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Leading Change

Essay by review  •  May 2, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,726 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,753 Views

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Running head: LEADING CHANGE

Leading Change Paper

Leading Change Paper

This paper intends to explain the importance of organizational structure and culture in achieving organizational objectives effectively. The paper is based on the 'Managing Across the Organization' simulation presented in week one learning of the course MBA/520 on Transformational Leadership. The organizational structure, culture, power structure and leadership styles of 'Good Sport', the organization presented in the simulation; have been analyzed and recommendations have been made to handle change management and conflicts within 'Good Sport'.

"Organizational structures establish new communication patterns and align employee behavior with the corporate vision."(McShane & Von Glinow, 2004). This paper describes the importance of understanding the power structures and politics that exist within an organization in maintaining employee morale and bringing about a successful change within the organization. The influence of power and politics will impact the way leaders manage people and resources within the organization irrespective of the industry in which the business operates.

Organizational structure and culture

"Organizational structure refers to the division of labor as well as the patterns of coordination, communication, work flow, and formal power that direct organizational activities. An organizational structure reflects the organization's culture and power relationships" (McShane & Von Glinow, 2004). It is the organizational structure that enables effective communication and smooth workflow. "Organizational culture is the basic pattern of shared assumptions, values and beliefs that govern behavior within a particular organization. Organizational culture is a deeply embedded form of social control. It is the "social glue" that bonds people together and makes them feel part of the organizational experience." (McShane & Von Glinow, 2004). The culture of an organization should be compatible with its structure to ensure organizational success. "Many teams fail because the organizational structure does not support them. Teams work better when there are few layers of management and teams are given autonomy and responsibility for their work." (McShane & Von Glinow, 2004). Neglecting to understand and address the organizational structure and politics will lead to ineffective strategies and an unsuccessful leadership. It could also result in internal conflicts and could bring down the productivity of the company.

Good Sport is a growing company with traditional categorization. Since the organization is not a very huge one and was started only 15 years before, the structure is not very complex. It is interesting to identify and study the characteristics of the four elements of organizational structure for Good Sport. Good Sport's organizational structure is characterized with distinct division of labor and formal hierarchy. The organization is divided into four major departments namely production, R&D, Sales and Finance with three levels of management under the CEO. Each department has its own Vice President, Senior Manager and Team Manager. The tall structure of Good Sport is characterized by a narrow span of control. The ultimate decision-making authority is centralized and vests with the department heads facilitated by the teams providing inputs for decisions. Inter department coordination and communication is formal and departments need to present ideas through formal presentations or meetings through the department heads.

The organization also follows a functional structure organizing employees around specific knowledge or resources. Inter department promotions creates tension and doubt among employees. The functional structure of Good Sport resulted in sub cultures in the organization. The sales department has an informal work culture whereas the production department has a formal and professional work culture. The employees in the functional units give more priority to the goals of their specific department than to the company's product and goals.

Good Sport does not have a strong organizational culture because not all employees across subunits hold dominant values that reflect the organization's values. The sub cultures have been defined and encouraged by the department leaders based on their own style and perspective of leadership. Understanding the impact of the organizational structure on the power and politics of Good Sport will help in making recommendations for the faulty aspects of its management.

Organizational structure on power and politics

"Power is the capacity of a person, team, or organization to influence others. (McShane & Von Glinow, 2004). Good Sport's leaders have high power and influence on their subordinates and peers. The leaders' legitimate position along with their years of experience in the company and knowledge of the functional unit has gained them the power and influence that they enjoy. Some of the managers in Good Sport lack overall business perspective in spite of being an expert within their own field. Innovation, being impressed by facts and a strong supervisor-subordinate relationship are other characteristics of the leadership in Good Sport.

The power structures that exist in Good Sport can be attributed to some extent to the functional structure that exists within the organization. Departmentalization to a certain extent has resulted in creating expert leaders in distinct fields but has failed in creating leaders who have overall business perspective. Managers would like to have increased decision-making capabilities, the innovative middle managers need more exposure and experience in corporate decision-making and the senior managers need more empowerment and flexibility in implementing policies. Information sharing is between different managerial levels in Good Sport and is not widespread across various levels.

The company's performance and productivity went down under the leadership of the CEO, Karl Andersson. The overpowering, demotivating and restricted information sharing style of Karl Andersson did not match the culture of Good Sport that lead to its low times. Apart from distributing power after a careful study of the management profile, I would have facilitated monthly board meetings that involved the CEO, Vice Presidents, Senior Managers and Managers in order to communicate organizational goals and responsibilities

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