European Scientific Journal March 2014 edition vol.10, No.7 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431
THE IMPACT OF LEADERSHIP AND CHANGE
MANAGEMENT STRATEGY ON
University of Thessaly, Trikala, Greece
In this paper, we present the impact of leadership and change
management strategy on organizational culture. At first, we present the
notion of culture. There are many attempts to describe “organizational
culture”, many of which are presented in this paper. After an assessment of
organizational culture, the role of leader is pinpointed. We favor the view
that strategic leadership needs to be transformational if it is to serve the
organization. Afterwards, the notion of change is focused on. Changing a
culture is a large-scale undertaking and all of the organizational tools for
changing minds will need to be put in play. To change or to manage
corporate culture one has to be able to define and therefore pinpoint exactly
what it is one is trying to change. The evidence in this study suggests that
leadership is associated with organizational culture, primarily through the
processes of articulating a vision and to a lesser extent through the setting of
expectations. The nature of this paper is explorative and theoretical, aiming
at providing a bibliographical tool for further research. Thus, aim of this
paper is a critical bibliographical review of important terms in the field, as
well as showing the interdependencies of these terms. Finally, with that
paper, we offer managers and researchers a model on emphasizing the
importance of Management Strategy.
Keywords: Leadership, Change, Management Strategy, Organizational
Culture, Cultural Change JEL Classification:
In our current environment of global communication, rapid change
and instant access to information can be important to an organization’s
survival. The topics of leadership and organizational culture have always
attracted interest from academics and practitioners. Much of the interest is
based on claims that both leadership and culture are linked to organizational
European Scientific Journal March 2014 edition vol.10, No.7 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431
performance. However, “little critical research has been done to understand
the links between the two concepts” (Ogbonna and Harris, 2000, p. 766)
To our knowledge, research regarding organization cultures in
Greece is limited. Thus, the purpose of the current study is to present a
critical bibliography in the field of leadership and Organizational Culture. In
order to do that, we had to research the effect of several factors, and
employees’ perceptions of organizational culture.
The primary objective of this study is to model the interaction
between organizational culture and change, showing the ways in which a
leader’s knowledge of organizational culture affects the process of change. A
critical examination of the literature in the fields of organizational culture
and leadership finds that the two areas have been linked to organizational
Researchers have examined the links between leadership styles and
performance and also between organizational culture and performance.
Furthermore, numerous aspects of the organizational culture literature allude
to the role of leaders in ‘creating’ particular types of culture (Schein, 1992).
Equally, the literature on leadership suggests that the ability to work within a
culture is a prerequisite to effectiveness.
Despite the linking of culture and leadership in many parts of
organization theory, little critical research has been done to understanding
the links between the two concepts and the impact that such an association
might have on managerial effectiveness. The absence of critical literature is
vast given the numerous references to the importance of the two concepts in
the functioning of organizations (Schein, 1992). Thus, the aim of this paper
is to provide empirical evidence of the links between different types of
organizational culture and managerial effectiveness.
The central objectives of this article are to illustrate the basic notions
of Management Strategy and Organizational Culture. In particular,
• We highlight terms such as “Organisational Culture”, which as
necessary to managers and entrepreneurs in order to create new
values, especially in times of economic change.
• We develop a holistic framework, which centers on the
interdependencies within leadership and organizational Culture.
• We aim at giving managers and researchers a “language” for some
terms that can create reflection and dialogue on the subject.
This paper will focus on how to achieve a functional strategy for a
business strategic change. The recommendations in the conclusion will not
be prescriptive, but will provide an opportunity for organizations to embody
what is best suited to their culture.
So, while change management depends on leadership, till today there
has been little integration of these two in literature. The important role
European Scientific Journal March 2014 edition vol.10, No.7 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431
leaders play in the change process has been pointed by change theorists, but
there is still no research that focuses on the relationship between leadership
and change. Thus, the aim of this article is to find some parallels between the
change literature and the leadership literature.
The literature review in this paper is presented in four stages. First,
the notion of culture and specifically organizational culture is discussed.
Second, research into leadership is examined and finally studies combining
organizational change and organizational change strategies are presented.
Culture is the sum of the beliefs that shape norms of behavior and
dictate the ways things get done in an organization. Ιt is not like a skin that
an organization can discard as it selects a new organizational culture that is
perceived to have strategic fit with its commercial strategy. Hofstede (2001)
thinks that culture is the collective programming of the mind that
distinguishes the members of one group from another. Others consider
culture as a system of shared values (Deshpande and Webster 1989).
Understanding culture can be useful in two ways. First, cultural insight
provides awareness of the extent to which organization members are willing
to accept change and a cultural assessment is likely to determine the root
cause of the problems that need stronger performance.
Culture is the sum of the beliefs that shape behavior and dictate the
ways things get done. A parallel definition of culture (Burke, 1994)
emphasizes on the meaning of events that are occurring in the workplace,
and how they influence how ways of doing things are introduced.
An organization with the best strategy in the world, but a culture that
won’t allow it to make that strategy happen is doomed from the beginning.
The importance of culture for managements lies in the fact that culture may
constrain business organization or may create opportunities and affect
marketing and product development (Blake and Laurence 1989). We must
say here that culture is ultimately held and maintained collectively by all
members of an organization and it acts as a moderating variable with respect
to the implementation of change.
There are numerous attempts to describe organizational culture.
When we speak of that term, we refer to the meanings inherent in the actions
of organizational commerce and discourse. An early description of
organizational culture was given by Silversweig and Allen (1976, p.33), as ‘a
set of expected behaviors that are generally supported within the group’.
Some years later, it was also pointed out that organizational culture
represents the set of norms in an organization.
Furthermore, organizational culture is an important determinant of
climate. It is one of the most important elements of a successive
organization. This term entered the management literature in the late 70’s.
Later, it became “corporate culture”, a term which gained popularity from
the work of Peters and Waterman (1982). It is true that a corporate culture
can have a huge impact on an organization's work environment. Their main
ideas suggest that functional corporate culture contributes to business
success. This is why so much research has been done to pinpoint exactly
what makes an effective corporate culture and how to change a culture that
Experts in organizational behavior use the concept of culture to
describe how members of groups understand their world and their place in it.
Since Schein (1992) published the book Organizational Culture and
Leadership, more researchers have recognized culture as a multidimensional
concept. One of the most detailed definitions is presented by Schein (1992).
According to him, (1992, p.3) “Organizational culture is the pattern of basic
assumptions that a group has invented, or discovered in learning to cope with
its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, and that have
worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to
new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to
those problems”. According to him organizational leaders are a key source of
influence on organizational culture (Schein, 1992).
Organizational culture has consistently emerged as a pivotal variable
in determining the success of efforts to implement change in an institution.
In that field, Peters and Waterman (1982) pointed out that the key features of
successful companies are mainly cultural, that is they are about values and
states of mind. These shared values by people in a group can be so persistent,
that continue to exist even when the membership of the group has changed.
Organizational culture is one of many situational moderators essential
in determining leadership effectiveness. Furthermore, this notion represents
all those elements that “glue” together the members of an organization.
Consequently, it affects the operationalization of the organization. So,
besides scholars, organizational culture has also the attention of companies
Organizational culture is one of the most difficult dimensions of
change management and involves both formal and informal structural
components. These cultures are not uniform or static. They evolve over time
and it seems reasonable that all cultural systems will exhibit continuous
changes punctuated on occasion by more radical changes (Weick and Quinn,
According to Mumford, Scott, Gaddis and Strange (2002),
organizational culture represents collective social construction over which
leaders have substantial control. This term is widely viewed as a source of
competitive advantage to businesses. It can be described as a group of basic
assumptions (Schein 1986), shared norms, that assists its members to cope
with problems, thus providing a smooth running of the company. How
change occurs within organizations will be influenced by the fact that
cultures are underpinned by deep assumptions that are shared (Schein, 1992).
Organizational culture focuses on the shared behavioral expectations
and normative beliefs in work units. In this respect, Amabile (1998) proposes
that, by influencing the nature of the organizational culture, leaders can
influence organizational members' attitude to work and motivation. Then the
challenge is to select a set of actions that are feasible within the capacity of
the organization to absorb change. Arriving at a decision about the right
amount of pressure to be applied to achieve a change in culture is a balancing
act described by Amabile (1998).
Defining an organization’s culture requires being able to identify
common organizational references. For many researchers, organizational
culture is the link between corporate success and effective organization
(Peters and Waterman, 1982). Others suggest that organizational culture is a
multivariate phenomenon and the various factors which comprise the
concept must be identified (Beyer and Trice 1987).
Organizational change typically originates from two primary sources
including change resulting from external or internal environmental factors
that are outside the leader’s control and change resulting from a planned
implementation. In order for an organization to be successful both external
and internal environment should be considered. Gregory (1983) supported
this view and proposed that when the external environment is subject to
frequent change, a strongly homogeneous culture may make it difficult for
the organization to adapt. Thus, strategies suggested by Ott (1989) are
Organizational culture is an important internal environmental aspect
that can lead an organization either to success or failure. Evidence has shown
that it expresses the internal environment of an organization and reflects the
extent of agreement between managers and employees assumptions (Aycan,
Kanungo and Sinha, 1999). Furthermore, analysis of the organizational
culture helps identify the structure of the organization and the beliefs of the
employees, which are essential elements in the implementation of leadership.
Finally, Belias and Koustelios (2013) studied the organizational
culture of Greek banking institutions. They showed that the dominant
organizational culture of the institutions were hierarchical while employees
preferred the clan type.
Assessment of Organizational Culture
Evidence showed that the assessment of the organizational culture
may help assisting the establishment of the changes, either structural or
technological (Cabrera, Cabrera and Barajas, 2001). In 21st century, as more
and more universities enter into new arrangements, the need to assess
organizational cultures becomes crucial. This term has proved difficult to
define, but several of its important components are agreed on by most
researchers. These include the norms, assumptions and beliefs shared by
organizational members, as mentioned earlier. Due to the abstract nature of
these elements, there is a challenge for external researchers who want to
assess organizational culture. It is even difficult for members of an
organization to describe their own culture.
What’s more, top managers can detect mismatches between the
present organizational culture and the culture they desire to establish. Thus,
the assessment may help them to better design a potential change either in
the culture of the institution or in an administrative manner (Cabrera et al.,
2001). Finally, the assessment of organizational culture is significant since it
affects employees job satisfaction (Koustelios 1991), job performance and
organizational change. Furthermore, organization culture was found to be
strongly associated with organizational leadership corporate performance,
knowledge acquisition and organizational learning (Liao, Chang, Hu, Yueh,
Typology of Organizational Culture
There are many attempts to classify organizations according to their
type of organizational culture. The difficulty in identifying a typology of
organizational cultures is acknowledged, since it’s difficult to categorize
beliefs of individuals.
According to Hofstede (1991), the behavior of an individual in the
work place is influenced by three cultures: national, occupational and
organizational. The first one involves the values that have been given by the
family. The second is formed during school and professional life. While
national culture is difficult to change during lifetime, the other two cultures
The most notable efforts in that field were made by Cameron and
Quinn(2006). They found that many studies of organizational cultures share
many common characteristics and so there is a considerable overlap in
studies. Cameron and Quinn(2006, p.105) also mentioned that “it is possible
to identify a desired culture and to specify strategies and activities designed
to produce change, but without the change process becoming personalized,
without individuals being willing to engage in new behaviors, without an
alteration in the managerial competencies demonstrated in the organization,
the organization’s fundamental culture will not change”.
Change models of leadership have gained the interest of managers
and scholars because of their promise of extraordinary organizational
outcomes. In that field, much is written about leadership qualities and types
of leadership (Bass and Avolio, 1994). For example, Bass (1985) states that
leaders must promote change by creating vision. Generally, leaders must
possess a clear understanding of the strategic objectives for their
organization, identify the actions needed to reach those objectives and
conduct an analysis of the organizations existing ideologies.
Strategic leadership needs to be transformational if it is aimed to
serve the organization. In many instances, the type of leadership required to
change culture is transformational, because culture change needs much
energy and commitment to achieve outcomes. Theories of transformational
leadership emphasize that change is accomplished through the leader's
implementation of a unique vision of the organization through powerful
personal characteristics designed to change internal organizational cultural
norms (Hatch, 1993). What’s more, transformational leaders must operate
from a foundation of high morality and ethical practices and have a
fundamental understanding of the complex factors that make collective effort
possible in an organization.
Leadership and organizational culture are widely believed to be
linked in the process of change (Schein, 1986). A corporate leader who
encourages continuous learning and favors change helps to define an
organizational culture that is flexible. Rather than fearing condemnation for
suggesting different directions, employees in this kind of environment will
feel free to express their innovative opinions, leading to higher productivity.
Strategic leaders have the best perspective where knowledge is
concerned to see the dynamics of the culture, what should remain and what
needs alteration. According to Kouzes and Posner (1987, p. 30) when facing
significant change, “Leadership is the art of mobilizing others to want to
struggle for shared aspirations”. Leaders therefore must be skilled in change
management processes if they want to act successfully as agents of change.
Leaders are recognized as exerting a dominant influence on the
direction of cultural norms and basic assumptions in institutional settings.
Van Knippenberg and Hogg (2003) argue that in high salience groups,
leadership effectiveness is intensely influenced by how prototypical the
leader of the group is perceived to be by his employees. The social identity
perspective may be important when examining leadership and power, but it
is by no means the only perspective.
An understanding of culture and how to transform it, is a crucial skill
for leaders trying to achieve strategic outcomes in the management of an
institution. The role of the leader in adapting culture was discussed by Ott
(1989), who claimed that this may be done through a number of processes
including staff selection, socialization, removal of deviating members and
communication mechanisms. Furthermore, the competing values framework
points out the contradiction and dynamics of the organization. It also implies
that people at the managerial level must be able to perform dynamic
The main task of management today is the leadership of firm change.
Good strategic change leadership involves instrumental roles and big
interpersonal skills. Good change leaders find out the important dimensions
of change leadership. Being able to balance the roles depends mainly on
whether a leader has certain qualities needed for good change leadership.
Finally, strong skills support these key change leadership qualities.
An adaptive work environment requires the adaptive leader to control
direction, protection, conflict and norms within the organization’s systems.
The three required elements of leadership are ability to influence, a common
goal and employees that are willing to work toward the vision. However,
even having all three elements in place, there is no guarantee that effective
leadership can be practiced. Leaders often encounter resistance to their
efforts to redirect an organization. Davy et al. (1988, p. 58) suggest that “the
only certain thing about organizational and change is that nothing is certain’.
Furthermore, they estimate that 'employee problems' are responsible for
between a third and half of all merger failures.
To operate co-creatively, leaders and people need to put their first
priority on the needs of the customer and to align as an enterprise team that
works collaboratively across internal boundaries in service to that customer.
Nadler, Thies and Nadler (2001) think that too many leaders make the
mistake of thinking that they can change individual behavior in an
organization by changing its culture. They suggest that for effective cultural
change to occur there is the need for the active engagement of the CEO and
executive team. Top leaders must assume the role of chief architect of the
As mentioned before, change resides at the heart of leadership.
Indeed, nearly two decades ago, Bass (1994) defined leaders as agents of
change, whose acts affect other people more than other people’s acts affect
them. In that field, Valikangas and Okumura (1997) advocate that one of the
strongest motivations and sources of power for leadership is internalization,
meaning the acceptance of leadership influence that is congruent with the
behavioral motives of followers. Change that is executed by coercive power
or for calculated gain in certain roles is not likely to be followed. They
believe that the fact that individuals resist change is partly as a result of the
leader's failure to grasp what motivates followers to change their behavior.
Leaders’ actions, words and behaviors have to resonate within
national culture, organizational culture and the individual employee’s
background and beliefs. One of the most common difficulties stems from
what might be called 'cultural differences'. These differences, particularly at
the top management level, are most likely to influence how the change is
managed. Pondy and Huff (1988) claim that the implementation of any
change process often has problems because it is improperly framed by top
management. The human factors involved should guide any change process.
They argue that framing strategies affect cognitive acceptance of
Finally, it seems that how the leader intervenes depends on how he
thinks the system works (Malby, 2006). Some amount of time pressure and
possibly competition appears to be facilitative. On the other hand, too much
pressure appears to lead to wrong solutions. Thus, an organization's
important values and strategic objectives will impact on individuals'
perceptions of their environment (Michela, Lukaszwski and Allegrante,
There are different factors as time, scope and others that should be
considered before making the change. It is crucial for company managers to
understand and change the organization effectively. For example,
understanding the right time for change is an important issue. In the time of
crises the organizations react faster than the time of longer strategic
developments that may happen from time to time.
Scope is a second important section. In this section managers have to
consider the degree of change that they want to apply within their company.
It’s also important to clarify that resources available for the change which
consist of cash, time (Pettigrew, 1987)and number of people involved, are
important. These are the facts that should be considered before changes are
Of course, after that managers have to design the solution for their
problem. Change path is necessary for the organization and extend and speed
of change are two important factors that shall be given attention. Change
start point will refer to where and when the change should be developed.
Change style is the style of implementation chosen by manager and there is
no fix formula for that. It could be top down approach or the opposite.
Technical, political and cultural interventions are the mechanism to be
deployed. Finally, the team, the leader and even consulting should be clear
before the change.
Changing a culture is a large-scale undertaking and eventually all of
the organizational tools for changing minds will need to be put in play. To
change or to manage corporate culture one has to be able to define and
therefore pinpoint exactly what it is one is trying to change. In the area of
organizational change management the attention of academic researchers and
practicing managers has been focused on three principal questions: what
changes, why changes, and when changes(Pettigrew, 1987). Finally, all
significant organizational transformations require some level of corporate
As mentioned before, cultural change is concerned with beliefs,
traditions and human behavior within the organizational structure. It is well
Known that As Michela and Burke (2000) claim, to change culture, we must
first understand it. Goffee and Jones (2001) propose that cultural change may
often happen as subtle shifts within elements that characterize a particular
It is also important to understand cultural change as involving
strategic change. Sathe and Davidson (2000) suggest that culture change
consists of changing people's minds as well as their behavior. The manner in
which the culture change for each individual is evoked also has an important
impact on the result and the consequences for each individual.
So far, it has been obvious that cultural change by its very nature is
rather nebulous. Hatch's (2000) model of organizational culture change
emphasizes the roles of both leaders and followers in creating and changing
organizational culture. In general, these changes are moving away from
traditional control, where leaders set rigid requirements, lead through fear.
The problem associated with culture and cultural change is the fact
that everything is cultural. Cultural change was also discussed by Weber
(1978), who attributed it to charismatic interventions of a unique and
idiosyncratic sort. Furthermore, Weber thinks that a top executive's role as
the main source of information is conferred by their important role in
Finally, any management team involved in cultural change efforts
requires an understanding of what the new cultural assumptions and
behaviors of both management and staff should be to support the successful
implementation of an organizational strategy. Fishman and Kavanaugh
(1989) suggest that the culture of an organization and how people respond to
change is influenced substantially by the behaviors of the leader. Thus,
implementing cultural changes is not simple: it involves re-moulding
behavior and it’s a major change management challenge, taking a great deal
of time and hard work from everyone involved.
Change is an inevitable part of existence for individuals and
organizations and is a factor faced by leaders in the workplace when dealing
with adaption to a dynamic business environment. According to Terry, Carey
and Callan, (2001) it is true that an organizational change may create job
insecurity to individual self-esteem. Thus, the adaptive leader’s first step in
dealing with change centers on understanding its affect on individuals.
Buono, Bowditch and Lewis (1985) claim that the subjective impressions of
the individuals involved should be the primary focus in studies of
organizational culture and of the changes that occur in business.
As mentioned earlier, change is extremely dynamic and
consequently, the change management process must also be adaptive.
Cartwright and Cooper (1996) claim that the degree of constraint placed on
individuals when a change from one culture type to another is in progress,
will depend on the cultures being merged. They relate this to the four culture
types (power, role, task/achievement and person/support) proposed by
Harrison (1972) and propose that merging some of these forms of culture is
likely to help an easier transition than the blending of others. Finally, the
direction of the change in culture will affect the level of constraint placed on
Changing an organization’s culture is one of the most difficult
leadership challenges. That’s because an organization’s culture comprises an
interlocking set of goals, processes, communications practices and
assumptions. In that field, Cartwright and Cooper (1996) claim that during
times of organizational change, such as rapid growth or a merger, most
organizations will move to more strict control by imposing a greater level of
constraint and reducing the freedom individuals have to make decisions.
They further suggest that it is important that employees at all levels become
involved in the change. In that domain, they proposed a continuum to show
the relationship between cultural types and the effect on the levels of
autonomy that each culture type placed on individuals.
Galbraith (1977) adds to this model by proposing that, for an
individual, there are two basic types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic,
that can be provided by leaders. Selecting the right one is important,
especially in times of extensive change such as a merger. Extrinsic
motivation results when individual behavior is a result of factors external to
the individual such as power exercised by leaders to bring about pressure to
perform. This form of motivation results in individuals feeling compelled to
engage in behavior for an outside source. On the other hand, intrinsic
motivation is associated with active engagement in tasks because people find
them interesting and is associated with an individual's need for competence
and autonomy. As such, this kind of motivation is associated with some
degree of self management and a sense of satisfaction associated with
performing the task.
Finally, there are different kinds of changes that companies will face
during their life time. Sometimes there are internal problems occurring that
needs to be solved or external. The conclusion reached here is that
organizational changes are initiated due to either internal or external causes.
So, two types of organizational change have been differentiated according to
the criterion of cause: organizational development and adaptation (Porras
and Robertson, 1987)
Organizational change strategies
Strategic change is a way of changing the objectives of the company
in order to obtain greater success. There is no certain magic formula to do
the job and of course it is not always leading to success. The practice of
strategy execution has been thoroughly researched and documented in the
past decades by academics. Consequently, there is no shortage of suggested
approaches and principles for achieving successful strategy execution. When
classifying organizational change strategies almost all authors start with
Chin and Benne (1969), who recognized three basic ways to implement
change: rational empirical, power coercive and normative re-educative. This
classification has been supplemented many times.
Finally, a useful strategy must consider (Crawford, 2013):
• the organizations current capabilities
• the organizations’ competencies and
• the agreed change management model for the needed change of the
Helping employees through change is not an easy task. It requires
formal programs that must be introduced gradually and managed with care.
When cultural change happens, employees become aware that the measuring
tools for performance and loyalty change suddenly. This threat to old
organizational lifestyles leaves members in a state of defensiveness
accentuated by low levels of trust within the institution and cultural shock.
Individual resistance to change is one of the primary reasons that
change initiatives fail at all levels. Mirvis (1985) claims further that
employee reactions pass through four stages: (1) disbelief and denial, (2)
anger and resentment, (3) emotional bargaining beginning in anger and
ending in depression, and (4) acceptance. Unless these different stages are
recognized and dealt with, employees will resent change, will have difficulty
reaching the acceptance stage, and the risk of failure is increased
Furthermore, an individual's reaction to change will be influenced by
situational appraisals that will reflect the individual's cognitive evaluation
regarding how a situation will affect his or her level of wellbeing (Lazarus
and Folkman, 1984). An individual's emotional or affective experience
during a change process impacts their commitment to facilitating a
successful organizational change and their behavioral contributions to the
change effort (Huy, 2002). More specifically, individuals' positive affective
reactions to change positively influence commitment to change (Herscovitch
and Meyer, 2002). On the other hand, individuals' negative affective
reactions to change positively influence behavioral resistance to change.
Social identity theorists (Haslam and Platow, 2001) would argue that
a shift from the personal towards the relational level of identity is appropriate
in an analysis of leadership in organizational contexts. That theory focuses
on the notion of the self concept that comes from memberships in social
groups and contrasts with personal identity.
Finally, the influence of leaders rests on how others regard them.
According to Weber (1978), leaders in this sense are lent prestige when
employees believe in them, and are willing to accept their decisions. Conger
and Kanungo (1988) point that leaders need to understand that management
refers to processes of controlling, while leadership is the process of
motivating people to change.
Organizational Crisis (merger)
It’s hard to argue with the idea that company leaders play a vital role
in successful mergers and acquisitions. In times of organizational crises like
a merger, most organizations will tighten control to effect change and place a
greater degree of constraint on the individuals.
Mergers and acquisitions almost always involve some level of
transformational change and disruption. Covin, Sightler, Kolenko and Tudor
(1997) claim that individuals of an acquired firm will feel the impact of a
merger more strongly with associated specific behavioral outcomes. For
example, individuals from an acquired firm in a merger may suffer from
feelings of worthlessness and may feel inferior because of loss of autonomy.
Success in aligning strategy, leadership and organizational culture
can lead to profitable growth after a merger or acquisition. In that field,
programs are presented as departures from an organization's past fail because
the cognitive structures of members constrain their understanding of the new
From the bibliographical research done above, we can conclude that
leadership impacts more on organizational culture than culture influences
strategies. So, the most fruitful success strategy is to begin with leadership
tools, including a vision of the future, cement the change in place with
management tools, such as role definitions and control systems and use the
pure power tools of punishments as a last resort, when all else fails. What’s
more, the most profound strategy for shifting an organizational culture is
offering multi-day leadership retreats cascaded through the organization.
These retreats blend organization performance with a focus on personal
growth and relationship skills.
To sum up, strategic change brings so many challenges. These
include time required to develop, implementation of the plan as well as
assign people to come with strategies. There are different methods that can
assist organizations in solving these challenges, which need great support
and involvement of senior management to be successful. Besides that, there
is a need of design team to define the basics of the change. Finally, strategic
changes sometimes comes to be vital for the organizations, but beside the
implementation of the change, time and people in the organization are very
Furthermore, our point of view is that that companies make efforts to
innovate their processes in order to achieve growth and to improve profit
margins. Thus, implementing Organizational Change is one of the most
crucial, but least understood skills of leaders nowadays. After the literature
review, we feel that some of the negative responses to changes are caused by
leaders’ not understanding the importance of communicating a change
More generally, we have drown several significant theoretical and
practical implications from this paper. The most important is the usefulness
of further research into relations between organizational culture and
organizational change strategies. In this article, a theoretical view of the
relationships among transformational leadership, organizational culture and
climate for organizational innovation was developed. This paper has also
shown that there is a theoretical basis for the assumption that organizational
culture is one of the factors in selection of organizational change
management strategies. Of course, it is necessary to empirically test this
assumption by testing the hypotheses generated in this paper.
Overall, the linkages found in this study among specific leadership
behaviors, organizational culture suggest that it may be possible to develop
more theories about proximal determinants of organizational cultures dealing
with change. This paper also implies the need to expand research to other
aspects of organizational change. It is necessary to explore whether
organizational culture impacts the character of the change process and to
what extent. It is also necessary to identify if and how the culture impacts the
efficiency of the change process and its success.
From this paper an assumption also emerges that there may be a
feedback effect of organizational change strategy on organizational culture.
The question is ‘can the application of a certain organizational change
strategy imply changes of organizational culture and if so, how’? Finally, the
paper has pointed out the need to explore the impact of organizational culture
on other elements of organization and management, such as leadership style,
motivation, and reward system.
Practically, we can recommend this paper to company management
which is planning organizational changes, to help with choosing the
management strategy for change that is compatible with the culture of their
organization. This will contribute to the success of the change process. In
order for this to be possible they must have a good knowledge of the culture
of the organization as well as of the available organizational change
As mentioned before, the evidence in this study suggests that
leadership is associated with organizational culture, primarily through the
processes of articulating a vision, and to a lesser extent through the setting of
high performance expectations and providing individual support to workers
Thus, generally speaking, the key to choose the right approach to culture
change is to Know how organizations function. As social systems
comprising work, people, formal and informal systems, organizations are
resistant to change and designed to neutralize the impact of attempts at
change. Although culture change is necessary in creating and reinforcing
organizational transformation, our position is that making necessary
structural changes may serve as the initial intervention for shifting culture.
Also, the findings of this study are consistent with research that
indicates that vision is a major facet of leadership and is associated with
organizational culture (Bass and Avolio, 1994). Generally, leaders play a
critical role in selecting and planning appropriate change management
approaches. In summary, it is important that the leaders of the organization
create an atmosphere of psychological safety for all individuals to engage in
the new behaviors and test the waters of the new culture. Employees need to
be involved in order to verify for themselves the validity of the new beliefs,
examine consequences for themselves as an individual and, explore how they
can contribute to the change effort (Zammuto, Gifford and Goodman, 2000).
Therefore, the underlying causes of employee resistance need to be studied
carefully and understood fully if improved outcomes are to result.
Closing this paper, we must admit that it has significant limitations.
The first is in the nature of this paper, which is explorative and theoretical.
The paper has resulted in hypotheses regarding the relations between
organizational culture and strategy which are yet to be empirically proven.
Without empirical testing the findings of this paper are not entirely valid.
Also, the paper is limited to investigating organizational culture impact on
just one aspect of organizational change management – change management
strategy. It does not examine the impact of culture on other aspects of
organizational change that would complete the picture.
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