ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN A CHANGING BUSINESS

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THE CHANGING GLOBAL LEADERSHIP CONTEXT

The 2008-2011 global economic crises illustrate the business interdependency globally and its impact on South African business operations and society. The 2009, 2010, and 2011 Global Economic Forum and Global Competitiveness Reports, as well as the United Nations (2011) report on the pessimistic outlook for 2012 and 2013, illustrate the global interdependency of business organisations. Some of the reported results of the global economic crises by Boorman (2009), Boorman and Christensen (2010), Das (2010) and Lewis (2011), include the following:

  • The economic collapse and the ‘bail-out’ of leading institutions such as Lehman Brothers, Citibank, Bank of America, Chrysler, American International Group (AIG), General Motors, Bank of Scotland and Bank of Ireland in the developed world.
  • The economic collapse of countries such as Iceland, Greece, and Ireland.
  • Government debt challenges such as in the USA, England, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine and Japan.

The above examples suggest a challenging and uncertain business context for organisational leaders. The economic development of African countries, according to the Global Economic Forum report (2009) is impacted by the global economic challenges. This includes leaders of African-based organisations.
Furthermore, the McKinsey Report (2010) on the progress and potential of African countries (which indicates the most significant investment returns across developing regions) highlights the economic opportunity that Africa offers. The report concludes that if the positive investment returns that were identified up to 2010 continue in the areas of telecommunications, mining, infrastucture and agriculture, Africa should play an increasing role in enhancing the global economy.
Furthermore, the Standard Bank Economic Report (2011) indicates that the positive impact of African macro trends on business opportunities highlight the increasing positive economic role that Africa will play within a global context. The potential for economic development for South Africa within a global context is also enhanced following the inclusion in the developing nations broad collaborative arrangement, termed BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) (South Africa – The Good News, 2012; Standard Bank Economic Report, 2011).
In contrast to these emerging positive economic trends for Africa, the global economic slowdown over the period 2008 to 2011, the pessimistic outlook for the 2012–2013 period, and the business interdependency between countries, should result in continuous change and negatively impact on the global economic system. A further slowdown in the demand for goods and services as well as investment in infrastructure in the developed world, will most likely lead to a reduction in supply from the developing world, resulting in greater unemployment (Deloitte, 2012; United Nations, 2011).
The aforementioned global and African economic context provides leaders of South African organisations with some strategic perspective to assist in formulating solutions to deal with possible business implications. These strategies might be in contrast to the previously mentioned Africa-related context and suggest an evolving and increasing complexity for leaders of South African organisations. The following section describes the concept of organisational complexity and the OL implications for organisational effectiveness.

Organisational complexity and leadership

Lussier and Achua (2001) point out the key role of leadership within a changing context. They believe that the companies that will survive in the new global competitiveness environment will be those that can attract, develop and retain effective leaders.
Successful 21st century leaders should be able to thrive in complex environments and this requires the consideration of enhanced leadership competencies (Bennis, 2007). The meaning and scope of complexity that organisational leaders need to deal with to assist in achieving organisational effectiveness, is discussed in the next section, to contribute to the conceptualisation of organisational leadership.
Complexity theory, as proposed by Morrison (2008), offers some insight into the open complex systems environment of 21st century organisations. Complexity theory is based on a systems view of organisations being open entities that survive, self-change and organise through mechanisms of feedback, open systems, learning, adaptability, communication and emergence.
According to Morrison (2008:21), complexity “resides at the edge of chaos” – the point where the system threatens to collapse, the point of complete unpredictability – and if order is not imposed, it emerges in an unpredictable manner. The unpredictability, randomness and continuous rate of large scale change supports Burns’s (2002:42-56) idea that “chaos is here to stay”.
According to Burns (2002) and Keene (2000), leadership is critical in ensuring that an organisation is effectively led under conditions of chaotic randomness. A leader is not expected to make the business stable, but rather to effect change that brings about chaos. The extent of manageable chaos, within organisations, initiated by their leaders will, therefore, serve as an indication of the levels of creativity and innovation within those organisations.
A further view of complexity in organisations, according to Baum (2002) and Von Eck (2007), is that an organisation is a complex network of functions, as an open social system and systems within systems that are continuously shaped, to contribute to organisational effectiveness. Veldsman (2002) argues that an organisation in this changing context is considered as a patterned network of interacting systems. Veldsman (2002) proposes that this organisational landscape’s network of energy nodes comprises the following variables in a context of constant change: environment, strategic intent, leadership, culture, architecture (design), resources and outcomes. The combination of these strategic variables needs to be integrated and constantly aligned to each other and the organisation’s strategic objectives to enable sustained organisational effectiveness. The leadership of organisations is, therefore, one of these strategic variables that requires integration to sustain organisational effectiveness.
Veldsman (2002) indicates that four complexity factors in organisations need to be considered for OL to achieve organisational effectiveness:

  • Boundaries: including local to global business context and short to longer term planning time frame,
  • Scope: single to multiple strategic business variables such as markets, customers, products and services,
  • Variety: simple uniform to complex diverse organisational variables such as strategies, policies, processes, procedures, resources, and systems,
  • The nature and rate of change: incremental to revolutionary change.
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Organisational leaders need to integrate these four complexity factors into their strategic business solutions to assist in achieving organisational effectiveness. Furthermore, leaders need to consider the impact of the global business environment described below.
The global business environment is being shaped by the four forces, inter-related forces: social, technological, economic, and political and governmental. This suggests increased contextual complexity for organisations (Conklin, 2011). These forces are also evident in the Hay Group report (2011) on the OL challenges for the future, highlighting the following six megatrends: accelerating globalisation, climate change, and its environmental impact, scarcity of resources, demographic change; customer and employee individualisation and values pluralism, increasingly digital lifestyles, and technology convergence.
Furthermore, the research by the London Business School on the future of work indicates that the five change forces of technological developments, globalisation, demographic changes, social trends, and low carbon developments, are re-shaping organisational work (Gratton, 2010; 2011). In particular, the nature of organisational work requires transparent and authentic leadership, high performing virtual teams, valuable cross business networks and relationships, valuable relationships with partners, consumers and entrepreneurs, and flexible working (Gratton, 2010, 2011, 2012).
These trends point to a business context of increased change and complexity. Furthermore, the McKinsey Report (2012) on leading organisations in the 21st century outlines the exponential change taking place due to the reshaping of the global economy. Regions such as Africa, China, India, and Brazil, show more economic growth than economies in the West, the rate of innovation has increased significantly, and the convergence of technologies has created new communication networks.
The trends indicated by Gratton (2011), the Hay Group (2011) and McKinsey (2012), suggest that organisational leaders of the 21st century have to be adept conceptual and strategic thinkers, and decisive when dealing with immediate challenges. They need to demonstrate deep integrity and intellectual openness, be able to stay in touch with the more detailed-frontline, customer-focused organisational reality, and find new ways to create stakeholder loyalty. They also need to be more culturally sensitive, able to enhance employee engagement and develop talent, able to lead increasingly diverse and independent – virtual teams without direct authority, more collaborative both inside and outside the organisation, able to prioritise issues to deal with crises, and capable of managing personal emotional resilience (Hay Group, 2011; McKinsey, 2012). These emerging leadership competencies are required to deal effectively with the complexity of the 21st century business environment, and they form part of the process of conceptualising organisational leadership. They are also aligned to the changing workplace of organisations.
The above described macro business context causes changes to the organisational workplace paradigm (Kets De Vries, 2006). The three trends of the changing organisational workplace paradigm are described as the change from the three C’s of control, compliance, and compartmentalisation to the three I’s of ideas, information and interaction (Kets De Vries, 2006). The new organisational paradigm’s central theme concerns people and processes and is based on continuous and discontinuous change, it is customer driven, has a global perspective, and requires a networking architecture and a respect-based, authoritative leadership style.
The emergence of the new paradigm is reflected for example, in the advent of social media, which opens up immediate communication to all organisational stakeholders. This results in redefining the notion of control in organisations and pointing to leadership’s need for values driven interaction (Deiser & Newton, 2013; Forgrieve, 2012). Given the new organisational paradigm, the design of organisations tends to be flat and organic in nature, fluid and action-oriented (Hay Group, 2011; Kets De Vries, 2006).

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CHAPTER 1: BACKGROUND AND ORIENTATION
1.1 INTRODUCTION .
1.2 LEVEL OF CURRENT KNOWLEDGE OF ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP BRAND
1.3 IDENTIFICATION OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND OBJECTIVES
1.5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.6 ETHICAL ACCOUNTABILITY OF THE RESEARCH
1.7 STRUCTURE OF THE THESIS
1.8 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 2: THE 21ST CENTURY BUSINESS CONTEXT
2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 THE CHANGING GLOBAL LEADERSHIP CONTEXT
2.3 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 3: ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN A CHANGING BUSINESS CONTEXT 
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 WORLD CLASS BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS AND THE ROLE OF LEADERSHIP
3.3 THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP
3.4 LEADERSHIP MODELS
3.5 ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP
3.6 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 4: THE ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP BRAND CONCEPT 
4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 BRAND DEFINED
4.3 THE BRAND CONCEPT AT THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL
4.4 THE BRAND CONCEPT AT ORGANISATIONAL LEVEL
4.5 THE BRAND CONCEPT AT THE LEVEL OF THE EMPLOYER
4.6 CONCEPTUALISING AN ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP BRAND MODEL FOR PUBLIC LISTED SOUTH AFRICAN ORGANISATIONS
4.7 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 5: METHODOLOGY 
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 RESEARCH PROBLEM AND OBJECTIVES
5.3 APPLYING THE PRAGMATIC PARADIGM WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE STUDY
5.4 RESEARCH APPROACH
5.5 SCIENTIFIC BELIEFS FOR THE QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE PARADIGMS
5.6 STAGES AND PHASES OF THE STUDY’S RESEARCH DESIGN
5.7 THE QUALITATIVE RESEARCH STAGE
5.8 THE QUANTITATIVE STAGE
5.9 PROTECTING THE INTEGRITY OF THE RESEARCH DESIGN
5.10 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
5.11 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 6: QUALITATIVE FINDINGS
6.1 INTRODUCTION
6.2 THE PROFILE OF THE QUALITATIVE SAMPLE
6.3 DESCRIPTION OF THE BASIC STATISTICAL FEATURES OF THE QUALITATIVE DATA COLLECTED
6.4 FINDINGS FROM THE SEMI-STRUCTURED INTERVIEWS: THE EMERGING THEMES RELATING TO ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP BRAND
6.5 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 7: QUANTITATIVE RESULTS
7.1 INTRODUCTION
7.2 EMPIRICAL RESEARCH QUESTION 1: WHAT IS THE PROFILE OF THE QUANTITATIVE SAMPLE?
7.3 EMPIRICAL RESEARCH QUESTION 2: WHAT IS THE CONTENT OF THE ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP BRAND QUESTIONNAIRE?
7.4 EMPIRICAL RESEARCH QUESTION 3: WHAT ARE THE STATISTICAL FEATURES OF THE QUANTITATIVE DATA COLLECTED?
7.5 EMPIRICAL RESEARCH QUESTION 4: WHAT ARE THE PSYCHOMETRIC PROPERTIES OF THE SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE USED TO COLLECT THE DATA ON THE STUDY OBJECTIVES?
7.6 EMPIRICAL RESEARCH QUESTION 5: WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP BRAND CONCEPTS AND SUB-CONCEPTS?
7.7 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 8: INTEGRATION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE QUALITATIVE FINDINGS AND QUANTITATIVE RESULTS 
8.1 INTRODUCTION
8.2 THE ELEMENTS OF AN ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP BRAND CONCEPT FOR PUBLIC LISTED SOUTH AFRICAN ORGANISATIONS
8.3 THE FORMULATION OF AN ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP BRAND CONCEPT MODEL FOR PUBLIC LISTED SOUTH AFRICAN ORGANISATIONS
8.4 THE STATISTICAL EXPLORATION OF AN ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP BRAND CONCEPT MODEL FOR PUBLIC LISTED SOUTH AFRICAN ORGANISATIONS
8.5 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 9: RESEARCH OVERVIEW, MAIN FINDINGS, CONTRIBUTION, LIMITATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH 
9.1 INTRODUCTION
9.2 EMPIRICAL OVERVIEW
9.3 SUMMARY OF THE MAIN RESEARCH FINDINGS
9.4 CONTRIBUTION OF THE RESEARCH
9.5 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
9.6 AN OVERALL EVALUATION OF THE RESEARCH STUDY
9.7 CONCLUSION
REFERENCES
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