Leadership and Change Management


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Leadership and Change Management, Textbook, Workbook

Change Agents : Chapter 14

Bringing in a dramatic change on a large scale is a demanding task for any CEO. He needs to leverage the forces latent in the organization to ensure successful change. A CEO has to be clear about his role and his plan of action. Translating a powerful new strategy into effective action does not happen by accident. It needs an active leader at the helm. The CEO is responsible and accountable to the shareholders of the organization.

He has to be conservative in some cases. But when he is completely averse to risk, it can breed stagnation in the organization. The CEO in most cases possesses many years of line experience in the industry concerned. This should not delude him into believing that he is quite conversant with whatever is happening in the marketplace. A CEO heading a large and diversified organization learns to delegate his authority. But as a result he tends to lose first-hand experience. Later, he even loses a feel for the business. Therefore, even delegation should be undertaken only up to a limit. Corporate strategy is the prime instrument for bringing dramatic change into an organization. When the CEO is serious about bringing in such change, he cannot delegate the responsibility of creating corporate strategy to others. The role of middle managers is crucial in managing change. They connect and align the top management's aspirations and strategic intent, with ground realities of the marketplace. Middle-level managers influence actions around them. They influence the actions of the people to whom they are responsible, and also the people who are accountable to them.

Even if there is a great team at the top management level, a major change initiative will never succeed unless there is dedicated cadre of middle-level managers signed up for the change. HR departments in organizations are meant to improve performance levels by minimizing costs, to develop leadership in the organization, and to bring in the necessary changes in the culture, structure, systems, and processes of the firm.

In some organizations such as Serco, the HR function is no longer limited to traditional personnel administration. The HR department is actively engaged in the strategic component of the business as well. In bringing in changes, HR departments face many challenges. Though traditional skills of HR managers are important there is a need for broader business and commercial skills to manage change.

Consultants help introduce new techniques into an organizational system. Sometimes they act as an extra resource in the organization to complement the efforts of internal staff. Consultants are also hired because they legitimize the process of change attempted by the management.

Chapter 14 : Overview

CEOs as change agents
Middle-level managers as Change agents
HR personnel as Change agents

Traditional role in new Circumstances New role amid new circumstances
Consultants as Change Agents