational pattern of change usually includes optimism among top management and pessimism among workers and middle management. “This dynamic rests on a combination of fact (who holds the power) and emotion (who feels the greater vulnerability)” (Gilmore et al., p. 176). In interviews with 120 managers and employees within one organization to study cynicism about change, Reichers, Wanous, and Austin (1997) concluded that enthusiasm for change varies from hierarchical level to hierarchical level with those at the top more likely to see the value in the proposed change unless there is a well prepared program for managing cynicism in place. Support also appeared in a study of the reception of change by work group members based on who initiated the change: leaders outside the work group, work group leaders, or group members who initiated change (Griffin, Rafferty, & Mason, 2004). The study concluded that change initiated by group member improved the morale of the group, change initiated by outside leadership resulted in negative perceptions of the work group leader, and positive perceptions of the work group leader resulted from work group leader initiated change. In a study of change in 40 organizations through the organization’s senior and middle managers and frontline staff, LaClair and Rao (2002) confirmed that success or failure in creating change depends upon how the change is made as well as the project itself.
Readiness for Change
Although often a topic of popular press books and articles, perceived readiness for change has undergone little empirical research (Eby, Adams, Russell, & Gaby, 2000). Huy (1999) suggested that individual readiness for change is the extent to which an individual is prepared to participate in a different organizational activity. Readiness for change has been studied but seldom separated from resistance (Armenakis, Harris, & Feild, 1999) and is usually researched or written about in conjunction with remedies for reducing resistance. Armenakis et al. proposed that “readiness is the cognitive precursor to the behaviors of either resistance to, or support for change” (p. 327).
Eby et al. (2000) identified individual attitudes and preferences, work group and job attitudes, and contextual variables from their own and other research as the three classes of variables impacting interpretation of organizational reality. Results of a study of two divisions of a national sales organization comprised of survey results from 117 employees and managers supported the conclusion that the variables of preference for working in teams, perceived participation, trust in peers, and flexible organizational policies and procedures were important in understanding perceived readiness for change (Eby et al.). The results were consistent with Armenakis et al.’s (1999) findings that participation in decision making in conjunction with enactive mastery and vicarious learning help produce self-discovery on the part of organizational members and can assist in producing a feeling of partnership during change.
There are three elements needed for organizational readiness for change: dissatisfaction with the current state, a vision of a new future, and a set of steps that will enable movement toward the future (Thomas, 2001). Unless dissatisfaction at some level exists, change is unlikely to occur. J. Kotter (personal communication, August 4, 2006) stated that most organizations and people inside them are trying to create a future that differs from the current reality; in other words, to create change. This statement appears in conflict with much of the literature regarding resistance that suggests resistance is inherent in organizational citizens.
A study of 67 employees who were about to undergo a change in computing systems in their workplace produced evidence that employees who perceived that their organizational culture was strong in human relations values indicated higher levels of readiness during the pre-implementation stage (Jones, Jimmieson, & Griffiths, 2005). This also predicated usage of the system at Time 2 in the study. Further, the research showed a correlation between the positive attitudes of employees regarding the organizational changes and higher levels of satisfaction with the system’s accuracy, user-friendliness, and system’s formatting functions. Readiness for change was a mediating variable in the relationship between reshaping capabilities and system usage (Jones et al.) The study did not, however, capture the differences in perceived readiness for change acceptance when the change is not just beneficial to the individual but beneficial in a larger scope within the organization.
Just as a long list of descriptors of the characteristics of “good” leaders have been developed through trait theory, leadership case studies, experience, observation, and practice wisdom have yielded their own lists of characteristics to researchers that purport to represent attitudes that encourage change and learning (Pearlmutter, 1998). However, Pearlmutter pointed out that there is research lacking in “how to develop the capabilities, characteristics, and attitudes that allow and encourage change, learning and innovation” (p. 24). Beer et al. (1990) suggested instead of focusing on a change in attitude, the focus should be on changing the organizational roles that individuals play.
The most effective way to change behavior, therefore, is to put people into a new organizational context, which imposes new roles, responsibilities, and relationships on them. This creates a situation that, . . . ‘forces’ new attitudes and behaviors on people. (p. 159)
The attempt to force new attitudes on people could create stressors of the types described by Schabracq and Cooper (1998) such as changes in tasks that offer too little or too much challenge or a change in the compatibility of values with the organization.
Pettigrew, Woodman, and Cameron (2001) and Desplaces (2005) proposed individual action and the context in which they occur are inseparable. The influences of context, content, and change processes must be considered through their interaction over time to impact individual readiness for change. In writing of resistance, Ford, Ford, and McNamara (2002) suggested that unlike much of the literature proposing resistance as based on individual attributes or personality, “resistance is not to be found in the individual, but in the constructed reality in which individuals operate” (p. 106). Therefore, the nature of resistance will vary depending upon the constructed reality surrounding that individual (Ford et al.). These studies raised the question, “Is resistance inherent in individuals?” as a question for the focus groups.
Rafferty and Simons (2006) examined readiness for change from the perspectives of fine-tuning and corporate transformation changes. Their findings indicated that trust in peers and logistics and system support had strong relationships with fine-tuning while corporate transformation changes were positively affected by trust in senior leaders and self-efficacy. Perhaps the most significant part of their study was that multiple change readiness attitudes exist within an organization and that it will vary depending upon the circumstances. Rafferty and Simons also echoed the earlier sentiments of Dent and Goldberg (1999) in the statement, “A ‘one size fits all’ approach to change implementation is not likely to result in high readiness in all circumstances” (p. 345).
Fostering hardiness among organizational leaders is recommended by Kouzes and Posner (2002) as a way to stimulate readiness for change. Leaders who are psychologically hardy are unafraid to take action and have self efficacy for the task of change. Consequently, they encourage others to view change as full of possibilities, rather than to fear change.
One important note on change was discovered in the research of Bernerth (2004) who assessed the readiness for change among 115 employees. According to management and labor contacts in the organization, no significant change occurred other than a paper change. Yet, the change was viewed negatively by organizational members. The research highlights the fact that “change is not simply changes in technical or operational aspects of the job; change is also a cognitive process of reevaluating the old way of doing things” (p. 48). It also supports Jennings (2004) research on the myths of change, “It’s only a small change.” Further, the disparity in what management perceived as a change and what the organizational citizens perceived suggests research such as this qualitative study is needed to directly address the feelings and attitudes of organizational citizens.
Resistance to Change
Resistance is “a multifaceted phenomenon, which introduces unanticipated delays, costs, and instabilities into the process of a strategic change” (Ansoff & McDonnell, 1990, p. 405). This view of resistance often repeated in the literature develops language that tempts managers to treat organizational citizens as obstacles and to potentially dismiss legitimate concerns (Piderit, 2000). Piderit applied attribution theory and stated that management is likely to blame employees if a change initiative fails. Similarly, employees will blame management for failed changes. Neither party is likely to look to themselves when assigning blame (J. Kotter, personal communication, August 4, 2006).
In a discussion of cognitive dissonance during change, Burnes and James (1994) suggested employees possess valuable knowledge of a situation and can contribute a great deal toward determining how to solve the problem requiring change, or in determining if a change is required. Involving organizational citizens in change decisions is more likely to result in commitment on the part of the employee, thus culminating in a positive attitude toward the change. Burnes and James built upon this thought process by examining cognitive dissonance related to change in two project case studies. Defining cognitive dissonance as an individual’s tendency to develop consistency among attitude and behavior, the conclusion was reached that
the key is that the greater the effect on the individual, especially in terms of psychological constructs and attitudes, the deeper the level of involvement required if successful behavior change is to be achieved. It follows from this that where a proposed change is in tune with the established norms of an organization and the individual’s own attitudes, that person will be more included to accept its legitimacy . . . and may merely involve a passive acceptance. (p. 18)
The concepts of resistance and defense mechanisms were separated and explored by Kets de Vries and Miller (1984) who posited that resistance is observable behavior and defense mechanisms are “hypothesized processes through which resistance is brought into being” (p. 134). Resistance is triggered by defense mechanisms that “have as their general aim to ward off anxiety caused by intrapsychic conflict stemming from incompatible demands between an individual’s wishes and external reality” (p. 136). Defense mechanisms include repression where thoughts, wishes, and emotions are suppressed from awareness; regression, reverting to behavior or adaptation techniques from earlier stages of development; projection, rejecting a quality personally but ascribing it to someone else; identification, adoption of thoughts or values of a person significant to the individual; reaction formation where the opposite attitude or trait is emphasized rather than the true feeling; and, denial where the change is denied as existing (Kets de Vries & Miller).
“Resistance is natural” and grows from “primitive anxiety and fear” (Jarrett, 2004, p. 248) and may appear in either individual or collective forms. Kets de Vries and Miller (1984) offered several motives for resistance. First, individuals attempt to avoid psychic pain through forced confrontation with their inner self thus producing psychological resistance. Next, individuals “may be reluctant to change because they derive benefits such as care and attention from their symptoms” (p. 133). For example, the announced downsizing of an office or plant may generate enough attention from media, family, friends, and others sympathetic to an individual’s plight that the individual may resist adapting to a new position in the organization or even in another organization because they perceive a benefit from the attention. These situations may create a tendency to remain with the familiar even if the familiar is dysfunctional or self-destructive. Since the workplace is composed of various individuals and their psychological components, change that unsettles the status quo may “threaten our sense of being values, competent, successful, likable, and attached to something larger than ourselves such as an idealized leader, a group, or an organization” (Allcorn, 2005, p. 21).
Ivancevich and Matteson (2002) proposed a number of reasons for resistance at the individual level: (a) Threat of loss of position, power, and authority; (b) economic insecurity regarding retaining a job or level of compensation; (c) the possible alteration of social friendships and interactivity; (d) the natural human fear of the unknown; (e) failure to recognize or be informed about the need for change; and, (f) cognitive dissonance created because one is confronted with new people, processes, systems, technology, or expectations (p. 632). Kets de Vries and Miller (1984) listed the reorganization of power and political behavior generated by power struggles as factors in creating resistance. What appeared to be missing from the literature was an open discussion with organizational citizens regarding these and other findings on resistance.
Change Management Theory Overview
Change management is the discipline that ensures organizations and their members meet new and existing performance goals efficiently and effectively (Futerer & Elshennawy, 2005). Futerer & Elshennawy defined it as a structured approach to organizational change that takes an organization and its members from a current state to a desired future state using processes to minimize the impact of change. Change management, as a phenomenon, has been around for many decades. In the 1950s, Lewin introduced change management as a renowned three-stage theory that has been instrumental in helping organizations understand the management of change as a process (Zand & Sorensen, 1975); the three stages are known as unfreeze-change-refreeze. Baulcomb (2003) elaborated on the description of the three-stages as preparing the organization for change by first dealing with change resistance (unfreezing); introducing and implementing a change process (change); and finally, managing the implemented change process (refreezing).
Researchers investigated as organizations applied the fundamental principles of this theory when faced with organizational culture and situational challenges associated with change. For example, in the late seventies, Zmud and Cox (1979) applied Lewin’s model to address challenges of implementing management information systems (MIS). Zmud and Cox approached managing MIS implementations by first dealing with organizational change by having organizational leaders and users assume responsibility for systems during implementation, so they could own and better embrace its outcome. Like Lewin’s theory, the first step deals with managing organizational resistance to change (unfreeze). The change implemented in the Zmud and Cox MIS change management approach was to educate the organizational members who would be involved or affected by the MIS implementation (change). Lastly, Zmud and Cox implemented a feedback mechanism to allow its members a means of expressing and exchanging their ideas to manage the implemented change (refreezing).
Early researchers like Zand and Sorensen (1975) and Zmud and Cox (1979) agreed that the use of Lewin’s theory for change management as a process could be instrumental in optimizing the management of organizational change. Today, a variety of change management processes address standardization and specific management challenges, such as quality and process improvements in information technology and information systems implementations offered to business and organizations. For example, three widely used change management models in the IT industry include the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000 series, the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), and Lean Six Sigma. These models of standards are implemented as processes to help manage common issues found among businesses and organizations implementing change.
ISO 9000 was developed with the intent to integrate concerns for quality into daily organizational management (Boiral, 2003). The ISO 9000 model focuses on an organization’s quality management practices by considering whether it has proper quality control plans, program documentation, and procedures (Han, Chen, & Ebrahimpour, 2007). The advantage to organizations obtaining ISO 9000 certification is an international acceptance for established management practices and processes most likely to achieve successful results. Additionally, organizations that obtained ISO 9000 certification are believed to have a competitive advantage over those who have not, and they are believed to have improved customer satisfaction. CMMI includes quality management to some extent, but is more about process improvement for software development projects. Its focus is for projects that have yet to establish improvement processes as a means to improving the management of information system implementations (Gefen, Zviran, & Elman, 2006; Kay, 2005).
Lean Six Sigma is based on two improvement programs: Six Sigma and Lean Enterprise, and the concept of combining lean manufacturing and Six Sigma principles begin in the 1990s (Spector, 2006). Six Sigma is both a quality management philosophy and a methodology that focuses on reducing variation, measuring defects, and improving the quality of products, processes, and services. Spector reported that Six Sigma was developed in early 1980’s by General Electric Corporation and their former CEO Jack Welch. The Lean Enterprise portion is a methodology that focuses on reducing cycle time and waste in processes that “originated from Toyota Motor Corporation as the Toyota Production System and increased in popularity after 1973 energy crisis” (p. 6). Its objective is for efficient and economical use of human effort, inventory, space, and time to produce high-quality products while being highly responsive to customer demand.
ISO 9000, CMMI, and Lean Six Sigma are similar in that the ISO 9000 series model specifies minimal acceptable quality level for management processes, CMMI establishes a framework for measuring continuous process improvements, and Lean Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of products, processes, and services efficiently, effectively, and with less variation. These models, like Lewin’s change theory, provide models of standards and change management processes instrumental in assisting businesses and organizations to deliver change successfully. However, researchers like Gowan and Mathieu (2003) stated that change management processes for business system implementations remains problematic and worth continual research. In fact, recent researchers admit that there is still too little understanding of business system implementations, and agree that change management processes alone have not been enough (Gowan & Mathieu, 2003; Saynisch, 2005). The impetus for the focus on improving the management of enterprise business system implementations includes the increasing demands that businesses and organizations encounter to maximize returns on IT investments, to share information across organizational boundaries, and to improve customer satisfaction while effectively and efficiently managing cost and. For this reason, IT organizations may want a better understanding and awareness of their leaders’ perceptions of change management and their willingness to influence improved management of enterprise business system implementations as part of effective organizational change.
Leadership Theory Overview
The study of leadership has been an important and central part to organizational management for many decades (Yukl, 1989). However, research regarding leadership in complex organizations focuses narrowly on leadership qualities and behaviors, while research about leadership effectiveness tends to focus on organizational limitations such as internal infrastructures and cultural boundaries (Bryd, Lewis & Bradley, 2006; Lieberson & O’Conner, 1972). The focus of sustained leadership to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations in IT organizations is derived partly from the need to focus on much more than a leader’s qualities and behaviors. Researchers in the research literature found that leaders who are experienced and influential are more apt to be effective in dealing with situations that arise as part of organizational change (Doh, 2003; Fiedler, 1972).
Fiedler (1972) defined leadership experience as on-the-job training, because individuals supposedly learn over years on the job, and because organizational leaders typically receive guidance and informal training from fellow leaders and superiors. Additionally, Doh (2003) postulated that this may be true because leaders with experience in their jobs are armed with training, formulas, and guidelines that have worked in the past. Even though Doh admitted this philosophy has been dispelled by researchers to some extent, he believed experienced leaders have an advantage because experience is designed to increase a leader’s control and influence, thereby improving the ability to achieve success. Doh highlighted the idea that the effectiveness of a group or organization is dependent upon two interacting variables: (a) the motivation system of the leader, and (b) the degree to which the situation gives the leader power and influence. He believed leadership effectiveness is a relationship involving power and influence and that power and that influence means having good relationship with organizational members and positional power.
The power-influence theory provides a complimentary understanding of leadership effectiveness. The first part suggests that the amount of power, the type of power, and the way in which power is exercised by a leader is what gives him or her power to influence organizational internal and external factors (Bass, 1990; Turner, 2005; Yukl, 1989). Corollary to the beliefs of Doh (2003), however, many researchers believe leadership power that is given by organizational position is not always effective (Turner, 2005; Yukl, 1989). In fact, there is research that argues that there are risks associated with a leader’s dependency on given power because there is a propensity for an overreliance on it, causing a leader to neglect the advantages of the second attribute of this theory, influential leadership (Turner, 2005). Although there are many influential factors leaders can or should adopt to more effectively facilitate change as part of good leadership; negotiation, persuasion, and facilitation are considered based on the belief that they provide complementary value to the change management variables considered important to improving the management of enterprise business system implementations (Cialdini, 2001; Conger, 1998; Salacuse, 2006).
Researchers found that good leaders have good negotiation skills and that effective organizational leadership almost always includes negotiations (Harsanyi, 1995; Museler, 2004). Although Salacuse described negotiations as being a labor-intensive, time-consuming process, it was considered a core management competency for information system project implementations. Negotiating skill is considered a core competency for IT project management because managers typically deal with different functional and business owners and multiple stakeholders with different interests and ideas; these must be brought into alignment for things such as requirements, definitions, expectations, or simply to achieve consensus on important implementation project issues (Mass & Gebhart, 1998; Porat, 1970). However, negations are critical for more than challenges associated with organizational internal and external environments and its members. It often becomes necessary to negotiate or re-negotiate resource allocations, cost, and budgets to ensure project continuity and overall project success when uncertainties and unpredictable circumstances and situations arise. It is inferred that experienced influential leaders can improve management outcomes for enterprise business system implementations because they are often responsible for the alignment of important management variables that include both financial and human resource challenges.
Although it may be likely that IT project leaders are challenged with negotiating for organizational resources (financial and human), they are also charged with facilitating certain desired outcomes. Facilitation was described by Farrell and Weaver (1998) as a process used to help individuals complete and improve how they work together. In more recent studies, researchers discovered the importance of a facilitator role and the need for facilitation processes for effective management in organizations facing organizational change (Karlof & Loevingsson, 2005; Farrell & Weaver, 1998). The role of an effective facilitator is described as one of: (a) competence to think on several levels while allowing group members to focus on particular challenges and functional tasks, (b) becoming one with the group while remaining external and objective, and (c) having an ability to stimulate performance (Karlof & Loevingsson, 2005).
Specific to successfully managing enterprise business system implementations, researchers like Ming-Ling and Shaw (2006) found it important that leaders facilitate appropriate attitude and support from the correct mix of organizational members to have the correct balance of wisdom, know-how, and understanding for better management of information technology and information systems project implementations. Ming-Ling & Shaw believed that it was necessary that business and technology managers’ participation in decision-making and the development of viable courses of action must be part of effective management of enterprise business system implementations. It was inferred that leaders capable of facilitating the participation of business and technology managers in formal groups for improved management of enterprise business system project implementations would help improve management success.
Improved management success of enterprise business system project implementation also requires leaders who are persuasive. Persuasion was described by Conger (1998) and Cialdini (2001) as a leadership characteristic that is misunderstood and underutilized, but more essential than ever. Cialdini reasoned that persuasion has historically had a bad reputation based on its predominant use in sales and deal closing and its connotations of manipulation. However, Conger posited that decades of study by experimental psychologists revealed that persuasiveness, as a methodology or a process, could reliably lead people to concede, comply, or change. The process is often multifaceted and involves a leader’s ability to prepare and properly frame arguments, effectively present evidence, and find the correct emotional match with targeted audiences. Moreover, Cialdini reported that several decades of rigorous empirical research by behavioral scientists provided deep and detailed information to suggest that persuasion as a process creates a base of power entirely separate from processes controlled by culture or political implications.
Leadership and Change Management
Although there is growing insight and theory as to how to manage challenges that often plague IT implementations, researchers search for better understanding of how to improve change management for increased success overall (Ginzberg, 1981; Zand, & Sorensen, 1975). As previously discussed, effective change management tends to involve multi-step processes, but Kotter (1996) believed the processes for change management can never be employed effectively unless they are driven by high-quality leadership, not just excellent management. Kotter also believed it is important that leaders focus on the correct change management variables to overcome the situational challenge. Change management variables found to be important in research literature reviewed to improve the management of business system implementations included resources, formal groups, and the use of enterprise architectures (GAO, 2007b; Ming-Ling & Shaw, 2006).
It is common for businesses and organizations to seek business systems as a means to improve efficiency and effectiveness for business operations. It is reasonable that the implementation of such systems to any IT organization is a huge resource investment. Resource management is of particular importance to organizations because economic gain leads to organizational survival and prosperity (Mass & Gebhart, 1998). According to Fisher, Frederickson, and Peffer (2000), resource management involves a negotiation process to ensure that strategic business goals and objectives are met. Frederickson and Peffer found that almost all large and medium-size organizations have strategic and formal budgeting programs for which resources are negotiated for strategic intent.
Turnquist and Nozick (2004) believed that a synergy exists between leadership and organizational resources (financial and human), and leadership is the portion of that synergy that must assess the resource needs from a holistic perspective. This often means re-negotiations at lower levels, especially when attempting to maintain program cost, schedules, and performance objectives and goals. Turnquist & Nozick reported that it is not uncommon that leaders are responsible for reestablishing project budget baselines, nor is it unforeseen for leaders to consider trade-offs in an attempt to satisfy other project or organizational goals. Experienced leaders value and are willing to use negotiations as part of resource management to improve management success of implementing enterprise business systems.
Formal groups are a deliberate creation of management for a specific purpose, and are considered an effective management tool for IT acquisitions. According to Robey and Markus (1984), the value of created management existed for many years in the form of steering committees used to conduct due diligence for such things as proposed strategies, policy administration, direction setting, resource rationalization, and ensuring project performance.
The use of formal groups like those described above was effective because leaders and group members were afforded an opportunity to confront important issues and resolve differences of opinion throughout a project’s lifecycle (Byrd et al., 2006; Robey & Markus, 1984). One important and necessary part of formal group effectiveness is proper group member participation. For enterprise business system implementations, Ming-Ling and Shaw (2005) considered business and technology managers as critical group members to facilitate the transition of business processes and activities from manual to be automated. Researchers agree that formal groups are a deliberate creation of management and necessary when managing for success (Engel, 1997; Ming-Ling & Shaw, 2005; Robey & Markus, 1984). Experienced leaders value the use of formal groups and are willing to facilitate business and technology member to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations.
Implementing enterprise business systems is a complex management challenge for which effective management processes and tools are believed to be necessary for success. A brief history of the use of architecture frameworks includes IBM’s first-time use of information architecture (IA) in the 1970s as part of its IT investment planning and implementations (Periasamy & Feeny, 1997). IBM introduced the IA as a general and high-level blueprint for purposes of strategic planning. The effectiveness of IBM’s IA was dependent on successful mappings of applications, data, and existing business architectures. Periasamy and Feeny (1997) explained the importance of these three types of architectures as follows:
- Application architectures show an organization’s major applications and their interrelationships that are unique and necessary to understand during implementations.
- Data architectures are used to facilitate functions across system boundaries.
- Business system architectures (BSA) provide pictorial representation and modeling for the fusion of strategic resources, competencies, and information technology, capturing the complete business process.
Although not a part of IBM’s IA at the time, the technology architecture was introduced for its importance for defining the technology platform needed for applications to manage business area data and to support business functions (Spewak, 1992). However, it should be noted that the most recognized architecture framework still in use was published by John Zachman in the late 1980s. Spewak reported that Zachman contributed to the evolution of architecture frameworks as a management tool for business systems by defining the development of systems as a process and creating system perspective views (i.e., planner, business owners, and designers) from a set of descriptions (i.e., data, function, network, and people).
Throughout the last decades, the use of architecture frameworks for business system development continued to evolve for specific business and organizational needs. The business enterprise architecture (BEA) is an example of a framework for business system development. The BEA consists of snapshots of the enterprise’s current environment and its target environment, as well as a capital investment road map for transitioning from the current to the target environment” (Kutz & Rhodes, 2005, p. 5). It is an information infrastructure that includes business rules, requirements, data standards, system interface requirements, and the depiction of policies and procedures (U.S. Department of Defense, 2008). It is an enterprise-level transformation architecture intended to assist component and program level entities in remaining accountable when developing specific solutions. The importance of the BEA is that it defines business transformation priorities, business capability requirements to support those priorities, and systems and initiatives that enable these capabilities.
Leadership and Change Management Summary
There are numerous change management approaches that IT organizations and its leaders should consider when developing strategies to improve the management of business system implementations to achieve greater efficiencies and effectiveness. The change management variables and their associated ideologies discussed above for improved management of enterprise business system implementations were not new. However, they were identified in the research as variables thought to provide significant improvements to the management success of enterprise business system implementations, with leadership as a catalyst. For some organizations, this may involve a cultural change to current leadership involvement from the traditional IT project management practice, which tends to focus heavily on common IT program management practices and methodologies, with program managers as the catalyst.
A Cultural Perspective
Although organizational culture was not studied directly as part of this research effort, much research about culture in organizations, leadership, and the connections between the two exists (Alvesson, 1992; Martin & Siehl, 1983; Schein, 1983). The research literature did not offer a single definition of organizational culture, but the topic was studied from a variety of perspectives, with commonalities regarding certain themes identified by Lahiry (1994) as (a) representing values, beliefs, and expectations shared by all members, (b) conforming to shared codes, and (c) shaping its member’s behaviors. Schein (1986) provided a supporting and operational definition of organizational culture:
The pattern of shared basic assumptions a group learns to solve its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid, and therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way perceive, think, and feel in relation to certain problems. (pp. 30-31)
Using this operational definition of organizational cultures helps to explain why cultural resistance during organizational change must be managed effectively. Hofstede’s theory of culture’s consequences, which was first published in 1980 (Bing, 2004), offers a non-comprehensive review of operative cultural elements that must be managed. Although the elements were studied from the perspective of international cultures, they are also common in organizational cultures. The model has four consequential elements for management:
- Power distance, which involves the degree of separation employees feel from organizational authority;
- Uncertainty-avoidance, which involves the attitudes of employees toward things that change provokes such as risk and novelty;
- Individualism, which defines the degree to which a given society or organization is characterized by collectivistic thought; and
- Masculinity, which addresses the relative importance of ambitious performance versus quality of life. (Hofstede, 2001)
The elements of individualism and power-distance, and uncertainty-avoidance and masculinity are considered here for their encouraging and discouraging consequences as part of organizational change.
Encouraging and Discouraging Cultural
Factors Individualism and uncertainty-avoidance hinders organizational success, as success is heavily dependent on an organization’s ability as a whole to transition and accept culture change. Researchers Galpin (1996) and Al-Mashari (2003) stated that many organizations and their leaders ignore the need for cultural change where it becomes difficult to manage. Instead, the focus falls to more tangible change opportunities such as operations, technology, and procedures (Al-Mashari, 2003; Gilpin, 1996).997).But researchers such as Langan-Fox and Tan who believed the management of change cannot be separated from the organization’s strategy for achieving its operational objectives and goal.
Hofstede’s model is empirically supported by studies that have found that individualism versus collectivism has major influences on organizational success. Researchers found certain cultural challenges that should be encouraged in order to avoid individualism and power-distance so that leader and employee relationships are not jeopardized, resistance to change is minimized, and organizations as a whole perform to achieve one single and common end state. Garg and Sigh (2006) discovered interdependencies between change approaches and the organization’s cultural commitment to change. Chatman & Barsade (1995) encouraged leaders to create cooperative cultures where priorities are placed on collective goals, conducting cooperative actions, and seeking joint contributions from organizational members, as opposed to placing individual priorities on individual goals and performances. Innes and Booher (1999) found it important that organizations seek organizational consensus for things like decision-making and the effective development of courses of actions.
Likewise, discouraging elements must be dealt with as part of addressing organizational culture during organizational change. Hofstede’s model defines uncertainty-avoidance as “the extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by uncertain or unknown situations” (Hofstede, 1997, p. 113). Masculinity, for this discussion, was defined as the extent to which organizations try to alleviate uncertainty by creating rules of conduct. Two heavily highlighted and discouraging cultural rules of conduct created in organizations include politics and bureaucracy (Franks, 1989; O’Neil, 2003). O’Neil described cultural politics as a focal issue believed to be a reaction to external pressures, organizational hierarchical structure, and the interaction or lack of interaction between organizational internal and external environments, whereas Franks described cultural bureaucracy as organizational behavior that is not corrected from lessons learned. Franks alleged that organizations remain in a bureaucratic state because they choose to continue to operate by established, formalized regulations and procedures that become a part of the organizational culture, thus leaving them susceptible to the consequences of unsuccessful and undesirable outcomes.
These are critical thoughts for IT organizations that culturally adhere to inflexible, rigid, non-dynamic, and traditional management practices. In order to manage the discouraging consequences of organizational politics and bureaucracy as a culture to deal with uncertainty-avoidance during organizational change, researchers like Ewusi-Mensah and Prasnyski (1991), and the first step in Kurt Lewin’s change theory, suggested leaders need to be aware and capable of managing the internal and external environments and their members’ resistance to change.
Organizational culture as part of change has been discussed from the perspective of Hofstede’s theory of culture’s consequences to address societal influences within an organizational infrastructure applicable to leadership and organizational design. Although all elements are important in Hofstede’s culture consequence model, the two highlighted for their encouraging and discouraging consequences to organizational change were individualism and uncertainty-avoidance. Organizations are encouraged to understand the interdependencies between the change management approach selected and the organization’s cultural commitment to the change being implemented. Similarly, organizational politics and bureaucracy must be managed to avoid discouraging consequences if the organizational culture is to be managed effectively as part of organizational change. Schein (1983) stated that an organization’s culture can be the glue that holds it together, or it can contribute to its downfall.
Gap in the Literature
A review of the recent literature suggests a gap exists for change management approaches; specifically, to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations. A few case studies attempted to address this research issue, but the efforts focused on the problem primarily from the perspective of technology and very little from the perspective of identifying specific change management variables. The review of the literature also presented a gap regarding what effect leadership has as part of improving the management of enterprise business implementations. Instead, comparative studies examined various leadership qualities and behaviors as predictor variables in the context of IT project implementation challenges. Not only dif the current study consider change management to be crucial to the improved management of implementing enterprise business systems individually, but it also believed that change management and leadership collectively working in concert with one another can improve management success.
Change management approaches and effective leadership are debatable topics when considering business system implementation. The complexities and challenges of implementing such systems make the specific change management variables and definition of leadership difficult to define. However, questions regarding research previously conducted on how to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations as part of organizational change could benefit from knowledge of how specific change management variables and effective leadership could be an effective mechanism. This research could provide insight to IT organizational leaders and senior leaders by providing better understanding and information regarding leaders’ perceptions on specific change management variables and leaders’ willingness to influence improved management of resources, formal groups, and the development and use of enterprise architectures.
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY
The purpose of this study was to provide a better understanding of change management and leadership to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations. Specifically, the research intended to provide information on change management and on how change management was perceived by IT organizational leaders in order to determine whether a relationship existed between leaders’ years of experience in an IT organization and their willingness to influence change management variables to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations. A number of researchers recognized change management as a needed process to deal with organizational change and the challenges of implementing enterprise business systems (Periasamy & Feeny, 1997; Ponemon & Nagoda, 1990; Spencer, 2005; Zmud & Cox, 1979).
Sustained leadership in this study is associated with experienced leadership. Therefore, this study was driven by the following research question:
Do information technology leaders perceive that change management coupled with leadership experience improves the management of enterprise business system implementations?
: An information technology leader’s perception of change management is independent of his/her willingness to influence the management success of business system implementations.
: An information technology leader’s perception of change management is dependent on his/her willingness to influence the management success of business system implementations.
: Information technology leader’s willingness to negotiate resources to improve the management of enterprise business system implementation is independent of his/her leadership experience.
: An information technology leader’s willingness to negotiate resources to improve the management of enterprise business system implementation is dependent on his/her leadership experience.
: Information technology leader’s willingness to facilitate the participation of business and technology managers in formal groups to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations is independent of his/her leadership experience.
: An information technology leader’s willingness to facilitate the participation of business and technology mangers in formal groups to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations is dependent on his/her leadership experience.
: An information technology leader’s willingness to persuade the use of enterprise architectures to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations is independent of his/her leadership experience.
: An information technology leader’s willingness to persuade the use of enterprise architectures to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations is dependent on his/her leadership experience.
The research population included IT leaders in ABC organization (for maintaining confidentiality of the participants, the selected organization is given the pseudonym of ABC). The minimum sample size attempted was 75 volunteer participants selected by one or both of the following: positional code to ensure IT role and position (i.e., program/project manager, system engineer) and pay grade level to ensure leadership talent. The study did not require that the IT leaders support a particular enterprise business system IT project, but that the IT leaders had experience in an IT organization with a focus to manage enterprise business system IT projects.
Initial contact with the study participants was made by email from the organization’s senior leadership to show support of the research. The email invited the IT leaders to participate and included a link to the survey site to minimize the chances of sampling error. The survey provided instructions and consent information and assured confidentiality. The survey link corresponded to a Web server, allowing participants to access the research survey from their work computers with anonymity. Randomness of the target sample was preserved because each member of the sample population had an equal opportunity to complete the survey. The researcher was provided the final results for safekeeping and confidentiality.
The participants completed the Web-based surveys over a period of 1 week. The collected data was organized to find patterns as to whether a leaders’ years of experience in IT organizations impacted their perceptions of change management and their willingness to influence certain change management variables to improve management success for enterprise business system implementations.
The study was designed to be informative and to increase the awareness of organizational seniors leaders on their leader’s perceptions on change management, and whether their leader years of experience affected their willingness to influence change management variables found to improve the management success of implementing enterprise business systems by previous researchers. The results of the study could assist IT senior leaders in understanding the perceived value of specific change management variables by leadership and could prove useful in overall change management strategies and consideration of a leader’s years of experience when assigning leaders to enterprise business system implementation IT projects.
The IT leaders at ABC were asked to participate in this study, based on the probability that they were representative of the ABC population faced with the management problem of meeting cost and schedule, and delivering desired capabilities, service, and performance when implementing enterprise business systems.
The independent variable considered in this study was IT organizational leaders’ years of experience, categorized as less than 15 years of experience or more than 15 years of experience. It was inferred that IT leaders with experience in IT organizations were better able to navigate through parochialism, bureaucratic, and political challenges that exist as roadblocks to change management in a learned culture. Doh (2003) advanced that IT leaders with experience are more apt to manage familiar situations more efficiently and that experienced leaders have been exposed to mentorship from their supervisors and peers and have lessons learned, management techniques, processes, and understanding for how to best management challenges and situations associated with enterprise business system implementation projects. Sustained leadership was associated with experienced leadership in this study.
The first dependent variables in this study dealt with IT leaders’ perceptions of change management. It was assumed that leaders implementing enterprise business systems understand change management as a process and that certain change management variables are deemed important to the effective management of implementing business systems as part of organizational change. The remaining three dependent variables considered IT leaders’ willingness to influence management change management variables by negotiating for resources, facilitating the participation of business and technology managers in formal groups where decision-making and courses of actions are developed, and persuading the use of enterprise architectures to improve management success (Ming-Ling & Shaw, 2006; Ravichandran & Lertwongsatien, 2005; Robey & Markus, 1984).
Reliability and Validity
Instrument reliability was important to help ensure that the result of the research process produced consistent and predictable results (Roberts, Priest, & Traynor, 2006). Validity was important to assess the appropriateness of the research instrument to the research design and the extent to which the instrument measured what it was supposed to measure (Boudreau, Gefen, & Straub, 2001; Roberts et al., 2006). Specific to determining reliability and validity of the research instrument, findings from the literature helped to ensure that questions in the survey represented the problem and accurately and clearly reflected answers to the issue researched.
Sample Size Determination
In order to define the minimum sample size appropriate for this study, the researcher relied on strategies by Hart (2007) and Thorndike (1978), which address studies with small variables. Hart offered the “ball park” strategy, which suggests using the number of variables in a research study multiplied by 20 or 30 to determine an appropriate sample size (p. 31). Similarly, Thorndike strategies suggested that as variables increase so should the sample size, and offers two formulas. The first formula suggests there should be 10 subjects for each variable, plus an additional 50 to ensure sample size is sufficient. “The formula: N = (10 x V) + 50, in which N is the minimum acceptable number in the sample size and V is the number of variables used in a study” (Thorndike, 1978, p. 184). Thorndike’s second and more stringent strategy suggests “N should be equal to the square of the number of variables plus an additional 50 or 100 and is represented by the formula: N = V² + 50 or N = V² + 100” (p. 184). The minimal sample size appropriate for this study was determined using Thorndike’s more stringent strategy, N = V² + 50, or 75 participants.
To satisfy the intent of the study, survey questions were posed to address change management variables previously researched by Ming-Ling and Shaw (2006) and sustained leadership deemed important in GAO reports (GAO-06-831, 2006b) for the improved management of enterprise business system implementations. However, reliance on the participants’ experiences was the focus of the survey instrument, to determine patterns of relationship between the participant’s years of experience and their willingness to influence change management variables to improve management success. In order to provide more fidelity on the participants’ perceptions of the change management variables, they were asked to rank them based on their perceived value to enterprise business system implementations. Likewise, the participants were asked to rank the value of leadership influence in conjunction with those same change management variables toward improved management of enterprise business system implementations.
The use of electronic surveys allows a relatively simple, straightforward, and efficient means to gather data over a relatively short time period (Creswell, 2005; Granello & Wheaton, 2004; Robson, 2002). Because quick response time was part of the researcher’s intent to avoid delay in project completion, data was collected using electronic surveys administered by the researcher over the intranet. In order to reduce low response rates, a system to provide multiple reminders was implemented using electronic mail. Reminders were provided after sending the initial email with the survey link. More than the minimum sample size of 75 was obtained by the final day of the research, and the sample size of 98 was deemed sufficient for this study, with a small set of variables to consider. Results of the study were provided to the participants upon their request.
The researcher did not collect any personally identifiable or confidential information, and the data was collected and handled in a manner consistent with sound practices for safeguarding personal data. All data collected using the electronic survey process ensured complete anonymity, with the inability to trace surveys back to individual respondents. It is important to note that true confidentiality is in the researcher’s moral claim of trustworthiness, while anonymity was a functional attribute of the research design (Creswell, 2005).
Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) software, version 14.0. The hypotheses were tested using the chi-square test of independence at a significance level of .05 to assess whether paired observations of two variables, expressed in a contingency table, were independent of each other (Norusis, 2005). More specifically, chi-square was used to explore the relationship between the participants’ years of experience in IT organization and their willingness to influence change management variables to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations.
The independent variable in this study was a leader’s years of experience in a IT organization. The four dependent change management variables included (a) perception of change management, (b) negotiating resources, (c) facilitating participation of business and technology managers in formal groups, and (d) persuading the use of enterprise architectures as a management framework. Intervals measuring years of experience as a leader in the IT organization were divided into two categories: A1, representing IT leaders with less than 15 years of experience, and A2, representing IT leaders with more than 15 years of experience.
Intervals measuring a leader’s perception of change management were divided into three categories: B1, representing IT leader’s perceived value of resource management, B2, representing IT leader’s perceived value of formal groups, B3, representing IT leader’s perceived value for the use of enterprise architectures.
Measures of a leader’s willingness to influence change management variables to improve management success were divided into four categories: C1, representing IT leader’s willingness to negotiate resources, C2, representing IT leader’s willingness to facilitate business managers’ participation in formal groups, C3, representing IT leader’s willingness to facilitate technology managers’ participation in formal groups, C4, representing IT leader’s willingness to persuade the use of enterprise architectures.
Chapter 3 provided the non-experimental correlational research methodology used to address the research objectives. The quantitative correlation design was used to guide the research to determine whether, and to what degree, a relationship existed between two sets of variables.
CHAPTER 4: DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
This chapter describes the findings of the study. The researcher analyzed IT leaders’ perception of change management and their willingness to improve the management success of enterprise business system implementations based on years of experience in an IT organization. In particular, the study determined whether IT leaders’ years of experience in the IT organization impacted their willingness to influence resource negotiations, the facilitation of formal group member participation (business process and technology managers), and the persuasion to use enterprise architectures to improve enterprise business system implementations.
Data Collection, Response Rates, and Population
The minimum sample size used in this study was based on Thorndike’s (1978) strategy, which related sample sizes to the number of variables in a study, where “N should be equal to the square of the number of variables plus 50 or 100 for small sets” (p. 184), or N = (V) ² + 50. There were 98 participants, which exceeded the minimum sample size appropriate for this study.
According to Labovitz (1965), variables considered for analysis as part of a study should be selected based on deemed importance, the nature of the problem, theoretical consideration, or previous findings in research. The independent variable considered was based on the nature of a problem identified by GAO reports (GAO-06-031, 2006a) and Hite & Williams (2007) that sustained leadership was the driver to improved management of enterprise business system implementations. In this study, sustained leadership was classified by a leader’s years of experience in an IT organization.
The dependent variables of change management were selected predominantly based on theoretical consideration. According to Fulla (2007) and Kotter (1996), change management is important to any organization when a change in the organization’s culture and/or business processes is the intended outcome, often the intent of implementing enterprise business systems. The change management variables, however, were selected based on previous research by Ming-Ling and Shaw (2005), who found resources and business process and technology managers important to business system implementations, while researchers like Porat (1970), Mass and Gebhart (1998) found the use of an architecture framework to be important to improved management success when implementing business systems. The four dependent variables in this study included perception of change management, resource negotiation, facilitation of formal group member participation, and persuaded use of enterprise architectures.
The survey instrument was organized into four sections with a total of 26 questions (see Appendix A). The first section provided information about the participant’s years of experience (question 2) using a 7-point Likert-type scale to capture any true experience disparity among the respondents: (none = 1, less than 1 = 2, more than 1 but less than 5 = 3, 5 or more but less than 10 = 4, 10 or more but less than 15 = 5, 15 or more but less than 20 = 6, more than 20 = 7). However, data analysis using Pearson’s chi-square test for independence captured years of experience using two variables: Less than 15 = 8, and 15 or more = 9. Other demographic questions in this section included position/title and whether the respondent was currently a leader implementing an enterprise business system.
Section 2 assessed the use of enterprise architectures IT organizations. Captured data regarding the development and use of enterprise architectures was important for future research, assuming there is a leadership role regarding the use of enterprise architectures as a management tool for improved enterprise business system implementations. Section 3 assessed the participant’s 53 willingness to influence change management variables to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations using a 5-point Likert-type scale to capture the level of disparity among the leader’s willingness: (Strongly Agree = 1, Agree = 2, Neutral = 3, Disagree = 4, Strongly Disagree = 5). However, data analysis using Pearson’s chi-square test for independence captured the actual classifications for this portion of the study as Strongly Agree and Agree = Y and Neutral, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree = N.
Section 4 was divided into two parts to capture the perceived value of the three change management variables considered in this study. The first part asked the respondents to rank perceived importance of three change management variables: resources, formal groups, and enterprise architectures. The second part asked the respondents to rank perceived value of leadership influence on the three change management variables toward improving the management of enterprise business systems. The rank order portion of the analysis was measured using frequency distribution tables. Experience The majority of respondents (56.1%) reported having more than 20 years of experience in the information technology (IT) organization. The respondents reported close percentages of experience at 5 or more but less than 10 (13.3%), 10 or more but less than 15 (11.2%), and 15 or more but less than 20 (16.3%). The minority of respondents reported having less than 1 (1%) and more than 1 but less than 5 (2%) years of experience (see Table 1).
Table 1: Years of Experience Frequency Distribution
|Years of Experience as a Leader in IT Organization
|Less than 1
|More than 1 but less than 5
|5 or more but less than 10
|10 or more but less than 15
|15 or more but less than 20
|More than 20
The years of experience (independent variable) was separated into two categories for analysis using Pearson’s chi-square: less than 15 years of experience (27.6%) and 15 or more years of experience (72.4%) as a leader in the information technology organization (see Table 2).
Table 2: Years of Experience Leader Frequency Distribution
|Years of Experience as a Leader in IT Organization
|Less than 15
|15 or more
It was important to analyze the respondent’s responses for positions and titles. The majority of respondents reported being IT program/project managers (37.8%) and IT specialists (32.7%). The respondents reporting “Other” listed positions not specifically identified and represented leadership jobs leadership assumed to be associated with enterprise business system implementations, such as business managers, engineers, enterprise policy and oversight, and deputy directors (16.3%) (see Table 3).
Table 3: Position/Title Frequency Distribution
|Position/Title During Enterprise Business System Implementation
|IT Program/Project Manager
|Chief Technology Officer
|Other (please specify below)
Additionally, participants were asked if their leadership experience implementing an enterprise business system was current or from previous experience. The majority of respondents reported working as leaders implementing enterprise business systems (80.6%). The remaining 19.4% of the respondents reported not having current or previous leadership experience implementing enterprise business systems. However, when asked to specify further, it appeared the respondents were leaders of teams or functional groups assumed to be in support of IT project efforts likely to include enterprise business system activities and actions based on their position/title. This information was considered important in determining the experience of respondents as leaders implementing an enterprise business system versus respondents that may have functioned as a leader in support of an enterprise business system implementation (see Table 4).
Table 4: Experience Implementing Frequency Distribution
|Was or Is Currently Working as a Leader Implementing Enterprise Business Systems
The four hypotheses were analyzed using the Pearson’s chi-square test of independence. Although Pearson’s chi-square test is designed for large-sample sizes, it was considered appropriate for this study designed to test two categorical variables having two or more variables. In using chi-square analysis, the researcher did not violate an important assumption that the lowest expected frequency of the cells (representing cases) were to be five or greater (Norusis, 2005; Pallant, 2007). SPSS 14.0 software was used to provide the p-values, where the p-values represent the significance level between two categorical variables in order to conclude a significant association. More specifically, the p-value is a representation of the percentage or probability that the results are due to chance. For example, if the p = .05, 5% of the results are considered due to chance (Norusis, 2005). The significance of .05 in this study is associated with the conventional aspects of research to achieve results equal or less than 5% due to chance.
Descriptive statistics was used to address research hypotheses in this study. This portion of the analysis required the dependent variables to be identified. The four
dependent change management variables associated with the four hypotheses included (a) perception of change management, (b) negotiating resources, (c) facilitating participation of business and technology managers in formal groups, and (d) persuading the use of enterprise architectures. The four survey items correlated with the four hypotheses to perform both pearson’s chi-square and ANOVA are mapped in table 5.
Pearson’s Chi-Square Analysis
Hypothesis 1. Hypothesis 1O
stated, “An information technology leader’s perception of change management is independent of his/her willingness to influence the management success for business system implementations.” This intent of this hypothesis was answered using responses from hypothesis 2-4, which specifically addressed the three change management variables considered in this study: negotiating for resources, facilitating the participation of business process managers and technology managers in formal groups, and the persuading the use of enterprise architectures. These three change management variables were selected based on the nature of the problem, theoretical consideration, previous research findings, and their deemed importance to enterprise business system implementations. They were selected as variables of formal change management to improve the management of implementing major changes in IT and business processes to reduce challenges of organizational change when new processes or technology are introduced.
Table 5: Survey Item and Hypothesis Mapping
|19. Overall, I believe influential leaders improve the management success of enterprise business system implementation
||Hypothesis 1: an information technology leader’s perception of change management is independent of his/her willingness to influence the management success of business system implementations.
|15. The management of the enterprise business system implementation I refer to in this survey is/was improved by the leadership’s willingness to negotiate for resources (financial or human).
||Hypothesis 2: an information technology leader’s willingness to negotiate resources to improve the management of enterprise business system implementation is independent of his/her leadership experience.
|16. The management of the enterprise business system implementation I refer to in this survey is/was improved by the leadership’s willingness to facilitate the business process manager’s participation in formal groups
||Hypothesis 3: an information technology leader’s willingness to facilitate the participation of business and technology mangers in formal groups to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations is independent of his/her leadership experience.
|17. The management of the enterprise business system implementation I refer to in this survey is/was improved by the leadership’s willingness to facilitate the technology manager’s participation in formal groups
|18. The management of the enterprise business system implementation I refer to in this survey is/was improved by the leadership’s willingness to persuade the use of enterprise architecture throughout the implementation process.
||Hypothesis 4: An information technology leader’s willingness to persuade the use of enterprise architectures to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations is independent of his/her leadership experience.
The perception of respondent’s willingness to influence the management success for business system implementations was captured specifically using question 19, “Overall, I believe influential leaders improve the management success of enterprise business system implementations” (see Tables 6 and 7).
Table 6: Cross Tabulation for Hypothesis 1
|Years of Experience
||Negotiate for Resources
|More than 15
|Less than 15
Table 7:Chi-Square Test for Hypothesis 1
|Test (N = 98)
||Asymp. Sig. (2-sided)
||Exact Sig. (2-sided)
||Exact Sig. (1-sided)
|Continuity correction (a)
|Fisher’s exact test
a Computed only for a 2×2 table.
b No cells (.0%) had expected count less than 5. The minimum expected count was 51.
The p-value using Pearson chi-square was .738, which was greater than 0.05. Therefore, the null hypothesis was not rejected. The results suggested the respondent’s overall willingness to influence the management success for business system implementations is independent of the number of years of leader experience in an IT organization. The analysis using Pearson’s chi-square statistics indicated there was not a statistically significant relationship between leaders’ years in an IT organization and the perception of their willingness to influence change management success. The respondent’s perceptions of the three change management variables relevant to this study and their willingness to influence them to improve the management success of implementation of business systems were addressed in hypotheses 2-4.
Hypothesis 2. Hypothesis 2O
stated, “An information technology leader’s willingness to negotiate resources to improve the management of enterprise business system implementation is independent of his/her leadership experience.” This hypothesis was answered using question 2, which captured the respondents’ years of experience in an IT organization, and question 15: “The management of enterprise business system implementations I refer to in this survey is/was improved by the leadership’s willingness to negotiate for resources (financial and human)”
Hypothesis 3. Hypothesis 3O
stated “An information technology leader’s willingness to facilitate the participation of business and technical mangers in formal groups is independent of his/her leadership experience.” This hypothesis was answered in two parts, using question 2, which captured the respondents’ years of experience in an organization and questions 16 and 17. Question 16 stated: “The management of enterprise business system implementations I refer to in this survey is/was improved by the leadership’s willingness to facilitate the business manager’s participation in formal groups”
The p-value using Pearson chi-square was .478, greater than 0.05. Therefore, the null hypothesis was not rejected, which led to the conclusion that a leader’s willingness to facilitate the business manager’s participation in formal groups to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations was independent of the number of years of leader experience in an IT organization.
The second portion of hypothesis used question 17: “The management of enterprise business system implementations I refer to in this survey is/was improved by the leadership’s willingness to facilitate the technology manager’s participation in formal groups”
The p-value using Pearson chi-square was .478 and greater than 0.05. Therefore, the null hypothesis was not rejected, which led to the conclusion that a leader’s willingness facilitate technology manager’s participation in formal groups to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations was independent of the number of years of leader experience in an IT organization.
The analyses of the responses for the two change management variables in hypothesis 3 were identical. Therefore, the results using Pearson’s chi-square statistics indicated that there was not a statistically significant relationship between a leader’s willingness to facilitate business or technology managers’ participation in formal groups to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations.
Hypothesis 4. Hypothesis 4O
stated, “An information technology leader’s willingness to persuade the use of enterprise architectures is independent of his/her leadership experience.” This hypothesis was answered using question 18: “The management of enterprise business system implementations I refer to in this survey is/was improved by the leadership’s willingness to persuade the use of enterprise architectures throughout the implementation process”
The p-value using Pearson chi-square was .170 and greater than 0.05. Therefore, the null hypothesis was not rejected, which led to the conclusion that a leader’s willingness persuade the use of enterprise architectures to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations is independent of the number of years of leader experience in an IT organization. The analysis indicated there was not a statistically significant relationship between the two variables. Mean Comparison: One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
In order to further analyze the relationship between years in an IT organization and a leader’s willingness to improve the management success of enterprise businesses system implementations by influencing change management variables, ANOVA was used to compare the variance between the different groups (believed to be due to the independent variable) (Pallant, 2007). In order to conduct ANOVA, it was necessary to separate the independent variable (years of experience) into three levels (Pallant, 2007). The respondent’s years experience were grouped as follows: group 1: Less than 1 to less than 10, group 2: 10 but less than 19, and group 3: 20 or more.
It was necessary to determine the mean and standard deviation for each group, using a 5-point Likert-type scale (Strongly Agree = 1, Agree = 2, Neutral = 3, Disagree = 4, Strongly Disagree = 5) to determine the respondent’s willingness to influence the management success of enterprise business system implementations by negotiating for resources, facilitating the participation of business process and technology managers in formal groups, and persuading the use of enterprise architectures.
As mentioned earlier, ANOVA was used to determine whether there was a significant difference among the mean scores of the dependent variables for the groups identified in this study. Again the significance values were important to consider in the ANOVA because according to Pallant (2007) and Norusis (2002), the significance value(s) less than or equal to .05 indicate a statistically significant result somewhere among the groups. However, it does not indicate where among the groups. Because the significance value results ranged from .491 to .647, which were more than .05, the ANOVA test was concluded and there was no significant difference among the mean scores from the each group considered, or no variance among the groups
Data Gathered for Future Research
Additional data was gathered specifically for future research in the area of compliance, use of in-house architects, and enterprise architecture used to develop the organizational architecture. This included questions 7, 8, 9, and 11 in the survey. For compliance, question 7 asked, “The ABC IT organization implanting enterprise business systems that I refer to in this survey adheres to an enterprise architecture framework for compliance”
The majority of respondents (66.3%) reported that enterprise architecture frameworks are being used as part of compliance within their IT organizations. In addition to compliance information, data was gathered in two parts regarding whether in-house architects were a part of the respondent’s IT organization, and if so, what type of architect. These questions were answered using Question 8 and 9. Question 8: “The ABC IT organization I refer to in this survey has in-house architects,” and question 9: “If yes on previous question, what type of architect(s) (select all that apply).”
CHAPTER 5: RESULTS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This chapter provides the results and conclusion of the study and provides recommendations for further research regarding change management and leadership. The purpose of this study was to provide a better understanding of change management and leadership to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations. Specifically, the research intended to provide information on change management and on how change management was perceived by ABC IT organizational leaders in order to determine whether a relationship existed between leaders’ years of experience in the ABC IT organization and their willingness to influence change management variables to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations. The change management variables considered in this study were selected based on the nature of the problem, theoretical consideration, previous research findings, and their deemed importance to enterprise business system implementations. Leadership to influence specific change management variables was considered in the following manner: negotiations for resources (financial and human), facilitation of business and technology managers in formal groups, and persuasion of enterprise architectures.
The independent variable, years of leadership experience in the ABC IT organization, was considered suggesting that sustained leadership is a key driver to the management success of its enterprise business system implementations (GAO-06-831, 2006b; Hite & Williams, 2007). Leadership experience was associated with sustained leadership based on ideas by Fiedler (1972) and Doh (2003) that individuals learn from (a) the years on a job, (b) guidance and knowledge obtained from superiors and fellow leaders, and (c) informal training over the years, thereby increasing a leader’s control, influence, and ability to achieve success.
The dependent variables for change management considered negotiating for resources, which was considered important by researchers Ming-Ling and Shaw (2005), who found most implementations reported significant cost overruns when handling situations that have an impact on set resources. The same researchers found a second dependent variable, participation of business and technology managers in formal groups, important because they “frequently appear in successful business system implementation” (Ming-Ling & Shaw, 2005, p 5). Architecture frameworks was the third change management variable considered for its deemed importance by the GAO and other researchers that found them to be useful management tools or blueprints to move businesses or organizations from their current state to a future enterprise state successfully (Hite & Williams, 2007; Sotiriou & Wittmer, 2001). The core of this study was to determine whether there was a relationship between the ABC IT leaders’ years of experience and their willingness to influence specified change management variables for improved management success of enterprise business system implementations. The specific research question was: “Do information technology leaders within the Department of Defense, Defense Information Systems Agency, perceive that change management coupled with leadership experience improves the management of enterprise business system implementations?”
stated, “An information technology leader’s perception of change management is independent of his/her willingness to influence the management success of business system implementations.” The perception of change management was answered using hypotheses 2-4. The Pearson’s chi-square test of independence resulted in failure to reject the null hypothesis, establishing independence from the number of years a leader has in the ABC IT organization.
stated, “An information technology leader’s willingness to negotiate resources to improve the management of enterprise business system implementation is independent of his/her leadership experience.” The Pearson’s chi-square test of independence resulted in failure to reject the null hypothesis and concluded that a leader’s willingness to negotiation for resources to improve the management success of enterprise business system implementations was not dependent on the number of years a leader has been in the ABC IT organizations.
stated, “An information technology leader’s willingness to facilitate the participation of business and technology mangers in formal groups to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations is independent of his/her leadership experience.” The Pearson’s chi-square test of independence resulted in failure to reject the null hypothesis and concluded that a leader’s willingness to facilitate the participation of business and technology managers in formal groups to improve management success of enterprise business system implementations was not dependent on a leader’s years of experience in a the ABC IT organization
stated, “An information technology leader’s willingness to persuade the use of enterprise architectures to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations is independent of his/her leadership experience.” The Pearson’s chi-square test of independence resulted in failure to reject the null hypothesis and concluded that a leader’s willingness to persuade the use of enterprise architectures to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations was not dependent on a leader’s years of experience in a the ABC IT organization.
A one-way between-groups ANOVA was conducted to explore the impact of a leader’s years of experience (group 1 = Less than 1 to less than 10, group 2 = 10 but less than 19, and group 3 = 20 or more) and the willingness to influence change management variables to improve the management success of enterprise business system implementations. There was not a statistically significant difference at the p < .05 level in ANOVA; therefore, it was determined that there was no significant difference among the mean scores within the groups considered in this study.
The research population consisted of the ABC IT organization leaders assumed to have experience in the management of enterprise business system implementations. More specifically, leaders were assumed to have experience managing the transition of systems, services, products, or capabilities to an enterprise environment for improved business operations and management. Participation in this study was voluntary, with 98 respondents. IT leaders in this study were defined by their position in the agency and participants were not dependent on an explicitly defined leadership role. The participants were identified by the organization’s personnel locator system (PLS) using positional codes to ensure their IT role (e.g., program/project manager, system engineer) and their leadership talent according to pay grade levels as a GS 14 or above.
The survey instrument was organized into four sections with a total of 26 questions. The first section provided information about the participants’ years of experience. Section 2 assessed the respondents’ responses regarding the deployment and use of enterprise architectures within their IT organizations. Section 3 assessed the respondents’ willingness to influence change management variables to improve the management enterprise business system implementations, based on leadership experience. Section 4 was divided into two parts. The first part asked the respondents to rank the perceived importance of three change management variables: resources, formal groups, and enterprise architectures, and the second part asked the respondents to rank perceived value of leadership influence on three change management variables toward improving the management of enterprise business systems.
Discussion and Findings
Pearson’s chi-square test for independence was used to examine whether a relationship existed between leaders’ years of experience in a DoD IT organization and their willingness to influence change management variables to improve enterprise business implementations. Years of experience included two intervals: less than 15 years or more than 15 years. The independent variables for change management numbered five: (a) perception of change management, (b) negotiation of resources, (c) facilitation of business manager participation in formal groups, (d) facilitation of technology manager participation in formal group participation, and (e) the persuaded use of enterprise architectures.
The overall results of Pearson’s chi-square analysis failed to reject the null hypotheses in all cases, suggesting that there was not a significant relationship between a leader’s years of experience in a the ABC IT organization and a leader’s willingness to influence change management variables to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations. The chi-square test values between the two variables considered in all four hypotheses were not significant at the .05 level; therefore, the four null hypotheses were not rejected. This indicated that leaders’ years of experience in the ABC IT organizations had no impact on their willingness to influence the three change management variables considered to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations
Limitations of the Current Study
There were two obvious limitations to this research study. The first limitation was related to the sample size and small number of respondents. Although the requested participation was limited to one IT organization by design, a larger number of respondents might have been more beneficial.
The second limitation was the potential for self-reporting biases. The fact that the participants were asked to provide their perceptions on specific change management variables and to report on their willingness to improve the management success of enterprise business system implementations could be influenced by personal experiences, personal feelings about the IT organizations.
Implications of the Study
Researchers have attributed the lack of business system implementation success, more often than not, to technology innovations and solutions with little regard for leadership and change management that often influences the outcome of the
implementation. This study did not specifically provide the evidence that a leader’s years of years of experience affected the willingness to influence the three change management variables considered to improve the management of business system implementations. However, future research should explore how a leadership emphasis in conjunction with other or new change management variables could prove beneficial toward the improved management success for such implementations.
The research indicated there is a strong propensity to focus on technology innovation and solution for such business problems and not on the leadership necessary or the relevant change management factors needed to solve this business problem. It is not enough to consider just the latest technology without considering the perceptions of leaders regarding their ability to influence change management and their experience when they are charged to champion organizational change effectively and efficiently through the implementation of business systems.
Suggestions for Further Research
Research previously conducted regarding the question of how to improve the management for enterprise business system implementations emphasized the importance of architecture frameworks. The data collected suggested that the lower-level agencies and IT projects may have a fundamental understanding and awareness for the use of architecture frameworks as an essential part of managing business system implementations. However, future studies to provide the level of understand and awareness at the varying levels might prove useful to the overall objective of implementing these systems to achieve better management of IT investments. Additionally, future studies to address mature practices for the employment of architectures by organizations may yield important implications for improved management success.
Future research to consider broader categories of change management variables that used a research methodology to support open-ended questions and follow-up interviews to understand leadership perception more completely and why change management factor(s) are valued may help to improve the selection of change management variables on which senior leaders should focus for improved management of enterprise business system implementations. This type of research might be helpful in identifying common challenges and common issues so that organizations can adopt cultural change management strategies based on lessons learned, whether by policy or process, to improve management success. Future studies to compare change management approaches might provide a valuable comparison or a valuable construct toward improving the management of enterprise business system implementations. This type of study might provide approaches and variables that could be generalized, since drawn from a larger and wider sample population.
Finally, further research regarding leadership for improved management success should be considered using perspectives other than years of experience to understand more thoroughly how leadership can more effectively be a part of the management improvement for enterprise business system implementations. Although a leader’s years of experience were considered in this study, it might be feasible to investigate other leadership variables, such as training or exposure to business system implementations.
The purpose of this study was to provide a better understanding of change management and leadership to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations. Specifically, the research intended to provide information on change management and how change management was perceived by organizational leaders in order to determine whether a relationship existed between leaders’ years of experience in IT organization and their willingness to influence change management variables to improve the management of enterprise business system implementations.
The driver for this study included the increasing demand by businesses and organizations for the successful management of business system implementations to improve efficient and effective information sharing, maintenance costs, and customer satisfaction (Benamati & Lederer, 2001; Hite, 2004; Kutz & Hite, 2004; Spathis, 2006).
Although the change management variables considered in this study were not new management variables (resource management, formal groups, and enterprise architectures) the rationale for their consideration with IT project implementations was based on discussions found in Chapter 2. Chapter 2 also discussed the theoretical aspect of leadership, suggesting that experienced leaders have an advantage and improved ability to achieve success because experience is designed to increase a leader’s control and influence (Doh, 2003). Based on these ideologies supported theoretically and in previous research, leadership experience in conjunction with change management variables were the underpinnings that formed the hypotheses for this study.
The analysis of the data and testing of the hypotheses did not statistically show that a relationship exist between leaders’ years of experience and their willingness to influence resource negotiations, facilitate the participation of business and technology managers in formal groups, and persuade the use of enterprise architectures to improve the management of enterprise business systems. However, this study contributed to the fields of change management and leadership by highlighting the perceptions of leaders for the change management variables considered to improve success for enterprise business system implementations. It added new knowledge from data that indicated a majority of leaders at the lower levels appeared to recognize, understand, and employ architecture frameworks as part of business system implementations. The majority of leaders in this study also indicated that they valued enterprise architectures as an effective management tool and that their senior leaders understood the value of enterprise architectures for enterprise business system implementations. Future studies can begin to address topics such as mature use of architecture frameworks in these types of organizations.