The Role of Leadership in Change Management Programs: What Constitutes “Effective” Leadership?

Abstract

In order to ensure an effective implementation of change management, the existence of a suitable organizational setting is an essential prerequisite. Vision, developed with a purpose, meaningful strategies to support and a fitting organizational culture to sustain the shared values of the vision and strategy are the important requirements for leading successful change management programs.

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Change leaders should also possess the capabilities of empowering, motivating and inspiring the organizational members involved in the change management programs to achieve the change objectives. The present study attempts to determine the common traits observed among leaders tasked to handle change. In doing so, the study provided the definitions of both leadership and change management. The setting of the research is Trinidad and Tobago where a planned change in the educational system is underway.

The research methods involve gathering of information based on a survey conducted through distribution of questionnaire among executives, middle managers, and employees and structured interviews conducted with senior executives. Results show that there are varying opinions as to the traits of an effective leader in change organisations. Middle managers and employees appear to provide contrasting views. On the other hand, senior executives appear to take a balanced view to the change management issues. The study proved that the view on leadership is affected by the relative position of the respondents. The roles played by individuals are considered as the main catalyst for the variation. However, other general elements about the implementation of change management have been agreed by the respondents.

Introduction

This research covers a study based on the proposed restructuring and decentralisation of the educational system in Trinidad and Tobago. The proposal to rationalize the educational system involved implementation of school-based management and revamping the localised school boards. Judging from this plan, there are two aspects that appear to headline the future endeavours of the Ministry of Education Trinidad and Tobago… The first element involves the reality of change. The second aspect reveals the need for effective leadership. Both change and leadership are valuable components that will drive the programme to success.

Modern business organizations are increasingly facing the challenges of an environment that demands adaptation and change (Burke, 2002). Leadership is another important aspect that affects success within institutions (Meyer & Rowan, 1977). The manner in which leaders guide their members defines the direction of these organisations (Burke, 2002). The following discussions will deal with change management and leadership as distinct and interrelated concepts and will present a comprehensive report thereof.

Change Management – an Overview

The meaning of change management is bringing about changes in a planned or systematic fashion (Nickols, 2000) Change management is the process of developing a planned approach to change in an organization (Greenwood & Hinnings, 1996). More effective implementation of new systems and procedures in any progressive organization thus forms the main aim of change management (Greenwood & Hinnings, 1996). The objective of change management therefore is to enhance the overall efficiency for all the organizational members connected with the change (Nickols, 2000). It also involves minimizing the risk of failure in implementing the change (Greenwood & Hinnings, 1996).

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The human aspect of change is the central topic of study in the change management discipline and change management therefore relates to pure and industrial psychology (Burke, 2002). Irrespective of the size of the change whether large or small, high performance is ensured by the ability of the leaders to manage the change effectively (Orlikowski, 1996). It is for the management to prepare their organization for forthcoming changes, manage the complex organizational and workforce transition to the desired status of development (Orlikowski, 1996). The change management thus focuses on realizing the greatest long-term value from the business improvement efforts (Burke, 2002).

The content of change management is usually “drawn from psychology, sociology, business administration, economics, industrial engineering, systems engineering and the study of human and organizational behavior” (All business.com, 2006).

Change management issues in any organization have both content and process dimensions (Applebaum et al, 1998). Though there are differences in the approach and thrust on these problems from organization to organization due to differences in the culture and values the overall conceptualization and implementation of change management is found to be almost the same across different organizations, industries, and structures (Nickols, 2000). This character of change management makes it to be regarded as an important management function and process.

In the context of change management, the ‘change problem’ assumes a greater significance (Applebaum et al, 1998). The process of change management involves reaching a future state of existence taking the current state as base through the implementation of some organized steps for such process to take place.

Thus, the change problem may be large or small in its scope and magnitude. Similarly, the change problems may focus on individuals or groups within an organization; one or more divisions or departments or the whole organization (Applebaum et al, 1998). It may also affect one or more aspects of the environment of the organization (Nickols, 2000).Within this context this study examines the role of leadership in bringing about organizational change. The study focuses on analyzing the possible contribution of the organizational leaders in implementing the change management process effectively.

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Objectives of the Study

The main goal of the study is to identify the essential leadership qualities that can promote an effective change management in any organization. In realising this goal, the study will focus on the role of senior leaders on the change management process and the ways in which they can guide the organizational members towards effecting the required changes in the organization.

This study will also examine the impact of leadership in motivating change in the organization. In the process of such examination, the study will also attempt an elaboration of the process of change management.

Significance of the Study

This study is expected to add to the existing knowledge on the role of leadership in change management especially in the setting of a government department. In any organizational change, the involvement of leaders as well as organizational members is of paramount importance. In this context, measuring the values of leadership and change through empirical evidence is highly valuable. Each entity in institutions has different perception as to the role of change management and the value of effective leadership (Burke, 2002). Therefore this study has taken for analysis and reporting on the change management programmes of the Education Ministry of Trinidad and Tobago.

Organisational change is normal in a firm (Applebaum et al, 1998). The effect of these changes is observed within the organisation (Burke, 2002). Changes are more viewed in the general structure of firms. However, any change will have its own impact on the attitude and behaviour of the employees which fact cannot be ignored altogether. The workforce is tasked to implement the processes in companies. Hence, changes are mostly evident in the performance and behaviour of employees (Burke, 2002).Therefore this study will concentrate on the attitude and behaviour of the employees towards change management and the manner in which the leadership qualities could affect them.

Research Questions

By accomplishing the proposed objectives, this study will strive to find plausible answers for the following questions.

  1. What are the steps involved in the process of change management?
  2. What is the impact of change management on the attitude and behaviour of employees in any progressive organization?
  3. What is the role of leadership in bringing about changes in an organization in general? What kind of leadership will be most suitable and effective in implementing the change process efficiently?
  4. In what ways the leaders can influence and steer the employees towards change in the organization, and how they can influence the organizational culture to accept organizational change?

Structure of the Dissertation

In order to present a comprehensive report on the role of leadership in change management, this dissertation is structured to have different chapters dealing with various aspects of the dissertation. The first chapter introduces the topic of change management and it outlines the objectives proposed to be achieved by the study. The research questions are framed under this chapter and the chapter presents the significance of the study.

Chapter two contains an analytical review of the available literature on change management to enhance the knowledge of the reader on the subject the dissertation is going to deal with. Brief note on the research methods adopted for completing the study is presented in chapter three. The findings of the research and a detailed analysis of the findings are covered by chapter four. Some concluding remarks and few recommendations for further research are contained in the concluding fifth chapter.

Summary

This chapter while introducing the topic under study also presented the objectives and significance of the study. A more elaborated review of change management and its various facets are presented in the next chapter by reviewing the available literature before the study proceeds to present the note on research methodology.

Review of Related Literature

This chapter will review the previous literature to use them as the basis for structuring this dissertation. The chapter highlights relevant literatures that are relevant to the subject under study. The review of the previous literature provides the direction for the current study. It enables the researcher to frame the questions for the survey to be undertaken for proving the theoretical aspects that emanate from the review and reported in this chapter.

This chapter on the review of literature will also provide the necessary support for any assertions or claims made by this dissertation based on the information drawn from the review of such literature. This implies that this dissertation intends to draw some critical information on change management from the previous literature by using them as secondary sources.

Background of the Study

Firms change because of various reasons. Most companies cite cost reduction as the most influential catalyst to change. In a workplace for instance, retrenchments will have great impact on the remaining employees (LaMarch & Potts, 2004).

Change in the organisational culture also affects the employees, which can be seen with respect to most of the firms that adopted changes due to necessity. Most practitioners and observers have elaborated on the need for the firms to change because of their necessity to survive. (See for e.g. Bloman & Deal, 1997; Bridges, 1991; Cummings & Worley, 2001; Kotter, 1996; Kouzes & Posner, 1995; O’Toole, 1996; Scehin, 1992; Senge, 1990) Apart from the employees, the management of the firms are also expected to contribute to the changes in the organizational settings.

It is for the management to assess the changes taking place in the environments external to the business and adapt the organizations’ internal environment accordingly. Anticipation of changing events allows the management to plan for strategies to incorporate change and for this purpose; the management needs to be the first to recognise that change is inevitable (Beitler, 2006).

Management is separate and distinct from leadership. Although some theorists maintain that leadership is part of the entire managerial function. Koontz & weihrich, (1998) observed managerial function of leading deals with the schemes of influencing the employees to work productively to achieve the goals of the organisation. Contrary to this view, Byars, (1987) consider leadership as a higher form of management.

From these views, it can be inferred that a leader is expected to possess the capability to influence the followers and affect the manner in which they act. Whereas, the manager merely executes the strategic options and thereby affects the actions and decisions of the employees to the extent of executing the decisions already made.According to Bjerke, (1999) inefficient and incompetent individuals cannot become leaders and managers who can steer and guide the employees towards achieving the organizational goals. IN order to effectively lead and guide the employees the individuals should possess leadership and managerial qualities in a proper proportion (Bjerke, 1999).

Successful firms (See for example, Microsoft, Dell, Hewlett Packard and McDonald) have illustrated the ideal combination of solid management and clever leadership. Managers tend to focus on process; leaders are inclined to concentrate on imaginative ideas. Leaders dream up ideas and they stimulate and drive other people to work hard and create reality out of ideas. One such leader had the chance to sell a revolutionary product he had invented to a large, established company. Instead of selling to this formidable competitor, the entrepreneur decided to ignore the advice of business consultants and continue with his own company.

The consultants believed that instituting management processes would be too costly, time-consuming, and difficult for the entrepreneur. Avoid the risks of a competitive battle with excellent corporation that has an infrastructure in place and is ready to do battle rather than give up market share to a newcomer. The consultants overstated the importance of process and underestimated the effects of the driving vision of the leader on key subordinates.

The company remained independent and produced enormous wealth for the entrepreneur, his associates, and investors (Zaleznik, 1989). From this case, it follows that leaders should anticipate changes and adapts them to the organization. It is the ability of the business leaders to influence the people working for the organization to follow the changes tells upon a successful implementation of change management.

Leaders avoid direct confrontation and arriving at the solutions through confrontations, as such a process may stir up strong feelings of support or opposition. According to Finn, (1987), an efficient manager makes decision in a manner that such decisions do not have any negative impact on the personal feelings of the employees. Therefore, it follows that the successful institution of any change management program requires a thorough understanding of the underlying feelings and emotions of the organizational members and only an efficient manager could handle change in the organization without jeopardizing the employee morale.

Effect of Change in an Organization

Change leads to conflicting organizational goals (Burke, 2002). For instance, there might the view that the resources of the organization need to be improved but at the same time the costs should be cut concurrently to make the working of the organization viable. Changes in the organizations especially when subjected to schemes of mergers or acquisitions, affect the values held dear by the employees (Nickols, 2000).

This implies that the changes might go contradicting the expectations of the employees about the ways the things need to be carried out. This may be due to a complete change in the organizational culture owing to the merger of the companies. This is the basic reason why the literature on the organizational change management (see, for example Bridges, 1991;Cummings & Worley, 2001) concentrates on the required changes in the culture of the organization, which includes changes in the beliefs and values of the organizational members and the ways in which such beliefs and values are enacted by them.

In any of these changes, there may be additional expectations on the performance of the existing employees, which might also evoke fear and anxiety among the individuals (Carnell, 1999). Organizational change in any case could be planned or spontaneous (Carnell, 1999). The success of any organizational change management depends not only on the efficiency of the new process/technology employed, or organizational policies formulated but also largely on the engagement of organizational members involved in the promotion of organizational objectives (Carnell, 1999).

The enhancement in the employees’ contribution to the success of change management calls for a structured and organized management approach which would have the effect of translating change into success against the potential damage that might be caused by an ineffective and insensitive approach of the personnel issues.

Organizational Change

Changes in any organization is the result of the struggles between contradictory forces which necessitates the adoption of change management practices to meet the competing demands of the forces acting on the functioning of the organization (Burke, 2002). In order to understand why organizational changes take place it is necessary to have a basic understanding of the structures and systems prevalent in an organization.

Burnes, (2000) observe that these systems of ideas form the basis for the adoption of change management in any organization in at least two perspectives; one is that these ideas about the structures and systems provide some models of how to structure the organization and how to manage those structures. The second objective is that they are in a position to provide broad guidelines in judging and prescribing the behavior and effectiveness of the actions of the individual members as well as groups in any organization. Hardy & Clegg, (1996) argue that in modern organizations skills become highly fragmented and specialized which leads to a functional differentiation among them and as a result change becomes an essential part in the development and growth of an organization.

Thus, Applebaum et al, (1998) observe organizational change to be one of the major determinants of the success of an organization. Conner, (1994) is of the view that continuous and overlapping changes have become the normal way of life in the corporate environment. Business leaders desirous of making their organization lead the market must have the understanding to respond effectively to the changes demanded by the modern trends, which include the structuring of their companies, ways of conducting the business, implementation of new and improved technology, and relate the changes to the customers and employees (Conner, 1994).

This discussion leads to a fundamental question why change has been considered necessary in many of the organizations. Nickols, (2000) provides a framework for the process of change, which is centered round problem solving. Thus, managing change can be regarded as a matter of moving from the problem state to solved state. In the change management process, diagnosis of the problem is identified as the basis for proceeding to solve such problem. It also involves setting of goals for different functions and at different levels. In the process of change-management, there lies a discussion of ends and means and then they are related to each other. In the process, careful planning forms the first step closely followed by the efforts to bring in the support and commitment of the organizational members.

This automatically results in the transition from the problem state to the solved state. Thus, within the subject of change management strategy formation and the various roles that the managers play for the implementation form the central focus of this study. The theoretical considerations discussed in this review cover the leadership qualities that the managers need to posses to bring about changes successfully. It is imperative that to go systematically on the analysis of the surrounding factors that affect the process of change management in order to make a critical analysis as well as to find answers to the research questions.

This process leads to few recommendations on how to actualize an effective change management. According to Drucker, (1999) the essential quality for being a change leader is to have the willingness and ability to change the things that are already done to achieve new and different goals with the available resources. Slobodnik & Slobodnik, (1998) observe that effective planning and management of change requires careful consideration of the impact of changes in the structure on the managers at all levels and their roles and responsibilities as their job satisfaction levels. Drucker, (1995) identifies the leaders as the basic resource for an organization as well as the major factor contributing to the development of an organization especially in change management situations.

Thus, organizational change has been one of the major areas of organizational research (Applebaum et al, 1998). The effectiveness of an organization is judged by its ability to meet the challenges of today as well as those of tomorrow, which calls for an efficient change management policy and program in place (Slobodnik & Slobodnik, 1998). Placing client satisfaction, loyalty, employee satisfaction and profitability growth in their proper perspectives is the important object of change management (Slobodnik & Slobodnik, 1998). The concept of organizational culture, communication and commitment are given prominence in any change management programs (Slack et al, 2004).

Therefore, it becomes important that the organizational members in full first understand these concepts so that the business can be run effectively (Slack et al, 2004). This approach of understanding the necessity of an effective change management enhances the utility of this study. Since a number of organizational perspectives are encompassed in the change management program, it becomes imperative that the managers fully understand the basic concepts of change management and steer the organizational members through the process of change. Towards this objective, the study of fundamental theoretical aspects of change management is considered necessary.

Leadership

The theoretical framework of leadership has been subjected to a number of different approaches (see, for example (Kouzes & Posner, 1993). Several schools of thoughts on leadership have been developed to further the definitions evolved earlier (Tichy & Devanna, 1986). Several theorists (see, for example Dulewicz & Higgs, 2004; Tichy & Devanna, 1986) consider leadership in the forms of Transactional, Transformational, and Laissez faire. Leadership is a critically important driver to the success of an organization. Therefore, the topic of leadership has been widely dealt with by the literature (Tichy & Devanna, 1986).

Transactional leadership assumes that individuals are motivated by rewards and punishments (Bass & Avolio, 1995). Bass & Avolio, (1995) stated that transformational leaders have moral values that include honesty, responsibility, fairness, and honouring commitments. These leaders have to be transparent in decision-making and responsible in the outcomes of the decisions. Therefore, these kinds of leaders are found to be more suitable to lead an effective change management program in any organization.

Business leaders are expected to live up to their words and value the contribution of the employees in their endeavour to achieve the organizational goals (Bass & Avolio, 1995). The concept of leadership is based on the principle of enabling the followers to excel and this knowledge is acquired by the followers by contributing something in return (Bass, 1985). The theory of transformational leadership is considered as one of the dominant theories practised by leaders (Bass, 1985).

Transformational leadership theory assumes that the employees will follow leaders who inspire (Lipley, 2004). This theory has prompted organisations to create mission and vision and following this theory promotes enthusiasm and creates energy in performing the responsibilities among the followers (Bass, 1990). Bass (1990) explains that transformational leadership that undergoes several stages of development. The first stage is the development of a vision that serves as guide for future endeavours. The second step is to persuade individuals to follow the vision.

The first step of vision created gets continually manifested through different phases. The third stage is for the leaders to formulate routes towards the goals. This is critical because the decision can lead to either success or failure. The final stage is for the leaders to remain at the forefront of the charge. This will have the impact of inspiring the follower. Transformational leaders are known to be sensitive to the needs of their members (Bass & Avolio, 1995).

Transactional leaders are well informed about the different phases that change organizations pass through (Bass & Avolio, 1995). Such recognition is critical in building a strong bond within groups and teams (Bass, 1990). This theoretical base of transactional leadership as reviewed in this section reinforces the concept proposed by the study that transactional leadership is well suited for promoting change management programs within organizations. Laissez faire leadership is characterised as passive and reactive and these leaders avoid facing problems until such time there is the likelihood of undesirable consequences are evidenced (O’Regan & Ghobadian, 2004).

Although these leaders are mainly timid about issues, their manner of addressing problems is considered as meticulous (O’Regan & Ghobadian, 2004). These are the leaders, who rarely panic and value pressure packed situations. Despite the insufficient aggression, some of these leaders have managed to establish strong organisations.

According to Avolio, (1999) some of the leadership qualities are innate or genetic and thus impossible to learn, while a majority of they can be acquired by constant practice. Avolio, (1999) is of the opinion that fundamental personality and character that an individual possesses would greatly influences in developing his leadership abilities. Their personality and character have given them confidence needed to lead the followers and get from them what was expected. It may imply that the leaders are born great and they are able to take up leadership positions in any situations regardless of social or historical context.

Avolio (1999) presented over a decade of research showing that most of the leadership skills can be developed and mastered. In the interviews with senior VPs in high-tech firms and the military leaders, Avolio found that the leaders were highly influenced by their parents involved in setting challenging goals. (Avolio, (1999) observed that the actions of the parents of the leaders interviewed helped them to appreciate diverse views.

Therefore, it is imperative that leaders possessing basic qualities are provided necessary training to acquire the skills and qualities required to excel themselves in the implementation of any change in the organization. This section emphasizes the role of leaders and the development of their leadership qualities as one of the important criteria for the successful process of change management.

In providing such training, it is also necessary for the organization to consider the inherent qualities of the leaders. For instance, the transactional leaders find it easier and convenient to acquire the change management skills than the other kinds of leaders. Since the transactional leaders have the ability to influence the followers, they are found to possess the characteristics required for efficiently managing the change in organizations.

Change Organisations

The stages of change, as derived from the study of Booth-Butterfield (1996) start with pre-contemplation. In this stage, the details of the proposed change are yet to be assimilated by the organizational members. Contemplation stage implies that the employees are made aware of the changes proposed to be made. After this stage, the employees are required to be educated or guided to perceive the change in the same way as the leaders perceive them and are to be convinced to accept the change. Here the role of leaders assumes greater significance as they have to make the employees follow the change in the structure and operations of the organization without much resistance.

Prochaska et al, (2001) devised a process that prepares involved entities to change. The cycle starts with the raising of consciousness among the employees. In addition, employees provided with the required tools to handle the change. This is more than just compliments but actual benefits in the growth of the personnel. Moreover, employees are given opportunities to let of their emotional strain. This is usually done when the change starts to take effect within an organisation. The employees are then subjected to an evaluation of their performance during the process change takes place.

This is more of a comparison of behaviour before and after the change. The change in the performance level will for sure indicate the effect of the leaders’ influence in motivating the employees towards accepting the change. Since the problems are identified, the management needs to eliminate stressful components of change. It means that negative stimuli stalling good behaviour have to be removed (Goleman, 2001).

The company also needs to focus on the commitment of the employees to change. This is like a renewed assurance to accept change. The change management process concludes with the establishment of a proper behaviour for the changes expected to be brought about in the organization. This includes the weeding out of the undesirable behaviour of the employees that would hinder the progress of change. All these steps can be smoothly undertaken with the presence of able leaders within the organization, who could exhibit exemplary leadership qualities. Schein, (1999) created a model that describes change.

This method was called cognitive definition. The first stage of the cognitive definition involves motivation to change. This step encompasses a self-evaluation of the employees in which they have to decide on their own. The stage includes acceptance that previous actions failed. In the next stage, changes that are required are identified. Most firms are concerned about the extensive resources, which will be devoted for the activity (Schein, 1999). However, it is necessary to understand that there will be cost implications of this step as against the benefits likely to accrue. It is for the organizations to ensure that they take into account the influence of negative behaviour of individuals within the organization o resist the staged change models.

In general, all the staged models of change to be successful must pass three tests. (i) there should be a clear-cut definition of the stages to represent a unique state, (ii) the order of stages must follow a sequence, and (iii) the stages must not be in a position to be reversed. Unfortunately not all the staged models of change described herein, pass any of these tests. Therefore, no further researches have been undertaken in respect of these models. The current study also chooses to leave these models out of discussion.

Leadership and Change Models

Higgs & Rowland, (2000) constructed a model that details change model competencies. The model was built after rigorous research on leadership and change. The research focused on organisations that operate within global industries. To start with, studies used models having close association with change management. The results showed that these models mostly relied on emotional intelligence. The study also illustrated the different leadership skills required in various changes. This observation clearly supports the notion of circumstantial leadership. Circumstantial leadership takes place when some individuals move into a place of challenge and change.

These individual assumes the leadership roles irrespective of the fact that whether they are invited or appointed or not. It is difficult to hold them down and in addition, they possess the knowledge, courage, ideas and beliefs that they have to go for it. This makes them claim the leadership role and when encouraged they run the show (Palin-Brinkworth, 2008). The interesting feature of circumstantial leadership is that it is possible for anyone to possess this quality, as every individual has some kind of expertise or a specific area to which he/she is committed passionately. Especially in a high-performing team, the official leader or the captain of the team ensures that the team accomplishes the goals without fail.

An earlier research by Carnell, (1999) focused on five groups of change that requires leadership. Leaders are in situations involving changes in networks, processes, communication, timing and accountability. The manner, in which leaders address these changes determine the success of organisations. Timing is an important element that Carnell (1999) identified. Communications is another aspect that was discussed in the study.

In order to make the change process successful it is vitally important that there is high level of accountability on the part of the people. Though appears to be reasonably acceptable theory outlining the process of change requiring the support and guidance of leadership, this model also suffers from the inherent shortcoming of each step, depending on the other and thus does not pass the required test for the model to be successful. Such stage models make predictions about the concerns organizational members have at different points in the process of change. In most of the cases, these predictions appear to be different from reality.

Excellence and leadership in the public sector has always assumed the highest priority (United Nations, 2007). Leaders serve as the focal point of changes and delivery of better social services and the improvement of leadership in the public sector inspired other institutions to follow (United Nations, 2007). On the development of complex situations, the demand for strong leaders increases automatically. Therefore, it can be claimed that leadership is based on the changes that happen within the environment where entities operate (United Nations, 2007). This review brings out the point that leadership assumes a significant role in effecting change even in the public sector organization. Normally the resistance for change in the public sector settings can be expected to be more pronounced than private sector organizations.

This calls for even more involvement of the leaders in implementing the process of change in the public sector. Transactional leaders would be able to guide the organizational members more effectively and achieve the desired level of success in effecting change. According to Flanagan & Spurgeon, (1996) the formation of a suitable leadership model is found to be critical in any organizational setting and generally managers in different firms are entrusted with the task of creating the required leadership model. The chain of leadership is a framework that some firms follow (Flanagan & Spurgeon, 1996).

Top managers usually take the lead and channel their knowledge to supervisors. Then, the supervisors disseminate their learning to the ordinary people. This continuous process is provided with major changes as the cycle revolves. Such mechanism is needed to make the leadership model timely and highly aware to change. In addition, the chain is useful in developing future leaders (Flanagan & Spurgeon, 1996).

Interpersonal relationships within an organization have always been considered as a grey area. The formation of relationships often leads to openness in organizations (Joyce, 2000). This means that exposure to changes and resistance will go up. This is indeed a challenging situation for leaders. In truth, successful leaders have often thrived in these situations and the approaches of leaders in such circumstances vary; but the most important goal is to maintain the relationship without affecting the performance of firms. Sustenance of relationships is crucial as well as formation of leaders in these situations (Joyce, 2000).

Spurgeon & Clark, (2001) suggest that the relationship between leaders in organisations is another aspect that needs to be considered and changes in leadership in particular are events that can affect firm performance significantly. Spurgeon and Clark (2001) noted that largely the hierarchy of leadership influences the change and the actions necessary to bring about change. In fact, the relationship formed among the leaders enable organizations to get into the proper course and achieve the desired organizational goals. McGauran, (2002) stated that leadership relationships set the tone for communication and other developments.

This part of the review pinpoints the importance of relationships that need to be developed among the leadership roles. The success of change management in any organization not only depends on the effective participation of the leaders within the organization but also on the development of a proper relationship among the leaders in such a way that the relationships lead to a co-ordinated direction and action. If a proper relationship is not developed there is the likelihood that the different directions confuse the organizational members given for implementing change in the organization. This will lead only to failure.

Conclusion

This chapter presented a detailed review of the available literature on the role of leadership in effective change management. The objective of the chapter was to familiarize the readers on the topic under study. In the ensuing chapters the research conducted under the study, the results thereof and an analysis of the findings will be presented

To sum up the literature reviewed in this chapter, the roles of the managers are found to be central in the process of strategic organizational change. The challenges set for the managers or organizational leaders call for an objectivity and the entailment of leadership qualities mixed in a proper proportion. The profound differences between leaders and managers are discussed in this chapter to find that while management is all about planning, organizing, and controlling the system of people and technology efficiently, leadership is centered round adapting the organization to extensively changing circumstances.

Leadership deals with defining of future visions of organization and getting the people aligned with the visions despite the hindrances and challenges. The difference between the crucial roles of management and leadership in change management is elucidated in this chapter and it can reasonably be claimed that successful transformations are made possible by 70-90% by leadership capabilities and 10-30% by managerial abilities as claimed by Kotter (1996).

Distinctive features of different kind of leadership – transactional, transformational, laissez faire and circumstantial – are reviewed based on the literature and the study found that transactional leadership can be considered most appropriate for effecting change management more smoothly than the other leadership models. Circumstantial leadership also was found favored in exceptional circumstances, while laissez faire leadership allows things to drift to the last moment and hence may not help change management effectively.

Staged models of change are discussed at length and the criticisms against these models are reviewed. The tests that staged models need to pass are discussed within the chapter. Discussion on role of leadership in change management in public sector organizations also found a place in the chapter. The influence of leadership on change models was discussed at length. By using a proper research methodology, the study will assess the extent to which the leadership qualities can influence change management. The study will also analyze the role of mangers in the change management process.

Research Methodology

The objective of this chapter is to provide the readers a detailed insight into the various research methods and their relative features. The justification for the selection of a relevant research methodology that was used for conducting this research is explained within this chapter. Through employing suitable research methodology this study will strive to find out the role of leadership in the change management process and will ascertain the desired qualities for an effective leadership to be involved in the change process.3.1 Introduction

The review of the available literature provided an in-depth insight into the issues that characterize the change management in general and the role of leadership in change management programs. The review also identified a number of research questions/hypothesis to be answered through the current research. Effective leadership is hypothesized as a vitally important requirement for the development of the individual employees in the context of changes as well as for accomplishing the organizational objectives as a whole.

This chapter aims to detail the research methodologies that were used for collecting and analyzing the required information and data for conducting this study. This chapter also highlights the relative features of various research methods, research approach, and the type of research undertaken including research methodology and research methods.

Definition of Research

A proper understanding of the concept of social research and its essential features becomes important before the research approaches and techniques are detailed. Johnson (1994:page number) defines research as, “a focused and systematic enquiry that goes beyond generally available knowledge to acquire specialised and detailed information, providing a basis for analysis and elucidatory comment on the topic of enquiry” Research involves a systematic process of investigation of particular issues or topic. Therefore, there is the need for using some tools and techniques for the collection and analysis of information. The tools and techniques used for collection of information and data are contained in the research methods to be employed.

Research Methodology

Methodology is construed as the scientific way used to gather, analyze and summarize the information and data to consider the results of any research with a scientific knowledge. The purpose of methods is to enable the researcher to improve upon the capabilities for making a proper analysis of the field of study. Methods also help the researcher to look into the details behind the different happenings and the motives behind the actions of the individuals.

Another objective of methods is to gather and analyze the opinions and views of the individuals with the relevant social and structural importance. There are the ‘inductive’ and ‘deductive’ approaches that are normally employed by the researchers to conduct the research. The use of one research approach is dependent on the subject of study and implementation process.

The current study will use the deductive approach where the researcher will start from a generally existing theory and predict the empirical part of the study. The researcher makes his conclusions based on the empirical data collected and the new knowledge is created. In the case of inductive approach, the researcher starts with noticing relations in the empirical materials and arrives at a conclusion, which tends to be non-existing theory.

Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

There are two different methods of conducting a scientific research (Yin, 2002). At times, it becomes necessary to use both methods, as they are able to examine the diverse aspects in connection with real situations. Qualitative method is more flexible and therefore leads to a vivid picture of the reality involved in the research. The openness of the qualitative method makes it possible to collect unique details pertaining to any study. This also makes the data clearer. The disadvantage of qualitative method is that it is time consuming and involves the use of more resources. It also takes a longer time to summarize the data collected using the interview method.

Quantitative method is based on a preset hypothesis, and is tested against the observations made by the researcher during the conduct of the research. The quantitative research is to be carried out under controlled settings. Under quantitative method after the collection of data, they need to be, analyzed using statistical methods and the results are obtained in a quantitative form. The process of conducting the qualitative method is well defined and the qualitative method maintains the objectivity as the researcher is excluded from the population under study.

The current study proposes to use a mixed method of both qualitative and quantitative methods. The study will use a survey among the chosen employees of the department of education Trinidad and Tobago and interviews with senior managers of the department for collecting the information and data required to conduct the research.

Techniques for Data Collection

According to Yin (2002), there is no method of data collection, which is considered as the most suitable one. The method that is used will depend on the subject under consideration.

Survey Method

Survey method is one of the popular quantitative research techniques being used by many of the social researchers as a non-experimental method. This method is more descriptive in nature. Survey method is often resorted to gather information and data on research topics where it is not possible for the researcher to reach the required sources directly. Well-drafted questionnaire forms the basis of any survey.

There is a major criticism against this method that it is often found to be formulated conducted in a haphazard manner resulting in collection of unreliable data. According to Meyer, (1998) determining a proper sample population and designing a meaningful and cohesive questionnaire is the key for an effective survey. Useless information that does not have any base will only is collected by making use of questionnaire, which is not drafted properly.

The important point to note about the survey is that the information and data offered by the respondents will be treated as the opinion of the whole population. This entails a responsibility on the researcher to draft the questionnaire to consist of questions that are carefully selected and designed to gather meaningful information to make the survey give successful results in the form of information and data that can be made use of in the research report. (Cresswell 1994; Neumann 2002; Fink 1995)

Semi-Structured Interviews

Semi-structured interviews are the basic tools that the researcher uses for collecting information from a wide range of participants. In this method, the researcher predetermines the questions that will form part of the interview. The interviewer still permits the participants to enter into a conversational mode so that the information flows freely. For achieving a free flow of information and viewpoint, the interviewer usually makes changes in the order in which the questions are put to the participants.

The interviewer may also change the vocabulary of the questions. The purpose of conducting semi-structured interviews is to enable the participants to contribute their opinions without hesitation. This helps the interviewer to collect in-depth information on the subject, which he is researching. By employing the ‘online’ survey method this study proposes to send a questionnaire containing close-ended questions to 150 chosen samples through their respective email addresses.

Types of Data

It is observed as a common practice in anthropology and sociology to distinguish between sources of data as primary and secondary sources. In general primary sources comprise of those data, which the researcher has collected originally from the people or organizations directly and which remain unpublished, while secondary sources of data are represented by any print materials like books, articles etc which have been published previously. (Walliman, (2005) defines the primary sources as the ones that are usually direct and detached wherefrom the information and data is gathered. Saunders et al, (2003) feel that the secondary data possess greater value since a number of sources are being used for collection of data.

However, Walliman (2005) considers the secondary data as having a shortcoming in which the reliability of such data is always questionable. He further states that since the secondary data are passed on through several hands there is the possibility that such data might contain errors that can vitiate the results of the study and disturb the focus and direction of the research.

Choice of Research Methods for Current Study

Choice of Research Methods for Current Study

It is proposed to use deductive approach as the researcher will start with the basic theoretical concepts concerning the market strategies of supermarkets and form the basic hypothesis on the winning strategies of the supermarkets. This makes the boundaries of the study fixed according to the generally accepted theoretical concepts. The study will make use of the research method both quantitative and qualitative methods.

The quantitative method will be used through a survey proposed to be conducted among the employees of Department of Education of Trinidad and Tobago. The participation of the employees will be made voluntary and anonymous. The randomly chosen employees will be advised that their responses will be kept confidential and their identity will not be divulged, as only the summary of the findings will be reported as a part of the study.

The qualitative method will be used in the form of semi-structured interviews depending on the number and willingness of the participants. Detailed questions for the focus groups and/or interviews will be prepared in advance for the collection of information and data required to conduct the research. Information and data will also be drawn from various secondary sources like journal articles and other professional publications.

The proposed interview questions are appended to this report as Appendix II. In the current study, due to the nature of the topic there was the necessity to collect some quantitative data for analysis, review, and comparison. The qualitative information on the Role of Leadership in Change Management Programs will be gathered using structured interviews conducted with the senior officers of the Department.

The questions will be focused on some of the main issues concerning the role of leadership, for collecting the required information for completing the study on the effectiveness of the role of leadership in change management practices in the education department. Interviews will be conducted from the senior executives at various levels who have the authority to implement change management systems, as the success of the change management programs largely depends on the efficiency of the executives in charge of managing the change.

The interviews will be conducted as structured interviews and the questions that will be asked to the senior executives are shown in the appendix. The questions will be drafted in such a way to extract information on the role of leadership in effectively implementing change management practices in the department and the extent to which the practices can be considered as effective in changing the attitudes and behaviors of the employees of the department at various levels. Apart from the senior managers, questionnaires will be distributed to three groups that included executives, middle managers, and employees. The respondents will be asked to provide views on leadership and their favourite leaders.

Sample

In order to pursue this research study it was necessary to select a target population. For the current, research the population covered employees of the ministry of education of Trinidad and Tobago having different periods of experience. The sample population for conducting the survey will be selected randomly based on the periods of service of the employees and the samples will thus be a random one.

Moreover, other demographic information like age, educational qualification, gender and employment levels will also be considered to arrive at an appropriate random sample population. The target population will then be randomly chosen to reduce the sample size down to 150 different individuals. The random sampling method followed thus will ensure that the bulk will be represented appropriately.

The survey will be conducted among the senior managers, middle level managers and employees at clerical cadres. The number of senior managers and middle level managers will be decided based on the number of clerical and subordinate level employees chosen for survey. It will be made sure that the subordinate workers chosen have gone through one or more change processes at the department and therefore those employees longest in the department will be selected for survey. Lastly, this survey will be conducted to identify the leadership qualities required for bringing about changes and a complete substantiation of the theoretical perspectives examined by this study.

Questionnaire Development

It was decided to collect the primary data through a self-administered questionnaire distributed to the selected sample population in this research through an ‘Online Survey’ A questionnaire is a document containing questions and other types of items designed to solicit information appropriate for analysis. This involved drawing on existing research in the area of the effectiveness of the change management practices, to identify aspects relevant to the current research, which are reflected in the detailed research questions.

Questionnaires are the instrument of choice for many researchers working in various fields, theoretical traditions and research designs (Creswel, 1994), No doubt, they are seen as the most appropriate tool to obtain systematic and comparable data from a large number of individuals and analyze it economically. The following section will describe and explain the format, structure, and content of the questionnaire developed for the purpose of collecting information from the employees of education department in Trinidad and Tobago.

Construction of the Questionnaire

Based on the literature review the questionnaire will be constructed to collect the required information and data from the Samples. The purpose of the questionnaire was to find out the role of leadership in effectively implementing change management practices and programs. It was also necessary to find out the impressions of the employees and the leadership qualities that influence the implementation of change management practices. The questionnaire that will be sent to the employees is appended to this report as Appendix I.

The questions will be constructed as close ended questions giving different options to the respondents to express their opinion about particular issues by indicating the ranking numerically.

The first section of the questionnaire will focus on the demographic information about the participating individuals. The information about the age, gender, years of service, and current income are some of the questions that will be included in this section. This basic information will be collected to tabulate and present the information pertaining to the demography of the participants. The analysis of the demographic details will determine and report on the homogeneity of bulk of the population.

The second part of the questionnaire will be focused on the viewpoints of the employees and their responses on their perceptions on the role of leadership in successfully implementing change management practices and programs. The other questions will be framed to bring out the views of the employees on the impact of effective leadership on the success of change management. The study was focusing on the change management programs of the Ministry of education. Therefore, it was considered there was no need to conduct a pilot study, as surveying and interviewing the employees of the department for a pilot and a final survey will be time consuming. Further, the researcher was of the opinion that a pilot study was not needed in view of the subject matter of the study.

Conclusion

This chapter presented an overview of the research methods that was employed for the completion of this research study. The salient features of the research methodology and a detailed explanation of the research approach and research strategy adopted for the completion of the research project was included in this chapter. The findings of the study using the research methodology described in this chapter and a detailed analysis of the findings are presented in the next chapter.

Findings and Analysis

The objective of this chapter is to present a detailed report of the findings of the research gathered on the basis of the responses received from the survey (n=127) Out of the 150 questionnaire circulated among the employees of the education department, 127 of the samples responded to the questionnaire. The responses received are tabulated and analyzed to present the findings in a comprehensive form to the readers. The responses from the senior executives to the interviews conducted are also discussed in this chapter.

Introduction

The department of education in Trinidad and Tobago has adopted various change management programs in order to improve the employee performance at all levels. The objective of this study is to examine the role of leadership in implementing the change management programs and the qualities that constitute an effective leadership. The chapter presents a discussion on the findings and the answers to the research questions framed already are presented in this chapter.

Findings

This study intended to assess the role of leadership in change management programs by examining how individual perceptions of leadership qualities impact change management programs in contributing to organizational success and job satisfaction. As observed form the review of the literature, it is quite likely that leaders with high level of motivational and technical skills normally will have the ability to support change management programs of the organization.

Although there will generally be resistance to any change in the organizational structure or form, the leaders by the qualities they possess would be able to influence the employees to adapt themselves to the changes. Survey Questionnaires were distributed to 150 employees selected from the education department in Trinidad and Tobago. The questionnaires were distributed during regularly arranged meetings and through the internal mailing system to enable them to feed the responses via mail. The selected samples were briefed with an overview of the purpose and layout of the survey to enhance their understanding of the survey.

Employees who were willing to participate were assured that the information they provide will be kept confidential and the study intends to present only a summary results of the findings. 127of the 150, employees to whom the questionnaires were distributed, completed the survey yielding a participation rate of 84.67 percent. The findings are discussed in the following sections.

Demographic Data

The survey incorporated all categories of positions including management staff. Demographic information on the age of the participants was obtained by collecting information on four different age groups. The majority of the participants at 68 out of 127 (53.53 percent) were belonging to the age group of 26 to 35 years. There were 9 participants in the age group of above 41 years. The distribution of the samples according to age is shown below:

Table: Age-wise Distribution of Samples.

Particulars No of Respondents Percentage
18 – 25 years 4 3.15%
26 – 35 years 68 53.53%
36 – 40 years 46 36.21%
Above 41 years 9 14.11%
Total 127

The majority of the respondents were males. Out of the total 127 respondents, 101 were males representing 79.53 percent. The gender distribution is presented in the following table:

Table: Gender Distribution of Samples.

Particulars No of Respondents Percentage
Males 101 79.53%
Females 26 20.47%
Total 127

Table: Marital Status of Samples.

Particulars No of Respondents Percentage
Single 13 10.24%
Married 110 86.61%
Other 4 3.15%
Total 127

The next question in the questionnaire was concerning the education level of the participants. The demographic information on the education level was collected fewer than four different categories; secondary, degree, masters and other professional education.

Table: Educational Level of Participants.

Particulars No of Respondents Percentage
Secondary 12 9.45%
Degree 82 64.56%
Masters 20 15.75%
Professional 13 10.24%
Total 127

As observed from the review of the literature, the period of employment with any particular organization also has an impact on the job satisfaction level and commitment of the employees towards the organization while changes are effected in the organization. In order to determine the level of employee commitment a question on the number of years of service by the respondents was asked. The responses to this question indicate that a majority of 73 employees out of127 respondents have worked with the organization for a period of more than 5 years. While 34 of them were with the company between three and five years only 16 of them had less than a year of service with the company.

Table: Length of Service with the Company.

Particulars No of Respondents Percentage
Less than a year 4 3.15%
Between 1 and 3 years 16 12.60 %
Between 3 and 5 years 34 26.77%
Above 5 years 73 57.48%
Total 127

In the questionnaire, the next question related to the levels of salary being drawn by the respondents. The information on the salary levels was gathered by making five distinct groups of salaries starting from below $15,000 and above $72,001. Out of the responses received, it is observed that 84 out of 127 respondents belong to the category of $ 15,001 to $ 30,000. There were 16 people in the range of between $ 30,001 and $ 48,000 and 9 people in the range between $ 48,001 and $ 72,000.

Table: Salary Level.

Particulars No of Respondents Percentage
Below $ 15,000 18 14.17%
Between $ 15,001 and $ 30,000 84 66.14%
Between$ 30,001 and $ 48,000 16 12.60%
Between $ 48,001 and $ 72,000 9 7.09%
Above $ 72,001 0 0.00%
Total 127

Since the samples included different levels of employees, a question on the respective positions of the respondents was inevitable. The responses received indicate 78 out of 127 respondents representing 61.42 percent belong to clerical cadre. 9 of the respondents were in the senior management category and 20 belong to junior management category. The information is presented in the following table.

Table: Position with the Company.

Particulars No of Respondents Percentage
Clerical 78 61.42%
Supervisory 25 19.69%
Junior Management 15 11.81%
Senior Management 9 7.09%
Total 127

Leadership and Change Management

The findings on the second part of the questionnaire relating to role of leadership and change management are discussed in this section.

Role of Leadership

On the question of whether leadership role plays a crucial role in the implementation of change management plans 80 percent of the respondents replied on the affirmative. 13 percent of them replied that there is no effect of leadership role on the change management. 7 percent of them were undecided on the issue.

Impact of Leadership in Change Programs

The respondents were asked to express their views on the impact of leadership on the change management programs. The respondents were asked to identify whether the impact of is critical, minimal or no effect. To this question 67 percent of the respondents replied that the impact of leadership on change programs is critical and 20 percent of them replied the impact is minimal. 13 percent of them opined there is no impact of leadership on the change programs.

Impact of Leadership in Change Programs

Successful Leadership Styles

The next question asked to identify the successful leadership styles out of balanced leadership, technical leadership, and emotional leadership. While 53 percent of the respondents replied balanced leadership, 33 percent of them replied technical leadership is more successful. 13 percent of them replied that emotional leadership is the successful one. The information gathered is presented in the following diagram.

Successful Leadership Styles

Employee Attitudes

The respondents were asked to rank the different employee attitudes, which in their opinion are influenced by the change management programs. The mean values of the results are tabulated below:

Table: Employee Attitudes.

Particulars Mean Value
Employee Attendance 8.7
Performance Levels 8.4
Relations with Supervisors 8.1
Employee Morale 7.8
Sense of Belonging 7.2

From the responses of the samples it is seen that the employees are of the opinion that the change management programs has no great effect on the employee attitudes as can be seen from the respondents assigning only lower mean values to the employee attitudes. As anticipated perceptions about the success of the organization as a direct result of changes has proved to have a positive correlation with the employees commitment to the organization.

Organizational Growth

The commitment of the employees influenced by change management process affects the growth of the organization in all areas. If because of the effective leadership the organization is able to motivate the employees to have an enhanced commitment towards the organization, the employees will work with increased enthusiasm to result in the organizational growth. As per the responses received from the selected employees, the following is the impact of effective leadership upon change management programs on the organizational growth.

Table: Organizational Growth.

Particulars Mean Value
Business Growth 11.7
Improvement in Profitability 11.1
Cost Reduction 9.6
Employee Performance 8.7
Employee Retention 8.1

It can be observed from the responses that the employees feel that the changes brought into the organization by effective leadership have resulted in benefits more to the organization in terms of business growth and improvement in profitability. These two attributes have been given the score of 11.7and 11.1 respectively by the respondents. As far as employee performance and employee retention are concerned the respondents have assigned ranks having a mean value of 8.7 and 8.1 implying these attributes are unimportant.

Leadership Traits

The review of the literature identified 7 traits that leaders need to have when dealing with change. Out of the seven leadership traits dealt with by the literature self-understanding and accountability are the only traits that are considered general traits possessed by the leaders. On the question of selection of generic leader employees, prefer the emotional leaders. The middle level managers prefer to opt for technical leaders, while the senior executives look for balanced leaders. The following table presents the results for the question on leadership traits as ranked by the respondents.

Leadership Traits

Suggestions for Improvements

The last question in the questionnaire asked for suggestions from the respondents to rank the various suggestions offered to them in the question with respect to improving the effectiveness of leadership. The ranking offered by the respondents weighed to the number of respondents offering the same rank has been taken into account to arrive at the following mean values

Table: Suggestions for Improvement.

Particulars Mean Value
Provide training to the existing employees to acquire leadership skills 11.7
Encourage employees at lower levels to take part in decision making 11.1
Improve the two way communication between superiors and subordinates 10.8
Widen the decision making authority of the leaders at senior levels 8.7
Make use of more communication mode for advising about changes to employees 8.1

The selected samples have expressed the opinion that it would be better for the organization to provide training to the existing employees to acquire leadership skills. It appears that in the opinion of the employees this will help the organization improve the effectiveness of change management programs. This will also help the organization to improve the employee attitude and behaviors. Similarly, the respondents have also expressed their opinion that improving the two-way communication between the superiors and subordinates would improve the effectiveness of the change management programs.

Findings of the Interviews

Structured interviews have been conducted with some of the senior executives of the department. The general managers of Human Resources, Finance and Administration and Service outsourcing, were interviewed with the structured interview questions. The interview transcripts are exhibited in Appendix III. It appears out of the answers to the interview questions that the main issue concerning the senior managers is that the employees, subject changes to resistance.

The senior managers have expressed their views that through adopting a proper and open communication it is possible to implement change management programs in order that organization will be able to achieve its goals. On the role of leadership, the interviewees are of the opinion that the some of the personal traits of the leaders are very essential for a successful implementation of the change management programs and for getting the support of the subordinates for such programs.

The interviewees are of the opinion that the employees need to be prepared to face the challenges of the change. They are of the opinion the change management programs adopted by the company have helped greatly for the growth of the company. Detailed description of the viewpoints expressed in the interviews will be detailed in the analysis part of this chapter

Analysis

The 14 questions included in the survey questionnaire assessed the role of leadership in change management programs and the impact of change management practices adopted by the organization on the improvement in the employee performance. Respondents have rated the impact of changes on various organizational issues, personal traits of leaders, employee attitudes and organizational growth. The employees have also attributed different rankings for the suggestions offered by the questionnaire to improve the effectiveness of the change management practices. A detailed analysis of the various issues dealt with by the survey is outlined below:

Demographics

The marital status of the individual employees does have an impact on the commitment of the employees towards the organization as those who have a family to take care would think twice before changing their jobs and hence they remain more committed to the organization. As observed in the literature review several studies have identified a significant positive relationship between tenure of the employees and the organizational commitment.

Organizational tenure was measured on the basis of the information provided by the respondents as answer to one of the questions. Individuals were asked to indicate how long they worked for education department of Trinidad and Tobago. As suggested by Buchannan (1974) the organizational attitudes among the employees reach a mature stage at the end of five years of employment. Therefore the years of experience was capped at 5 years for the purpose of this research.

The other demographic information that is relevant for the study is the age group of the employees. For those employees in the age group of 26 to 35 years it is easier to get alternative employment if they do not like the changes happening in the organization that affect their roles and responsibilities. In the current study, a majority of respondents belong to the age group of 26 to 35 years with 68 out of 127 people representing 53.53 percent in this group. This implies that the responses to the survey by the majority of the people would give a fair opinion on the impact of change management practices as these individuals would have an uninhibited opinion on the practices of the company No, this does not follow at all.

Another demographic issue is the employment level of the selected samples. For instance, there are 78 clerical cadre employees constituting 61.42 percent of the respondents. Normally the individuals at lower grades will resist the changes more than those at other levels do. This is so because the employees at lower level have more apprehension towards the changes than the higher-level employees have. Therefore, to this extent the survey results are to be expected to be biased

The data collected on several demographic variables were analyzed to find out whether these variables have significant differences on the results of the survey

Effective Leadership Change

The study highlighted the importance of leadership traits when changes occur. Although, there are several notable leadership traits, the study focused on 7 of the most prominent. These included technical skill, self-understanding, charisma, optimism, empathy, accountability, and communication skill. Moreover, these are the elements needed to ensure that effective leadership is observed in changes. Respondents were informed to determine the best set of traits when changes occur in an organization.

The other part of the survey points out the general leadership preference of respondents. Since leadership styles vary, the research focused on classifying leaders to three clusters. These include technical leaders, emotional leaders, and the balanced leaders. Understanding the preference of respondents is critical for the research. The statistical analysis of the results is shown in the following tables and diagram.

One-Way Anova.
Table: One-Way Anova.
Leadership Preference.
Table: Leadership Preference.
Multiple Comparisons.
Table: Multiple Comparisons.

Table: Preference Distribution.

Total
Staff Mid-Mgt Executive Total
Choice Tangible Count 12 26 5 43
17.90% 68.40% 22.70% 33.90%
Intangible Count 40 5 3 48
59.70% 13.20% 13.60% 37.80%
Balance Count 15 7 14 36
22.40% 18.40% 63.60% 28.30%
Total 67 38 22 127
100% 100% 100% 100%
Chi-Square Test.
Table: Chi-Square Test.

Conclusion

Thus, the findings out of the qualitative and quantitative research methods have provided for a detailed analysis of the findings of the research, which has helped in finding some plausible answers for the research questions framed at the beginning of the study. The analysis of the findings has led a logical conclusion of the study with come concluding remarks and recommendations that are presented in the next chapter.

Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendation

In this chapter, the findings of the research are discussed in detail followed by a recap of the issues dealt with in the text. Few recommendations for the successful implementation of change management practices through effective leadership roles are discussed in this chapter.

Discussion

As discussed in the theoretical baseline of this study, the role of leadership is closely associated with achieving the organizational goals in respect of managing proposed organizational changes, by creating suitable plans to achieve those goals, organizing for implementation and then controlling the process to keep track of the change management. Theory emphasizes tow different functions in each organization that are considered essential for implementing change and that is maneuvering and leading. Leading is related to the question of the people in charge of leading the change and covers the characteristics and the behavior of the leaders/managers.

This was investigated in this study by assessing the leadership traits through the survey conducted among various levels of employees. The survey shows the leadership qualities that the employees at different levels perceive as necessary for successful and effective implementation of change in the organization.

The role of leaders thus assumes a significant position in the total change management programs. The theoretical review identified seven traits that the leaders should possess while dealing with change in any organization. The three groups of employees surveyed the traits differently.

In the total analysis, five out of the seven traits have been perceived to be desirable qualities of leaders by the respondents. Self-understanding and accountability were perceived to be the general traits that the leaders should possess for accomplishing change management successfully. When the respondents were asked to select the kind of leader, which they think will push the change management programs effectively; the lower level employees preferred the emotional leaders. Middle level managers preferred to work with technical leaders. Respondents at the executive level chose leaders with balanced qualities as the ones that they would prefer to work with.

The variation is often traced at the difference in roles played in the company. The employees are the group of people who actually are involved in bringing about the changes in the organization. Leaders play the role of motivation to the employees so that the employees perceive the changes in proper perspective and work towards the accomplishment of the changes. Therefore, the position of the leaders should be an acceptable to one to the employees at all levels, if the change management programs are to be implemented properly.

The employees at different levels assess the character and the ability of the leaders to guide and lead them and make a choice of leaders whom they think will lead them through the change process. In making, the assessment the employees consider the different leadership qualities possessed by the change leaders and weigh them to a considerable extent as to the suitability of the leaders based on the personal traits of the leaders. The role of middle managers revolves on the notion that changes have to be implemented.

Employees at different levels perceive the qualities of leaders required for effective change management differently and make their decisions to follow certain types of leaders. In the current study based on the assessment of the qualities of the leaders in the Department of Education in Trinidad and Tobago, lower level employees preferred to work more with emotional leaders. Leaders who possess pleasing personality and are considerate to the employees tend to understand their emotional concerns.

Understandably, the lower level people would expect the leaders to be considerate of the problems that may arise to the employees because of the implementation of changes and they expect the leader to find and implement appropriate solution to mitigate the likely problems. The employees at lower level feel that only emotional leaders would be passionate to understand and react to the problems of change.

The middle level managers on the other hand considered technical leaders more effective in managing changes successfully and therefore they preferred to work with technical leaders. Always the middle level managers find their position tough, as they are the ones who have to deal with both the top-level executives and the lower-level employees to implement the changes. It therefore becomes necessary that the middle level managers understand the scope and nature of changes in their proper perspective so that they would be able to explain the requirements and outcomes to the lower level employees properly. This requires sound technical knowledge on the part of the middle level managers.

They prefer to work with technical leaders as these leaders have the capacity to expand the skill sets of these managers. With improved skills and knowledge acquired with the help of the technical leaders the middle level managers would be able to perform better in their positions. By seeking knowledge and assistance from the technical leaders, the middle level managers would be able to understand the change programs more thoroughly and implement them effectively.

The executives are the only group that managed to reconcile their views with both employees and middle managers. This is rather consistent with the position of the executives, since they are the people at the forefront of organizations.

Their position as employees and managers of the organization is very critical in the process of implementing the changes. This calls for more flexibility in their approaches to the issues and the problems. While effecting changes the top- level executives have to consider a number of factors affecting the interests of varied stakeholders associated with the organization. Since they have an overview of the organization, they would be able to perceive the changes with the prospective effects on the different sets of stakeholders. Therefore, it becomes essential that they remain balanced and this quality will enable them to assess the issues and their solutions in totality from an organizational standpoint rather than from individual perspectives.

Conclusion

This study reveals that managing change is not just a simple task that can be performed with ease. Managing change is a complex issue and entails critical application of strategic planning since any change has an impact on the present as well as future standing of any organization. However, an organization cannot just shy away from undergoing transformations and adapting to changing needs of the present market conditions as otherwise it would stagnate leading to the inability of meeting the competition successfully. Such a state of stagnation is not appreciable in the case of an organization, which wants to progress and be profitable.

Being stagnant without adopting changes may make the organization weak and would lead to a final scenario that would be not only risky but also undesirable for the stockholders and other stakeholders of the organization.

In view of the formulated questions for conducting this study, the findings out of the study analyzed against the theoretical baseline indicate that the department of education in Trinidad and Tobago exhibit stronger and well-defined leadership skills. When their positional power is properly applied though effective communication among other things, allowing an open dialogue with the subordinates would enable them to bring about the changes in the organization without much difficulty.

Knowing in advance what is going to come and get prepared for the eventualities and preparing the subordinates to face the reality of the change situations would enable the subordinates to gain confidence and at the same time would help eliminate the possible resistance to changes. The result would be full co-operation that explains the high leadership profile with the desired qualities. This was confirmed by the survey and the selection of different leadership models by the employees at different levels. Living up to the genuine definition of managing and leading is the quality that was expected by the employees at the lower and middle level.

As far as the general findings are concerned, this study gave an insight into several ideas about leadership especially in the context of managing change. The first finding is that it is rather difficult to define the leadership qualities precisely. There are several forms of leadership discussed in the text of this study. The study even attempted to create a new benchmark for the determination of the desired leadership qualities. However, the process of defining leadership was found harder when changes take place in an organization. The complex nature of changes makes it difficult to pinpoint the best traits for effective change leaders.

The study also revealed that disagreements within organizations often happen between middle managers and employees. The difference in views is a testament to that notion. Middle managers are often perceived as programmed and robotic in nature. Hence, their desire for technical aspects is evident in choosing the best leaders. Employees, on the other hand, are more affected by emotional catalysts. Leaders that can inspire, understand, and provide positive views are considered as effective by the group. The difference also makes it necessary for executives to become balanced.

Traits of self-understanding and awareness have been identified as the required elements for effective leadership to meet with success when it comes to the question of managing change. Since it becomes difficult to arrive at the leadership qualities required for managing change precisely, it is considered better to start implementing change with a clear understanding of the organizational requirements After all, the awareness in ones talent and the belief in ones capability are needed to drive change. In addition, accountability deserves to be mentioned in any aspect of leadership. Accountable leaders are always admired because of their inherent attitude of giving credit to others and accepting failures.

Even though there are no specific traits that leaders should possess to handle change programs effectively one of the traits that is being advocated constantly is “balance”. It has been found out of experience that leaders who accept and consider even the simplest details often meet with success. Similarly, leaders who thrive on situations have the advantage occurring during the unpredictable part of change cycles. Adopting both, qualities make a leader to become balanced. From that, balance leaders can start acquiring some of the other skills required for managing change effectively. However, such an endeavor of the leaders has to be guided by both necessity and circumstances.

Interviews were conducted with the chosen respondents mainly with a view to corroborate the results of the study. From the seven leadership traits provided the respondents were asked to choose best three, which in their opinion should be possessed by the leaders to be effective in managing change. This process had the advantage of testing the validity of the results provided earlier. Based on the interview traits of accountability and self-understanding were the ones chosen as most important traits that the leaders should possess. Thus, the results of the interview corroborate the findings out of the survey as these were found to be important for leaders to deal with change. Another trait considered important was the technical skills of the leaders.

Emotional leaders were found to be successful in dealing with short-term changes. This assertion can be explained by some valid reasons. Leaders who possess the ability to convince the subordinates can be more successful in implementing change. Secondly, short-term changes require the leaders to make immediate connections with their subordinates. Therefore, such changes need the involvement of leaders possessing emotional traits. Respondents believe that when changes have to take place within a short period of 3 to 5 years, emotional leaders are the best choice. These changes are perceived to require immediate results and technical leaders are expected to be highly oriented towards achieving immediate results.

Since the proposed changes in the Ministry of Education are of permanent nature, they are expected to influence the education system for a long time. For dealing with long-term changes, respondents have identified balance leaders as the effective ones. In the process of long-term changes, leaders are expected to produce better results. Moreover, leaders have the responsibility to motivate their peers constantly to ensure that the long-term goals are met. Balanced leaders only have the right combination of these abilities to become successful.

Recommendations

The current study has provided scope for conducting further research in different facets of change management. With some changed framework, further research can shed light on the role of accountability of change leaders. Self-understanding with its several subsets can provide another area of future research that can add to the existing knowledge on the change management principles and practice.

The early part of the research suggests that the study focused on respondents from the education industry. Although educational institutions perform as corporate entities, the complexity of change is different. Companies experience more changes than schools. This is a reality, which needs to be underlined in future studies. Focus on a company, perhaps a multinational operating in Trinidad and Tobago can provided an interesting angle. In addition, the leadership concepts become wider and the element of change covers a collection of findings.

Reflections

Having undertaken the study on the leadership role in change management, the research has given an in-depth insight into the role of leaders in effecting change management. From the review of the available literature, it was possible to study the leadership traits that are important to manage changes effectively in any progressive organization.

The research has given scope for an extension of knowledge of the researcher to know more about change management, and leadership traits. These are the issues, which have more important place in the modern day businesses as they have to adapt themselves with change to meet the competition. In fact, through the study the researcher could gather more knowledge about the influence of leadership qualities on effecting change in the education department of Trinidad and Tobago.

The study also provided good scope for understanding the underlying principles of leadership qualities. Since the leaders play an important role in motivating the subordinated, it was interesting to notice how the leaders with different traits could influence their peers. The research provided scope for understanding the implications of change management and the extent to change management influences the growth of an organization. It was clear from the study that in the present complex business situation, it is of paramount importance that the leaders are able to motivate the subordinates to perceive the organizational changes in a proper perspective so that the resistance to change can be maintained at the minimum.

In the process of conducting the survey as well as the interviews, the researcher was able to come across people with varied preferences on the choices of their preferred leadership qualities. This is a new experience for the researcher as so far the viewpoint at looking at the leadership traits and their influence on the subordinates was more bookish. Now the researcher could understand from a practical viewpoint on the different aspects of leadership especially in the change management context. Moreover, the research gave an opportunity to the researcher for a direct interaction with the senior officers of the education department, which is really a rare experience that can be cherished in the career. This has given the researcher a feeling of sense of achievement in the educational career.

Even though there were experiences of practical difficulties like following the samples for sending the replies for the questionnaire, chasing the respondents for the interviews for their time and visiting libraries several times in connection with the search of secondary sources of information there exists an overall satisfaction on the work connected with the research. It was a wonderful feeling after the research work was completed and the final report was made ready.

The researcher found it as a thrilling experience to continue to get the responses from the survey results, tabulate them to analyze and compare them against some anticipated results the researcher had in mind with respect to certain specific aspects of the research issues. There were also some unanticipated results for the researcher from the surveys.

Although there were some limitations in conducting the research, which were not of serious nature, still in the opinion of the researcher such limitations had a slight impact on the results of the study. Moreover, the progress of the research and the survey was slightly hampered due to the time constraints and the availability of the senior officers of education department for interview purposes.

There were other small impediments in the process, which could be handled by the researcher like explaining some of the respondents the purpose of the survey in detail and convincing them about the confidentiality of the survey results. With some of the respondents it was really a tough job to make them understand the purpose of the survey and that their name and identity will not be disclosed at any point of time. On an overall assessment, the research has enhanced the skill and experience of the researcher.

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Appendix I Questionnaire

This questionnaire is presented to you as a part of a research study in presenting a dissertation leading to Masters Degree from the Henley –University of Reading (UK). All the information you provide will be kept as strictly confidential. Please try to answer all the questions with the options provided against each. A ‘remarks’ column is provided at the end of the questionnaire to enable you to supply any additional information that you would like to add to the answers you have made against any of the questions. Thank you for your cooperation.

Part A General Demographic Information

  • Age Group:
    • 18 – 25 years
    • 26 – 35 years
    • 36 – 40 years
    • Above 41 years
  • Gender:
    • Male
    • Female
  • Marital Status:
    • Single
    • Married
    • Other
  • Education Level:
    • Secondary
    • Degree
    • Master’s Degree
    • Professional
  • Employment Period with the Organization:
    • Less than a Year
    • Between one and Three Years
    • Between Three and Five Years
    • Above Five Years
  • Salary Level:
    • Below $ 15,000
    • Between $ 15,001 and $ 30,000
    • Between$ 30,001 and $ 48,000
    • Between $ 48,001 and $ 72,000
    • Above $ 72,001
  • Position with the Organization:
    • Clerical
    • Supervisory
    • Junior Management
    • Senior Management

Part B Leadership Role in Change Management

  • Role of Leadership: Does leadership play a crucial role in Change Management of an Organization?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Undecided
  • Impact of Leadership in Change Programs: What according to you is the impact of leaders on the change management programs of the organizations?
    • Critical
    • Minimal
    • No Effect
  • Leadership Styles: What according to you is the successful leadership style on the change management programs of the organizations?
    • Balanced Leadership
    • Technical Leadership
    • Emotional Leadership
  • Employee Attitudes:In your opinion, what is the effect of changes brought in by the department on the following employee attributes. Please rank your choice on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 indicates ‘Extremely Positive’ and 1 indicates ‘Negative’ 1 2 3 4 5
    • Employee Attendance
    • Employee Morale 
    • Performance Levels
    • Relations with Superiors 
    • Sense of Belonging 
  • Organizational Growth: In your opinion, which is the area, more benefitted by the effectiveness of leadership in the change management programs undertaken by the department on the following issues affecting organizational growth? Please rank your choice on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 indicates ‘Extremely Positive’ and 1 indicates ‘Negative’ 1 2 3 4 5
    • Employee Performance 
    • Employee Morale
    • Empowerment of Employees
    • Cost Reduction
    • Employee Retention
  • Leadership Qualities: In your opinion which is the most essential personal quality of the leader that is required to make the change management programs more effective and successful? Please rate the qualities on a percentage scale from 1% to 100%
    • Technical Skills
    • Self-Understanding
    • Charisma
    • Optimism
    • Empathy
    • Accountability
    • Communication Skills
  • Suggestions for Improvements: What according to you, should the management do to make the role of leaders more effective in the change management programs undertaken by the company more effective and positive? Please indicate your choices with ranks on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 denotes ‘Most Desirable’ and 1 denotes ‘Undesirable’
    • Widen the decision making authority of the leaders at senior levels
    • Improve the two way communication between superiors and subordinates
    • Make use of more communication mode for advising about changes to employees
    • Provide training to the existing employees to acquire leadership skills
    • Encourage employees at lower levels to take part in decision making

Remarks: _____________________________________________________________________

I take this opportunity to thank you for spending your time in filling up this questionnaire, which will greatly help me in my efforts towards getting my degree.

Appendix II Structured Interview Questions

Interview Questions

The following are some of the questions, which I request you to answer with respect to change management policies of the company. This interview is a part of my study for the submission of a dissertation leading to Masters Degree from Henley –University of Reading (UK). I thank you for your valuable time in answering these questions in detail.

  1. In your opinion, are there too many changes taking place in the positions of employees due to the change management programs undertaken by the organization in the recent past?
  2. If yes, what are the major issues that the company faces with respect to Human Relations part because of the change management programs?
  3. How in your opinion, the change management programs undertaken by the company impacts the team work and the clarity of roles and responsibilities of different individuals at middle and senior management levels?
  4. What according to you is the effect of mergers undertaken by the company on the training and development of the existing employees and the new employees of the merged companies? Are there equal chances affordable by the company for both the groups of employees?
  5. What according to you is the impact of the change management programs undertaken by the company on the employee attitudes and performance levels?
  6. Do you think that the change management programs have a noticeable impact on the employee morale? If yes, please state whether the impact is positive or negative
  7. How do you think the change management programs adopted by the organization are affecting the relations of the employees with their superiors and subordinates? (Please state the position with respect to the middle level managers of the company)
  8. What are your views on the impact of the change management programs adopted by the company on the growth of the company in general? Please state whether there is significant contribution towards the growth of the education system? If so, please state in which areas specifically?
  9. Is the organization facing any problems in the matter of employee retention because of the change management programs undertaken by the company? If so, can you attribute the reason for such problem?
  10. What are the other specific issues in your opinion the organization has to address in implementing the change management programs? Are they significant and if so in what respect?
  11. Is in your opinion the leaders use their emotional aspects while dealing with organizational change?
  12. How in your opinion will leaders that rely on technical capabilities fare in organizations that require change?
  13. Do you think leaders that use both emotional intelligence and technical skills needed in change organization for successful implementation of change management programs?
  14. Which according to you among the emotional, technical and balanced leaders will fit best in organizations that undergo major changes?
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