Issuu on Google+

Influence of interplay between Leadership, Governance & Management on Organizational Transformation in a Higher Education Institution!

! ! !

Authors: Mahendra Saxena, Nikhita Saxena! Abstract:! After the rapid growth of higher education institutions in India during the last fifteen years, the industry is at the crossroads of excellence and survival. Institutions that remained within the governance mandated by external regulatory bodies like AICTE, UGC and the affiliating university, and continued with a weak leadership & management structures, are facing a crisis of existence with a negative growth. Institutions which innovated and created strong governance & leadership structures (Bauer), despite being mandated by regulatory bodies, have established their distinct brand and are on the verge of moving into the excellence domain in India and into a competitive zone of global rating. We studied in depth one such institutions that was able to transform through innovation in governance & leadership and present here a qualitative analysis of how an interplay of governance, leadership & management influences organizational transformation (Bass, 1999)!

! !

Contextualization: ! Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in India and most of the developing countries have been modeled on a linear structural basis. Linear demarcation of functional structures & processes creates islands of non contributory process excellence and knowledge pools. Such governance structure, mandated more by external regulatory bodies, offers few opportunities for staff to develop leadership capabilities and innovate in teaching. Absence of cross functional operational processes and lack of collaborative efforts, which often spur competition, leads to formation of comfort zones and creates strong legacy structures resistant to any change. When market dynamics start changing due to economic slowdown and globalization, such legacy structures become a strong drag on the growth and qualitative progress of the institution. Changes in market dynamics and external demographic factors creates a compulsive need for the institution to develop governance structures and processes that promote innovation, knowledge management, inherent leadership development capabilities and excellence in student deliverables. Such situations call for a dynamic leadership to lead the institution through the change process and transform the institution to remain competitive. (Avolio, 2005)! Translating external mandates into internal governance mechanisms by changing organizational structures, processes & systems is the most critical aspect of transformation as it involves changing the way people work & developing a set of mechanisms that modulates and control human behavior to ensure that collective and individual behavior within a group conforms to achievement of broader organizational objectives. Most organizations falter in achieving the right combination of governance, leadership, processes & structures when attempting a radical change to transform. Changes in systemic structures impact the entire value chain and its linked processes and has the potential of disrupting the working of the entire organization.! In this paper, we analyze the influence of intense interplay between governance, leadership & management during a successful attempt of radical change in a Higher education institution and present a four stage operational model, adopted by the leadership to see through a transformation project through innovative change & reintegration management strategy, development of new governance mechanisms involving a blend of distributed leadership, episodic power structures, strategic action tools.!

! !

Leadership & Governance structures in a HEI! Leadership has been cited as a critical factor in sustaining & improving the quality and plays a pivotal role in the success of higher education institutions (Gibbs, Knapper & Picinnin, 2009; Osseo-Asare, Longbottom & Murphy, 2005). Leaders impact on organizational effectiveness by formulating strategy, vision, mission and foster organizational culture, (Bollinger & Smith, 2001; Bontis & Fitz-enz, 2002; Fedor et al., 2003; Ho, 2009). Leadership is one of the key attributes for promoting change and innovation in an organization (Kanter, 1984). Leadership tends to be considered as a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal (Northouse, 2003). Leadership is not unipolar as it can be exercised by an individual as well as a group to structure activities or processes (Yuki, 2002). Leadership is also contextual as no one individual can offer effective leadership in all circumstances. Different skills and leadership attributes, including cognitive and behavioural, are required to offer effective solutions in different situations. !


Governance plays an important role in providing strategic direction for leaders and helping them to foster commitment, shared aims and accountability. Different structures and hierarchy also create different layers of governance, management and leadership and each requires a separate combination of knowledge, skills & attributes. Governance in an HEI deals more with compliance of legislations, government regulations and a defined approach to developments in external environment structured as the vision, mission & strategy of the organization, and encompasses entire organization across all hierarchical structures, making the entire leadership & management accountable to organizational governance metrics. Accountability is central to the purpose & function of governance. Moreover, as legislations & regulations remain static, changes in organizational strategy, structure and leadership teams are needed when drastic changes happen in the business dynamics. Implementation of good governance framework is important in driving management to effect changes in culture, structure & processes. So, in a way, governance function overlaps with leadership over various hierarchy layers. The leadership responsible for managing at different hierarchical layers is always holding a dual focus and responsibility. The top management teams develop a suitable governance structure and at the same time are responsible for developing practices and processes as per the strategic plan to ensure effective management of the organization. Managers at each hierarchical node have to develop their own governance structure as per the individualized functional requirements and at the same time develop management structure conforming to the apex governance policies and functional characteristics. Hence, leadership at all levels has an overlap of both, governance as well as management.! The top management team is responsible for assessment & interpretation of long term impact of developments in external environment and business dynamics and decide whether the governance mechanism needs to be modified to counter these changes or whether only the control and operational processes need strategic shift under the same governance structure. For the top management team, its a two way interaction with a focus on governance as well as management structures & processes. The top management teams are functionally diverse and such diversity can be effectively harnessed for increased organizational effectiveness through an integrative team & leader dynamics.! Management of a HEI deals with converting strategic direction into operating procedures involving a combination of people & processes through systematic planning. It is about formal hierarchical structures and authority delegated at each level. Management is about position based decision making (Kogan & Marton, 2000). Management structures remain stable for longer durations as the task of converting strategic intent to achieve the vision & mission and associated goals and milestones have a longer life cycle. With a stable structure, positional authority and decision making, management is more of bureaucracy and hierarchy. Hence, resistance to change is very strong in such a context because the hierarchy resists dilution of power & authority or to changes in the processes & structures. In the present context characterized by rapid changes in market dynamics, an organization needs to develop capability to respond to such external changes quickly and effectively. The skills required to generate such responses from an organization need not be a derivative of experience, position or power and is more about professional expertise and cognitive capability to generate ideas and deliver effective response to the emergent situations. Hence the leadership required to counter external changes could come from a bottoms up approach as well, depending on where and at what level does talent and professional expertise remains positioned in the organizational hierarchy and on the composition of external developments that have challenged the organizational interaction process with its surroundings. This implies that there should be a coordination structure existent in the organizational operational model so that an effective continuous partner relationship is maintained between the management structure and the dispersed talent across all levels. ! We present a 4 stage operational model to be incorporated as a regular part of the management & governance structure to effectively build a capacity in the organization to counter external challenges quickly. The proposed model when integrated with the regular governance structure, lends the organization a strong capability to offer a quick response to the ongoing changes in the business environment and market dynamics. The proposed model is capable of identifying changes and analyze their impact.! ! The proposed model consists of the following stages;!

!

1. Creation of structures, processes & knowledge base for cross hierarchical interactions! 2. Combination of self managed teams for various emergent situations! 3. Identification of operational, environmental & strategic variances & composition of triggers for process looping.! 4. Creation of process loops in operational & management structure with change management matrix.!

! !

1. Creation of structures, processes & knowledge base for cross hierarchical interactions!


HEI’s in the present time need to reflect multidimensional talent working in unison to achieve different objectives at different times. Business environment and social contextual changes present challenges to academics that need to be addressed with a specific skill & professional competence or a set of such skills & competencies. These skills and competencies are often non cognitive and referred to as leadership attributes. As no single individual can have diverse leadership attributes, it is left to a group of individuals to act as a composite leader to counter the change dynamics. To enable such a response, an organization wide skill and talent mapping is the first step to develop knowledge repository and integrate it in the personnel database. Communication strategy design, to facilitate a two way interaction with the entire staff, on the changes in governance & management processes & structures, is the next step which we are not discussing in detail here so as to confine our scope of analysis on governance & leadership function. Interaction between people at different hierarchical levels is governed by structures & processes as well as their personality traits and behavioral attributes. Apart from regular mandated operational oriented interactions, certain situations require cross disciplinary and cross hierarchical interactions to develop innovative solutions to an emergent problem or a situation thrown up by the changes in the organizational equation with business dynamics. Such a distributed situational interaction leads to the development of leadership practice. Process & systems based cross disciplinary interaction for innovative solutions has been termed as distributed leadership (Hosking, 1988; Wood, 2005: process theory of leadership) and (Senge, 1990; Wheatley, 1999). This is a more inclusive proposition of leadership whereby individuals, groups & teams across all levels are able to provide strategic direction in situational contexts. Apart from personality & skill mapping, qualitative attributes for different situations and processes need to be mapped and plotted as a matrix with talent & skill map of the organization to decide on the best combination of teams to act as a situational leader.!

! !

2. Combination of self managed teams for various emergent situations! Leadership alone cannot bring about transformation of the organization. Leadership thought has to be supported with equal passion by teams across the organization. Teams function effectively when supported by efficient structures and processes.(Politis, 2002)! The focus of leadership in HEI’s has shifted to harnessing the leadership potential across the organization and promoting self managed teams for greater effectiveness. Team composition balances the skills and behavioral attributes that are required to perform a task efficiently. Such teams are also invested with limited authority necessary to perform their tasks. This concept of empowered teams is gaining acceptance across HEI’s. Such teams strengthen the hierarchical structures(Bolden, Petrov & Gosling, 2008) and enable faster change of processes & structures by encountering least resistance to change. To enable teams deliver effectively, team coordination & performance is managed by leaders through strategic actionable tools. Leaders enable teams to adopt a cooperative approach. Leaders create processes & structures to counter situations which require a team effort to increase efficiency of the organization in certain situations where an individual as a leader may not be able to deliver due to the requirement of a rich diverse behavioural & cognitive skill combination. For such teams to be effective, hierarchical structures are often flattened at different levels at which such teams operate. At a particular hierarchy level, organizational leaders create processes or decision nodes and form teams to function at such nodes. These teams are either led by a team leader who is invested with limited authority and who has been identified as capable of functioning under the emergent situation and coordinate actions of his team members effectively with least conflict, or the team members function as a group where all members are equal in terms of hierarchy level and authority but with diverse talent and skill profile. Such self managed teams or groups impact through concertive action where the total is significantly more than the sum of its parts (Gronn, 2002) while Spillane (2004) stated that “From a distributed perspective, leadership practice takes shape in the interactions of people and their situation, rather than from the actions of an individual leader”. This leads us to our analytical postulate that leadership is an emergent characteristic of a group or team which interacts by virtue of specifically designed process or a non hierarchical structure with open boundaries thereby facilitating free flow of ideas and actions unbounded from the past trend or organizational control parameters. This leads us to state that distributed leadership applied across the organization facilitates innovation and enables an organization to deliver much more than what each member would have delivered had they acted in isolation individually as per the hierarchical model. Hence structures and processes as well as composition of groups or teams decide how effectively an organization can face the challenges of changes in business dynamics. An important parameter of success of this theory is that structures, processes and teams or groups are supported by an efficient knowledge base that acts as a decision support system. Another important parameter is to establish the practice of collaborative thinking, action & decision making at various levels. This is facilitated by leaders who establish such practices through their sustained efforts at bringing together diverse talent, skills and groups of individuals to act and interact and develop solutions to emergent problems or situations. This leads us to postulate that distributed leadership stimulates innovation as


innovation has been defined as the generation & implementation of a management practice, process or a structure that is new and is intended to further organizational goals (Birkenshaw et al., 2008, pg 829). Management innovation relates to changes in how managers set directions, make decisions, coordinate activities and motivate people (Hamel, 2006). Organizational transformation has been characterized as adoption of new practices, procedures, processes to face the challenges of variances in business dynamics. Hence we can argue that distributed leadership ( Bennett, N. et al, 2003) practice leads to organizational transformation through inclusion of the entire talent and skill bank in decision making by engaging in intense interactions & knowledge exchange at various hierarchy levels. !

! !

3. Identification of operational, environmental & strategic variances & composition of triggers for process looping: Transformation through Knowledge Management! HEI’s core function is knowledge creation, sharing and application for the benefit of students and society. Knowledge creation often involves spontaneous collaboration between individuals & teams in organizations, (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995). Distributed leadership facilitates active collaboration between talent spread across the organization. Collaboration is an essential part of organizational knowledge creation and is mostly planned and directed through organizational structures, processes & mechanisms (Hedlund, 1994). Hence efficient processes & structures facilitate knowledge management and is the gateway to transformation of HEI’s. Benchmarking of all performance metrics resulted in creation of variance triggers which were mapped into the system to isolate processes with triggers. Such processes were subjected to correction initially and then to change with continuous variance.!

! !

4. Creation of process loops in operational & management structure with change management matrix: Isolating processes for episodic power instances for bringing about change! The strategy adopted to achieve least resistance to change was to isolate the processes where changes were to be introduced so that other processes remained insulated. These process islands were identified on the basis of change matrix developed prior to the start of the transformation process. The process islands were further segregated into critical and non critical and the performance outcomes after restructuring were parameterized so that measurable metrics could be built into the change management system for success monitoring. ! Criticality of process islands was defined in terms of impact of change on the redefined performance metrics. All critical process islands were tabulated and expanded for strategic and tactical requirements for enabling successful change and reintegration with the mainstream processes and value chains. The human capital profile was matched with the requirement profile of the process islands and leaders were identified who could be given change authority of these process islands during transition. Hence these process islands were reinforced with leadership change and delegated authority to enable transition to the redefined process. ! Once the transition was measured on the defined parameters and found meeting the outcomes, the strategy for reintegration was triggered. The linkages of each process island with other mainstream processes and value chain, with which integration is to happen after restructuring, was defined, resulting in an integration strategy as part of the change management strategy. These process islands created episodic power instances, giving an opportunity to identified persons lower down the hierarchy but with immense leadership potential, to takeover their new roles with least threat of disruption to established norms and processes. With new leadership, the human capital profile also underwent change. This would not have been possible otherwise in an integrated systemic power and traditional management setting as any breakup with organizational hierarchy would have invited strong resistance from established leaders. The profile of persons identified with the requisite leadership practices inventory prior to start of the transformation process was redefined to offer a bigger and more challenging role with an expanded profile and bringing them up the hierarchy through a process of isolation, training on the job in a real situation, testing the acumen and process efficacy and reintegration. !

!

The major advantages of process islanding, restructuring and reintegration were:! Insulation of other processes from change entropy.! Testing of new leadership with redefined jobs.! Absorbing change resistance within a small process / work function.! Breaking organizational hierarchy to bring up potential leaders.! Creating a motivating yet systemic power structure.! Opening up avenues for leadership development. !

!


Breakup of radical change into smaller islands enabled better management of the change process. Further, the possibility of higher resistance to change was minimized by the creation of process islands & episodic power instances which enabled change of process leadership during process restructuring.! The focus on transformation process was thus on leadership development through performance measurement, monitoring and improvement. Few key positions in the top leadership were changed and functional domains reorganized to bring strategic services and actionable tools under one authority. Organizational culture, direction and structural focus was redefined to give importance to quality and performance metrics. Critical functions and key processes were isolated to restructure under a new leadership and reintegrated. An integrated performance management system was kept central to all activities and processes and continuous monitoring of key indices initiated for continuous improvement. Even though a process managed organization was structured, some activities were islanded for identification and grooming of leaders through episodic power structures. Key performance indices also underwent change with components relating to student deliverables, excellence in research and industry interaction, innovative approaches in teaching & learning, practice oriented skill development and knowledge management efforts brought in the ambit of performance metrics. Functional processes, activities and their benchmarks were redefined as per their focus on cognitive or creative approach and a new hierarchy of structure defined to promote excellence and motivation. With a restructured hierarchy, leadership was distributed to action points to get a perfect match of KSA profile of resources with the functional needs profile.! These efforts resulted in systemic leadership development, measurement, monitoring and recognition of efforts towards excellence, a transparent rewards and penalty system, motivating atmosphere for talent management and redirected the organization to face market dynamics with a renewed vigour. ! We have confined our analysis to governance & leadership parameters in this paper. For effecting transformation, a number of other actions which correlate to theoretical constructs on leadership, communication, learning pedagogy, research & industry interface in academics, strategic intervention & process engineering, were adopted. At the core of organizational transformation is the impact of an intense interplay between governance, leadership & management resulting in a modulation of strategic action tools. This interplay is often developed by the top leader with transactive memory of the organization and having an exceptional vision or by the involvement of top management team integrated by the top leader. !

! !

References:! Avolio, Bruce J. and Gardner, W. L. “Authentic Leadership Development: Getting to the !R oot of Positive! Forms of Leadership.” Leadership Quarterly 16, (2005): 315–38.! Bass, Bernard M. “Two Decades of Research and Development in Transformational Leadership.”! European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 8,no 1 (1999); 9–32. ! Bass, Bernard M. and Bruce J. Avolio. “ Introduction.” In Improving Organisational Effectiveness:! Through Transformational Leadership, Edited by Bernard M Bass & Bruce J Avolio, Thousand ! Oaks, CA: SAGE 1994.! Bauer, I. Bleiklie and M. Henkel (eds) Transforming Higher Education. London: Jessica ! Kingsley! Bennett, Nigel, Christine Wise, Philip Woods, and Janet A. Harvey. Distributed Leadership. Nottingham:! NCSL, 2003.! Bolden, R., Petrov, G. & Gosling, J. (2008). Developing collective leadership in Higher Education. In H. Goreham, H. (Ed.), Research & Development Series London, ! Leadership Foundation for Higher Education! Bollinger, Audrey S. and Robert D. Smith. “Managing Organizational Knowledge as a Strategic Asset.”! Journal of Knowledge Management 5,(2001): 8–18.! Bryant, Scott E. “The Role of Transformational and Transactional Leadership in Creating, Sharing and! Exploiting Organizational Knowledge.” Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies 9, ! (2003):32– 44. ! Bryman, Alan. “Effective Leadership in Higher Education: a Literature Review.” Studies in Higher! Education 32, no 6 (2007): 693-710.! Bryman, Alan. “Effective Leadership in Higher Education: Final Report.”, Research and Development! Series. UK: Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, 2009! Burns, James MacGregor. Transforming Leadership. New York: Grove Press, 2005.! Collinson, Margaret and David Collinson. Blended Leadership: Employee Perspectives on Effective! Leadership in the UK FE Sector. Lancaster: CEL, 2006.! Georg von Krogh, Ikujiro Nonaka and Lise Rechsteiner. “Leadership in Organizational Knowledge! Creation.” Journal of ! Management Studies 49, no. 1(2012):240-277! Gibb,Cecil Austin “ Leadership,” In Handbook of Social Psychology, edited by Aronson ! Austin, TX 1968.!


Gibbs, G., Knapper, C & Picinnin, S.(2006). Departmental leadership for quality teaching-an international ! comparative study of effective practice. Retrieved from http://www.lfhe.ac.uk/research/projects/! ggexcel.doc! Gronn, P. (2002) “Distributed leadership as a unit of analysis”. The Leadership Quarterly, 13,423-51! Hamel, G. and Prahalad, C. K. (1989). ‘Strategic intent’. Harvard Business Review, 67, ! May–June, 63–76.! Hedlund, Gunnar. “A Model of Knowledge Management and the N-form Corporation.” Strategic Management ! Journal 15(1994): 73–90.! Hosking, D.M. (1988) “ Organizing, leadership and skilful process”, Journal of Management Studies, 25(2), ! 147-66! Kogan, M and Marton, S.G. (2000) “ The State and Higher Education”. in M. Kogan, M. ! Kouzes, James M., & Barry Z. Posner. The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI). Facilitator’s Guide.San ! Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2001.! Mehra, A., Smith, B. R., Dixon, A. L. and Robertson, B. “Distributed Leadership in Teams: the Network of ! Leadership Perceptions and Team Performance.” The ! Leadership Quarterly 17,(2006): 232–45.! Nonaka, Ikujiro and Hirotaka Takeuchi. The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies! Create the Dynamics of Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995! Northouse,P.G. (2003) Leadership Theory & Practice. London: Sage Publications! Politis, John. D. “Transformational and Transactional Leadership Enabling (Disabling) Knowledge Acquisition ! of Self-Managed Teams: the Consequences for !P e r f o r m a n c e . ” L e a d e r s h i p & O r g a n i z a t i o n! Development Journal, 23, (2002):186–! 97.! Ramsden, Paul. Learning to Lead in Higher Education. London: Routledge, 1998.! Senge, P. (1990) The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of Learning Company. London: Ramdon House! Spillane, J.P. (2006) Distributed Leadership. San-Francisco: Jossey Bass! Wheatley, M. (1999) Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World, 2nd edition. ! San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler! Wood, M. (2005) “ The fallacy of misplaced leadership”, Journal of Management Studies, 42(6), !1101-21! Yuki, G.A. (2002) Leadership in Organizations, 5th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice-Hall!

! ! !


governance and leadership